By Dr. James M. Dahle, WCI Founder

2022 has actually been an thrilling yr to be an investor. Notice that thrilling doesn’t essentially imply good and, in actual fact, usually means dangerous. Good investing is meant to be boring, bear in mind? Investing dorks like me discover it fascinating and even thrilling to observe what markets do by completely different financial circumstances. I believed it might be enjoyable to check out my very own portfolio this yr (in addition to a couple of non-portfolio gadgets which have had a giant impact on my monetary life) and contemplate which of them had been the losers and which of them had been the winners.

Notice that I do not see having losers in my portfolio as some kind of failing. Since I exploit a static asset allocation composed of all kinds of property, I totally anticipate one thing within the portfolio to have horrible efficiency every year. Actually, I am relying on it as a chance to purchase extra shares of that asset at a lower cost. Diversification works, whether or not you need it to or not. Sustaining a static asset allocation naturally forces you to purchase low on a regular basis as you pour extra money into property that haven’t accomplished as effectively just lately.

One caveat earlier than you learn any additional. I am penning this put up on October 26, 2022. If the markets do one thing loopy between now and at any time when this put up runs and I do not get an opportunity to replace the numbers, you may know why they appear a little bit off. Now, let’s discuss in regards to the losers.


The Greatest Funding Losers of 2022

Loads of losers this yr, they usually’re not trivial. A number of retirees have seen their nest eggs take a giant hit.


US Shares

Our first large loser of the yr is the US inventory market. As I write this, the Vanguard Whole Inventory Market Index Fund is exhibiting a 12 months To Date (YTD) return of -19.71%. And that is up 7.6% from the low for the yr. US shares are formally in a bear market, and since they’re an enormous a part of our portfolio (40% whole), that has had a large influence on our nest egg (20% * 40% = 8%). It is painful to multiply my portfolio x 8% and know that is what number of {dollars} I’ve misplaced this yr simply in US shares.


Worldwide Shares

However wait! There’s extra. In case the US inventory bear market wasn’t painful sufficient for you, worldwide shares have additionally been in bear territory this yr. Proper now, the Vanguard Whole Worldwide Inventory Market Index Fund is down 23.54%, much more than US shares! And sure, they’re up 4% from their low for the yr, too. There’s a little bit of a silver lining right here, although. Worldwide shares have really carried out higher than US shares this yr; it is simply that the greenback has strengthened a lot that when you progress the cash again into {dollars}, your return is definitely adverse. For instance, the greenback has strengthened as a lot as 19% this yr in opposition to the euro and as a lot as 25% in opposition to the yen. Twenty % of our portfolio is in worldwide shares, so this one additionally damage loads.


Publicly Traded REITs

Actual property makes up 20% of our portfolio, and publicly traded REITs make up 1/4 of that (5% of our portfolio). The Vanguard REIT Index Fund is down 28.38%. The general public actual property markets react rapidly to even a touch of rising rates of interest. Mix that with an general market downturn (publicly traded REITs have reasonable correlation with different shares), and it was fairly ugly.



Inflation could be the most important loser of 2022. I’m totally supportive of the Federal Reserve being very aggressive in opposition to inflation. Whereas it was onerous to know a priori, it is fairly clear on reflection that the Fed lowered rates of interest an excessive amount of, saved them low too lengthy, and in any other case pumped an excessive amount of liquidity into the market. Inflation has turned out to be not almost as transitory as all of us had hoped. In March 2021, annualized inflation as measured by CPI-U had not been over 3% for over a decade. Three % averages out to a month-to-month inflation charge of round 0.25% monthly. 5 of the 12 months in 2011 had been greater than twice that. Every of the primary six months of 2022 was additionally greater than twice that, peaking at a month-to-month inflation of over 1.3% in March and June. It has been loads higher this fall (together with two adverse months), however the general impact of this excessive inflation within the final couple of years has been to make each greenback I personal roughly 13% much less helpful than it was on the finish of 2020. Ouch.


Nominal Bonds

If there’s an asset class that hates inflation greater than chilly, onerous money, it is nominal bonds. The longer the maturity (and, extra importantly, the length) of the bond, the extra it’s affected by rising rates of interest. Vanguard has an ETF of very lengthy length bonds (ticker EDV) that’s down 42.49% YTD. Fortunately, we do not personal that. However the majority of our nominal bonds are within the Vanguard Intermediate-Time period Tax-Exempt (Muni) Bond Fund, and that is down 10.43% YTD. If there’s one thing worse than a inventory bear market, it is when bonds go down in worth on the identical time.



Maybe the best funding disappointment of 2022 got here to these of us who’ve been holding TIPS for years with a view to shield ourselves from unexpectedly excessive inflation. Unexpectedly excessive inflation hit in 2022, and what did TIPS do? Effectively, the Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Fund is down 12.72% YTD. To be honest, should you alter for the longer length in comparison with the Intermediate-Time period Treasuries Fund, it does have barely higher efficiency than the nominal bonds. Nonetheless, if one had requested me how I believed TIPS would do vs. nominal treasuries in a yr by which inflation spiked, I’d have mentioned that I anticipated them to do a lot better—not just a bit higher. Nonetheless, it seems that TIPS are fairly delicate to rising rates of interest, particularly rising actual rates of interest, and we’ve undoubtedly seen these this yr. In November 2021, five-year TIPS had an actual yield of -1.9%. By the tip of September 2022, that yield was as much as a constructive 2.02%, a swing of just about 4%. You simply cannot anticipate any bond to have a constructive return when rates of interest go up that a lot. This does make TIPS a dramatically higher funding now than they had been a yr in the past, however they had been nonetheless a giant loser for 2022.


Different 2022 Losers

Let’s speak about some losers that did not have an effect on our monetary life. Maybe the most important losers of 2022 are all of the new-fangled investments. Bitcoin is down 70% from its peak a yr in the past. Many cryptoassets are down much more. The value of the common NFT dropped by 93% over the course of the summer time. Just about a traditional mania/bubble there. Gold, that supposed bastion of strong inflationary returns, is down 8% on the yr. Silver, as traditional, is twice as dangerous. If you happen to favored these speculative investments at their costs a yr in the past, it is best to love them now. Variable-rate debtors are additionally feeling fairly unfortunate today and are both dashing to repay or refinance their money owed. Whereas I am usually a fan of operating rate of interest threat should you can afford to take action, I hope all of these doing it actually can.


The Greatest Funding Winners of 2022

Sufficient in regards to the losers. Let’s discuss in regards to the winners of 2022.


I Bonds

If there’s something that we’ve accomplished within the final yr that was good, it was to purchase $50,000 price of I Bonds in late 2021 and early 2022. It is clearly not an enormous chunk of our portfolio (it isn’t even an enormous chunk of the ten% of our portfolio allotted to inflation-indexed bonds; most of that’s in TIPS), however it was an enormous winner! I Bonds by no means go down in worth, even when charges go up. So, there was no lack of principal, and their yield was as excessive as 9.62% in the course of the yr. Virtually 10% when shares are in a bear market and backed by the federal government. Laborious to not like that.


TSP G Fund

I’ve owned the TSP G Fund since 2006 after I went on lively responsibility. Within the final 16 years, it actually hasn’t had its day within the solar . . . till 2022. It’s a incredible holding in a rising rate of interest setting. Whereas I did not contribute all that a lot to the TSP within the 4 years I used to be within the navy, I’ve rolled a couple of retirement plans into it over time. Steadily, as the remainder of our portfolio grew, our total TSP transitioned into the G Fund. The G Fund gives intermediate treasury yields with cash market threat. Its principal by no means goes down, however it usually pays a better yield than a cash market fund. In a yr when shares and bonds are down sharply, something that does not go down in worth is a winner. The icing on the cake is that it’s now yielding 4%.


Personal Fairness Actual Property

Lengthy-term readers know that a big chunk (1/2 or 10% of the whole portfolio) of our actual property portfolio is held in non-public fairness actual property. Some is in syndications, however most of it’s in non-public actual property funds for extra diversification and liquidity. These are doing simply superb. For instance, my little funding in the Peak Housing REIT that I made in November 2021 is up over 17% YTD. That appears awfully good when VNQ is down 28%. A bigger funding in the DLP Housing Fund can also be up 17% this yr. The Origin Fund III is within the means of liquidating its property, and it appears to be getting nice costs on them. Different non-public funds have related returns. Most of them lagged public REITs in 2021 (the DLP fund being a notable exception), however they’re making up for it this yr. One may argue that we’re merely seeing a lag between private and non-private actual property since non-public actual property is not marked to market day by day. That is most likely a part of the story. The opposite half is that Mr. Market is a drunken sailor who quickly cycles between greed (overvaluing shares) and concern (undervaluing shares), and public REITs go alongside for the journey. By the best way, should you’re all for studying extra about actual property and about a few of the offers I spend money on, join our month-to-month e-newsletter.


Personal Debt Actual Property

One in every of my favourite asset courses, regardless of it being the least tax-efficient, is actual property debt. These non-public funds have excessive returns, they usually have constant returns in all however a horrible actual property market (when a non-public debt fund turns into a non-public fairness fund!) All of our funds are up 7%-8.5% this yr, and there are nonetheless two months to go. I totally anticipate 9%-10% returns this yr, identical to final yr. And the yr earlier than. Too dangerous it is just one/4 of my actual property allocation (5% of our portfolio.)


Worth Tilting

Giant and progress shares have owned the inventory marketplace for years. Everybody beloved Apple, Tesla, Fb, and Netflix. Guess what? In 2022, that love affair turned bitter. As of at the moment, the Vanguard Progress Index Fund is down 30.37%. In the meantime, the Vanguard Worth Index Fund is down solely 6.33% That is a 24% distinction. Positive, worth shares are nonetheless down. However 24%. Come on. That is a win for these of us who’ve been holding on to a price tilt for the final 15+ years. Too dangerous a tilt towards small shares did not repay in the identical manner this yr. US small caps are doing a little bit higher than US giant caps, however worldwide small caps are doing a little bit worse than worldwide giant caps.


US Greenback

One of many greatest tales of 2022 is simply how a lot the greenback has strengthened, particularly in opposition to the British pound sterling. As talked about earlier, this severely retarded our worldwide inventory returns, a minimum of when denominated in {dollars}. Nonetheless, I had a number of alternatives this yr to spend non-US currencies. We’ve spent or will spend all the following currencies this yr:

  • Canadian {dollars}
  • Costa Rican colon
  • Honduran lempiras
  • Euros
  • Croatian kunas
  • Bosnian and Herzogovinan convertible marks
  • Jamaican greenback
  • Colombian peso

The strengthened greenback positive made our journeys loads cheaper. Eight days within the Balkans staying in the perfect resorts, consuming in nice eating places, adventuring, and overtipping the tour guides all for one thing like $2,600 an individual. We have spent twice that on different journeys to Europe prior to now.


Having an Revenue

2022 was a fantastic yr to nonetheless be working. Having the ability to purchase property at a reduction (bonds 10%-15% off, shares 25% off, REITs 30% off!) is a big profit. Identical to the property I purchased in 2008-2009, these will find yourself offering a few of the highest returns we are going to ever get from our investments. Simply preserve shopping for!


Scientific Revenue

2020 noticed emergency division volumes drop by 40% or extra as folks stayed house with their strokes and coronary heart assaults out of concern of getting COVID. It was even worse for a lot of specialists, as “elective” procedures had been canceled or delayed. I do not find out about you, however issues have actually rebounded round right here, and we’re seeing the best volumes I’ve ever had at this job. Consequently, we’re getting the best hourly charges we have earned. We’re working onerous however being rewarded for it. Earned earnings tends to maintain up with inflation in the long term.

2022 winners and losers


WCI Revenue

The yr is not over but, however because of quite a lot of onerous work from the WCI employees and group, we’re on tempo to see each top-line and bottom-line progress within the enterprise once more this yr.


Social Safety

No, we’re not sufficiently old to obtain Social Safety, however our eventual advantages had been adjusted upward with inflation this yr. Delaying your Social Safety is an terrible lot like investing in an inflation-indexed annuity. Possibly not a win on an after-inflation foundation, however it’s a minimum of a tie and that is adequate this yr.


Different 2022 Winners

There have been different winners this yr price speaking about, even when they do not apply to our monetary life. Low fixed-rate debt holders are actually paying down their money owed with much less helpful {dollars}. Federal pupil mortgage holders are significantly large winners this yr: they did not need to make any funds, and their rate of interest was at 0% all yr (they might even have $10,000-$20,000 wiped off the books). Vitality inventory traders had been up large this yr—the Vanguard Vitality ETF is up nearly 55% YTD. Led by oil, commodities had been large winners this yr, with the ETF GSG up 29%. Savers gained one and misplaced one. Positive, their {dollars} had been devalued, however they’re additionally seeing their finest yields since earlier than the worldwide monetary disaster. Lastly, Sam’s Membership and Costco lunchers can nonetheless get a scorching canine and a drink for $1.50.


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What do you suppose? What are the massive winners and losers in your monetary life this yr? What would you might have accomplished otherwise in 2022 should you knew what was coming? Remark under!

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