On U.S. News and World Report, Marc Lichtenfeld recently explained why worrying is unproductive, and what to do instead:
There are a lot of things for investors to be worried about these days.
What if Obama is re-elected? What if he isn’t?
What if buy and hold is dead? What if there are more flash crashes?
What if the Cubs go on a miraculous 30 game win streak, take the pennant and win the World Series, which will ultimately prove that the Mayans were correct and this is the end of times?
If you’re a trader, these scenarios can make a difference in your returns (except the Cubs thing—there’s no chance of that happening). But if you’re a long-term investor, all if it, including the elections, is nothing but a bunch of noise.
If your investment horizon is ten years or more, you have little to worry about. Since 1937, the market has been up 67 out of 74 ten-year periods. The only ten-year periods in which the market did not produce positive returns were the ten years ending 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 2008 and 2009.