But it’s important to recognize that the guy whose research effectively quantified that norm — Roger Ibbotson of Zebra Capital Management — strongly believes the stock markets returns will be muted for a period likely to span the rest of your lifetime.
Ibbotson represents half of the duo behind the landmark Ibbotson-Sinquefeld study on “Stocks, Bonds, Bills and Inflation” first published in 1982 that was the basis for how brokers, financial advisers and investors set their expectations for market returns. It showed that no matter how much the market bounces around, the typical return on large-cap stocks over the last 95 years has been 10%.
Starting around the turn of the century, however, Ibbotson began sounding a different tune, saying that the past would not be prologue to the future; his expectation was for the next 25 years to deliver less than the previous 75, with large-cap returns averaging 8%.
In the two decades since, that’s roughly the average return that investors have gotten.
Ibbotson expects that 8% number to stand up for at least the next quarter century.
If so, what amounts to a pretty good return will feel like a disappointment to investors who expect to earn more than twice that much.
Investors can’t live on wishful thinking, though.