Since the global financial crisis, money has been flowing to bank deposits at the expense of shares.
The market capitalisation of Australian equities in June 2007 was $1.59 trillion; by June 2012 it had fallen to $1.18 trillion.
Correspondingly, total term deposits with Australian banks equalled $196.2 billion in June 2007, rising to $533.5 billion exactly five years later.
There are signs the market is warming to shares again. Should you join this trend?
There are three considerations: your goals, your time frame and your tolerance for risk.
A goal - for instance, to save for retirement - will tell you how much you need to save and how much your savings must earn.
Large goals need the compounding effect of high yields over the long term, whereas small goals don't require as much planning.
Your time frame also dictates where you put your money. Bank deposits are useful for short-term goals because they allow ready access and are government-guaranteed.
Shares favour the long term.
They are a good investment for young savers or the middle-aged, because their performance is best measured over a decade.
This is where risk appetite comes in. Throughout the past decade, Australian shares produced an annual average return of 9.1 per cent, compared with 5.4 per cent from cash.
However, in any given year the value of what you own can fluctuate, sometimes wildly. You need to weather the ups and downs over a long cycle to get your 9 per cent.
If your retirement falls in a month in which the sharemarket takes a significant downturn, and you rely on shares, you'll have to wait for a market correction.
This is not an either/or argument. Strong investment portfolios are diversified, and operate as a matrix in how they deal with goals, time frames and risk appetite.
This usually means they have a mix of cash, shares, property and bonds.
Younger people aiming for a large retirement nest egg should weight their investments towards equities and property, and those approaching retirement should favour having a paid-out property and a weighting to cash investments, because they don't have the time to reverse any losses on shares.
One of the warnings I would give to people who want to shut out all risk is that economies change and so do opportunities. Long-term interest rates might well rise in the next two years, due to economic growth and improved consumer confidence. If this happens, how many conservative investors will have money locked away in fixed-rate bonds?
They'll be losing out while owners of shares, bank deposits and floating-rate bonds enjoy higher interest rates as economies expand.
The lesson is, don't lock yourself into an ''all-or-nothing'' strategy.
Whether you are young and aggressive or older and risk-averse, you should always diversify, with a mix of assets that allows you to benefit from economic and social cycles you may not have predicted.
What do you think? Talk to me on Twitter @markbouris.
Mark Bouris is the chairman of financial services group Yellow Brick Road.