Did you know that 30% of people refuse to sit on a public toilet seat? Or that 70% of dust in the home is from human skin? Maybe that was a little random, but I love little facts and tidbits of useful (or even sometimes useless) information.

Here’s the deal, though: a lot of the statistics that get recorded are pretty meaningless, but statistics are used all of the time, along with polling, and it’s usually done in a way that creates a bias. Unfortunately, the problem with statistics and the reason I don’t just accept what someone is saying is because many statistics are derived first with an agenda in mind, rather than gathering objective data. For instance, if a politician wants to raise taxes so teachers can all receive pay increases, they might poll the community with a leading question such as “Do you want your children to have a better education?” Most people would answer that question with an overwhelming yes, because no one is going to say that they want their kids to have a worse education. But this statistic will later be used to support a tax increase because they will be able to say that 95% of the community agrees that education needs to improve and to do this, we need to raise taxes.

I was listening to some feminist group talk about how oppressed women are in America and what they brought up was the rape statistic. Now, violent rape is one of the saddest things I think can happen to someone, so don’t let what I’m about to say make you think that I’m downplaying the severity of it. However, they referenced some local college poll that was done and said that 1 in 5 women in college are being raped at some point during their four-year educational tract. But I then came to find that the question that they derived their information from included some exceedingly generous definition of sexual assault that almost everyone could answer yes to, and it’s not actually by forcible rape. The question was “Have you ever had unwanted sex at some point during your time spent in college?” But the reality is, it wasn’t about providing a factual statistic, but showing extraordinarily-high numbers to push some feminist agenda and show how “horrible” America treats its female citizens.

Clear Decision Making…

Today, I want to talk about stock market returns and the real facts behind these numbers. According to historical records, the average annual return for the S&P 500 since its inception in 1928 and through 2014 is approximately 10%. Now, if you adjust for inflation using government CPI calculations, this number is around 7%. These statistics here could also be very misleading and cause people to think all they need to do is invest blindly in the market and they will see a 10% return on their investment.

This number could be significantly higher or lower than the 10% figure, depending on your timing. For instance, if you invested everything you had in 2009 when the S&P bottomed out, you’d be up year-over-year by about 28% each year for the last six years. Now, if you dumped all your money into the market in 2007 when the S&P peaked and looked at the returns since then, you are looking at around an 8% return on investment. So as you can see, the returns can vary greatly, and depending on what timeframe you are analyzing, your returns can most definitely be down.

Looking at these historical returns, it would be reasonable to expect at least an 8% return in the market, and even a 12% return when the conditions are right and you accumulate wisely.

Managing Your Portfolio

DALBAR, a leading financial services marketing research firm, released a study this past year revealing that from 1990 to 2010, the unmanaged S&P 500 Index earned an average of 7.81% annually. Over that same period, the average investor that invests their own money earned a paltry 3.49% annually! The truth is if many people are honest, the returns of their self-managed portfolios, as much as they scoff at the low CD and treasury yields, are actually NEGATIVE in many overall self-managed portfolios, leaving many people wishing they had put their money under their mattress. Nobody wants to see their portfolio grow at 1%, but when it’s all said and done, many investors are left wishing they could of at least broke even.

The reason many people fail at managing their own money is simply because of greed. They see a great opportunity and don’t stick to an objective plan that keeps their portfolio diversified.

Getting the right direction is extremely important when managing your money. You need to stick to a plan and not deviate from that plan, because it’s in these times where people get greedy and lose.

For many people, the benefit of having a trusted financial advisor could be the best answer for their situation. Actually making and saving money, rather than see your savings dwindle to nothing, might actually need to come from an outside structured plan that you put yourself in.

Sometimes it pays to set up structure in your life to achieve the results you want. This is true of anything in your life. I’m not saying getting a financial advisor is for everyone, but the truth is many people need to be saved from themselves, and a financial planner might be the exact answer to you having another losing year in the market.

Nicholas Green of FMTAdvisory.com says that many people he sees who manage their own money are actually losing over time. This is a huge problem in America.

P.S. My colleague, Daniel Ameduri, who is a serial entrepreneur and a self-made millionaire, just released his latest Cash Flow for Life report. Many people know him for his successful calls in the stock market and predicting the financial crisis of 2008, but what many people don’t know is that he has decades of experience profiting in the real estate market. He has a passion for sharing this experience with his readers, with a unique approach that literally thousands are benefiting from. In this month’s Cash Flow for Life report, he teaches how you can realistically start putting thousands of dollars in your pocket each and every month by creating solutions in the real estate market.