Chart of the week: so much for “stocks for the long term”

The average holding period for US stocks plunged from 30 years just before the Second World War to less than two by 2012.

Chart of the average holding period for US stocks

Whatever happened to the notion of "stocks for the long term"?

Far too many investors make the mistake of trying to time the market, says Mark Atherton in The Times, which means they jump in and out so frequently that dealing costs (and the missed opportunities they forfeit by being impatient) erode their returns. Professional investors do this too.

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The upshot is that the average holding period for US stocks plunged from 30 years just before the Second World War to less than two by 2012, according to America's Ned Davis Research.

It's high time we all adhered to Warren Buffett's maxim that you shouldn't buy a stock unless you wouldn't mind if the market closed for a decade and you couldn't sell it.

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