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Millions of American investors have been brainwashed. Are you one of them but don’t know it? I will help you answer this all-important question later in this article.

First, pause and read this story about the U.S. economy potentially losing its No. 1 ranking next year. This should give you a clue. Let’s get started with the help of three charts.

Charts

Please click here for a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Please click here for a chart of the Dow from the early 1900s to the mid-1900s.

Please click here for a chart of Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index NIK.  Please note the following:

• There have been periods in the U.S. stock market when, depending on your starting point, passive investing would not have done well. Two of the three charts, above, are of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but the conclusions also apply to the present-day popular ETFs such as S&P 500 ETF SPY, Nasdaq 100 ETF QQQ and small-cap ETF IWM.

• If you were passively investing in Japan over 25 years ago, you would still be underwater today.

Brainwashing

Investors have been brainwashed into believing that if they invest in the stock market or other markets, somehow they earn the right to make money over a period of time.

Millions of investors have convinced themselves that somehow the market owes them something; all they have to do is invest in the markets.

Consider paying attention to Arora’s Fourth Law of Investing: “The markets owe you nothing.”

Recency bias

The human condition as it is, most of us suffer from recency bias. That means people remember what has happened to them recently. For our purposes, that means investors erroneously believe what has happened recently will happen in the future…Read more at MarketWatch.com

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