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

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • 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 compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 12.4%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 15.6% from the benchmark.

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 volatility over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 6.8%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (13.3%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (12.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the volatility 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the downside volatility 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%)
  • Looking at downside deviation in of 7.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (14.8%).

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio was developed by Nobel laureate William F. Sharpe, and is used to help investors understand the return of an investment compared to its risk. The ratio is the average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility or total risk. Subtracting the risk-free rate from the mean return allows an investor to better isolate the profits associated with risk-taking activities. One intuition of this calculation is that a portfolio engaging in 'zero risk' investments, such as the purchase of U.S. Treasury bills (for which the expected return is the risk-free rate), has a Sharpe ratio of exactly zero. Generally, the greater the value of the Sharpe ratio, the more attractive the risk-adjusted return.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.76) in the period of the last 5 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 0.94 of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is higher, thus better.
  • Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of 1.57 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (1.03).

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.69) in the period of the last 5 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 0.84 of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is larger, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is 1.32, which is greater, thus better than the value of 0.89 from the benchmark.

Ulcer:

'The Ulcer Index is a technical indicator that measures downside risk, in terms of both the depth and duration of price declines. The index increases in value as the price moves farther away from a recent high and falls as the price rises to new highs. The indicator is usually calculated over a 14-day period, with the Ulcer Index showing the percentage drawdown a trader can expect from the high over that period. The greater the value of the Ulcer Index, the longer it takes for a stock to get back to the former high.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 3.25 in the last 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (3.97 )
  • During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 3.02 , which is smaller, thus better than the value of 4.09 from the benchmark.

MaxDD:

'A maximum drawdown is the maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before a new peak is attained. Maximum Drawdown is an indicator of downside risk over a specified time period. It can be used both as a stand-alone measure or as an input into other metrics such as 'Return over Maximum Drawdown' and the Calmar Ratio. Maximum Drawdown is expressed in percentage terms.'

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 greater, 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'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum days below previous high 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.
  • Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high of 289 days is larger, thus worse.

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:
  • The average days under water over 5 years of Enhanced Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 75 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (42 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at average days under water 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.