The Second Grader's Starter Portfolio is a Lazy Portfolio proposed by Paul Farrell. It was meant as a portfolio solution to a very small investor, with a long investment horizon. Farrell gives an example of 8-year old Kevin who got a $10,000 gift form his gramdmother. With a time horizon of 30+ years, the portfolio uses no load, low-cost index funds. It splits the money into 60% Total Stock Market Index, 30% Total International Stock and 10% Total Bond Market Index. The portfolio can be constructed using ETFs such as Vanguard Total Stock Market Index - VTI, iShares MSCI EAFE International Index - EFA and iShares Lehman Aggregate Bond Index - AGG.

Using mutual funds: VBMFX=10%, VGTSX=30%, VTSMX=60%

Using ETFs: AGG=10%, EFA=30%, SPY=60%

The backtest uses allocation to ETFs.

'Total return is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investment’s overall performance.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The total return, or increase in value over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 71.2%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (103%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the total return is 21%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 33.6% from the benchmark.

'The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a useful measure of growth over multiple time periods. It can be thought of as the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the ending investment value if you assume that the investment has been compounding over the time period.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 11.4% in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (15.2%)
- Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of 6.6% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (10.1%).

'Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a 'volatile' market.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the historical 30 days volatility of 17.9% in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (20.9%)
- During the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility is 14.9%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 17.3% from the benchmark.

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the downside deviation of 12.9% in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.9%)
- During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 10.3%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 12.1% from the benchmark.

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.49 in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.61)
- Looking at risk / return profile (Sharpe) in of 0.27 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.44).

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 0.69, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.85) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (0.63) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.39 is lower, thus worse.

'Ulcer Index is a method for measuring investment risk that addresses the real concerns of investors, unlike the widely used standard deviation of return. UI is a measure of the depth and duration of drawdowns in prices from earlier highs. Using Ulcer Index instead of standard deviation can lead to very different conclusions about investment risk and risk-adjusted return, especially when evaluating strategies that seek to avoid major declines in portfolio value (market timing, dynamic asset allocation, hedge funds, etc.). The Ulcer Index was originally developed in 1987. Since then, it has been widely recognized and adopted by the investment community. According to Nelson Freeburg, editor of Formula Research, Ulcer Index is “perhaps the most fully realized statistical portrait of risk there is.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the Downside risk index of 8.91 in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (9.32 )
- Looking at Downside risk index in of 10 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (10 ).

'Maximum drawdown measures the loss in any losing period during a fund’s investment record. It is defined as the percent retrenchment from a fund’s peak value to the fund’s valley value. The drawdown is in effect from the time the fund’s retrenchment begins until a new fund high is reached. The maximum drawdown encompasses both the period from the fund’s peak to the fund’s valley (length), and the time from the fund’s valley to a new fund high (recovery). It measures the largest percentage drawdown that has occurred in any fund’s data record.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum reduction from previous high over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is -30.3 days, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Looking at maximum DrawDown in of -24.7 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (-24.5 days).

'The Maximum Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (488 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days under water of 491 days of Second Grader's Starter is larger, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum days under water is 491 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 488 days from the benchmark.

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (123 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 123 days of Second Grader's Starter is larger, thus worse.
- Looking at average time in days below previous high water mark in of 177 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (180 days).

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Second Grader's Starter are hypothetical and do not account for slippage, fees or taxes.
- Results may be based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.