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The Reality of Investment Returns

When you invest, you are used to seeing a chart like this - this shows investments returns since 1926. Note the reason we invest in stock and other investments is to outpace inflation...

If you keep your money in cash at 3.3%, and inflation is 2.9%, your real buying power is flat, you really earn .4% over time. We all know inflation is much higher than 2.9%, so that forces us to take more risk for a higher return - Stocks and Bonds.

What we don't see is that the actual distribution of the returns isn't like the graph below... the average is the average but the reality is that investment returns are not actually 10.3% a year, but 22% one year and -10% the next year. So over 2 years, we averaged 12%.

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