I am a Taleb fan, too. I've read his first two books multiple times. I am now working my way through the 500+ small print pages of "Antifragile."
I see the AA approach, the bucket approach, and the barbell strategy as really being different and highly useful ways of looking at a portfolio. Kind of like looking at a sculpture from several angles.
Start from an AA view: The fixed income tranche can be considered the low risk portion of the barbell and the equity portion can be considered to be the high risk portion. On the low risk side this may cause an investor to buy TIPS (we are 90% TIPS), FDIC insured CDs, or treasury bills, notes, and bonds. It may cause the investor to avoid chasing risk and yield with junk and international bonds. IMO people who are buying junk and international will conclude from taking a barbell view that they are happy deviating from the Taleb model. That's fine, but I think it is still beneficial to them to look from that view.
On the equity side, certainly considered by most to be the higher risk end of the barbell, the sky's the limit. The Taleb strategy of using options is maybe one extreme. The other extreme might be the investor who buys blue chip dividends. We're probably in the middle with 90% global (VT,VTSAX). Again, the dividend investor taking a barbell view might decide he's happy with his strategy or he might, taking Taleb's idea, decide to alter his AA to put more in the fixed/safe side and then take his equity money to a little more aggressive posture.
So, @LayC, I don't think you have to go to 90/10 and go wild with an options strategy to have your very own barbell. But taking a barbell view might cause you to move your AA to be more heavily fixed and to take your equity side towards more risk, like leveraged funds or long/short funds. DW and I wouldn't go that far, but that doesn't mean you can't go that way if you choose.
Originally Posted by pb4uski
... I find SWAN intriguing ... While they have only been in operation since late 2018, the index that they are based on has performance data going back much further. They have done well so far... up 17.8% since inception vs +5.2% for SPY. ... l
@LayC, @pb4 is a pretty respected guy around here and I usually agree with him, but here are a couple of cautions on investments like SWAN.
First, all of the statistics and all of the research I am aware of points to the conclusion that past results really are not predictive of future performance. Basically, picking a fund is a dart-throwing game. You can narrow the game by limiting your dart board to certain categories or sectors but from that point you are throwing darts. A respected researcher talks about this here: https://famafrench.dimensional.com/v...-managers.aspx
Second, simulating the result of a strategy by applying it to historical data is called "backtesting." IMO it is a useful tool when used with great care to, for example, compare two portfolios. @pb4 is quite skilled at this, in fact. The danger arises when someone like the SWAN marketers crow about the fact that their scheme backtests wonderfully. Of course it does, because they have the luxury of following Will Rogers' investment advice: ' If it don't go up, don't buy it." IOW just keep tinkering until you come up with a good backtest story. A good backtest just proves that the marketers have IQs above room temperature.