2019 in Review: Were the Money ‘Experts’ Smarter Than You?

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Every year, experts predict what’s going to happen in the next 12 months, including things that will affect your money.

For more than a decade, Money Talks News has been comparing some of those expert predictions with those of regular people — randomly selected folks we run into on the street — sometimes with surprising results.

Following is how the prognostications of our interviewees stacked up for 2019.

Stock market

At the end of 2018, the experts at Wall Street firms like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs projected that the S&P 500 stock market index would hit a median of 3,000 points by this month, according to a CNBC survey. That would have translated to an increase of more than 15%.

Our guy on Main Street was a bit more conservative, with our person on the street predicting stocks would go up at least 10%.

What actually happened in 2019? The markets have surpassed both predictions so far this year.

As of Dec. 17, the S&P 500 stood at 3,192.52 points — reflecting a one-year annualized return of 25.4%.


Late in 2018, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted that in 2019, the price of a barrel of crude oil would average around $54 on the West Texas Intermediate index and $71 on the Brent index.

As for what people on Main Street thought: Our person on the street told us she saw the price settling in at around $50 a barrel.

As of mid-December, the EIA had the West Texas Intermediate at $56.74 a barrel and the Brent at $63.93.

So, neither the EIA nor Main Street was too far off the mark.

Real estate

In late 2018, real estate website Zillow said home values would increase by 3.79% in the coming year.

Main Street took a more measured tone, with our person on the street predicting, “It’s either going to stay the same or go down a little bit … about 2%.”

This round goes to the pros, as Zillow was spot-on. As of Nov. 30, the median home value in the U.S. was $243,225 — an increase of 3.8% from one year prior, according to Zillow.

How did your own predictions for the year stack up against the ones our experts and folks on the street offered? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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