I've got a cousin who's gonna be married in a couple months. Let us say for the sake of argument that he is 23, and has 50k to put in his retirement account (of whatever nature), and will never have another dime to put into it. He's a young guy, looking to retire at 65, so he'll be invested for 42 years. And, let us suppose that he thinks he'll get just a tad over 10% annual rate of return (a bit lower than many folks expect). Using the rule of 72, his money doubles about every 7 years. After 42 years, he'll have (assuming just a bit over 10%/year) 64 times his original investment, or about 3.2 million. Pretty nice. Now, where the #$@! did $3,150,000.00 (98.4375% of his account) come from? Here's a post I made some time ago: I've always thought of the stock market as a giant Ponzi Operation. AFAIK, here are the three ways money gets in the market: 1. Companies pay dividends 2. Somebody buys stock 3. Companies buy back their own stock, or another's. Now, #1 is so small it's not worth talking about. And, #2 happens only if that somebody thinks #2 will happen again (bigger fool theory), or #3 will happen. But, #3 doesn't happen very much, does it? If it does, that's great, and I'd be very happy to see that the market actually might be a good place to invest long term. But if it doesn't, then it's a big Ponzi con, and you need more and more investors and more and more money to continue to build it up. Which might explain the government's interest to bring some Social Security money into the market. Especially when you factor in all the money drainage, like commissions, information, all the money the big trading companies make, etc. If there is anything I know about money, it's that you don't get it from nothing. It seems to me that the average long term investor is really being taken for a ride. Hmmm, mebbe I shoulda entitled this thread "How do the Pigs Expect to Retire?"