An up close look at an investment strategy that can handle today's uncertain financial environment Market uncertainty cannot be eliminated. So rather than attempt to do away with it, why not embrace it? That is what this book is designed to do. The Permanent Portfolio takes you through Harry Browne's Permanent Portfolio approach which can weather a wide range of economic conditions from inflation and deflation to recession and reveals how it can help investors protect and grow their money. Written by Craig Rowland and Mike Lawson, this reliable resource demonstrates everything from a straightforward four-asset Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) version of the strategy all the way up to a sophisticated approach using Swiss bank storage of selected assets for geographic and political diversification. In all cases, the authors provide step-by-step guidance based upon personal experience. * This timeless strategy is supported by more than three decades of empirical evidence * The authors skillfully explain how to incorporate the ideas of the Permanent Portfolio into your financial endeavors in order to maintain, protect, and grow your money * Includes select updates of Harry Browne's Permanent Portfolio approach, which reflect our changing times The Permanent Portfolio is an essential guide for investors who are serious about building a better portfolio.
Foreword xi Preface: Life Is Uncertain xv Acknowledgments xix CHAPTER 1 What Is the Permanent Portfolio? 1 A Simple Idea 1 A Simple Allocation 3 Simply Great Results 3 CHAPTER 2 The 16 Golden Rules of Financial Safety 5 Rule #1: Your Career Provides Your Wealth 6 Rule #2: Don t Assume You Can Replace Your Wealth 6 Rule #3: Recognize the Difference between Investing and Speculating 6 Rule #4: No One Can Predict the Future 7 Rule #5: No One Can Time the Market 7 Rule #6: No Trading System Will Work as Well in the Future as It Did in the Past 8 Rule #7: Don t Use Leverage 8 Rule #8: Don t Let Anyone Make Your Decisions 9 Rule #9: Don t Ever Do Anything You Don t Understand 9 Rule #10: Don t Depend on Any One Investment, Institution, or Person for Your Safety 10 Rule #11: Create a Bulletproof Portfolio for Protection 11 Rule #12: Speculate Only with Money You Can Afford to Lose 11 Rule #13: Keep Some Assets Outside the Country in which You Live 11 Rule #14: Beware of Tax-Avoidance Schemes 11 Rule #15: Enjoy Yourself with a Budget for Pleasure 12 Rule #16: Whenever You re in Doubt about a Course of Action, It s Always Better to Err on the Side of Safety 12 Investing and the Rules of Life 12 Recap 13 CHAPTER 3 Permanent Portfolio Performance 15 Growth, No Large Losses, and Real Returns: The Holy Trinity 16 Only Real Returns Matter 24 Looking at Total Performance Over Time 26 Recap 30 CHAPTER 4 Simple, Safe, and Stable 33 Simplicity 33 Safety 34 Stability 35 Making the Most of Your Investments 36 Expect the Unexpected 44 Recap 46 CHAPTER 5 Investing Based on Economic Conditions 47 When Diversification Fails 48 A Different Way to Diversify 55 Four Economic Conditions 57 Four Economic Conditions p Four Assets Strong Diversification 60 How the Portfolio Works with Economic Conditions 62 Recap 64 CHAPTER 6 Stocks 65 Benefits of Stocks 65 Risks of Stocks 66 Volatility 67 Owning Stocks 68 Recommended Stock Index Funds 69 Which Type of Index Fund to Use? 70 Why Use an Index Fund? 70 Avoid Actively Managed Stock Funds 74 Indexing Is a Marathon 78 Beware of Trading Costs 79 Large-Cap and Small-Cap Stocks 80 International Stock Funds 81 A Warning About Company Stock 84 No Index Funds What to Do? 85 Recap 85 CHAPTER 7 Bonds 87 Benefits of Bonds 87 Risks of Bonds 89 Volatility 90 Bonds and Deflation 92 Owning Bonds 93 Bonds to Buy 94 Buying Bonds 94 Other Bond Risks The Case for Treasury Bonds 98 Bonds to Avoid 103 Flight to Safety 108 Earning Money Multiple Ways 111 Bond Risk Matrix 112 Bond Funds and Retirement Plans 114 Recap 114 CHAPTER 8 Cash 117 Benefits of Cash 117 Risks of Cash 120 Volatility 121 Owning Cash 123 Cash Risks The Case for Treasury Bills 128 Cash to Avoid 132 Cash Risk Matrix 140 Cash and Retirement Plans 140 Recap 141 CHAPTER 9 Gold 143 Benefits of Gold 144 Risks of Gold 145 Volatility 147 Causes of Inflation 148 Gold Protects During Extreme Events 149 No Interest, No Dividends, No Problem 152 Why Do Central Banks Hold So Much Gold? 153 Owning Gold 153 Buying Gold 154 Buying and Storing Gold at a Bank 157 Gold Funds 158 Assets to Avoid 163 Limit Gold Bullion Sales Taxes 171 Other Considerations 171 Recap 173 CHAPTER 10 Implementing the Permanent Portfolio 175 Key Concepts 175 Four Levels of Protection 177 Level 1 Basic All Funds 179 Level 2 Good Funds, Bonds, and Gold 182 Level 3 Better Funds, Bonds, and Gold 185 Level 4 Best Funds, Bonds, Gold, and Geographic Diversification 187 All In, or Wait? 190 Other Portfolio Ideas 192 Final Considerations 193 Recap 194 CHAPTER 11 Portfolio Rebalancing and Maintenance 195 Two Primary Purposes of Rebalancing 197 Rebalancing Maintains Firewalls 199 How to Rebalance: Rebalancing Bands 201 Withdrawals and Rebalancing 203 Timing Can Influence Rebalancing 203 Adding New Money to the Portfolio 204 Allocating Dividends 204 Different Approaches to Rebalancing 205 Emotional Aspects of Rebalancing 206 Rebalancing and Taxable Accounts 207 Recap 208 CHAPTER 12 Implementing the Permanent Portfolio Internationally 209 The World Is Not Flat 209 Applying the Same Principles Across Countries 212 Various Country Options 214 Canada 215 Europe 218 United Kingdom 222 Australia 223 Asia, Middle East, and the Rest of the World 225 Developing Country Investing 226 Recap 228 CHAPTER 13 Taxes and Investing 229 Simplicity Is Often the Best Tax Strategy 229 Tax-Free Savings Vehicles 231 Types of Taxable Events 231 Ordering of Assets and Tax Planning 233 Retirement Accounts and the Permanent Portfolio 238 Individual Retirement Accounts 241 Pensions, Social Security, and Other Plans 243 Tax-Loss Harvesting 243 Final Thoughts on Taxes 245 Recap 246 CHAPTER 14 Institutional Diversification 247 What Is Institutional Diversification? 247 Why Institutional Diversification? 248 Identity Theft 251 Natural Disasters 252 Terrorism 252 Cyber Attack 252 How to Divide Your Money 253 Recap 254 CHAPTER 15 Geographic Diversification 257 Then and Now 257 What Is Geographic Diversification? 257 What Assets Should Be Kept in a Foreign Account? 258 Why Geographic Diversification? 258 Geographic Diversification and a Warning for U.S. Citizens 262 Even Politicians Do It 264 The Reality Risk Spectrum 265 Types of Geographic Diversification 267 Overseas Gold Storage Options 270 New Zealand 270 Australia 273 United States 276 Switzerland 278 Intermediaries for U.S. Citizens 283 Swiss Gold Storage Services for U.S. and Non-U.S. Citizens 285 Safe Deposit Boxes 287 Geographic Diversification Matrix 289 Disclosing Accounts U.S. Citizens 290 Emergency Options 292 Other Options 293 Recap 293 CHAPTER 16 The Variable Portfolio 295 Why a Variable Portfolio? 296 Three Rules for the Variable Portfolio 296 Modifying the Permanent Portfolio 299 Can You Really Ever Beat the Market? 299 Recap 300 CHAPTER 17 Permanent Portfolio Funds 303 The Permanent Portfolio Fund 303 Global X Permanent ETF 307 Recap 309 CHAPTER 18 Conclusion 311 Recommended Resources 313 About the Authors 317 Index 319