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How Does The Motley Fool Feel About Modern Portfolio Theory?

By Motley Fool Staff - Updated Mar 7, 2018 at 8:13AM

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That’s a fancy way to ask where we come down on your ratio of stocks to bonds.

Regular listeners of the Motley Fool Answers podcast will know that Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp are full of excellent investing and personal finance advice. But for this episode -- which they are dedicating totally to listener questions -- they've called in reinforcements: Ross Anderson, a certified financial planner from Motley Fool Wealth Management, a sister company of The Motley Fool.

In this segment, they respond to a listener who's curious about asset allocation. How does the Fool feel about bonds -- because he's right, our recommendations do lean heavily toward stocks. Anderson answers.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Feb. 27, 2018.

Alison Southwick: Ross, as our special guest, you get the first question and it comes from John. "Where does The Motley Fool stand on modern portfolio theory?" It sounds so, like, serious! "That is a diversified mix of stocks and bonds. Most of The Motley Fool recommendations are stocks and the same could be said of Warren Buffett."

Ross Anderson: Keep in mind I'm answering really for myself and then secondarily for Motley Fool Wealth Management vs. The Fool overall, so I will qualify the answer. I think that we look at a mix of stocks and bonds as being important, particularly as you're getting closer to retirement.

Warren Buffett -- the thing that I take away from him -- he's 87 and what he does, every day, is he gets in his car and he goes to work. For people that don't necessarily want to work into their late 80s, which I think is most folks, having something that starts to prepare you for that retirement drawdown is pretty critical, so the portfolios that we design do tend to have a combination of both stocks and bonds.

The other big component is investor temperament. I think we believe in stocks as being the long-term growth engine for your portfolio. That's why The Motley Fool and Fool Wealth have had the type of track record that's been there. Really, if you're close to needing some of the money, you've got to start taking some of that risk off the table so that you're not walking into a buzz saw as you start to need the money.

Southwick: What's that old rule of thumb? Your age minus a number is how much you're supposed to have in stocks and bonds. I didn't just make that up. I did butcher it, but I didn't make something up.

Robert Brokamp: Yes, that's true.

Southwick: I'm kind of in the ballpark.

Brokamp: It used to be 100 minus your age was the amount you should have in the stock market. And then it got moved up to 110 minus your age. Either way, those are still pretty conservative, but in my Rule Your Retirement service, I have three model portfolios based on where you are along the road to retirement, and each one of those has a little bit of bonds, as well as international stocks, small caps, large caps. We do believe in diversified portfolios.

Anderson: I think it comes down to how much of the money and when you need the money that you're going to be drawing in the distribution phase, because when you lose control of that timing, if you're having a bad year in the market and you need the money this year, you're selling good assets at bad prices. That's what we're trying to help people avoid in most cases. So, that is the real risk. For folks that don't need a significant piece of their portfolio, or if they have other income coming in, they might look at it differently, but that's the real critical component for us.

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