6 Long-Term Investment Strategies You Can Start Today

Long-term investing refers to the practice of buying and holding onto investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate, for a period of several years or more. The goal of long-term investing is to steadily grow wealth over time through the power of compound interest and appreciation of the underlying assets.

Long-term investing is an important component of a well-rounded investing portfolio. By holding onto investments for a longer period of time, you are more likely to ride out market fluctuations and potentially earn higher returns in the long run. Long-term investing strategies also promote portfolio diversification, which can help reduce risk.

Here are 6 long-term investment strategies you can start today:

1. Diversification

Diversification is the key to any long-term financial investment strategy. By diversifying your portfolio, you are spreading your risk across multiple assets, which can help to mitigate the impact of any one investment underperforming.

This means investing in a variety of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities, as well as within each asset class. For example, rather than putting all your money in one stock, you might invest in a diverse range of stocks, such as those in different industries or those that are located in different countries.

investment pie chart

Another way to diversify is to invest in a range of geographical locations. For example, an investor may choose to invest in both domestic and international stocks, which can help to mitigate the impact of economic or political events in one particular region.

2. Dollar-cost Averaging

Dollar-cost averaging is a long-term investment strategy that involves investing a fixed amount of money on a regular basis, regardless of the current market conditions. This can be an effective way to build your wealth over time, as it allows you to take advantage of fluctuations in the market. By investing a set amount every month, you are able to buy more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high, which can help to smooth out any ups and downs in the market.

One of the main benefits of dollar-cost averaging is that it helps to reduce the impact of market volatility on an investor’s portfolio. By investing smaller amounts at regular intervals, an investor is less likely to be swayed by short-term market movements and can focus on their long-term investment goals.

Additionally, dollar-cost averaging can help to remove the emotional element from investing. By following a predetermined plan, an investor can avoid making impulsive decisions based on fear or greed.

3. Index funds

Index funds are a type of mutual fund that tracks a particular market index, such as the S&P 500. By investing in an index fund, you are able to diversify your portfolio across a wide range of stocks, rather than having to pick individual stocks. Index funds are often considered a low-cost, low-risk investment option, as they are managed passively rather than actively, meaning there are fewer fees involved.

According to data from the Investment Company Institute, index funds made up about 25% of the mutual fund industry in 2020, with total assets under management of $6.3 trillion. This represents a significant increase from just a few decades ago, when index funds were relatively unknown to most investors.

index fund vs etf

The popularity of index funds has also been fueled by strong performance in recent years. A study by S&P Dow Jones Indices found that over the past 10 years, 85% of actively managed large-cap mutual funds underperformed the S&P 500 index. This has led many investors to turn to index funds as a way to achieve market-level returns without the high fees and risk of underperformance associated with active management.

4. Tax-Advantaged Accounts

There are several types of tax-advantaged accounts that can be a useful part of your long-term financial investment strategy. These include 401(k) plans, Traditional IRAs, and Roth IRAs. By investing in these types of accounts, you are able to take advantage of tax breaks, which can help to boost your investment returns. For example, with a 401(k) plan, you are able to contribute a portion of your income on a pre-tax basis, which can reduce your overall tax burden.

According to a survey by the Investment Company Institute, as of December 2020, there were approximately $6.4 trillion in 401(k) assets and $7.9 trillion in Traditional and Roth IRA assets. These numbers demonstrate the popularity of tax advantaged accounts as an investment strategy.

Additionally, tax advantaged accounts often offer employer matching contributions, which can significantly boost your investment returns. For example, if an employer offers a 3% match on 401(k) contributions, an employee who contributes $6,000 per year would receive an additional $1,800 in employer contributions, effectively increasing their investment by 30%.

5. Real Estate

Real estate can be a solid long-term investment option, as it has the potential for both appreciation and income through rental properties. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average annual return on investment for single-family homes is around 8%. This is significantly higher than the average return on other investments, such as stocks or bonds.

Real estate is a tangible asset that can provide a steady stream of income through rental properties. The demand for rental properties is consistently high, with vacancy rates hovering around 7% nationwide. This means that, as an investor, you have a good chance of finding reliable tenants to generate a consistent stream of income.

In addition, real estate can also provide potential tax benefits. Depending on your situation, you may be able to claim deductions for things like mortgage interest, property taxes, and even the cost of maintaining and repairing your properties.

6. Annuities

Annuities: Annuities are a type of insurance product that can be a useful part of a long-term financial investment strategy. Annuities provide a guaranteed stream of income in retirement, which can help to protect against the risk of outliving your savings. There are different types of annuities, including fixed, variable, and indexed, each with its own set of features and risks. It is important to carefully consider the terms of an annuity before purchasing one.


Final Thoughts

As an investor, it is important to consider various long-term strategies to help grow your wealth and mitigate risk. Diversification, dollar-cost averaging, index funds, and tax-advantaged accounts are just a few options to consider as you build your portfolio. It’s also essential to think about your personal financial goals and risk tolerance, as well as seek guidance from a financial professional if needed. By taking a long-term approach and staying focused on your goals, you can create a solid foundation for your financial future.