The actual return received on an investment after factoring in inflation. For example, if the nominal investment return for a particular period was 8% and inflation was 3%, the real return would be 5% (8% - 3%).
The portion of an investment return that exceeds the rate of inflation. If an investment earns eight per cent annually (known as the nominal return) and inflation is three per cent, the real return is five per cent.
the return from an investment after taking inflation into account (e.g.: if your investment earned 6% interest last year, but the cost of everything went up 4%, you are only ahead by 2%; your "real return" is only 2%)