Seasonal Musings 2021

General TSP Discussion.

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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

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G All Year / S in Dec and F All Year / S in Dec

I came up with these Mixes during Thanksgiving Week 2014 after having a conversation with my late father. As a retired CSRS employee, he had pension but not much else to his name in terms of retirement assets. These Mixes do just what they say. The idea is to keep your money safe all year but take advantage of December’s Santa Rally to keep ahead of inflation. It’s easy to see how these Mixes are doing throughout the year: just look at the regular G and F Fund returns. Only in December would somebody following these Mixes want to make a decision whether or not to move their funds. I don’t track PIPs for these Mixes because their goal is to beat inflation, not the long-term benchmark of 12% that I aim for with the other Mixes. Normally I post the returns for G All Year, but in 2020 I’ll be posting figures for the F All Year version because for the past couple of years the G Fund returns have been truly dismal, and I think that the F All Year option is better for retirees.

Monthly Allocation: G All Year, S in December
Jan: G Fund
Feb: G Fund
Mar: G Fund
Apr: G Fund
May: G Fund
Jun: G Fund
Jul: G Fund
Aug: G Fund
Sep: G Fund
Oct: G Fund
Nov: G Fund
Dec: S Fund

Since 1988
Overall CAGR: 7.02%, PNR 94% (31 of 33)
Last 20 CAGR: 4.31%, PNR 90%
Last 10 CAGR: 2.14%, PNR 80%
Last 5 CAGR: 1.89%, PNR 60%

Best years: 19.95% (1999), 18.12% (1990), 14.21% (1998)
Worst years: -8.32% (2018), -2.11% (2015), 0.07% (2002), 2.26% (2011)

Beat G Fund 28 of 33 times (85%), for a higher gain of 79.04% since 1988.
Best yearly gain over G Fund: 13.96% (1999: 19.95% vs 5.99%)
Worst yearly loss to G Fund: -11.23% (2018: -8.32% vs 2.91%)

Monthly Allocation: F All Year, S in December
Jan: F Fund
Feb: F Fund
Mar: F Fund
Apr: F Fund
May: F Fund
Jun: F Fund
Jul: F Fund
Aug: F Fund
Sep: F Fund
Oct: F Fund
Nov: F Fund
Dec: S Fund

Since 1988: CAGR 8.28%, PNR 91% (30 of 33)
Last 20 years: CAGR 6.02%, PNR 90%
Last 10 years: CAGR 4.05%, PNR 80%
Last 5 years: CAGR 4.06%, PNR 80%

Best years: 23.54% (1991), 18.15% (1995), 17.58% (1998)
Worst years: -12.16% (2018), -2.75% (2015), -2.5% (1994), 1.78% (2013)

Beat F Fund 24 of 32 times (75%), for a higher gain of 64.86% since 1988
Best yearly gain over F Fund: 1999, by 14.17% (Mix: 13.31% vs F Fund: -0.86%)
Worst loss to F Fund: -12.31% (2018: -12.16% vs 0.15%)

Analysis: This strategy isn’t designed to beat Buy and Hold over stocks. It’s designed to beat inflation and preserve the value of a retiree’s money. If you compare the results against the G and F Funds, you’ll see that it’s pretty solid against just leaving your money in G or F. The next safest thing in the TSP other than the G Fund is the S Fund in December, which has only 5 negative years on record as the only speed bumps slowing down a 2+% long term average return. For a very small amount of risk you jump your returns by a relatively massive amount.

For the G Fund, obviously the returns tended to be better on average in the early years of the G Fund, but what the G Fund does in a year these days is about what the S Fund does all by itself in December. The goal with these Mixes is to give a retiree a sense that he/she can preserve purchasing power with very little risk. The F Fund isn’t very risky and has better overall returns than the G Fund, but it might be riskier than many retirees feel comfortable with. Like everything else in this game called investing, it all comes down to personal risk tolerance.
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

Post by Aitrus »

Other Mixes I’m tracking behind the scenes and won’t be positing about until the end of the year:

Skiehawk’s EMA Mix

This Mix uses a technical indicator as a stop-loss mechanism to move funds to the G Fund if the indicator triggers a move at the beginning of the month, similar to Jahbulon’s SMA Mix. I won’t be posting about this except for the End-of-Year Round-up.

Jan: C Fund
Feb: C Fund
Mar: C Fund
Apr: C Fund
May: C Fund
Jun: C Fund
Jul: C Fund
Aug: F Fund
Sep: C Fund
Oct: F Fund
Nov: C Fund
Dec: C Fund

Since 1988: CAGR 10.31%, PNR 79% (26 of 33)
Last 20 years: CAGR 5.90%, PNR 75%
Last 10 years: CAGR 9.65%, PNR 80%
Last 5 years: CAGR 8.52%, PNR 80%

C&F
This Mix uses only the C and F Funds when choosing the best fund for the month.

Jan: F Fund
Feb: F Fund
Mar: C Fund
Apr: C Fund
May: C Fund
Jun: F Fund
Jul: C Fund
Aug: F Fund
Sep: F Fund
Oct: C Fund
Nov: C Fund
Dec: C Fund

Since 1988: CAGR 13.83%, PNR 85% (28 of 33)
Last 20 years: CAGR 12.19%, PNR 85%
Last 10 years: CAGR 11.76%, PNR 80%
Last 5 years: CAGR 12.06%, PNR 80%

S&F
This Mix uses only the S and F Funds when choosing the best fund for the month.

Jan: F Fund
Feb: S Fund
Mar: S Fund
Apr: S Fund
May: S Fund
Jun: F Fund
Jul: F Fund
Aug: F Fund
Sep: F Fund
Oct: F Fund
Nov: S Fund
Dec: S Fund

Since 1988: CAGR 13.59%, PNR 88% (29 of 33)
Last 20 years: CAGR 11.77%, PNR 90%
Last 10 years: CAGR 10.22%, PNR 90%
Last 5 years: CAGR 10.68%, PNR 80%

I&F
This Mix uses only the I and F Funds when choosing the best fund for the month.

Jan: F Fund
Feb: F Fund
Mar: I Fund
Apr: I Fund
May: F Fund
Jun: F Fund
Jul: I Fund
Aug: F Fund
Sep: F Fund
Oct: I Fund
Nov: F Fund
Dec: I Fund

Since 1988: CAGR 12.13%, PNR 82% (27 of 33)
Last 20 years: CAGR 10.46%, PNR 80%
Last 10 years: CAGR 7.46%, PNR 70%
Last 5 years: CAGR 6.64%, PNR 60%
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

Post by Aitrus »

A Word about TSPCalc.com

One of the reasons I keep this thread going is for the newbies to the TSPCenter forum. If you’re one of these individuals and you’ve read through this long and tedious slog of numbers and figures, then you’ve got the basics needed to understand what’s going on over at TSPCalc. A lot of people on the TSPCenter forum use TSPCalc strategies instead of the monthly Mixes I post about here.

The methodology is the same between what I explained in this thread and the approach TSPCalc takes. The main difference is that I use one data point per month: the final monthly return. In contrast, TSPCalc keeps tabs on every single day’s returns, which exponentially widens the possibilities for deciding which Fund to use. Instead of having to decide which one to use each month, you can instead decide which one to use for any given trading day throughout the year, and are only subject to the IFT limits put in place by the TSP. There’s well over 130k different Mixes, with more being created all the time as members try out different ideas using the site’s Seasonal Calculator.

There’s another term you’ll need to learn about to better understand the TSPCalc data: Standard Deviation (or StdDev as it’s abbreviated there). It can be a difficult concept to grasp – and even harder to calculate – but the nuances can come with time. For now, just know that a lower StdDev means that the returns are bunched up closer together rather than spread out. A range of returns ranging from -5% to 10% is narrower than -10% to 20%, for example. The StdDev will probably be lower for the -5% to 10% grouping because StdDev describes the width of the bell curve that those returns would look like if they were charted out on a simple graph. In practical terms, a TSPCalc Mix that has a high CAGR but a low StdDev means that the annual results will be clustered closer around the CAGR, which conveys a sense of consistency. On the flipside, if a Mix has a high CAGR and an equally high (or higher) StdDev, then the Mix’s results are all over the place and the CAGR is just the middle point. There will be very high returns and very low returns. The higher the StdDev, the more variance in returns in that Mix’s history.

If you understand the Seasonal Strategy method I’ve discussed up to this point and want to utilize the TSP program’s IFT rules to their greatest extent, then I encourage you to go over to TSPCalc. Keep an eye on the forums here, and whenever somebody mentions a number – such as #130870 – or you see it in their signature block, head over to TSPCalc to plug it in to the calculator and take a look at the results. If you under CAGR the way I’ve explained it here, then you’ll understand it there. It’s very much worth checking out. Think my Mix results of 15-16% are impressive? Just wait until you see some of the stuff that members have been able to figure out over there.

Recommended Reading

If you want to do more reading on investing in general and are new to the subject, I suggest you pick up a copy of If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly by William J. Bernstein.

Mr. Bernstein has often stated that he wishes to spread the information as widely as he can, so he’s made it free for Kindle on Amazon, he offers it for free on his site efficientfrontier.com, and he encourages others to pass it on whenever they get the chance to do so. In that same spirit of passing on great advice, I have a .pdf copy that I’ll gladly send you if you’d like to read it – just send me a PM or email and I’ll get it to you. It’s 16 pages long and only takes an hour or so to read, and it could be the most valuable bit of reading you’ve ever done. Mr. Bernstein is a financial advisor for people that have lots of money (he doesn’t accept clients that have less than $10 million), but he wrote the pamphlet for his grandchildren - and millennials in general - because he wants future generations to be financially secure in retirement.

If all you know about investing is what you get from his book, then you’ll be better off than most people and be well equipped to take the steps needed to ensure your financial well-being in your golden years. Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of the knowledge found in this book.

Final thoughts to start off 2021

And that’s the system folks! It’s a simple concept, but there’s a TON of data there to sift through. Feel free to ask questions in this thread if there’s something you don’t understand or want clarification on. All things considered, I think this is a good system to follow. Remember my criteria for a good system?

1. Has positive annual returns at least 80% of the time.
2. Has consistent annual returns of at least 12% CAGR.
3. Makes sense and follows the data.

A lot of these Mixes meet those criteria, and following any of them that do would not be a bad thing in my opinion. All have data to back up their choices, and most beat buy-and-hold for those that can stomach the rough times and stick with the plan. Some Mixes are more popular than others. The most popular ones are (in order of preference as far as I can tell from forum comments and discussion) gclapper’s Mix, tmj100’s Mix, Jahbulon’s Mix and Boltman’s Mix.

In the end, this project is all about making money and having a secure retirement. If this thread helps even a few people reach that goal (myself included), then I will have considered it time well spent. I don’t get anything from doing this, other than to have other minds assess the work and point out improvements. I’m absolutely in this for the money, but I don’t get a cent for doing it. It’s kind of funny how it works out that way.

I don’t have much more to say, so I’ll leave you with this gem from one of the forum members:

“The Seasonal Strategy has its faults as do most systems. The one thing I like about the Seasonal Strategy, however, is the statistics based approach. Will it keep you from losing money? Nope...What it does give you, however, is your best chance at picking the right fund to be in at the right time based on your level of risk tolerance. You can never be 100% correct 100% of the time. But you can give yourself the best chance by using the statistics involved...you might lose some but you stand a good chance of gaining a lot more than you lose. Cheers and best of luck to you! Choose your strategy wisely!” – Chulke
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

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Seasonal Strategy Results for January 2021

Note: A "good" month for the F Fund is CAGR 0.5% or better, and PNR 70% or better. A "good" month for C, S and I Funds is CAGR 1% or better, and PNR 70% or better. See 2nd post in the thread for description of CAGR. PNR is the ratio of Positive Months to Negative Months.

General Funds
G Fund:
0.07%, 0.07% Year to Date (YTD), PNR remains 100%
Jan Total CAGR = 0.39%
Jan 20 year CAGR = 0.25%
Jan 10 year CAGR = 0.17%
Jan 5 year CAGR = 0.17%
2020’s return: 0.17%
PIP: 0.87%

This was significantly below the normal return for the G Fund in January. This continues the very low returns that the G Fund has experienced since early 2020.

F Fund: -0.71%, -0.71% YTD
Jan Total CAGR = 0.61%, PNR 76%
Jan 20 year CAGR = 0.59%, PNR 80%
Jan 10 year CAGR = 0.68%, PNR 70%
Jan 5 year CAGR = 0.27%, PNR 60%
2020’s return: 1.91%
PIP: 4.73%

January is normally a solid long-term performer for the F Fund. However, it experienced a rare down month to kick off the year. It’s the fifth lowest return for Jan in the F Fund’s history.

C Fund: -1.01%, -1.01% YTD
Jan Total CAGR = 0.50%, PNR 56%
Jan 20 year CAGR = -0.25%, PNR 40%
Jan 10 year CAGR = 1.20%, PNR 50%
Jan 5 year CAGR = 2.86%, PNR 60%
2020’s Return: -0.04%
PIP: 17.16%

The C Fund does kind of “meh” during this time of year over the long run. This time around it suffered a hit to start off the year in the red.

S Fund: 2.85%, 2.85% YTD
Jan Total CAGR = 0.98%, PNR 62%
Jan 20 year CAGR = 0.43%, PNR 50%
Jan 10 year CAGR = 1.99%, PNR 60%
Jan 5 year CAGR = 3.79%, PNR 80%
2020’s Return: -0.62
PIP: 36.45%

This year the S Fund started off with a nice upside return. Nothing earth-shattering as far as January positives go for this Fund, but still a nice start non the less.

I Fund: -1.09%, -1.09% YTD
Jan Total CAGR = -0.55%, PNR 47%
Jan 20 year CAGR = -0.82%, PNR 50%
Jan 10 year CAGR = 1.12%, PNR 60%
Jan 5 year CAGR = 2.07%, PNR 60%
2020’s return: -2.73%
PIP: 9.99%

January is normally in the bottom third of yearly performers for the I Fund, so this year’s return was about what we could expect.

Currently Tracked Seasonal Strategies
Jahbulon's Basic Mix: F Fund in Jan (-0.71%), -0.71% YTD, PIP 15.44%
gclapper’s M3 Mix: F Fund in Jan (-0.71%), -0.71% YTD, PIP 5.49%
TSPCenter.com's Default Setting: F Fund in Jan (-0.71%), -0.71% YTD, PIP 23.50%
tmj100’s Mix: F Fund in Jan (-0.71%), -0.71% YTD, PIP 3.89%
Boltman's Mix: F Fund in Jan (-0.71%), -0.71% YTD, PIP 23.14%
Chindsey’s #1 Mix: F in Jan (-0.71%), -0.71% YTD, PIP -0.03%
Sell in May and Go Away: C Fund in Jan (-1.01%), -1.01% YTD, PIP 0.96%
F all year, S in Dec Mix: G Fund in Jan (-0.71%), -0.71% YTD

All of the popular Mixes were in F Fund for Jan, so everybody took a mild hit. The market has been really mixed to start off the year. The C Fund took a hit, but the F Fund had a nice return, and the I Fund was about normal.
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

Post by Aitrus »

For March 2021
Last chance to move: Friday, 26 February before noon EST

For this coming March, the individual funds have performed on average as follows:

G Fund

Since 1988: 0.40%
Last 20 years: 0.27%
Last 10 years: 0.18%
Last 5 years: 0.19%

Mar is a fairly decent month for the G Fund, but like most of 2020 and thus far in 2021, I’m not expecting very much at all. The 2020 return was 0.11%.

F Fund – A “good” month is a CAGR of 0.5% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 0.03%, PNR 58%
Last 20 years: CAGR 0.12%, PNR 55%
Last 10 years: CAGR 0.27%, PNR 60%
Last 5 years: CAGR 0.57%, PNR 60%

March is arguably the worst month of the year for the F Fund, especially when longer term time measures are considered. Lowest PNR and CAGRs of the entire year.

The best years were 2019 (1.93%), 2009 (1.38%) and 2000 (1.32%). The worst years were 1994 (-2.45%), 2002 (-1.66%) and 1997 (-1.11%).

C Fund – A “good” month is a CAGR of 1% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 0.83%, PNR 67%
Last 20 years: CAGR 0.51%, PNR 65%
Last 10 years: CAGR -0.10%, PNR 70%
Last 5 years: CAGR -1.43%, PNR 60%

March is a decent month for the C Fund because the springtime season upswing often gets underway partway through the month. It’s close to being completely within “good” standards on all long-term time measures, but the more recent measurements are heavily influenced by 2020’s massive -12% loss due to COVID-19.

The best years were 2000 (9.74%), 2009 (8.81%) and 2016 (6.79%). The worst years were 2020 (-12.40%), 2001 (-6.33%) and 1994 (-4.39%).

S Fund – A “good” month is a CAGR of 1% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 0.53%, PNR 67%
Last 20 years: CAGR 0.44%, PNR 65%
Last 10 years: CAGR -0.71%, PNR 60%
Last 5 years: CAGR -3.26%, PNR 40%

The S Fund does fairly well during March, and for the same reasons as the C Fund. However, the long-term results leave the S Fund just a little bit behind the C Fund. Like the C Fund, the recent time calculations are heavily influenced by the 2020 crash due to COVID, although the S Fund suffered a much deeper slide than the C Fund did.

The best years were 2009 (8.64%), 2016 (8.24%) and 2010 (7.39%). The worst years were 2020 (-21.40%), 2001 (-9.18%) and 1997 (-5.22%).

I Fund - A “good” month is a CAGR of 1% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 0.57%, PNR 64%
Last 20 years: CAGR 0.24%, PNR 60%
Last 10 years: CAGR -0.90%, PNR 50%
Last 5 years: CAGR -1.15%, PNR 60%

The I Fund starts to do better in March, but not as good as either the C or S Funds. The recent years are likewise affected by the March 2020 COVID market reaction.

The best years were 1993 (8.56%), 2009 (7.20%), and 2016 (6.59%). The worst years were 2020 (-13.87%), 1990 (-10.54%), and 1992 (-6.75%).

Note: For CAGR explanation, see 2nd post in the thread. PNR is the ratio of Positive Months vs Negative Months. A Fund that was positive in March for 4 out of 10 years would have a PNR of 40%.

Individual Seasonal Mix Allocations
Here is where the various seasonal mix allocations are going to for March 2021.


Jahbulon’s Basic Seasonal Mix: Move to the C Fund.
gclapper’s M3 Mix: Move to the C Fund
TSPCenter.com’s Seasonal Mix: Move to the C Fund.
tmj100’s Mix: Move to the S Fund.
Boltman’s Mix: Move to the S Fund.
Chindsey’s Mix #1: Remain in the S Fund
Sell in May and Go Away: Remain in the C Fund.
G All Year, S in Dec: Remain in the G Fund.

With March historically showing signs of promise for the market for the coming spring, most Mixes move into stocks for the month.
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

Kal1981
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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

Post by Kal1981 »

Thanks for continuing to do this! I’ve noticed though since 2013, seasonality has shifted a bit for January-March and some of the summer months when it’s been historically unfavorable for equities. I wonder if it’s because now that C fund is tech heavy, there’s less seasonality involved.

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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

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I've pondered something along these lines as well a time or two. It's a good question. Here's what I've learned from my reading and research.

Whenever new technology enters the field it has an effect of some kind on the market. However, we've seen ongoing technical changes since the 60s and 70s in terms of innovation in the electronic communication domain. The last 20-30 years has seen the most growth (internet, cell phones, satellite communication, etc.), however the trends that existed in the 80s has existed largely the same through to today. We see faster changes and faster trades due to the efficiency of electronic trading and the like, but other than that I'm not really seeing a drastic change in seasonality. That's because the economy as a whole really hasn't changed all that much - we are still a consumer and service-based economy. All that's different is that information about the things we consume and services available to us that is moving faster, but the underpinnings of the current economy are still pretty much the same as it was when Reagan was in office.

A drastic seasonal change would be the difference between the time prior to the 1930s and today. Before 1930 or so, December was a huge down month (worse than modern-day Aug or Sep) and summertime was the strongest time of year. This was because we were a largely agrarian and manufacturing society, not a consumer society. Summer was when farmers got the first signs of likely crop yields and manufacturing was in full swing. The middle of winter was a time when farmers spent money on fixing equipment or throwing out crops that weren't sold quickly enough, and manufacturers stopped manufacturing due to either the season (if they did manufacturing outdoors) or multiple holidays cost production time.

In contrast, today summer is just so-so for the most part, and December is a booming time for business. This is because after WWII our economy was booming due to wartime-intensive manufacturing being turned towards goods, and new services were invented or whole industries made more efficient. For example, McDonald's was created in 1940, but introduced the Speedee Service System (the modern fast-food style model) into it's business approach in 1948. They were the second restaurant to take this approach (White Castle was first in the 1920s, but didn't make the most of they system the way McD's did), and it revolutionized the restaurant industry.

Another big change was that Eisenhower's interstate roads project. Originally meant primarily for emergency military use, it had a huge side effect in that shipping goods long distances was made quicker and cheaper. Prior to the interstate system, you could only get reliable and quick shipping of large amounts of goods between seaports, and overland between railroads. This is why the vast majority of our nation's big cities are on the coasts, around the Great Lakes, or along major rivers like the Mississippi - it's hard to build a major city without bringing in lots of food, materials, and goods for the populace.

The real kicker was the department store. The concept was invented in the mid 19th century, and although they existed in the US they were only for the well-to-do and didn't really catch on with the common layman until the 1950s when people suddenly had more money to spend due to post-WWII economy. As a result, the American economy turned more towards a consumer society. Those department stores in turn capitalized on end of year bonuses and the holiday season to push a spike in spending after Thanksgiving - hence things like the Macy's parade, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire Santa Rally in general. It's a collective societal push to consume from both the supply and demand sides of the economy, thus boosting the market overall.

This means that the major seasonal change we see in the market from 100 years ago to today is because of a gradual change in the underlying structure of our economic structure from agrarian / manufacturing to primarily consumer. This changed the seasonal high and low points of the year, but even the low points still have their good sessions due to various factors. However, single factors won't necessarily influence the market heavily - it takes an aggregate of factors to buck the trend. For example, the original iPhone went on sale on 29 Jun 07, but July 2007 was a down month for both the C and S Funds (-3.10% and -4.57%, respectively).

I get why you're concerned. The seasons don't seem as strongly set anymore as they once were - and yes, that's partly due to technology. However, until the economy changes from being primarily consumer-based to something else, I don't think there's going to be a huge change in seasonality in the next decade or two at least. I may be wrong, but that's what my reading and research has shown me.
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

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Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

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Seasonal Strategy Results for February 2021

Note: A "good" month for the F Fund is CAGR 0.5% or better, and PNR 70% or better. A "good" month for C, S and I Funds is CAGR 1% or better, and PNR 70% or better. See 2nd post in the thread for description of CAGR. PNR is the ratio of Positive Months to Negative Months.

General Funds
G Fund:
0.08%, 0.15% Year to Date (YTD), PNR remains 100%
Feb Total CAGR = 0.35%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.23%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 0.15%
Feb 5 year CAGR = 0.16%

This month’s return was far below the historical normal average for this month. At this point, the G Fund is -0.15% behind 2020 return by this point, and the rest of 2020 was dismal. 2020 had a total return of just 0.98% for the year. If the G Fund continues to make the same average Apr - Dec 2020 return for the rest of 2021, that means that it would earn around 0.06 - 0.07% per month. If it does, then by the end of the year it would have a return of just 0.75 - 0.85%.

F Fund: -1.45%, -2.15% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 0.26%, PNR 68%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.30%, PNR 70%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 0.10%, PNR 60%
Feb 5 year CAGR = 0.01%, PNR 40%

The F Fund doesn’t do all spectacularly in Feb, and this year was a bad one. This was the fourth worst Feb on record since 1988. 2019’s return was 1.82%.

C Fund: 2.76%, 1.72% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 0.32%, PNR 62%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.15%, PNR 60%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 1.30%, PNR 70%
Feb 5 year CAGR = -0.52%, PNR 60%

This year saw a respectably positive return for the C Fund in Feb. This is a nice recovery from the January minor loss, and much beter than the 2020 disaster. 2020’s Feb return was -8.24% due to COVID.

S Fund: 5.21%, 8.21% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 1.03%, PNR 62%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.52%, PNR 60%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 1.69%, PNR 80%
Feb 5 year CAGR = 0.03%, PNR 60%

The S Fund saw a very nice Feb return this year. Paired with the Jan return, the S Fund is off to a grand start for 2021. 2020’s Feb return was -8.01%.

I Fund: 2.26%, 1.15% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 0.28%, PNR 59%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.09%, PNR 60%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 0.53%, PNR 60%
Feb 5 year CAGR = -1.41%, PNR 60%

The I Fund also experienced a nice gain for Feb in 2021, bringing it into positive territory. 2020’s return was -7.74%

Currently Tracked Seasonal Strategies
Jahbulon's Basic Mix: S Fund in Feb (5.21%), 4.46% YTD, PIP 32.03%
gclapper’s M3 Mix: S Fund in Feb (5.21%), 4.46% YTD, PIP 20.65%
TSPCenter.com's Seasonal Mix: G Fund in Feb (0.08%), -0.63% YTD, PIP 23.44%
tmj100’s Mix: C Fund in Feb (2.76%), 2.03% YTD, PIP 16.35%
Boltman's Mix: F Fund in Feb (-1.45%), -2.15% YTD, PIP 19.18%
Chindsey’s Mix #1: S Fund in Feb (5.21%), 4.46%, YTD, PIP 14.33%
Sell in May and Go Away: C Fund in Feb (2.76%), 1.72% YTD, PIP 13.06%
F all year, S in Dec Mix: F Fund in Feb (-1.45%), -2.15% YTD

At this time last year, I wrote the below post for the Feb 2020 results:
_____________________________________

Everybody in stocks got hit, and the few in bonds are thanking their lucky stars. Still, the Mixes are all beating buy-and-hold at this time due to not taking a hit in January. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out. Will the Mixes stay ahead of Buy and Hold, or will the summer months be bountiful and the Mixes will miss out? Only time will tell.

On a realistic and personal note: I urge everybody reading this to remember two things from my Seasonal Musings writings and methodology.

1 – The market has always come back. Even from the Great Depression, it came back. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it happens very quickly. Don’t despair and don’t do something that your future self will regret. If the market ever truly crashes in grand 1929 fashion, then we will have a whole host of other problems to worry about than our retirement accounts. Over 28 – 29 Oct 1929, the Dow lost 24.55%, and that was just part of a larger crash that lasted from Sep 1929 to the very bottom on 8 Jul 1932, with a total of -89.2% from top to bottom. There were many rallies in between, such as a 15.34% gain on 15 Mar 1933.

However, the market conditions that were in place at the time aren’t in existence today. The market had grown 600% between 1921 and 1929 and banks were making all kinds of loans with only 6% down payments, so they were very overextended. By contrast, from 18 Feb 10 – 19 Feb 20 (the high point), the S&P has grown 305%. Back then the market was more linked to agriculture and manufacturing (to a lesser extent) and the dollar was not the world’s reserve currency, whereas today we have a more technological and service-based economy and the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Also, we have a better understanding of how the market works and have more tools at our disposal to deal with it. Keep perspective in mind here – things aren’t the same today as they were back then.

2 – If you’re already in the market, stick it out. You’ve taken the ride down, and you don’t want to miss the ride up. Even if it rides down a little further, you still want to be on the ride back up. Remember, with this system we expect to lose 30% of the time. This is just one of those times.
_______________________________

A lot has happened in the last 12 months. If you look at all the PIPs above, every single Mix - except for F All Year - is in double digit territory (and F All Year finished off 2020 with 15% to the good).

Here are the PIPs for the Funds themselves:

G Fund: 0.82%
F Fund: 1.37%
C Fund: 31.20%
S Fund: 56.07%
I Fund: 21.91%
L Income: 7.33%
L2030: 18.82%
L2040: 22.55%
L2050: 25.86%

The highest PIP for this thread’s actively tracked Mixes is Jahbulon’s Mix, which has a PIP of 32.03%, which beats every Fund except a 100% hold in the S Fund. Any diversified holding also did worse (the L Funds).

Feb 2020 was a hard hit to the market. If they weren't out already, how many investors got hit again in March and decided to jump ship, only to miss the fantastic rise that happened in April and May (and the rest of the year)? Any 100% buy-and-hold S Fund investor would have been sorely tested after losing -8.01% in Feb only to lose another -21.40% in March.

What all this tells me is that sticking with a Seasonal System just helped investors get through one of the roughest years we’ve had in a good long while. Not only did such an investor not lose their cool and jump out at the bottom, but came out ahead in the end. Even if they didn’t follow Jahbulon’s Mix, following any of the Seasonal Mixes would have been better than sitting in the F or G Funds over the last 12 months, as many investors out there probably did.

A long-term focus and a heaping helping of patience is key to making this system work, and the last 12 months just proved it.
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

Kal1981
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:12 pm

Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

Post by Kal1981 »

Thanks for continuing to do this!
Aitrus wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 5:31 pm Seasonal Strategy Results for February 2021

Note: A "good" month for the F Fund is CAGR 0.5% or better, and PNR 70% or better. A "good" month for C, S and I Funds is CAGR 1% or better, and PNR 70% or better. See 2nd post in the thread for description of CAGR. PNR is the ratio of Positive Months to Negative Months.

General Funds
G Fund:
0.08%, 0.15% Year to Date (YTD), PNR remains 100%
Feb Total CAGR = 0.35%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.23%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 0.15%
Feb 5 year CAGR = 0.16%

This month’s return was far below the historical normal average for this month. At this point, the G Fund is -0.15% behind 2020 return by this point, and the rest of 2020 was dismal. 2020 had a total return of just 0.98% for the year. If the G Fund continues to make the same average Apr - Dec 2020 return for the rest of 2021, that means that it would earn around 0.06 - 0.07% per month. If it does, then by the end of the year it would have a return of just 0.75 - 0.85%.

F Fund: -1.45%, -2.15% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 0.26%, PNR 68%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.30%, PNR 70%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 0.10%, PNR 60%
Feb 5 year CAGR = 0.01%, PNR 40%

The F Fund doesn’t do all spectacularly in Feb, and this year was a bad one. This was the fourth worst Feb on record since 1988. 2019’s return was 1.82%.

C Fund: 2.76%, 1.72% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 0.32%, PNR 62%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.15%, PNR 60%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 1.30%, PNR 70%
Feb 5 year CAGR = -0.52%, PNR 60%

This year saw a respectably positive return for the C Fund in Feb. This is a nice recovery from the January minor loss, and much beter than the 2020 disaster. 2020’s Feb return was -8.24% due to COVID.

S Fund: 5.21%, 8.21% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 1.03%, PNR 62%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.52%, PNR 60%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 1.69%, PNR 80%
Feb 5 year CAGR = 0.03%, PNR 60%

The S Fund saw a very nice Feb return this year. Paired with the Jan return, the S Fund is off to a grand start for 2021. 2020’s Feb return was -8.01%.

I Fund: 2.26%, 1.15% YTD
Feb Total CAGR = 0.28%, PNR 59%
Feb 20 year CAGR = 0.09%, PNR 60%
Feb 10 year CAGR = 0.53%, PNR 60%
Feb 5 year CAGR = -1.41%, PNR 60%

The I Fund also experienced a nice gain for Feb in 2021, bringing it into positive territory. 2020’s return was -7.74%

Currently Tracked Seasonal Strategies
Jahbulon's Basic Mix: S Fund in Feb (5.21%), 4.46% YTD, PIP 32.03%
gclapper’s M3 Mix: S Fund in Feb (5.21%), 4.46% YTD, PIP 20.65%
TSPCenter.com's Seasonal Mix: G Fund in Feb (0.08%), -0.63% YTD, PIP 23.44%
tmj100’s Mix: C Fund in Feb (2.76%), 2.03% YTD, PIP 16.35%
Boltman's Mix: F Fund in Feb (-1.45%), -2.15% YTD, PIP 19.18%
Chindsey’s Mix #1: S Fund in Feb (5.21%), 4.46%, YTD, PIP 14.33%
Sell in May and Go Away: C Fund in Feb (2.76%), 1.72% YTD, PIP 13.06%
F all year, S in Dec Mix: F Fund in Feb (-1.45%), -2.15% YTD

At this time last year, I wrote the below post for the Feb 2020 results:
_____________________________________

Everybody in stocks got hit, and the few in bonds are thanking their lucky stars. Still, the Mixes are all beating buy-and-hold at this time due to not taking a hit in January. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out. Will the Mixes stay ahead of Buy and Hold, or will the summer months be bountiful and the Mixes will miss out? Only time will tell.

On a realistic and personal note: I urge everybody reading this to remember two things from my Seasonal Musings writings and methodology.

1 – The market has always come back. Even from the Great Depression, it came back. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it happens very quickly. Don’t despair and don’t do something that your future self will regret. If the market ever truly crashes in grand 1929 fashion, then we will have a whole host of other problems to worry about than our retirement accounts. Over 28 – 29 Oct 1929, the Dow lost 24.55%, and that was just part of a larger crash that lasted from Sep 1929 to the very bottom on 8 Jul 1932, with a total of -89.2% from top to bottom. There were many rallies in between, such as a 15.34% gain on 15 Mar 1933.

However, the market conditions that were in place at the time aren’t in existence today. The market had grown 600% between 1921 and 1929 and banks were making all kinds of loans with only 6% down payments, so they were very overextended. By contrast, from 18 Feb 10 – 19 Feb 20 (the high point), the S&P has grown 305%. Back then the market was more linked to agriculture and manufacturing (to a lesser extent) and the dollar was not the world’s reserve currency, whereas today we have a more technological and service-based economy and the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Also, we have a better understanding of how the market works and have more tools at our disposal to deal with it. Keep perspective in mind here – things aren’t the same today as they were back then.

2 – If you’re already in the market, stick it out. You’ve taken the ride down, and you don’t want to miss the ride up. Even if it rides down a little further, you still want to be on the ride back up. Remember, with this system we expect to lose 30% of the time. This is just one of those times.
_______________________________

A lot has happened in the last 12 months. If you look at all the PIPs above, every single Mix - except for F All Year - is in double digit territory (and F All Year finished off 2020 with 15% to the good).

Here are the PIPs for the Funds themselves:

G Fund: 0.82%
F Fund: 1.37%
C Fund: 31.20%
S Fund: 56.07%
I Fund: 21.91%
L Income: 7.33%
L2030: 18.82%
L2040: 22.55%
L2050: 25.86%

The highest PIP for this thread’s actively tracked Mixes is Jahbulon’s Mix, which has a PIP of 32.03%, which beats every Fund except a 100% hold in the S Fund. Any diversified holding also did worse (the L Funds).

Feb 2020 was a hard hit to the market. If they weren't out already, how many investors got hit again in March and decided to jump ship, only to miss the fantastic rise that happened in April and May (and the rest of the year)? Any 100% buy-and-hold S Fund investor would have been sorely tested after losing -8.01% in Feb only to lose another -21.40% in March.

What all this tells me is that sticking with a Seasonal System just helped investors get through one of the roughest years we’ve had in a good long while. Not only did such an investor not lose their cool and jump out at the bottom, but came out ahead in the end. Even if they didn’t follow Jahbulon’s Mix, following any of the Seasonal Mixes would have been better than sitting in the F or G Funds over the last 12 months, as many investors out there probably did.

A long-term focus and a heaping helping of patience is key to making this system work, and the last 12 months just proved it.

User avatar
Aitrus
Moderator
Posts: 2097
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

Post by Aitrus »

For April 2020
Last chance to move: Wednesday, 31 March before noon EST

For this coming April, the individual funds have performed on average as follows:

G Fund
Since 1988: 0.39%
Last 20 years: 0.26%
Last 10 years: 0.17%
Last 5 years: 0.17%

April is a so-so month for the G Fund. The 2020 return was 0.07%.

F Fund – A “good” month is a CAGR of 0.5% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 0.41%, PNR 67%
Last 20 years: CAGR 0.45%, PNR 70%
Last 10 years: CAGR 0.63%, PNR 80%
Last 5 years: CAGR 0.45%, PNR 80%

The F Fund doesn’t do all that great in April. It’s pretty “Meh” on the CAGR front given the decent PNRs.

The best years were 1989 (2.05%), 2002 (1.89%) and 2020 (1.78%). The worst years were 2004 (-2.54%), 1990 (-0.94%) and 1994 (-0.81%).

C Fund – A “good” month is a CAGR of 1% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 2.07%, PNR 79%
Last 20 years: CAGR 2.57%, PNR 80%
Last 10 years: CAGR 2.40%, PNR 90%
Last 5 years: CAGR 3.63%, PNR 100%

April is a fantastic month for the C Fund, easily among the best 3 months of the year. It’s had a single negative year since the last loss one in 2005: 2012 with -0.62%. That means a 2006 - 2020 run of straight positive years with one small hiccup in 2012.

The best years were 2020 (12.81%), 2009 (9.58%) and 2003 (8.26%). The worst years were 2002 (-6.06%), 2000 (-2.98%) and 1990 (-2.52%).

S Fund – A “good” month is a CAGR of 1% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 1.20%, PNR 73%
Last 20 years: CAGR 2.84%, PNR 70%
Last 10 years: CAGR 2.05%, PNR 70%
Last 5 years: CAGR 4.38%, PNR 100%

The S Fund has a very good history in April. 2020’s massive return of 15.81% only served to bolster this month’s already positive numbers.

The best years were 2020 (15.81%), 2009 (15.00%) and 2001 (10.58%). The worst years were 2000 (-12.03%), 2004 (-3.94%) and 2005 (-3.72%).

I Fund - A “good” month is a CAGR of 1% or better, and a PNR of 70% or better.
Since 1988: CAGR 2.64%, PNR 82%
Last 20 years: CAGR 3.29%, PNR 80%
Last 10 years: CAGR 3.07%, PNR 90%
Last 5 years: CAGR 3.16%, PNR 100%

April is hands-down the best month of the year for the I Fund, no other month is even close. If I had to pick a single month to invest in the I Fund, April would be it - no question.

The best years were 2009 (12.13%), 2003 (9.82%), and 1993 (9.34%). The worst years were 2000 (-5.36%), 2010 (-2.35%), and 2004 (-2.31%).

Note: For CAGR explanation, see 2nd post in the thread. PNR is the ratio of Positive Months vs Negative Months. A Fund that was positive in March for 4 out of 10 years would have a PNR of 40%.

Individual Seasonal Mix Allocations
Here is where the various seasonal mix allocations are going to for April 2020.


Jahbulon’s Basic Seasonal Mix: Remain in the C Fund.
gclapper’s M3 Mix: Move to the I Fund.
TSPCenter.com’s Seasonal Mix: Remain in the C Fund.
tmj100’s Mix: Move to the I Fund.
Boltman’s Mix: Remain in the S Fund.
Chindsey’s Mix #1: Move to the I Fund
Sell in May and Go Away: Remain in the C Fund.
F All Year, S in Dec: Remain in the F Fund.

All of the Mixes really start to deviate from each other in April. They seem to scatter to the different stock Funds, and this time of year is when we start to see bigger differences in how each one performs for the year. But they all agree on one thing: March - May is a definite positive time to be in the market.
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

User avatar
Aitrus
Moderator
Posts: 2097
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Seasonal Musings 2021

Post by Aitrus »

Seasonal Strategy Results for March 2021

Note: A "good" month for the F Fund is CAGR 0.5% or better, and PNR 70% or better. A "good" month for C, S and I Funds is CAGR 1% or better, and PNR 70% or better. See 2nd post in the thread for description of CAGR. PNR is the ratio of Positive Months to Negative Months.

General Funds
G Fund:
0.11%, 0.26% Year to Date (YTD), PNR remains 100%
Mar Total CAGR = 0.39%
Mar 20 year CAGR = 0.25%
Mar 10 year CAGR = 0.17%
Mar 5 year CAGR = 0.18%

The G Fund had a horrible return this month, and March is historically a solid performer. Last year, this drop was in relation to the Fed’s recent drop of interest rates to deal with COVID-19. I said then that it was likely not a good portent for the G Fund in months ahead, and the G Fund didn’t return more than 0.08% per month until March 2021. The last time that the G Fund returned more than 0.2% in a month ws Apr 2019. Will this be the “new normal” for the G Fund? Only time will tell.

F Fund: -1.23%, -3.35% YTD
Mar Total CAGR = 0.00%, PNR 56%
Mar 20 year CAGR = 0.03%, PNR 50%
Mar 10 year CAGR = 0.14%, PNR 50%
Mar 5 year CAGR = 0.13%, PNR 40%

March is historically the worst month of the year for the F Fund. While this year’s return being negative wasn’t unexpected, it was much worse than history would indicate. This was the third worst March on record for the F Fund. In addition, this is the first time in the F Fund’s history that Jan - Mar were all negative. The return so far for 2021 is -3.35%. The only year that comes close to this is 1994, with a positve Jan but negative Feb and Mar resulting in a return of -2.85% by this point in the year. 1994 ended the year with -2.97%, the worst year on record for the F Fund. The F Fund has a lot of ground to make up if it wants to have a positive rturn for the year. 2020’s return was -0.64%.

C Fund: 4.38%, 6.18% YTD
Mar Total CAGR = 0.93%, PNR 68%
Mar 20 year CAGR = 1.05%, PNR 70%
Mar 10 year CAGR = 0.33%, PNR 70%
Mar 5 year CAGR = -1.88%, PNR 60%

This year’s return was a nice change from last year’s massive hit due to COVID fears driving the market downward. It’s the biggest return since 2016, and the sixth best overall return in the C Fund’s March history. 2020’s return was -12.40%.

S Fund:
-0.39%, 7.79% YTD
Mar Total CAGR = 0.50%, PNR 65%
Mar 20 year CAGR = 0.90%, PNR 65%
Mar 10 year CAGR = -0.95%, PNR 50%
Mar 5 year CAGR = -4.86%, PNR 20%

The S Fund lost -0.39% for the month, which is well within the normal variation from one day to the next. That said, we still have to count it as a loss. The past five years have been especially hard on the S Fund in March, with 2017, 2019, and 2020 also having negative returns. This is the worst 5-year run in the S Fund’s March history. 2020’s return was -21.40%.

I Fund: 2.35%, 3.52% YTD
Mar Total CAGR = 0.63%, PNR 65%
Mar 20 year CAGR = 0.71%, PNR 65%
Mar 10 year CAGR = -0.45%, PNR 60%
Mar 5 year CAGR = -1.95%, PNR 60%

The I Fund in March normally has “meh” CAGRs and PNRs. This year was nicely on the positive side of the “meh” scale. 2020’s return was -13.87%

Currently Tracked Seasonal Strategies
Jahbulon's Basic Mix: C Fund in Mar (4.38%), 9.04% YTD, PIP 57.32%
gclapper’s M3 Mix: C Fund in Mar (4.38%), 9.04% YTD, PIP 43.76%
TSPCenter.com's Default Setting: C Fund in Mar (4.38%), 3.72% YTD, PIP 47.08%
tmj100’s Mix: S Fund in Mar (-0.39%), 1.63% YTD, PIP 47.45%
Boltman's Mix: S Fund in Mar (-0.39%), -2.53% YTD, PIP 51.04%
Chindsey’s Mix #1: S Fund in Mar (-0.39%), 4.06% YTD, PIP 44.89%
Sell in May and Go Away: C Fund in Mar (4.38%), 6.18% YTD, PIP 34.72%
F all year, S in Dec Mix: G Fund in Mar (-1.23%), -3.35% YTD

Anybody in the C Fund has a nice gain, while anybody in the S Fund had a minor loss. However, the real story is in the PIP results. From Apr 2019 - Mar 2020, anybody following one of the above seasonal methods would have had a very nice return after the loss in Feb / Mar 2020 due to COVID fears affecting the market. This is one way that sticking to a strategy instead of running to the G Fund (PIP of 0.83%) or the F Fund (0.77%). By way of further comparison, over the same timeframe the C Fund earned 56.32%, the S Fund had 97.79%, and the I Fund 44.87% - and it would have taken a great deal of intestinal fortitude to stay 100% buy-and-hold through the market downturn and afterward all throughout 2020 to earn those numbers.
Seasonal Musings 2021: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18757
Recommended Reading: http://tspcenter.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13474
"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters" Epictetus

Post Reply

Fund Prices2021-04-14

FundPriceDayYTD
G $16.56 0.00% 0.33%
F $20.62 -0.05% -2.70%
C $61.66 -0.40% 10.29%
S $82.56 0.06% 11.26%
I $37.75 0.50% 6.66%
L2065 $13.54 -0.01% 9.10%
L2060 $13.54 -0.02% 9.10%
L2055 $13.54 -0.02% 9.10%
L2050 $27.69 -0.02% 7.31%
L2045 $12.66 -0.02% 6.86%
L2040 $46.28 -0.02% 6.42%
L2035 $12.25 -0.02% 5.91%
L2030 $40.88 -0.02% 5.41%
L2025 $11.64 -0.01% 4.29%
Linc $22.75 -0.01% 2.13%

Pending Allocations

Under development. For now, you may view Pending Allocations by going to "fantasy TSP" and selecting "Leaderboard sort" of "Pending Allocations".

What else

"Don't ever half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
- Ron Swanson