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Financial journalists periodically stoke investors’ record-high anxiety by suggesting the laws of physics apply to financial markets—that what goes up must come down. 
But shares are not heavy objects kept aloft through strenuous effort. They are perpetual claim tickets on companies’ earnings and dividends. 
If stocks have a positive expected return, reaching record highs with some frequency is exactly the outcome we would expect. 
Recent Dimensional research suggests that simply staying invested helps outpace inflation over the long term for a wide range of asset classes. 
The protection offered by inflation-indexed securities still appears to be the most effective for investors who are particularly sensitive to unexpected inflation. 
Stock market declines over a few days or months may lead investors to anticipate a down year. But the US stock market had positive returns in 16 of the past 20 calendar years, despite some notable dips in many of those years. 
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