New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Discussion of the Cash portion of the Permanent Portfolio

Moderator: Global Moderator

User avatar
Kbg
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 1063
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:18 pm

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by Kbg » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:33 pm

Jh makes a very good point. Whether it is a bucket approach from Morningstar or something else. After whatever gotta have is (1 year's expenses??) the rest needs to go into something else. So let's say you got a 2M PP and are withdrawing 4%, 80K in ST cash equivalents and the rest/420K gotta go into something better or you are going to get slayed by inflation. If you don't want the admin hassle at least put them into BIL and then all you gotta do is sell some BIL off for your cash needs.

Break: Completely new topic...when did the Treasury come out with 8 week T-Bills? I won't go into details but I line up T-Bills with various expenses I have so on a monthly basis I am purchasing 52, 26, 13 and 4 week T-Bills and rotating them as required to pop back out into my checking when I need the cash. The 8 weekers are awesome and made the process much easier/fewer things to manage.

Anyway, I like em and have never noticed them before.
User avatar
ochotona
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2208
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:54 am

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by ochotona » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:22 pm

8 week Bills just came out a few days ago.
User avatar
Xan
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 2043
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:51 pm

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by Xan » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:19 pm

I don't even think I-bonds are all that deep. The 3 months' worth of interest penalty is... not much. I wouldn't have any problem having my emergency fund in I-bonds. In the unlikely event I need it quickly, I could withdraw it and pay the small penalty. In the very likely event I don't need it quickly, it earns more.
User avatar
jhogue
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 229
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:47 am

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by jhogue » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:46 pm

ochotona wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:27 pm
"Deep Cash" is that amount of cash above and beyond what is likely to be needed under the worst likely personal crisis situations. Where only 5% of scenarios would require more cash, for example. It's a guess, it's imprecise.

Because of my job in the crappy oil industry, I have an emergency fund equal to 12 months of expenses. That will always be in the bank and liquid T-Bills and some paper currency. Beyond that is deep cash space.

My oldest I-Bonds is 3.5 years old. At 5, I won't count it as deep any longer.
Ochotona’s post illustrates the importance of being intentional about your Cash quadrant strategy—and also understanding just how individualized that strategy ought to be:

If you work in a volatile industry where your job could suddenly vanish, you certainly want to keep a well-funded bank account and even a healthy stack of greenbacks on hand before you start buying STTs or I bonds, however attractive their current interest rates might seem.

If, on the other hand, you are in a very stable job situation, have achieved a high earning potential, and have already maxed out all of your other tax-deferred accounts (eg., 401k, 457b, IRAs plus catch up provisions), a multi-year ladder of I bonds (and, potentially, EE bonds too) could provide a whole new tax deferral space in which you might fund a self-annuity for early retirement; delay taking social security until 70 ½; or put off starting to draw down your portfolio indefinitely.
“Groucho Marx wrote:
A stock trader asked him, "Groucho, where do you put all your money?" Groucho was said to have replied, "In Treasury bonds", and the trader said, "You can't make much money on those." Groucho said, "You can if you have enough of them!"
User avatar
sophie
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2796
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:15 pm

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by sophie » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:50 am

"Deep cash" is a bit of an odd concept...

I started out with the idea of I bonds as deep cash, but I think it makes more sense to think of them as tier 2 of an emergency fund. Tier 1 being whatever amount of liquid cash in your savings account or a money market account that makes sense to you. They're definitely not something you want to use for portfolio rebalancing. I would not want to be selling these babies while in a high tax bracket.
User avatar
moda0306
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 8018
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:05 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by moda0306 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:26 am

sophie wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:50 am
"Deep cash" is a bit of an odd concept...

I started out with the idea of I bonds as deep cash, but I think it makes more sense to think of them as tier 2 of an emergency fund. Tier 1 being whatever amount of liquid cash in your savings account or a money market account that makes sense to you. They're definitely not something you want to use for portfolio rebalancing. I would not want to be selling these babies while in a high tax bracket.
Does the "deep" part denote that you would rebalance with it? I definitely never thought of it that way.. I always thought of it as "this is the last stuff I will trade or spend unless I've gone through all my other cash."
User avatar
ochotona
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2208
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:54 am

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by ochotona » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:59 am

moda0306 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:26 am
sophie wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:50 am
"Deep cash" is a bit of an odd concept...

I started out with the idea of I bonds as deep cash, but I think it makes more sense to think of them as tier 2 of an emergency fund. Tier 1 being whatever amount of liquid cash in your savings account or a money market account that makes sense to you. They're definitely not something you want to use for portfolio rebalancing. I would not want to be selling these babies while in a high tax bracket.
Does the "deep" part denote that you would rebalance with it? I definitely never thought of it that way.. I always thought of it as "this is the last stuff I will trade or spend unless I've gone through all my other cash."
I would rebalance with deep cash. It's still a portfolio asset, even if I don't need as part of my emergency reserve.
User avatar
Kbg
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 1063
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:18 pm

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by Kbg » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:44 pm

Yah...I think we are conflating two different things.

Cash in a portfolio is ballast to smooth the ride and/or an opportunity cost to take advantages of future opportunities.

Readily available liquidity for living expense in an emergency is exactly that. Say you had a big ole portfolio you could be 100% in stocks and have access to all the liquidity for emergencies you may possibly need. That's why Warren Buffet's widow apparently is going to be in a 90/10 portfolio. If a 50-80% DD is going to kill your requirement for emergency expenses then 100% in stocks isn't a great idea. Another example...maybe your portfolio's dividend annual yield provides all the living cash you need. One could make a good argument that any cash was a waste of good return.

Obviously (practically) for most people cash in a portfolio may serve both requirements and prudence would suggest the latter is the more important consideration. But they are separate...let's say you were double dipping the two and had a major cash outlay for emergency expense that took your cash percentage way down...well now you have much higher risk profile and if the investing and job gods are against you and this problem continues then you have two serious problems (paying the bills and a high risk portfolio)
User avatar
jhogue
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 229
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:47 am

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by jhogue » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:21 pm

moda0306 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:26 am
sophie wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:50 am
"Deep cash" is a bit of an odd concept...

I started out with the idea of I bonds as deep cash, but I think it makes more sense to think of them as tier 2 of an emergency fund. Tier 1 being whatever amount of liquid cash in your savings account or a money market account that makes sense to you. They're definitely not something you want to use for portfolio rebalancing. I would not want to be selling these babies while in a high tax bracket.
Does the "deep" part denote that you would rebalance with it? I definitely never thought of it that way.. I always thought of it as "this is the last stuff I will trade or spend unless I've gone through all my other cash."

Moda,

Thanks for chiming in on this conversation. Your 2011 discussion with Medium Tex and Lone Wolf inspired my interest in the uses of US savings bonds for HBPP Cash portfolios.

I agree with you that savings bonds held as “Deep Cash” are the last assets in the Cash quadrant that I would want to liquidate. Ideally, you would never use them to rebalance.
“Groucho Marx wrote:
A stock trader asked him, "Groucho, where do you put all your money?" Groucho was said to have replied, "In Treasury bonds", and the trader said, "You can't make much money on those." Groucho said, "You can if you have enough of them!"
User avatar
sophie
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 2796
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:15 pm

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by sophie » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:35 am

Kbg wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:44 pm
Obviously (practically) for most people cash in a portfolio may serve both requirements and prudence would suggest the latter is the more important consideration. But they are separate...let's say you were double dipping the two and had a major cash outlay for emergency expense that took your cash percentage way down...well now you have much higher risk profile and if the investing and job gods are against you and this problem continues then you have two serious problems (paying the bills and a high risk portfolio)
Ah, and therein lies another factor. I figured that you can only use the cash portion of the PP as your emergency fund if the PP is, in total, at least 8 times the desired EF size (10x if you're using Golden Butterfly).

I'd say that if you have that big a cash outlay, you either 1) have too small a PP, or 2) should be thanking your lucky stars you're not a typical cashless portfolio holder, since you'd likely be selling volatile assets to meet that expense.
barrett
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 1515
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:54 pm

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by barrett » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:38 am

Because of how many savings bonds I have (relative to other assets, that is) I have come to think of my EE and I-Bonds as sort of separate from my core PP-inspired holdings... almost a different asset class.

At age 60 and pretty much retired, I am planning to hold off until age 70 to take SS benefits and will of course have RMDs kicking in a few months after the SS spigot opens. I have a bunch of EE-Bonds that mature 2021-2023 (ages 63-65 roughly) and then a bunch of I-Bonds that mature 2029-2032. Despite their sassy fixed yields, I'll likely cash those in 2026-2028 just to avoid pushing me and my wife way up the tax ladder after I turn 70.

I guess I am just saying that there are cases where savings bonds are owned in such concentrations that they can't really be thought of as cash or even "deep cash". At a certain point the potential tax consequences just completely outweigh other factors (and this is without even considering the taxable interest impact on ACA subsidies).

Mine is a good problem to have but I've long been uncertain just how to fold these bonds into my overall AA.
User avatar
Kbg
Executive Member
Executive Member
Posts: 1063
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:18 pm

Re: New I Bond Rate 11/1/18 to 4/30/18

Post by Kbg » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:30 pm

barrett wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:38 am
Mine is a good problem to have but I've long been uncertain just how to fold these bonds into my overall AA.
Well, they're bonds in terms of your asset allocation. What you are talking about is matching an asset to a required income stream at a certain point in time. This is the point I was making above.

As humans we all bin or bucket things for convenience and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If thinking this way is useful for you, think that way. It's perfectly sound. However, if one considers the sum total of all assets owned then this bond allocation is imputing bond characteristics and their impact into your expected overall returns and risk and that has nothing to do with when you need cash.

An example for me...I don't consider my house or land I own as part of my "asset allocation." They are where I live and what I drive a tractor over from time to time. But technically, I could convert all of it to cash or some other more liquid asset.

But whether your binning or mine, the investing return gods don't care...we both have a defined risk level (and liquidity profile) for what we are holding. We don't know the future, but we have an idea of what we might expect given historical returns.

This may seem like a small nit picky point...but actually it is pretty important for ST and LT financial planning.
Post Reply