Stock Market

Average Stock Market Return Rule of Thumb in 2023

Your real return is based on a number of variables.

The average annual return on the stock market since 1926 has been about 10%. Because of this, it has been used as a benchmark when determining performance goals for long-term equity investments.

In financial planning, benchmarks and general rules of thumb can be useful since they indicate whether you are on the correct course. They are helpful for producing rapid estimates and approximations, but they might not always take important aspects into consideration. Depending on a number of variables, such as your risk tolerance, time horizon, and other considerations, you can decide whether the 10% rule of thumb is a reasonable benchmark for your individual portfolio.

Important Takeaways

For nearly 100 years, the stock market has returned an average yearly rate of 10%.
This average can be used to estimate how much to invest in stocks to achieve long-term financial goals, as well as how much your present savings may be worth in the future.
The benchmark is just a starting point. Other considerations to consider include the assets you’re in, your risk tolerance, the length of time you’ll be invested for, inflation, and taxes.

Past results do not guarantee future outcomes.

What Is the General Rule Regarding Average Stock Market Returns?

Over nearly a century, the average stock market return has been 10%. As a result, investors frequently use this as a guideline to predict how much their own investments might be worth in the future or how much they need to save to meet an investing goal.

Where Did This Thumb Rule Come From?

The 10% rule of thumb reflects the stock market’s average yearly historical return, which is commonly assessed by the performance of the S&P 500 index. This index analyzes the performance of 500 of the largest corporations in the United States across 11 industries and represents the market’s overall health. Prior to the introduction of the S&P 500 in 1957, the Standard and Poor’s 90 index was employed.

How to Make the Most of the Average Stock Market Return ?

Because the 10% rule is based on decades of data, it takes into account many years when the stock market returned less than 10% (as well as many years when it returned more). As a result, it should only be used for long-term goals such as investing for retirement or your child’s education. It allows you to calculate how much an initial and subsequent investment might cost, as well as how much you need to save each year to reach a specific goal.

For example, if you want to retire with $1 million in 30 years and use this rule of thumb to predict your average yearly return, you may determine how much you need to invest in stocks to get there.

However, various things can influence your return. The most significant consideration is your investment selection, which will be influenced by your time horizon and risk tolerance. Management fees, costs, and taxes all have an impact on your average return, while inflation reduces your purchasing power and thus your effective return.

Horizontal Timeline

The 10% average yearly stock market return is based on several decades of data, so it’s a good place to start if you’re aiming to retire in 20 to 30 years. It is, however, predicated on the market performance of a 100% equity portfolio. In other words, if you want a similar return on your portfolio, investing exclusively in equities will boost your chances.

If your time horizon is significantly shorter, say, in the next five years, you should change your expectations (and your portfolio’s asset allocation).

This is due to the fact that short-term stock market returns rarely reflect long-term averages. The S&P 500, for example, fell 39% in 2008 as a result of the financial crisis.

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