Shoestring Potato Portfolio

Couch potato portfolios are those that you can set up with ease and have only a few holdings, making them easier to manage, and giving you more couch potato time.  Portfolios can consist of just a few ETFs or low fee mutual funds and generally cover Canadian, US, and Global equities and fixed income.  More elaborate couch potato potato portfolios (e.g., the "Uber Tuber") are a little more diverse in their holdings.

A Shoesting Potato Portfolio is a variation on these - its key feature is that it swaps out the fixed income holdings with DIY alternatives.  The rationale is that with some modest effort and by moving up the risk ladder, you can actually have your fixed income component contribute as much as your equities component,without the risks of i) having the meagre fixed income yield eaten by management fees, ii) losing capital if (when) interest rates go up, or iii) losing power buying after by being stuck with in uber-low yields.

To see how it works, take a look at the Global Couch Potato portfolio.  One option consists of :


Canadian equity                 20% BMO S&P/TSX Capped Composite (ZCN)
US and international equity 40% iShares MSCI World (XWD)
Canadian bonds                 40% iShares DEX Universe Bond (XBB)

The Shoesting Potato Portfolio drops the Canadian bonds in favour of things like GICs which can outperform short term bonds and money market funds when you shop around, and private REITs that outperform longer bonds and are competitive with corporate bond yields.  These are other options too noted in the investing101.ca blog.  Of course all this gives you less couch time - you'll have to put on your shoes, tie those shoestings and get up or out to build the fixed part of your portfolio.  But it is doable.  You could never do this with the equities side and still have couch time - really, the eSeries fund and ETF management fees for equities are worth every penny.