As of the drop in the stock market yesterday, the S&P 500 had a 10 year return of -7.62%. Maybe putting my money under my mattress would have been a good idea after all?
For the record, I still would recommend investing in the stock market as part of your long-term financial strategy. Now is actually probably a good time to buy. The current financial crisis also illustrates why it is good to have diversification in your financial portfolio. If you also have investments in more than just the stock market -- such as real estate (okay maybe not the best example), bonds, your own business, higher education (human capital), etc. -- you help avoid the likelihood that times like this completely wipe out your investments. Like the old proverb says -- don't put all your eggs in one basket.
The current news looks bad, but one piece of encouragment I take from the graph above is that for most of the last 10 years, the market has been above where it is now. I expect it eventually will be again.
(via Google Finance)