Site icon Dumb Little Man

The Strategic Value of Real Assets in Diversified Investment Portfolios Over Time

The significant uptick in US inflation during 2021-2022 reignited interest in incorporating a real assets portfolio into asset allocation strategies, emphasizing its importance.

However, the dimming of inflation rates by mid-2022 cast doubts on the continued emphasis on assets traditionally favored during periods of high inflation.

For context, consider a real assets portfolio consisting of four categories represented by their ETFs: commodities (GSG), gold (GLD), inflation-protected Treasuries (TIP), and real estate (VNQ), each equally weighted and annually rebalanced. This analysis also compares the performance of a traditional 60/40 US stocks/bonds strategy (SPY/BND) and the iShares Core Moderate Allocation ETF (NYSE:AOM), starting from December 31, 2019—just before a tumultuous period leading to a significant inflation increase.

The findings reveal that the real assets benchmark notably outperformed in early 2022, a period challenging for the markets.

While real assets struggled to keep pace with the 60/40 strategy recently, largely due to the booming US equities market, they have proven lucrative in bold portfolio strategies over the past years.

Yet, the reliability of recent performance as a guide remains in question.

A secondary analysis, extending back to the end of 2012, shows real assets significantly trailing behind the 60/40 US portfolio, raising important considerations. These include defining “real assets” more broadly to potentially include cryptocurrency ETFs like Bitcoin, evaluating the impact of a tactical management approach versus a semi-passive strategy, reconsidering the equal weighting method, and exploring a wider or more detailed range of real assets.

The critical question remains: will inflation continue to propel real assets forward?

This issue is paramount as inflation trends play a crucial role in the success of real assets strategies moving forward. The assumption in asset allocation planning is to include real assets as a hedge against inflation’s unpredictability, supporting the stance that investors should avoid underestimating inflation protection.

However, the longer-term performance suggests that real assets could, under certain conditions, hinder overall portfolio returns.

Should inflation rates decrease as anticipated, the role and effectiveness of real assets within a diversified investment strategy could face challenges, underscoring the importance of strategic allocation and the dynamic nature of market forces.

Exit mobile version