Some celebrated the Dow Jones (INDEX: ^DJI) finally closing above 13,000 yesterday, but another more-meaningful milestone was recently reached. Adjusted for dividends, the Dow is at an all-time high, surpassing its nominal record set in October 2007:

Source: S&P Capital IQ, using dividend-adjusted returns of SPDR Dow Jones Industrial ETF.

What does this mean? Like Dow 13,000, not much. It's a psychological milestone that tells us nothing about value, opportunity, or what might happen next.

But what it does say loud and clear: Patient investors win. After the deepest recession since the Great Depression and a near collapse of the global financial system, it took just four years for investors who bought at the very top to recoup their losses. Those who scooped up bargains along the way have done far better.

How have you done over the past four years?

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Follow him on Twitter @TMFHousel. His latest e-book, 50 Years in the Making: The Great Recession and Its Aftermath, can be purchased on Amazon for your Kindle or iPad. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.