The Wisdom of the Crowd

Conducted to commemorate the firm’s 50th anniversary, The Wisdom of the Crowd surveyed more than 3,000 Schwab clients, ranging from its most seasoned clients who opened their accounts in Schwab’s earliest days to those who have just recently ventured into investing.

MIKE M.:  I’ve been a Schwab investor for 27 years now.


MARCY O.:  I’ve been a client of Schwab since 1988.


ALICE S.:  I started investing with Schwab in 1998.


RAHUL G.:  I have been an investor for over 15 years.


ALEX P.:  I’ve been a Schwab client since 2013.


MIKE M.:  Don’t try to time the market too much. Don’t fall in love with favorite sectors or favorite stocks.


MARCY O.:  You need to get off the herd mentality. You need to set the emotion aside when you try and make a decision.


RAHUL G.:  Start early, not delay this, because starting early gives you a head start, which will go very well in life.


ALEX P.:  Volatility should be, in my opinion, viewed as a good thing when you’re my age or young because, really, you’re buying in that cheaper price.


ALICE S.:  Having enough to retire comfortably really is not about how much money you’re making.


ALEX P.:  Look up a compound interest calculator, and look up over a 40-year term. If you put away even $200 a month, see what that gets you with a historical market return of like 9%. It’s going to be an astronomical amount of money.


ALICE S.:  My husband and I really didn’t start investing seriously until we were in our thirties, and we learned that it really isn’t rocket science. It just takes a lot of patience, a little bit of reading, a lot of diligence and determination and some discipline not to listen to the loud voices that are out there telling you to change things all the time.


MARCY O.:  For me, it’s all about making the informed decisions and making sure you’re making decisions that are right for you at your period of life, and knowing why you’re investing, where you’re investing.


RAHUL G.:  Diversification. I mean, in spite of having the best of knowledge, you are never able to predict where the stock price moves of a company. So it’s best to have your portfolio diversified so that you don’t suffer when one company is going down.


MIKE M.:  I learned this whole lesson about timing, not really trying to go for that brass ring of perfect timing. You don’t really have control over all of these sources. You’re an observer of them. So if you believe that the market is going to go up over the long haul, you’re best being in the market for the long haul.



Key Findings

Study finds long-term investors benefit most from a disciplined and patient approach:

  • The vast majority (86%) of investors who’ve been at it since before 2000 said they don’t let their emotions get in the way of their investments now, as compared to when they first started investing.
  • Nearly nine in ten investors described themselves as more like a tortoise than a haredeliberate and steady.
  • One-third said patience through volatility contributed most to their investing success.

Fifty years of experience tells us a lot about what leads to long-term investing success

It may not be the stuff of movies, but the most experienced investors stand by a few timeless principles.


A look back over the last fifty years of news, events and pop-culture moments that have impacted the world of investing.

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Then and Now

Most survey respondents (59%) said they wish they had more knowledge when they first started investingand the data suggests that they are working to close that gap for others.

Check out these investors' stories to see where they started and where they are today.

A vision for tomorrow

Since 1973, our investors have used lessons learned to build a sound financial future, so we asked 3,000 of them to answer the question: "What's the best financial advice you've ever received?"

See what they had to say.


All expressions of opinion are subject to changes without notice in reaction to shifting market, economic, and geopolitical conditions. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.