# How to Calculate Unrealized Gain

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An unrealized gain is the return on an asset (e.g., stocks, bonds, precious metals, etc.) that results from a rise in its market value. In other words, though an investor may make a profit from an asset whose price increases, the profit will be unrealized unless they sell the asset. Also called a "paper profit," an unrealized gain can be calculated using simple arithmetic.

On a sheet of paper, write the asset's market value following the increase. Beside it, write a minus sign (-) and then write the asset's initial market value prior to the change. Place an "equal" sign (=) beside the latter.

Enter this subtraction equation into a calculator, and press the "=" key. Write the result, or difference, to the right of the "=" on the sheet of paper.

Re-write the result followed by a multiplication sign (x) beneath the existing equation. After the multiplication sign, write number of units** of the asset you held at the time the rise in price occurred, and place an "equal" sign beside the latter.

Enter the foregoing equation into a calculator and press the "=" key. Write the result, or product, to the right of the "=" at the end of the second equation. This figure represents your unrealized gain.

#### Tips

• Such an asset might be a stock, bond, or mutual fund. Resources for retrieving these figures are suggested under "Resources" below. *If the asset in question is a stock, this number would be the number of shares held. In the case of a precious metal, such as gold, this number would be the number of ounces held.

#### Warnings

• Due to the fluctuating nature of market prices, the reality is that unrealized gains can diminish or increase within a relatively short span of time. For this reason, it is advisable to note the date and time of a price rise for comparative purposes at a later time.