Pimco founder Bill Gross said on CNBC that "buy and hold" is dead. He said stocks over the long run will no longer boast average annual returns of 6% but, instead, more like 2%. That means the Dow would be at 11,900, not 25,600, in 20 years. Looking back, the Dow was around 2,500 in 1989. If it would have gone up by an average of only 2%, we would be at 3,700 today. Oddly enough, it went up by 6%, and here we sit at 8,000. What does that mean for investors? Is Gross right? Are stocks a dead or slowly dying investment? The better question to ponder is what our "new" investment strategy should be? The answer is this: The trick is no longer just in the pick. We need to get back to basics. You can no longer purchase a stock and let it ride. Being proactive is now the name of the game. To that end, I believe many people need an investing primer. The era of turning over all your hard-earned money to money managers or mutual funds is over. Some money ought to go there. But you're in charge of your own money. The call for a new "era of personal responsibility" shouldn't only be applied to liabilities (credit card debt, mortgage debt, etc.) but also assets and investments. Here's how to go forward. Read and learn: The more you take control and monitor your investments, the better off you will be. No longer can you simply buy a stock and ignore your account statement. Investing is hard work and requires that you earn your return just like any other business venture.