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What is year to date (YTD)?

year to date definition

Year to date (YTD) refers to a period from the beginning of the calendar year to the current date. 

The year to date definition can be used in the context of a fiscal year, which doesn’t necessarily begin on 1 January. In this case, YTD would refer to the period beginning on the first day of the fiscal year to the current date.

How year to date is used

In the world of finance and accounting, year to date is used to indicate the account balance calculated for a period from the beginning of the calendar year or fiscal year.

Year to date can be used to calculate returns on investments. For example, in terms of stock performance, YTD means how much a stock has grown or fallen. 

Year to date examples

How does year to date work in investing and trading? Let’s take a look at a scenario of a $10,000 investment in stocks at the beginning of the calendar year. 

Now, the total value of the investment stands at $15,000. Therefore, the investor has made a profit of $5,000 on a year to date basis – a YTD profit of 50% on the $10,000 investment.

What is the difference between YTD and 1 year return?

The key difference between year to date and one-year return is that the latter, also called annual return, refers to how much an investment has increased or decreased over the last year. On the contrary, year to date refers to a period that starts at the beginning of a calendar year.

For example, let’s imagine that an investor bought a stock five years ago, and today is 27 May 2022. Their year-to-date return would be the profit or loss the stock has made between 1 January and 27 May 2022. Their annual return, however, would be the profit or loss the stock has made between 27 May 2021 and today.


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