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 over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 65.5%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (93.6%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 21.5%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 33.2% from the benchmark.

'The compound annual growth rate isn't a true return rate, but rather a representational figure. It is essentially a number that describes the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown the same rate every year and the profits were reinvested at the end of each year. In reality, this sort of performance is unlikely. However, CAGR can be used to smooth returns so that they may be more easily understood when compared to alternative investments.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 10.6% in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.2%)
- During the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) is 6.7%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 10% from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The historical 30 days volatility over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 17.9%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (20.9%) in the same period.
- Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 15.1% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (17.5%).

'Risk measures typically quantify the downside risk, whereas the standard deviation (an example of a deviation risk measure) measures both the upside and downside risk. Specifically, downside risk in our definition is the semi-deviation, that is the standard deviation of all negative returns.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (15%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside deviation of 13% of Second Grader's Starter is lower, thus better.
- During the last 3 years, the downside volatility is 10.5%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 12.2% from the benchmark.

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 0.45, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.56) in the same period.
- Looking at ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) in of 0.28 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.43).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.63 in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.78)
- Compared with SPY (0.62) in the period of the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.4 is lower, thus worse.

'The ulcer index is a stock market risk measure or technical analysis indicator devised by Peter Martin in 1987, and published by him and Byron McCann in their 1989 book The Investors Guide to Fidelity Funds. It's designed as a measure of volatility, but only volatility in the downward direction, i.e. the amount of drawdown or retracement occurring over a period. Other volatility measures like standard deviation treat up and down movement equally, but a trader doesn't mind upward movement, it's the downside that causes stress and stomach ulcers that the index's name suggests.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (9.33 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Index of 8.92 of Second Grader's Starter is lower, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (10 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index of 10 is higher, thus worse.

'A maximum drawdown is the maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before a new peak is attained. Maximum Drawdown is an indicator of downside risk over a specified time period. It can be used both as a stand-alone measure or as an input into other metrics such as 'Return over Maximum Drawdown' and the Calmar Ratio. Maximum Drawdown is expressed in percentage terms.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum DrawDown of -30.3 days of Second Grader's Starter is greater, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (-24.5 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -24.7 days is lower, thus worse.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The maximum days under water over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 491 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (488 days) in the same period.
- Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 491 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (488 days).

'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:- The average days below previous high over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 124 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (123 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (180 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 179 days is smaller, thus better.

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, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.