Via the Diehards forum, Businessweek recently posted an interview with John Bogle which covers many of the questions that people are asking about investing right now. As usual, he provides a balanced and big-picture perspective on things. I recommend reading through the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:
[...] if I was going to give advice to an individual investor?and I make a very important distinction here?if they have come into this market and have invested the way people should invest, and that means they have a little bond position if they’re young, and an average bond position if they’re in their middle years, and a substantial bond position in their retirement years, then I would do absolutely nothing. They will be protected by the fact that bonds are going up and bonds generate income. No one will take that income from them. They should just hang in there and do nothing.
Even if I was pretty confident that the decline will continue?and I think it’s more likely than not?you’ve not only got to get out right, you’ve also got to get in right. You must be right twice. So if you get out now, and the market goes way down another 15 or 20%, which is quite possible, they will be so scared they won’t get in.
[...] It’s not a good idea to time the market. In the long run, investing is not about markets at all. Investing is about enjoying the returns earned by businesses. And the stock market is nothing but a giant distraction in that quest to acquire returns that business earns. It overmagnifies everything. Investors get scared. Their advisors get scared. And you get exactly what we’re having?a bit of a mess.