Investing, as opposed to speculating is very simple indeed: you have to be in for the long term and you have to be diversified. This will iron out the peaks and troughs and spread the risk. Falling markets in the short term look scary but in a medium to long term context they are no more than blips.
There are excellent reasons for being in equities and although property and commodities like gold can look attractive periodically, you can still lose out without a proper investment strategy.
As one who lived through the UK property boom and subsequent bust of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s I can only reflect that people have very short memories. By all means invest in property but be in equities as well – diversity is key and forget doing anything that relies on, anticipates or requires a short term gain or return – it ‘aint going to happen.