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Citizen Mint


The 60/40 Portfolio Decline & Top Alternatives

The 60/40 portfolio, or 60% stocks and 40% bonds, has been a keystone of financial planning for the last five decades given its ability to weather numerous market cycles.


This has been the result of being able to benefit from appreciation of stocks over decades and protection from the bond portfolio which has performed well in downturns such as the dot-com bust and the global financial crisis in 2008-2009. However, 2022 has been a different story with stocks and bonds having their highest correlation over the past decade. This has led to the 60/40 portfolio having one of its worst years since 1937.

What’s the alternative investment opportunity?

We have witnessed many investors question how diversified their portfolios are in traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds given highly correlated returns more recently. This has led them to seek diversifying alternatives in the private markets space where they can reduce portfolio volatility while also enhancing returns. Opportunities we are seeing within this space include:

real estate alternative investments

Private Real Estate

Private real estate is a great diversifier for portfolios that can provide many benefits over multiple market cycles. Benefits of the category include:

  • Inflation Hedge: During times of rising prices, rents and property values tend to increase.
  • Defensive: Certain real estate assets can be highly defensive during times of economic stress. These usually include mobile home parks, affordable/workforce multi-family housing and self-storage.
  • Attractive Distributions: Income distributions to investors from certain real estate such as residential, commercial and industrial can be attractive and usually ranges between 4-7% a year.
alternative investments

Infrastructure Assets

These assets provide essential or necessary services, have long useful lives and generate cash flow and earnings that vary minimally through market cycles. An example could include renewable energy assets such as solar or wind power that sign 20-to-30-year contracts for energy production with a customer such as a local utility or a large corporation. Benefits of these assets include:

  • Portfolio Diversification & Downside Protection: In general, infrastructure assets have a low correlation to stocks and bonds. Further, this asset class can reduce volatility in investor portfolios during economic turmoil given a stable earnings stream throughout economic cycles.
  • Income Potential: Given the highly predictable cash flows of infrastructure assets, these investments usually provide strong income potential.

Private Market Debt

Private market debt has grown significantly since the global financial crisis as banks have dramatically reduced lending to meet regulatory and capital requirement needs. This has led to private funds becoming the main source of financing for private equity firms that are seeking to buy and sell companies. Private debt can also be used for real estate projects and other ventures. Benefits include:

  • Reduced Volatility of Returns: The total return on the debt doesn’t change unlike traditional publicly traded bonds that will decrease in value when interest rates rise.
  • Higher Returns: Private debt usually offers much higher returns than publicly traded debt.

The Future of Investing

While we don’t know what the future holds, we do know that diversification and compounding over long periods of time works well for investors. Diversification in this case is not just traditional stocks and bonds, but multiple asset classes in both the public and private markets. Further, having some assets illiquid has provided better returns by reducing the impulse to sell during market disruptions. 

Learn more about ways to diversify your portfolio by reading our white paper on opportunities to invest in Private Markets.  

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