MMB Portfolio 2021 Year-End (Late Update): Asset Allocation & Performance

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portpie_blank200Here’s my (late) quarterly update on my current investment holdings, as of 1/23/22, including our 401k/403b/IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts but excluding a side portfolio of self-directed investments. Following the concept of skin in the game, the following is not a recommendation, but just to share an real, imperfect, low-cost, diversified DIY portfolio. The goal of this portfolio is to create sustainable income that keeps up with inflation to cover our household expenses.

Actual Asset Allocation and Holdings
I use both Personal Capital and a custom Google Spreadsheet to track my investment holdings. The Personal Capital financial tracking app (free, my review) automatically logs into my different accounts, adds up my various balances, tracks my performance, and calculates my overall asset allocation. Once a quarter, I also update my manual Google Spreadsheet (free, instructions) because it helps me calculate how much I need in each asset class to rebalance back towards my target asset allocation.

Here are updated performance and asset allocation charts, per the “Allocation” and “Holdings” tabs of my Personal Capital account.

Stock Holdings
Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI, VTSAX)
Vanguard Total International Stock Market (VXUS, VTIAX)
Vanguard Small Value (VBR)
Vanguard Emerging Markets (VWO)
Avantis International Small Cap Value ETF (AVDV)
Cambria Emerging Shareholder Yield ETF (EYLD)
Vanguard REIT Index (VNQ, VGSLX)

Bond Holdings
Vanguard Limited-Term Tax-Exempt (VMLTX, VMLUX)
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt (VWITX, VWIUX)
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury (VFITX, VFIUX)
Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities (VIPSX, VAIPX)
Fidelity Inflation-Protected Bond Index (FIPDX)
iShares Barclays TIPS Bond (TIP)
Individual TIPS bonds
U.S. Savings Bonds (Series I)

Target Asset Allocation. This “Humble Portfolio” does not rely on my ability to pick specific stocks, sectors, trends, or countries. I own broad, low-cost exposure to asset classes that will provide long-term returns above inflation, distribute income via dividends and interest, and finally offer some historical tendencies to balance each other out. I have faith in the long-term benefit of owning publicly-traded US and international shares of businesses, as well as high-quality US federal and municipal debt. My stock holdings roughly follow the total world market cap breakdown at roughly 60% US and 40% ex-US. I also own real estate through REITs.

I strongly believe in the importance of “knowing WHY you own something”. Every asset class will eventually have a low period, and you must have strong faith during these periods to truly make your money. You have to keep owning and buying more stocks through the stock market crashes. You have to maintain and even buy more rental properties during a housing crunch, etc. You might own laundromats or vending machines or an online business. A good sign is that if prices drop, you’ll want to buy more of that asset instead of less.

Find a good asset that you believe in and understand, and just keep buying it through the ups and downs.

I do not spend a lot of time backtesting various model portfolios, as I don’t think picking through the details of the recent past will necessarily create superior future returns. Usually, whatever model portfolio is popular in the moment just happens to hold the asset class that has been the hottest recently as well. I’ve also realized that I don’t have strong faith in the long-term results of commodities, gold, or bitcoin. I’ve tried many times to wrap my head around it, but have failed. I prefer things that send me checks while I sleep.

Stocks Breakdown

  • 45% US Total Market
  • 7% US Small-Cap Value
  • 31% International Total Market
  • 7% International Small-Cap Value
  • 10% US Real Estate (REIT)

Bonds Breakdown

  • 66% High-Quality bonds, Municipal, US Treasury or FDIC-insured deposits
  • 33% US Treasury Inflation-Protected Bonds (or I Savings Bonds)

I have settled into a long-term target ratio of 67% stocks and 33% bonds (2:1 ratio) within our investment strategy of buy, hold, and occasionally rebalance. This is more conservative than most people my age, but I am settling into a more “perpetual” as opposed to the more common “build up a big stash and hope it lasts until I die” portfolio. My target withdrawal rate is 3% or less. With a self-managed, simple portfolio of low-cost funds, we can minimize management fees, commissions, and taxes.

Holdings commentary. I’ve been investing steadily for over 15 years, and the results have exceeded my expectations. There is ALWAYS something that looks worrying. Looking back, my best investment decisions were to NOT do anything different during times of stress. Maybe 2022 will have more such times. Ignore the noise, if you can.

I often wonder how I can teach my children such patience in investing, and that seems to be the hardest aspect.

Performance numbers. According to Personal Capital, my portfolio is up another +13.9% for 2021.

I’ll share about more about the income aspect in a separate post.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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  1. Curious, why did you switch to the Cambria Emerging Shareholder Yield ETF?

    • In general, I am going for Global ex-US Small-Cap value to compliment US Small Cap Value. Previously, there were no good ETFs to track this asset class, some were small cap only, some were too expensive, some were focused on dividends.

      So now I have two newer ETFs. Avantis International Small Cap Val ETF (AVDV) covers developed international markets, but not emerging.

      There is AVES (Avantis Emerging Markets Value ETF) but that is more large-value when you look at the portfolio holdings. If you look at the portfolio of EYLD, they are basically an Emerging Markets Small/Mid Value ETF. So I like it the best for now. I hold them in a tax-deferred account, so that switching does not create tax drag.

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