Last year was the most difficult to make money in the capital markets in 78 years, and 2016 is off to a very rocky start, as both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average are down more than 8 percent.

You may be surprised when I say that 2015 was such a poor year. After all, stocks have had far worse years, and we remember what happened in 2008. However, in 2008, U.S. Treasuries saw double-digit gains, and many other bond categories made money.

The problem with 2015 is that no asset classes made any kind of real return. U.S. stocks were essentially flat for the year, and they were the top-performing asset class. Bonds, commodities, energy and foreign investment were all down.

Consequently, unless you guessed right on a few stocks, there was nowhere to go. And speculating on just a few stocks can be a dangerous long-term approach to growing wealth.

I think that volatility will rule the day in 2016. We have tremendous amounts of uncertainty. China is now in bear market territory, instability in the Middle East is expected to continue and the Fed is expected to continue to raise interest rates. The most natural byproduct of uncertainty in the markets is volatility.

So how should investors react?

Read my advice to investors in this month’s edition of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal. Click to read HERE.