1982 marked the end of a 16 year, secular bear market, which saw the Dow finally get over 1,000 on a permanent basis. It kissed that level in 1966, and again a few more times prior to breaching that level for good. 16 year nominal returns were zero, but on a real (inflation adjusted) basis buy & hold investors lost nearly 90% of the purchasing power. [emphasis added]Have we all been fools? I personally remember being told by some 401K salesman that the market always makes money over X number of years. Of course I reealized that they always choose values for X that obfuscate periods like that above (or now?) but I don't remember it being 16 years - closer to 10. Of course, these salesmen also calculate their averages starting in the depths of the Depression instead of in early 1929. Lies and damn lies.
Barry Ritholz, The Big Picture - Market Rally: 1974 or 1982?