Morgan Stanley

Amid Year-End Market Volatility, E*TRADE Study Reveals Spike in Investor Satisfaction With Investment Decisions

Dec 20, 2021

Investors choose "staying the course" as the most important lesson learned from 2021

Arlington, Virginia -

E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC today announced results from the most recent wave of StreetWise, the E*TRADE quarterly tracking study of experienced investors. Results shed light on investor decisions regarding 2021 and their financial resolutions for 2022:

  • Four out of five investors are satisfied with their portfolio decisions—up significantly from 2020. Despite myriad threats to their portfolio this year, including inflation, COVID mutations, and relatively rich valuations, 81% said they are satisfied with how they managed their investments in 2021, a 10 percentage point increase from last year.
  • Many say they’ve learned it’s better to stay the course. With more becoming engaged with the market than ever before, over two in five investors (43%) said they learned it’s better to stay the course when investing—topping the list of financial lessons of 2021 and beating by 23 percentage points “strategically moving in and out of the market”, which placed second.
  • And many will seek a hybrid approach of both digital tools and professional advice to assess their yearly performance. At year-end, investors said they plan to check in with a financial advisor (43%) and use online tools to review their portfolios (41%). When it comes to financial New Year’s resolutions most say they plan to learn more about investing, trading, and the markets (37%) followed by using online tools more often (36%), and seeking the help of investment professionals (34%) rounding out the top three.

“As we continue to navigate through the pandemic for yet another year, it’s encouraging that investors recognize that staying the course is a solid strategy,” said Mike Loewengart, Managing Director of Investment Strategy at E*TRADE Financial. “And though we’ve experienced a robust bull market, this final quarter of 2021 has shown we’re not immune to volatility. We may continue to see ebbs and flows in the market, and investors are employing all of the tools in their toolkit to stay on track.”

Mr. Loewengart offered additional considerations for investors as we enter the new year:

  • Review and rebalance your portfolio periodically. Routinely checking in on allocations and rebalancing when needed can help keep your portfolio aligned with your investment strategy. Reviewing your portfolio at year-end is a solid habit. Keep in mind, rebalancing can have tax consequences so check in with a tax or financial advisor before making a move.
  • Don’t lose sight of retirement planning. Maximizing your allowable annual contribution can help keep you on track for retirement and puts the potential power of tax-deferred compounding on your side. With less than 20% noting they plan to max out retirement contributions, retirement planning is often overlooked, especially when finances are tight. Also, investors subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) should remember to take those—otherwise, it could result in a financial penalty.
  • Financial help comes in all forms. With an abundance of education to be found and barriers to investing lower than ever, investors can easily arm themselves with investing and trading insights. Pairing advice from a financial professional with digital tools can pack a one-two punch when it comes to your long-term financial goals.

E*TRADE aims to enhance the financial independence of traders and investors through a powerful digital offering and professional guidance. To learn more about E*TRADE’s trading and investing platforms and tools, visit

For useful trading and investing insights from E*TRADE, follow the company on Twitter, @ETRADE.

About the Survey

This wave of the survey was conducted from October 8 to October 16 of 2021 among an online US sample of 901 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 Dynata. 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 Holdings, LLC and Important Notices

E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC 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 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 offered by E*TRADE Bank and E*TRADE Savings Bank, both federal savings banks and Members FDIC. More information is available at

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC 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.

E*TRADE Financial, E*TRADE, and the E*TRADE logo are registered trademarks of E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC. ETFC-G

© 2021 E*TRADE Financial Holdings, LLC, a business of Morgan Stanley. All rights reserved.

E*TRADE Financial engages Dynata to program, field, and tabulate the study. Dynata provides digital research data and has locations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. For more information, please go to

Referenced Data

In looking back on 2021, would you say you are...with how you managed your investments this year?




Top 2 Box



Very satisfied



Somewhat satisfied






Somewhat dissatisfied






Looking back at 2021, what's one financial lesson you learned?



It’s better to stay the course


It’s better to strategically move in and out of the market


I need to keep more cash on hand/save for an emergency fund


I need to manage my debt more aggressively


I need to save more for retirement


I need to keep my emotions in check when it comes to my investment portfolio  




As we approach the end of the year, which if any, of the following will you complete?



Check in with a financial advisor


Use an online tool to check that my portfolio is properly allocated and is meeting target goals, rebalancing as necessary  


Sell a stock or stocks that have lost value in order to offset taxes on both gains and income.


Make a charitable contribution of stocks, bonds, or cash


Create or refresh my retirement plan


Max out retirement contributions


Update my beneficiaries


I don't plan to check on my portfolio at the end of the year




In 2022, my financial resolution is to...



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


Increase the amount I contribute to my retirement plan


Change my asset allocation to better reflect market conditions


Not make any changes to how I am investing






E*TRADE Media Relations