When it comes to investing, it can be hard to discern a pattern.

In any given year, any asset class can finish on top. And last year's outperformer can be this year's also-ran.

In recent years Australian equities were king. Before that it was listed property…before that US shares…and before that Australian bonds.

But as well as golden years of outperformance each of these asset classes has endured lean years of underperformance.

So when you're building a diversified investment portfolio, it pays to take a broader perspective.

The Vanguard 2017 Index Chart shows that over the past 30 years, a portfolio invested in a diversified range of assets delivers a smoother investment experience. The highs may not be quite as high but the lows aren't quite as low.

You can also see the power of perspective by:

Vanguard Interactive Index Chart

Our interactive index chart allows you to build your own customised version of the index chart with 30 years of investment performance across major asset classes as well as key economic, social, political and demographic changes.

You can make more informed decisions by reinforcing the timeless principles of investing—setting clear goals, keeping your portfolios diversified, keeping costs low and sticking to your long-term plans.