History Can Be a Great Teacher

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Legendary Wall Street investor Shelby Cullom Davis is credited with saying, “You make most of your money in a bear market, you just don’t realize it at the time.”

Investing during market downturns, when people are pessimistic and skeptical, isn’t always the easiest thing to do. However, the values created during these times have historically been great opportunities to make significant gains.

Though there are no guarantees in regard to the market historically, we have seen some significant gains from off the bottom of the market.

Market Lows 1-Year Return 5-Year Return 5-Year Annualized*
Sept. 1974 + 38%​


+ 118%​


+ 17%​


Jan. 1980​


+ 59%​


+ 266%​


+ 30%​




+ 23%​


+ 122%​


+ 17%​


Oct. 1990​


+ 34%​


+ 122%​


+ 17%​


Sept. 2002​


+ 24%​


+ 105%​


+ 15%​


Mar. 2009​


+ 49%​


+ 161%​


+ 21%​


While we always need to keep in mind that past performance is no guarantee of future results and no one can consistently time the market with accuracy, we can study the past and heed the wisdom of successful investors for guidance.


* The S&P 500, which is an unmanaged group of securities, is considered to be representative of the stock market in general. Because these indices are not managed portfolios, there are no advisory fees, taxes or internal management expenses reflected in their performance. If these were included, the performance would be lower. An investor cannot invest directly in an index.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Principal value and investment returns will fluctuate and, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the original cost. This chart is for illustrative purposed, does not represent an actual investment, and the returns do not reflect the past or future performance of any specific investment. Investments in mutual funds involve risk including loss of principal.

In the United States, securities are offered by PFS Investments Inc., 1 Primerica Parkway, Duluth, Georgia 30099-0001. Primerica and PFS Investments Inc. are affiliated companies. In Canada, mutual funds are offered by PFSL Investments Canada Ltd., mutual fund dealer. Head Office: 6985 Financial Drive, Suite 400, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 0G3. For more information, see Primerica’s Important Disclosures at www.primerica.com/public/primerica_disclosures.html.

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