Hammering Jim Cramer on TV the other night, Jon Stewart bemoaned the fate of his 75-year-old mother: “She bought into the idea that long-term investing is the way to go. And guess what?” Cramer replied, “It didn’t work.” And for many Americans, that was the takeaway: The stock market is for chumps. But let’s not allow rage to blind us from rationally assessing the market, writes Tom Petruno in the Los Angeles Times.
In the last 16 months, we’ve wiped out 12 years of stock gains, and 12 years “qualifies as ‘long term’ for most people,” writes Petruno. But if you need a 7% annual return to retire comfortably, you have little choice but to bet on stocks. With a long time horizon, it’s still a good bet. Still, remember that it is a bet, “a game of chance that offers probabilities, but absolutely no assurances.” (Read more stock market stories.)