On Monday I introduced the Permanent Portfolio, an investment strategy created in the early 1980s by Harry Browne. It calls for investors to hold equal amounts of stocks, long-term government bonds, gold and cash. I recently spoke to Craig Rowland, the blogger behind Crawling Road, to learn more about the ideas behind the Permanent Portfolio.
What attracted you to the Permanent Portfolio?
CR: My background is computer security, so when I test something I always start by trying to break it. And when I looked at traditional index fund portfolios, I noticed there were periods of time where they basically broke. By that I mean they either had significant declines, or they had extended periods where they didn’t have real returns after inflation. I noticed, for instance, that during the entire decade of the 1970s, a stock/bond portfolio didn’t even beat inflation. And I noticed that in other countries that type of portfolio failed over protracted periods of time. So I became convinced that the traditional idea of asset-class correlations was incorrect.
So I started looking at Harry Browne’s Permanent Portfolio,