Buy and Hold: Strategy, Examples, and Benefits


Buy and hold is a long-term investment strategy that involves purchasing assets like stocks or ETFs and holding onto them for extended periods, regardless of short-term market fluctuations. This passive approach, endorsed by renowned investors like Warren Buffett and Jack Bogle, focuses on achieving healthy long-term returns while enjoying tax benefits. However, critics argue that buy-and-hold investors may not always sell at optimal times. In this article, we delve into the buy and hold strategy, its benefits, drawbacks, and how it works in practice.

What is buy and hold?

Buy and hold is a passive investment strategy in which an investor buys stocks (or other types of securities such as ETFs) and holds them for a long period regardless of fluctuations in the market. An investor who uses a buy-and-hold strategy actively selects investments but has no concern for short-term price movements and technical indicators. Many legendary investors such as Warren Buffett and Jack Bogle praise the buy-and-hold approach as ideal for individuals seeking healthy long-term returns.

How buy and hold Works

Conventional investing wisdom shows that with a long time horizon, equities render a higher return than other asset classes such as bonds. There is, however, some debate over whether a buy-and-hold strategy is superior to an active investing strategy. Both sides have valid arguments, but a buy-and-hold strategy has tax benefits because the investor can defer capital gains taxes on long-term investments.

To purchase shares of common stock is to take ownership of a company. Ownership has its privileges, which include voting rights and a stake in corporate profits as the company grows. Shareholders function as direct decision makers with their number of votes being equal to the number of shares they hold. Shareholders vote on critical issues, such as mergers and acquisitions, and elect directors to the board. Activist investors with substantial holdings wield considerable influence over management often seeking to gain representation on the board of directors.

Recognizing that change takes time, committed shareholders adopt buy and hold strategies. Rather than treating ownership as a short-term vehicle for profit in the mode of a day trader, buy-and-hold investors keep shares through the bull and bear markets. Equity owners thus bear the ultimate risk of failure or the supreme reward of substantial appreciation.

Buy and hold is often also called position trading.

Active versus passive management

The debate over passive versus active management styles persists. A buy-and-hold investor reflects a passive management style. In the case of a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, indexed portfolios mirror that of a common benchmark.

As indices rebalance and weightings increase relative to market capitalization, turnover rates, which are often under 5% among passive funds (such as an S&P 500 Index portfolio), remain ultra-low as managers focus on issues across the broad market. Stocks are held for as long as they remain components of the indices.

Even though you hold the securities you buy for the long-term, you still need to consider price fluctuations and pay attention to their performance.

Real world example of buy and hold

An example of a buy-and-hold strategy that would have worked quite well is the purchase of Apple (AAPL) stock. If an investor had bought 100 shares at its closing price of $18 per share in January 2008 and held onto the stock until January 2019, the stock climbed to $157 per share. That’s a return of nearly 900% in just over 10 years.

Those arguing against using a long-term strategy claim that investors forsake gains by riding out volatility rather than locking in gains and miss out on timing the market. There are some professionals who regularly succeed with short-term trading strategies, but the risks can be higher. Investment success is also realized by loyalty, commitment to ownership and the simple pursuit of standing pat or not moving from a chosen position.

Pros and cons of buy and hold


Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

  • Potential for long-term wealth accumulation
  • Lower capital gains taxes on long-term investments
  • Less stress and time commitment compared to active trading
  • No active management to capitalize on short-term market opportunities
  • Potential for significant losses during market downturns
  • Not suitable for all asset classes or investment goals

Real-life success stories

Real-world examples can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the buy-and-hold strategy. Let’s explore a few success stories from notable investors who have embraced this approach:

1. Warren buffett’s legendary portfolio

Warren Buffett, often referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha,” is a staunch advocate of the buy-and-hold strategy. His investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, has held positions in companies like Coca-Cola, American Express, and Apple for decades. The patient approach has enabled Buffett to amass substantial wealth and achieve impressive returns over time.

2. The power of compound interest

Consider a hypothetical scenario where two investors, Alice and Bob, each invest $10,000. Alice adopts a buy-and-hold strategy, while Bob frequently trades stocks. Over 20 years, Alice’s investments grow steadily, benefiting from compound interest, while Bob faces transaction costs and taxes. In the end, Alice’s portfolio significantly outperforms Bob’s, showcasing the long-term advantages of buy and hold.

Strategies for managing a buy-and-hold portfolio

While the buy-and-hold strategy is relatively simple, successful execution requires careful planning and management. Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Regular portfolio rebalancing

Although the core principle of buy and hold is to maintain a stable portfolio, periodic rebalancing is essential. Reassess your asset allocation and adjust it to align with your long-term goals. This ensures that your portfolio remains diversified and aligned with your risk tolerance.

2. Dividend reinvestment

Many buy-and-hold investors choose dividend-paying stocks as a core component of their portfolio. Reinvesting dividends can accelerate wealth accumulation. By purchasing additional shares with dividend payouts, you harness the power of compounding, potentially enhancing your returns over time.

3. Staying informed

While the buy-and-hold strategy encourages a long-term perspective, it doesn’t mean you should ignore your investments entirely. Stay informed about the companies in your portfolio and monitor their performance. Periodically review your investment thesis and make adjustments if necessary to ensure your holdings align with your goals.


Buy and hold is a proven investment strategy that has delivered substantial returns to patient investors over the years. By focusing on long-term wealth accumulation and taking advantage of tax benefits, individuals can build a solid financial foundation. Real-world examples and prudent management strategies illustrate the potential of this approach. However, it’s essential to carefully consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and asset selection before committing to the buy-and-hold strategy.

With dedication and a well-structured portfolio, buy and hold can serve as a reliable path towards achieving your financial objectives.

Frequently asked questions

What is the primary goal of the buy-and-hold investment strategy?

The primary goal of the buy-and-hold investment strategy is to achieve long-term financial growth by holding onto assets like stocks or ETFs through market fluctuations. This approach prioritizes steady, sustainable returns over short-term gains.

How does buy and hold differ from active trading?

Buy and hold differs from active trading in that it focuses on long-term ownership of assets with minimal buying and selling. Active trading involves frequent buying and selling of securities in an attempt to profit from short-term market movements.

What are the potential benefits of a buy-and-hold strategy?

The potential benefits of a buy-and-hold strategy include lower capital gains taxes on long-term investments, reduced stress compared to active trading, and the potential for long-term wealth accumulation. Additionally, it aligns with a passive investment style that often outperforms active management over longer time horizons.

What are the drawbacks or risks associated with buy and hold?

Drawbacks of buy and hold include the potential for significant losses during market downturns and the lack of active management to capitalize on short-term market opportunities. It may also not be suitable for all asset classes or investment goals.

How should investors manage a buy-and-hold portfolio over time?

Investors should manage a buy-and-hold portfolio by periodically reassessing their asset allocation to align with their long-term goals. They should also consider reinvesting dividends and staying informed about the performance of their holdings to make adjustments when necessary.

Are there any successful real-life examples of the buy-and-hold strategy?

Yes, there are successful real-life examples of the buy-and-hold strategy. Notable investors like Warren Buffett have achieved substantial wealth through this approach. For instance, Berkshire Hathaway has held positions in companies like Coca-Cola, American Express, and Apple for decades, resulting in impressive long-term returns.

Key takeaways

  • Buy and hold is a long-term investment strategy that involves holding onto assets regardless of short-term market fluctuations.
  • It can provide potential for long-term wealth accumulation and lower capital gains taxes on investments held for extended periods.
  • However, it may not be suitable for all types of investments, and investors should carefully consider their risk tolerance and investment goals.
View Article Sources
  1. How To Invest In The Stock Market: 8 Basic Concepts – Supermoney
  2. 6 of the Best Fidelity Mutual Funds to Buy and Hold – US news money
  3. How To Invest in Imperium Stocks – Supermoney