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Stay the Course

I’ve been in this business for well over 50 years and have seen my fair share of challenging markets. Those experiences have been top of mind lately as I’ve looked back on the decade since the start of the financial crisis.

Crashes are always hard to stomach, but I’ve learned to take heart from the fact that they don’t last forever. Historically, even the most bearish of markets have eventually turned into bulls.

The 2008 crisis is a case in point. U.S. stocks fell more than 40% in a matter of months, and for many it felt like the bottom would never arrive. But of course, it did. Indeed, had an investor in the S&P 500® Index simply held fast, her or his portfolio would have regained all that lost ground in around three years.

And look where we are now: Between the start of the crisis and early September 2018, the S&P 500 delivered a cumulative return of roughly 130%.1

Every market cycle is unique, but the abiding lesson I’ve learned from each is this: Focusing on the long term—and staying invested even when markets get rough—is almost invariably the right course of action.



Charles R. Schwab

Founder & Chairman


1Schwab Center for Financial Research and Bloomberg. Data from 09/12/2008 to 09/07/2018.

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The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.

All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.

Indexes are unmanaged, do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses, and cannot be invested in directly.

The S&P 500 Index is a market-capitalization-weighted index comprising 500 widely traded stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry-group representation.

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