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Total Return Since 1802

Samuel A. Kiburz Aug 4, 2022
Chart shows the real returns of stocks, bonds, bills, gold, and cash from 1802 - 2013


The following chart from Brian Ferdoldi shows the ultra long-term history of real returns from various asset classes dating back to 1802. Real returns, the returns after inflation, are important to know due to inflation’s elevated levels.

Although our investment time horizons are shorter than the timeline shown in the chart and the past performance is no guarantee of future results, this timeline can cut through the short-term noise and provide a great long-term perspective. The most interesting note is the difference between the stock market’s return of 6.7% versus gold of only 0.6%, and a negative return on cash of -1.4%.These and that the real return on bonds has been relatively flat ever since WWII are important observations.

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