On an absolute basis, it’s easy to see how any dividend stock you own performed last year.
Start with its closing price on Dec. 30, the last day of trading in 2016. Subtract the price at the close on Dec. 31, 2015, which we hope is lower, and divide that figure by the 2015 closing price to calculate your stock’s gain for the year. Then add up all your dividends for the year and calculate that sum as a percentage of the 2016 close. That will produce your yield for the year. Add the gain and yield percentages and you’ve determined your total return from that stock for 2016.
Perform the same calculations on each of your dividend stocks and you’ll see how your total dividend portfolio performed. No doubt, each of your stocks gave you a different rate of return. But if you want to compare your performance and make yourself either elated by your outperformance, depressed due to underperformance or simply satisfied because your portfolio did just about as well as the dividend universe as a whole, take a look at results based on active stock picking as well as results for some passive approaches to dividend investing.