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February 15, 2022

How bad did your investments perform last decade?

When re-evaluating this past recession, it’s impossible to escape one nagging word: lost.

There were, of course, the lost jobs, lost homes and lost pensions. But there were also more severe terms being tossed around during the downturn. Phrases like “lost generation” and even “lost decade.”

Extreme? Maybe, though it appears there’s some merit to that last one.

By most accounts, the double-oh’s were a lost ten years for investors. In the U.K., for example, the first decade of the millennium spawned the “lowest economic growth of the postwar period,” according to a British financial website.

And here it was no better, especially with respect to retirement. The recession caused many baby boomers’ portfolios to crash, marking fears that another few years of tanking investments were likely to follow.

Thankfully, though, historical data doesn’t support such a trend.

If you look at this chart from UBS Wealth Management, crummy financial decades almost always precede successful ones for investors.

“The lost decade of the 1910s was followed by the roaring 20s,” comments the Financial Post’s Jonathan Chevreau. “The 1930s down decade was followed by a modest rebound in the 1940s and a spectacular rise in the 1950s … the (1970s) slump was followed by two great decades for investors: the 1980s and 1990s.”

Still, cheery outlook or not, we’re guessing investors aren’t quite over the sour taste the 2000s left behind.

I know my own mutual funds performed like the guy in Thinner  from 2000 to 2009, but what about yours?

How bad did your investments turn out this past decade?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...