Are Stocks Still Good for the Long Run?

After a horrible decade for investors, some long-accepted wisdom is under fire

Illustration by C.J. Burton for TIME

Stocks, we have been told again and again through the years, are the best long-term investment. Prices go up and they go down, but give stocks enough time and they deliver returns that trounce those of bonds, real estate, commodities or any other asset class.

Ha! you say. Have you checked your 401(k) balance lately? Since the beginning of this decade, the stock market has been a money pit. At the market's nadir in early March, stock investors had lost more than 50% since March 2000, if you factored in inflation. Things have improved since then--to a mere 40% loss.

So...

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