Lessons from 2020

Lessons from 2020

2020 will be a year we will never forget. From a global pandemic and civil unrest, to an economic downfall that we continue to battle through today, it has been a challenging year that has impacted millions of individuals around the world. For investors, as we reflect on the past year, it’s critical we revisit some lessons learned to better ourselves moving forward. While it’s unlikely we’ll ever experience a year like 2020 again, many of the principles outlined below are timeless, and can serve as foundational reminders that are applicable every year.

 Having an investment philosophy you can stick with is paramount

While there is no silver bullet, understanding how markets work and trusting market prices are good starting points. By adhering to a well-thought out investment plan, ideally agreed upon in advance of periods of volatility, investors may be better able to remain calm during periods of short-term uncertainty. 

Create an investment plan that aligns with your risk tolerance

You want to have a plan in place that gives you peace of mind regardless of the market conditions. Over time, capital markets have rewarded investors who have taken a long-term perspective and remained disciplined in the face of short-term noise.

Don’t try and time the market

The 2020 market downturn offers an example of how the cycle of fear and greed can drive an investor’s reactive decisions. Back in March, there was widespread agreement that COVID-19 would have a negative impact on the economy, but to what extent? Who would’ve guessed we would’ve experienced the fastest bear market in history in which it took just 16 trading days for the S&P 500 to close down 20% from a peak only to be followed by the best 50-day rally in history?

Stay disciplined through market highs and lows

Financial downturns are unpleasant for all market participants. When faced with short-term noise, it is easy to lose sight of the potential long-term benefits of staying invested. While no one has a crystal ball, adopting a long-term perspective can help change how investors view market volatility.

Focus on what you can control

To have a better investment experience, people should focus on the things they can control. It starts with creating an investment plan based on market principles, informed by financial science, and tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Author

  • Dennis McNamara, CFP®, CHFC®, AIF®, CSLP®

    Today, as co-founder of wHealth Advisors, I find immense fulfillment in knowing that we use our platform as a force for good. As a firm, we’re founded on the industry’s highest standards for ethics and transparency while also offering pro-bono services to those in need. Financially, we donate a portion of our gross revenue annually to qualified 501(c)3 organizations (which are nominated + voted on by our clients). Personally, though, I find the greatest satisfaction in helping my clients gain financial peace of mind through prudent money management. Prudent money management is like a positive feedback loop: when we are no longer burdened by finances, other dimensions of our lives also tend to improve. As we continue to grow we realize that as important as money is, those other dimensions of life are equally (if not more!) important. As modern philosopher Naval Ravikant reminds us: “The three big ones in life are wealth, health, and happiness. We pursue them in that order, but their importance is reverse. A calm mind, a fit body, and a house full of love. These things cannot be bought.” My life’s mission has been dedicated to helping others use money to close the gap between who they are today and the best version of themselves that awaits ahead. I am excited to meet you and look forward to the opportunity of working together on your journey to financial independence! Designations: - Certified Financial Planner™ - Chartered Financial Consultant® - Accredited Investment Fiduciary® - Certified Student Loan Professional® Featured in: - Forbes - U.S. News & World Report - Financial Advisor Magazine Outside of wHealth Advisors: - Educating myself more on: Stoicism, permaculture, climate justice, systemic racism, health & longevity science - Happiest when: outdoors with wife, Arabelle, and son, Manny - Stays active with: strength training, functional range conditioning, hiking, cycling, surfing, and yoga - Financially splurges on: Single-origin coffee

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