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What is Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)?

  • Apr 17, 2024

Amidst the sea of financial jargon, there lies a beacon of simplicity that helps investors cut through the confusion to assess the true growth of their investments—this beacon is known as CAGR or Compound Annual Growth Rate.

In the following sections, we will learn about CAGR, illustrating why it is invaluable for investors seeking clarity on the growth of their investments and how this simple yet profound metric can be harnessed to gauge real returns effectively.

What is CAGR Meaning?

CAGR is the mathematical sage that unveils an investment's uniform average growth rate across a defined timeframe. To paint a picture, imagine planting a tree in your garden. Over the years, the tree's growth fluctuates—in some years it surges upwards rapidly, while in others, it scarcely grows. Should someone inquire about the yearly growth rate of your tree, you wouldn't merely average the annual growth, especially considering the uneven growth patterns influenced by varying conditions.

This is where CAGR steps in, for investments. It precisely calculates the steady annual growth rate required for an investment to evolve from its initial value to its final value over a chosen period, effectively smoothing over any irregularities or fluctuations.

CAGR Formula and How It Works?

CAGR Formula and How It Works

The formula for CAGR is elegantly simple yet immensely insightful. It's represented as:

CAGR=((EV/BV))1/N -1)*100

Where: EV stands for the ending value

BV is beginning to value

N is the number of years

Here, the Ending Value is what the investment is worth at the end of the period in question, the Beginning Value is its worth at the start, and n represents the number of years.

This formula's beauty lies in its ability to distill the complexity of an investment’s growth over time into a single, understandable figure.

Also Read about How Are Mutual Fund Returns Calculated?

A Practical Walkthrough of CAGR Calculation

For example, Suppose an investment grows from INR 10,000 to INR 20,000 over 5 years. Utilising the CAGR formula, we find

CAGR=(10,000/20,000?)?  -1*100 =12.945%

This translates to an annual growth rate of 12.945% over 5 years.

The Convenience of a CAGR Calculator

While the CAGR formula is direct, manually calculating it can become cumbersome, especially with more complex investments or multiple comparisons. This is where the utility of a CAGR calculator becomes apparent, simplifying the process to needing just the start and end values, along with the duration, to deduce the CAGR. This tool is indispensable for investors aiming to evaluate and juxtapose diverse investments' performance efficiently.

Navigating the Limitations of CAGR

Though CAGR is incredibly useful, it has its limitations. It presumes a uniform growth rate throughout the investment period, potentially overlooking the nuances of market volatility. It also doesn't account for the impacts of additional contributions or withdrawals. Therefore, while CAGR offers a streamlined growth measure, it's wise for investors to also consider other metrics and qualitative aspects for a more rounded analysis of an investment's performance.

The Power of CAGR in Investment Comparison and Strategy Enhancement

CAGR shines when comparing the growth rates of different investments, standardising them to an annual measure and facilitating an apples-to-apples comparison. This capability is vital for investors to make informed decisions on allocating their resources more strategically among various options.

Moreover, integrating CAGR into investment analysis empowers investors with nuanced insights, enabling them to assess risk, align investments with their financial goals, and refine their portfolios for optimal performance over time.


CAGR emerges as an indispensable metric in the investor's toolkit, offering a transparent, comparative view of investment growth across time. Despite its limitations, CAGR can significantly refine investment decision-making and portfolio management when used strategically alongside other financial metrics and qualitative evaluations.

The key to leveraging CAGR effectively lies in recognising its intricacies and applying it thoughtfully within the larger framework of investment strategies and market dynamics, ensuring a more informed and nuanced approach to navigating the investment landscape.

Team Sharekhan
by Team Sharekhan

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