Coffeehouse ETF Portfolio: Boring, But Simple
Back in 1999 when everyone was betting the ranch on tech and dot-com, Bill Schultheis, a former Salomon Smith Barney broker and the author of The Coffeehouse Investor, launched his Coffeehouse Portfolio.
This portfolio was as boring as a cup of instant coffee on a street full of Starbucks. Investors, except those that read this site of course, were riding the tech wave. Returns were expected to exceed 100 percent annually. And more than a hundred funds delivered. Everyone was going to retire early.
During this period of irrational exuberance, brokers laughed at Bill's “overly conservative” Coffeehouse Portfolio. After all, who would sock 40% of one's assets on low-return bond funds at the same time that tech stocks were doubling? The Coffeehouse was laughable.
But the smiles turned to frowns during the bear years of 2000, 2001, and 2002. During this time, the Coffeehouse Portfolio beat the S&P 500 by roughly 15 percentage points each of the three bear years. At the same time, several hundred dot-coms filed for bankruptcy sending the Nasdaq down 80%. But enough of the doom and gloom.
Here's how Bill's very simple portfolio works. Put 40 percent in an intermediate-bond index fund and 10 percent in each of six equity funds. That's all there is to it. Here's the portfolio using exchange traded funds (ETFs).
(40%) Total Bond Market Index – AGG
(10%) Standard & Poor's 500 – SPY or IVV
(10%) Large-Cap Value Index – IVE
(10%) Small-Cap Index – IJR
(10%) Small-Cap Value Index – IJS
(10%) Total International Stock Index – EFA
(10%) REIT Index – ICF or IYR