12% average annual rate of return might have been true throughout a good portion of the 80's & 90's timeline, but the 21st century has been a much different reality. i would seriously throw that number out the window. for the 1st decade of the 2000's and possibly more, i have not really looked recently but the annualized rate of return over the decade for the s&p was not even break even. obviously there are other factors which impact this performance such as the timing and size of your investments. and clearly those folks who put new money to work in the 2008/2009 time frame are still doing well but unfortunately the equity markets have evolved quite a bit in recent times.there are some top tier hedge funds or alternative strategy types that can do that kind of return annualized, but you would need a large minimum investment to get in, assuming they are taking on newbies and you meet the specs for a "qualified" investor.
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