In 2015, most individual investors lost money and underperformed the markets. 72% of investors had negative or zero 12-month return. (In 2014, 30% of investors did.) While the S&P 500 and a 60/40 balanced portfolio* had 12-month returns of 0.4% and -0.3% respectively, the median investor lost 2.6%.
Women investors outperformed men, but not by much. One possible factor could be that men turned over their portfolios 44% more than women.
In general, we consistently observe across all investors that higher portfolio turnover predicts poorer returns.
Portfolio turnover could reflect reacting to short-term volatility in the markets. During the August 2015 correction, investors who reacted the most by selling also had the worst returns.
Returns are net of fees and include dividends. Time period is 12 months ending 12/31/2015.
*For S&P 500, we used total returns from VTI. For 60/40 Balanced, we used VBINX.