This isn’t to say that the stock market is worthless, however. When you look at the historical returns of stocks, you can see that they’ve been much better than inflation over time. The S&P 500 has been a strong performer, generating an average return of 6.8% per year (after inflation). In contrast, long-term government bonds have been much less successful, generating an average return of only 2.4% per year (before inflation). Various factors can affect your investment returns, including the duration of the investment, taxes, and inflation. In general, long-term stock market returns don’t match short-term trends. For instance, the S&P 500 fell 39% during the 2008 financial crisis but recovered 30% by 2009. From 2004 to 2008, an S&P 500 portfolio lost 2.26% per year and gained 0.55% annually from 2009. That’s not a good return for short-term financial goals. To learn more, check out swagacademy.com. The return of investments depends on the risk involved. Investing in stocks requires regular purchases over a long period of time. Long-term holdings increase your chances of achieving attractive returns. While short-term trading is risky, it can produce above-average returns. However, you may incur a lot of fees and taxes in the process. In the end, the stock market is the best place to invest your money. You can use the average return from the S&P 500 index to design your portfolio to achieve this return. This is a good starting point, though the return above that may only be icing on the cake. The key is to remember that past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. A good strategy will allow you to plan for that return. And remember: there is no guarantee that returns will match expectations. The long-term average of 10% per year for stocks is a good starting point for retirement planning. However, that number is lowered by inflation. Inflation is a major factor in investing, so you should factor this in when planning your portfolio. A 100% equity portfolio will increase your chances of achieving this return. If your time horizon is shorter than that, you should focus on safer, less volatile investments. Historically, the S&P 500 has seen ups and downs. The S&P 500 decreased 4.1% between the first and last days of 2018, but gained over 31% in 2019. That’s an average gain of 8.7% per year. Even though stock markets are subject to cyclical ups and downs, these gains are not usually as significant as one might expect. Historically, investors have had to suffer through a period of losses before they begin to reap the rewards of investing. Although there is no single formula for determining the return rate, the data are generally pretty reliable. Annual rates of return for stocks vary significantly. According to Cochrane (1997), stocks have averaged an excess of 8 percent over Treasury bills over 50 years. However, a standard statistical confidence interval stretches from 3 percent to 13 percent. Moreover, longer time periods tend to reduce confidence intervals, assuming that the stochastic process remains stable. While investors’ long-term expectations are important, it’s best to keep in mind that they can be overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. In fact, in the U.S., large-cap stocks soared 27% in 2017 and have priced in future growth more than international stocks. On the other hand, international stocks rose only 9% in 2017. This is not surprising considering that historically, international stocks have lagged behind their domestic counterparts. Therefore, they have a better chance of outperforming domestic stocks in the next decade. Investors also pay close attention to quarterly results, including guidance on future performance. After all, they’re looking for evidence that companies’ prices are rising at a faster pace than expected. They also want to know how consumers will react to price increases. As a result, many investors worry that the markets might go into a free fall, which can cause panic, but they quickly recovered. When to Buy? Although 8% annual returns are good for small-cap stocks, many investors wouldn’t consider that to be a high rate of return. This is because small-cap stocks tend to be risky, and most investors wouldn’t consider a return of 8% as a high ROI. In contrast, a ten percent return is a better rate of return for investors. The market does fluctuate, so take some time to think over your investment decisions.