Robin Bowerman from Vanguard has written a piece on the Money Blogs for News Ltd considering the topic or market timing. It is worth a look and due consideration:
Market timing: an investor's game of chance
On the blog he provides a link to Vanguard's updated Index Charts through to the end of June 2009. This chart provides further support to the argument Bowerman proposes.
Vanguard Index Chart - 2009
The charts provide a great insight into longer term returns for Australian investors in a range of asset classes. The 31 year returns have been:
Australian Shares - 15%
International Shares - 12.7%
International Shares (hedged) - 10.0%
Australian Bonds - 9.8%
Cash - 9.7%
The premiums from investing in the more volatile growth assets have definitely shortened over the course of the past 12 months but even after one of the worst years of investment performance in these asset classes the benefits are still evident.
We could spend hours contemplating the numbers thrown up the charts but the general reminder to me is the importance of good diversification across all asset classes including cash & fixed interest.