The Tokyo market slumped to a 28-year low on Monday as Asian shares dived on fears of a nightmare scenario of euro-zone breakup, U.S. economic relapse and a sharp slowdown in China.
Japan has been in a depression now for almost twenty years. In the US we had a depression that lasted from 1929 until WWII.
Its hard for most people today to imagine that we could experience a downturn in the economy of a similar magnitude. But keep in mind, the 2000's are considered the "lost decade" because stock essentially went nowhere over the ten year period.
To date, The S&P 500 average annual return is negative 1.5% even though its average a 4% return over the last ten years.
The point is, if you grew up in the 80's or 90's you were used to the idea that stocks provided a steady and fairly reliable returns over the long run of 10%. Those days are over. These days, investing in stocks that pay dividends is important for all investors, not just retirees. And given that many stocks pay more than the ten year treasury paying less than 1.5%, there's no reason to buy Treasuries bonds.