The Short Term Bond Strategy is essentially a place to park cash that earns interest. When combined with other higher risk strategies it creates a lower risk portfolio and generally improves the portfolio's Sharpe ratio. If your broker pays interest on cash balances that is comparable to the current yield of this strategy, you can choose to keep this allocation in cash instead.

This strategy switches between very low risk ETFs that hold short term corporate or treasury bonds including GSY, MINT and NEAR.

'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 over 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy is 10.4%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark TLT (16.4%) in the same period.
- Looking at total return, or performance in of 6.1% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to TLT (20.9%).

'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:- Compared with the benchmark TLT (3.1%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2% of Short Term Bond Strategy is smaller, thus worse.
- Looking at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in of 2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to TLT (6.5%).

'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 Short Term Bond Strategy is 3.2%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark TLT (13.9%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility is 4.2%, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 15.5% from the benchmark.

'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 Short Term Bond Strategy is 2.9%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark TLT (9.6%) in the same period.
- Compared with TLT (10.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 3.8% is lower, thus better.

'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:- The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy is -0.15, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark TLT (0.04) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is -0.12, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.26 from the benchmark.

'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 Short Term Bond Strategy is -0.17, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark TLT (0.06) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is -0.13, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.38 from the benchmark.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 0.68 in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to the benchmark TLT (9.94 )
- Looking at Ulcer Index in of 0.88 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to TLT (6.16 ).

'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:- Looking at the maximum reduction from previous high of -9.6 days in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark TLT (-21.3 days)
- Compared with TLT (-21.3 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown of -9.6 days is higher, thus better.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the maximum days below previous high of 195 days in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to the benchmark TLT (749 days)
- Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 195 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to TLT (171 days).

'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:- Looking at the average days below previous high of 33 days in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark TLT (251 days)
- During the last 3 years, the average days under water is 53 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 49 days from the benchmark.

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 Short Term Bond 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.