Physician's Money Digest, August15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 15

Market mavens often toss averagerates of return around to projectwhat will happen to investments inthe future. Forecasting, however, isan uncertain science. Over the pastseveral decades, the average annualreturn on stocks has been around11%, while bonds have averaged again of about 6% a year. But if abeginning physician-investor hadbased their decisions on those averages3 years ago, the resulting portfoliowould be in intensive care.Average returns over the long termare reasonably valid only if you'rebuying and holding for the longterm, which means at least 10 or,preferably, 20 years.