4 New Rules for Investors

Here are four tips for earning a decent return even if stocks stay in a funk for years.

It’s no longer the stock market -- it’s the stuck market. Or at least that’s what it seemed like for much of the summer and fall as the Dow Jones industrial average meandered between roughly 10,500 and 11,600, despite a series of harrowing one-day moves. We expect this kind of back-and-forth pattern to continue in 2012 and for a few more years beyond.

What’s upsetting is that all this motion doesn’t earn you much. The major market indexes and your investment balances end up flat after weeks or months. The stock market has been known to travel within a narrow band for years, as the Dow did between 1966, when it first crossed 1000, and 1982, when it finally flew past that barrier for good.

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Jeffrey R. Kosnett
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kosnett is the editor of Kiplinger's Investing for Income and writes the "Cash in Hand" column for Kiplinger's Personal Finance. He is an income-investing expert who covers bonds, real estate investment trusts, oil and gas income deals, dividend stocks and anything else that pays interest and dividends. He joined Kiplinger in 1981 after six years in newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun. He is a 1976 journalism graduate from the Medill School at Northwestern University and completed an executive program at the Carnegie-Mellon University business school in 1978.