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The Lost Decade refers to a period of time where the STOCK MARKET is completely flat, or even LOSES MONEY throughout a 10-year timeframe…and, even though this might sound UNUSUAL or “out of the ordinary” – it isn’t impossible, and – in fact – it’s happened before.
For example, the SP500 was the same price in 1954…as it was at the PEAK of 1929. The stock market was also HIGHER in 1968 than it was in 1978…and, if you invested in 1999..it took you over 10 years for prices to reach the same level after the dot-com collapse.
Here’s the thing: REALISTICALLY, if we DO have a lost decade”where the stock market is trading at the same price as today, 10 YEARS FROM NOW…realistically, it’s not going to be the same price, consistently, the entire time.
It’s also HIGHLY unrealistic to assume that you’re just going to make ONE single investment, at one point in time…and then NOTHING ever again.
Now, If you want a PRACTICAL example during the Lost Decade, specifically…lets look from the year 2000 to 2012:
Even though you only would’ve made 4.66% TOTAL throughout 12 years…IF you include dividends, your return skyrocket to 32%.
BUT…if you consistently bought in month after month, regardless of where “the lost decade” was trading at…your cumulative return jumps to 24%, and with dividends re-invested – your return is as high as 42%. Now, sure – averaging a 3.5% return isn’t AMAZING…but, for “a lost decade,” that’s not exactly BAD, either…and, over a longer period, that number jumps up substantially higher.
That’s why, even if we DO see a lost decade…it’s only going to be lost for people who STOP investing in the markets, and for anyone who continually buys in through the highs and lows – you’ll have an opportunity to increase your returns, just by keeping the same strategy.
As for my OWN opinion on all of this, I agree with Charlie Munger, and I don’t think investors should get USED to the type of returns we have been seeing. That’s not to say this won’t continue, maybe it will – but, historically, it’s much higher than average, there has been a LOT of excitement around investing – and it’s yet to be seen if that will last. My strategy is to PREPARE for a lower return, and if it doesn’t happen – I’m pleasantly surprised. If it DOES – then that’s what I prepared for.
But, I won’t stop investing. I’ll continue buying in pretty much every single day, regardless of where the market is at – and, I have a 20-year timeframe for needing the money. That way, whatever happens in between now and 20 years doesn’t really matter – and I just keep buying more and more. A lost decade shouldn’t be something to worry about, and chances are, it will happen at least once or twice in a lifetime…but, every other lost decade eventually came back, things recovered, and we’ve continued growing.
For business or one-on-one real estate investing/real estate agent consulting inquiries, you can reach me at GrahamStephanBusiness@gmail.com
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