Tomorrow marks the eighth anniversary of the start of the bull market, one of the strongest and longest such markets in stock market history. Investors would do well to remember what preceded that market, though.
The decade between 1999 and 2009, in terms of stock returns, was one of the weakest on record. The average annual return for the S&P 500 index was less than 1 percent. After you adjust for inflation, you would have actually lost money being invested in the S&P for that entire period.
The decade between 1999 and 2009 included years of double-digit gains but years of double-digit losses as well. By contrast, in the past eight years, there hasn't been a single year where the S&P lost money.