Build Craig Israelsen’s 7Twelve Portfolio With ETFs

What is Craig Israelsen’s 7Twelve Portfolio?

Craig Israelsen’s 7Twelve Portfolio is exposed to 40% stocks 25% bonds and 35% alternatives including gold and REITs. It can be built with 12 ETFs.

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What is the historical return of The 7Twelve Portfolio?

Below you can see the historical returns for the 7Twelve portfolio

Portfolio data was last updated on 11th of August 2023, 08:35 ET

NameYear to dateReturn in 202210 year returnCAGR since 1989 (%)Draw DownExpense ratioYield
7-Twelve Portfolio Age Based 50-60 by Craig Israelsen3.98-7.443.996.69-18.090.15%2.24
7-Twelve Portfolio Age Based 60-70 by Craig Israelsen3.02-
7-Twelve Portfolio Age Based 70 Plus by Craig Israelsen2.05-
Performance for Craig Israelsen’s 7Twelve Portfolios

Here is what the table is showing you

Year to date: This shows what the portfolio has returned this year starting from the first trading day of the year.

10 Year return: This shows the compounded annualized growth rate over a ten-year period. The current year is excluded from calculations.

CAGR since 1989: This shows the compounded annualized growth rate since 1989. The current year is excluded from calculations.

Expense ratio: This shows the cost of holding the portfolio if you were to construct the portfolio using the proposed ETFs.

Yield: This is the expected dividend yield of the portfolio.

Please note that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.

How does 7Twelve Portfolio compare to the best portfolios?

NameSee PortfolioYear to dateReturn in 202210 year returnCAGR since 1989 (%)Draw Down
Ben Stein RetirementComing soon!4.05-18.039.4610.8-35.42
Paul Merriman 4-Fund-PortfolioComing soon!9.22-11.9811.2510.38-35.26
S&P 500Coming soon!17.09-18.1912.5210.28-37.63
Paul Merriman Target Date Portfolio (25 year old)Coming soon!6.63-13.088.2810.2-36.46
Scott Adams Dilbert PortfolioComing soon!10.87-18.757.010.19-44.88
JL Collins, Simple Path To Wealth, Wealth Building PortfolioComing soon!16.6-19.5112.0810.19-37.0
American Institute of Individual Investors (AAII) PortfolioComing soon!3.74-13.919.710.16-40.85
Paul Merriman Target Date Portfolio (35 year old)Coming soon!6.57-13.228.3110.08-36.35 Portfolio 14Coming soon!6.95-16.947.599.99-37.91
Balanced Portfolio 90/10Coming soon!14.83-18.8711.039.84-32.78
The 10 Best Performing Portfolios That We Have Benchmarked

How do you build the 7Twelve portfolio with ETFs?

Here is how you build the 7Twelve portfolios with ETFs.

  • 8.37% US Large Cap (VV)
  • 8.33% US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 8.33% US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 8.33% REITs (VNQ)
  • 8.33% International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 8.33% Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 8.33% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 8.33% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 8.33% Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 8.33% Gold (IAU)
  • 8.33% TIPS (VTIP)
  • 8.33% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

You can find the rest of the 7Twelve portfolios below.

The letters in brackets denote the stock symbol for the recommended ETF. You can look up the symbols at your stockbroker. You can see a listing of all the ETFs we recommend on this page.

Who is Craig Israelsen?

Craig L. Israelsen, Ph.D., is an Executive-in-Residence in the Financial Planning Program at Utah Valley University. He developed the 7-Twelve portfolio to create a portfolio with massive diversification. In his book 7Twelve: A Diversified Investment Portfolio with a Plan, he lays out the portfolio. The portfolio consists of 7 asset classes and 12 funds (or ETFs) that invest in those asset classes.

7Twelve: A Diversified Investment Portfolio with a Plan

Description of Craig Israelsen’s 7Twelve Portfolio

Although we tongue-in-cheek allude to the fact that the 7Twelve portfolios are over diversified we very much welcome diversification. William Bernstein has long since demonstrated that a well-diversified portfolio lowers your risk and may lead to higher returns.

You really can’t have too much diversification. Consider the Total Stock Market ETF from Vanguard (VTI). It holds some 3000 companies. Now that’s diversification.

The problem with too much diversification is that you diversify into the wrong asset classes. The wrong asset classes are asset classes that depend more on speculation for their value to rise than human ingenuity and competition. Examples of these include investing in precious metals, wine, and most commodities.

The 7Twelve Building blocks


Commodities have no intrinsic value and do not generate a steady stream of income like a real business.

The 7Twelve holds 8.33% in gold. It is a small allocation, but it could instead be directed towards a more productive asset class. The counter-argument to this is that it is productive because it provides diversification in downtimes.

The real strength of the 7Twelve investment portfolio is that it has a low drawdown, while still providing decent returns.

Asset allocation for The 7Twelve Portfolios

Below is a good commentary on the performance of the 7Twelve portfolio


What is the asset allocation for the 7Twelve portfolios?

The 7Twelve portfolio

  • 8.37% US Large Cap (VV)
  • 8.33% US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 8.33% US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 8.33%REITs (VNQ)
  • 8.33% International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 8.33% Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 8.33%Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 8.33%Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 8.33%Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 8.33%Gold (IAU)
  • 8.33%TIPS (VTIP)
  • 8.33%Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

7-Twelve Portfolio Age-Based 50-60 by Craig Israelsen

  • 6.63% US Large Cap (VV)
  • 6.67% US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 6.67% US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 6.67% REIT (VNQ)
  • 6.67% International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 6.67% Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 6.67% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 26.67% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 6.67% Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 6.67% Gold (IAU)
  • 6.67% TIPS (VTIP)
  • 6.67% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

7-Twelve Portfolio Age-Based 60-70 by Craig Israelsen

  • 5.00% US Large Cap (VV)
  • 5.00% US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 5.00% US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 5.00% REIT (VNQ)
  • 5.00% International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 5.00% Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 5.00% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 45.00% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 5.00% Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 5.00% Gold (IAU)
  • 5.00% TIPS (VTIP)
  • 5.00% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

7-Twelve Portfolio Age-Based 70 Plus by Craig Israelsen

  • 3.37% US Large Cap (VV)
  • 3.33% US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.33% US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 3.33% REIT (VNQ)
  • 3.33% International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 3.33% Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 3.33% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 63.33% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 3.33% Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 3.33% Gold (IAU)
  • 3.33% TIPS (VTIP)
  • 3.33% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the 7Twelve Portfolio?

Here are the advantages the 7Twelve Portfolio

  • The 7Twelve portfolios have great diversification, almost all known asset classes are included.
  • The 7Twelve investment portfolios have been constructed by one of the foremost experts in the retirement field.
  • You get significant diversification across many asset classes with the 7Twelve portfolios.
  • The 7Twelve investment portfolios are some of the few portfolios that have mid-cap stocks. The mid-cap stocks have outperformed large-cap stocks historically.
  • With the 7Twelve portfolios, you get excellent opportunities for rebalancing, thereby reducing risk and may have a shot at increasing returns.
  • The portfolios are easy to understand. There are 12 funds, and they are equal-weighted.

Here are the disadvantages the 7Twelve Portfolio

  • The portfolios may tilt too much towards natural resources and commodities (16%).
  • The portfolios may be too complicated with 12 asset classes.
  • The portfolios can be overly expensive in commissions to rebalance because of the 12 funds. Commodity ETFs are also more expensive than stock and bond ETFs.
  • A bet on mid-cap stocks may not be what you want.
  • The portfolio may not perform as well as a simple 3-fund portfolio.

Where can I learn more about the 7Twelve portfolio?

Be sure you pick up Craig Israelsen’s very informative book.

7Twelve: A Diversified Investment Portfolio with a Plan

Go here for the 7Twelve site. It’s excellent with many tables and articles by Craig Israelsen.

Craig Israelsen regularly publishes content on the 7Twelve strategy. You can find his library here.

Suggestions for your next steps

If you have already committed to a portfolio then maybe you need help maintaining the portfolio. In this case 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.

What is the All-Weather portfolio?

The All-Weather portfolio is built by Ray Dalio and Tony Robbins. It has 30% stocks, 55% bonds, and 15% alternatives.

What is a lazy portfolio?

A lazy portfolio is a portfolio that requires little maintenance and is easy to build. The Couch Potato portfolio is an example of a lazy portfolio.