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Nope, you wouldn't. Investing is a dynamic process. You simply can't look at your account balance on any specific day to decide whether your investment approach is a good one. Yes, putting your money in a safe in your house around the middle of March 2000 would seem to have been a good idea, but only if you look at it in terms of what the market has done over the past couple of years. Just think of the last 4 weeks. For the past 4 weeks, the safe in your house has cost you 10 to 15% at a minimum. For the 7 or so years prior to March 2000, the safe in your house would have been a dead dog loser each and every day. It's what happens over time that counts. At the lowest point, my account was down almost 50% from it's high in early 2000. It's come back almost 20% from it's low this year. In 5 or 10 years, I'll bet almost anything that I'll have 20% to 100% more than I did in March 2000, while the "keep it in the safe" folks will have the same thing they have today. You shouldn't judge an investment approach by it's low point, nor should you judge it by the high point. You judge it over time.

Okay, excuse my ignorance, but I don't understand how looking at what my parents and my spouses parents retirement accounts have done over the last 30 years is looking at one point in time.

Using just one of them as an example my parents put in almost $300,000 of principal, it grew to almost $1 million and they were told not to worry that they were "set for the rest of their lives" so they retired and are now working at Wal-Mart because they have less than $200,000 in their retirment now. What good was that $1 million number? They would have more money today if they would have put their $300,000 in a fireproof safe. Sure during one point in time, when it was at it's peak, they would have been "better off" in the market, but over their investment lifetime, which also includes the drop, they would have been better not investing in the market.

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