One of the most common nicknames for your retirement portfolio is "nest egg," but in the realm of food metaphors, it might be better to think of it like a holiday feast. So many dishes, so many choices, and to be healthy, you need to pick a properly balanced meal -- but also one that suits your personal tastes. So how should one do that? The answer comes under the heading of "portfolio allocation," and it's the focus of this episode of Motley Fool Answers.
In this segment, hosts Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp zoom in with a metaphor about that most Thanksgiving-ish of foods: cranberry sauce. Some of us like the kind from the can, some of us prefer homemade -- it's really a question of your personal style. So, too, is the question of whether your holdings should include more growth or value stocks. The pair explain why this is one time when you don't need to worry about choosing wrong.
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This video was recorded on Nov. 20, 2018.
Robert Brokamp: So far we've covered a lot of bland-looking food. A lot of white. A lot of brown. If I add some color, I'm moving on to that jiggly staple of Thanksgiving tables -- cranberry sauce!
Alison Southwick: Now are you of the family that needs to have that cranberry sauce come out of a can and keep those ridges evident or are you, no, it needs to actually look like cranberries? Or do you guys actually buy fresh cranberries?
Brokamp: It depends on whether I'm in charge of providing it for the meal. With our family, I'm usually in charge of bringing the drinks, which gives you an idea of how much faith my family has in my cooking. If I were in charge of the cranberries, they would come out of the can which, by the way, according to Smithsonian Magazine, is how something like 74% of people do it. Only 26% of people actually get the cranberries and make the sauce.
So, in our portfolio that we are setting before us, I'm putting cranberries as style investing. Up to now, we've been talking about investing according to size, but there are other factors, and one of them is style; basically growth vs. value. Every portfolio should have some growth and value just like every Thanksgiving table should have some cranberries.
But depending on how you want to lean [a little bit toward growth, a little toward value] is really up to you. The long-term returns on whether growth beats value or vice versa is somewhat inconclusive. Plenty of academic evidence shows that value outperforms, but there are many periods where growth outperforms for a long period, including our recent period. Over the last several years, growth has just significantly outperformed value.
I'm not going to go one way or the other. People like Jack Bogle say over the long term it doesn't matter, but you have a style just like you have a cranberry preference. Some people love tech stocks. [If you] love finding the new up-and-coming companies [in Motley Fool lingo like Rule Breakers], then you're going to be leaning toward growth. If you are more of a Warren Buffett-type investor, you like getting a good deal, or if you want your portfolio to have a better emphasis on things like dividends, you're probably going to lean more toward value. But in the end over the long term, it probably doesn't matter.