The benefits of investing your IRA savings
You're saving in an IRA. Congrats! You've taken an important step on the road to a comfortable retirement. But for most people, that's not enough. The next step is investing your savings for long-term growth. And history shows that the best way to do that over the long term—and outpace inflation—is by investing in stocks.
Of course, stock prices can have bigger price swings than bonds or cash. But on average over longer-term periods, stocks have dramatically outperformed bonds and cash. From 1926 through 2016, stocks returned an average 10% annually, versus 5.4% for bonds and 3.5% for short-term investments. If you had invested $100 in stocks in 1926, it would be worth $587,000, versus $11,800 if you'd invested in bonds and $2,300 in short-term instruments.1
Still stock shy? Remember, if you have a decade or more until retirement, you should be able to ride out market volatility, as long as you continue to save and invest. Indeed, market pullbacks, when prices are low, are often the best times to invest for long-term growth potential. So consider your time horizon and stomach for risk, and put your IRA dollars to work for your future.
What $100 would be worth over the history of the stock market
Your IRA investment choices
IRAs allow you to choose from individual securities, such as stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or a "single-fund" option. But before you decide what investments to pick, you should consider how you want to manage them: You can lean on the expertise of a professional, or do the work yourself.
Not enough time, knowledge, or interest to build and manage an asset mix? Consider a managed account or single-fund solution.
Fidelity® managed accounts2
We'll work with you to learn your goals and how you want to work with us, then propose and manage a strategy around what matters most to you.
Fidelity Freedom® Funds are single-fund investment strategies that can help take the guesswork out of building and maintaining an age-based retirement portfolio.
Considerations to help you choose investments
Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money.
Stocks are represented by the Dow Jones Total Market Index from March 1987 to the latest calendar year. From 1926 to February 1987, stocks are represented by the Standard & Poor’s 500® Index (S&P 500® Index). The S&P 500® Index is a market capitalization–weighted index of 500 common stocks chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry group representation to represent U.S. equity performance. Bonds are represented by the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index from January 1976 to the latest calendar year. The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is a market value–weighted index of investment-grade fixed-rate debt issues, including government, corporate, asset-backed, and mortgage-backed securities, with maturities of one year or more. From 1926 to December 1975, bonds are represented by the U.S. Intermediate Government Bond Index, which is an unmanaged index that includes the reinvestment of interest income. Short-term instruments are represented by U.S. Treasury bills, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.
Stock prices are more volatile than those of other securities. Government bonds and corporate bonds have more moderate short-term price fluctuation than stocks but provide lower potential long-term returns. U.S. Treasury bills maintain a stable value (if held to maturity), but returns are generally only slightly above the inflation rate.
Foreign stocks are represented by the MSCI ACWI ex USA Index from December 2000 to the last calendar year. The MSCI ACWI ex USA Index captures large- and mid-cap representation across 22 of 23 developed markets (DM) countries (excluding the U.S.) and 23 emerging markets (EM) countries. From 1970 to November 2000, foreign stocks were represented by the Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australasia, Far East Index. The MSCI® EAFE® Index is a market capitalization–weighted index that is designed to measure the investable equity market performance for global investors in developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. Prior to 1970, foreign stocks are represented by the S&P 500® Index.
Brokerage services provided by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC (FBS), and custodial and related services provided by National Financial Services LLC (NFS), each a member NYSE and SIPC. FPWA, FPTC, FBS, and NFS are Fidelity Investments companies.