The longer I’ve been an investor, the more I’ve seen the importance of managing expectations. Looking at annual returns gives you one impression of the market. You see that a certain year generated a solid return and imagine that the path toward that positive end was smooth and easy.

Digging into the details of how the market actually achieved each year’s returns often shows a very different picture. Perhaps no graphic demonstrates this more clearly than the following one from JP Morgan Asset Management, which shows not just each year’s returns, but the lows the market experienced within each year.

While 2020 ended with a +16% gain, it suffered a -34% decline in March as investors grappled with the early days of the pandemic. Never before in the 40 years covered by this analysis has the market fallen so much within a given year and still ended the year with such a strong gain.

All of this has left us wondering how well you navigated 2020. Did you make any moves outside of the official recommendations within the strategy or strategies you follow, or did you stay the course? What helped you as an investor in such a tumultuous year?

If you're willing, we'd appreciate it if you would take a moment to complete the brief, anonymous survey we've created at this link. It should take less than five minutes. I’ll report back to share the aggregated results (individual replies are anonymous) in a few weeks.

The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). We trust that this survey will help us learn from and be an encouragement to each other. The more responses we get, the more helpful it will be. Thanks for your participation!