Unless something really drastic happens in the next few days, the 2000s will be the worst decade in recorded stock market history—and that’s going back to 1820, folks. You would have been better off putting your money under your mattress than investing in stocks in 1999; since then, the market’s fallen an average 0.5% a year, according to the Wall Street Journal, worse even than 1930s' average annual decline of 0.2%.
“The last 10 years have been a nightmare, really poor,” says one economist. The stats are due in part to the twin bear markets that kicked off and ended the decade, but also to the fact that after the 1990s, the market’s most profitable decade ever, stocks were way overpriced. It’s also in part a calendar quirk; there have been worse 10-year periods, like those ending in 1937 or 1938, but not calendar decades.