While the dislocation in financial markets is unnerving, it certainly is a good stress test of investment strategies. Evidence that your portfolio is working as expected is far more valuable than hearing that none of this volatility will matter in the long run.

That is scant comfort to anyone who has seen their modest investment gains, accumulated over the past however many years, wiped out in a matter of days. It also won’t fill them with confidence that a high-equity fund is the way to go, or that they aren’t better off earning lower but more secure returns in a money-market fund. That approach would have returned only marginally less over the past 10 years, but without all the stock market anxiety...

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