100 Level

What Is (Was) The Motivation For ITA Wealth Management?

What is the motivation for writing this blog? Here are a few reasons. I wanted to learn how blogs work, and there seemed no better way than to set one up. Writing this blog required me to dig into academic papers I filed away years ago.  Rereading a number of investment books is a side benefit. I wanted to pass on what I learned from over fifty years of investing. This investing … [Read More...]

Are Optimizers Anything But Error Maximizers?

Mean-Variance Optimization "Mean-variance optimization presents an illusion of precision that is seductive but generally fallacious and even dangerous."  So writes Richard O. Michaud in his book, Efficient Asset Management: A Practical Guide to Stock Portfolio Optimization and Asset Allocation.  Harold R. Evensky provides this MVO warning.  "In spite of my strong defense of Markowitz's … [Read More...]

300 Level

Portfolio Performance Data: 4 March 2011

Photograph: Harley at the cabin in Central Oregon Platinum members will find the performance data below.  This is the first complete update since the February statements became available.  In almost every situation, the portfolios gained ground on the VTSMX index.  Quite a few showed improvement in the Sortino and Retirement Ratios, possibly the key measurement. Platinum … [Read More...]

Sortino Ratio

Sortino Ratio: Calculation Steps Calculating the Sortino Ratio is not too difficult assuming you have historical data for the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of the portfolio and the IRR for a benchmark. Here at ITA Wealth Management our primary benchmark is Vanguard's Total Market Index Fund, or VTSMX. Eventually we plan to move to the ITA Index, a customized benchmark for each portfolio. In … [Read More...]

200 Level

Monte Carlo Retirement Calculator

Have any readers heard the example of saving $2,000 per year starting at age 19, and only saving for eight years?  Assuming a return of 10% a year, how much will this individual have at age 65?  Then we take another investor who begins saving $2,000 per year on the year the first investor stopped.  The second investor also is fortunate enough to earn 10% per year.  Keep in mind … [Read More...]

Ultra Capital Preservation Portfolio Revised

Last week I laid out the Ultra Capital Preservation Portfolio. That portfolio contained an error and in this blog post I make the correction.  Instead of using IWN, I meant to use IWM.  IWN is a value oriented ETF, and I intended to use the broader ETF, IWM.  Here is the QPP analysis on the portfolio I intended for the Ultra Capital Preservation. … [Read More...]

400 Level

15-Stock Diversification Myth

Diversification Myth Debunked   How many stocks does it take to eliminate portfolio risk?  The number 12 to 15 often crops up.  If that is too few, then maybe 20 to 30 will do.  This number has also come under fire, particularly in a world economy where U.S. companies no longer make up the majority of available companies and our economy is shrinking as a percentage of the … [Read More...]

Modified Sortino Ratio and Retirement Ratio: A Review of Uncertainty Measurements

  While the Sortino ratio was an improvement versus the old methods for measuring portfolio performance against a standard, Retirement Ratio sets even a high performance bar.  The old Sortino Ratio looked like the following. S = (P - B)/DR where S = Sortino Ratio P = IRR for Portfolio B = IRR for Benchmark (we now use the customized ITA Index in our calculations) DR = Downside risk … [Read More...]