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IRA Insights: Are investors subjecting themselves to the procrastination penalty?
This is the second installment in the IRA Insights series.
IRA Insights: Do contribution deadlines lead to poor investment decisions?
This is the first installment in a new series called IRA Insights, where Vanguard researchers are sharing their findings.
An analysis of 'go-anywhere funds'
This paper takes up the performance evaluation challenge of flexible asset allocation funds, or go anywhere funds, by testing 5 distinct evaluation techniques over the period January 1998 through June 2013.
Vanguard's economic and investment outlook
This paper presents Vanguard's global perspectives on the future of growth, inflation, interest rates, and stock and bond returns over the next ten years.
Vanguard's approach to target-date funds
This revised paper provides an overview of Vanguard's methodology in designing its TDFs.
The active/passive decision in global bond funds
This paper extends the evaluation of active versus passive management to global bond funds.
Fearful of rising interest rates? Consider a more global bond portfolio
The low interest rate environment has caused some investors to favor other assets or sub asset classes over domestic bonds. This paper examines an alternative approach that is straightforward and very much under the control of investors everywhere.
Baby Boomers and Equity Returns: Will a Boom in Retirees Lead to a Bust in Equity Returns?
This paper examines conventional wisdom regarding the impact of the retirement of the baby boomer generation on equity returns. It identifies three key factors that contradict the presumption that aging baby boomers' investment behavior is likely to damage stock market returns going forward. As a result, the paper cautions investors against making significant changes to their strategic asset allocations.
A more dynamic approach to spending for investors in retirement
This paper reviews two of the most common portfolio spending strategies, and introduces a third strategy that is more dynamic. The conclusion is that while adopting an appropriate strategy is important, the key ingredient in a long-term spending plan is flexibility.
The joy of charitable giving: Strategies and opportunities
The tax benefits available through various charitable strategies can play a critical role in a potential donor's decision about which method to choose. This paper outlines some practical options for making significant gifts.
The outlook for emerging market stocks in a lower-growth world
This is an update to a previous paper. In the authors' words, just as high growth expectations don't imply markets will outperform, lower growth expectation don't imply they will underperform.
A primer on floating-rate bond funds
This is an update to an earlier paper. It reviews key characteristics of floating rate funds, and addresses the premise that they offer both principal protection and above average yields. The analysis concludes that floating rate funds minimize interest rate sensitivity, but require investors to incur significant credit risk.
Active bond-fund excess returns: Is it alpha...or beta?
This study contends that persistent, long-term bets on risk factors such as credit risk have accounted for the performance differences between active fixed income funds and their benchmarks.
Professionally managed allocations and the dispersion of participant portfolios
This paper discusses the growth of target-date funds and other professionally managed allocations, and how these strategies have improved diversification and reduced dispersion of portfolio returns.
Risk of loss: Should the prospect of rising rates push investors from high-quality bonds?
This update to a 2010 Vanguard research paper offers insights on the risk of higher interest rates to a broadly diversified bond portfolio.
Gift and estate planning: Opportunities abound
This paper reviews the potential opportunities for gifting under the newly enacted federal gift and estate tax rules.
The bumpy road to outperformance
This paper examines the fate of all actively managed U.S. domestic equity funds that existed in 1998. Only about six percent of them survived, outperformed, and never experienced three consecutive years of underperformance over the fifteen years through 2012.
Buying on the FACTS: Investors' choices between ETFs and mutual funds
In this new research paper, the authors find that the decision to buy ETFs is mostly driven by a set of factors they have dubbed the FACTS: familiarity, access, costs, trading flexibility, and stocks. The authors note that the familiarity effect is likely to keep ETF growth rates high, especially if current trends of broader commission-free ETF trading and lower expense ratios continue to attract new investors.
Understanding synthetic ETFs
This research paper explains the key characteristics, potential benefits and risks, and costs of synthetic ETFs and discusses best practices for collateral management and disclosures for these investment vehicles.
Glass half full: The silver lining of capital losses
Tax loss harvesting is potentially a valuable component of tax efficient investing--allowing one to offset taxable gains with realizable losses, and then to reduce taxable ordinary income up to $3,000 per year. This paper reviews the intricacies of tax loss harvesting, as well as its potential benefits and risks.
Pension risk: How much are you really taking?
This paper analyzes annual funding status volatility for a typical DB plan, concluding that both historical and projected volatility were likely beyond the 10% variability level that most sponsors reported as acceptable. These findings reveal an apparent disconnect between sponsors' risk expectations and actual portfolio asset allocations.
Pension plan immunization strategies: How close can you get?
This paper examines factors that can increase tracking error between assets and liabilities in an all-bond pension portfolio. The authors explore the impact of concepts including curve mismatch, basis mismatch, and net yield expectations. They also discuss the role of bond funds and how these can be combined into effective immunization portfolios.
How America Saves 2013 - Annual Report
In 2012, 36% of all participants in 401(k) retirement plans at Vanguard invested their plan assets in a professionally managed investment option. Vanguard estimates that 55% of all participants will be entirely invested in a professionally managed investment option by 2017.
Most Vanguard IRA® investors shot par by staying the course: 2008 - 2012
When it comes to making decisions with their portfolios, investors can sometimes be their own worst enemy. An analysis of more than 58,000 Vanguard IRAs compared investor performance to two personal rate of return benchmarks. Although most investors held their own, a majority slightly trailed the Target Retirement Funds benchmark.
Emerging market bonds - Beyond the headlines
Investors frustrated by the low yields and returns of traditional bonds are increasingly turning to bonds issued by emerging markets, which are becoming more popular for their attractive yields, improved fundamentals, and strong, long-term returns. However, there are trade-offs.
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