Description

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.

Statistics (YTD)

What do these metrics mean? [Read More] [Hide]

TotalReturn:

'Total return, when measuring performance, is the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time. Total return accounts for two categories of return: income including interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends and capital appreciation, representing the change in the market price of an asset.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the total return, or performance of 39.4% in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (60.9%)
  • Looking at total return, or performance in of 22.2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (34.2%).

CAGR:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9% in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (10%)
  • Compared with SPY (10.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 6.9% is lower, thus worse.

Volatility:

'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:
  • The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 16.1%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (18.7%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (21.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 18.2% is lower, thus better.

DownVol:

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. 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 (13.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk of 12% of Second Grader's Starter is lower, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the downside volatility is 13.6%, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 15.7% from the benchmark.

Sharpe:

'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 Sharpe Ratio of 0.27 in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.4)
  • Compared with SPY (0.36) in the period of the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 0.24 is smaller, thus worse.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio improves upon the Sharpe ratio by isolating downside volatility from total volatility by dividing excess return by the downside deviation. The Sortino ratio is a variation of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful volatility from total overall volatility by using the asset's standard deviation of negative asset returns, called downside deviation. The Sortino ratio takes the asset's return and subtracts the risk-free rate, and then divides that amount by the asset's downside deviation. The ratio was named after Frank A. Sortino.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.36 in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.55)
  • Looking at ratio of annual return and downside deviation in of 0.32 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.5).

Ulcer:

'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 Ulcer Index of 5.73 in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.82 )
  • During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 6.43 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 6.86 from the benchmark.

MaxDD:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the maximum DrawDown of -30.3 days in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days)
  • Looking at maximum DrawDown in of -30.3 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (-33.7 days).

MaxDuration:

'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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 309 days of Second Grader's Starter is higher, thus worse.
  • Looking at maximum days under water in of 309 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (139 days).

AveDuration:

'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:
  • Looking at the average days below previous high of 86 days in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (43 days)
  • Looking at average days below previous high in of 83 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (39 days).

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations
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Allocations

Returns (%)

  • 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.