“Gentlemen who prefer bonds don’t know what they’ve missing.”

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Theoretically, it makes no sense to put any money into bonds, even if you do need income.

Take the case of a asset allocation of 50 percent of the money invested in stocks that grow at 8% and 50 percent in bonds that don’t appreciate at all, the combined portfolio had a growth rate of 4 percent – barely enough to keep up with inflation.

What would happen if we adjusted the mix?

By owning more stocks and fewer bonds, you would sacrifice some current income in the first few years.  But this short-term sacrifice would be more than made up for by the long-term increase in the value of the stocks, as well as by the increases in dividends from those stocks.  

Since dividends continue to grow, eventually a portfolio of stocks will produce more income than a fixed yield from a portfolio of bonds. 

Peter Lynch

Additional notes:

1.  Once and for all, we have put to rest the last remaining justification for preferring bonds to stocks – that you can’t afford the loss in income.
2.  But here again, the fear factor comes into play.
3.  Stock prices do not go up in orderly fashion, 8 percent a year.  Many years, they even go down.
4.  The person who uses stocks as substitute for bonds not only must ride out the periodic corrections, but also must be prepared to sell shares, sometimes at depressed prices, when he or she dips into capital to supplement the dividend.
5.  This is especially difficult in the early stages, when a setback for stocks could cause the value of the portfolio to drop below the price you paid for it.
6.  People continue to worry that the minute they commit to stocks, another BIG ONE will wipe out their capital, which they can’t afford to lose.
7.  This is the worry that will keep you in bonds, even after you’ve studied and are convinced of the long-range wisdom of committing 100% of your money to stocks.

Let’s assume, that the day after you’ve bought all your stocks, the market has a major correction and your portfolio loses 25% of its value overnight.
1.  You berate yourself for gambling away the family nest egg, but as long as you don’t sell, you’re still better off than if you had bought a bond.
2.  Computer run simulation shows that 20 years later, your portfolio will be worth $185,350 or nearly double the value of your erstwhile $100,000 bond.

Or, let’s imagine an even worse case:  a severe recession that lasts 20 years, when instead of dividends and stock prices increasing at the normal 8 percent rate, they do only half that well.
1.  This would be the most prolonged disaster in modern finance.
2.  But, if you stuck with the all-stock portfolio, taking out your $7,000 a year, in the end you’d have $100,000.  This still equals owning a $100,000 bond.

Ref:  Pg 55 Beating the Street, by Peter Lynch.


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