Annual Stock Returns Since 1926
This chart provides a good visual of what I call the "stock market double double."
If you look at the chart again, you'll see that there are approximately twice as many "up" years as "down" years; that's part one of the double-double. Here's part two: the "up" bars go up about twice as high as the "down" bars go down.
If you believe that the stock market will come back from its big drop in 2008, you have history on your side and you just have to wait for the "up" years to return. So far, 2009 has given us hope! For most of us, our retirement investing horizon gives us the time to ride out the downturns. It particularly helps if you build complementary sources of retirement security that aren't susceptible to market fluctuations, which I highly encourage you to do.