Borrowing money to increase your portfolio is something most investors ponder at some point, but two questions come up. How and what are the risks? The theory is easy, over the long-term equity markets do better than the cost of borrowing, but there is more to leverage then just that. So here are some options, with the risks involved.
Personally I have leveraged my portfolio once. In 2008 I maxed out my bond to add to my portfolio. It worked and I slept well enough but I have no plans to do so again.
On page 10 of his latest annual letter Warren Buffett writes "This table offers the strongest argument I can muster against ever using borrowed money to own stocks. There is simply no telling how far stocks can fall in a short period. Even if your borrowings are small and your positions aren’t immediately threatened by the plunging market, your mind may well become rattled by scary headlines and breathless commentary. And an unsettled mind will not make good decisions."
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