Would you believe it’s been over two years since I last updated the PoF Portfolio? Me neither, but it’s the truth, and it’s time for some updated screenshots and explanations.
What is the PoF Portfolio? It’s simply the investment portfolio of this website’s founder. It’s not the perfect portfolio, and neither is yours, but it’s what I’ve got.
It’s also become a bit trickier to update as I’ve added alternative investments in recent years, and I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch. This is particularly true of startup investments, whereas some of our real estate investments are marked to market value monthly or quarterly.
It may look complex, but a three fund portfolio remains the core of my investment portfolio and philosophy. I take some risks with money that’s above and beyond what I need to be financially independent, but index funds are still the bulk of what I invest in.
Let’s jump right in. Here’s what it looks like today. Further down the page, I’ll give you an opportunity to download the template I used to create this, and you can read more about it here.
As you might surmise, my net worth is not precisely one million dollars. I have divided the value of my holdings by a number that gives us that tidy sum and preserves percentages without revealing our actual net worth.
By the way, every asset with a ticker symbol is updated every time I open or refresh the spreadsheet. Those without a ticker symbol, I update manually about once a quarter when I update the number of shares that I own.
The rest of the spreadsheet tabulates the balances by account type (upper left) and by asset type (donuts and bottom. I’ve also built a little sheet-within-a-sheet to calculate the value of my 529 investment, which is a combination of three ticker symbols.
Finally, I’ve divided my donor advised fund balances by the same number as everything else. We try to keep those balances at about 10% of our net worth, but, having doled out $15,000 on Giving Tuesday and a larger amount to support One World Surgery and other preferred charities in recent months, the balance is just under that goal.
There’s a Three Fund Portfolio in There Somewhere
Let’s start with the questionable assertion that a “three fund portfolio” is the core of what you see above. Specifically, a three fund portfolio contains
- a total U.S. stock market fund
- a total international stock market fund
- a total bond fund
The Total Stock Market
My largest holding, representing 15% of the entire portfolio, is VTSAX. I’ve also got the S&P 500 and a large cap tax managed fund in the taxable brokerage account, giving me a bit of a large cap tilt there. Tax loss harvesting is the reason I own three different funds here instead of just one.
That tilt is balanced out by mid cap and small cap funds in my Roth IRA and the extended market index (mid cap and small cap stocks) in my 401(k). You’ll also note a Schwab total stock market fund in my 2nd (solo) 401(k).
Add them all up, and you get $445,773, or about 45% of the portfolio in index funds that are components of the total stock market.
The individual publicly traded stocks (Berkshire Hathaway and cruise line stocks) make up less than 1% of the portfolio.
International Stock Market
Since I don’t own any individual foreign stocks but do own total international, ex-U.S. and emerging market funds, I can simply use the spreadsheet’s calculated figure of $134,788, or 13.5% of the portfolio invested in the international stock market.
I do have a bit of an emerging markets tilt here, but we’re now at nearly 60% between US and international index funds.
I own I bonds in my Treasury Direct account and the Vanguard total bond fund in my HSA, 457(b), and 401(k). I’m not keen on a large bond allocation, and these add up to $58,852, or about 5.9% of the portfolio in bonds.
Nearly two-thirds of our portfolio is in low-cost index funds (or I Bonds) that I would consider to be consistent with the spirit and goals of a three-fund portfolio. It’s a total value that’s easily enough for us to be financially independent with a comfortably low withdrawal rate.
We’re a bit heavy on cash right now, as we’re building a home without a mortgage or construction loan, so I haven’t been adding to my stock allocation for quite some time. When the new home is complete, I’ll be directing new cash to make up for the 6.5% deficit in our international stock component and 3.5% deficit from our desired U.S. stock allocation.
I would categorize my alternatives as falling into one of three categories: Real estate, startups, and cryptocurrency. Yes, cryptocurrency. Don’t worry; crypto is less than 0.1% of the portfolio, but altogether, the three alternative asset classes add up to about 29% in total.
I recently updated my real estate holdings, which consist of two six-figure investments in real estate funds from Origin and SFR3 and several four-figure and five-figure investments in eREITs and individual syndications via Fundrise, RealtyMogul, Crowdstreet, and Diversyfund.
We’ve also got a REIT index fund in my wife’s Roth IRA, and I included our loan to a craft brewery in this category, although it could also be considered a startup.
The grand total of our real estate investments is $130,535, or 13.1% of the portfolio and a bit less than half of the alternatives category.
I’ve shared the details of what I own and why I chose to invest in these mature startups in Moonshots & Unicorns: Investing in Startups. Essentially, I can afford to take risks with this portion of my portfolio, and while I recognize that some of these could go to zero, others could give a 10x return or better.
My investment in Republic.com is now valued at 21x my initial investment, but I’ve left it as 1x on my spreadsheet because a) it’s not particularly liquid and b) I don’t like to count the chicken that hasn’t hatched.
When any of these companies is acquired or goes public, I’ll update the sheet accordingly. Until then, I think of them as hopes and dreams, even as some of them have shown tremendous promise.
I struggled a bit with classifying these investments in startups as “alternatives” rather than U.S. (or international in the case of Chingari) stocks. They’re a bit of a hybrid, really; I own shares in the companies, but they’re not publicly traded.
These startup investments tally $155,667, or 15.6% of the total portfolio, and a bit more than half of the alternatives.
The Republic investment, if valued at face value based on its Series B funding round, is theoretically worth more than the rest of the entire portfolio combined. Time will tell if that holds up, but I’ll be pretty ecstatic if it does!
When I invested in Chingari, the Indian Tik-Tok equivalent, I also bought some of its native token at 4 cents apiece. These shot up to nearly a dollar, at which point I would have loved to have sold them, but my investment is locked up until later in 2023. Currently, $GARI is trading at around 6 cents.
I also have a plug-and-play Heatbit space heater / mining rig in my otherwise unheated attached garage. It’s been running for a few weeks and has mined 82,217 Satoshi (0.00082217 Bitcoin), which is currently worth $17.36. I didn’t include this spare change in the spreadsheet.
Other Assets I’ve Left Out
The PoF portfolio doesn’t show the value of the house we’re living in or the half-built house on the lake across the street. When the new house is complete, we’ll either sell the house we’re currently in or rent it out. As we own both outright, they’re a part of our net worth, but not (yet) a part of our investment portfolio.
If we do make our current home a rental, I’ll consider it as an investment property and add it to the sheet. Until then, it’s a place to live, not an investment.
The other assets that aren’t currently on the sheet but probably should be are my investments in small, private companies. I own the majority of Physician on FIRE and a sliver of both Passive Income MD and The Physician Philosopher.
Although I didn’t invest many dollars into these businesses (four figures in total), I’ve invested plenty of time, particularly into PoF, and these assets are now quite valuable.
However, to keep consistent with my policy of not counting unhatched chickens, I’ve chosen not to include them on the spreadsheet above. Another reason is that such investments aren’t readily available to most people unless they choose to start a small business of your own. Of course, everyone does have that opportunity.
Assets By Tax Status
We’ve got numerous account types available to us, but they can all be categorized in one of three ways: tax-free, tax-deferred, or maybe-taxed (i.e. taxable).
This category includes Roth IRA money, HSA money, and 529 money.
Why do I include 529 money in our net worth? Yes, our kids will presumably be the beneficiaries, but it’s money I’ve invested to cover a future expense. The same could be said of every other dollar in every account type.
The 529 money will pay for my boys’ educational expenses. Money in other accounts will pay for my vacations, vehicles, meals, homes, beers, utilities, and every other future expense. For now, all of it, including the 529 money, is ours until we spend it, give it away, or pass away and pass it on to our heirs.
Now, if we were to use the 529 money for something other than education, it would no longer be tax-free. If there’s money left over, we’ll likely roll $35,000 into a Roth IRA for each child, as will be allowed with certain stipulations starting in 2024 thanks to SECURE 2.0, and we’ll allow any remaining money to grow for future generations, so I have no intention of giving up that tax-free status.
Our tax-free accounts make up 28.5% of the portfolio.
Our tax-deferred accounts include a 401(k) from my working days, an individual 401(k) from my work here at PoF, and a 457(b), which will be depleted in about two years after five years of monthly withdrawals.
The sum of these three tax-deferred accounts is 18.4% of the portfolio.
I like the term “maybe-taxed” better than “taxable” because there are numerous ways to avoid paying capital gains taxes on these assets, and you won’t owe taxes when you sell principal (what you put into the investment) or receive what’s classified as “return of capital,” which I get from my largest real estate investment.
This category includes all of my investments that live outside of tax-advantaged retirement accounts.
These maybe-taxed investments add up to 53% of the portfolio. It would be higher if I included my ownership in the three websites mentioned above, obviously.
I like the tax diversification we’ve got, particularly with the tax-deferred money (the least valuable money one can have) being the smallest at under 20% of the portfolio.
I paid a pretty penny back in 2010 and 2011 to have the Roth component as large as it is, but in hindsight, that six-figure Roth conversion was probably a good move to make.
The [maybe] taxable assets are the easiest to utilize at any age, and I’m more than a dozen years away from turning 59 and a half, at which point all monies can be easily accessed without penalty or complex rules. Having a slight majority of our funds in this category gives me a lot of flexibility.
I promised to give you an opportunity to download the tracking template, which you can do in the box below. For more information on how to set yours up and take advantage of the ticker symbol updates (which can be done in Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets), see this post for further instructions.
I welcome any feedback and questions regarding the PoF Portfolio. As I’ve said, I know it’s not perfect, but it’s the one that I’ve got.
6 thoughts on “The PoF Portfolio in 2023”
Why such a small percentage of your portfolio in bonds and why are most of the bonds in retirement funds?
I think it makes sense to take your FI number –whatever it may be– and invest it in a portfolio of stocks and bonds that you’re comfortable with, depending on your age and risk tolerance. In my 40s and comfortable with risk, I’ve chosen 80% stocks / 20% bonds for that portion of my portfolio.
I’ve invested additional money above and beyond that FI number in more stocks, real estate, and speculative investments (startups, primarily), and bonds don’t have any place in my play money allocation.
I also concur on age, comfort level and risk tolerance. In my 40’s with 80/20 allocation. New money goes into stocks, real estate investments.
I know of colleagues in their late 40’s with a 60/40 allocation. They’ve been through the 2008-2009 Great Recession and fear the worst. It’s also they might retire in their early 50’s. You do what’s best for you and your family.
do you still keep your Roth IRA investments at Rocket Dollar, or have you found a better way to use your the Roth IRA for ‘alternative’ investments?
Wow, did you actually pay $1,199 for the Heatbit? I hadn’t heard of this, curious what made you get it? I mean, it’s cold in MN right now too, but yikes!😉🥶
The novelty, primarily. Bitcoin was much more valuable when I pre-ordered, which would have made the heat nearly free. Now, it’s just discounted maybe 30%.
But I’m holding out hope that it will one day be a nearly-free heat source or even better, a heater I get paid to run. Time will tell!