Investors Satisfied with Portfolio Decisions amid 2018 Volatility

Study: As the New Year approaches, investors focus on the long-term despite near-term market noise

December 13, 2018 — NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ETFC) today announced results from the most recent wave of StreetWise, the E*TRADE quarterly tracking study of experienced investors, in which respondents reflected on 2018 and their resolutions for the New Year.

• Wide majority are satisfied with their investing decisions. Despite a year of heightened volatility, 87% of investors surveyed at the beginning of the fourth quarter said they were satisfied with how they managed their investments this year, statistically tied with satisfaction levels at the same period in 2017.

• They are keeping their focus on the long-term. Investors chose increasing retirement plan contributions as their top resolution for 2019, in line with last year. Gen X investors remain particularly focused on the long-term, with one out of two (50%) choosing increased plan contributions as their top resolution and less than one out of three (31%) choosing reallocating their portfolio to reflect market conditions.

• Millennials choose knowledge. The top resolution among Millennials was to learn more about investing, trading, and the markets (51%).

Volatility, trade wars, rising interest rates… and a shifting political dynamic

“This year marked a turning point in the financial markets—punctuated by volatility, trade wars, rising interest rates, and a shifting political dynamic,” said Mike Loewengart, VP of Investment Strategy at E*TRADE Financial. “The data suggest that in the face of market headwinds and uncertainty, investors are demonstrating some pretty sophisticated thinking when it comes to their portfolio decisions, looking past the near-term noise and focusing on their goals. They seem to take to heart that the single most important aspect of investing you can control is how much you put into your nest egg.”

Mr. Loewengart offered additional insights for investors to consider as they kick off the New Year:

  • Create or refresh a retirement plan: It’s important for investors to revisit their retirement plan annually. By reviewing goals and objectives, investors can understand how much they may need in retirement, where they currently stand, and make any adjustments to stay on track.
  • Make a 2018 IRA contribution: Investors who maximize allowable annual contributions for their retirement account can put the potential power of tax-deferred compounding on their side.
  • Review gains, losses, and expenses: Investors can evaluate their annual transactions before year-end to uncover opportunities to help reduce their tax bill. A tax or financial advisor can also offer insight into potential tax implications of portfolio holdings, as well as what to consider with any future investments.


Referenced Data

In 2019, my financial resolution is to… (Top 2)

…increase the amount I contribute to
my retirement plan


…change my asset allocation to better reflect
market conditions


…learn more about investing, trading,
and the markets


…use online tools more often to make sure I am
properly diversified and meeting my goals


…seek the help of investing professionals
when I need it

…not make any changes to how I am investing23%24%8%21%41%


In looking back on 2018, would you say you are…with

how you managed your investments this year?


Q4 ‘18

Total Q4 ’18Total Q4 ’1725–3435–5455+
Satisfied (Top 3 Box)87%91%84%86%90%
Dissatisfied (Bottom 3 Box)4%9%6%3%3%
“Millennial” defined as age 25–34 // “Gen X” defined as age 35–54 //
“Baby Boomer” defined as age 55+





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About the Survey
This wave of the survey was conducted from October 1 to October 9 of 2018 among an online US sample of 956 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account. The survey has a margin of error of ±3.20 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. It was fielded and administered by Research Now. The panel is broken into thirds of active (trade more than once a week), swing (trade less than once a week but more than once a month), and passive (trade less than once a month). The panel is 60% male and 40% female, with an even distribution across online brokerages, geographic regions, and age bands.

About E*TRADE Financial and Important Notices
E*TRADE Financial and its subsidiaries provide financial services including brokerage and banking products and services to retail customers. Securities products and services are offered by E*TRADE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC). Commodity futures and options on futures products and services are offered by E*TRADE Futures LLC (Member NFA). Managed Account Solutions are offered through E*TRADE Capital Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Bank products and services are offered by E*TRADE Bank, and RIA custody solutions are offered by E*TRADE Savings Bank, both of which are national federal savings banks (Members FDIC). More information is available at
E*TRADE Financial Corporation and its affiliates do not provide tax advice, and you always should consult your own tax advisor regarding your personal circumstances before taking any action that may have tax consequences.
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E*TRADE Financial Corporation and Research Now are separate companies that are not affiliated. E*TRADE Financial Corporation engages Research Now to program, field, and tabulate the study. Research Now Group, Inc. provides digital research data and has locations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. For more information, please go to