My Investment Portfolio: 2023

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This time last year I wrote, “Markets are unpredictable. Sometimes the surprises are good ones. But we’ve had a lot of those the last few years, so be prepared for some inevitable bad surprises ahead.” Well, here we are.

Stock certificates

It’s been a sobering year for investors and early retirees. I had my head down on a big writing project (more below) for months and didn’t pay much attention to the markets until I ran the numbers a week ago. The resulting picture is not pretty.

My conservative and diversified retirement portfolio lost 17.7% for the year. It was the second-worst performance in almost twenty years of tracking my investments. Only 2008 was worse, with a 26.2% loss.

All of my holdings were down, most of them in the double digits, except for cash, which barely returned enough for a trip to Starbucks. Gold got an honorable mention for “only” losing about 1%.

If you’re a seasoned investor, you know not to construct a retirement strategy based on above-average returns. We were very fortunate to see such a scenario unfold in four out of the past five years. But now it has ended. For how long, none of us know.

As a retiree living off assets, caution is always advised. I’ve been in a defensive posture for most of my investing life, holding a roughly equal stock and bond asset allocation. The idea is that relatively stable bonds give you a cushion against stock fluctuations. But this year bonds suffered almost as much as stocks.

Like many, I enjoyed watching the run-ups in the stock market, bond prices, real estate, and digital currencies. It’s tempting to think of those gains as real and permanent. This year taught us that it isn’t necessarily so.

Read on for my annual portfolio performance report….

Current Holdings

My investment philosophy has not changed, nor have my holdings. Big picture, I still hold a small number of low-cost index funds in a familiar asset allocation:

FundSymbol(s)Expense Ratio% of Portfolio2022 Return
Vanguard Wellesley IncomeVWIAX0.16%41.2%-9.01%
Vanguard FTSE Social Index FundVFTAX0.14%10.3%-24.22%
Schwab International Equity ETFSCHF0.06%10.7%-14.9%
Schwab Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury ETFSCHR0.03%10.7%-10.63%
Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF SCHP0.04%8.4%-11.96%
Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate GrowthVSMGX0.13%6.5%-16.00%
SPDR Gold SharesGLD0.40%4.7%-0.82%
digital currencies2.2%-62.08%
cash5.1%0.09%
OVERALL0.11%-17.68%

(Note: Portfolio percentages are as of 12/30/2022. Overall return is not necessarily a weighted average of individual returns, because holdings can change slightly during the year.)

Overall, my portfolio is currently allocated about 41% in stocks, 46% in bonds, 7% in gold and digital currencies, and 6% in cash, taking into account the actual reported cash holdings in all of my funds. (The cash return stated in the table above is approximate. I don’t have a simple way to average my different cash holdings.)

Of the stocks, 34% is international. (Taking into account the actual reported international holdings in all of my funds, not just in those funds labeled “International.”) I’m OK with a significant allocation to international as a diversification away from potential long-term economic woes in the U.S. related to debt.

Purchases and Sales

My investment activity these days is driven by our retirement income needs.

The positions I sold to cover our retirement living expenses — mostly in the first half of the year — were all from my stock funds. My sense at the time was that stocks were more richly valued than bonds.

Those sales, coming mostly from a traditional retirement account, are taxable. So I keep an eye on the realized income and the proximate tax brackets, especially toward the end of the year. So far, I’ve been successful at keeping us in the 12% marginal tax bracket.

I didn’t buy any securities during the year.

Retirement Income

In my experience, needs and markets fluctuate year to year and I’d rather respond to those conditions than blindly follow a mechanical strategy. Though studying systematic retirement withdrawal strategies is useful as an academic exercise, to understand how your money will last under different conditions.

When I sell holdings to fund our living expenses, I keep an eye on PE ratios, and tend to sell stock instead of bond funds when those ratios are high, as they have been for most of our retirement.

This year that strategy might have been questionable, because the stock funds I sold ended the year lower than my bond funds. In other words, I might have been selling my most damaged assets. However, as noted above, I did most of my selling in the spring, before the market’s recent lows.

In the long run, I’m aiming to consolidate all our investments in one or two Vanguard balanced funds. Liquidating those will then be a simple, one-dimensional decision that takes the stock vs. bond variable off my plate. That’s probably a good thing.

Some day an immediate or charitable annuity may be useful to simplify our financial life further. For the first time since I’ve been following them, annuity payout rates are looking substantially better than safe withdrawal rates, on paper. For example, ImmediateAnnuities.com just quoted me a 6.8% payout rate for a joint lifetime annuity.

Just remember that payout rates and safe withdrawal rates are not directly comparable: with an annuity, you turn your money over to the insurance company. There is no potential to reclaim or grow principal.

And there is another significant catch. Those payouts aren’t inflation-adjusted. With inflation running at a several-decade high, am I willing to gamble that an annuity purchased now will hold its purchasing power over the 20-30 years likely remaining in our lives? So far, I haven’t wanted to make that bet. In my experience, the stock market provides more reliable growth and inflation protection over long periods.

But I’m getting closer to hedging my bets with an annuity purchase.

Related: Understanding the Time Value of Money

Inflation and Expenses

Annualized inflation this past year ran as high as 9.1% in June, coming down to 7.1% in November. Those are rates of inflation that we haven’t seen since I was sneaking off for camping weekends and cramming for tests in college.

I’ve always argued that you should keep tabs on your personal rate of inflation, which could be more or less than the “official rates.” So, I checked our food costs — grocery plus dining out expenses — for 2022 versus 2021. They grew by 12%. I suspect that some of that increase is lifestyle creep, but it likely shows that the prices we’re paying have spiked as well.

Is this a short bout of inflation or a sea change? Opinions abound and mine is worth no more than the others. Bottom line, I have no idea.

Recently, it appears that inflation may be cooling a bit. However, philosophically speaking, I expect inflation and shortages to be part of our life going forward. The world is more crowded than ever, with more and more wealth competing for limited resources. That seems like a recipe for rising prices to me. And long-lasting inflation has the potential to reduce or eliminate real market returns.

Are my investment strategies going to change in the face of a more inflationary world? Unfortunately not. I have no secret weapon against inflation. I’ve been concerned about the problem for decades and already built it into my investing approach. The simplest strategy I know to combat inflation is to own resistant assets such as stocks, TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities), real estate, and commodities.

Related: I Bonds vs. TIPS — Which is Better?

In that last category I’ll note that gold (I own the GLD ETF) was a “star” performer last year. If you can call losing less than 1% a star performance. I’ve owned gold as a small portion of my portfolio for many decades now and not regretted it.

Bottom line, this year was the largest decline in our net worth that I’ve ever seen. Though it’s important not to overreact, since the year started from a high point in bubble-like conditions. Nevertheless, I intend to play it safe. We’ll be making significant cuts in our discretionary expenses. Better to take some unpleasant medicine now, than face serious consequences later.

Renting vs. Buying

Some readers may remember that we purchased a home two years ago, after renting for many years. How has that impacted our finances?

Now that our expenses have settled down and I have some data to study, I can make an interesting observation. The cost of owning, for us, has been almost identical to the cost of renting. That’s because our increased expenses for home insurance, utilities, real estate taxes, and income taxes have been almost identical to what we had been paying in rent.

There is a key caveat here to understand: We had an exceptionally good rental deal, with low rent payments for many years that also included many of our utilities. Also, note that because buying our house required moving most of our after-tax savings into home equity, our income tax bill has spiked as we now must make retirement account withdrawals for living expenses. Without those two somewhat unique and personal factors, home ownership would have been an even better deal for us in our location. I’ll also note that real estate in our area far outperformed the stock market last year.

As I’ve often written, non-financial factors often override financial ones in the rent versus buy decision. We rented in the early years of our retirement because we didn’t want to be tied down. Now we own a home because we want that control over our lives.

Related: Renting vs. Buying — The True Cost of Home Ownership

Alternative Investments

As mentioned, gold has had a long-term role in my investment portfolio. It’s both grown in value and been an effective diversifier for me. There are good arguments both for and against gold. But in my view, you hold it for the bad times. I guess this year proves the point. But I’m not going to argue very hard that gold is a great investment just because it remained essentially flat during a uniformly bad year.

Related: Going for Gold

My tiny digital currency position had a terrible year. Though I’ve already booked more than enough profits to be on the winning side of that bet, no matter what happens to the rest of my crypto holdings.

I was never a crypto “believer.” And I do not think crypto currencies have any role in the average retirement portfolio. But, as a retired software engineer, I felt that the underlying blockchain technology had merit and so I made a small purchase (less than 1% of my portfolio) in late 2016. It was intended as a hedge and a diversifier.

Then I got lucky. Though not as lucky as you might think. It is very difficult to see the dimensions of a bubble when you are inside of one. I sold most of my crypto within the first year or two, missing the majority of the huge runups of recent years. In the end, I got about an 8x return on my money, completely missing the potential for a 60x return. But I’m not complaining.

The crypto space has attracted a horde of speculators and con artists. At this point I’m pessimistic about digital currencies ever playing a useful role in the economy. For example, I’m still not aware of any blockchain applications that actually provide useful value in our daily lives. Crypto looks like pure speculation as far as I can see. And I’ve sold about 90% of my holdings at this point.

 Overall Returns

My overall investment return for 2022 was -17.7%. That compares to -16.0% for the Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth Fund (VSMGX) — a possible benchmark for my balanced portfolio that holds about 60% stocks and 40% bonds. My slightly poorer performance is mostly due to the fall in my remaining small digital currency holdings, with some help from my growth and international stocks.

The geometric mean of my returns going back for the 18 years I’ve closely tracked them now is at 6.1%. That’s a respectable average for a conservative portfolio in these times, including the 2008-2009 Great Recession.

And how about you? How did your portfolio fare in 2022?

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NEW BOOK: Beset by chronic pain in early retirement, I must learn how to walk again using crutches in order to realize my boyhood dream of completing a long-distance hiking trail through the towering Rocky Mountains. My memoir about that experience is Rain and Fire In The Sky: Beyond Doubt On The Colorado Trail. It’s a cross between Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods.

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[The founder of CanIRetireYet.com, Darrow Kirkpatrick relied on a modest lifestyle, high savings rate, and simple passive index investing to retire at age 50 from a career as a civil and software engineer. He has been quoted or published in The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Kiplinger, The Huffington Post, Consumer Reports, and Money Magazine among others. His books include Retiring Sooner: How to Accelerate Your Financial Independence and Can I Retire Yet? How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision of the Rest of Your Life.]

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34 Comments

  1. Thank you for your post, Darrow. I don’t know what my return is; I have to figure it out. But I’m definitely down–probably by about a similar percentage.

  2. Basically, our approach in 2023 will be the same as 2022, and similar to that we’ve done since we retired 6 years ago. Starting last fall, both wife and I are receiving Social Security. Qualified retirement accounts are currently 75% of our net worth. Within retirement (qualified), 21% (all as percentage of net worth) is in TIAA “Traditional”, currently returning 5.50% for most of that investment. We use TIAA Traditional where most others use bond funds, not as much return but -zero- risk associated with bond fund prices. Other retirement accounts include 8% Equity-Index, 6% Global, 21% Growth, 9% Stock, 8% Real Estate (all TIAA or CREF mutual funds.) Our non-qualified investments include AAPL and VRSN (the latter from employee stock before we retired), together 7% net worth. Plus there’s 2% cash and our house (no mortgage, 17% of net worth.) We’re using the TIAA Traditional as our non-Social Security income source in retirement. In previous years, we moved money from the mutual funds into the TIAA Traditional account; last year we moved no money into TIAA Traditional from the other retirement holdings. The core idea is to use TIAA Traditional as our ‘buffer asset’ with at least 5 years so we are not -required- to use stock funds. In a couple of years, the mutual fund Growth account will be subject to Mandatory Required Deductions, and that will change our overall approach.

    1. Oh, I forgot to mention we were down a total of 11% in 2022, with 17% in the retirement accounts (including both withdrawals from Traditional and losses of mutual funds.)

    2. Oh, and I wouldn’t touch crypto currencies even if I literally had money to burn. (I’d rather turn dollar bills into carbon than feed the Ponzi schemes…)

    3. Thank you for sharing your post. We (my husband and I) also have a variety of investments, including TIAA Traditional. I converted some of my TIAA Traditional to lifetime income (single life because I have a paid up cash value life insurance in the event of an early death). I received an 5% increase in my payments last year, and this year my payments are going up 3%. So, although TIAA Traditional is considered an “fixed” annuity, it can go up because TIAA is a participating insurance company. The participants share in the profits. Our plan is to convert another chunk of my TIAA CREF to lifetime income or “annuitize” as they say in the industry. We are not converting all of our tax deferred accounts (IRAs, 401k) to annuities although that is an option later on. All roads lead to income planning in retirement…and with the next chunk I annuitize, I will mix it up a bit…some TIAA Traditional but also include some variable annuity income using CREF Stock and TIAA Real Estate, to further combat inflation (though I’m reserving the decision to make the next amount all TIAA Traditional and keep our other liquid investments in a moderate portfolio). Converting to lifetime income allows me to “stretch” my income much further than if I maintained a “deferred” status and stuck with the generally accepted 4% withdrawal strategy. We can enjoy giving away more of our assets now because we have more income from Social Security, my husband’s teaching pension, RMD, and part time work, than we need for basic expenses…while at the same time, I am stashing monthly deposits into a TIAA After Tax Annuities that can be converted to an old age annuity if I live that long (likely as my parents, especially my mother’s side of the family, lived into their nineties), so that I’m not a financial burden on our children. We downsized and our home is fully paid for. No debt. And we have liquid cash for home maintenance and for a future car purchase. Whenever a financial advisor or company touts that you should not buy a lifetime annuity, think twice about working with them. They are being compensated by a percentage based on assets under management and if you convert some or all of your retirement savings to payout annuities, their compensation goes away. I think we all have seen the ads by the company that says annuities are bad. Not true! Annuities have a valuable place in retirement income planning.

  3. Any mention of inflation has to be supplemented with a conversation about the Fed. They’re trying to slow the economy and “rebalance” the job market (layoffs). Raising interests rates has taken a lot of free cash for institutional borrowers off the table. Corporations don’t have as much cash for stock buy backs and speculative plays. Small investors are retreating to CDs.

    In light of this, I think a signal to watch is whether the Fed will continue to raise rates. My hunch is once they hold the line and indicate their job is done, stocks will roar back. Wall St. and Real Estate like cheap money.

    Similar to your crypto play, I made some profit on Tesla but now I’m watching the rest of it burn to the ground.

    Darrow, I wish you the best with your chronic pain. That can really alter one’s life and change your outlook on everything. Best to you.

  4. Thanks for the post. However, I don’t see how OP’s portfolio can be down 17% unless there was a lot of unsuccessful market timing within those holdings, or the levels between the holdings varied more than “slightly” during the year. (i.e. more crypto losses than acknowledged, etc.)

    A weighted average would yield around a 12% loss. And there are only two investments which even had a greater loss than the stated portfolio 17%, one of those being very small (crypto) and the other being only 10%.

    1. Since others are weighing in with their results, we got lucky in 2022. We moved about one third of our investable assets to two single family rentals during 2020 and 2021. We’ve always maintained several years of cash, even when cash wasn’t paying anything. We sold our bond funds summer of 2021 due to concerns about rising interest rates coming soon. And we somehow got the wild hair to sell all our equities the last week of 2021. (Is it market timing if you’re content never to get back into the market if it never drops?).

      Net net, we’re down 4% in 2022, which was less than our spending. So slightly positive other than that. (Sold a condo at a good price in May.)

      Lots of lucky timing. We’re back in the market now for about 1/3 our investable assets and hoping to leave it there awhile.

      1. Thanks. Makes sense. I guess OP was playing with bank money on crypto, so not as nutty as it might sound.

  5. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your experiences, current status, and insight. You are helping me choose a path to the future, and giving me confidence, through the foggy woods. Cheers!

  6. I have the same question as KS and calcuated a weighted average of 12.4%. My portfolio return was closer to the -17% figure. My allocation of internation is higher but I also have a higher allocation of tech, including individual tech stocks. I also have some real estate REITs and syndications. My bond allocation is much lower at around 10%. Misery liked company last year.

      1. I will confirm this with Darrow, but I had the same thought as Ben as that would totally make sense.

        Best,
        Chris

          1. I agree and frankly I know from conversations with Darrow that he does as well. As he notes in this post though, speculative investments require not only making a winning bet to get in, but they also require being right twice and knowing when to get out. I think that’s why it is important that as content creators we share transparently as Darrow has here and I did a few months ago, and as individuals that readers are also able to be honest with themselves. Sometimes the hardest lied to detect are the ones we tell ourselves.

            Best,
            Chris

  7. I am down 15.8% for 2022. I have a 60/40 allocation not including my cash which I consider my let me deep at night bucket. I retired early in 2022 only to see my portfolio get hit. I have gone back to work 3 days a week at my prior employer as a contractor and loving it. Getting a managers pay but doing the work if a sr level person. I am doing alot of training and mentoring of finance personnel. I am being paid for my knowledge as the finance organization has so many new people and all of the tribal knowledge has “left the building”.

  8. While down less than your portfolio I was still down. Fortunately changed out some overly aggressive portfolios/accounts to high quality dividend paying stocks, and one surprisingly did not go down at all. Where I got stung the most is the account that I sell put options in. It is a great strategy when it works; not so much when it doesn’t. Over time I will lessen my urge to sell puts like that and veer almost completely to a covered call strategy to get my fix with options, with higher quality underlying stocks.

    Curious why you have Vanguard funds that are actively traded over just index ETFs with lower costs? The active funds have been shown to have no real benefit over their index counterparts over time, since their returns revert to the mean eventually, or worse. And personally I tend to avoid the overseas funds/ETFs since the whole world seems to follow our markets any more since they are so highly correlated, their politics and potential adverse rulings are even worse than ours (hard to believe), and their accounting practices are suspect (particularly the Chinese). And I also put a small amount into crypto currencies, about four smaller ones, that are underwater but coming back somewhat. They were just play money since I went into them well after your foray.

    Best wishes on a continual rebound in your investments and your readers.

  9. Darrow-

    Thx for the recap sprinkled with a bit of experience and wisdom. Our numbers for this abysmal year and longer term return are below. Our AA is a fairly steady 65/35-ish with 2-4% cash in the FI allocation. Also, this year included a small allocation to leveraged equity indexes, which magnified our 2022 loss by a bit.

    2022 Return: -22.5%
    10yr Return (annualized): +7.28%

    We are fortunate enough to have guaranteed income streams that cover essential expenses so, an immediate annuity (SPIA) is a backup, backup plan for us, and unlikely to ever be required. I’m wondering if your consideration of a SPIA is to cover remaining essential expenses beyond what’s already covered for you. Interested to hear if you’re willing to expand.

    Great hearing from you again!

    Best,
    Mark

    1. My college freshman roommate is a financial advisor, he’s the guy who recommended the “buffer asset” strategy I adopted (described earlier.) He also pitched SPIA annuities as a good way to fund the buffer. I took the strategy, but not the investment product. My reasoning was that an SPIA would provide a better return than my TIAA Traditional (minimum 3%, now 4.5%) account, but would also lock up that money For The Duration. My thinking is that 2xSocial Security payments plus the TIAA Traditional met the intent of the SPIA, but without the constraints of an annuity. Of course, most people don’t have access to that TIAA Traditional account (an artifact of working for a non-profit for half of my career.) Anyway, that’s my reasoning on the idea of an SPIA+Social Security to meet minimum requirements, and why I went elsewhere.

  10. My husband and I are planning on retiring in our mid-50’s (currently age 46 and 47). I track our Net Worth quarterly and it wasn’t pretty for Q2 and Q3 last year. But surprisingly, we were up over $50k for Q4, thanks to dividend and long-term capital gains payments in several mutual funds. We’re not changing anything for this year, just staying the course. This too shall pass.

  11. Darrow, as always thank you for your annual summary of your portfolios performance, as well as your well written take on why you have taken the steps you have taken. Many folks have found this helpful over the years, myself included.
    From past annual updates of yours I believe that the answer to KS’s question above is that this is a January 2023 snapshot of your portfolio; and that the percentages in various accounts could/would have been different at different times during 2022.
    For our portfolio we were down 16% in 2022, with a roughly 60%/40% mix. We held a lot of cash(5-6%) in 2022, which we will continue to do in the short term.

  12. Thanks for sharing – always interesting to see how others diversify. Why do you continue to hold Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth and the Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund as they both seem like you could consolidate, with the same equity balance & exposure, into the Vanguard Wellesley fund and the Schwab International equity ETF? I am not a fan of the Social Index investing so I am a bit bias in this regard. Additionally, I have been buying individual, new issue T-bills at my brokerage instead of continuing to endure the pain of the bond funds / ETFs malaise. At least I know that I will get my principal back by purchasing, for example, 3 or 6 month T-Bills. I just create a simple ladder and let it ride to maturity.

  13. I ended up down about 17.9% by rough calculation…just comparing Year End balances.
    I’m curious if you saw some of the panel discussions at Bogleheads conf last year. Some pretty anti-Social Index fund sentiment. Generally, the opinion was that your money would be put to better use by just investing in the market total and taking charitable money to apply to causes that counter the impact of the companies you are against. I think the idea was that the social indexes were inconsistent in the measurement of what is a “good” or bad company and that the funds were really just “marketing” opportunism. I don’t care either way but I just notice that that was your worst equity fund by performance.

  14. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate the clear-eyed approach you take to evaluating your portfolio performance. I was also down about that much (maybe slightly worse since I have almost no bonds) as measured in US dollars but what is striking to me is that when measured in Japanese yen (I live in Japan and part of our yearly tax declaration is a statement of assets) I was actually slightly up for the year. It was a lesson to me about the very large effect exchange rate changes can have on how we measure performance. The other thing I was watching carefully was to see if dividend income would fall and it actually slightly rose for me last year, which was reassuring since my draw-down strategy may wind up being covered by dividend cash flow.

  15. Wow, I must be an outlier that invests much more aggressively than your average reader. I was down 30.5% for 2022. I am very overweight in technology and continue to buy the same names with my dividend and interest payments. I have also rotated out of healthcare and back into tech to lower my cost basis. I do have about 5 years of living expenses in cash, so that’s probably why I can continue buying down and still sleep well.

  16. A few comments/suggestions on portfolio. Even for a retiree, portfolio is WAY too conservative (as retirees need to consider investments long-term as could be required to last 30 or more years). Drop crypto, drop gold, drop international (domestic outperforms international), drop ESG, drop Treasuries, drop Wellesley (too debt/income concentrated). Allocate most of investment to total market ETF VTI, sprinkle in growth ETF VGT, REIT ETF VNQ and dividend aristocrat VIG all of which historically outperform all portfolio elements author has provided. Maybe include some corporate bond allocation ETF VCIT for balance.

  17. Thanks Darrow for baring your financial soul. I agree with your philosophy about reducing the number of investments to simplify your choices. I’m in my mid-60s hoping to retire in a few. The current market/world situation keeps me working.

    I won’t buy annuities – never trusted insurance companies. You didn’t mention social security in your picture. Are you too young still to start claiming it? My plan counts on that being about 50% of our income in retirement once I turn 70, but I am very afraid that politicians are going to try to reduce or take it away. Or the fund runs out of enough money and benefits are reduced.

    Thanks – great article. We’re down about the same percentage as your for 2022.

  18. I’m a solo, flat-fee, fee-only, advice-only advisor/planner who likes to teach and mentor folks toward their FI journey. I’ve read these annual posts for many years, and always find them honest, insightful, and educational. Thank you, Darrow!

    In fact, I’m going to do the same on my blog. I never see advisors “lifting the veil” to show that they practice what they preach. There are some SEC/state compliance concerns with doing so (seems it should be *encouraged*) but I think I’m going to do it.

    Good luck and wishes on the new book and your physical healing, Darrow!

  19. Chiming in here Darrow to thank you for sharing these numbers year after year, along with your invariably-helpful reflections. And I look forward very much to reading your forthcoming book!

    Down 8.17% for 2022 with my slightly modified Golden Butterfly portfolio. I don’t plan on doing any tinkering (but never say never). I’m seeing commenters here scolding you a bit for still being in actively-managed funds, yet you’d have been better off this year – and I suspect every year since you retired – with 100% Wellesley or Tyler’s (of “Portfolio Charts”) recommendation of 80% Wellesley/20% gold – than with any of the LifeStrategy or balanced funds you own. Not only is W’s 9% loss modest but it has behaved similarly in every market meltdown during its 52 year history.

    I’m older than you (just turned 66) and have also thought about annuitizing part of our portfolio but after reading Allan Roth’s article on TIPS (and the epic-length discussion it spawned on Bogleheads, including Bill Bernstein pretty thoroughly trouncing everyone who touted annuities as TIPS ladder alternatives) I’ve decided to stick with TIPS (a barbell of SCHP and VTIP is the modification to the GB I mentioned, along with iBonds for much of the cash position). Heck if we see another spike in long-term TIPS coupons above 2% I might be tempted to do what Roth did and use a TIPS ladder to provide our income floor (along with SS) and just supplement that with a slug of VT (a la Jonathan Clements) and call it a day.

    All the best to you, and thanks again for sharing your wisdom here. It’s a treat to hear your voice (wonderful as Chris Mamula is!).

  20. Darrow,

    I wish you the best of recoveries. Financials are, of course, important, but they all become less important when health issues strike … especially if you’re already — gratefully — FI. I am experiencing this first-hand myself of late.

Comments are closed.