Historical Rates of Return

One of the keys to successful investing is sticking with it, despite intermittent dips in return or performance.

Historically, stocks have had the best rates of return over any other traditional investments. In 53 out of the 82 years between year-end 1925 and 2007 - roughly 64% of the time - stocks had a positive return. In the other 29 years, the return was negative, though overall, gains have outweighed losses.

Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, historical returns illustrate how often and how much an investment's value typically fluctuates over time. In this way, past performance can help you set reasonable expectations for how an asset class as a whole, though not every security in that class, is likely to behave in the future.