Here’s my 2024 Q1 update for our primary investment holdings (numbers taken after market close 3/29), including all of our combined 401k/403b/IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts but excluding our house and side portfolio of self-directed investments. Following the concept of skin in the game, the following is not a recommendation, but a sharing of our real-world, imperfect, low-cost, diversified DIY portfolio.

“Never ask anyone for their opinion, forecast, or recommendation. Just ask them what they have in their portfolio.” – Nassim Taleb

How I Track My Portfolio
Here’s how I track my portfolio across multiple brokers and account types. There are limited free advanced options after Morningstar discontinued free access to their portfolio tracker. I use both Empower Personal Dashboard (previously known as Personal Capital) and a custom Google Spreadsheet to track my investment holdings:

  • The Empower Personal Dashboard real-time portfolio tracking tools (free) automatically logs into my different accounts, adds up my various balances, tracks my performance, and calculates my overall asset allocation daily. Formerly known as Personal Capital.
  • Once a quarter, I also update my manual Google Spreadsheet (free to copy, instructions) because it helps me calculate how much I need in each asset class to rebalance back towards my target asset allocation. I also create a new tab each quarter, so I have a personal archive of my holdings dating back many years.

2024 Q1 Asset Allocation and YTD Performance
Here are updated performance and asset allocation charts, per the “Holdings” and “Allocation” tabs of my Empower Personal Dashboard.

I own broad, low-cost exposure to productive assets that will provide long-term returns above inflation, distribute income via dividends and interest, and finally offer some historical tendencies to balance each other out. I have faith in the long-term benefit of owning businesses worldwide, as well as the stability of high-quality US Treasury debt. My stock holdings roughly follow the total world market cap breakdown at roughly 60% US and 40% ex-US. I add just a little “spice” to the broad funds with the inclusion of “small value” factor ETFs for US, Developed International, and Emerging Markets stocks as well as diversified real estate exposure through US REITs.

By paying minimal costs including management fees, transaction spreads, and tax drag, I am trying to essentially guarantee myself above-average net performance over time.

The portfolio that you can hold onto through the tough times is the best one for you. Every asset class will eventually have a low period, and you must have strong faith during these periods to earn those historically high returns. You have to keep owning and buying more stocks through the stock market crashes. You have to maintain and even buy more rental properties during a housing crunch, etc. A good sign is that if prices drop, you’ll want to buy more of that asset instead of less. I don’t have strong faith in the long-term results of commodities, gold, or bitcoin – so I don’t own them.

I do not spend a lot of time backtesting various model portfolios, as I don’t think picking through the details of the recent past will necessarily create superior future returns. You’ll usually find that whatever model portfolio is popular at the moment just happens to hold the asset class that has been the hottest recently as well.

I have settled into a long-term target ratio of roughly 70% stocks and 30% bonds within our investment strategy of buy, hold, and occasionally rebalance. My goal has evolved to more of a “perpetual income portfolio” as opposed to a “build up a big stash and hope it lasts until I die” portfolio. My target withdrawal rate is 3% or less. Here is a round-number breakdown of my target asset allocation along with my primary ETF holding for each asset class.

  • 35% US Total Market (VTI)
  • 5% US Small-Cap Value (VBR)
  • 15% International Total Market (VXUS)
  • 5% International Small-Cap Value (AVDV)
  • 10% US Real Estate (REIT) (VNQ)
  • 15% US “Regular” Treasury Bonds or FDIC-insured deposits
  • 15% US Treasury Inflation-Protected Bonds (or I Savings Bonds)

Performance details. According to Empower, my portfolio is up about 5% so far in 2024. The S&P 500 is up about 10% YTD, while the US Bond index is down around 1%. I hold enough bonds and international stocks that I’m always going to be lagging the hottest sector, and I’m pretty much used to that now.

As usual, not much action. These quarterly updates are mostly for me to manually log into all my accounts to make sure they still exist. I didn’t sell a single share of anything. I did reinvest some dividends and interest into TIPS and Treasury bonds to bring me back towards my target numbers. I also made my 2024 contributions to a Backdoor Roth IRA and bought VNQ in it.

I’ll share about more about the income aspect in a separate post.

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MMB Portfolio Asset Allocation & Performance Update – April 2024 (Q1) from My Money Blog.

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