A gone-fishing portfolio is a portfolio of just a few stocks which should weather the ups and downs of the market fairly well while only rebalancing twice a year. We recommend a gone-fishing portfolio for people who are just getting started with investing.
For those who would like assistance with investing, rebalancing, and managing their portfolio, our Do-It-Yourself service level may be a better fit.
For people with more invested assets or are in or near retirement, we recommend professional management and financial planning. For that reason, our calculators do not make recommendations beyond age 70.
Our standard gone-fishing portfolio can be used at any custodian. It is the best for custodians who have no transactions fees for all Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).
For custodians who have trading costs on ETFs, we recommend designing a portfolio using that custodian’s limited no-transaction-fee list. Some custodians still have ETF transactions fees. If you’d like us to create one for your custodian, you can send us your request through our Contact page. Charles Schwab, Fidelity, eTrade, and TD Ameritrade all have no ETF transaction fees and can use our default portfolio. Vanguard also has no transaction fees on ETFs when purchased online and can use our default portfolio, but we still make a Vanguard-specific portfolio due to the Vanguard brand loyalty of some of our readership.
If you are just getting started with investing and have not yet selected a custodian, we recommend opening accounts with Charles Schwab. Charles Schwab and many other custodians have no transaction fees for U.S. security trades and have no minimum account requirements. For these and many other reasons, we recommend selecting Charles Schwab as your custodian and using the Default Gone-Fishing Portfolio.
Here are all of our gone-fishing portfolios so far for 2023:
Marotta’s 2023 Gone-Fishing Portfolio Calculator
This gone-fishing portfolio is our default portfolio which can be used at any custodian.
Marotta’s 2023 Vanguard Gone-Fishing Portfolio Calculator
We recommend this gone-fishing portfolio for investors with brand loyalty to Vanguard.
Note on the Stock-Bond Mix
In 2021, we adjusted the age-appropriate asset allocation. Instead of a more gradual glide path between stocks and bonds, we acknowledged that most of your portfolio should be invested in stocks, while the next seven years of safe spending should be invested in bonds.
This change made the age-appropriate asset allocation for a 40-year-old 100% stocks rather than 15% bonds and 85% stocks. Assuming your portfolio withdrawals only start after retirement, an age-65 retirement needs a bond allocation after age 50.
If you are retiring sooner or later than age 65, we recommend you consider getting professional management to design your asset allocation.
2023 Change in Bond Allocation
While our 2022 update saw a number of changes, this year we only have one change.
We have elected to remove Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF (VWOB) from the Stability allocation of both portfolios. VWOB is the most volatile bond in our managed portfolios. While its volatility can sometimes provide boosted returns, we decided that its volatility was counter productive to our calm, low volatility Gone-Fishing Portfolio goals.
We replaced VWOB with treasury inflation-protected bonds (TIPS), because while TIPS can be more volatile than regular treasuries, they are typically less volatile than emerging market bonds.
In our managed portfolios, we increased our allocation to TIPS back in April 2021 and have kept this tilt towards inflation protection through today. However, in our managed portfolios, we also keep a hearty foreign bond allocation.
If you don’t mind the volatility of VWOB, you have our blessing to keep it in your portfolio. You can simply reduce or replace SCHP with VWOB when you are implementing your allocation.
To represent TIPS in our Default Gone-Fishing Portfolio, we selected Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF (SCHP). The expense ratio is 0.04% and its duration is 6.6 years.
For those who are brand loyal to Vanguard, we selected Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund Adm/Inv (VAIPX/VIPSX) to represent TIPS in our Vanguard Gone-Fishing Portfolio. The Admiral shares VAIPX has a minimum investment of $50,000, an expense ratio of 0.10% and a duration of 6.9 years. The Investor shares VIPSX has a minimum investment of $3,000, an expense ratio of 0.20% and a duration of 6.9 years. There is no intermediate-term Vanguard TIPS ETF.
Reminder: Stay the Course
We have a saying, “It is always a good time to have a balanced portfolio.” And while the worries of the world can make investing a terrible spectator sport, you can choose not to watch, either the news or your portfolios reaction to the news. Seven out of ten years are up.
Regardless of what happens, we believe volatile markets are the times when it is most important to stay invested.
It is easy to get out of the markets when they look risky but difficult to know when to get back in. Additionally, the markets usually look risky.
We believe that it is better to be invested in the markets at the wrong time than trying to time the markets.
Mermaid illustrations by Zoe Russell (age 6).