People constantly tell me they're too afraid of stocks. They're looking for "safety," but what does "safe" really mean?

I picked up a recent issue of Barron's and the cover blared "Enter the Bull," as in a bull market. The story within offered a prediction that the Dow could top 15,000 in two years because of normal market patterns. Then, elsewhere in the same magazine, there was another article about why the stock market is poised for a potential fall and how you are at great risk if you get in right now.

Huh?!

There are always very wise, experienced and capable people who can give you convincing reasons why being in stocks is a great idea or why it's financial Armageddon.

Here's the thing: I don't care where the stock market will be in two years or even five years. And if you're anywhere between 20 years old and 40 years old, you probably shouldn't either.

Instead, I'm concerned with the underlying idea that, over time, wealth flows to owners in a capitalist system. You want to be an owner. For most of us, owning our own business isn't realistic, but we can invest in other people's businesses through a 401(k) at work or a Roth IRA on your own.

So don't let the noise of today's headlines throw you off your game: Investing for the long term.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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