Bank of America Corp. labeled it “the end of 60/40,” while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicted losses of up to 10% from such portfolios.
Similar alarm bells rang at Deutsche Bank AG, where strategists such as Jim Reid predicted that a shift in the stock-bond relationship would require money managers to change their ways.
These warnings are based on an economy experiencing rising inflationary pressures after years of avoiding deflation. Moreover, subdued growth over the previous two decades has strengthened the appeal of the 60/40 approach based on a negative stock/bond correlation, with one serving as a buffer for the other.
Inflation is an investor’s greatest threat in the long run
Money’s buying value is eroded by inflation. Even mild yearly inflation of 3% reduces the value of money by half after 24 years. Long-term investors’ primary objective is to outpace inflation.
Over the last decade, beating inflation has not been an issue. Stocks have increased by 360% in the previous ten years, averaging more than 16% a year.
So it’s no surprise that values are nearing all-time highs. Moreover, bond rates, which were quite low, to begin with, have fallen even more over the last decade: 10-year Treasuries yield little over 1%, while municipal bonds yield less than 1%.
Investors have had little difficulty outpacing inflation during the last decade, but due to high stock valuations and low bond rates, the coming decade will be considerably more difficult for them to safeguard the actual (after-inflation) worth of their investments.
The typical 60/40 stock/bond portfolio was designed to achieve the twin goals of long-term capital gain and capital preservation. However, given today’s values, a 60/40 portfolio is unlikely to meet either goal. Therefore investors must reconsider their strategy.
Owning shares and other equity-sensitive assets, such as high-yield bonds will be required to achieve capital appreciation over inflation. This portfolio will be volatile, but it has the highest potential of surpassing inflation for investors.
This portfolio will not be a dependable source of liquidity for current costs due to its volatility. Investors should also have a cash and cash equivalents portfolio, such as highly short-term, high-quality bonds, to help with this. Although the returns will be small and below inflation, the portfolio’s goal is to cover current costs.
Retiring throughout a market crash
Your 60/40 portfolio, on the other hand, has long been the cornerstone of advisor-created portfolios.
What happens if the stock market plummets? Stocks and bonds do not often move in lockstep, as advisers are fond of reminding customers. When equities fall, the bond element of the portfolio steps in to fill the void.
In theory, this means that if a customer is retiring during a wide equity market collapse, they can make bond withdrawals. As a result, clients aren’t forced to sell equities at low prices, resulting in portfolio losses that might take months or years to recover from.
At the same time, this approach entails selling fixed-income assets that are now trading at higher prices.
This is a reliable method of producing retirement income.
The 60/40 split is being redesigned
Bonds will not contribute to overall performance or play their customary function of reducing stock risk due to low yields and forecast returns. The 60/40 portfolio, according to BlackRock, is projected to yield a poorer return than it has in the prior decade.
If this is the case, advisers will need to rethink the 60/40 portfolio for clients to achieve their retirement income targets.
The researchers reached some firm conclusions.
- To begin with, given the likelihood that nominal rates will stay low in the future, investors should increase their equity allocations to earn greater returns.
- Alternatively, investors might expand their stock exposure to more than 60%.
Bond returns that aren’t rising?
However, investors’ assumptions regarding the scale of these diversification advantages may need to be adjusted. This is due to academics’ hypothesis that bond returns will be effectively flat during times of market stress.
Third, the report looked at rebuilding and reworking the 60/40 portfolio’s architecture – read more here. It looked into increasing stock holdings, investing in longer-dated bonds that are less impacted by current central bank policies, and utilizing funds to invest in diversification techniques such as currencies, corporate bonds, and gold.
Low bond rates, the brokerage said, will continue to impact the classic 60/40 portfolio’s performance. As a result, investors should use techniques to strengthen their portfolios without significantly raising the risk.
Crypto diversification’s advantages
Diversification has generally provided two advantages: It diversifies your portfolio with “non-correlated” assets so that when some investments fall in value, others remain stable or even grow, and it (hopefully) shields you from a catastrophic loss of one of your investments implodes.
With crypto, the first benefit is just tangentially relevant. Bonds tend to rise in value when equities decrease in value, allowing investors to ride out bad markets with a typical investing portfolio. On the other hand, Cryptocurrencies tend to rise and fall in lockstep.
The fundamental benefit of bitcoin diversity is that it limits extreme outcomes. If one cryptocurrency fails and your investment falls to zero, Jariwala adds that other crypto investments may still do well. Ideally, one currency will not wipe out your whole crypto holdings.
Crypto diversification’s limitations
The fact that all digital coins are connected, on the other hand, provides a severe challenge to the diversification argument. For example, when Elon Musk announced that Tesla would no longer take Bitcoin, the price of a slew of other cryptocurrencies plunged as well.
According to Hanna Halaburda, an associate professor at NYU Stern School of Business, the actual reason why cryptocurrencies are so closely linked to Bitcoin’s price is yet unknown. However, she adds that one possible explanation is that individuals excited about Bitcoin are also enthusiastic about cryptocurrency.
Another is that the problems that affect Bitcoin, such as environmental concerns and regulatory challenges, haunt the cryptocurrency market as a whole, she says.