Yahoo Finance has annual total return data for VFINX, Vanguard's 500 Index Fund back to 1976, 38 years. Ie this is the S&P 500.From this data you can calculate the value of $1000 invested on Dec 31, 1976 for every year at Dec 31. The result shows the value at $47356 on Dec 31, 2013.Average total return for those year is 12.36757%.A compound total return can be calculated from least squares fit to the log of the Dec 31 value each year.That compound total return for the period is 11.53%.Experts continue to tell us to expect lower returns for the near future, but it looks like VFINX will return at least 25% this year. That seems excellent compared to the 8% people keep talking about for planning purposes.Those holding cash for fear of a market crash are losing out.
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