Ross Levin is one of the nation's premier financial planners. He's based in Edina, Minnesota. Here's a sober bit of number-crunching:
"And for those clients who say, "This is just like the Great Depression". The correct answer is, "No, this is worse". The 1999-2008 return stands at an annualized -2.23%. 1929-1938 was only -.87%."
However, the good news is that "the markets should return 6.7% over the next five years to match the 15 year rolling average from 1929-1943 (assuming the SP 500 stays at this level for the rest of 2008). 2008 numbers do not include dividends."