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The Bumpy Road to Success Thumbnail

The Bumpy Road to Success

Achieving personal success is a long, uncertain, and often chaotic road. Yet, in hindsight, the same ups and downs can be part of a clear and obvious story (at least they can appear that way to others).

Investment Success

The path to investment success can be similar.

Since 1926, the US stock market has rewarded investors with an average annual return of about 10%. But it’s important to remember that returns in any given year may be sky-high, extremely poor, or somewhere in between.

  • Annual returns came within two percentage points of the market’s long-term average of 10% in just six of the past 95 years.
  • Yearly returns have ranged as high as up 54% and as low as down 43%.
  • Since 1926, annual returns have been positive 70 times and negative 25 times.

S&P 500 Index

Annual Return 1926-2020

Understanding the range of potential outcomes can help you stick with a plan and ride out the inevitable ups and downs.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Actual returns may be lower. Investing risks include loss of principal and fluctuating value. There is no guarantee an investment strategy will be successful.

Indices are not available for direct investment. Index returns are not representative of actual portfolios and do not reflect costs and fees associated with an actual investment.

In US dollars. S&P data © 2021 S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a division of S&P Global. All rights reserved.