Market Review 2020: Looking Back on an Unprecedented Year

market review

The year 2020 proved to be one of the most tumultuous in modern history, marked by a number of developments that were historically unprecedented. But the year also demonstrated the resilience of people, institutions, and financial markets.

The novel coronavirus was already in the news early in the year, and concerns grew as more countries began reporting their first cases of COVID-19. Infections multiplied around the world through February, and by early March, when the outbreak was labeled a pandemic, it was clear that the crisis would affect nearly every area of our lives. The spring would see a spike in cases and a global economic contraction as people stayed closer to home, and another surge of infections would come during the summer. Governments and central banks worked to cushion the blow, providing financial support for individuals and businesses and adjusting lending rates.

On top of the health crisis, there was widespread civil unrest over the summer in the US tied to policing and racial justice. In August, Americans increasingly focused on the US presidential race in this unusual year. Politicians, supporters, and voting officials wrestled with the challenges of a campaign that at times was conducted virtually and with an election in the fall that would include a heightened level of mail-in and early voting. In the end, the results of the election would be disputed well into December. As autumn turned to winter, 2020 would end with both troubling and hopeful news: yet another spike in COVID-19 cases, along with the first deliveries of vaccines in the US and elsewhere.


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Financial Accomplishments – The Millennial Generation


There is a lot of evidence that suggests that are facing unique challenges that older generations never had to encounter, as it relates to finances. With this backdrop, it’s easy to see that Millennials have actually accomplished quite a lot despite having to navigate the 2008 financial crisis, as well as overcoming a reputation for being notoriously bad savers. 

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Aging Parents: Can a Home Remodel Allow Your Parent to Age in Place?

pandemic fatigue

When it comes to living independently as we age, much has to do with our surroundings. Many people wish to remain in their homes and age in place, but this is not always manageable. If you are helping your aging parents determine their options, it’s worthwhile to ask whether retrofitting or remodeling their existing home – or yours – can provide years of safe, independent living.

Of course, things like budgeting constraints, physical mobility, and willingness to embrace change will impact this decision, but below we will examine six changes that might allow your parents to age in place, either in their own home or in yours.

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Pandemic Fatigue

pandemic fatigue

Back in January 2020, I sat down to draft some personal and professional goals for the year, as I know many people do. Pencil and paper in hand, super pregnant, I neglected to add “navigate a global pandemic” to my list of hopeful future achievements. At the time, I was excited to attend the Schwab IMPACT conference in October. I looked forward to traveling to San Diego, soaking in all the information I could on industry trends, investments, practice management, and other financial topics. Of course, as we fast forward to the present, the conference ended up being virtual, along with most everything else these days.

Thankfully, if we learned nothing else in 2020, we’ve all embraced the technologies to make our lives seemingly run a little smoother (zoom, google meets, WebEx or facetime, anyone?). I cleared my schedule and dedicated my time and energy into watching the presentations as if I were attending in person. I even virtually “traveled” to the sponsor booths, typically good for a few free pens, T-shirts, and the highly coveted selfie sticks. The conference ended without a pen in sight.

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Presidential Elections: What Do They Mean for Markets

elections and the stock market


It’s almost Election Day in the US once again. While the outcome may be uncertain, one thing we can count on is that plenty of opinions and predictions will be floated in the days surrounding the vote. In financial circles, this will inevitably include discussion of the potential impact on markets. But should elections influence long-term investment decisions?

We would caution investors against making changes to a long-term plan in a bid to profit or avoid losses from changes in the political winds. For context, it is helpful to think of markets as a powerful information-processing machine. The combined impact of millions of investors placing billions of dollars’ worth of trades each day results in market prices that incorporate the collective expectations of those investors. This makes consistently outguessing market prices very difficult.1

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Elections and the Stock Market

elections and the stock market

The market continues to reach new highs although many stocks in the S&P 500 are still below their previous highs. For example, as of this writing, 40% of S&P 500 stocks are 20% below their highs. The market is reaching new highs on just a handful of stocks; including Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon, etc. In recent days we have been receiving a significant amount of interest from our clients as to the direction of stocks and the effects of a presidential election.

A recent article in Barron’s magazine discussed analysis by Ned Davis Research Chief Equity Strategist Ed Clissold. He mentioned stocks have risen more under Democratic presidents, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 7.8% a year, versus 3.3% under Republican presidents. When both the White House and Congress have been held by Democrats the Dow gained an average of 3% annually, compared with 7.1% annually when Republicans have held both the Presidency and Congress.[1]

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Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital.
Information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax or legal advice, you should consult with own financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances as needed. No advice may be rendered by Arcadia unless a client service agreement is in place. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

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