Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Have We All Been Fools?

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]

Barry Ritholz, The Big Picture - Market Rally: 1974 or 1982?
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.

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