January Market Update – The 60/40 Rule is Dead
January Market Update – The 60/40 Rule is Dead:
As we just finished 2022 And now are going into 2023, it’s a good time to reflect. Be sure to check out our full market update in the last Power Hour.
The real story from 2022 was that it was an unusual, perfect storm where stocks and bonds both had negative years. Not just negative years, but the worst performance combined recorded in history.
Why that is important, is because of the 60/40 portfolio. You’ve probably heard or been told that a 60/40 portfolio, 60% stocks or equities, 40% bonds or bond funds, is a conservative and good retirement portfolio, However, the 60/40 portfolio just had the worst year on record.
Now you’re seeing lots of things out there about that 60/40 portfolio is dead, we have been talking this for years already.
I just read in Morningstar that the 20 largest bond funds all posted their worse year in history. Many of these are in your typical portfolios and used in target-date funds. The 20-year treasury was down 27%. If we look at an aggregated bond index, it’s down about 13% for 2022.
So the question is if it’s broken, what do you need to do?
Roger Ibbotson, PhD, and Chief Investment Officer of Zebra Capital Management conducted research a few years ago, examining this exact topic. When interest rates are low, which we had for years, the bond portion wasn’t making much. Now, when interest rates came up, bonds go down in value like a tetter-totter and took huge losses.
In this study, they look at using FIAs (fixed indexed annuities) as an asset class to replace bonds. They dove into a lot of historical data. In almost every scenario, using an FIA instead of bond funds performed better. It gave you a more stable ride.
We have known this and have been talking about it for a while now, but it is now surfacing in more areas.
I recently read a Kiplinger article discussing the 60/40 portfolio, its perceived shortcomings, and strategies to address them. They mentioned some money management strategies, which our team does (we’re going to be talking about that more on our next power hour in February). But they also talked about using an indexed annuity in place of bonds.
Let me give you a quick synopsis of how that works. We have lots of videos on our site about annuities, here is a high-level overview. In an FIA, your return is based on a major index, if the index goes up, you get a positive return, if the index goes down, you make zero.
Most index annuities earned zero returns last year because almost every index they could be tied to experienced a decline. However, when everything else is down double digits, zero is your hero!
Interest rates play a significant role in determining the potential returns you can achieve in FIAs during prosperous years due to the design of these products. This results in better return potential in FIAs with higher interest rates.
January Market Update – The 60/40 Rule is Dead: One way gains can be calculated is with a simple cap strategy, every year you can make up to the cap rate. In the past few years, 5% was a good cap rate, but now the cap rates are 9-10%. On a negative year, you make zero. It’s pretty easy to see how an FIA can easily replace the bonds and give you better performance and a more stable ride just the research found in the Ibbotson report highlights.
If you are in target date funds or if you have bond funds, and you’ve seen losses in your portfolio, it’s time to look at better solutions. Give us a call and we’ll talk about what might be best for you.
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