Description of Second Grader's Starter

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 of Second Grader's Starter (YTD)

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

TotalReturn:

'The total return on a portfolio of investments takes into account not only the capital appreciation on the portfolio, but also the income received on the portfolio. The income typically consists of interest, dividends, and securities lending fees. This contrasts with the price return, which takes into account only the capital gain on an investment.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the total return, or performance of 43.2% in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter , we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (66%)
  • Compared with SPY (45.6%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return of 35.5% is smaller, thus worse.

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:
  • The annual return (CAGR) over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 7.5%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (10.7%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (13.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7% is smaller, 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 11.8%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (13.4%) in the same period.
  • Looking at volatility in of 10.4% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (12.3%).

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The downside deviation over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 13%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (14.6%) in the same period.
  • Looking at downside risk in of 11.8% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (13.8%).

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.61) in the period of the last 5 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 0.42 of Second Grader's Starter is lower, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is 0.79, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.88 from the benchmark.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 0.38, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.56) in the same period.
  • Looking at downside risk / excess return profile in of 0.69 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.78).

Ulcer:

'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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the Downside risk index of 4.35 in the last 5 years of Second Grader's Starter , we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (3.99 )
  • Looking at Ulcer Index in of 3.86 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (4.04 ).

MaxDD:

'Maximum drawdown is defined as the peak-to-trough decline of an investment during a specific period. It is usually quoted as a percentage of the peak value. The maximum drawdown can be calculated based on absolute returns, in order to identify strategies that suffer less during market downturns, such as low-volatility strategies. However, the maximum drawdown can also be calculated based on returns relative to a benchmark index, for identifying strategies that show steady outperformance over time.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is -16.7 days, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown is -16.7 days, which is larger, thus better than the value of -19.3 days from the benchmark.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • 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 larger, 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the average days below previous high of 91 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 (41 days)
  • During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 81 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 36 days from the benchmark.

Performance of Second Grader's Starter (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Second Grader's Starter
()

Allocations

Returns of Second Grader's Starter (%)

  • "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to 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.