Benchmarks and asset allocation


I am told that one needs to select a benchmark for a portfolio based on the return expectations, cashflow needs and time horizon.
This will not change unless the requirements assumptions are changed along the way.
The following is from the point of view of the portfolio objective to be for long term growth while providing a cashflow for a 40+ years retirement in the mid term provided there is a 5 years expenses cushion is maintained over this period.

What benchmarks are there to select from for such a portfolio?
I understand that deciding the % of bonds and stocks in the portfolio is a first step. Stocks are more volatile but have higher growth. Interestingly, stocks volatility can be lower over the very long term (>20 years?) compared to bonds. A lower volatility is desired for providing cashflow in the short to mid term (maybe over 3 to <20 years?).

Drilling down into the stock and bond allocation into sector, country, market cap, valuation. Changes to these allocations or sub-allocations could be tactical without deviating from the long term benchmark selected.

If one follows the S&P500 index for their stocks portion, there is already some change in sectors without any active management thought the components are from one country (the US) and are from large to mid- caps. So what do you think about the doing tactical changes? I guess tactical changes could be made if one thinks s/he can beat the index or their benchmark in a certain time period. But can one really do it?
Beating their index would be a secondary goal or one that would be undertaken only if one sees an opportunity. At the same time going for that opportunity opens one to higher risk and miss-timing.

So the main question is what are the benchmark I can choose from to provide growth, cashflow and a 40+ retirement?

e.g. 10/90 or 30/70 bond/stocks and stocks in a S&P500 index fund or ETF?


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