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Forward

We want our readers to be clear: it's very likely that future returns will differ significantly from the past decade. Many asset prices have been boosted by falling interest rates over the past 40 years. With interest rates nearing zero and inflation threats, it's hard to imagine this environment continuing over the next decade.

To be as useful as possible, we've compiled the total returns of actual funds you can buy (many tracking indices) including yearly fees and dividends. Values are the actual returns you would earn if you purchased these funds, minus trading commissions. Here are a couple relevant notes.

  • The table is scrollable. More recent years and averages may require you to scroll right.
  • 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.
  • Although cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) has the largest return, be aware it's the most risky asset in this table, with an ability to drop 20-100% in short order.

Table of total yearly returns [%]

Table of total yearly returns [%]
CategoryFund Ticker200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018201920202021Mean
DowDIAN/AN/A29.120.78.812.415.711.7-1.823.434.3-5.824.67.524.015.7
S&P 500VOON/AN/AN/AN/A4.016.621.314.3-0.719.926.0-4.731.317.330.916.0
Nasdaq 100QQQ2.7-35.348.031.99.011.830.318.94.120.837.0-1.838.446.028.319.3
Long term treasury bondsTLT13.313.6-7.53.136.9-0.5-4.930.8-5.7-3.24.8-0.513.516.8-3.67.1
GoldIAU41.1-0.216.022.730.5-4.6-25.53.0-13.38.310.7-3.017.924.1-2.48.4
Inflation protected treasury bondsVTIPN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A-1.5-0.6-0.52.60.00.64.94.94.81.7
CryptocurrencyBTCN/AN/AN/AN/A953.8272.44500.0-76.769.3161.1959.2-72.289.5302.839.8654.5

Related links

S&P 500 historical annual returns

Dow historical annual returns

Real estate (REIT) fund VNQ historical annual returns