Long Term Investment: Definition, Types, & Strategies

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Long Term Investment: Definition, Types, & Strategies


Investing for the long term, also known as a long-term holding, is a strategy that involves purchasing assets with the intention of keeping such investments for a length of time greater than ten years. Find out which sorts of investments and tactics are the most successful for long-term investors.


What Is a Long-Term Investment?

A financial asset that is appropriate for an investor with a time horizon of more than ten years is referred to as a long-term investment. Long-term investors are often willing to accept a higher level of risk in exchange for the possibility of earning higher relative returns over the course of their investment horizon. This is due to the fact that short-term price fluctuations do not pose the same level of threat over longer periods of time.

When an investor is getting closer to reaching their financial objective, they may decide to invest in assets that have a lower risk in order to generate more consistent returns. For instance, a person in their forties who is putting money away for retirement when they are in their sixties might put a significant portion of their portfolio’s allocation toward stocks, but they might lessen their exposure to stocks and perhaps hold more bonds when they are within ten years of reaching their retirement goal.


Benefits of Long-Term Investing

Investing for the long term is a technique that may result in many benefits, such as financial cost savings, tax advantages, and compound interest.

Investing for the long term has several rewards, including the following:


  • Cost savings: The buy-and-hold investing approach calls for less frequent trading, which helps to cut down on the associated costs and charges.
  • Saves time: Long-term investment does not call for a significant amount of study or trading, and some investors take a “set it and forget it” attitude, which saves them time.
  • Tax advantages: Accounts that are used for investing over a long period of time, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401k plans, develop without being subject to taxation, which enables larger growth over time.
  • Compound interest: Compound interest is advantageous to long-term investors because it allows them to reinvest dividends and capital gains, which results in the purchase of more shares of the investment and, as a result, exponential growth.
  • Risk/return benefits: The ups and downs of short-term volatility may be smoothed out using an investment strategy known as dollar-cost averaging, which involves making little investments over a long period of time.

Types of Long-Term Investments

Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and real estate are the primary categories of investments with a long-term horizon. Before making any financial commitments, investors should have a solid understanding of the risks and potential benefits associated with each different kind of investment.

1. Stocks

A company’s stock is a kind of equity security that represents ownership in the business. Investors and shareholders are granted specific rights, including the ability to vote on important issues pertaining to the company’s future, in exchange for their ownership of shares of stock.

Note:  the historical average return on the stock market is around 10%; nevertheless, long-term investors can anticipate several market corrections of 5 to 10% each year, and at least one bear market, which is defined as a fall of 20% or more, every 5 to 7 years on average.

2. Bonds

Bonds are a kind of fixed-income security that reflects a loan made by an investor to a corporation or government body. These loans may be made either directly or indirectly. Bonds may be utilized as income investments due to the fact that they pay a predetermined amount of interest either quarterly or semi-annually. Bonds are often used as a technique for diversification due to the fact that bond prices are more consistent than stock prices (and are sometimes not precisely connected).

3. Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are managed portfolios that typically hold dozens or hundreds of securities, such as stocks, bonds, or a combination of assets. Therefore, mutual funds can make it easier for an investor to gain diversified exposure to a broad market segment, helping to reduce risk compared to investing in single securities.

Note: there are two ways that mutual funds may be managed: actively or passively. For example, an active approach involves an attempt to outperform an index, such as the S&P 500, whereas a passive approach attempts to match the returns of an index, with fewer fees.

4. Exchange-Traded Funds

Exchange-traded funds, sometimes known as ETFs, are a kind of financial security that combine certain aspects of stock trading with mutual fund investing. Like stocks, ETFs trade intra-day on an exchange. Many exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, aim to replicate the performance of a benchmark index in the same way as passively managed mutual funds do.

5. Real Estate

Purchasing land, residential property, or commercial property are all examples of real estate investments. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are corporations that own or run real estate property in order to create revenue for the owners, partners, or shareholders of the company. Certain investors like these types of investments.

Tip: Real estate investment trusts (REITs) provide investors the opportunity to profit from passive real estate income without the need to actually own real estate property. As a rule, real estate investment trusts (REITs) are regarded as income investments. This is due to the fact that REITs are mandated to distribute ninety percent of the trust’s taxable income in the form of dividends to its shareholders. Additionally, real estate investment trusts and funds invested in REITs may serve as diversification strategies.


Long-Term Investing Strategies

Investment strategies for the long term often include a buy-and-hold strategy, but they may also contain a variety of other related strategies or styles, such as passive or aggressive investing, as well as value or growth investing.

1. Buy & Hold

The term “passive investing” refers to a strategy that involves investing over a long period of time with a very limited amount of buying and selling. Although passive investors can put their money into a wide variety of investment securities, they most commonly put their money into index funds. An index fund is a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that mirrors the performance of an underlying benchmark index, such as the S&P 500.

Note some people who invest passively prefer to make use of something called a Robo advisor. This type of advisor offers automated investing services such as portfolio allocation and rebalancing, all of which are determined by the preferences of the investor.


2. Passive Investing

The phrase “passive investing” refers to an investment strategy that entails making investments over the course of a lengthy period of time with relatively minimal buying and selling. Index funds are a kind of mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) that replicates the performance of an underlying benchmark index, such as the S&P 500. Passive investors may participate in a wide variety of investment instruments, although they most often employ index funds.

Note some people who invest passively opt to work with Robo advisors, which are software programs that provide automatic investment services such as portfolio allocation and rebalancing according to the preferences of an investor.

3. Active Investing

Active investing requires adopting a hands-on approach, which may include investment research, securities analysis, and the timing of transactions, among other potential activities. Active portfolio management often adheres to a predetermined goal to exceed a significant benchmark, such as inflation or the S&P 500, or to reach a certain absolute return, whichever comes first.

4. Growth Investing

Growth investing is a strategy that seeks capital appreciation and typically uses aggressive investment types, such as growth stocks, which are stocks that are anticipated to grow at a faster rate than the market average. In other words, growth stocks are expected to outperform the market average in terms of their rate of shareholder value creation. Growth investing is a strategy that offers the potential for returns that are higher than average over the long term, but it requires investors to be able to stomach considerable short-term market swings.

5. Value Investing

The practice of value investing refers to the process of buying assets at prices that are below what is deemed to be their “intrinsic worth.” This method makes use of fundamental analysis. An investor who focuses on value would often purchase and hold value equities, which frequently distribute dividends and typically have lower relative P/E ratios than growth stocks.

6. Dividend Investing

Buying companies that provide dividends is the basis of the investment strategy known as dividend investing. This approach takes use of the potential of compound returns to generate income from assets in addition to capital gain. Long-term investors have the option of reinvesting dividends, which means the money will be used to purchase further shares of stock and will contribute to the compounding effect.

7. Dollar Cost Averaging

The term “dollar-cost averaging” (DCA) refers to a technique for making investments known as “dollar-cost averaging,” in which an investor makes several purchases of an investment at predetermined intervals. Since of this, a DCA approach may minimize volatility and risk in a portfolio because the investor recognizes multiple price points of entry. This is possible because the investor makes purchases at regular periods, as opposed to all at once.

Tip: An investor may use dollar-cost averaging either automatically via the use of a computerized investment program or manually by using their own best judgment on when to make subsequent investments.


Bottom Line

A long-term investment is a security or asset typically held for a long period of time, such as 10 years or more. Long-term investing strategies often incorporate a buy-and-hold approach and focus primarily on achieving favorable rates of return over the holding period, while generally ignoring short-term market fluctuations.

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