What are equities?

Equities, also known as stocks, are a type of investment that can be a key piece of your overall portfolio. Owning equities lets you own part of a company and could give you a say in certain company decisions through voting (typically associated with common stock). Over time, stocks can be a good way to help grow your money if share prices increase as the company performs well or if the company declares and pays dividends.

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How do equity shares help you reach your goals?

Stocks are traded between investors in the stock market. When you own stock, you own a share of the company. The goal of investors is to buy stock that will earn a positive return (but there's no guarantee of appreciation). Here's how it can happen:


This is the increased value of a stock over time. A stock's price fluctuates based on available shares and the demand for them. And many factors can impact supply and demand including inflation, interest rates, and company performance.


This is a way for companies to share in the growth of the business beyond its stock price. A company may choose to declare and pay shareholders dividends (either as cash or stock) when the company's revenues exceed its operating costs.

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Questions about investing in equities? We've got answers.

Which type of equity investments might be right for you?

Equities (stocks)

To invest in a publicly traded company, you buy shares of their stock in anticipation that the price of each share will go up or it will generate income.

Equity mutual funds

Instead of building your portfolio one stock at a time, a mutual fund does the work for you by pooling investors' dollars to buy shares in a range of companies.

Private equity investments

Known as an alternative asset, private equity lets qualified investors take on more risk in exchange for the potential of higher returns by investing in a private offering.1

What are the historical returns for equity investments?

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Based on the S&P 500 over the last 20 years,2 the average return of stocks has been about 10% per year. Our time-tested, disciplined approach to investing seeks to generate returns consistent with the broader market over the long term. So no matter what's happening day-to-day or year-to-year, our strategy is to focus on long-term growth, asset allocation, and diversification.

Keep in mind, all investments have some level of risk, including the potential loss of principal up to the full value of your investment, and no investment strategy can guarantee gains or protect against loss.

Explore the ways Northwestern Mutual can help you invest in equities.

Investing in equities can help you reach your goals

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In the U.S., stocks have consistently earned a greater return than bonds over time.2 While there's a greater potential for loss compared to bonds, investing in stocks and mutual funds can play an important role in saving for long-term goals like college or retirement because they could be used in strategies designed to keep or out-pace inflation over the long-term.

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The Northwestern Mutual difference

Top 5 ranked investment service

We're one of the top U.S. Independent Investment Broker-Dealers.3

Ranking for Northwestern Mutual Investment Services LLC, Financial Advisor magazine and InvestmentNews, April 2021

5.0M+ clients at Northwestern Mutual

The number of people we're proud to call clients, and who put their trust in us.4

164+ years strong through depressions, downturns, and pandemics

The number of years we’ve been there for our clients—through depressions, downturns, and pandemics.

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Ready to start investing in equities?

Our financial advisors can guide you through the process and help you find the right equities to invest in that can help take you where you want to go.

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Broker-Dealer Disclosure

To learn more about Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC and its financial professionals, visit FINRA BrokerCheck®.

Visit our Client Relationship Summaries (Form CRS) for information about our firms that provide brokerage and advisory services.