Motivational speaker Tony Robbins interviewed self-made billionaire Ray Dalio for his book, Money; Master the Game. Ray heads the largest hedge fund in the world, Bridgewater Associates, which has over $150 billion in assets under management.
The All Weather Portfolio
According to Ray, “there is one thing we can see with absolute certainty: every investment has an ideal environment in which it flourishes. In other words, there’s a season for everything.” The four seasons he refers to are the following.
- Rising economic growth
- Declining economic growth
He suggests that these 4 economic environments will ultimately affect whether an asset’s price will increase or decrease. So for example, bonds should outperform in a deflationary period. Ray elaborates by saying we should have 25% of our risk spread out evenly across all 4 economic seasons. This is why he calls this investment approach “All Weather.” There are 4 seasons in the financial world and nobody knows for sure which one is coming next. So the idea is to keep a balanced portfolio that will not only make us money, but also help protect us against any surprises in the markets. Here are some assets we can allocate to each of the four categories, and keep in mind it’s possible for two of these conditions to overlap.
This is an interesting strategy. I’ve always had a bullish bias towards investing. In other words, my investment decisions are based on the idea that financial markets tend to increase with economic growth over the very long run, so I don’t try to short anything. But Ray’s approach suggests that it’s possible to make money even in environments of economic decline and deflation that doesn’t involve timing the markets.