While most of us are thinking about Halloween costumes this time of year, retailers are frantically planning for the holiday shopping season. Looming supply chain issues may be the topics making headlines, but retail never sleeps and both manufacturers and merchants alike are busy creating display strategies for each available item.
Every company wants to show their product in the best light to help potential customers choose it over other options. From compelling specs that stand out in the crowd to a well-organized display that keeps people engaged, marketing teams have lots of tried-and-true techniques to capture customer attention. No matter whether we’re talking toys, jewelry, or perfectly pressed shirts, presentation really does make a difference.
In that same merchandising mindset, I just completed an overhaul of the Portfolios section with a focus on presentation. The goal is to offer much more information in an organized way so that portfolio shoppers can better understand each option and navigate their way to one that best meets their needs. So without further ado, let’s go through an example to see what the new portfolio profiles can do for you.
For this example, I’m going to walk through the Three-Fund Portfolio. When you visit the home page, the first thing you’ll be greeted by is an executive summary of the concept followed by a quick guide to the content.
The Three-Fund Portfolio prioritizes simplicity in diversification by owning the whole world in just three low-cost index funds.
The Asset Allocation section should look very familiar and shows all of the asset percentages just like before. Depending on the portfolio, it now also includes extra information like asset notes, other versions of the same concept, and a pointer to local interpretations of the portfolio. Just click each item, and you’ll see what I mean.
- 48% Total Stock Market
- 12% International Stocks¹
- 40% Intermediate Bonds
1. Larimore specifically recommends international stocks equal to 20% of the equity portion of the portfolio. Since the default version here on Portfolio Charts includes 60% stocks, I allocated 12% (20% of 60) to international.
Larimore does not recommend a specific percentage of bonds. Instead, he suggests that you should select the percentage according to your age, goals, timeframe, and risk tolerance. I chose 40% bonds as a reasonable starting point, but you can also customize the percentage to your own needs. Here are a few examples that follow his philosophy:
60% Bonds — Less Risk
25% Bonds — More Risk
Find country-specific versions and appropriate ETFs using the Performance charts.
The Author section gives proper credit to the originator of the portfolio idea. It includes a brief profile and a link to the book, paper, or website where they discuss the portfolio concept in their own words.
While I’ll never be able to do each portfolio complete justice and you should always read the author’s own work, the Overview section offers my brief synopsis of the core principles. Whenever there’s a particularly relevant article that discusses the portfolio in more depth, I also link to it as a “Featured Discussion”.
The Three-Fund Portfolio was created by Taylor Larimore after being inspired by the writings of Jack Bogle to simplify the investments from his own complex mix of 16 different funds to something much more sustainable…
(You get the idea. Check the Three-Fund page for the full overview.)
Sometimes the best way to learn about a portfolio is to see how it’s used in context. The Articles section searches the Insights for every post that mentions the portfolio and displays them all in one place. So it’s easy to find references which often include charts and analysis.
Insights that mention the Three-Fund Portfolio
Sometimes a portfolio seems nice on the surface, but you’re still interested in what the competition has to offer. The Alternatives section lists three other portfolio options that I believe share a similar structure or design intent. So if the current portfolio seems appealing, there’s a good chance you might like the others as well.
Portfolios with a similar structure or design intent
Classic 60-40 — A similar Bogleheads staple without the international fund
Core Four Portfolio — Four simple index funds to own the market and minimize risk
Total Stock Market — A simple and effective broad domestic stock index fund
And last but certainly not least is the Performance section, which displays the historical returns for the portfolio using every chart on the site. I won’t display the charts here for space reasons, but be sure to visit the portfolio page for yourself to see the full picture. And while you’re there, try playing with the home country setting to see how it translates the portfolio concept to a dozen different countries. The performance charts are very powerful and are worth taking the time to fully explore!
Change the home country to translate the portfolio to local assets, currency, and inflation.
Any big update is also a good opportunity to make a few changes, so allow me to point out two individual portfolio things that are a little different than before:
- The Rick Ferri Core Four has been renamed the Core Four Portfolio, which is more in line with how Ferri talks about it in his own work.
- The Coward’s Portfolio has been retired from the list. While it continues to be a fine option for any investor, it has less source material than many of the other portfolios and I feel like Bernstein’s No-Brainer Portfolio is a better introduction to his work. But Coward’s fans should note that I include a bookmarked Coward’s link in the “Other Versions” section of the No-Brainer page along with a few of his other ideas.
But those few minor details aside, the overall update is less about change and more about building up as an educational portfolio resource.
Long story short, the Portfolio pages are more thorough than ever with lots of new information designed to help guide your own exploration. So if it has been a while since you last visited the Portfolios section, be sure to take a few minutes to drop in and look around. Hopefully you’ll learn something new! And if you have a favorite portfolio, there’s no better way to support helpful information than to spread the word and share a link.
So as you start making your holiday shopping list and browsing for the best gifts, think about dedicating some of that time to finding the right portfolio. The shelves are fully stocked here at Portfolio Charts. And there’s no better time than the present to find a portfolio to love.
Have the portfolios helped you make better investing decisions?