Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 09:25 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Just Say No to Bonds?

Has anyone studied this: since the likelihood historically is that the stock market will not have longer than about a 7 year protracted "down" period (or so I have read), suppose you put 7 years worth in cash and near-cash, and the rest in diversified stocks. Skip bonds altogether, other than t-notes as a cash-equivalent. Let your big cash balance insulate you from volatility concerns - knowing you can wait it out for 5-7 years would make me pretty blase about the ups and downs of stocks on a week to week basis.

1) That is, with a $1mm nest egg and needing $40K per year, put $40 x 7 in cash up front, and laddered CDs or T-notes, for a total of $280K or 28% of assets.

2) Put the rest, or $720k in stocks and "let the big dogs run."

3) Prune and sweep the winners as needed.

You could benefit from a higher net return than if you had bonds at the typical 60:40 allocation, no? With lots of sound sleep knowing 7 yrs of piggy bank is behind you.

You might need b*lls of brass to watch the market go down with 72% of your assets, but since you can wait it out for a long time in the end would you win since stocks will outperform? Bonds? We don't need no bonds, right?

Just curious if this has been looked at. Anyone taking this approach?
__________________

__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 09:38 PM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

I think Frank Armstrong pushes seven years, but I can't remember if he mixes the cash with bonds.

I bet one of the buckets gurus does the same.

We're doing it with ~92-95% stocks and the rest in cash (one year's expenses in a MM, a second year in a CD). No bonds. We're expecting/hoping that somewhere in the two years at least one of our equity categories will rise enough to give us the money for a third years' cash, or we'll cut back and take a little less.

We started this in 2002 and the cash balance got a bit of attention in early 2003, but everything was on the road to recovery by 2004.
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 09:38 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,615
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

http://www.fundadvice.com/fehtml/bhs...108/0108a.html

has the following
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merriman
In the 36 years under study here, the longest maturity you needed in order to achieve high bond returns was five years. All the data I have seen also indicates that one-year Treasury bills gave investors nearly 95 percent of the return of five-year Treasury notes, with much less volatility.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 09:45 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Has anyone studied this: since the likelihood historically is that the stock market will not have longer than about a 7 year protracted "down" period (or so I have read)
Remember that country that we used to think was going to take us over in the 1980's?* * Tell them about the 7-year limit on equity downturns.



If you can stomach the volatilty, and can live with a downturn that might outlive you, go for the gusto!
__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 09:52 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
saluki9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,032
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Just like Wab said. Do a little search on "fat tails" Just because it hasn't happened in your lifetime doesn't mean that it will not happen.

Almost every version of the efficient frontier I've seen calculated shows that a 10-15% allocation to bonds has a higher expected return than 100% equities.

That being said, unless you happen to be running an insurance company or pension plan you can do without the long maturities.

__________________
saluki9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 09:56 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

RIT,
I see your reasoning and don't have a quantitative answer, but I think having bonds would be useful because:
1) As wab points out--there's nothing "holy" about 7 years.
2)Sometimes bonds and socks move in different directions (e.g as folks bail out of stocks and buy bonds, the yield on existing bonds rises). If stocks take a dive but bonds rise, your overall portfolio value would not dip as much as if you just had stocks and MMs. More importantly, if you rebalance every year, you'l be buying stocks as their value declines (thus getting more 'cheap' shares). This wouldn't happen if you just waited out the downturn with MMs.


samclem
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:11 PM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Remember that country that we used to think was going to take us over in the 1980's? Tell them about the 7-year limit on equity downturns.
Do you think that the Japanese historic returns are a good match for our domestic returns?

Not to say it couldn't happen, but after > 7 years of a down market here, most all SWR schemes would be pretty bruised up, no? And wouldn't all that cash offer protection against the nightmare of both stocks and bonds being down for a long time?
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:15 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
We're doing it with ~92-95% stocks and the rest in cash (one year's expenses in a MM, a second year in a CD). No bonds.
Wow. What huevos.

Not sure I'd have the stomach for 92-25%, but I am beginning to like the concept. In some ways, bonds not so sexy: mediocre returns with an unimpressive increment over cash, with little likelihood of high returns. Ballast mostly, I guess.

Just exploring the idea a bit.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:22 PM   #9
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Almost every version of the efficient frontier I've seen calculated shows that a 10-15% allocation to bonds has a higher expected return than 100% equities.
I think that is higher expected survival rather than returns, but point well taken. Didn't these studies look at stocks alone v. bonds + stocks? Wasn't survivability the main criterion?

If so, I wonder what the effect is of looking at this with a big cash pocketbook thrown in. So, instead of (8% cash, 56% stocks and 36% bonds) vs. (8% cash, 92% stocks) the valid comparison would be (8% cash, 56% stocks and 36% bonds) vs. (28% cash, 72% stocks).
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:23 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Do you think that the Japanese historic returns are a good match for our domestic returns?

Not to say it couldn't happen, but after > 7 years of a down market here, most all SWR schemes would be pretty bruised up, no?
All stock markets are subject to the same risk. * Our situation is obviously different than Japan's, but some of the similarities wrt debt, real estate bubbles, and our recent stock bubble are kind of interesting. * *Interesting enough that I think it would be nuts to be 100% invested in US equities.

The whole concept of "SWR" is supposed to be a worst-case planning exercise, right? * I include Japan-1990 in my planning.

And I'll let Nords talk about his huevos if he wants to, but keep in mind that he has a fat pension to fall back on. * Probably not true for the majority here.
__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:28 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Wow. What huevos.

Not sure I'd have the stomach for 92-25%, but I am beginning to like the concept. In some ways, bonds not so sexy: mediocre returns with an unimpressive increment over cash, with little likelihood of high returns. Ballast mostly, I guess.

Just exploring the idea a bit.
While you are contemplating his huevos, remember that he has one naval officers pension, and will soon have another. I don't remember if you have any defined benefit, COLA pension with healthcare, but if you do not your mileage may vary, as they so quaintly say.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:28 PM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
Sometimes bonds and socks move in different directions (e.g as folks bail out of stocks and buy bonds, the yield on existing bonds rises). If stocks take a dive but bonds rise, your overall portfolio value would not dip as much as if you just had stocks and MMs.
That's a valid point I've thought about.

Not sure if that non-correlation is also achieved by all that cash, which in effect "never" correlates -- the market (stocks and bonds) always seems to be up or down relative to any baseline

Cash coasts ahead with lower returns but never wavering. Even in the protracted 8-10 year bear market, bonds may outpace stocks, but may also sink for a long time. Cash would protect you best from that scenario, no?

Wish I were smart enough to answer my own questions..
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:31 PM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
While you are contemplating his huevos, remember that he has one naval officers pension, ands will soon have another.
Good point. I had huevo-envy, but now feel secure again with my own.

I hereby retract any inadvertent exaggeration about Nords' huevos.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:33 PM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 75
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Rich, aren't you really looking at a 72/28 equity/fixed income split to start. Aggresive maybe, but not hanging off a cliff. How far are you willing to go , before you feel you might fall off a cliff. Prunning and sweeping may keep you at that ratio, esp. if you go into this with an up market.
__________________
Chris24 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:35 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
That's a valid point I've thought about.

Not sure if that non-correlation is also achieved by all that cash, which in effect "never" correlates -- the market (stocks and bonds) always seems to be up or down relative to any baseline

Cash coasts ahead with lower returns but never wavering. Even in the protracted 8-10 year bear market, bonds may outpace stocks, but may also sink for a long time. Cash would protect you best from that scenario, no?

Wish I were smart enough to answer my own questions..
US treasury Bonds differ form cash only in their duration. So if you keep it relatively short, and use a ladder, I can't see any real problem to going out maybe a max of 5 years, unless of course you expect rising rates, as many of us correctly did over the last couple of years.

Also, don't forget TIPS. They offer real pre-tax post inflation return that should IMO always be compared to what the riskier alternative of equities seems to offer.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-08-2006, 10:39 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Not sure if that non-correlation is also achieved by all that cash, which in effect "never" correlates -- the market (stocks and bonds) always seems to be up or down relative to any baseline

Cash coasts ahead with lower returns but never wavering. Even in the protracted 8-10 year bear market, bonds may outpace stocks, but may also sink for a long time. Cash would protect you best from that scenario, no?
Cash can act as a cushion, but not as a diversifier in the MPT sense as I understand it.* * Since cash by definition has zero volatility and zero covariance, it simply acts to dampen both returns and volatility, whereas the goal of MPT is to dampen volatility without dampening returns.* *Bonds can do that.
__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-09-2006, 12:08 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,375
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
While you are contemplating his huevos, remember that he has one naval officers pension, ands will soon have another. I don't remember if you have any defined benefit, COLA pension with healthcare, but if you do not your mileage may vary, as they so quaintly say.

Ha


Ha: Speaking about Nords Huevos in this context, reminds me of the time that Lee Trevino was on the Johnny Carson show. (He made his living hustling high roller golfers on his local course (Tennyson in Dallas), prior to turning pro.

Johnny Carson remarked how pro golfers have to be packing a set to be able sink a side-hill 15 foot putt with all the pressure they're under.

"Hell, that's not pressure. They're playing for prize money. (Not their own).

Pressure is when you're playing a $5,000 Nassau with a known member of an organized crime family, without a dime in your pocket. "

__________________
Jarhead* is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-09-2006, 12:15 AM   #18
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Good point. I had huevo-envy, but now feel secure again with my own.
I hereby retract any inadvertent exaggeration about Nords' huevos.
Sorry, guys, I answered in haste and dined repented leisurely. *Perhaps for our convenience the board software should detect answers of this sort and automatically add hyperlinks to our full financial profiles, SWRs (to three digits), and a complete discussion of all calculations.

Besides, Rich, you've probably seen a lot more huevos than I have...

Full disclosure: *I have a $35K annual pension with a CPI-U COLA and TRICARE Retired. *Last year we spent about $42K plus an additional $22,700/year P&I on our home mortgage (until 2034). *(When I retired that mortgage was at 8% but we've beaten it down to 5.375%. *Property taxes and TRICARE premiums are low for now but could rise rapidly. *We do not carry long-term care insurance.) *Spouse will draw her military pension in 2022 so our portfolio only has to make it until roughly 2025, when I'm drawing ~$10K/year SS and closer to paying off the home mortgage. *We're keeping our portfolio's SWR under 4%. *Our rental property (27 years old) appears to have good long-term tenants and we carry that on the books at a wash against its expenses/mortgage. *

With those numbers it makes sense to have a high-volatility all-equity retirement portfolio. *Others considering that type of portfolio should probably include a safety net of I bonds or TIPS or (*gasp*) an annuity to pay the mortgage during a savage Japanese-style bear market. *

I don't know anyone foolish enough to stay fully invested in the Nikkei for the duration of that bear market, just like I don't know anyone doing the same with the S&P500 from 2000-04. *Today we're tilted toward small-cap value & Berkshire Hathaway with a large slug of international index fund PID, so our recent volatility has been much much lower than that hypothetical S&P500 fool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
Cash can act as a cushion, but not as a diversifier in the MPT sense as I understand it. Since cash by definition has zero volatility and zero covariance, it simply acts to dampen both returns and volatility, whereas the goal of MPT is to dampen volatility without dampening returns. Bonds can do that.
OTOH withdrawing cash has a much smaller impact on total portfolio return than withdrawing bonds, and when you're withdrawing cash in a bear market you may not rebalance the portfolio for years. I think most MPT studies rebalance annually, which might have a significant difference from a cash-equity portfolio. So I don't know how much those latter effects help to boost the returns of the rest of the portfolio.

I don't think Bernstein has really studied the performance of the cash-equity portfolio that replenishes the cash bucket only during good years.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-09-2006, 12:36 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I don't think Bernstein has really studied the performance of the cash-equity portfolio that replenishes the cash bucket only during good years.
I can't speak for the man, but I don't think "buckets" are part of MPT. * *The basic premise is that cash always dampens returns (look at the straight line part of the efficient frontier curve), but that you should have a diverse enough set of assets that *something* is always up relative to the others, so you can always rebalance (or withdraw, in the retirement case) from the appreciated asset class(es).
__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?
Old 06-09-2006, 12:39 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
wabmester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,459
Re: Just Say No to Bonds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
I look upon equities yielding less than 4% or so as speculations, and I expect whatever I have invested in them to return to cash within several years.
That's an interesting take. I look at high-yielding stocks as speculative. PFE, MRK, T, VZ, etc all have a bunch of embedded uncertainty and downside risk. If they would only guarantee that dividend, I'd agree with you.
__________________

__________________
wabmester is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Short Term vs. Intermd Term Bonds TromboneAl FIRE and Money 35 07-21-2006 08:58 AM
Buying government bonds as gifts victw Other topics 1 06-19-2006 09:23 PM
Some questions on bonds woolybully FIRE and Money 13 11-11-2004 05:04 PM
About those five-year CD ladders-- I bonds? Nords FIRE and Money 6 07-05-2004 02:37 PM
The Scoop on High Yield Bonds Ted FIRE and Money 9 12-04-2003 01:03 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:45 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.