On October 7, 1998, the Standard and Poors 500 stock index was at 984.39.
As of 12:30 eastern time today, October 8, 2008, the same index was at 975.71.
You would have been better off (and slept much more soundly) had you parked your money in certificates of deposit.
isn't that a first?
I don't know the history of S&P 500 but as I recall doesn't that over 10 years always been all other indexes and has this happened before?
Prior 5, 19 year losses for the S&P 500
Here is the best discussion I have found, and here is a long term inflation adjusted chart (log scale) not including dividends: