How Do Long-term Investors Fare?

Do you sometimes find it difficult to “stay the course” during periods of market volatility and uncertainty? Some long-term investors may decide to adapt a more active, nimble strategy, while others might be tempted to flee to what they believe are “safe” investments. However, we believe following a long-term investing plan is a more strategic approach and may perform better than more “nimble” efforts.

Overcoming the roadblocks

It's no secret that U.S. stocks punished investors in the early years of the 21st century. The bursting of two bubbles (technology stocks and housing), the 9/11 terrorist attacks, three bear markets and two recessions all resulted in sharp stock market declines. Even patient long-term investors began to wonder if times were different. But as the table below shows, stocks have rebounded five years after each sell-off.

long-term-chart

Source: Morningstar Direct, 4/30/2017. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is unmanaged and is not available for direct investment.

Buy-and-hold is a simple strategy, but it’s not always easy to execute because it means staying invested when it feels like you should sell and doing nothing exactly when you most want to make changes. While some may criticize a long-term approach as unsophisticated, it’s a strategy that typically outperforms more nimble efforts.* As a result, it’s much more strategic than you may realize.

Important information:

*Source: “Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior, 2016,” DALBAR, Inc. Annualized return for the past 20 years ending 12/31/2015. This study was conducted by an independent third party, DALBAR, Inc. A research firm specializing in financial services, DALBAR is not associated with Edward Jones. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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