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2020 Investing Lessons

Posted: Brandon Arns

As 2020 winds to a close, you will notice the typical barrage of articles being sent out explaining what happened this year and predicting what’s going to happen next year. Typically, it’s best to ignore these as just noise (Spoiler alert: none of the end of year 2019 articles had pandemic on the prediction list). However, the end of the year does provide a good opportunity to reflect on what happened and take some lessons from it.

Ben Carlson (whom I’ve referenced before) provides a really good list in his latest blog, “My 2020 Investing Lessons.” I have learned some of these lessons myself this year.

The lessons he writes are:

  • Investing when things look bleak remains a profitable strategy.
  • Maybe the stock market is smarter than all of us.
  • If it’s in the headlines, it’s too late.
  • History can be a crude guide.
  • The outcomes will always seem obvious in hindsight.
  • Markets are getting faster.
  • Buy and hold is still pretty hard to beat.
  • Bonds can fall too.
  • Buying during a bear market is hard.
  • The stock market has the ability to make you feel like an idiot and a genius in the same year.

If you’re like me, as you read some of these you either came up with some counterargument to one of the lessons or thought, “yea that’s obvious.” But as you read through them in the blog, you find that even the ones that seem obvious or imperfect are still pretty good rules of thumb and provide a good foundation to thinking about investing. Please enjoy the piece and have a great rest of the year.

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