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Smoothing Your Returns

Harvard University’s $39.2 billion endowment, the largest academic endowment fund in the world, gained +10.0% for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.  For comparisons sakes, the S&P 500 returned +14.4% on a total return for the one-year ending June 30, 2018 (Source: Harvard University).  


Obviously, the S&P 500 had a better return for one year, but Harvard University’s Endowment Fund has delivered smoother returns over the long run (15 to 25 years) by avoiding/minimizing the return peaks and valleys by utilizing non-traditional or hedge-like investments such as actual real estate, private equity and venture capital investments as well as hedge funds.  Many of these returns are focused on long-term returns. 


However, by contrast, most individual investors focus on one year returns. If one is focused on the longer term, it is usually only three or five year returns.

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