When going on a hike in uncharted territory, even the best weather forecast can be pretty spotty. So to choose whether to wear shorts or heavy snow gear, a rational first step is often to check the historical averages. What’s the typical temperature and precipitation in January? The future may be unknown, but good data can help us make educated decisions.
In that same spirit of wisely preparing for an unknown future by becoming students of history, I spend a lot of time collecting portfolio data from all around the world. The final 2020 numbers are starting to trickle in, so let’s talk for just a minute about what that means.
All of the portfolios and charts now include 2020 totals, and some historical asset series have also been updated as I identify new sources and improve my index calculation methods. The metrics for your favorite portfolio may have changed a little, so definitely take the time to peruse the new numbers.
Keep in mind, however, that these things take time to finalize so the numbers are only preliminary. Some returns are from temporary alternative sources while others use data through November instead of December. I’ll be sure to update things over the next several weeks as more information becomes available, but everything should be close enough now to get a good feel for how your favorite asset allocation performed in 2020.
As you explore the new data, you may notice that the shortcode feature that helps you quickly enter saved asset allocations is no longer available. The short story is that an astute reader alerted me to an irritating new Excel bug that affects how I display asset allocation percentages in certain situations. Since accurately communicating portfolio composition takes priority over the convenience of using a shortcode, I’ve temporarily disabled that feature while I explore my options. If anyone sees something else that just doesn’t look right, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Beyond the normal housekeeping, let’s get the new year off to a productive start by making good use of all we learned over the last twelve months. On top of browsing the additional data, here are a few posts that capture some of the most poignant investing lessons from the wild ride known as 2020.
Crashes: Asset Allocation in the Most Painful Month
Recoveries: Welcome To the Big Bounce
End Results: The Fastest Way to Lose Money in 2020
With all we’ve been through recently, if you’ve ever thought about selecting a portfolio designed to survive an unpredictable storm in your own financial journey then there’s no better time than right now to get started. Make this the year you take charge of your investments, and you’ll set yourself up for a lifetime of success.
Do you appreciate good data and want to lend a helping hand?