Age and experience tend to refine our perspective. What might be boring to the young is praised as consistent by the old. I must be old because I really value consistency.

How consistent have the seven major asset classes been over the past 40 years? To answer this question, let's take a look at their performance over the past four decades: the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. (The 1970s consist of the 10-year period from Jan. 1, 1970, to Dec. 31, 1979, and so on.) The asset classes we will examine are large U.S. equity, small U.S. equity, non-U.S. equity, U.S. bonds, U.S. cash, real estate and commodities.

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