I’ve lost a bet. I’ve lost my keys. But I’ve never lost a decade – until now.” – Sam Stovall, S&P’s chief strategist
The S&P 500 ended the past decade down almost 25 percent below where it was ten years earlier. And that doesn’t even factor in the 29% inflation we experienced during the decade.
since the end of 1999, the S&P 500 stock index has lost an average of 3.3% a year, on an inflation-adjusted basis, even after including dividends, according to the data compiled by Charles Jones, finance professor at North Carolina State University.1
Hmmm… so what does that mean to the typical family in dollars and cents?
You may want to grab a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, because it isn’t very pretty…
Here’s what inflation and negative returns have done to a nest egg invested in an S&P 500 index fund (the way most Americans’ retirement savings are), over the past decade…
You now need a 39.9% increase just to get back to where you were ten years ago!
Given that the stock market has just experienced its fastest climb since 1933, how likely do you think it is that we’ll have another 39.9% rise this year? Especially given soaring government spending, stubbornly high unemployment, and looming tax hikes.
[Read more…] “Lessons from a lost decade”