Build Burton Malkiel Portfolios With ETFs

Learn to build Burton Malkiel's portfolios with ETFs. See how they compare against other portfolios.
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What is Burton Malkiel’s portfolio?

The Burton Malkiel portfolios are exposed to between 50% and 90% stocks. They are exposed to a variety of bonds which include emerging market bonds. They can be built with 8 ETFs. The portfolios range from medium to high-risk portfolios.

For the past 10 years, the Burton G. Malkiel Portfolio, Late Sixties and Beyond has returned 8.28 with a standard deviation of 11.37. The dividend yield is 2.12. The 30-year return is 9.29%. Year to date the Burton G. Malkiel Portfolio, Late Sixties and Beyond has returned 8.58%. Last year it returned 9.98%

What is the historical return of Burton Malkiel’s portfolio?

Here is the historical return of Burton Malkiel’s portfolios.

NameAsset class countYear to dateReturn in 202010 year returnCAGR since 1989 (%)Risk levelExpense ratio
Burton Malkiel Portfolio, Mid-Twenties89.84%12.988.859.6330.07%
Burton Malkiel Portfolio, Late Thirties to Early Forties89.59%12.768.879.6730.07%
Burton Malkiel Portfolio, Mid-Fifties89.23%11.78.719.6130.08%
Burton Malkiel Portfolio, Late Sixties and Beyond88.58%9.988.289.2920.08%

How do Burton Malkiel’s portfolios compare to the best portfolios?

Below you can see the returns of the best portfolios that we have benchmarked.

NameSee PortfolioYear to dateReturn in 202010 year returnCAGR since 1989 (%)Draw Down
Premium Portfolio15.92%18.2913.8410.77-37.63%
Premium Portfolio8.30%18.118.6311.14-44.87%
Premium Portfolio13.48%19.712.8410.49-32.77%
Premium Portfolio20.78%3.198.5210.59-36.46%
Premium Portfolio20.17%3.668.6210.48-36.35%
Premium Portfolio15.18%21.0313.7810.83-37.00%
Premium Portfolio19.24%8.711.5610.65-35.26%
Premium Portfolio15.41%7.488.3910.64-37.91%
Premium Portfolio16.16%5.3610.8811.23-35.43%
Premium Portfolio20.81%3.4210.2110.47-40.85%

How do you build Burton Malkiel’s portfolio with ETFs?

This is for Burton Malkiel’s Portfolio, Late Sixties and Beyond.                           

  • 20.00%  US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 15.00%  REITs (VNQ)
  • 10.00%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 10.00%  Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 10.00%  Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 9.50%    Corporate Bonds (LQD)
  • 16.00%  Dividend Growth (VIG)
  • 9.50%    Emerging Market Bonds (EMB / VWOB)

Who is Burton Malkiel?

Burton Malkiel is a giant in the investing industry. He has served for 28 years at Vanguard. Vanguard is the powerhouse mutual fund provider. Vanguard is featured on this site with our articles John Bogle’s Portfolio The Vanguard of Legends, How’s His Portfolio? and Vanguard LifeStrategy Portfolios, Let’s Put Investing In A Box.

Burton G. Malkiel has been on the board of Council of Economic Advisers. He also served as dean of the Yale School of Management for many years. He is currently the chief investment officer (CIO) at robo advisor firm Wealthfront. We feature Wealthfron in our article Robo Advisor Wealthfront Portfolios, Do Robos Dream of Higher Returns?

Burton G. Malkiel’s wildly popular book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing, cemented the theory of the Efficient Market Hypothesis. In the book, he proposes several portfolios for different stages in life.

Here is Burton G. Malkiel on Consuelo Mack’s Wealthtrack.

What is unique about Burton G. Malkiel’s portfolios?

The Burton Malkiel portfolios are a thing of beauty. Burton G. Malkiel has constructed some of the most beautiful portfolios around. They are built on the formula seen so many times before. They are built around a three-step process. It looks like this:

  1. Start with a total US stock market fund
  2. Add international exposure
  3. Tilt your portfolio towards specific asset classes if desired.

There is one peculiar thing about Burton Malkiel’s portfolios. The strange thing is that he lumps dividend stocks in the same category as bonds. But the thing is, dividend stocks are way more volatile than bonds, and dividend stocks are more closely correlated with stocks than bonds. That’s because they are stocks.

a-random-walk-down-wall-street-the-time-tested-strategy-for-successful-investing-eleventh-edition
Get the book on Amazon.

What is the asset allocation of Burton Malkiel’s portfolios?

Below you can see how you build Burton Malkiel’s portfolios with ETFs.

burton-malkiel-portfolio-asset-allocation

Burton G. Malkiel Portfolio, Late Sixties and Beyond                           

  • 20.00%  US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 15.00%  REITs (VNQ)
  • 10.00%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 10.00%  Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 10.00%  Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 9.50%    Corporate Bonds (LQD)
  • 16.00%  Dividend Growth (VIG)
  • 9.50%    Emerging Market Bonds (EMB / VWOB)

Burton G. Malkiel Portfolio, Late Thirties to Early Forties                  

This portfolio is part of Portfolio Einstein Gold, Premium Portfolios. 

Burton G. Malkiel Portfolio, Mid-Fifties                     

This portfolio is part of Portfolio Einstein Gold, Premium Portfolios. 

Burton G. Malkiel Portfolio, Mid-Twenties               

This portfolio is part of Portfolio Einstein Gold, Premium Portfolios. 

Alternatives to Burton G. Malkiel’s portfolios

Burton Malkiel has a great portfolio. He has taken a proven basic formula and extended it a little bit. Other portfolios do the same, but if you want the basic formula, the 3-fund portfolio is the hallmark of this formula. You should also look at Rick Ferri’s 4-fund portfolios.

Resources for Burton G. Malkiel’s portfolios

Burton G. Malkiel has written an excellent book with another investing legend, Charles D. Ellis. It is a concise and actionable book on investing. It is called The Elements of Investing, Easy Lessons for Every Investor.

elements of investing burton malkiel and charles ellis

Get a short primer on investing with the below video where Burton G. Malkiel talks at Google. It is part of Google’s attempt at educating its employees on financial matters.

JL Collins also did a talk at Google. You can find that link in our article on JL Collins Portfolios, Learn Money In 1 minute 36 secs.

Suggestions for your next steps

Finding the correct portfolio is hard. Maintaining your portfolio is also daunting. If you are still in doubt about which portfolio to choose, we suggest you read our article How To Invest Money: 5 Simple Steps That Work For Anyone

If you have already committed to a portfolio – good for you! If you need help maintaining the portfolio you will find our rebalance worksheet useful. Rebalancing your portfolio lowers your risk and may provide higher returns in the long run. It is completely FREE.

You can find the rebalance worksheet in our article Here Is The Most Easy To Use Portfolio Rebalance Tool.

Rebalancing lowers your portfolio risk and may increase your returns.


If you want access to our high-performing portfolios then you need to take a look at the premium portfolios. This is a paid product that gives you the 59 best-performing portfolios since 1989. The portfolios represent a great opportunity for you to have a shot at increasing the returns of your portfolio.

Portfolioeinstein Premium Portfolios
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