The Washington Post this morning offers an assessment of where the stock market may be going in coming years, reporting that "a roundup of the figures shows that strategists project the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index will gain 4 percent on average in 2017 — the lowest expected annual gain for the stock market since 2005, according to an analysis by Bespoke Investment Group."
The story goes on to say that "while it’s impossible to predict exactly what the stock market will do, investing pros over the past several months have been reducing their expectations for what they think the stock market will return, not only in the next year, but potentially over the next couple of decades ... The reason for the dismal view is that stock market gains were so robust over the past 30 years that it will be pretty tough for the stock market to match those returns going forward, some economists say. Stocks have grown pricier as the market has climbed higher, giving them less room to grow."
Having made that point, the Post suggests that "if those gloomier outlooks hold true, workers saving for retirement today may not get as much from their portfolios in the long term as previous generations did. Advisers say that millennials, who are decades away from retirement, will need to save more — in some cases twice as much as they were saving before — to make up the difference ... The pessimistic predictions come at a time when younger workers are already struggling to save for retirement while they pay off student loans, face high child-care costs or deal with rising rent. But firms such as McKinsey predict that U.S. stock markets may not deliver as much as they have in years past, putting more pressure on millennials to save as much as they can."
I get the point about this analysis, though I'm a little skeptical about the ability of investment professionals to project this far out. After all, who would've guessed that the stock market would've doubled in the past eight years?
But I think the cautionary note is worthy of consideration - that it is at least possible that millennials are going to have to be a lot more careful about their money as they age, which will mean less disposable income, which will affect how they spend money on food, clothing, technology, etc...