Portfolio Update – November 2020 – Prepare for Year End Rebalancing

  • Prepare for annual rebalancing: J.P. Morgan estimates USD 300bn equity sell-off for balanced funds
  • Portfolio changes: Introduction of VIX and Bitcoin
  • Temporarily decreased inflation-linked bonds in deflation fright
  • Monthly Update for November
  • Book tip: Beyond Blockchain: The Death of the Dollar and the Rise of Digital Currency by Erik Townsend (link at the bottom of the article)
  • In case you missed it: My latest Insight article about How VIX ETFs can improve portfolio performance and stability in volatile environments

Hi, and great to have you back for a new portfolio update filled to the brink with content.

Hope you are in good health and are preparing for a safe holiday seasons coming up. It is going to be a rather different Christmas this year as many countries are imposing extended restrictions by end of December. Celebrations with family will perhaps not be possible for many unfortunately, and that is a tough thing. One can only hope that our sacrifice to stay at home with only immediate family will help us avoid a third wave and as many unnecessary deaths as possible before vaccines can be rolled out on a larger scale next year.

I had hopes on joining my girlfriend on her trip to her family in Italy, but with the new restrictions, it seems more likely I will be stuck in Sweden for Christmas and New Years. It is unfortunate, but what can you do? This year has been challenging in many ways.

Winter is coming here in Sweden, and the darkness with it. I read that someone likened how it is to live here in the winter months to living in a refrigerator with a broken lamp. It is actually a quite accurate description, as the sun sets already around 3pm.

We have a lot of ground to cover in this month's update, so let's just dive into it. I have made some structural changes to my portfolio and will therefore spend some time to lay down my reasoning for the changes. This includes an addition of VIX and Bitcoin, but also a temporary decrease in inflation-linked bonds. Before going into my reasoning on these changes, we will have a look at the coming rebalancing period in late December.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – November 2020 – Prepare for Year End Rebalancing

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]

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

Portfolio Update – October 2020 – U.S. Elections and Risk Off

  • Monthly portfolio update: Election jitters and a risk off sentiment in markets toward late October brought down most asset classes. Most losses have been recovered since.
  • Diversified risk parity strategies such as the All Seasons Portfolio will bring stability to uncertain times ahead
  • Book tip: The Permanent Portfolio: Harry Browne's Long-Term Investment Strategy (link at the bottom of the post)
  • In case you missed it: My latest article about How VIX ETFs can improve portfolio performance and stability in volatile environments (Now available exclusively on Patreon; to be posted on this blog in late November 2020)

Hello, and great to have you back for a new portfolio update.

I hope that in these challenging times, you are staying positive and testing negative.

I can barely believe we are already in November - the darkest and gloomiest month of the year (here in Sweden it will now be cloudy, windy and murky for the next 2-3 weeks at least). And on top of it, the Covid-19 virus soon celebrates its 1 year birthday, and we are on the ninth month of working from home here, with renewed lockdowns all across Europe. It seems hard to find things to cherish about, but we'll need to try our hardest to not let that affect us too much. I have just received a delivery from Amazon for two books on risk parity, which I will be burying myself in while autumn storms blow outside.

This past week I have spend a lot of my time in analysing how investing in VIX (CBOE's Volatility Index) through a VIX ETF would have impacted a risk parity portfolio in the spring of 2020 and the Covid-19 crisis. As you may recall, all asset classes (including government bonds and gold) declined for 10 days in March, so I looked into if there were any asset class available that could have offset the losses in a distressed market.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – October 2020 – U.S. Elections and Risk Off

Portfolio Update – September 2020 – Which is the Best Commodity Index?

  • Monthly portfolio update: Fairly stable month (again): bonds recover, while other assets decrease slightly
  • Book tip: Hot Commodities by Jim Rogers (link at the bottom of the post)
  • In case you missed it: Where does Real Estate fit in the All Seasons Portfolio? (post from 12 September 2020)

Hello, and great to have you back for a new portfolio update.

I know that I am slightly delayed with publishing this post, as I usually spend a few hours over the first weekend of each month to write my thoughts and review the portfolio performance. This weekend, however, I just moved to a new flat, and found it hard to find the necessary time to write the update.

Anyway, in September I made some changes in the portfolio. Not big ones, but mainly moving assets from one exchange to another, from LSE to Xetra, mainly for cost optimisation and to get rid of ETFs denominated in USD.

This move only included my gold and commodities ETFs. The gold exposure remains the same (physically-backed, but only a different issuer: Xetra-Gold), but for my commodities, I have changed the underlying tracked index from Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) to Rogers International Commodity Index (RICI).

As the special topic for this post, let me elaborate a but more on commodities indicies before reviewing my portfolio. It turned out to a slightly longer text than first anticipated, but well worth the read, so buckle up.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – September 2020 – Which is the Best Commodity Index?

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.

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

Portfolio Update – August 2020 – How downgraded credit ratings may impact your portfolio

  • Monthly portfolio update: Fairly stable month: bonds down on Fed policy shift, but offset by K-shaped recovery in stocks and commodities
  • Book tip: The Everything Bubble: The Endgame For Central Bank Policy by Graham Summers (link at the bottom of the post)
  • In case you missed it: I have ditched all intermediate-term bonds (post from 3 August 2020)
  • Coming soon: a post on real estate investing and how it fits in the All Seasons Portfolio. Stay tuned, and subscribe to newsletter for notifications!

Buongiorno!

I hope you have had a great summer under the circumstances, and are ready for the next (non-economical) season!

When posting this article, I have just come home to Sweden after a few weeks of visiting my girlfriend's family in Italy. For sure, the virus has put a great strain on the country, but it is good to see that things are moving in the right direction with society opening up. With few exceptions, new cases have been declining in Italy and Europe, which has bolstered investors with renewed confidence the past months.

Our vacation this year was not as we had initially planned (beaches in Sicily), but of a less touristy, and much more responsible, sort. Instead, we have stayed with her family and taken a few day trips to selected non-crowded destination (Venice has not been this empty for centuries). While more and more flights are opening up across Europe, it is still important to be cautious and not take unnecessary risks. One should not think that the danger is over, just because travelling is again somewhat possible. We can just hope for a full recovery as soon as possible.

But this is not a travel blog, but a financial blog, even though I wish to one day be able to sustain a life abroad thanks to my finances.

In this light, I have lately been thinking about how Covid-19 has affected the financial stability of countries, and how that in turn will impact sovereign credit ratings. For example, if debt-to-GDP would increase too much, if the affordability of the debt would fall, or if the economic outlook or stability of a nation would decrease, it will impact the country's ability to service its debt.

The ability to service debt - or a sovereign state's credit worthiness - is what the credit rating agencies Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor, are all analysing and rating. If a sovereign state has a good credit rating (AAA, Aaa etc.), this gives great comfort to the investors who purchase the country's bonds that there is a low risk of that the state defaults on its debt.

Continue Reading Portfolio Update – August 2020 – How downgraded credit ratings may impact your portfolio