In terms of your retirement accounts, 2020 was definitely a year where it helped to simply ignore the constant market news and hold onto the assets that you believe have long-term promise. Here are the annual returns for select asset classes as benchmarked by ETFs per Morningstar after market close 12/31/20.
Commentary. This NYT article explains
The second major lesson is that we are bad at forecasting, so why listen to forecasts again at the beginning of 2020? Returns for 2021 could very well be much worse than 2020, even as we are soon able to see our family and friends in person again. I plan to focus on preparation instead of forecasting in all part of my life. In terms of investing, how can I make my portfolio and future income more resilient?
I won’t lie – I am pleasantly surprised at my brokerage statement this year, but I’m also wary about future returns. What keeps me owning a big chunk of stocks is that I am confident that the hundreds of business that I own through these ETFs and mutual funds will collectively make a profit, reinvest some of it to keep growing, and distribute some of it to me in the form of cash dividends. I am also confident that my US government bonds, municipal bonds, and FDIC/NCUA-insured bank certificates will keep the panic if a market drop does come.
The Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 fund (roughly 90% diversified stocks and 10% bonds) was up 16.3% in 2020. The benchmark for our personal portfolio, a more conservative mix of 70% stocks/30% bonds as we are closer to retirement, was up 11.5% in 2020.
Bitcoin. I didn’t list BTC because I don’t see it as a major asset class. The total value of all BTC in the world is now $600 billion (even at the current price of $32,000). The total market cap of gold is about $10 trillion. I have no well-researched predictions of about the long-term prospects of BTC. I’d only go as far as saying there is a case for a lottery-ticket-style investment of BTC, but I’d avoid nearly all the other random cryptocurrencies. (As in, I’d rather own BTC than spend what the average American does on lottery tickets, which adds up to over $250/year for every adult!) The appeal of BTC is that there is a finite amount (especially after the recent halving), and all these additional coins go against that. I own about 0.25 BTC via the Voyager app from a couple years back (
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