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Understanding All Weather Portfolio And How It Works (+ tips)

Understanding All Weather Portfolio And How It Works (+ tips)

How has the All Weather Portfolio done in the past?

Back-testing the All Weather Portfolio reveals that it does generally live up to its name. “The strategy [Dalio shares] has produced just under 10% annually and made money more than 85% of the time in the last 30 years (between 1984 and 2013)!” Robbins writes.

And it isn’t just Robbins who’s saying this. Others have back-tested the All Weather Portfolio and some have even found that it outperformed the popular 60/40 asset allocation mix from 1984 through 2013.

Robbins also notes that if you invested in the All Weather Portfolio from 1984 through 2013, you would have made money just over 86% of the time. The average loss was just under 2% with one of the losses at just .03%.

A few more fast comparisons:

  • When back-tested during the Great Depression, the All Weather Portfolio was shown to have lost just 20.55% while the S&P lost 64.4%. That’s almost 60% better than the S&P.
  • The average loss from 1928 to 2013 for the S&P was 13.66%. The All Weather Portfolio? 3.65%.
  • In years when the S&P suffered some of its worst drops (1973 and 2002), the All Weather Portfolio actually made money.

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How do I build an All Weather Portfolio?

If you want to build your own All Weather Portfolio but don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Here’s a suggestion for comparable securities that you can invest in yourself (courtesy of Nasdaq.com):

  • 30% Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI)
  • 40% iShares 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TLT)
  • 15% iShares 7 – 10 Year Treasury ETF (IEF)
  • 7.5% SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD)
  • 7.5% PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (DBC)

If you’ve never invested before and don’t know how to actually buy the above shares, you’re in luck: There is a wealth of great, reliable brokers to help get you started building your portfolio.

My best advice for choosing a broker? Pick one of the big ones.

My suggestions:

BONUS: If you want insights to a few great companies that provide great brokerage services, be sure to check out my video on how to choose a Roth IRA.

How to set up your All weather portfolio with brokers

You can easily sign up for these brokers by following seven really easy steps:

  • Step 1: Go to the website for the brokerage of your choice.
  • Step 2: Click on the “Open an account” button. Each of the above websites has one.
  • Step 3: Start an application for an “Individual brokerage account.”
  • Step 4: Enter information about yourself — name, address, birth date, employer info, and social security.
  • Step 5: Set up an initial deposit by entering in your bank information. Some brokers require you to make a minimum deposit, so use a separate bank account in order to deposit money into the brokerage account.
  • Step 6: Wait. The initial transfer will take anywhere from 3 to 7 days to complete. After that, you’ll get a notification via email or phone call telling you you’re ready to invest.
  • Step 7: Log in to your brokerage account and start investing in the above assets.

NOTE: The wording and order of the steps will vary from broker to broker but the steps are essentially the same. You’re also going to want to make sure you have your social security number, employer address, and bank info like account number and routing number available when you sign up, as they’ll come in handy during the application process.

The application process can be as quick as 15 minutes. At the same time it would take to watch this weirdo tell you how much to charge your customers, you could set up a new brokerage account and start investing in your future.

If you have any questions about funds or trading, call up the numbers provided above. They’ll connect you with a fiduciary who works for the bank in order to give you the best advice and guidance they can.

Pro-tip: Automate your All Weather Portfolio

You can take your investing even further by automating the whole process so you can easily invest money each month when your paycheck arrives.

Automating your personal finances lets you know exactly how much you have to spend each month while setting aside any worries about paying the bills or investing consistently.

How does it work? Your money is sent exactly where it needs to go — to pay utilities, your sub-savings account, your rent, whatever — as soon as your paycheck shows up each month.

How do I rebalance my All Weather Portfolio?

Dalio also suggests rebalancing this portfolio each year in order to maintain the original asset allocation.

If you want to know more about portfolio rebalancing, be sure to check out our article on how to rebalance a portfolio. To quickly recap, though, rebalancing your portfolio is the process of modifying your asset allocation as the amount of money in each investment fluctuates with the constantly changing market.

And it all boils down to one thing: Asset allocation. This is how much money you invest into certain asset classes in your portfolio, the major ones being stocks, bonds, and cash.

To rebalance your All Weather Portfolio, you just have to follow three super simple steps.

  • Step 1: Find your target asset allocation. Remember the asset allocation for the All Weather Portfolio: 40% long-term bonds, 30% stocks, 15% intermediate-term bonds, 7.5% gold, and 7.5% commodities. That’s the goal asset allocation you should have when you’re finished rebalancing.
  • Step 2: Compare your portfolio to your asset allocation target. How has your portfolio changed since you last saw it? Which investments got bigger and which need “pruning”? If your stocks ballooned so now it takes up 50% of your portfolio, you’re going to either prune it back or invest in your other assets to balance it out — which brings us to:
  • Step 3: Buy and/or sell shares to get your target asset allocation. To get your original asset allocation back in the above example, you’re going to need to either invest more into the other assets OR sell your shares in stocks to go back to the All Weather Portfolio’s original mix.

Once it’s reverted back to your target asset allocation, congratulations! You’ve successfully rebalanced your portfolio!

Always have money to invest in the All Weather Portfolio

The Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote, “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”

For all you non–former English majors out there, that means you can have your whole life route planned out, but when life throws a wrench in your spokes everything can turn off-course.

The All Weather Portfolio was designed to get through the times when the market throws you off-course while making you money during stable ones — and unless you’re a billionaire hedge fund manager with a track record of predicting recessions, you’re not going to be able to anticipate the next one.

The best thing YOU can do then is prepare for the worst. That starts with having the money to invest and spend even when the market falters.

FAQs About All Weather Portfolio

Is the All Weather Portfolio still good?

The All-Weather Portfolio, while appealing, may lag in performance compared to other approaches depending on the time frame. This approach can help you manage market volatility, but such volatility will always be part of the journey.

How do you replicate an All Weather Portfolio?

The All Weather Portfolio can be replicated with exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Investors should specify the amount of capital that will be used for the strategy, then divide that capital according to the weightings. UK investors may substitute UK stocks and gilts for US stocks and treasuries.

What stocks are part of the All Weather Portfolio?

Backtest of All Weather Portfolio

  • 40% TLT (long-term Treasuries)
  • 30% SPY (US stocks, S&P 500)
  • 15% IEI (intermediate-term U.S. Bonds)
  • 7.5% GLD (gold)
  • 7.5% DBC (commodities, commodity index tracking fund)

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