Bloomberg has an interesting snippet about that so-called “lost decade” everyone keeps talking about. It turns out if you had invested in the stocks of the S&P 500 equally (equal weight) back at the market peak of March 24, 2000, you would have had a 66 percent gain through December 2, 2011, not a zero percent gain.
Unfortunately, most people who invest in the S&P 500 Index do so in the same way the index is calculated, capitalization-weighted. That means that you buy more of the bigger companies and less of the smaller ones. There are some index funds and ETFs that allow you to invest in the S&P 500 Equal Weighted Index.
There are actually numerous ways in which this was not a lost decade for investors, most importantly, if you KEPT INVESTING, which is what both savvy and not-so savvy investors did when they did not turn off their 401k contributions through this turbulent decade. Those investors could have much more money today than the beginning of the decade and are primed for a much bigger recovery when the U.S. economy finally pulls out of its doldrums and moves ahead.