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:

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The total return, or performance over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 52.9%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (81.7%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 42%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 54.7% from the benchmark.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (12.7%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is smaller, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 12.4%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 15.6% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.3%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 6.8% of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is smaller, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (12.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 6.3% 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 (14.8%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk of 7.6% of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the downside risk is 7.5%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 14.8% 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 ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.94 in the last 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.76)
  • Compared with SPY (1.03) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 1.57 is larger, thus better.

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:
  • The ratio of annual return and downside deviation over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 0.84, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.69) in the same period.
  • Looking at excess return divided by the downside deviation in of 1.32 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.89).

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (3.97 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 3.25 of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • Looking at Ulcer Ratio in of 3.02 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (4.09 ).

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum reduction from previous high 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 greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (-19.3 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum days under water over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 289 days, which is greater, 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 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 time in days below previous high water mark of 75 days in the last 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (42 days)
  • Looking at average days below previous high in of 74 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (37 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.