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Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 07:35 AM   #1
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Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

As a potential RE at 48 with wife and 3rd grader son, here is a way that I am thinking of structuring my portfolio to maximize income and minimize risk. Equity in the house is $0.6M, debt is less than $0.2M. Portfolio size is $1.1M, 85% in taxable, 15% in tax-deferred. The objective is to extract $40K of passive income with some amount of risk.

1. 100K 5 yr CD at 5%
2. 100K 4 yr CD at 4%
3. 350K Moneymarket at 3%
4. 60K I-Bonds @3.67%
5. 125K Dividend paying stocks, 5-6 @ 8%
6. 125K Preferred Shares and REIT @7%
7. 100K Vanguard HY Corporate & ST Bond @4%
8. 100K Vanguard Wellington@4%

Comments?
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Where'd you find a MM @ 3%?

If you really wanted a safe 4% yield, why not go with 100% TIPS? Even with the paltry 2% real yield on the 20-year, you'd be yielding close to 5%.

If you're trying to protect principal, your biggest risk is probably in (5), (6), and the HY Corp (which currently pays a lousy risk premium).
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 08:36 AM   #3
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Have to continuously search for the 3% MM but they are out there. Superior Savings Bank is one.

Are there downsides to owning TIPS 100%?

Thanks.

Dante
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 08:47 AM   #4
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Quote:
Are there *downsides to owning TIPS 100%?
If you hold to maturity, the only risk is deflation, which we haven't seen in a *long* time.

If you sell before maturity, you're subject to the same sort of interest rate risk that any bond would expose you to.

Edited to add: the biggest downside for you may be that the inflation adjustment isn't distributed until maturity. * So, if you need the income on an annual basis, that's probably a deal killer (not to mention that you're taxed on the undistributed adjustment).
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 09:03 AM   #5
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Wabmester,

At 5% would the 5 yr CDs be better than TIPs? Problem with CDs though is that you have to wait until maturity to get the interest. Would the same apply to TIPS?

Are you 100% in TIPS yourself? If less than 100% what is a good income producing complement to TIPS?

Dante
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 09:14 AM   #6
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Quote:
Problem with CDs though is that you have to wait until maturity to get the interest.
I thought banks allow you to receive the interest without penalty as it is earned. You can receive a monthly check or have it direct deposited to your checking account. It's the principle that you can't touch for 5 years.
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 09:20 AM   #7
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

I don't think I've ever run into a CD that forced you to reinvest interest -- you should be able to spend the interest as it's generated. * There's very little risk in a 5-year CD @ 5% unless inflation skyrockets within that timeframe.

But there's another factor that you don't seem to be considering. * If you need to live on that 4% your portfolio is throwing off, you realize that your principal is being eroded by inflation, right? * *If you're planning to live another 40 years, there's no way your $1M will continue to generate enough income if you consume the full 4% each year.

As for my TIPS exposure, I like TIPS, but I'm nowhere near 100%. * I'm currently 20% real estate, 25% stocks, 20% cash, and 35% bonds (including TIPS). * *But I don't need my portfolio to throw off that much income, and I'm perfectly willing to sell appreciated assets to provide part of the income I do need.

So, you might need to revisit your fundamental assumptions about long-term portfolio survival and your need for income (vs cap gains), but that's not how you framed your question.

Edited to add: if you need $40K/yr income, your portfolio needs to crank out something like $70K/yr on average to keep up with inflation.
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 09:43 AM   #8
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Quote:
I thought banks allow you to receive the interest without penalty as it is earned. You can receive a monthly check or have it direct deposited to your checking account. It's the principle that you can't touch for 5 years.
Agreed. But some of the community banks and credit unions giving better than market rates were only offering the "full interest at maturity" option.

Dante
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 11:17 AM   #9
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Quote:
if you need $40K/yr income, your portfolio needs to crank out something like $70K/yr on average to keep up with inflation.
I am assuming that the $70k/yr would let your descendant's inheret the full $1MM in today's dollars. I don't have any, so I guess I can pare down the $70k to $55 - $60k.

MJ
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 11:30 AM   #10
 
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Quote:

I am assuming that the $70k/yr would let your descendant's inheret the full $1MM in today's dollars. I don't have any, so I guess I can pare down the $70k to $55 - $60k.

MJ
Yes, I agree with you. People here seem pretty adverse to digging into principal.

I took the 1.1 Million and if you withdraw 40K per year, inflation adjusted for 3% - All you have to do is get a 5% return to have enough money to last for 40 years.

Which means the portfolio only has to throw off 55K Initially to take the 40K per year.

I'm not lining my coffin with Money either. I plan on having 2/3 of my principal gone by time (if) I pass 90 years of age.
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 12:17 PM   #11
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

I would add a 15% dollop of emerging market stocks (taken from your MM bucket). DRFMX is a reasonable choice, but there are others.
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 02:16 PM   #12
 
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Hey Dante, you are joking right? You forgot to add the smileys

John Galt
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 02:47 PM   #13
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk


John,

My mistake. Yes I did forget to add the smileys.

Dante
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 03:02 PM   #14
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Buy one of the Vanguard Retirement Series, 2015,2005,Income - auto deduct to checking and go fishing,etc. It's that simple.

Of course if you just gotta putz - I can't help you - heh,heh - got the same problem myself - possibly incurable.
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 03:10 PM   #15
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Another thing about TIPS. I bought some on the secondary market with a yield to maturity of a little more than 2.5%. But since they have a coupon of 3.875% they will actually throw off an inflation adjusted ~3.2% of my original investment. So someone who can make it on ~3.2% plus inflation can probably avoid selling off as they go. I see that is one advantage to buying on the secondary market.

Another thing - some believe the govt. is gaming the numbers and understating inflation. That could cut into the return. Furthermore, if that perception spreads, and depending on how much the govt. fudges the numbers going forward, it could impact the market value should you decide to sell before maturity. I own them nonetheless.
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-19-2004, 10:45 PM   #16
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Bob_Smith, I don't believe it's true that a higher coupon will help you with cash flow. * Since you had to pay a premium for that coupon, you end up with exactly the same cash flow as if you had bought a bigger bond with a smaller coupon.

Edited to say: I take that back. I think you're right -- you're buying a smaller bond for the same amount as a larger bond with a smaller coupon. So the inflation adjusted principal you get at maturity will be smaller, which means the interest you received must be larger to get the same yield.

Interesting idea....
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-20-2004, 04:32 AM   #17
 
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Wab or Bob,

Could you give me an example of this technique in Dollars and sense? - So I can understand what you're saying. - I'm still a bond idiot.
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-20-2004, 05:00 AM   #18
 
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

While we wait for Cut-Throat to get his bond
investing degree ...............
I had a real good experience yesterday with a new broker. Had cash that needed to be put to work
(no lazy money). My old trusted guy (very stodgy
conservative firm) had nothing to suggest that had appeal. I called another local guy and in 15 minutes he got the message. When I went in, he had a big
printout of stuff that pretty much matched what I wanted, all bonds, various yields, pars (premiums and
discounted) call dates etc. Nice to have a bunch of stuff to chose from. And, he didn't try to sell me stocks.
Anyway, ended up with a 20 year bond at par, rated
just above the cutoff for investment grade. Pays 7%
and can't be called for 5 years. I like it!

John Galt
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-20-2004, 11:25 AM   #19
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Quote:
Could you give me an example of this technique
It's not really a "technique," per se. * You can buy bonds as new issues or on the secondary market. * New issues are almost always offered at "par", which basically means you get your original principal back at maturity. * *Bonds on the secondary market can be offered at either above par or below par in order to make their coupon match the current market rate.

Example:

Say the current market rate for 10-year bonds is 3.781%. * You can buy a new issue at that rate for par (say, $1000), or you can buy a higher-coupon bond on the secondary market at a premium (say $1100 for a 5% coupon). * Both bonds have the same YTM of 3.781%.

But when the bond you bought at a premium matures, you'll only get $1000 back for your $1100 initial investment. * *The difference was distributed as interest. * In this case, interest would be paid out at 4.545% vs 3.781% for the new issue.

Normally, it's a coin toss. * But in the case of TIPS, you don't receive the inflation adjustment until maturity, so buying TIPS with high coupons on the secondary market allows you to have some of that inflation adjusted principal distributed with your interest (just one way of looking at it).

So, if you need the cash flow, Bob_Smith has a solution for you....
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk
Old 11-20-2004, 12:02 PM   #20
 
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Re: Maximizing portfolio return with very low risk

Wab,

OK, got it! - Make sense ! - Thanks!
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