The Gone Fishin' Portfolio: 14 Years Of Market-Beating Returns


I've always been fascinated by 'Couch Potato' portfolios, those where you invest in index mutual funds and rebalance only once per year. In the early 2000's I read about the 'Gone Fishin' Portfolio. 'Gone Fishin' was intriguing because it is based on the work of Harry Markowitz, who won a Nobel Prize in 1990 for Modern Portfolio Theory - now known as asset allocation.

Asset allocation is the process of developing the most effective - optimal - mix of investments. In this case, optimal means that there is not another combination of asset classes that is expected to generate a higher ratio of return to risk. Quite simply, it's breaking down your portfolio into different baskets, or classes of investments, to maximize returns and minimize risk.

Asset allocation is based upon the principal that non-correlated investments of varying risk, when astutely mixed together, will smooth out the volatility (or variability) of your returns. And the best part about it is that it also increases your returns.

Alexander Green of The Oxford Club took the work of Markowitz and gave it a name - 'The Gone Fishin' Portfolio.' The allocations are:

Gone Fishin Portfolio

So we have 30% U.S. Stocks, 30% International Stocks, 30% Bonds, then 5% REITs and 5% Gold/Precious metals. A nice well-balanced portfolio. Advantages of the 'Gone Fishin' Portfolio, and other Lazy portfolios, are that they help address four major investment risks:

  1. Being too conservative.
  2. Being too aggressive.
  3. Trying and failing to time the market.
  4. Using expensive fund managers (Recommend Vanguard funds)

Back 14 years ago when I first heard of the Gone Fishin' Portfolio, I thought that replacing the index funds with active managers (while keeping the same % allocation) might even be better than this passive index approach. I knew lots of great fund managers whom I thought would beat their index in the long

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I've developed personal investing strategies for individual stocks and Asset Allocation:1) Stocks - Fundamental value investor using Free Cash Flow as defined by Buffett's 1987 shareholder letter. Invest in predictable, undervalued stocks with good management. Buy with a Margin of Safety, Sell at Intrinsic Value. Hold cash when nothing is available at my price. Use the Kelly Formula to determine optimum fraction to invest in each stock which maximizes the amount of money you win over a lifetime of investing.2) Asset Allocation (for 401-k, small IRA accounts, and available cash) - Use a 'Value-Weighted' asset allocation strategy with inputs of projected returns/historic volatility. Apply the Kelly Formula to determine optimal asset allocation. Rebalance twice a year in April and October.Store my portfolio - and my brain - on the web at

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it. The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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