Stocks on the long term have returned 6.8% per year after inflation, whereas gold has returned -0.4% (i.e. failed to keep up with inflation) and bonds have returned 1.7%. The equity risk premium (excess return of stocks over bonds) has ranged between 0 to 11%, it was 3% in 2001also.John Mauldin has a good column on the revenge of the market timers. He shows, in the table below, that it matters when you get into the market.
The implied prescription is to look at market fundamentals and enter the market only when stocks are relatively cheap (as Shiller's methodology currently says it is).