Like the flour and sugar in a well-stocked pantry, assets are the ingredients that are added in specific portions into your investing recipe. Rather than looking at individual stocks, Portfolio Charts focuses on low-cost index funds that track a wide variety of popular indices. Each index tracks hundreds or even thousands of securities, so a thoughtful investor can diversify their portfolio quite well by purchasing just a few index funds with minimum effort required.
The assets are grouped by high-level type: US Stocks, International stocks, Bonds, and Other — a collection of real assets that don’t neatly fall into other categories. You’ll see the color codes repeated throughout the site as a visual guide to overall portfolio construction. The Asset pages contain a high level overview, including a heat map that is handy for noting when the asset did very well and when it struggled. In addition, you’ll find references to the source data and to every portfolio on the site that uses that asset.
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve done my best to list a variety of index funds that best track the described asset. These are the funds you’ll need to purchase when it comes time to build your own portfolio. If that’s something that interests you but you’re not sure how it all works, here is a good place to start.
The Bogleheads community deserves tremendous credit for compiling and updating Simba’s Backtesting Spreadsheet, the source for the majority of data on this site. The source data shown on each asset page reflects the variety of sources used in the Simba spreadsheet, and each source includes a letter code that indicates the data type:
P : Primary source (directly from a reputable index fund or provider)
S : Synthetic model (built from quality data to mimic the performance of an index)
R : Replacement asset (a similar-but-different asset used when primary or synthetic data is not available)
Note that the calculations on this site make use of an automatic error measurement system that verifies any portfolio utilizing synthetic or replacement assets accurately models the desired design intent. This allows things like replacement assets to provide useful information without being misleading.
One may note from reading the Simba data sources that many of the US stock indices reference some of my own calculations. I take pride not only in using the best freely available data but also in working with the Simba team to give back as much as I receive.
Portfolio Charts is for educational purposes only, and the goal is simply to help individual investors make informed choices. To accomplish this goal, I make use of public data to power the portfolio calculations. I respect copyright and take a variety of proactive steps to honor the rights of data providers:
- Raw index data is not available anywhere on the site. Everything is transformed through inflation numbers and other calculations.
- Even with these transformations, the calculators are designed to prevent scraping of annual returns for individual assets. The focus is on portfolios, not indices.
- I never redistribute source data. The Tools & Data section provides links to a wide variety of sources where you can download data for your own personal use.
If you have any questions, please contact me. I take this seriously and will do everything I can to address any concerns.
I make absolutely no claims regarding the accuracy of any data. Not only may there be a few mistakes in the numbers, but the historical data is also updated from time to time by the primary sources as more information becomes available. All data is from 1970 to the present, which is the most freely available for such a wide variety of assets. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.
The asset returns ignore taxes. Some assets are taxed differently than others, and individual tax situations may vary.
While I’ve taken great care to curate the funds listed for each asset, I do not promote any specific funds and I receive no money for listing them. The list is not comprehensive and there may be other funds not shown that are also good options. Also, it’s entirely possible some of the ones shown may not be an exact match for each index. Please don’t take my word for it, and always thoroughly research any fund before you buy.
Generally speaking, the charts are best represented by the Vanguard index fund option which is noted in the source data. Every index fund is a little different — even ones ostensibly following the same index — and performance may vary. Also, while fees for the stated Vanguard fund are accounted for in the data, the fees for other funds may vary.
Long story short:
Always do your own research when selecting a fund to invest your own money. I am not a financial adviser, and the funds listed here are for educational purposes only.
If you spot an error, know of a fund that you think belongs on the list, want to see a new asset added to the site, or know of some good sources for data prior to 1970, please feel free to contact me. My hope is to make this section as helpful and accurate as possible.