Stock Series


If you are wondering whether to dive in, this independent review might help. I think it captures this blog’s essence perfectly.

If after reading it The Series sounds appealing, you will very likely enjoy it.

If by the same token your reaction is, “This doesn’t sound right for me,” it very likely isn’t.

Stock Series:

Part 1: There’s a major market crash coming!!!! and Dr. Lo can’t save you

Part II: The Market Always Goes Up

Part III: Most people lose money in the market

Part IV: The Big Ugly Event

Part V: Keeping it simple, considerations and tools

Part VI: Portfolio ideas to build and keep your wealth

Part VII: Can everyone really retire a millionaire?

Part VIII: The 401K, 403b, IRA & Roth Buckets

Part VIII-b: Should you avoid your company’s 401k?

Part IX: Why I don’t like investment advisors

Part X: What if Vanguard gets Nuked?

Part XI: International Funds

Part XII: Bonds

Part XIII: Withdrawal rates, how much can I spend anyway?

Part XIV: Deflation, the ugly escort of Depressions

Part XV: Target Retirement Funds, the simplest path to wealth of all

Part XVI: Index Funds are really just for lazy people, right?

Part XVII: What if you can’t buy VTSAX? Or even Vanguard?

Part XVIII: Investing in a raging bull

Part XIX: How to think about money

Part XX: Early Retirement Withdrawal Strategies and Roth Conversion Ladders from a Mad Fientist

Part XXI: Investing with Vanguard for Europeans

Part XXII: Stepping away from REITS

Part XXIII: Selecting your asset allocation

Part XXIV: RMDs, the ugly surprise at the end of the tax-deferred rainbow

Part XXV: HSAs, more than just a way to pay your medical bills

Part XXVI: Pulling the 4%

Part XXVII: Why I don’t like Dollar Cost Averaging

Related Posts:

Why you need F-you money

How I failed my daughter and a simple path to wealth

My path for my kid — the first ten years

What we own and why we own it

The smoother path to wealth

Putting the Simple Path to wealth into action

Why I can’t pick winning stocks, and you can’t either

Dividend Growth Investing

Magic Beans

Jack Bogle, the bashing of Index Funds and a Jedi dog trick

Jack Bogle and the Presidential Medal of Honor

Social Security: How secure and when to take it

How to be a stock market guru and get on msnbc

1st Annual Louis Rukeyser Memorial Market Prediction Contest Results

Nightmare on Wall Street: Will the Bloodbath Continue?

How to give like a Billionaire

Betterment: A simpler path to wealth

Why your house is a terrible investment

Rent v. Owning, opportunity costs and running the numbers

Death, taxes, estate plans, probate and Prob8

My guest post on MMM: It has never been about retirement


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  1. Posted October 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    The page I’ve been waiting for!

    Everything you need to be a successful investor is right here so rather than take the time to write about any of these topics myself, I can now just link to this page instead :)

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink


      jlcollinsnh is now the official stock investing branch of the Mad Fientist! ;)

    • SC
      Posted October 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      LOVE the blog…. LOVE it… even if I’m still afraid of throwing all my money into VTSAX…. hopefully I can get over it.

      Here’s my question though, I just had a kid, I am very happy dumping a bunch of money into VTSAX for her as it will have lots of time to grow. Whats the best way to set up that account in Vanguard so that its hers but has no tax implications for me giving her that money. Do I set up an account in her name? Do I set up a separate account in my name with her as a beneficiary. If this question has already been addressed please point me to the right place as I’ve looked around and can’t find the specifics on the tax implications of claiming, giving etc…

      Thanks! THANKS!!!


      • jlcollinsnh
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Thank you SC!

        Glad you like it!

        Don’t worry about being afraid. VTSAX will be a wild ride over the decades and until you can be comfortable with that, and sure you’ll stay the course, it is better to wait. If when the market plunges you panic and sell you will be MUCH worse off than if you just sit in cash. Not that sitting in cash is a good idea: inflation nibbles away at it like rats in the granary.

        For your kid, four options:

        1. 529 fund. Money grows tax free in her name. Details here:

        2. UGMA. For a nice comparison between this and the 529 go to
        and find this on the opening page:

        Other ways to save for education goals
        Uniform Gifts/Transfers to Minors Act (UGMA/UTMA)
        ›Compare all college savings options

        Click on: “Compare all college savings options”

        3. Set up a regular taxable account for her in her name. Low taxes as she’ll be in a lower bracket than you.You’ll be the custodian and have control until she’s 18. Then it is hers. For better or worse. We did this for our daughter and it worked out fine.

        4. Create an account in your name, earmarked for her. Max taxes, depending on your bracket, and max control.

        Bonus idea:

        Once she starts working, fund a Roth IRA for her in her name. We also do this for our daughter and it is the greatest gift you can offer as long as you train her to understand it is not to be touched. At the moment, you can fund it with $5500 0r the total amount of her annual earnings up to $5500, which ever is less.

        • Cara
          Posted January 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          We started a college fund for our first grandchild. Before it reached $2000 he developed leukemia at 7 months (our greatest sorrow). We had to remove the funds to prevent him from being ineligible for TEFRA funds to assist in the hugely expensive treatment. Above $2k would have made him in ineligible for help ( even a 529 college plan). We had $1600 in our2nd grandchild name when he was diagnosed with mild autism. So we had to take that money out also to keep him eligible for assistance. So no more money in children’s names! Use caution with putting money in children’s names.

          • jlcollinsnh
            Posted January 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

            Hi Cara…

            and welcome.

            I am very sorry to hear of your grandchildren’s illnesses. Thanks for sharing the cautionary tale.

            May I ask a couple of questions?

            1. How exactly did you remove the funds from the accounts?
            2. Did you have to meet any time constraints in pulling it out?
            2. Do the parents’ assets count toward assessing eligibility for assistance?

  2. Hilary
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Part XVIII doesn’t link correctly

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Hilary!

      Try it now, should be good.

  3. Mark A.
    Posted October 6, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Terrific compilation. We readers aiming for financial independence should run here and re-read the whole thing as soon as the markets tank next time. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom. – for free. It’s a real service!

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mark…

      I hope they do just that.

      Even more I hope they remember that crashes, bears and corrections are all just part of the process. Regardless of the breathless media reporting.

  4. mark priest
    Posted October 6, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks Mr. Collins – I have forwarded the link to my whole family. You are a really great writer and make it easy to understand. Thank you for your efforts and serving us all. PS one of my goals when time permits is to see the East in the fall. Your comments about it over some of your posts have made it a priority.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      My pleasure, Mark…

      and thanks for passing it along.

      If your travels out east bring you to NH let me know and we’ll have a coffee.

  5. Kevin
    Posted October 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,

    You rock! This was just what I was looking for and I was giddy as a schoolgirl to be immortalized on your blog. Seriously, ask my wife… I burst in on her with my laptop, grinning ear to ear, while she was getting the kids ready for bed. I think the new tab for the series is great… keep adding to the great content. :-)

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink


      Well I hope she was suitably excited and the kids not so thrilled for you they couldn’t sleep. ;)

      In your excitement, you probably left this comment in the wrong place. More folks will understand if they see it under the post I wrote announcing this and, in the process, immortalizing you as you so richly deserve. :)

      Feel free to put it there too if you like.

  6. Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Yay! I’ve sent the link to my dear husband. He sometimes thinks I’m a crazy woman when I’m responding to his questions about why we should throw more dough into index funds with: “Well, because jlcollinsnh SAYS SO! Read his articles and you’ll understand!”
    I certainly hope he’s going to read all your great articles in the series.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink


      You’d think “because jlcollinsnh SAYS SO!” would be enough. :)

      Ah, well. I can always use more readers!

      • Posted October 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Haha! He’s halfway through the stock series now and he’s increased his monthly investment amount. :-)

  7. JKenny
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Awesome that you added this tab. Sounds like I’m not the only reader that comes back to the Stock Series again and again it’s such good stuff.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 8, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Thanks JK!

      Actually, I’m also always referring back to these posts for one reason or another and it is amazing how much easier having this new page has made it for me too. ;)

  8. Posted October 9, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks Jim, looks great. It looks like your time traveling has spurred some great stuff so far, looking forward to even more.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mike…

      Too bad I still can’t predict short-term market swings!

  9. Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    This series really helped me get a real perspective on investing. Thanks so much for this series of posts – I read them all in one sitting, then have revisited them over a few days!

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Judah…

      Glad you found your way over here!

  10. Eduardo
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I came here from the Betterment blog (I see most people came from your guest post on MMM), your audience is growing larger. I have found your ideas of great help.
    I just finished reading the stock series and I can only say THANK YOU.
    Please keep up the good work.

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted January 3, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Welcome Eduardo!

      As far as I know, you are the first to make his way here from Betterment.

      Now that you’ve finished the Stock Series, you might be interested on my take on those guys:

      Glad you’ve found value here and I hope you’ll continue to comment.

      Have a great 2014!

  11. Mike P
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,

    I recently found your site along with MMM and the Mad Fientist and I am loving everything I have read. I have implemented most of the stuff you teach here in my own finances. My question is about a traditional IRA vs a Roth IRA. I am 24 with a $50K salary. I noticed you are a big proponent of the Roth IRA however in Part XX, Mad Fientist contradicts this and suggests it’s better for someone in my position to use a traditional IRA. Just wanted to get your thoughts on this and if you actually recommend the traditional or Roth for someone in my position. Thanks for creating this amazing blog and I look forward to anything you might post in the future!

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted March 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mike…
      …and welcome!

      Thanks for the kind words. Glad you like it here.

      Astute observation and great question.

      Indeed MF’s analysis has altered my thinking. Go with the ideas in Part XX.

      • Mike P
        Posted March 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the quick response! I was hoping you would say that since I already maxed out my Traditional IRA for 2014 haha

  12. Dean
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,

    Can you share some thoughts on the optimal time to rebalance? Most things I read suggest once per year, but what if there is only, say a 5% change from one year to another? Another scenario might be a 20% change mid-year (or larger), do you rebalance at a predetermined market value threshold or wait until a certain rebalance date that might be year end for example. Thanks!

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi Dean…

      I’m not sure there is an optimal formula. Like changing the oil in your car. It’s less important (and everybody has a different opinion!) whether you do it at 3,5,7.5 or 10,000 miles as it is that you do it!

      Personally, we do it once a year in April on my wife’s birthday. Makes it easy to remember and helps avoid the market distortions that sometimes happen at the very end/beginning of the year when everybody else is doing tax selling and new buying.

      As you suggest, I’ll also rebalance when the market makes a big move up or down. 20% is a good benchmark.

      Of course, I try to do all this in my IRAs to avoid any tax consequences.

      Some contend that more frequent reallocations can improve performance over time and in fact Betterment, who I like and recommend, makes this case:

      I’m not sure I fully buy the premise, but I do like the way they use your new contributions and any dividends to make it happen efficiently.

  13. Kenyon
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,

    I have really enjoyed your blog and have found it immensely invaluable. I have shared it with my family and have begun making changes to my investments.

    I have a (hopefully) simple question. You speak a lot about investing in both retirement accounts (401K, 403(b), Roth, etc. using VTSAX if possible) and a separate taxable index fund. What percentage of my non-living expenses cash should I be investing in my retirement account and in a separate taxable index fund? I currently do not have the income to max out my retirement account. Should that be my focus first?

  14. Chris A.
    Posted February 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jim,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great website! I opened my Vanguard account this morning and put $10K into VTSAX with a plan to make monthly deposits going forward. I love the stock series and the insightful writing, keep it up!

    • jlcollinsnh
      Posted February 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Chris..

      I very much appreciate the kind words and that you took the time to share them. :)

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