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Over the long term stocks have historically outperformed all other investments From 1926 to 2001 the stock market returned an average annual 107 percent gain The next best performing asset class bonds returned 53 percent Over the short term stocks can be hazardous to your financial health If you thought the Dows 554-point drop on Oct 28 1997 was rough consider the 508-point drop 10 years earlier on Oct 19 1987 The 1997 decline was a mere 72 percent while the 1987 crash -- the worst one-day drop in stock market history -- chopped 226 percent off the value of stocks Risky investments generally pay more than safe ones Investors demand a higher rate of return
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