Mutual Funds Beginner

What is XIRR in mutual funds, and how to calculate it?

After some years, when you want to redeem your investment in a mutual fund, you would want to know how much you gained. That’s understandable. It’s natural to seek confirmation that our investment was a success. But how do you check your gains? XIRR is the answer. Read on to learn all about it.

Understanding XIRR in mutual funds

XIRR—short for Extended Internal Rate of Return—is one of the many financial metrics. It helps calculate the annualized returns on investment. The metric also factors in cash flow at irregular intervals, so it’s great to use with mutual fund investments.

The importance of XIRR in mutual fund investments

  1. Accurate representation of financial returns: Since this metric factors in the timing of cash inflow, comparing the returns of other fund schemes and across different timelines is possible.
  2. Goal-based planning becomes possible: It helps investors calculate the returns needed to reach their financial goals. This enables goal-based planning.
  3. Evaluation of the performance of mutual funds: The metric helps investors to identify underperforming schemes, so they can take remedial action promptly.
  4. Tax planning: Since investors know the exact returns on their investments, they can plan their tax liability in advance.
  5. Making comparisons with other investment options: Investors are better placed to take investment decisions.

The concept of XIRR

Now that you know what the broad idea does and why it’s important, you’re probably wondering how to use it. Here’s where we tell you.

What is XIRR, and how does it work?

This is a metric that lets investors calculate the annualized rate of return on investments—even when the cash flow occurs at irregular intervals. You remember this, right? Good, so let’s break down how it works.

The investor must key in the dates and respective cash flows into a financial calculator or spreadsheet. XIRR then uses the mathematical process of iteration to arrive at the rate of return. The present value of cash inflows and outflows will match it. It also factors in the time value of money; amounts received earlier have more worth than sums that come in later.

How XIRR differs from other return measures

This metric is very different from other return measures. That’s because only XIRR can do the following.

1. It accounts for:

  • irregular cash flows;
  • both cash inflows and outflows; and
  • the time value of money received.

2. Calculate returns over any time period—ranging from a few days to several years.

How XIRR accounts for the time value of money

It takes into account the timing and the quantum of each cash flow. It calculates the discount rate at which the Net Present Value (NPV) of all the cash flows will be equal to zero.

XIRR calculation for mutual funds

The value can be calculated in multiple ways. Let’s break down one of the simplest ways for you here.

A step-by-step guide to calculating XIRR

  1. Collect all cash flow data. This includes the initial amount invested, dividends received, and withdrawals made.
  2. Arrange cash flow data according to date.
  3. Add it to a spreadsheet. Use a formula that looks something like this: =XIRR(cash flows, dates of each transaction)

The importance of accurate inputs

  1. It reflects the actual investment performance. So, if the data contains inaccuracies, the result will be erroneous.
  2. XIRR helps identify portfolio issues. Accurate inputs can help identify an underperforming asset.
  3. This metric helps compare different investment opportunities.
  4. It improves future projections.

Interpreting XIRR results

Now that we have a fair understanding of what XIRR is and how to calculate it, the next logical step is to understand how to interpret it.

Understanding the significance of its value

The value of this metric is significant because:

  1. The conventional IRR metric only works in cases where the cash flows are evenly spaced. XIRR can handle uneven cash flows, variable amounts, as well as both inflows and outflows.
  2. It can help compare various investment opportunities in terms of potential returns. A higher value denotes a higher rate of return.
  3. The metric can also be used to evaluate the portfolio over a specific period.

Analyzing results over time

XIRR represents the annualized rate of return. So variations in the XIRR values are indicative of overall performance shifts and not short-term fluctuations.

Increases in XIRR values over a period of time suggest that the investment has been improving in performance.
XIRR is sensitive to cash flow timings, especially with large inflows or outflows at specific times. So comparing the XIRR across different times if there are significant time differences between such cash flows may be faulty.

This metric does not factor in risks or other relevant factors. So when analyzing the performance of an investment over time, it is best to refer to other metrics, too.

Evaluating the performance of different mutual funds using XIRR

When you want to evaluate the performance of different mutual funds, compare their XIRR values. The larger the value, the better the performance.

Incorporating it into investment decisions

You can incorporate XIRR into investment decisions by doing the following.

  • Evaluating performance: Calculate the XIRR to see if the investment has been generating good returns.
  • Compare investment opportunities: Calculate the XIRR of various investment opportunities. Choose the one generating the best returns.
  • Estimate future returns potential: By extrapolating the historical performance values, future potential can be estimated. While past performance is no guarantee for future results, they can give us the base for decision-making.
  • Determine the risk element: When the values are collected over a period of time for the same investment, the degree of variation mirrors the extent of risk.

Limitations of XIRR

Like all things in life, XIRR isn’t perfect. It comes with its share of limitations, and you must bear them in mind. Understanding the factors that impact it will help you understand its limitations.

Factors that can impact the accuracy of XIRR results

The factors that impact the accuracy of XIRR results are as follows.

1. Cash flow-related factors:

  • Inaccurate dates and wrong frequency can impact it.
  • A cash flow with inaccurate dates can be misleading.
  • Unreported cash flows cannot be factored in.
  • In multiple currencies, differing currency rates can cause calculations to become complex and, therefore, error-prone.

2. For multiple investments, like reinvestment of dividends, the calculations may become complex.
3. Too many cash flows of varying frequency and amounts also lead t to errors.


XIRR in mutual funds does have many benefits. In fact, it does better than many other metrics in some ways. But it cannot be the only metric you refer to. So it is best to look at it in the context of other financial metrics.


How much XIRR is good for mutual funds?

The ideal XIRR (Extended Internal Rate of Return) for mutual funds varies based on your investment goals. Generally, a higher XIRR is better, but it should align with your risk tolerance and financial objectives.

What does 10% XIRR mean?

A 10% XIRR (Extended Internal Rate of Return) signifies an annualized return of 10% on your investment. It measures the growth rate of your investments, considering the timing and amounts of all transactions.

Is XIRR better than CAGR?

XIRR and CAGR serve different purposes. XIRR considers irregular cash flows, making it suitable for complex investments. CAGR is simpler and best for measuring consistent growth. Neither is inherently better; their usefulness depends on the context.

Is XIRR an annual rate?

No, XIRR (Extended Internal Rate of Return) is not necessarily an annual rate. It calculates returns on investments with multiple transactions at various time intervals, making it versatile for different periods.

Is 12% XIRR good?

A 12% XIRR (Extended Internal Rate of Return) can be considered good, especially in the Indian market, assuming you’ve invested in debt or mutual funds. It indicates healthy returns on your investments.

Disclaimer: Investing in mutual funds is subject to market risks. Please read all scheme-related documents carefully before investing. Potential returns from a mutual fund product are not guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results. None of our articles are intended to and should be considered investment/financial advice from CoinSwitch.

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