Investors are slightly less satisfied with the way they managed their portfolio investments decisions this year, despite a year of market records.

According to the latest wave of StreetWise, the E*TRADE quarterly tracking study of experienced investors, 38% said they were satisfied with their portfolio decision compared to 41% last quarter. At the same time, 14% were very satisfied compared to 17% in 2019.

This wave of the survey was conducted online in October among a U.S. sample of 902 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account.

Of the investors surveyed, 24% said as the year winds down, they are most likely to use an online tool to balance their portfolio to ensure that they are meeting target goals. Nineteen percent plan to sell stocks to offset value and 18% plan to check in with a financial advisor.

Only five percent indicated that they are planning to update their beneficiaries. Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial, said this is often an overlooked part of the year-end process. “Life events may affect your beneficiary choices, and updating a beneficiary is quick and easy. So, make sure to review your designations to confirm that they’re consistent with your intention,” he said.

As for the next six months, three out of five (60%) of investors indicated that they expect to change their portfolio allocation. Of those, 21% plan to move out of cash and into new positions and 14% said they will do the opposite. Forty percent of investors said they do not plan to make any changes five percent to their portfolio.

Loewengart noted that this year overall has been one for the books—with many sectors posting double-digit gains, the market reaching new high after new high and economic fundamentals posting relatively solid numbers.

“Many are likely wondering how much longer this bull market can last amid trade disputes and geopolitical tensions, not to mention the 2020 elections looming large in the distance,” he said. But he warns concerned investors, who may want to shore up their portfolios with defensive plays, that: “A long-term strategy mapped against one’s own risk tolerance and goals is typically the best course of action.”

Loewengart also advises investors to review and balance their portfolio in order to stay aligned with investment goals and objectives, as they kick off the New Year. He also recommends that investors maximize allowable annual contributions, which can keep you on track for retirement and puts the potential power of tax-deferred compounding on your side, he said.   
Additionally, he reminds investors over 70½ to take their required minimum distribution (RMD) from each of their pre-tax Individual Retirement Accounts by the end of the year—otherwise, it could result in a penalty of 50% of the RMD amount.