The real-money Inflation-Protected Income Growth portfolio just finished a strong week, gaining a touch above $500 in the time covered since last week’s update. For a portfolio that started a mere seven months ago with $30,000, last Friday’s closing value of $34,722.56 represents what would ordinarily be an astounding performance.
Still, the portfolio’s total return of 15.7% in just over seven months trails the S&P 500‘s gain during that time. That index has gained around 16% during that same window, and when you add the dividends paid by S&P 500 companies to the total return, the index has easily outperformed the iPIG portfolio.
A strong case can be made that if your investing strategy can’t beat a reasonable benchmark index, you’d be better off investing in the index. The thing is, in a rapidly rising market like the one we’ve been experiencing recently, it’s very possible for the market to stay ahead of even proven winning strategies and master investors. Even Warren Buffett may be on track to trail the market for the first five-year period in basically forever.
Of course, the iPIG portfolio doesn’t even pretend to be anywhere near the same league as Buffett. Still, it is built on many of the same principles of dividends, valuation, and diversification that Buffett’s investing mentor, Benjamin Graham, spelled out in his classic work, The Intelligent Investor. And while the iPIG portfolio may be trailing the overall market, it still looks to be on track for its primary goal of trying to build an income stream that grows at least as fast as inflation.
When all is said and done, if you’re on track to reach your goals as an investor, does it really matter whether you’re trailing the overall market?
Speaking of those goals…
Last week, two companies paid their dividends to the iPIG portfolio: railroad giant Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) and car parts magnate Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC). Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP)’s dividend added $4.14 to the iPIG portfolio’s coffers, while Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC)’ added $12.36. Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) has held its dividend steady for three quarters, while Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) has paid two dividends at its current level. Both companies have track records of annual increases, and the iPIG portfolio looks forward to seeing if that trend continues.