What Is Yield on Cost (YOC)?

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 29, 2023

Yield on Cost (YOC) Definition

Yield on cost, or YOC, is a measure of dividend return arrived at by dividing a stock's current dividend yield by the price an investor originally paid for it.

It is different from the dividend yield, which is taken by dividing the current dividend payment by the current share price.

Formula for Yield on Cost (YOC)

Example of Yield on Cost

For long-term investors, YOC is a figure that may change drastically over time. For example, an investor may purchase stock in Company A at $10 per share, with dividend payments of $0.50 per share.

Here, the YOC and dividend yield are equal, at 5%. However, say that over the next 20 years, Company A adds $0.10 in dividend payments per year, but increases their share price to $50. After 20 years, the dividends will reach $2.50 per share.

The dividend yield will still be 5%, but the investor's YOC will be 25%

How Yield on Cost Can Mislead Investors

Yield on cost has been criticised as a metric that holds little relevance, and may even mislead investors.

For example, it does not provide an accurate representation of the current benefit of investing in a stock, only the benefit that would have been realized had an investor bought the stock in the past.

YOC also ignores the effects of inflation, which may bloat the figure but not represent any actual gain in value. YOC also ignores any additional costs incurred since the purchase of the stock, such as if the investor had reinvested any dividends back into their stock.

Some investors may also be reticent to sell their high YOC shares and buy stocks with a higher dividend yield, mistakenly believing that a high YOC indicates better performance.

Yield on Cost (YOC) FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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