Self-Directed Investors Satisfied With Their Strategies in 2020

Most say they learned the importance of staying the course, despite market volatility.

StreetWise, E*TRADE’s quarterly tracking study of experienced investors, has released a report that shows 71% of investors are satisfied with how they have managed their investments this year.

The top lesson they say they learned this year is the importance of staying the course (50%), followed by focusing on strategic market moves (19%) and building an emergency fund (15%).

As the year draws to a close, the No. 1 thing that self-directed investors plan on doing is using an online tool to review their portfolio (38%), followed by reaching out to an adviser (35%). Their top financial resolution for 2021 is to use online tools to diversify their portfolio and help meet goals (33%), followed by seeking the help of an investment professional (30%).

“The year kicked off with a market shock that may define a generation in COVID-19, and, as a nation, we then experienced a social movement of monumental proportions in the fight for equality, only to cap the year with the most contentious election in modern history,” says Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial. “And these next few months may continue to see pronounced volatility as markets balance winter virus woes with vaccine developments. In spite of all of this, it’s encouraging to see investors tune out the noise and remain focused on long-term investment goals. In this environment, a properly diversified portfolio across asset classes is a powerful way to help smooth out unpredictable market conditions.”

For the new year, Loewengart suggests investors review and rebalance their portfolios in response to major life events, such as retirement, the birth of a child or buying a house. Next, he suggests they check to see if their retirement plan is putting them on a path to success and consider tax loss harvesting.

The survey was conducted in October among an online U.S. sample of 842 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account.