Description of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy

The classic permanent portfolio was created by Harry Browne. The idea was that a portfolio should be diversified enough to get you through a wide variety of economic and market environments and simple enough that even a child could do it. Originally it consisted of the following allocations:

  • 25% in U.S. stocks
  • 25% in long-term bonds
  • 25% in gold
  • 25% in cash

The Logical Invest permanent portfolio is somewhat more sophisticated, rebalances monthly and is not always split evenly across the three main assets. It can adapt to market conditions by putting more weight on gold or treasuries and less on equity depending on market conditions.

Methodology & Assets
  • US Market (SPY: S&P 500 SPDRs)
  • Long Duration Treasuries (TLT: iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond)
  • Gold (GLD: Gold Shares SPDR)

Statistics of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy (YTD)

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

TotalReturn:

'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 performance over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 51.9%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (65.4%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (50.2%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or performance of 37.9% is smaller, thus worse.

CAGR:

'Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a business and investing specific term for the geometric progression ratio that provides a constant rate of return over the time period. CAGR is not an accounting term, but it is often used to describe some element of the business, for example revenue, units delivered, registered users, etc. CAGR dampens the effect of volatility of periodic returns that can render arithmetic means irrelevant. It is particularly useful to compare growth rates from various data sets of common domain such as revenue growth of companies in the same industry.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% in the last 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (10.6%)
  • During the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 11.3%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 14.5% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'Volatility is a rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. Volatility is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time. It shows the range to which the price of a security may increase or decrease. Volatility measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The volatility over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 6.8%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (13.5%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (12.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility of 6.4% is smaller, thus better.

DownVol:

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

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the downside deviation of 7.6% in the last 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.8%)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 7.5%, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 14.7% from the benchmark.

Sharpe:

'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:
  • Looking at the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.91 in the last 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.6)
  • During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 1.39, which is greater, thus better than the value of 0.94 from the benchmark.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio, a variation of the Sharpe ratio only factors in the downside, or negative volatility, rather than the total volatility used in calculating the Sharpe ratio. The theory behind the Sortino variation is that upside volatility is a plus for the investment, and it, therefore, should not be included in the risk calculation. Therefore, the Sortino ratio takes upside volatility out of the equation and uses only the downside standard deviation in its calculation instead of the total standard deviation that is used in calculating the Sharpe ratio.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The excess return divided by the downside deviation over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 0.82, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.55) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 1.18, which is larger, thus better than the value of 0.82 from the benchmark.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (3.99 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 3.25 of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is smaller, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 3.02 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 4.1 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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum DrawDown of -9.1 days of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is higher, thus better.
  • Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -9.1 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (-19.3 days).

MaxDuration:

'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'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The maximum time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 289 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 289 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (139 days).

AveDuration:

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (42 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days under water of 75 days of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is greater, thus worse.
  • Looking at average days below previous high in of 73 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (36 days).

Performance of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy
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Allocations

Returns of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy (%)

  • Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy 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.