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>In the current economic climate, it is pretty much a waste "investing" in anything until you have, say, an 8-figure sum in cash laying around doing nothing.

Why do you say that? It is clear that money can be made investing with less than an 8-figure sum. For instance, the Vanguard S&P500 index fund returned 22% last year and 10.66% since its introduction in 1976. The fund minimum is $3,000.

Those are two very-selective samples. How much did the S&P return from 2000 to 2011? If you look at a chart of an index fund dating back to the 1970s, they certainly look like things that were following an upward trend, which got goosed steeper a couple of times, until everything blew up in 1998 and now there is chaos and unpredictability. 1998-2011 is over 1/3 of the period from 1971 to 2011 so one can't really regard this as a blip!

Yes, money "can" clearly be made investing, if you time the market and are lucky. I am disputing the idea that stocks will always generally go up. I think this used to be true but may have changed. Much like "housing prices always go up", which was shown to be absurd.

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