Investing for the long run is a very compelling mantra, but just how long is the long run? Is it 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, or even longer? Just how long does it take to achieve a long-run return?

A comprehensive study of nearly nine decades of data brings surprising results. It suggests that for the most common classes of investments, holding assets for longer periods of time did not generally improve the likelihood of experiencing a long-run return. But when an asset class underperforms its long-run return, it tends to do so more drastically in holding periods that are shorter.

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