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30/70 asset allocation is the best overall?
Old 04-08-2015, 10:45 AM   #1
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30/70 asset allocation is the best overall?

Here is an interesting article by Rick Ferri in which he claims that for those already retired a 30/70 asset allocation is the best overall, combining much less volatility with descent growth.

I bring this up because of a recent session doing 'what-if' tests with Firecalc. It seems that my preferred success rate (100%) does not decrease below that level as I add more bonds until my AA ratio gets to be about 20/80. In fact, some of the higher bond levels show larger possible end of life accumulations - I assume because at sometime I would have avoided a big hit in a down market.

The Center of Gravity for Retirees

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I propose the center of gravity for those who have accumulated enough for retirement to be 30% stocks and 70% bonds. This is a conservative mix that has enough equity to growth with inflation and enough fixed income to keep portfolio volatility at bay. Historically, a 30/70 allocation has earned the highest Sharpe ratio. This is the point on the efficient frontier that has earned the best risk-adjusted return as illustrated in Figure 2.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:54 AM   #2
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This does fly in the face of conventional wisdom. I'll be interested in hearing what the collective wisdom of this forum will have to say. This sounds sort of like that "just don't lose the money" pitch.

....and here I just got myself back to 60/40!!!! Crap!
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:03 AM   #3
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anyone sitting on a 30/70 will learn the meaning of the word "duration" in a year or two
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:08 AM   #4
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Here is an interesting article by Rick Ferri in which he claims that for those already retired a 30/70 asset allocation is the best overall, combining much less volatility with descent growth.
Most of the discussions here focus on return. Rick Ferri is making a point about volatility, which is very important for those of us in the withdrawal phase.
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An interesting feature of a 30/70 portfolio is its resilience to losing money in down markets. Figure 3 illustrates the annualized rolling 5-year risk and returns of 30/70 portfolios (blue) compared to 60/40 portfolios (yellow). There was only one down period from 1928-1932.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:15 AM   #5
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FWIW, I think it is probably that the 30/70 ratio is based upon a person whose retirement is mostly dependent on one's personal financial investments with minimal pension/annuity/rental-income, etc. YMMV.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:15 AM   #6
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If the goal is to maximize the possibility of maintaining present spend pattern then one would go with the 30/70 as the reduced drawdowns offset the bad bear markets in early retirement. In the early years with major market declines you would be buying nearly as much stock at the lower prices with a 30/70 portfolio as you would with an 80/20 portfolio without incurring as much in losses.
The results are similar to the Permanent Portfolio which holds 25% stocks.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:20 AM   #7
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anyone sitting on a 30/70 will learn the meaning of the word "duration" in a year or two
+1
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:28 AM   #8
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70% of your portfolio with negative real interest rates and not insignificant interest rate risk?

No thanks.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:31 AM   #9
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For those that continue for years to feel that interest rates are too low to hold bonds, (this article advocated 5 year treasuries), if interest rates were to climb 3 percent in the next year which do you think would perform worse 5 year treasuries or the US stock market?
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:44 AM   #10
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Wellesley holds about 10 percent more stock than this, is considered conservative and has performed well over time. There are life strategy funds that mirror this suggestion. I have money I need over the next 10 years invested very conservative and get more stock exposure out further down the money trail. Personally, I think 30 percent is to conservative for a long time horizon (ER).
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:45 AM   #11
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if interest rates jump 3 percentage points then a 5-yr treasury bond fund would lose 15%
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
Here is an interesting article by Rick Ferri in which he claims that for those already retired a 30/70 asset allocation is the best overall, combining much less volatility with descent growth.

I bring this up because of a recent session doing 'what-if' tests with Firecalc. It seems that my preferred success rate (100%) does not decrease below that level as I add more bonds until my AA ratio gets to be about 20/80. In fact, some of the higher bond levels show larger possible end of life accumulations - I assume because at sometime I would have avoided a big hit in a down market.

The Center of Gravity for Retirees
Thanks for the post. I don't think I would go to that AA. I will FIRE in 2 years, told the boss last week so I'm somewhat committed. I'm having a hard time in my head thinking of even a 50/50 as I will need those funds 30 years from now. However, reading the post I must make myself at least consider something like this. Gotta think out of the box and consider all options.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:11 PM   #13
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with rates soon to be shifting course eventually not something I would do nor would i base past performance on anything on .
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:41 PM   #14
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I think a better approach would be to go 30/70 with the 70 in a "stable value" fund, like T Rowe Price or something similar - it has an effective duration of 0 and the annual RORs have been much higher than cash - that's probably what I'll be doing when I start drawing down
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
...
I bring this up because of a recent session doing 'what-if' tests with Firecalc. It seems that my preferred success rate (100%) does not decrease below that level as I add more bonds until my AA ratio gets to be about 20/80. ...
If you are 'deep' within 100% SWR territory, then looking at pass/fail isn't going to be very sensitive to AA. You won't really get much information from that kind of a comparison.

Better to use the investigate functions to find a marginally 100% success rate, and then us that marginally SWR with the 'Investigate changing my allocation' selection.

To make a parallel, it's kind of like if someone said that a bench mounted rifle and scope is no more accurate than a Saturday Night Special handgun, because both of them can hit the broad side of a barn. That test is not sensitive enough to tell you which is better.

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Old 04-08-2015, 03:04 PM   #16
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...descent growth.
Another marvelous oxymoron...

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Wellesley holds about 10 percent more stock than this, is considered conservative and has performed well over time.... Personally, I think 30 percent is to conservative for a long time horizon (ER).
+1

I've posted this FIRECalc chart countless times. Anything less than ~40% equities shows a significant drop off in survival rate over a 30 year time frame:
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File Type: jpg Equity % success rates.JPG (65.2 KB, 118 views)
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Old 04-08-2015, 03:08 PM   #17
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Thanks for the post. I don't think I would go to that AA. I will FIRE in 2 years, told the boss last week so I'm somewhat committed. I'm having a hard time in my head thinking of even a 50/50 as I will need those funds 30 years from now. However, reading the post I must make myself at least consider something like this. Gotta think out of the box and consider all options.
I think it depends on your source of retirement income. As Chuckanut says, this MIGHT be OK if your income is based solely upon investments, although I sure wouldn't feel comfortable with it. But if you have income from secure pensions, rentals, etc. I think it would be foolish to consider an AA like this. Now if you consider your pensions and rental income as part of your bond allocation, maybe. But even then I don't think I'd go much below 50/50.
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Old 04-08-2015, 03:14 PM   #18
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I've posted this FIRECalc chart countless times. Anything less than ~40% equities shows a significant drop off in survival rate over a 30 year time frame:
Ok, but if I'm reading the chart correctly, there seems to be no improvement/advantage of going more than about 50% stocks. Why take on more risk?
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Old 04-08-2015, 03:26 PM   #19
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I think it depends on your source of retirement income. As Chuckanut says, this MIGHT be OK if your income is based solely upon investments, although I sure wouldn't feel comfortable with it. But if you have income from secure pensions, rentals, etc. I think it would be foolish to consider an AA like this. Now if you consider your pensions and rental income as part of your bond allocation, maybe. But even then I don't think I'd go much below 50/50.
Agree. I can't see going below 60/40 (presently 85/15 accumulating) with a military pension accounting for somewhere around 50% of retirement income. I view that as "fixed" already, which reduces volatility and provides income in downturns to help reduce required withdrawals.
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Old 04-08-2015, 03:31 PM   #20
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Ok, but if I'm reading the chart correctly, there seems to be no improvement/advantage of going more than about 50% stocks. Why take on more risk?
There is no reason unless you want the opportunity for more growth - the age old risk/reward issue. I've been at 45% since 2008 (down from 55%) and find that to be the "Goldilocks number" for me.
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