All investments carry risk. Historic performance does not guarantee future gains. No content on this website constitutes financial advice, but are only my personal reflections and descriptions of my experiences.

Insight – How to Improve Portfolio Performance and Risk-Adjusted Return with VIX ETFs

This post was originally published on the Patreon page on November 5th, 2020. https://www.patreon.com/posts/43569940  If you like the content I publish on this blog, I appreciate your support to cover hosting costs etc. Even small contributions are greatly appreciated.

Contents:

  • How all common asset classes had weak performance at the same time in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus crisis.
  • That the only asset class actually performing well in that time was VIX ETFs
  • What the VIX is and how you can use it as an insurance policy in your portfolio to protect against volatility, uncertainty and black swans,
  • How including only 3% of a VIX ETF in a risk balanced portfolio increased return, lowered volatility and increased the Sharpe ratio of an example All Seasons Portfolio. This is shown with an extensive case study through first half of 2020 and the 30 month period leading up to 30 June 2020.
  • All raw data on which the analysis, graphs and tables in this article is based on, are exclusively found in the Patreon version of this post. Support the blog to get access.

All assets under-performed in late March.

Do you still remember how different asset classes performed amidst the most urgent phases of the coronavirus crisis? Or have you intentionally suppressed those bad memories and only chosen to remember the recovery in assets such as stocks?

As a reminder, there was period from about March 10th to March 20th when every major asset class declined in valuer, regardless if they were biased to perform well in increasing or decreasing economic growth environments. Stocks and commodities had already fallen by then, but by March 10th, also gold, treasury bonds and inflation-linked bonds fell as well. Nothing managed to offset the declines in growth assets, and any balanced portfolio suffered.

While a risk parity strategy, such as the All Seasons Portfolio strategy, performed much better than the stock market or a 60/40 portfolio, the Covid-19 crisis caused a dent also in the All Seasons Portfolio. The All Seasons Portfolio even turned into negative territory on a YTD basis, even though it recovered rather quickly from that temporary dip.

[3,500 more words]

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Insight – Where does Real Estate investing fit in the All Seasons Portfolio?

In this rather lengthy post, the following topics will be discussed:

  • In what economical environments are real estate biased to perform well (economic growth and inflation)?
  • Five ways of investing in real estate, regardless how much money you have
  • How to adjust your balanced portfolio when including real estate - a template for adjusting portfolios regardless of new asset class
  • A list of resources with some of the best books on real estate investing

There are numerous opportunities and strategies for making money by investing. The ultimate goal is always to achieve a combination of positive cash flow and value appreciation of your owned asset. It is just a matter of preferred strategy for the investor which dictates how you can grow your wealth.

With the All Seasons Portfolio strategy, you can achieve profits but with less volatility than on the stock market. This is achieved by having a balanced portfolio that is diversified between asset classes. Typically, those asset classes are stocks, long-term government bonds, inflation-linked bonds, gold and commodities, with the following allocation between them.

There are of course many more asset classes available than the five listed above. One extremely important such asset class is real estate, which is a popular investment object among investors. It is so attractive, because it offers profits in two ways: value appreciation of the property, as well as monthly cash flow from rental income.

In this deep dive article, we will be looking more closely at real estate investing - how you can get exposure to it and with how much capital - and how it fits into an All Seasons Portfolio. Let us first begin with the latter of these two topics by answering the question of what economic biases real estate have.

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Correction of my Portfolio – Ditching Intermediate-Term Bonds

It is time for a kind of blog post that I hope will be as few in number as possible, but which I fear are inevitable from time to time. I have corrected a mistake, and want to tell you about it.

In my All Seasons Portfolio, I have until 20 July 2020 (the time of writing this post) held a certain amount if intermediate-term treasury bonds, i.e. bond with a duration of less than 10 years. I have held this in addition to my long-term bonds (20+ years) as part of the bonds portion of the portfolio. The splits have been 10% intermediate-term bonds and 30% long-term bonds, out of the whole portfolio.

As I have come across new and better information, I have chosen to reconsider the decision to hold intermediate-term bonds. They are not a bad investment as such – on the contrary, they are good when considering the risk-adjusted return – but they do not suit the All Seasons Portfolio Strategy. 

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Insight – What Assets Should You Invest In To Protect Your Portfolio Against Inflation?

The Covid-19 coronavirus has rocked the boat during the first half of 2020 and made a huge dent on financial markets and on the growth of the economy. We are still only in the beginning phases of the turmoil, and it is only in the future that we will truly get a picture of all consequences and how the virus will affect the world economy and global trade. 

In this article, we will be taking a closer look at what actions central banks and governments have taken to stimulate the economy; how such stimulus may affect inflation; what asset you can invest in to be protected against inflation; and how such assets fit in the All Seasons Portfolio Strategy.

Even though many things are uncertain, a couple of things we do already know for sure though, and that is that many are likely to lose their jobs and that many companies are likely to have no choice than to file for bankruptcy. This would have devastating consequences for the economy in many countries, but even more so for the people affected by the growing unemployment rates.In a response to the potential crisis and alleviate the harmful impacts, governments and central banks have acted quickly and they have acted strongly. 

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Insight – Why would anyone in their right mind buy Government Bonds with negative yield?!

  • Yields are low and negative due to central banks' efforts to spur on the economic growth
  • There are still buyers of assets with negative yield, such as institutional investors
  • Government bonds are a liquid asset held instead of cash or other assets with risk for decrease in value, such as stocks in a bear market
  • Government Bonds make up 55% of the All Seasons Portfolio, and at the bottom, I summarize my ETFs

Soon, I have one full year’s history of the All Seasons Portfolio since starting in December last year with my first investment. I have come a long way since, starting from zero and now having accumulated a portfolio valued at EUR 3,700 in only 11 months. The main takeaway, which you should adopt, is to be disciplined and to continuously set aside an amount every month to invest. That will quickly accumulate, and you will also have that money working for you with compound interest.

As I already mentioned in the relevant blog post, in November, I made an addition on the Long-Term Government Bond part of the portfolio. This time, I purchased the iShares $ Treasury Bond 20+yr UCITS ETF USD (Dist) (EUR).

When posting about buying government bond ETFs during this first year, one particular question has always been brought up. It is a very valid question considering the current market conditions with low and negative interest rates. Why should you include government bonds in the portfolio, who in their right mind buys and holds bonds with negative interest and why do they do so?

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Portfolio Deep Dive – Why invest in Commodities and about Invesco Bloomberg Commodity ETF

Let's take a slight break from the normal routine, shall we? Up until now, I have only posted on this blog once per month with my monthly updates. In those updates, I have included some additional flavor on different investment related subjects, such as tips to invest your pay raise in March or about why you as an European should consider investing in America back in April.

Today, I want to have a slightly different approach. Rather than combining this post with a monthly update, I will do a deep dive in certain aspects of my portfolio, in its own article. This way, it will be easier to truly focus on one subject, while hopefully maintaining your attention.

My portfolio currently consists of 10 different ETFs (October 2019). When I am done building my portfolio, it will be composed by 23 different ETFs according to my plan. However, let us today dive in a bit deeper into one of these ETFs that I intend shall have an approximate share of 7.5% of the portfolio value in the All Seasons Portfolio, namely Invesco Bloomberg Commodities UCITS ETF.

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