COVID-19

The best investment portfolio for these times is the one you can live with

David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon Mar 17, 2020
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Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

The best investment portfolio for these times is the one you can live with

David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon Mar 17, 2020
Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
Share Now on:
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In another two weeks, it’ll be the end of the financial quarter and statements from investment companies will start coming for those in a position to have retirement savings.

What if you need your money in two years, 10 years or 25 years? It makes a huge difference about how to think about this coronavirus quarter.

Veteran investor Barry Ritholtz, chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, makes sense of this moment with a quick tip on how we should be thinking about things.

“In fact, those are three very different portfolios,” Ritholtz told Marketplace’s David Brancaccio. “If you have to, have to, have your money in two years, and you want to take very little risk, you’re going to be in a combination of money market funds, and some high quality corporates. And that’s a very low risk, very low return portfolio that hopefully just keeps ahead of inflation.

“Historically, we rarely see 10 years go by without a positive return. So a portfolio that makes more sense for a person who’s going to need that cash in a decade is going to be something like a 60/40 classic portfolio, that’s 60% broad market indexes and 40% bonds. You should see a better-than-inflation return in most 10 year periods.

“And then 25 years — 25 years is a long time in the stock market. And you would want to be pretty aggressive, either 70/30 or 75/25 stocks and bonds. The reason I never recommend people go all stock, even though that portfolio would do better, is exactly because of times like this, or ’08/’09, or 2000. You know, the optimal portfolio isn’t the one that returns the most money, but it’s the one that you can live with. And I can guarantee you that people who are in all stock portfolios, they’re having a hard time looking at a market that was hitting all time highs a month ago, and now is down 30% or more. We’ve seen $20 trillion in wealth disappear.

“Now, it’s only temporary. My best guess is once we get through the coronavirus, it’ll come snapping back. But if you’re up all night stressing over it, and the only way you relieve that stress is selling, well, then you’re not going to participate when the market recovers. You have to take the good with the bad, and this too shall pass.”

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Which businesses are allowed to reopen right now? And which businesses are actually doing so?

As a patchwork of states start to reopen, businesses that fall into a gray area are wondering when they can reopen. In many places, salons are still shuttered. Bars are mostly closed, too, although restaurants may be allowed to ramp up, depending on the state. “It’s kind of all over the place,” said Elizabeth Milito of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Will you be able to go on vacation this summer?

There’s no chance that this summer will be a normal season for vacations either in the U.S. or internationally. But that doesn’t mean a trip will be impossible. People will just have to be smart about it. That could mean vacations closer to home, especially with gas prices so low. Air travel will be possible this summer, even if it is a very different experience than usual.

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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