It's been a bad year for the investor. As of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than half its value this year. And with a raft of bad news on the horizon, it just doesn't look like the market will improve anytime soon.
From their peak last October 9, U.S. stocks, (as measured by the S&P 500) have dropped more than 20%. And of course, many have fallen grossly harder. And some (think Lehman Bros and WaMu) have dropped through the floor, never to be seen again.
Indeed, if you put $7,000 into an index-fund last year, you'd now have somewhere around $5,000. That same $7,000 would be, er, $7,000 under your mattress (plus a little more, counting the small change that fell out of your pants pocket every night changing into your 'jammies.)
While it's true that every method of investing has its risks, seems to me the mattress option, looking forward, is looking like the safest bet. While historically speaking, stocks of large U.S. companies have gained on average 10% per year, this year was ugly. Next year bodes worse for the U.S. economy, with commercial real estate and credit card debt defaults poised to take the credit crisis into the next level of hell. Housing recovery? Don't hold your breath.
Nope. The way things are shaking out right now, your best investment in 2009 may well be a nice, heavy mattress, like this one, with a built-in safe. Happy investing!