What's the average performance of long term stock investors in terms of % profit per year? I want to know how I am doing compared to other people. Is there such a statistic?


If you are looking to compare yourself to a bench mark I would recommend comparing yourself to an index such as the S&P 500, or the DOW Jones industrial average.

If you can consistently outperform these then you are probably a better investor than 90% of the people out there investing money. Over a 30 year period these benchmarks tend to average about 10% per year.

  • "Over a 30 year period these benchmarks tend to average about 10%." True, though the last 10 years have been over 14%. Better to compare your return to the actual numbers rather than the average when possible. – Kevin Sep 6 '18 at 5:41
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    @Kevin, the 10% over 30 years are the "actual numbers". If you are just changing the period to 10 years instead of 30, you're still taking the average but on a different timespan. That doesn't mean billy-bob's answer does not have "actual numbers"... – JiyuuSensei Sep 6 '18 at 6:49
  • @Kevin Valid point, but the question specifically asks for long term. To be fair 10 years is not very long. There could easily be a dip that brings the 10 year average back down to 10% or even less. Even then your point about comparing yourself year by year is still a good one. – user75979 Sep 6 '18 at 6:49
  • @JiyuuSensei does OP look 50+ to you? "How I am doing compared to other people" makes 30-year averages irrelevant for someone who's only been in the market for 5–10 years. – Kevin Sep 6 '18 at 7:05
  • DO 90% of people seriously get beat by the snp500? Thats way worse than I thought. – bakalolo Sep 7 '18 at 3:39

The long term average of the US stock market is about 10%. But as you know, averages smooth the variance.

Another approach is to also look at the Rolling Return of the market in various increments. For long term investors that would be 10, 15 and 20 years. These give you insight into returns over good and bad times which you don't see when looking at average returns.

During the past 50 years through 2016, the worst 20 years returned 6.4% a year (1979). The best 20 years returned 18% a year 2000. These numbers do not include 2017 which was a good year. However, 1997 was a slightly better year (DJIA) so if anything, they are very modestly overstated.

  • this is a more accurate description of returns since a "10 year return" changes depending on which 10-year period you select. – rocketman Sep 8 '18 at 4:15

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