"2016 has been an uncommonly shitty year."
- John Oliver
You’ve heard me say this before, the media tends to instill anxiety and exaggeration and is in the business of selling bad news – and what a year it was for “bad news”.
I’ve also written to you many times about how we know that the market is always going to react to the media and that while we cannot control that particular relationship, we can control our very own reactions to it. And there is perhaps no other year like 2016 in where we were lead to believe that we were in a crisis time after time, followed by a short-lived dip in the market responsible for robbing the nervous nellies of their realized losses and rewarding the patient investors with a recovery a few days later (or nice gains for those who took advantage of the sales). Prudent investing requires that you separate your emotions from the media hype and reference back to your written financial plan to address if this short-term dip affects your overall plan or not. If it isn’t relevant to your overall plan, the market set back offers a buying opportunity for the strategic optimist.
So, without a doubt, the theme or lesson of 2016 is to stay diversified and to stay invested.
John Oliver is not alone in his thoughts above - many have claimed that 2016 was a terrible year. We lost so many wonderful people and some unexpected things happened, but many amazing and wonderful things also happened this year that we should celebrate.
In honor of these remarkable things, here are is a list of 99 amazing things put together by Quartz that occurred this year, but I’ve highlighted my top 20 from this list (I was going to do a top 10 but there was too much goodness to choose from):
1. In June, a new survey showed that the ozone hole has shrunk by more than 3.9 million square kilometres since 2006. Scientists now think it will now be fully healed by 2050 | Sydney Morning Herald
2. Warren Buffett gave $2.9 billion to charity, again. And his son, a farmer and environmentalist, quietly continued to spend his billion dollar inheritance on sustainable agriculture and hunger eradication | CNN
3. In Canada, hockey moms, poker buddies, and neighbors took in Syrian refugees, one family at a time | New York Times
4. British Columbia protected 85% of one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests, home to the wonderfully named ‘Spirit Bear.’ | Reuters
5. In March, the US government abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters, reversing its decision from a year ago – and in November, the Obama administration followed up its March announcements by banning offshore exploration and drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic until 2022 | Politico
6. In 2016, more than 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. That included a new record holder for the world’s biggest marine reserve, off the coast of Antarctica | Reuters
7. Life expectancy in Africa has increased by 9.4 years since 2000, thanks to improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control, and expanded access to ARVs | Quartz
8. In 2016, for the first time ever, the amount of money it would take to end poverty dropped below the amount of money spent on foreign aid | Vox
9. Liberia was officially cleared of Ebola, meaning there are now no known cases of the deadly tropical virus left in West Africa | Vanguard
10. The WHO announced that measles have been eradicated in all of the Americas, from Canada to Chile. It’s the first time the disease has been eliminated from an entire world region | NBC
11. In 2016, some of the world’s biggest diseases, like colon cancer, dementia, and heart disease, started declining in wealthy countries | New York Times
12. Italy became the last large Western country to recognize same-sex unions in 2016, following a long-running battle by campaigners | Independent
13. Two weeks before Brexit, the African Union announced a new single African passport that permits holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states without a visa | Washington Post
14. In 2016 Costa Rica ran solely on renewable energy for over 100 days. Now it’s aiming for an entire year with no fossil fuels | The Independent
15. In July, the US, Mexico, and Canada committed to getting 50% of their electricity from renewables by 2025. Their leaders also nailed the awkward handshake thing | Time
16. In November, the United Kingdom agreed to phase out coal by 2025, France said it would get there by 2023, and Germany promised to reduce emissions by 95% by 2050 | Guardian
17. Juarez, in Mexico, used to be the world’s most dangerous city. In 2016, crime came down and residents started losing their fear | National Geographic
18. Wild wolves started coming back to Europe, and for the first time since the American Revolution, wild salmon began spawning in the Connecticut River. In March, Yellowstone’s grizzly bears passed a major milestone, completing one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories in history | National Geographic
19. Sea World agreed to stop breeding captive killer whales and humpback whales were removed from the endangered species list, having fully recovered in the last 46 years | Science Mag
20. And in 2016, for the first time, we heard that the number of tigers in the wild rose for the first time in 100 years | National Geographic
And there you have it. Maybe 2016 wasn’t so bad after all and no matter what 2017 may bring, my team and I will be with you every step of the way to help guide you in the most strategic and sophisticated way. Many of you reading this are long-time clients, friends and family and so while I have the very special opportunity to do so again, let me sincerely thank you for your continued loyalty and wish you and yours all the very best for a happy, healthy and wealthy 2017.
Now you are in-the-know with Word on the Street.
Enjoy the long weekend and Happy New Year!