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Forward

We want our readers to be clear: it's very likely that the last 12 years' performance (below) will differ significantly from the next 12 years. In an attempt to be as useful as possible, we've compiled the total returns of actual funds you can buy (normally linked to indices) including yearly fees and dividends. I.e. these are the actual returns you would earn if you purchased these funds via a commission-free brokerage like Robinhood. Here are a couple relevant notes.

  • Many advisors and websites quote an average return of around 7.5% for various US stock indices (e.g. S&P 500). Historically, the S&P 500 has actually performed much better than that (including dividends). In the next decade, however, many experts predict less than 7% annual returns.
  • Historical returns from Bitcoin (BTC) are even less meaningful. The cryptocurrency industry is very young and unregulated. There is a potential for huge gains, but a similar potential for complete loss.

Table of total yearly returns [%]

Table of total yearly returns [%]
CategoryFund Ticker20072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020Mean
DowDIAN/AN/A29.120.78.812.415.711.7-1.823.434.3-5.824.67.515.1
S&P 500VOON/AN/AN/AN/A4.016.621.314.3-0.719.926.0-4.731.317.314.5
Nasdaq 100QQQ2.7-35.348.031.99.011.830.318.94.120.837.0-1.838.446.018.7
Long term treasury bondsTLT13.313.6-7.53.136.9-0.5-4.930.8-5.7-3.24.8-0.513.516.87.9
GoldIAU41.1-0.216.022.730.5-4.6-25.53.0-13.38.310.7-3.017.924.19.1
Inflation protected treasury bondsVTIPN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A-1.5-0.6-0.52.60.00.64.94.91.3
CryptocurrencyBTCN/AN/AN/AN/A953.8272.44500.0-76.769.3161.1959.2-72.289.5302.8716.0

Related links

S&P 500 historical annual returns

Dow historical annual returns

Real estate (REIT) fund VNQ historical annual returns