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, 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The total return over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 50.7%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (77.4%) in the same period.
- Looking at total return in of 27.9% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (43.3%).

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (12.1%) in the period of the last 5 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 8.6% of Second Grader's Starter is lower, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (12.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 8.5% is smaller, thus worse.

'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 16.4%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (19%) in the same period.
- Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 18.7% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (22%).

'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 risk over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 12.2%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (13.9%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the downside risk is 14%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 16.2% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.51) in the period of the last 5 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.37 of Second Grader's Starter is smaller, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (0.46) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.32 is smaller, thus worse.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.7) in the period of the last 5 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.5 of Second Grader's Starter is lower, thus worse.
- Compared with SPY (0.63) in the period of the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.43 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (5.87 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 5.7 of Second Grader's Starter is smaller, thus better.
- Looking at Ulcer Ratio in of 6.58 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (7.01 ).

'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 drop from peak to valley 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 -30.3 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (-33.7 days).

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Max Drawdown Duration is the worst (the maximum/longest) amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs). Many assume Max DD Duration is the length of time between new highs during which the Max DD (magnitude) occurred. But that isn’t always the case. The Max DD duration is the longest time between peaks, period. So it could be the time when the program also had its biggest peak to valley loss (and usually is, because the program needs a long time to recover from the largest loss), but it doesn’t have to be'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The maximum days under water over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 309 days, which is greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days under water of 309 days is greater, thus worse.

'The Average 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. 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:- The average days below previous high over 5 years of Second Grader's Starter is 80 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (37 days) in the same period.
- Looking at average time in days below previous high water mark in of 88 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (45 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, 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.