Yield To Maturity (YTM) – Definition & Formula

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Yield to Maturity (YTM) is the total return that you can expect from your investment in bonds/debt mutual funds if held till maturity. YTM is expressed as a percentage of the current market price of t

What is Yield?

Yield refers to the earnings generated and realised on an investment over a period of time. It is usually expressed as per the percentage of the face value of the instrument or the current market value. Additionally, yield also includes interests or dividends earned through holding a particular security. Yield can be classified as known or anticipated based on their valuation (fixed or fluctuating).

How is Yield calculated?

In simple terms, yield can be calculated as per the cash flow that security generates. Yield is usually calculated on an annual basis, although quarterly and monthly yields are also considered.  It is also important to note that yield should not be confused with the total return. Total returns are a much more holistic picture of investment returns. Here’s how the yield is calculated: Yield = Net Realised Income / Principal Amount

What is Yield to Maturity (YTM)?

Yield to Maturity (YTM) is a special measure of the total return expected on a bond each year until maturity.  Despite being similar terms, Yield to Maturity differs from nominal yield, which is subject to change with each passing year and is calculated on a per-year basis. In more precise terms, YTM is the average yield expected every year, while the value is expected to remain constant throughout the maturity of the bond. 

Yield to Maturity Formula

Debt funds invest in diverse bonds, and hence the Yield To Maturity (YTM) of a debt fund is the weighted average yield of the bonds that are included in the scheme’s portfolio.  With respect to bonds, YTM is the total rate of return that the investor can expect if the bond is held till maturity.

How to Calculate Yield to Maturity?

Calculating the YTM can help you gauge how it affects your debt funds’ returns. Here’s how the Yield To Maturity (YTM) for a single bond is calculated: Yield to Maturity = [Annual Interest +{(FV-Price)/Maturity}] / [(FV+Price)/2] As per the above formula, 
  • Annual Interest = Annual interest payout of the bond
  • FV= Face Value of the Bond
  • Price= The Current Market Price of the Bond
  • Maturity = The period of the bond’s maturity
YTM works as an indicator of the debt funds’ potential returns. A debt fund portfolio includes multiple bonds. This means that the YTM calculation for the fund will include calculating the weighted average of the YTM of each bond that the fund has invested in. Here are some data that is required to calculate the Yield to Maturity of the Bond:
  1. Face Value: The price at which the bond issuer has issued the bond.
  2. Annual Coupon Rate: The annual interest rate promised by the bond issuer.
  3. Time to Maturity: The time left for the bond to mature.
  4. Maturity Value: The price at which the bond is being traded in the market.

What is the Yield to Maturity in Debt Mutual Funds?

Debt mutual funds are a mix of government bonds and corporate bonds as underlying assets. These bonds pay interest occasionally. In terms of a debt mutual fund, the Yield to Maturity calculates the fund’s expected yield by considering the fund earning comprehensively rather than a single bond. YTM is great as an indicator for fixed-maturity plans and closed-ended funds. This is highly helpful as these funds may be held till maturity. Further, there is little possibility for the inflow and outflow of funds during the interim period. YTM may differ from the scheme’s actual returns for open-ended debt schemes. This is because there is continuous inflow or outflow of capital into the scheme that needs to be invested in the currently prevailing yield. Besides that, based on the fund managers’ analysis and the objective of the scheme, there could be a change in the fund’s portfolio. In a broader term, the fund manager may keep buying and selling securities which may cause the YTM to change. 

Limitations of Yield to maturity

  1. Quick Assumptions:

    Calculating YTM assumes that the bond will be held till maturity. Given the diversity in the bonds market, the expectation is unrealistic as investors may even want to redeem their funds before the bond matures. Further, there are assumptions about bonds price and future coupon payments. Since the market can experience fluctuations at any time, the actual Yield to Maturity compared to its calculation can have vast differences.
  2. Rate of investment:

    The rate of investment is another added layer of constraint on the Yield to Maturity. The calculations for Yield to Maturity are made on the assumption that the investments will be reinvested equally. With diversified options available to the investor, it is a high possibility that the investor might not invest at the same rate as before. 
  3. Risk of bond investment:

    Risks such as the payment of the coupon not made on time or reinvestment risks (if the coupons are not reinvested in the bond at the same coupon) are also excluded when calculating the formula.
  4. An incomplete idea:

    While a high YTM can mean higher returns, it can also refer to a lower-quality bond, and hence the offered coupon can also be higher. Therefore, a high YTM might not make the investment beneficial. Hence, it is better to consider the reason for a high YTM.
  5. Rate of return:

    It is also difficult to assume that the rate of return on investments will continue to be the same during distinct market conditions. 
  6. Capital Gains Tax Payment:

    Investors will need to pay a short-term income tax under the income tax slab if the investment is redeemed before 3 years. Long-term Capital Gains may apply if the investments are redeemed after 3 years. These taxes are overlooked when calculating YTM.


Calculating the YTM can be a complicated process. However, it is a helpful metric to assess the bonds’ investment proposals. Despite being complex to evaluate the exact YTM, investors can get a rough idea by using a Yield to Maturity calculator, financial calculator, or yield table. Investors must also note that ‘Yield to Market’ is also not a one-time process but a continuous one. This is because markets are continuously evolving, and businesses must keep up with dynamic market conditions.

What is Ask Yield To Maturity?

The Ask Yield to Maturity is calculated when the investor pays for the asked bond price by the seller and continues to hold it till maturity. Investors may bid for a lower price compared to the ones asked by the bond issuer.

What is the effective Yield?

A higher yield to maturity signals a higher return. But it may also mean that the fund may be holding risky bonds to obtain a high yield. Hence, it depends on the investor if they want to opt for a high-risk investment or not.

What is Yield to Call?

Yield to Call is the yield of the bond if the investor holds the bond until called for. A bond may be called for even before the maturity date.

Why is Yield to Maturity important?

The most important benefit of Yield to Maturity is that it helps investors to compare returns and securities expected from a bond. Hence, an important step to consider before adding securities to their portfolio.