Each month I will share the monthly performance of the Vanguard Portfolio ETFs and our version of the Dual Momentum Strategy. I also share the Dual Momentum signal for the current month based on my relative and absolute momentum criteria using my favourite Canadian-listed ETFs.
Starting this month, we are going to start following a leveraged strategy which combines short-term bonds and leveraged stock ETFs. This is based on the Leveraged Portfolios post which I shared earlier this February.
It's important to understand there are many strategies you can use to be a successful investor of long periods of time. Choose a proven approach, make sure it is appropriate to your risk tolerance, and stick with the strategy regardless of recent performance.
Vanguard All-in-One Portfolio ETFs
These Vanguard ETFs hold multiple assets inside a single ETF. It's nearly a perfect solution for investors who want to buy just one ETF and hold it forever without worrying about re-balancing, tax trigger issues, and excessive costs. These ETFs are completely managed for you at a very low 0.22% fee. Read my post reviewing these products to get an idea of how they are designed.
Here are the February monthly returns of these portfolio products (benchmark data).
Vanguard Growth ETF: -0.64%
Vanguard Balanced ETF: -0.48%
Vanguard Conservative ETF: -0.33%
The decision between choosing the Growth ETF, Balanced ETF, or Conservative ETF depends on your tolerance for risk and your investment time-line. The Growth ETF should have the highest returns and highest draw-downs over time while the Conservative ETF will show lower returns with more stability. The Balanced ETF is in between the other two.
Dual Momentum Strategy (RM Style)
Dual Momentum is a strict, rules-based investing approach which uses an easy performance evaluation to decide your investment holding for each month. Most months the holding will stay the same; trades occur around two times per year on average. By evaluating just once each month, you can eliminate the negative effects of market noise and spend very little time investing.
The Dual Momentum strategy—as tested by Gary Antonacci of Optimal Momentum—has shown fantastic results of complete market cycles. Read his website, book, and research papers to get a full understanding of how the strategy works.
See our version of Dual Momentum performance for 2017 by visiting the Portfolios page.
YTD Performance: +2.68%
Last month's performance: -0.14%
Current recommendation: XEF.TO (no change from last month)
When determining our monthly position, we consider the past performance of just three eligible holdings: XUU.TO, XEF.TO, VSB.TO. The best performer based on specific criteria becomes the only holding for the next month.
Leveraged Barbell Portfolios
The Leveraged Portfolio strategy uses a unique mix of short-term bonds and leveraged stock ETFs to achieve growth while limiting downside risks. It's essentially a barbell strategy where all the risk and growth is contained in a small portion of the entire portfolio.
If you choose to implement the strategy, make sure you treat each account as a whole portfolio. Do not put bonds in one account and leveraged stock ETFs in another account!
Leveraged portfolios are re-balanced just once per year. For this reason, I will always track the Year-to-Date returns only.
Canadian-listed ETFs (2x Leverage Stock ETFs)
HSU.TO (50%) & XSB.TO (50%): +1.03%
HSU.TO (30%) & XSB.TO (70%): +0.63%
U.S.-listed ETFs (3x Leverage Stock ETFs)
UPRO (40%) & BSV (60%): +0.43%
UPRO (30%) & BSV (70%): +0.13%
These allocations are just a few examples of how Leveraged Barbell Portfolios can work. Leveraged ETFs amplify positive and negative returns so they should always be paired with low-risk assets to meet your personal risk tolerance. In a non-registered account, you may use margin debt to purchase your stock index ETF for somewhat better tracking.
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