“Investors earn returns over time that are far lower than those quoted by mutual fund firms. In fact, it’s not even a close race.”

This is the conclusion of DALBAR, Inc., the well-respected independent investment research firm, in the DALBAR 2010 Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior.

For the past 20 years ending December 31, 2009, “the average equity investor managed to eke out an annualized return that outpaced inflation.” The average return was 3.17 percent per year – just slightly more than the inflation rate for that period!

Asset allocation and fixed income investors weren’t so lucky (if you can call that “luck”). They lost ground after adjusting for inflation.

Why don’t most investors come close to getting the returns touted in mutual fund prospectuses? There are plenty of reasons for this. They include:

Investor Trap #1: “Investors are impatient and irrational,” and “consistently make buy and sell decisions at the worst possible moments,” according to DALBAR, a finding backed up by many experts in the emerging field of behavioral finance.

Investor Trap #2: You could get a 25 percent “average annual return” for years and still not make a single dime or even lose money! This is due to the smoke and mirrors the Wall Street illusionists have been using to pull the wool over your eyes for decades. Don’t take my word for it – I exposed the mutual fund “rate of return” myth” here: http://www.bankonyourself.com/whats-the-rate-of-return-on-a-bank-on-your...

Investor Trap #3: If you’re investing in mutual funds inside a 401(k) plan, fees can “eat up to half your income over a 30-year span,” according to an exposé on 60 Minutes. In addition, most people aren’t aware that employers are making risky decisions on how to invest your money in your 401(k) for you without your knowledge or approval. And they are automatically moving your money into higher-fee funds, too.

This is all courtesy of the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Makes you wonder who they’re trying to protect! Knowledge is power, so I urge you to learn what the government and your employer aren’t telling you about your 401(k).

Investor Trap #4: Taxes, taxes and more taxes! Nothing I’ve talked about so far takes into account the wealth-destroying effect of taxes. If you’re like most Americans, much of your savings is in tax-deferred accounts, like 401(k)s. Paying taxes later is one of the big appeals of these plans. But what direction do you think tax rates will go over the long term? If, like most people, you think taxes are going to go up, and you’re successful in growing a nest egg, you’re only going to pay higher taxes on a larger number!

The bottom line is that most people trust their financial investments to a game with rules they do not understand and have no control over. No wonder most Americans have no confidence they’ll be able to reach their financial goals and dreams.

This is why Bank On Yourself should be a part of almost everyone’s financial foundation. It gives you guaranteed growth in both good times and bad, as well as predictability and control.

The value of a Bank On Yourself plan goes in only one direction: up. Both your principal and gains are locked in. It gives you peace of mind for retirement planning, because you can know how much income you could take every year in retirement (guaranteed), and for how long you’ll be able to take it. You can take that income without tax consequences, if you do it right, under current tax law.

You can also use your cash value in the policy to inject needed capital into a business or to help you get through tough times. Whatever your long-term or short-term financial goals and dreams are, you may be surprised to find out how many of them Bank On Yourself can help you achieve.

Author's Bio: 

As a consultant to financial advisors, author and financial security expert, Pamela Yellen investigated more than 450 savings and retirement planning strategies before learning about Bank On Yourself. This approach uses specially designed dividend-paying cash value whole life insurance policies to create secure savings plans for families who want to protect their financial future. Pamela spent five years investigating and implementing the Bank On Yourself method for her own family before offering it to others as a secure and proven alternative to the risk, volatility and unpredictability of other savings plans. She has helped train 200 Bank On Yourself Authorized Advisors throughout the US and Canada to help their clients implement this strategy properly. Pamela is the author of BANK ON YOURSELF: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future, which has reached number 3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Learn more at www.BankOnYourself.com.