Lazy Portfolios in 2020

The following table lists 2020 total returns for various examples of “lazy portfolios”. Some of the portfolios (Coffeehouse and Coward’s) are designed as 60/40 stock/bond portfolios. Other portfolios (Armstrong Ideal and Swensen) are designed as 70/30 stock/bond portfolios. The two-fund, three-fund, and four-fund portfolios are scaled to similar stock/bond allocations. Prior to 2018, returns are derived from … Read more

Harry Browne’s Permanent Portfolio- 2020 update

Harry Browne (1933 -2006)

For the money you need to take care of you for the rest of your life, set up a simple, balanced, diversified portfolio. I call this a “Permanent Portfolio” because once you set it up, you never need to rearrange the investment mix— even if your outlook for the future changes. The portfolio should assure that your wealth will survive any event — including an event that would be devastating to any individual element within the portfolio… It isn’t difficult or complicated to have such a portfolio this safe. You can achieve a great deal of diversification with a surprisingly simple portfolio.”

2020 returns for the portfolio, implemented with fund portfolios at iShares and Vanguard are tabulated below.

PortfolioTotal MarketGoldLong TreasuryT-billTotal return

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US two fund portfolio – 2020 update

The US two fund portfolio is a portfolio design consisting of two “total” market index funds covering the US stock market and the US taxable investment grade bond market.

The 2020 returns for the portfolio’s constituent Vanguard funds:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund: 20.99%
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund: 7.72%

Below are four portfolios with allocations devoting various stock/ bond allocations (click images to enlarge).

The table below provides 2020 returns for these portfolios.


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Frank Armstrong Ideal Index Portfolio- 2020 update

Frank Armstrong III, investment advisor and author, offers the following seven fund “Ideal Indexed” portfolio in his book, The Informed Investor: A Hype-Free Guide to Constructing a Sound Financial Portfolio (published December 16, 2003). The portfolio employs a 70% equity / 30% fixed income split, consisting of six equity asset class funds and one fixed … Read more

William Bernstein’s Coward’s Portfolio – 2020 update

William Bernstein, investment manager and author, first introduced a version of his “Coward’s portfolio” in 1996. The “coward” refers not to the investor’s risk tolerance but to the strategy of hedging one’s bets and having slices of a number of asset classes. An indexed 60% equity/ 40% fixed income Coward’s portfolio would consist of the … Read more

David Swensen’s portfolio (from Unconventional Success) – 2020 Update

David Swensen, investment manager of the Yale University Endowment Fund, has addressed how investors should set up and manage their investments in his book, Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment. The Swensen portfolio consists of six core asset class allocations: US equity: 30% Foreign developed equity: 15% Emerging market equity: 5% US REITS: … Read more

The Coffeehouse Portfolio-2020 update

The Coffeehouse portfolio is an indexed seven-fund portfolio popularized by financial planner and author Bill Schultheis. The portfolio holds the following asset classes: US large cap stocks US large value stocks US small cap stocks US small cap value stocks US REITS International stocks US total market bonds In 2020 the Coffeehouse portfolio produced the … Read more

Core Four portfolios- 2020 update

Core four portfolios are simple indexed portfolios that allocate assets across four asset class mutual or exchange-traded funds. The 2020 performance of the core four portfolio based on Vanguard’s life strategy and target date portfolio allocations, and of Rick Ferri’s classic core four portfolio, are tabulated below. The portfolios assume using admiral share funds. Portfolio … Read more

Three fund portfolio using inflation indexed bonds – 2020 update

The Taylor Larimore three-fund portfolio is a portfolio design consisting of three “total” market index funds covering the US stock market, the international stock market, and the US taxable investment grade bond market.  Newspaper columnist Scott Burns has suggested a three fund portfolio (called the Margarita portfolio) that uses inflation-indexed treasury bonds for the bond allocation … Read more