The Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy - 2009 Update
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Written by Paul Merriman   
February 24, 2009
In this update to one of the most important items in our article library, Paul Merriman shows how a series of simple but powerful concepts can benefit patient, thoughtful investors.  This 2009 revision updates all reported returns to include the year 2008.

If you are a serious investor, this article could be one of the most important things you'll ever read. I'm going to show you the strategy that's behind the way we manage the majority of the money we invest for clients.

This strategy is best understood with a brief history lesson. When I founded the company that’s now Merriman in 1983 (it was then Paul A. Merriman & Associates), millions of investors had just suffered large market losses over a period of almost 20 years. In fact, from 1966 through 1982, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had produced negative returns after accounting for inflation.

We initially offered only strategies that used market timing systems to actively manage risk. The systems were designed to give investors a chance to participate in the equity market without the high risks of buying and holding through thick and thin.

In 1992, as we began helping clients with more and more of their money, it became increasingly clear that much of that money was invested without timing. We sought – and found – a buy-and-hold strategy that we believed would be worth recommending.

After all these years, we like this strategy so much that we call it the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy, as the title of this article indicates.

We don’t use that word “ultimate” casually. I don’t claim this is the best investment strategy in the world – but it’s the best I have found. I believe almost every long-term investor can use it to advantage.

As we shall see, compared with the U.S. stock market as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy has historically increased returns and reduced risk.

However good it is, this strategy is not a cure-all for the inevitable challenges of investing money. This strategy is built on massive diversification. Almost always, at least some part of it performs relatively well. But in 2008, a year most investors would rather forget, it was nearly impossible to escape losses in the equity markets. I believe those losses, which continue as I write this update, will prove in the long run to be temporary. And when the market turns upward once again, I believe this strategy will help investors take advantage of that recovery.

The strategy I’m going to describe is suitable for do-it-yourself investors as well as those who use professional investment advisors. It works in small portfolios (although not tiny ones) as well as large portfolios. It’s easy to understand and easy to apply using low-cost no-load mutual funds.

You should know that we did not invent this strategy. It has evolved from the work of many people over a long period, including some winners and nominees for the Nobel Prize in economics.


In theory, a perfect investment strategy would be cheap, easy and risk-free. It would make you fabulously rich in about a week. Tax-free, of course. We haven’t found that combination, and we don’t expect to find it. But in the real world, this is the best substitute we know.

Over the long run, the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy has produced higher returns than the investments that many people hold. It did so at lower risk, with minimal transaction costs. It’s mechanical, so it doesn’t require you to pore over newsletters, pick stocks, find a guru or understand the economy.


Even though this strategy is based on academic research, it’s really fairly simple. If I had to reduce it to just one sentence, here’s what I would say: The Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy uses no-load mutual funds to create a sophisticated asset allocation model with worldwide equity diversification by adding value stocks, small company stocks and real estate funds to a traditional large-cap growth stock portfolio.

If you think you already know what that means and you’re tempted to skip the rest of this article, I hope you’ll resist that temptation. I have some compelling evidence to show you. If you apply this diligently, doing so could make a big difference in your future and your family’s future.

If there is a “catch” to this strategy, it’s availability. You cannot buy it in a single mutual fund. You can put together most of it using Vanguard’s low-cost index funds; but Vanguard doesn’t offer every piece of it. If you use more than one fund family and include ETFs, you can get each individual piece; but in order to do that you may have to open more than a single account and you might have to pay more in expenses than I would regard as ideal.

In my view, the ultimate way to implement this ultimate strategy is to hire a professional money manager who has access to the institutional asset-class funds offered by Dimensional Fund Advisors. (More on that later.)


The Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy is based on more than 50 years of research into a deceptively simple question: What really makes a difference to investment results?

Some of the answers may surprise you. The people behind this research include Harry Markowitz, a 1990 Nobel laureate; Rex A. Sinquefield, who started the first index fund; and Eugene F. Fama, Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago graduate school of business.

Their expertise is pooled in a company that Sinquefield started in 1981 in order  to give institutional investors a practical way to take advantage of their research. Today, that company, Dimensional Fund Advisors, manages more than $100 billion of investments for pension funds, large corporations and a family of terrific mutual funds that are available to the public through a select group of investment advisors.


Before we get into the meat of this strategy, there are a few things you should know. Every investment and every investment strategy involves risks, both short-term and long-term. That means investors can always lose money. The Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy is not suitable for every investment need. It won’t necessarily do well in every week, every month, quarter or year. As 2008 pointed out dramatically, there will be times when it loses money. You have been warned.

Like most worthwhile ways to invest, this strategy requires investors to make a commitment. If you are the sort of investor who dabbles in a strategy to check it out for a quarter or two, don’t even bother with this. You will be disappointed, and you’ll be relying entirely on luck for such short-term results.

I am often asked how this strategy did last year or how it’s doing so far this year. Some people tell me they think investors should be in some particular asset over the next few months or the next year. Almost always, this is the result of something they have read or heard without checking it out thoroughly on their own. These people aren’t likely to succeed with this ultimate strategy because they are focused on the short term.

The Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy is not based on anything that happened last year or last quarter. It’s not based on anything that is expected to happen next quarter or next year. It makes absolutely no attempt to identify what investments will be “hot” in the near future. If that’s what you want, you should look elsewhere, because you won’t find it here.

This strategy is designed to produce very-long-term results without requiring much maintenance once the pieces are in place. If that is what you want, I hope you’ll keep reading.


The most important building block of this strategy is your choice of assets. Many investors think success lies in buying and selling at exactly the right times, in finding the right gurus or managers, the right stocks or mutual funds. In short, they believe in being at the right place at the right time. Those are elements of luck, and they can work against you just as much as they can work for you.

Here’s the truth: Your choice of asset classes has far more impact on your results than any other investment decision you will make. I know this flies in the face of a lot of conventional wisdom and almost all the marketing hype on Wall Street, so I want to repeat it. Your choice of the right assets is far more important than exactly when you buy or sell those assets. And it’s much more important than finding the very “best” stocks, bonds or mutual funds. 

Dimensional Fund Advisors studied the returns of 44 institutional pension funds with about $450 billion in assets over various time periods averaging nine years. The study concluded that more than 96 percent of the variation in returns could be attributed to the kinds of assets in the portfolios. Most of the remaining 4 percent was attributable to stock picking and the timing of purchases and sales.


So how do you choose the right asset classes? I’ll show you how, illustrating the process with a series of pie charts. We’ll start with Portfolio 1, a very basic investment mix. Assume the whole pie represents all the money you have invested. This version of the pie has only two slices, one for bonds (labeled the Lehman Govt. Credit Index) and one for equities (labeled the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index).

(The returns cited throughout this article are not those of our managed strategy and do not reflect any potential transaction costs, fees or expenses that investors must inevitably pay. These figures represent the returns of asset classes, not specific investments.)

Portfolio 1’s 60/40 split between equities and bonds is the way that pension funds, insurance companies and other large institutional investors have traditionally allocated their assets. The equities provide long-term growth while the bonds provide stability and income.

Let me say up front that we don’t believe 60 percent equity and 40 percent fixed-income is the right balance for all investors. Many young investors don’t need any bonds in their portfolios. And many older folks may want 70 percent or more of their portfolios in bonds. However, the 60/40 ratio of Portfolio 1 is a good long-term investment mix. It’s an industry standard, and I’ll use it throughout this article to illustrate my points.

For 39 years, from January 1970 through December 2008, this portfolio produced a compound annual return of 9.3 percent. That’s not bad, especially considering this period included four major bear markets. I believe that long-term return should be more than enough to let most investors achieve their long-term goals.

Therefore, for this discussion I will use a long-term annual return of 9.3 percent as a standard or benchmark against which to measure the strategy I’m presenting. You’ll see this strategy unfold in a series of pie charts as we split the pie into thinner and thinner slices by adding asset classes.

Remember that we also must look at risk. Adding return while also increasing riskis certainly possible, but it’s not what we’re after here. We want risk to remain the same – or ideally, to decline. Therefore, another measure I’ll use to gauge this strategy is standard deviation.

Standard deviation is a statistical way to measure risk. (If you want to understand this statistically, there are plenty of resources online that will tell you how it’s defined and applied.) In order to understand the attractiveness of the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy, what you need to know is that a lower standard deviation is better, indicating a portfolio that is more predictable and less volatile. The standard deviation of Portfolio 1 is 12.1 percent, so we’ll use that as the benchmark.

Hundreds of thousands of investors would be better off with Portfolio 1 than they are with their current portfolios, which offer too little diversification and too much risk. If those investors did nothing more than adopt this simple mix of assets – which is easily duplicated using a couple of no-load index funds, they would be more likely to achieve their long-term investment goals.

Because of that, and because it is used by institutional investors who cannot have much tolerance for getting things wrong, I believe Portfolio 1 is a relatively high standard from which to start. In my view, anything worthy of being called an “ultimate” strategy must beat Portfolio 1 in two ways. It must be worthy of a reasonable expectation that it will produce a return higher than 9.3 percent and at the same time have a standard deviation lower than 12.1 percent.

Most of the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy is concerned with the 60 percent equity side of the pie. That’s where the main focus will be in this article. But it’s very important to get the fixed-income part of this strategy right.

Most people include bond funds in a portfolio to provide stability, which can be measured by standard deviation. Many investors also expect bond funds to produce income, which of course is part of any investor’s total return. The higher the percentage of bonds that make up a total portfolio, the more stability that portfolio is likely to have – and the less long-term growth it is likely to produce.


Whether your portfolio is heavy or light on bonds, it matters what kind of bonds you own. In general, longer bond maturities go together with higher yields and higher volatility (higher standard deviation, in other words). However as you extend maturities beyond intermediate-term bonds, the added volatility (risk) rises much faster than the additional return.

In the past, we recommended short-term bond funds for this part of the portfolio. After more study, we refined our approach two ways. First, the fixed-income portfolio now is exclusively in government fixed-income funds. Second, this segment of the portfolio is now made up of 50 percent intermediate-term funds, 30 percent short-term funds and 20 percent in TIPS funds for inflation protection. (TIPS funds invest in U.S. Treasury inflation-protected securities, which automatically adjust their interest payments and their value to changes in the Consumer Price Index.)

For a variety of reasons, we expect this combination to produce slightly higher returns with a little bit of additional risk. In an all-fixed-income portfolio, this would leave us with that higher risk. But because the additional risk comes from the longer term of the bonds (instead of from the possibility of a corporate default), this extra risk is non-correlated with the risk of the stock market. That means that when we combine this fixed-income mix with a diversified equity portfolio, the volatility of the entire portfolio goes down.

I know it’s counter-intuitive to think you can reduce risk by adding risk. But in this case, as the result of a lot of careful thought and study, we believe you can do just that. This is what I call “smart diversification” at work, and we’ll encounter it again when we examine the equity side of the portfolio.

Why do we exclude corporate fixed-income funds? In a nutshell, because they entail some risk of default – a risk that tends to increase when times are tough, just when we want stability the most. We believe in taking calculated risks on the equity side of the portfolio and being very conservative on the fixed-income side. U.S. Treasury securities are the safest in the world and virtually eliminate the risk of default.


Making these changes gives us Portfolio 2. From 1970 through 2008, this combination had an annualized return of 9.3 percent and a standard deviation of 11.5 percent. This change gives the portfolio more stability (less risk) at the same return.

This refinement from Portfolio 1 is modest. But there’s much more to come as we tackle the 60 percent of the portfolio devoted to equities.


Virtually all serious investors are familiar with the long-term attraction of owning real estate. When this asset class is owned through professionally managed real estate investment trusts known as REITs, it can reduce risk and increase return.

From 1975 through 2008, REITs compounded at 13.2 percent, outpacing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (which returned 11.3 percent over that same period). This was an unusually productive period for REITs, and academic researchers expect the future returns of real estate and of the S&P 500 Index to be similar to each other – though not as high as they were during this period.

As you will see, when REITs make up one-fifth of the equity part of this portfolio (in Portfolio 3), the annual return rose slightly to 9.6 percent; more important for our purposes, the standard deviation (risk) fell to 10.9 percent. At this point we have accomplished our objective of adding return and reducing risk. Over this long period, the bottom line is an additional $319,377 in cumulative return. This is an excellent start, but the best is yet to come. 


The standard pension fund’s equity portfolio, shown here in Portfolios 1 and 2, consists mostly of the stocks of the 500 largest U.S. companies. These include many familiar names like ExxonMobil, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pfizer and Proctor & Gamble. Each of these was once a small company going through rapid growth that paid off in a big way for early investors. Microsoft was a classic case in the 1980s and 1990s.

Because small companies can grow much faster than huge ones, a fundamental way to diversify a stock portfolio is to invest some of your money in stocks of small companies.

To accomplish this, the next step in building the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy is to add small-cap stocks to the equity part of the portfolio. To represent small-cap stocks, we have used the returns of the Dimensional Fund Advisors U.S. Micro Cap  Fund, which invests in the smallest 20 percent of U.S. companies.

The result is Portfolio 4, a pie that now has four slices and which from 1970 through 2008 produced an annualized return of 9.8 percent, with a standard deviation of 11.2 percent. With these three changes, we added more than $600,000 to the cumulative return, an increase of 19.1 percent.


I think that is very impressive, and I’d like you to pause for a moment and think about that. The additional return is more than six times the entire initial investment of $100,000. How much work did it take to capture that extra return? I’m betting you could set this up with less than 20 hours of your time. But let’s be very conservative and say that it took you 40 hours, a full standard work week. Divide the extra return by those hours and the payoff amounts to about $15,500 per hour. I don’t know anywhere else you can get paid that much for your time. If you do, I hope you’ll let me know! Could I now interest you in doubling that extra return, and doing so within the same allotted 40 hours of the calculation above?


The next step is to differentiate between what are known as growth stocks and value stocks. Typical growth investors look for companies with rising sales and profits, companies that either dominate their markets or seem to be on the brink of doing so. These companies are typical of those in the S&P 500 Index of Portfolio 1.

Value investors, on the other hand, look for companies that for one reason or another may be temporary bargains. They may be out of favor with big investors because of things like poor management, weak finances, new competition or problems with unions, government agencies and defective products. 

Value stocks are regarded as bargains that are expected to return to their supposedly “normal” levels when the market perceives their prospects more positively. Some prominent examples, taken from the largest holdings of the Vanguard Value Index Fund in early 2009, include J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Intel and Verizon. Identifying such companies can take a lot of analysis, based on many assumptions that might or might not prove out.


The Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy uses a different approach, a purely mechanical one, to identify value companies. We start by identifying the largest 50 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and then including all other public companies of similar size. These companies are then sorted by the ratio of their price per share to their book value per share. The top 30 percent of this list, the companies with the highest price-to-book ratios, are classified as growth companies. The bottom 30 percent are classified as value companies.

Although the most popular stocks are growth stocks, much research shows that historically, unpopular (value) stocks outperform popular (growth) stocks. This is true of large-cap stocks and small-cap stocks, and it’s true of international stocks as well. From 1927 through 2008, an index of large U.S. growth stocks produced an annualized return of 8.6 percent; large U.S. value stocks, by contrast, had a comparable return of 10 percent. Among small-cap stocks over the same period, growth stocks returned 8.4 percent, and value stocks returned 13 percent.

Therefore, we create Portfolio 5 by adding equal slices (each shown in the pie chart as 12 percent of the entire portfolio) of large-cap value and small-cap value. At this point, the equity side of the portfolio is divided equally five ways.

This boosts the portfolio’s return to 10.7 percent, still with a lower standard deviation than Portfolio 1. And notice how much this adds to the 38-year cumulative return: nearly $2 million. That is more than three times the “added value” that came from Portfolio 4.

To recap where we are at this point, we started with a standard industry portfolio mix, refined the fixed-income portion and added real estate, small and value stocks to the equity portion. The result is an increase of 15 percent in annualized return (and of nearly 60 percent in cumulative return) at essentially the same level of risk.

Now there is one more very important step in creating the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy.

The final step toward Portfolio 6 is to go beyond the borders of the United States to invest in international stocks. U.S. and international stocks both go up and down, but often they do so at different times and different velocities. Because of this, international stocks are diversifiers to reduce volatility.

Like U.S. stocks, international stocks have a long-term upward bias. Yet when the shorter-term movements of U.S. and international stock markets offset each other, as they often do, the combination has a smoother long-term upward curve than either one by itself.

There are two major reasons international stocks have low correlation to U.S. ones. First, they trade and operate in different economic environments with different growth rates and monetary policies. Second, currency fluctuations affect their prices when translated into U.S. dollars.


The virtues of small-cap stocks and value stocks apply equally to international stocks as to U.S. stocks. Portfolio 6 slices the equity portion equally 10 ways, adding international large, international large value, international small, international small value and emerging markets. We haven’t discussed emerging markets, and this isn’t the place for a full discussion, but let me say that emerging markets represent great long-term growth opportunities. That’s why they deserve a place here.

As you’ll see, the annualized return of Portfolio 6 jumps to 11.7 percent and the standard deviation remains at 12 percent. Cumulatively over 39 years, this portfolio produced a gain of $7.4 million, more than twice as much as Portfolio 1. If you go back to my premise that you could implement this strategy in a total of 40 hours, the added-value return works out to $105,197 per hour for your time. (Too bad you can’t do that for a whole career!)

This completes the basic makeup of the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy, which over this time period increased annualized return by more than 25 percent while reducing volatility slightly. This is not complicated, and it’s based on solid research, not hocus-pocus. It doesn’t require a guru. It doesn’t require investors to figure out the economic landscape or make predictions about the future.

With 2008 fresh in our minds, let me say a few things about risk. While the standard deviation of Portfolio 6 fell by only 0.1 percent, as compared with that of Portfolio 1, I think the real risk fell much further. Consider that Portfolio 1 contained only about 500 stocks. There’s always a default risk when companies implode unexpectedly. (Washington Mutual is a recent example.)

Now consider all the stocks held by all the funds in Portfolio 6. At the end of 2008, according to Dimensional Fund Advisors, those funds owned a total of 16,118 stocks. Even if you figure that some part of that number represents duplications, Portfolio 6 entails ownership in many thousands of stocks, not just 500. To my way of thinking, that much diversification is very worthwhile in terms of peace of mind. 


The trickiest part of the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy is getting the level of risk right for each individual investor. The most important asset-class decision an investor makes is how much to have in fixed-income and how much in equities. In these illustrations we have used a 60/40 mix. That is an industry standard, and I believe that over a long period of time many investors can use it to accomplish their goals at reasonable levels of risk.

But this may not be right for you. For help in applying risk-vs.-reward to your own situation, I suggest you read one of our most important articles, “Fine tuning your asset allocation.”

As I mentioned earlier, there’s no single mutual fund that puts all the pieces of this together under one roof. For help in finding funds, I recommend another article, “The best mutual funds: DFA or Vanguard?” For an excellent discussion of the value of non-correlated assets, I recommend a fine article by my son, Jeff Merriman-Cohen, called “The perfect portfolio.”


We’re often asked why we don’t include mid-cap funds in our recommendations. We believe it’s possible to have a great portfolio without mid-cap funds, rebalancing large-cap and small-cap funds to gain some of what we call “smart diversification.” This involves putting together assets that typically behave differently from each other; large-cap and small-cap funds is one excellent example of that.

For our clients, we use funds that include mid-cap stocks. But we don’t use specifically mid-cap funds. Mid-cap funds often produce attractive returns. But we don’t think investors need them.


This combination of asset classes works best in tax-sheltered accounts such as IRAs and company retirement plans. In taxable accounts, we recommend leaving out the REIT fund and dividing that portion of the portfolio equally among the other four U.S. equity classes. I say this because real estate funds produce most of their total return in the form of income dividends that may not qualify for the favorable tax treatment afforded to most other dividends.

Many investors implement this strategy in taxable accounts to supplement their employee retirement plans in order to capture asset classes not available in those plans. Investors who take this approach, which we favor, should hold REIT funds in their tax-sheltered accounts.


Even though this is the best buy-and-hold strategy that I know for serious long-term investors, it isn’t flawless. Investment markets are not highly predictable, and this strategy might not work as well in the future as well as it did in the past.

The equity side of this portfolio is slightly overweighted to value stocks. Yet it is quite possible that value stocks will underperform growth stocks over the next five, 10, 15 or 20 years. The portfolio contains a large dose of small-cap stocks. But it’s possible that large-cap stocks will do better than small ones in the future. This portfolio contains an above-average exposure to international stocks, which could underperform U.S. stocks in the future. Likewise, it’s possible that fixed-income funds, which make up the minority of this portfolio, could do better than equities in the future.

All this uncertainty is simply inevitable. Still, I believe the Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy deals very well with it. If you own this portfolio, you aren’t dependent on any particular asset class. You have them all. And no matter which ones are doing well, you will own them.

To my mind, this is the best an investor can do. And when you have done your best, it’s time to turn your attention to something else. A very good “something else” is to make sure you are living your life the way you want to.


Paul Merriman is founder of Merriman.



Directors and officers of DFA Investment Dimensions Group Inc. include:
•    David G. Booth, co-founder, director, CEO, president and chief investment officer; trustee, University of Chicago
•    George M. Constantinides, Leo Melamed Professor of Finance, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago
•     John P. Gould, Steven G. Rothmeier Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago
•    Roger G. Ibbotson, Professor in the Practice of Finance, School of Management, Yale University
•    Robert C. Merton, Nobel laureate, John and Natty McArthur University Professor, Harvard University
•    Myron S. Scholes, Nobel laureate, Frank E. Buck Professor Emeritus of Finance and Law, Stanford University
•    Rex A. Sinquefield, co-founder and director; trustee, St. Louis University; life trustee, DePaul University
•    Abbie J. Smith, Boris and Irene Stern Professor of Accounting, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.


This document contains hypothetical results.  Although we have done our best to present this information fairly, hypothetical performance is still potentially misleading.  Hypothetical data does not represent actual performance and should not be interpreted as an indication of actual performance.  This data is based on transactions that were not made.  Instead, the trades were simulated, based on knowledge that was available only after the fact and thus with the benefit of hindsight. Results do not include the impact of taxes, if any.  Past returns are not indicative of future results.

Data Sources:  The following data sources were used to develop the tables and figures in this workshop.  Note that many of our return series rely on academic simulations gathered and developed by Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA).  All performance data are total returns including interest and dividends. Simulated data subtracts the current expense ratio for the comparable fund, except for the S&P 500 Index.


Emerging Markets                                            DFEMX to May 1994, DFA simulation back to Jan 1987.

Emerging Market Core                                   DFCEX from May 2005. 

Emerging Market Small Cap                        DEMSX back to 1999, DFA simulation back to Jan. 1987.                  

Emerging Market Value                                 DFEVX back to 1999, DFA simulation back to Jan. 1987.

International Large Cap                                DFALX back to 1992, MSCI EAFE back to 1970.                                    

International Large Cap Value                    DFIVX back to Mar 1994, DFA simulation back to 1975.   

International Small Cap                                DFISX back to Oct. 1996, DFA simulation back to 1970.    
International Small Value                             DISVX back to 1995.                                                       

Large Cap                                                            DFLCX back to 1991, S&P 500 back to 1970.
Large Value                                                        DFLVX back to 1994, simulation back to 1927.     

Micro Cap (or Small Cap)                                    DFSCX back to 1983, Dimensional US Micro Cap Index to 1970.

Real Estate Investment Trusts                     DFREX back to Jan. 1993, Don Keim REIT Index 1975-1992, NAREIT 1972-1974.

S&P 500                                                                1926 - 1989.  Stocks, Bonds, Bills, and Inflation 2003 Yearbook, Ibbotson Associates, Chicago (annually updated); 1990 – Present S&P 500 Index, provided by Standard & Poor's Index Services Group, through DFA.          

Small Value                                                        DFSVX back to 1994, DFA simulation back to 1927.


Barclays Government Credit. Index          50% long-term corp., 50% long-term government for 1970-1972 (from DFA Matrix 2004), Barclays Government/Credit Bond Index from 1973 to present. 

DFA TIPs                                                              DIPSX

DFA Intermediate Government Bonds     DFIGX, Morningstar

Vanguard Short-Term Treasuries             VFISX, Morningstar.

Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasuries  VFIIX, Morningstar.

Vanguard Inflation Protected Securities VIPSX, Morningstar.

 Portfolios 1-6:

•    Yearly rebalancing
•    Short/ Intermediate Bond Allocation: 50% in Intermediate Term Government, 30% in Short-term Treasuries and 20% in TIPs
•    U.S. Equity Allocation: 20% each in LC, LCV, SC, SCV, and REITs
•    International Allocations:
1970-1974:  50% Int. LC, 50% Int. SC
1975-1986:  25% Int. LC, 25% Int. LCV, 50% Int. SC
1987-1994:  20% Int. LC, 20% Int. LCV, 10% EM, 5% EMS, 5% EMV, 40% Int. SC
1995-2005:  20% Int. LC, 20% Int. LCV, 10% EM, 5% EMS, 5% EMV, 20% Int. SC, 20% Int. SCV
2006 - 2007: 20% each in Int. LC, Int. LCV, Int. SC, Int. SCV, and EM Core

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