You probably didn't make much last year from your bank accounts, but many stock portfolios probably earned even less. For example, Vanguard's US Total Market fund had a total return of only 0.96% in 2011. If you held more foriegn stocks, you probably had a loss. Vanguard's International Total Market fund (VGTSX) had a total return of -14.56%. My Money Blog has a good review
of the 2011 returns of several mutual funds, stock indices and commodities.