"Inflation has now been institutionalized at a fairly constant 5% per year. This has been scientifically determined to be the optimum level for generating the most revenue without causing public alarm. A 5% devaluation applies, not only to the money earned this year, but also to all that is left over from previous years. At the end of the first year, a dollar is worth 95 cents. At the end of the second year, the 95 cents is reduced again by 5%, leaving its worth at 90 cents, and so on. By the time a person has worked 20 years, the government will have confiscated 64% of every dollar he saved over those years. By the time he has worked 45 years, the hidden tax will be 90%. The government will take [in purchasing power] virtually everything a person saves over a lifetime."- G. Edward Griffin
So you have to invest to earn more than an average of 5% a year over you lifetime. Pension funds try for 9% and lately have trimmed that somewhat to maybe 8%. Still pie -in-the sky.
US Treasury bonds pay 3.75% for the privilege of tying your money up for 30 years - a lifetime. All that just to gurantee that the government gets 90% of your earnings. Remember the Feds get tax on the interest they pay you on these bonds!!!