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If you won the game

“If you’ve won the game, stop playing,” Bernstein argues. “And to me, stop playing is buying a TIPS ladder.”

Does anyone subscribe to this philosophy?


  • msf
    edited March 2018
    Not exactly, but Suze Orman stopped playing by buying muni zeros. (That in itself should be 'nuff said.)

    I've given it a few seconds thought. There are at least a couple of problems with this approach:

    1. Can you even "win the game" with 100% certainty, with no chance for failure, given the possibility of huge medical bills, zombie apocalypse, whatever? If there's even a 0.1% chance of failure, would another strategy reduce that chance of failure? Say, 20% in equities.

    2. TIPS inflation adjustments are based on a particular basket of goods. In the long run that has reasonably approximated retirees' inflation, despite periods of rapidly rising health costs. But it has not done so in the shorter term. That introduces a variant of sequence risk - will your inflation rate first be higher than the CPI-U before it is lower, or vice versa.

    Edit: almost forgot the third reason:
    3. Any TIPS not in a tax sheltered account (Roth or traditional) will lose value to inflation after taxes. So you can't just think that you've got enough inflation-adjusted dollars now to last the rest of your life. You have to discount for taxes, and the higher the rate of inflation (which is what these are designed to help you with), the more you have to discount their value in taxable accounts.
  • and here I thought it was going to be a thread in honor of Morgan Williams and Arike Ogunbowale
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