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The Year Nobody Saw Coming

My wife was near tears. She was only keeping it together – barely -- because we were in a busy restaurant at lunchtime. It was late 2019 and we were talking through the year ahead. She was upset because she wasn’t sure she had enough vacation days to do everything we had planned.

We were already scheduled at that point to go to Las Vegas in March for her birthday, Oregon in May for her niece’s wedding, and on an Alaskan cruise with my family for my parents’ 50th anniversary in August. If she wanted to take another day off here or there, it wasn’t going to be an option.

The universe, as you know, had other ideas. We wound up taking exactly none of those trips and she is rolling over several vacation days to 2021, hoping that we’ll be able to follow through on some of those plans in the upcoming year. Instead of traveling, I spent my time working from home and teaching – after relearning – 7th grade algebra.

2020 was the year nobody saw coming. The news and markets were supposed to be dominated by the Presidential election, which now seems like an afterthought. Instead, with everything that happened, it was perhaps the most difficult year in history to be an investor.

As an exercise a few weeks ago, I decided to try and encapsulate 2020 in the investment world in just one sentence. I came up with:

The unprecedented market drop in February and March led to the fastest recovery in history, all against the backdrop of record unemployment due to a global pandemic.

That’s a mouthful and doesn’t even take into account the aforementioned election, global governmental stimulus, social unrest, negative oil prices, and so much more.

2020 was a year of anxiety and resiliency. It was a year of fear and hope. It was a year that can’t end soon enough for many, many people.

2020 was anything but boring.

Here’s to 2021. Let’s all hope it’s a much less interesting year.


Photo by Alexander Naglestad on Unsplash