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All Stocks All the Time?

November 10, 2023 • Posted in Bonds, Equity Premium, Strategic Allocation

Is the the conventional retirement portfolio glidepath as recommended by many financial advisors, away from stocks and toward bonds over time, really optimal? In their October 2023 paper entitled “Beyond the Status Quo: A Critical Assessment of Lifecycle Investment Advice”, Aizhan Anarkulova, Scott Cederburg and Michael O’Doherty present a lifecycle income/wealth model using stationary block bootstrap simulations (average block length 120 months to preserve long-term behaviors) with labor income uncertainty, Social Security income, longevity uncertainty and historical monthly returns for stock indexes, government bonds and government bills across developed countries. They apply this model to estimate outcomes for several age-dependent, monthly rebalanced portfolios of stocks and bonds, including a representative target-date fund (TDF), as well as some fixed-percentage allocation strategies. They focus on a U.S. couple (a female and a male) who save during working years starting at age 25 and consume Social Security income and savings starting at age 65 with constant real 4% annual withdrawals. They evaluate four outcomes: (1) wealth at retirement; (2) retirement income; (3) conservation of savings; and, (4) bequest at death. Using monthly (local) real returns for domestic stock indexes, international stock indexes, government bonds and government bills as available for 38 developed countries during 1890 through 2019, they find that:

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