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Financial Articles from Hefren-Tillotson

The Unlucky Investor, Ten Years On

Written by
October 17, 2017

Last week, stocks marked the 10th anniversary of the bull market peak on October 9th, 2007, and the onset of the worst bear market in generations.

A decade later, U.S. stocks have fared surprisingly well. The unlucky investor who purchased the S&P 500 at the market top and reinvested dividends would have doubled his or her money over the ensuing 10 years (ignoring costs of investing). That is, of course, if he or she was able to stick with stocks through their 56% decline into March of 2009.

What about the investor who sold stocks before the market crash? Initially he or she was sitting pretty as markets declined. A decade later, however, assets parked in a money market fund would have returned only 0.3% per year (ignoring costs of investing!).

The stock markets incredible turnaround reinforces the importance of taking a long-term approach to investing. Investors who own stocks with a long time horizon in mind can look past short-term market declines, even disastrous years like 2008.

That said, not every market has performed well over the past 10 years. Foreign stocks are up less than 2% per year over that time period. As a result, these markets continue to offer attractive value, in our opinion.


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Hefren-Tillotson Inc., is a leading diversified financial services firm providing investment and retirement plan management and comprehensive, financial planning through MASTERPLAN for individuals and businesses. The firms wealth management services are administered by Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professionals, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter holders, attorneys, Chartered Life Underwriters, and CPA/PFSs. Hefren-Tillotson offers corporate services including 401(k) retirement planning, executive financial counseling, fiduciary reviews and workplace financial planning seminars. Founded in 1948, the firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has offices located in Pittsburgh, Butler, Greensburg, North Hills, and South Hills.

Disclosure:This report is based on data obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Hefren-Tillotson does not, nor any other party, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report or make any warranties regarding results obtained from its usage. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the firms judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities herein mentioned.