The Retire In Peace portfolio, or R.I.P. portfolio, was first introduced to the Seeking Alpha community in December 2015, and I have published quarterly articles that captured the activity and performance of the portfolio since that point in time. The companies that I write about on SA are largely the holdings of the R.I.P. portfolio, so the main purpose for the quarterly articles is to allow for my SA followers to track the performance of the stocks that I write about on this platform.
See the article linked above for additional details on what I would like to accomplish with these quarterly updates. Additionally, the goals for the portfolio and my long-term strategy are identified in the sections below.
What a quarter (and year)! The broader market finished Q4 2020 near all-time highs despite weak economic indicators, uncertainty related to the U.S. presidential election, and the headwinds caused by the global pandemic.
Source: Fidelity, 2020 Stock Market Report
The March 2020 dip feels like it was years ago at this point as pundits have been willing to look past the economic uncertainty related to the COVID-related headwinds. Instead, investors have focused on a potential vaccine-driven recovery and the near term benefits of another round of fiscal stimulus. The result? Extremely strong market performance since the March/April 2020 time frame.
And from a sector perspective, it has been pretty much the same old story - the winners kept winning and the sectors that were lagging the broader market continued to underperform.
Source: Fidelity, 2020 Stock Market Report
As shown, Energy, Financials and Industrials continued to underperform the broader market. Over the last few years, I have been heavily invested in Technology (positive), Industrials (negative), Financials (negative, outside of late-2019), Materials (negative) and Healthcare (positive) so the portfolio performance has been subpar for an extended period of time.
On the other hand, the portfolio being overweight Technology and Consumer Discretionary in 2020 led to strong performance when compared to its benchmark. Additionally, I was lucky enough to be long Tesla to start 2020 and that decision paid huge dividends over the last 12 months. More simply put, I rode the Tesla train to new heights and, as a direct result, the portfolio performed extremely well in 2020.
As of today, I am still playing catch up after the R.I.P. portfolio's poor performance over the last two years - Dow, GE and a few others are still duds. Looking ahead, I am cautiously optimistic about the portfolio in the near term, but I am still a believer in how the portfolio is positioned for the long haul (see below for additional detail).
In this article, I will highlight the recent changes to the R.I.P. portfolio and describe how the portfolio performed for the most recent period end.
I am building this portfolio with retirement in mind, so I have 30-plus years to invest and make adjustments; therefore, the quarterly (and annual) volatility is not a major concern. These funds will stay in the market for the foreseeable future, so the portfolio will have the luxury of compounding for many years.
"Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it... he who doesn't, pays it." - Anonymous
It is also important to note that this is a real-money portfolio. The R.I.P. portfolio consists of five different accounts: a Roth IRA, a Traditional IRA, and three taxable brokerage accounts. These are not my family's main retirement assets, but it is a portfolio that I hope will greatly contribute to a stress-free and relaxing retirement.
The Goals and Strategy section was last updated in June 2020 (increased exposure to the Funds category and decreased exposure to the Industrial category).
Main Investments (i.e., core holdings) - The companies that are considered core holdings should have established management teams that have proven track records of creating value. Furthermore, the companies should have competitive moats and be above-average operators within the respective industries. The core holdings are mainly large-cap companies that are widely held by the financial community and this is by design.
Goals & Strategy - The portfolio seeks primarily long-term capital appreciation by investing mainly in equity securities of high-quality companies that have already shown the ability to produce sustainable earnings growth.
The portfolio aims to beat the benchmark, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), by at least 1% on an annual basis.
Missing out on short-term gains and/or having paper losses are not my main concerns, because I plan to stay committed to my long-term strategy of utilizing a bottoms-up investing philosophy to select companies that I plan to hold for many years.
The portfolio has the following allocation targets and acceptable ranges:
|Industry||Target Allocations||Acceptable Range|
* The Other category comprises speculative investments in companies that have the potential to create outsized gains over the next three to five years (what I like to refer to as "investing in seedlings"). The investments within this category could eventually become longer-ranged holdings if after further analysis it is determined that the companies indeed have the attributes that I look for.
Contributions - I plan to contribute at least $1,000 of new capital per month to the portfolio and I typically put the new capital to work each and every month, regardless of the performance of the broader market.
Below you will find the portfolio and its performance, and the activity for the fourth quarter of 2020.
|Company||Ticker||# of shares||Price At 12/31/2020||Beg. Value At 10/1/2020||Activity - Purchases (Sales)||Quarterly Unrealized G/L||Quarterly Realized G/L||Current Value||Unrealized Gain (Loss)||Portfolio Weighting||YOC||Current Yield||Annual Income|
|Westinghouse Air Brake Tech.||(WAB)||15.20||73.20||939||-||174||-||1,113||119||0%||0.7%||0.7%||7|
|WisdomTree US Divi Growth ETF||(DGRW)||294.61||53.96||12,267||2,394||1,236||-||15,897||3,224||6%||2.3%||1.9%||299|
|Ishares Core Divi Growth ETF||(DGRO)||133.75||44.82||5,289||-||705||-||5,995||1,491||2%||3.0%||2.3%||136|
|Fidelity MSCI Real Estate ETF||(FREL)||73.83||25.38||1,713||-||161||-||1,874||89||1%||3.4%||3.4%||63|
|Vanguard EM ETF||(VWO)||65.18||50.11||1,384||1,502||381||-||3,266||523||1%||3.0%||2.6%||83|
|Schwab US Dividend ETF||(SCHD)||51.71||64.14||2,846||-||470||-||3,317||617||1%||3.7%||3.0%||100|
|Schwab US Large-Cap ETF||(SCHX)||42.62||90.95||3,408||-||468||-||3,876||586||2%||2.1%||1.8%||70|
|Vanguard Dividend Appre||(VIG)||27.13||141.17||-||3,737||93||-||3,830||93||1%||1.6%||1.6%||62|
|Bank of America||(BAC.PK)||409.70||30.31||9,810||-||2,608||-||12,418||6,468||5%||5.0%||2.4%||295|
|Fifth Third Bank||(FITB)||51.92||27.57||1,106||-||325||-||1,431||699||1%||6.8%||3.5%||50|
|Johnson & Johnson||(JNJ)||42.88||157.38||6,341||-||407||-||6,748||2,483||3%||4.1%||2.6%||173|
|Charles River Labs||(CRL)||11.00||249.86||2,491||-||258||-||2,748||1,614||1%||0.0%||0.0%||-|
|Principal Financial Group||(PFG)||1.13||49.61||45||-||11||-||56||2||0%||4.6%||4.4%||2|
|Procter & Gamble||(PG)||9.00||139.14||1,243||-||8||-||1,252||610||0%||4.2%||2.1%||27|
|Ollie's Bargain Outlet||(OLLI)||8.00||81.77||699||-||(45)||-||654||179||0%||0.0%||0.0%||-|
|Wabash National Corp||(WNC)||92.99||17.23||1,109||-||493||-||1,602||356||1%||2.4%||1.9%||30|
|Industry/Portfolio Companies||Value||Portfolio Weighting||Goal Weighting||Over (Under)|
|Industrials/Conglomerates - GE, HON, BKR, WNC, BRK.B, SFTBY, RTX, WAB||$30,050.31||12%||10%||2%|
|Healthcare - JNJ, PFE, VTRS, AMGN, CAH, MRK, CRL, TDOC||29,536.36||12%||10%||2%|
|Financials - BAC, C, KEY, FITB||18,892.90||7%||10%||-3%|
|Insurance - AIG, MET, BHF, PRU, PFG||6,807.01||3%||5%||-2%|
|Technology - AAPL, CSCO, INTC, CAN, MSFT||25,425.44||10%||10%||0%|
|Communication Services - T, VZ, DIS, TWTR, FB||28,865.57||11%||10%||1%|
|Basic Materials - DD, DOW, CTVA||7,598.90||3%||5%||-2%|
|Funds - FKINX, DGRW, DGRO, FREL, VWO, SCHD, SCHX, VIG||44,776.68||18%||20%||-2%|
|Consumer - KR, GM, TGT, UA, BABA, PG, SBUX, SYF, OLLI, TSLA, Z||44,602.78||17%||15%||2%|
|Other - (XIN), (RHE), (FSI), (MTZ), (AVD), (GPRE), (KTOS), GE call options, (APPN), (NIO), (GTX), (REZI), (LYFT), (UBER), (OTIS), (CARR), (U)||18,921.23||7%||5%||2%|
Sales, Purchases & Dividend Activity
Below is a graphic from Morningstar that captures a high-level snapshot of the R.I.P. portfolio as of the period-end.
There are a few data points that should be highlighted: The holdings of the R.I.P. portfolio are attractively valued when compared to the S&P 500 on a price-to-book basis, but, on the flip side, the portfolio holdings also have significantly lower-than-average ROA and ROE ratios. Simply put, the portfolio is positioned higher on the risk spectrum.
Lastly, the R.I.P. portfolio is highly levered to the Financial Services sector and it has a significant percentage of its assets allocated to Large Cap Value. However, I do note that Large Cap Value currently makes up approximately 33% of the total assets, which is materially lower than the portfolio's makeup in 2018 (60% was allocated to Large Cap Value as of year-end 2018).
Portfolio Performance for the current period and since the portfolio was first introduced to SA community (December 4, 2015)
|Return (Q4'20)||Return (YTD)||Return (Intro)|
|This period||YTD||Since Intro|
Full Disclosure: The American Association of Individual Investors, or AAII, prescribed calculation (The Beginning Vs. the End) was used for calculating the portfolio's return for each period-end.
From an income standpoint, the portfolio's annual dividend income has grown significantly since 2016 (the portfolio was first introduced in December 2015).
The portfolio's dividend income was $1,275 in Q4 2020, which is slightly higher than the year-ago quarter ($997 in Q4 2019). The portfolio's dividend income for 2020 was approximately 11% higher than the total income received in 2019, and this is after the disastrous dividend cuts announced in the first half of 2020 (e.g., Disney, General Motors, etc.). It should also be noted that I do not have a specific income goal for the portfolio, but I have purposefully focused on investing in high-quality, dividend-paying stocks since late-2015.
For the most important metric, the R.I.P. portfolio has outperformed its benchmark - S&P 500 (SPY) - since the portfolio was introduced to the SA community on December 4, 2015. In addition, the portfolio performed extremely well over the last 3 months when compared to the benchmark.
There are two main factors that have contributed to the portfolio's poor performance from late 2017 through late 2020 (let me stress that these are reasons, not excuses): the portfolio had a value-tilt and was overweight financials - both factors have been out of favor for several years now. See my full-year 2018 article for additional detail on these contributing factors. However, these factors, in my opinion, will contribute to the portfolio outperforming over the next three to five years.
The portfolio outperformed its benchmark in 2020 due largely to the trends noted below (see the Looking Ahead section). The Tesla and Nio investments were the main contributors to the portfolio's impressive performance since March 2020 but there were several other notably strong performing stocks over this period of time: Bank of America, Citigroup, Uber, Lyft, Honeywell, and General Electric. The takeaway: the reopening trade has played out well the R.I.P. portfolio.
From a sector perspective, Industrials and Basic Materials have been the most significant drags to the portfolio's performance since inception.
During the most recent quarter, the top performers and under-performers for the portfolio were: Performers -  Tesla,  Nio, and  Bank of America; and under performers -  Teladoc,  Kroger, and  Xinyuan Real Estate.
I consistently write about all of these positions, so please see my current thoughts on each company/stock at my Seeking Alpha profile.
Buybacks and/or Dividend:
Other Noteworthy News:
In a broader context, I have been positioning the R.I.P. portfolio to capitalize on three major trends:
See this quarterly update article from Q3 2018 for detailed explanations of my thoughts on each of the major trends. The following companies in my stock universe are the ones that I see being the biggest beneficiaries of these trends:
The Digitalization and Media Shift trends are playing out pretty much as expected but the Rising Rates trend has not. However, for full transparency, I obviously could not have anticipated the acceleration of the digitalization trend that was caused by COVID. And looking ahead, I see no reason to believe that the R.I.P. portfolio will not continue to benefit from these trends in a major way.
For the R.I.P. portfolio, Q4 2020 was another strong quarter from a total return perspective. Moreover, the portfolio is now officially outperforming its benchmark as I directly benefited from holding onto a few big winners - e.g., Tesla, Nio, Apple, Honeywell, and Teladoc. I have been in risk-off mode since mid-2018 (adding ETFs, value and high-dividend paying stocks) and I believe that it will pay dividends over the next 18-24 months as the COVID-19-related headwinds will likely be a part of the story through at least 2021. Barring another market meltdown, I expect for the R.I.P. portfolio to post solid returns over the next four quarters.
The portfolio's value-tilt, including the heavy investments in the financial and healthcare sectors, has been out of favor for a while now (with the exception of Q4 2019), but I believe that it will be a different story in 2021. I still believe that Bank of America and Pfizer will likely have the greatest impact to the portfolio's outperformance over the next few quarters, as both companies have promising business prospects in the current environment and are attractively valued. Plus, it helps that both of these companies are top-5 positions.
Teladoc, MasTec, Appian, Unity Software and Zillow are a few of the "smaller" market cap stocks that investors should add to their watch lists.
Author's Note: I plan to still write about these companies on a regular basis so please consider following me if you would like to stay updated. And lastly, I always have these two quotes in mind whenever I make an investment decision:
"Behind every stock is a company. Find out what it's doing." - Peter Lynch
"Successful investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time..." - Warren Buffett
This article was written by
Disclosure: I am/we are long BAC, TSLA, NIO, PFE, C, TDOC, AMGN, APPL, BRK.B, XIN, JNJ, DIS, Z, INTC, CSCO, GM, TRX, GE, WNC. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.