August 22, 2019

Why Investors Make Bad Predictions

“Forget about getting everything right. Most people are so consistently wrong that merely avoiding major errors is enough to set you apart from the pack.

That is the message in the latest data from Dalbar, a Massachusetts research firm that has been studying the behavior of mutual fund investors for 25 years.

Over the past year and for periods of five, 10, 20 and 30 years, the average mutual fund investor has underperformed the markets for both stocks and bonds, according to Dalbar. Bond investors have generally failed to even keep up with inflation.

In the 30 years through December 2018, for example, the average bond mutual fund investor earned 0.26 percent, annualized, compared with annual inflation of 2.49 percent, Dalbar found. Over the course of an entire generation, bond investors’ money shrank more than 2 percentage points a year in real terms.”

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