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Staying invested: long-term investment horizons
The advice to “stay invested” is probably as old as the idea of investing itself. Yet it’s often tough advice to follow, especially when rising volatility and worries about economic growth concern you. Even so, staying the course and remaining invested in the markets is often the best way to make sure your long-term goals are still on track. And a look at historical trends helps demonstrate why this is so.
Equity markets tend to go up more than down (as represented by the S&P 500® index)
When markets decline, they tend to recover relatively quickly
- The majority of equity downturns have been modest (decline of 5%-10%), with the market fully rebounding in under two months, on average.
- Equity drops of more than 20% have been rare. Historically, when markets fell between 20% and 30%, they fully rebounded in less than one year.
In 81 of the 87 market declines, the recovery was under one year.
The risk is in the miss
Let’s explore the performance of a $10,000 investment in the S&P 500® Index over a 10-, 20- and 30-year time periods (as of 31 Dec 2020).
Historical equity market drawdowns and subsequent recoveries (1937 - 2020)
- Missing out on the market’s top-performing days can have a significant impact on your equity portfolio.
- Using a $10,000 initial investment as an example, missing the 20 top-performing days over the last 20 years would result in a final account value of $11,463 — just slightly above your original investment.
- If you missed the 10 top-performing days over the last 30 years: the same $10,000 would have only grown to $96,441, or just under half the value of what was possible if you had stayed fully invested over that time period.
Professional management can help take emotions out of financial decisions and markets. The irrational behavior caused by behavioral biases can impose significant costs on individuals portfolio performance.
The S&P 500® Index (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index of 500 stocks that is generally representative of the performance of larger companies in the U.S. Performance does not reflect the impact of fees and expenses. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges. Total return is the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time.
A word on risk
All investments carry a certain degree of risk, including possible loss of principal, and there is no assurance that an investment will provide positive performance over any period of time.
Nuveen provides investment advisory solutions through its investment specialists.
Nuveen Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC.