Broker Check

2020 in Review

This chart was acquired from on 07/09/2020. The Vanguard Total World Stock Market Fund (VT) has been used in this chart to represent the global stock market. The blue text are major world events which have affected the stock market since January of 2020. The green text are cautionary measures Kilmer & Company has taken to help protect our clients' investments in TD Ameritrade accounts. These cautionary measures may not have been applied to some TD Ameritrade accounts depending upon various circumstances regarding the financial markets, the client, and/or their investment portfolio.

Late 2019

  • We became concerned that 2020 may not be as positive for the financial markets as 2019.
  • As opportunities arose, we discussed with clients the possibility of lowering investment risk and/or withdrawing any needed money sooner rather than later. 
  • In November, we revised many of our portfolios to be more conservative.*


  • China announced the first outbreak of COVID-19.


  • COVID-19 cases appeared around the world.


  • COVID-19 cases increased in many nations. Countries began to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as declaring a national emergency, testing citizens for exposure to COVID-19, restricting travel to and from countries, temporarily shutting down schools, and canceling major public events. This ultimately lead to nearly a quarter of the world’s population being placed in lock-down to fight COVID-19.
  • Our investment research firm, Life Strategies Analytics (LSA), announced concerns that COVID-19 would continue to cause volatility in the stock market as well as result in an economic recession. LSA suggested that our portfolios become more conservative by holding more cash and less stock of small-sized, mid-sized, and international companies. We agreed with LSA's assessment and revised many of our portfolios to be more conservative.*


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that COVID-19 countermeasures could cause global economic growth to contract by 3% in 2020.
  • Approximately 26 million Americans had lost employment due to fear of, and countermeasures for, COVID-19.
  • A price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia caused oil prices to fall to below-zero for the first time in history. Oil producers were forced to pay for the disposal of their own oil because supply far outpaced demand.
  • The U.S. stock market rebounded despite unprecedented world events and an impaired U.S. economy. Trillions of dollars of Fed stimulus money is thought to be the cause.


  • Protests, riots, looting, and vandalism spread across the world likely due to deteriorating economic circumstances. Examples included riots in America and Europe protesting racial injustice as well as riots in Hong Kong protesting China's claims of ownership. 
  • The U.S. stock market continued to climb upwards nevertheless. 
  • We maintained a higher than usual level of cash in our portfolios out of concern for the growing disconnect between investor hopes and real world circumstances.


  • The Fed announced that any hope for a quick economic turnaround was unlikely to take place. The stock markets fell in response to this news.
  • We became concerned that cities and states may struggle to pay their debts due to the loss of tax revenue caused by COVID-19. This sentiment was shared by LSA. We removed bonds issued by cities and states from many of our portfolios.* In some instances, this investment strategy also helped to lower our clients' future taxes through tax loss harvesting
  • COVID-19 cases increased in some countries, causing various governments to postpone or reverse the re-opening of their nation's economies.
  • The world's two largest nations, China and India, experienced their first deadly military dispute since 1975.


  • We grew concerned that the Presidential elections could create much uncertainty for our country's future. The financial markets do not respond well to such uncertainty. In late August, we introduced a new investment to most of our portfolios which is designed to be less sensitive to swings in the stock market. 


  • The stock market significantly fell over a period of several days in early September. The likely cause was stocks which had become overvalued. 


  • The stock market continued to experience volatility. Some likely causes included the Presidential elections, rising cases of COVID, and Congress' reluctance to pass a new stimulus bill to bolster the economy.

There were many conflicting news reports regarding the details of world events during this period of time. Kilmer & Company therefore does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the above statements.

*The investment strategies and changes described in this report may or may not have been carried out for any particular client account depending upon various circumstances such as the adviser's discretion or the client's unique goals, financial situation, or investment preferences.