I’ve always had a personal affinity for portfolios with an equal weighting of diverse assets, as they tend to focus less on optimization and more on diversification. The Permanent Portfolio is one good example, and I’ve now added two more to the list: the Ivy Portfolio and the Bernstein Portfolio.
I made a quick correction to the Swensen Lazy Portfolio asset allocation in order to more accurately reflect the portfolio he discusses in his book Unconventional Success. The Total International index was split into International Developed and Emerging Markets, and the short term treasuries were replaced with 5-year Tbills to better represent his desire for intermediate treasuries. You can read more about his concept here.
You may note that his portfolio includes 10-year treasuries, which are not yet an option in the calculators. Adding new data sets in the public tools is on the roadmap but takes time. As an interim, a reasonable suggested alternative for modeling 10-year treasuries is to use half Tbills and half Long-term bonds. It’s not an exact replacement, but it’s close.
Try it for yourself to see how the charts differ from the ones in the Desert Portfolio summary!
I added a pair of new lazy portfolios today — the Swensen portfolio and Rick Ferri Core Four portfolio. Both fine choices. However, these help demonstrate another larger point to keep in mind when considering portfolio options.
Looking at the charts, I’ll forgive you for having trouble telling them apart.
Each portfolio has different asset allocations. Swensen prefers TIPS and short term treasuries to the total bond market, and both have different percentages of the various assets. Note that Ferri uses notably more stocks and less REITs. However, the performance between the two is extremely similar. Why is that?
The short story is that they use the same general types if indices (US stocks, international stocks, REITs, and bonds), and while tweaking percentages sometimes feels like you’re making big changes, when you look at the big picture that isn’t always the case.
When evaluating your own portfolio, try not to get trapped so deep in the details that you lose sight of the big picture. Rather than changing a few percentage points of stocks vs bonds to eek out a few extra tenths of a percent in your average returns, try something like adding a bit of real diversification and see what happens!
I added a new lazy portfolio to the list — the Swedroe Min Fat Tails. I’ve always been a fan. However, when studied through the calculators here it demonstrates a few characteristics that I’d like to point out to help explain how to look at the charts in unison.