Investing in your future pretty much requires that investors have patience. I know, I know...it's easier said than done.
The historical proof is in the pudding. See the chart(s) below. There has never been a 20-year period where the stock market hasn't had a positive return (although this doesn't guarantee the future will be like the past). While 1-year returns and even 5-year returns have had many periods that have had negative returns. This clearly shows that investors that are willing to accept short-term losses can reasonably expect long-term gains. While very few things in life are guaranteed and investment gains are not one of them, however, there is a high likelihood that you will be successful if you give yourself and your investments enough time.
Planning for retirement, buying a new home, or saving for your child's education are important financial decisions and you can significantly put the odds in your favor of success by ignoring the short-term noise and focusing on the what the long-term can likely provide.
Paul R. Rossi, CFA