What's Under The Hood?

Bill Parrott |

The gear heads at my high school loved to pop the hoods of their muscle cars and gawk over the engines. Most were pristine on the outside but lousy on the inside; it was impossible to tell until the hood was agape. Likewise, it's similar to investment models – on the outside, they all look the same, but when you look under the hood, they're radically different.

The standard asset allocation model is 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds, but what does it mean? What constitutes the sixty percent, and how is the remaining 40 percent invested? Investment models vary from firm to firm and are not equal.

Our sixty – forty models hold funds managed by Dimensional, Vanguard, and Blackrock, and sixty percent of the portfolio invests in stocks diversified by size, type, sector, category, and country. The funds own thousands of companies, including Exxon, Pfizer, Amazon, Apple, Amgen, Dollar Tree, and Matador Resources. Technology is our largest allocation, followed by financial services and industrials. The United States accounts for most of the assets, followed by Europe, then Asia.

Our forty percent bond allocation is split evenly between corporate and government bonds with an average maturity of eleven years. We recently extended the bond maturities because of rising interest rates, which is counterintuitive. The last time we adjusted our bond holdings was March 2020, during COVID, when we sold most of our long-term bonds and bought short-term bonds with an average maturity of two to three years. It was a profitable trade because interest rates were falling, and we preserved capital with our short-term bonds as rates started climbing. Hopefully, we're correct again – time will tell.

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We use TD Ameritrade's iRebal platform and screen our portfolios weekly, looking for changes to our allocations because we don't want to get too aggressive or too conservative at the wrong time. We aim to maintain a close relationship with our benchmarks to keep our client's risk tolerance in check. If we find portfolios that deviated from our pre-set tolerance bands, we rebalance them back to their original allocation.

As you invest and build your portfolio, check your fund holdings, allocation, and fees to ensure they align with your financial plan and goals.

The cars we drive say a lot about us. ~ Alexandra Paul

June 3, 2022


Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM's custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren't suitable for every investor.