This new year could be an year of not so great returns for stock investors, I could be dead wrong and I wish that. At first blush you wonder why I'm such a pessimistic nerd, but cautious optimism will serve us much better in stock investing. I've an unfettered belief in the free market system and it's ability to generate outstanding returns in the long term. Let's say you own a good farm that has been yielding bumper crop year after year, but occassionally having a drought that will severly impact the yield. But the reality of a drought occuring randomly doesn't diminish in any way the ability to produce a good crop year after year. Similarly, the stock market returns are always bumpy with economic expansions and recessions and doesn't go up in a straight line. If we're going to have a drought this year, there could be a bumper crop may be next year or the year after that, we just don't the order of the occurence of either outcomes. But, I can certainly say that the probability of a good crop are higher from my own experience and looking at historically over the past 150 years. If you think you cannot withstand the market gyrations that results in negative returns occassionally in the financial markets, you should look else where for investing.