Investing for Retirement:

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint!

Beautiful mature woman jogging through fog in early autumn day

As you save for retirement, it can be easy to get caught up in the stress of the daily ups and downs of the stock market. While, at times, it may seem tempting to consider pulling out of the market to try to minimize your losses, the reality is that saving for retirement is a long-term journey. Having knee-jerk reactions to the market’s bad days can jeopardize your ability to benefit from the market’s recovery and meet your savings goals. 

Regardless of the daily fluctuations that may occur in the market, keeping up consistent per-paycheck contributions to your retirement plan and adjusting your asset allocation to reflect where you are in your retirement journey and making sure it continues to reflect your risk tolerance and long-term goals is important.

Below are three reasons to focus on your long-term retirement goals regardless of short-term market uncertainty:

  1. Benefits from the market’s best days: While it may seem counterintuitive, pulling your money out of the stock market to try to avoid potential losses often also means missing the market’s best days, which can be detrimental to your long-term retirement savings potential. History has shown us that markets often rebound quickly after a downturn. If you pull out of the market, you can then miss the gains in the market upswing.
  2. Compounding investment returns over time: By staying invested in the market, you also benefit from compounding returns, meaning that you can reinvest your investment returns back into the market. Compounding returns can play a valuable role in helping you to achieve your long-term goals because they add to your total savings.  
  3. Playing the long game pays off: The chart below shows the growth of a $10,000 investment in the S&P 500® Index from January 1, 1985, to June 30, 2021. By staying invested for all of the days during this period, the investment would have grown to a total savings of $574,681. However, missing just the five best days during that time period would reduce the total savings to $356,308. Missing the 50 best days would result in a total savings of only $41,466—a difference of $533,215 from the potential savings when staying invested.
A chart displaying the scenario analysis of the growth of $10,000 in S&P 500 from January 1, 1985, to June 30, 2021
Source: FactSet Financial Data and Analytics*

Ultimately, there’s no effective way to predict the ideal time to take out or put money into the stock market. That’s why it’s important to stay invested to help you make it to the finish line, which is a financially secure retirement.

If you have further questions, please contact your local Mutual of America representative.

*This chart is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any investment or group of investments. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged stock index generally considered to be representative of the U.S. stock market. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Better your tomorrow.

Contact your Mutual of America representative today.

You should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the investment funds and, if applicable, the variable annuity contract, carefully before investing. This and other information is contained in the funds’ prospectuses and summary prospectuses and the contract prospectus or brochure, if applicable, which can be obtained by calling 800.468.3785 or visiting Read them carefully before investing.


The articles and opinions in this publication are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Consult your attorney, accountant or financial or tax adviser with regard to your individual situation.