What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

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What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby gkaplan » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:40 am

With yields up and inflation tame, is this asset class still a must-own?


Christine Benz offers some insights to this question in this thoughtful and thorough column.

http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=609519
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby scone » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:48 am

From the article:

"Although they didn't hold up nearly as well as nominal Treasuries during the financial crisis of 2007-09, their correlations with small- and mid-cap U.S. stocks, in particular, are among the lowest of any major asset-class pair."

I haven't heard this before. I thought 5 year Treasuries were the bonds of choice to dampen stock risk? :confused
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Sidney » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:02 am

I don't recall the reasons why TIPS got hammered in 2008. Liquidity squeeze, perhaps? Anyway, it was a great time to swap from nominal bonds to TIPS.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby thx1138 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:36 am

Why TIPS dipped in 2008 (and threw volatility measurements for TIPS way out of whack):

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=905541

Basically less liquid (but still incredibly liquid compared to most things) bonds being unwound from the Lehman collapse while various other monetary policies were causing a flight to treasuries but because of policy oddities primarily a flight to nominals rather than TIPS. So huge buying pressure on nominals because of odd policies and significant selling pressure on TIPS because of different odd policies. It was considered the greatest arbitrage opportunity imaginable and likely never to be repeated.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Spirit Rider » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:14 am

Sidney wrote:I don't recall the reasons why TIPS got hammered in 2008. Liquidity squeeze, perhaps? Anyway, it was a great time to swap from nominal bonds to TIPS.

In the last week of October and last week of November 2008, Hedge Funds had to liquidate massive amounts of TIPS because of margin calls. This caused 30-year TIPS yields to spike well over 3%.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby mickeyd » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:00 pm

Great article thanks for posting.

I did this (exch to VTAPX) with my TIPS fund thinking that the shorter duratioin would help out but keep my AA the same.

(Vanguard's target-date series has also recently switched its TIPS exposure from Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities to Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index (VTAPX).)
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Peter Foley » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:38 pm

Good article. It provides a range of guidance. One opinion is that, TIPs (for those nearing retirement or retired) should be no higher than 30% of bond allocation. Rick Ferri suggests a lower amount, between 10% and 20% of bond allocation.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Taylor Larimore » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:05 pm

gkaplan:

Thank you for providing a link to this excellent article by Christine Benz:
The broad takeaways from these experts--and from life-cycle portfolios and indexes--are that TIPS aren't a must-have for accumulators' portfolios, but a bulwark against inflation still makes sense for retirees.

Christine will be on our Panel of Experts during our next Boglehead Reunion in October.

Best wishes.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby abuss368 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:40 pm

Thank you for posting.

Personally, we sold out of the Intermediate Term TIPS fund years ago and invest in Total Bond Market Index in tax advantaged and Intermediate Term Tax Exempt in taxable. One bond fund in each account. Low costs, diversified, monthly income.

Bonds are for safety and income.

Keep investing simple!
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby nisiprius » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:47 pm

I see no reason at all to sell my TIPS before maturity.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby abuss368 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:16 pm

Here is a "TIP" - investing in Total Bond Market and stay the course!

Keep investing simple! :D
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby stevewolfe » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:20 pm

abuss368 wrote:Investing in Total Bond Market and stay the course!
Keep investing simple! :D


You should just make that your signature ;)
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby abuss368 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:21 pm

stevewolfe wrote:
abuss368 wrote:Investing in Total Bond Market and stay the course!
Keep investing simple! :D


You should just make that your signature ;)


That may be a good idea!

Thanks!
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby nedsaid » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:51 pm

Total Bond Market does not include TIPS. If you want TIPS, you need to buy the TIPS fund.

I have been adding to my TIPS funds, particularly now that they have dropped about 8-9% this year.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby abuss368 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:54 pm

nedsaid wrote:Total Bond Market does not include TIPS. If you want TIPS, you need to buy the TIPS fund.

I have been adding to my TIPS funds, particularly now that they have dropped about 8-9% this year.


Hi nedsaid,

I realize Total Bond Market does not include any inflation bonds. With a name like "Total" you would expect it would (and maybe High Yield too) considering the size of the markets!
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby nedsaid » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:58 pm

You know this. Until recently, I did not. I was under the impression that TIPS were in the Total Market until I read someone's post and looked it up for myself on Morningstar. So "total" wasn't as "total" as I thought. I was probably not the only person operating under a false assumption.

I have owned TIPS funds for years.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby abuss368 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:01 pm

nedsaid wrote:You know this. Until recently, I did not. I was under the impression that TIPS were in the Total Market until I read someone's post and looked it up for myself on Morningstar. So "total" wasn't as "total" as I thought. I was probably not the only person operating under a false assumption.

I have owned TIPS funds for years.



Yeah. I read the fund reports every six months as they are released. Under the statement of net assets, no inflation bonds are listed in the Total Bond Market fund.

The fund reports are posted on Vanguard website.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Sunny Sarkar » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:33 pm

I'm in the middle of accumulation phase.
My current TIPS target allocation is 50% of bonds in VIPSX.

Should I...
(a) reduce TIPS allocation (if yes, to how much?)
(b) reduce TIPS maturity (to Short-Term TIPS fund)
(c) do both
(d) do nothing

Thanks,
Sunny
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby nedsaid » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:42 pm

I am doing nothing with my current TIPS. I am buying more with IRA money and with work savings plan money.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby abuss368 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:42 pm

Sunny Sarkar wrote:I'm in the middle of accumulation phase.
My current TIPS target allocation is 50% of bonds in VIPSX.

Should I...
(a) reduce TIPS allocation (if yes, to how much?)
(b) reduce TIPS maturity (to Short-Term TIPS fund)
(c) do both
(d) do nothing

Thanks,
Sunny



I think you know my vote. Zero TIPS, especially in the accumulation phase. Combine to one simple low cost, diversified, etc. bond fund - Total Bond Market fund and stay the course. Over the long term it is probably not going to make much difference.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby #Cruncher » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:51 am

On page 2 of the article Rick Ferri is quoted as saying:
I've never been in the school of high TIPS allocations as others have advocated. My view has always been to hold between 10% and 20% of a fixed-income portfolio in TIPS or I-Bonds as a hedge against unanticipated inflation. Any more than that seems to be an overly large bet on an upward surprise in inflation.
I've never understood the view expressed in the last sentence (my underline). I don't see a TIPS holding as a bet that inflation will be higher than anticipated. I see it as avoiding any bet at all. On the contrary, in my view holding nominal bonds is making a bet that the CPI will not rise more than is expected. (1) The difference in viewpoint depends on whether one looks at bond returns in real or nominal terms. I do the former and therefore, see my TIPS return as being unaffected by whatever the CPI change happens to be.

Accordingly I've been moving toward a bond allocation where all of my Treasury bond holdings are in TIPS. Since it is largely composed of nominal Treasuries, I've been exchanging my Vanguard Total Bond fund for individual TIPS inside my IRA. The reason I don't put all my bond holdings into TIPS, is to garner the higher yield offered by municipal and corporate bonds. (Tax-exempt fund, Investment Grade fund, and High yield fund.) I consider this sufficient to accept the inflation risk of nominal bonds.
Code: Select all
                     Taxable    IRA     Total
                     -------    ---     -----
TIPS & I Bonds         30%      11%      41%
Other Treasury          3%       -        3% (2)
Tax Exempt Funds       35%       -       35%
Total Bond Fund         -        4%       4%
Invest Grade Funds      -       13%      13%
High Yield Fund         -        4%       4%
                      -----     ---     ----
Total                  68%      32%     100%
  1. I'm not saying one should never take that bet. For example, if I could get a 3% or 4% higher yield for a nominal Treasury than for TIPS of the same maturity, I'd take the bet. But right now I can get only about 1.8% more for a 5-year maturity. (5-year yields as of 8/30/13: 1.62% nominal less -0.16% TIPS nominal yields 2013 and real yields 2013.)
  2. The "Other Treasury" was purchased a couple of years ago when all my TIPS were in a taxable account. At the time 5-year TIPS yields had just turned negative and were therefore being auctioned at a premium. I bought a nominal 5-year Treasury instead simply to avoid the tax-accounting hassle of amortizing a TIPS premium. Shortly thereafter, I started buying TIPS in my IRA where such accounting issues don't apply. When the nominal Treasury matures in 2016, I'll replace it with more of a tax-exempt fund in my taxable account; and at the same time make another switch from the Total Bond fund to TIPS in my IRA.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby billyt » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:04 am

I am with you. The ultimate in safety is a U.S. treasury with inflation protection. You are earning a real yield, and only have to worry about changes in real rates (hopefully they get a little higher), not inflation.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby dbr » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:49 am

#Cruncher wrote:On page 2 of the article Rick Ferri is quoted as saying:
I've never been in the school of high TIPS allocations as others have advocated. My view has always been to hold between 10% and 20% of a fixed-income portfolio in TIPS or I-Bonds as a hedge against unanticipated inflation. Any more than that seems to be an overly large bet on an upward surprise in inflation.
I've never understood the view expressed in the last sentence (my underline). I don't see a TIPS holding as a bet that inflation will be higher than anticipated. I see it as avoiding any bet at all. On the contrary, in my view holding nominal bonds is making a bet that the CPI will not rise more than is expected. (1) The difference in viewpoint depends on whether one looks at bond returns in real or nominal terms. I do the former and therefore, see my TIPS return as being unaffected by whatever the CPI change happens to be.


I don't get it why this point is so commonly misunderstood or miss-stated.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Valuethinker » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:24 am

Sunny Sarkar wrote:I'm in the middle of accumulation phase.
My current TIPS target allocation is 50% of bonds in VIPSX.

Should I...
(a) reduce TIPS allocation (if yes, to how much?)
(b) reduce TIPS maturity (to Short-Term TIPS fund)
(c) do both
(d) do nothing

Thanks,
Sunny


Do nothing. You have 25 years to go, say. Just do nothing.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Valuethinker » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:26 am

Spirit Rider wrote:
Sidney wrote:I don't recall the reasons why TIPS got hammered in 2008. Liquidity squeeze, perhaps? Anyway, it was a great time to swap from nominal bonds to TIPS.

In the last week of October and last week of November 2008, Hedge Funds had to liquidate massive amounts of TIPS because of margin calls. This caused 30-year TIPS yields to spike well over 3%.


For those interested in the nitty gritty, apparently the TIPS were used as the collateral for Repos (short for Repurchase Obligation). Money is borrowed short term against the collateral of securities (if I borrow $100m I might have to provide $105m of collateral, the difference being the 'haircut'). If I fail to repay the money then the lender sells the collateral, rather than me repurchasing it.

Repos are a key mechanism by which liquidity moves around the markets between financial parties.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby abuss368 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:02 pm

I believe Lehman was a huge factor in this.
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"Hammered" ?

Postby Taylor Larimore » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:41 pm

I don't recall the reasons why TIPS got hammered in 2008.

Vanguard's TIPS fund (VIPSX) declined less than -3% in 2008. Meanwhile the S&P 500 Index plunged -37%.

Best wishes.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Clive » Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:50 am

I don't recall the reasons why TIPS got hammered in 2008.

July to December 2008 the Inflation rate suddenly dropped. Inflation bonds do relatively well when inflation is higher than expected, relatively less well when inflation is lower than expected.

Conventional bonds under unexpected declining inflation conditions become more valuable such that prices are bid up (nominal yield is fixed). Inflation bonds relatively decline under such conditions as part of the 'nominal coupon' value is wiped out ('nominal coupon' = inflation + x% real).

Whilst longer term both Inflation bonds and conventional bonds of similar duration might generally compare equally [1], over shorter periods they react differently. 2008 was a case of nominals up, inflation bonds down (drawing down something like -17% at one point during the year). Subsequently that was ironed out (nominals down, inflation bonds up) such that across 2008 and 2009 the two generally compared equally overall.

Such shorter term deviations are only of concern/benefit if you trade such bonds. When not traded its just noise.

[1] In practice inflation bonds broadly reward slightly less than conventional's as they're relatively safer (better hedge against inflation, less of a hedge against deflation = better preservation of purchase power).
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Re: "Hammered" ?

Postby Sidney » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:16 am

Taylor Larimore wrote:
I don't recall the reasons why TIPS got hammered in 2008.

Vanguard's TIPS fund (VIPSX) declined less than -3% in 2008. Meanwhile the S&P 500 Index plunged -37%.

Best wishes.
Taylor

In November of 2008 the yield on the 10 year note spiked to 3.15% (on October 31, 20-year bonds hit 3.35% real rate) -- over twice the rate it started the year at. In a very short window, individual bonds went down quite a bit and, for those who were following Swedroe's guidance on buying long on the yield curve at those rates, it was perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Note, one expects the stock market to take a 50-60% haircut every five years or so -- in other words, that kind of dip is within the normal range. I don't think people were expecting real yields on bonds to get that high.
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Re: "Hammered" ?

Postby stevewolfe » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:07 am

Sidney wrote:Note, one expects the stock market to take a 50-60% haircut every five years or so --


Um... no they don't. You might say 3-5 years is a business cycle but you'll have to post some proof that each business cycle is expected to end in a 50-60% haircut.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Sidney » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:21 am

You are correct -- 5-6 years is probably too short a cycle. Nonetheless, 50-60% is in the normal range for a down-turn.

As I recall from some of Larry's posts, there are economic limits that would make it difficult for real interest rates (risk free) to go way above 3%. On the other hand, there are plenty of examples where stock prices go down and stay down. That is why, at my age, I don't keep any more in equity than I can afford to lose 50-60% permanently.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby cflannagan » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:27 am

Sidney wrote:Nonetheless, 50-60% is in the normal range for a down-turn.


Are we talking about stock market? I don't think so. 50% or more drops are extraordinary events, often associated with bubbles. I wouldn't exactly consider those "normal range for downturns".

Sidney wrote:On the other hand, there are plenty of examples where stock prices go down and stay down.


Can you cite some examples where stock prices go down and stay down? We've recovered from every bear markets so far. Note this doesn't mean we'll always recover for future bear markets, but when looking at history, stock prices hasn't ever really "stayed down".

Sorry, we Bogleheads tend to think about markets from very long term point of view. What feels to you like stock prices going down and staying down, is just "noise" to us and over long term, those events are just going to be just a blip in the grand scheme of things.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Sidney » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:46 am

My point is, people expect large swings in equity. Real interest rates above 3% are highly unusual and in relative terms, individual TIPS bonds got hammered. In the fall of 2008, it was almost impossible to get a quote (at least on the VG bond desk) on anything more than about $500K of individual issues. The stock market, on the other hand, traded pretty freely, albeit way down (a few months later).

I still contend that relative to norms, TIPS got hammered and it was a great buying opportunity.
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Re: "Hammered" ?

Postby Clive » Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:23 pm

Sidney wrote:In November of 2008 the yield on the 10 year note spiked to 3.15% (on October 31, 20-year bonds hit 3.35% real rate) -- over twice the rate it started the year at. In a very short window, individual bonds went down quite a bit and, for those who were following Swedroe's guidance on buying long on the yield curve at those rates, it was perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Real yields hit 4.4%+ in 2000 (dot com bubble burst).

UK has a longer history of treasury inflation bonds that goes back to 1982 and 20 year have had 4%+ real yields occur in 1986 and 1991 - i.e. relatively high real yields aren't perhaps so much of a once in a lifetime event, but more like a once each calendar decade event.
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Re: What Should You Do With Your TIPS?

Postby Carpe » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:49 am

#Cruncher wrote:On page 2 of the article Rick Ferri is quoted as saying:
I've never been in the school of high TIPS allocations as others have advocated. My view has always been to hold between 10% and 20% of a fixed-income portfolio in TIPS or I-Bonds as a hedge against unanticipated inflation. Any more than that seems to be an overly large bet on an upward surprise in inflation.
I've never understood the view expressed in the last sentence (my underline). I don't see a TIPS holding as a bet that inflation will be higher than anticipated. I see it as avoiding any bet at all. On the contrary, in my view holding nominal bonds is making a bet that the CPI will not rise more than is expected. (1) The difference in viewpoint depends on whether one looks at bond returns in real or nominal terms. I do the former and therefore, see my TIPS return as being unaffected by whatever the CPI change happens to be.


Just one more in support of this (clear) line of thinking. I see this as going hand in hand with accepting & taking risk on the equity side, and minimzing risk on the fixed income side.
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