No matter what you’ve been told or taught previously, your financial plan covers exactly the same period that mine does. It is not “age 65,” or “12 to 24 months.” It is always: “The rest of your life.”
You need to do something with your money every single day until you die. Holding cash is simply the default choice, and in a ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy) environment, bank demand deposits, CDs or even government bonds are probably unappealing.
Equity mutual funds offer many great choices that could actually grow wealth over time. Don’t be scared to invest. The long term results say stocks are the place to be.
Avoid the Bull at Your Own Risk
The final numbers are now in for various time periods ended last year. They beat the pants off the competition. The data looks just fine. All except the 5-year numbers include the horrendous results from 2008-09, the worst bear market during most of our lifetimes.
Numbers from the 15-year through 30-year periods shown above also span the years when the dot-com bubble burst. If going back to just 1984 isn’t sufficient to make you a believer, consider this: Longer-term numbers show that, of the 129 fifteen-year rolling periods since 1871, there was not one absolute loss. That was also true for the 124 rolling 20-year spans and the 114 rolling 30-year periods.
Of course, there were times when stocks declined. Total returns were negative 11.5% of the time covering every recorded rolling five-year period (16 out of 139). Of the 134 ten-year rolling spans, investors saw temporary losses on just four occasions (2.99% of the time).
The best that can happen to you with a bank CD or bonds held to maturity is to get your money back with interest. Can today’s rates really be worth locking in with that as the best case scenario?
The Bottom Line
Stock mutual funds offer a fighting chance at double-digit returns for long-term thinkers willing to assume just a modicum of risk. Market history suggests you should stop worrying about getting gored by the bull and start riding it.
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