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How safe are your investments, really?

from The Wall Street Journal

Money managers point to historical data going back to the 1920s to show that in the past stocks have produced total returns of about 10 percent a year over the long term and bonds, about 5 percent mdash; meaning a standard "balanced" portfolio of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds would earn just over 8 percent a year. (Naturally, their legal departments quickly add that the past is no guide to the future.) Are these forecasts realistic? Are they sensible? Are they even based on actual logic or a correct reading of the past data? Wall Street strategists Rob Arnott and the late Peter Bernstein, in research published just after the 2000 dot-com crash, explained the dangers of trying to extrapolate from the past. more

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