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THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

Human behavior flows from three main sources:desire, emotion, and knowledge.

—PLATO

Some people think you can’t go wrong buying stocks, at least in the long run. Others think that stocks are like a trip to Vegas, where most people return home with less money than they came with. Both are wrong. The stock market is more nuanced than these simplistic caricatures. Historically, investors have, on average, made a lot of money, but there is no guarantee how future investors will do.

Table 10-1 shows the average annual returns from short-term Treasury bills, long-term Treasury bonds, and the stocks included in the S&P 500 index. The ...

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