Mr. Bear, Podcasts, a good book and why I should be in 100% stocks

Bear Market, oh my!

See, just like I promised, Bear Markets can happen!

Almost, anyway.

As I type this, the S&P500 is down not quite 10%. Hardly enough to get excited about, at least if you are looking for a buying opportunity. Unless, of course, you are the financial media; in which case you are in full melt-down mode and shortly we will all be dead of the Coronavirus. 

My prediction? A year from now we’ll have trouble remembering what the Coronavirus was.

Quick now, can you tell me when and what was happening in Greece a short while back and why it was sure to end the world economic systems? Without asking Uncle Google?

Still, this might be a good time to again offer my Guided Meditation for when the Market is Dropping should you wish for some soothing during these troubled times.

If that is not enough, at the end of that post you’ll find links to several others I’ve written during past market drops. My views on this one are no different.


It has been awhile since I’ve put up a new post, even longer for one on investing. But I haven’t gone completely dark. There have been several new podcast interviews released, if you want to hear me pontificating:

Over on Journey to Launch, I had a great time with Jamila recording:

The Simple Path to Wealth and all you need to know about Index Investing

She even got me to reveal how I learned I’m not a special snowflake after all.

Over in England, on Meaningful Money, Pete calls this his favorite interview in the 10 years he has been doing them:

The Simple Path to Wealth

In What’s Up Next, Doc G usually hosts a panel discussion, but in this one we go one-on-one:

On not having a Legacy 

He also asks me the one question I’ve ever refused to answer. And then, irritatingly, he asked it again. 

Curious to hear Mrs. Collins? Here we are together, also on What’s Up Next, along with Doug Nordman of The Military Guide

How to Raise Financially Responsible Children

Want still more? Check out…

As seen on…

A good book

Speaking of podcasts, one of the greats is ChooseFI. (full disclosure, they’ve interviewed me a couple of times – see link above – and I am in the book)

While it came out last fall, I have just now gotten around to reading: 

Chris is an engaging writer and in addition to providing a sound “blueprint to FI,” it is a great overview of some of the highlights of Brad and Jonathan’s podcast.

Why I should be in 100% Stocks

When I first started this blog in 2011, I was retired and we were living off the portfolio. We were in the Wealth Preservation Stage as described in this post, and accordingly we had added bonds to the portfolio. Our allocation is today and has been for a while ~75/25 – VTSAX/VBTLX. We were using the 4% “rule” as I describe here and here to meet our spending needs. We even bumped it up to ~5% while our daughter was in college and the market winds were at our back. As you’ll read in those two old posts, the 4% “Rule” is better thought of as the 4% “Guideline”.

However, in 2016, two remarkable and completely unexpected things happened: This blog started making money and my newly published book started earning royalties. 

As my pal Brett reminds me each time he shows up at Chautauqua, this means I again have earned income and that puts me back in the Wealth Building Stage. And in that stage, according to JL Collins, I should be 100% stocks. So, you might join Brett in asking, why haven’t I?

Mostly because these new income streams don’t feel “real,” or, more accurately, they feel temporary. Blog income can, and sometimes, does disappear overnight and book sales taper off over time.

But that hasn’t actually happened. The blog income has remained solid and new sources have come on. Book sales, three years out, have steadily risen thanks to all of you who have passed it on and recommended it to your friends. Interestingly, it has even spawned an imitation trying to lure the unsuspecting: The Simplest Path to Wealth. Two letters off my title. Sigh. Should I be angry or flattered? 

So should I rush into 100% stocks? Well, maybe if this market gives me an offer I can’t refuse. But it will have to go further down than where it is now for that. 

I just checked again. It is at 3027 as I type this now. Heck, I could have bought at those levels last October. 

The moral is, just like the 4% Rule, these are guidelines. Worth paying attention to, not worth obsessing over.

Stay tuned, Brett!

A word on the comments here

Time was I responded to almost every comment here on the blog. But at this point in my life, that just isn’t going to happen. I do read them all and try to respond to those on current posts like this one and those that are unique. But most asking for investment advice can be answered on your own using the “Search…” button at the top of the right-hand column. That’s what I use myself to find stuff I’ve written but can’t quite remember where.

Please do continue to comment whenever the spirit moves you, I always enjoy them. And if you are one of the more seasoned readers around here, feel free to answer some yourself.


Enjoy the Bear and stay the course!

(that’s from a Victorian Christmas Card)


Addendum Friday Feb 28th:

With the market down ~15% today from its high, I decided to move some VBTLX into VTSAX in my IRA.

Like buying anything on sale, you never know if you got a good price. Wait and it might be still lower tomorrow. Or the opportunity might be gone.

If prices go lower, I’ll move more.

Of course, since these are mutual funds, I won’t know where my price lands until the dust settles at market close today. Hope it keeps falling! 🙂


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Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Drew says

    “ So should I rush into 100% stocks? Well, maybe if this market gives me an offer I can’t refuse. But it will have to go further down than where it is now for that. ”

    Curious if you could elaborate on this as I’ve recently started to think this myself. How would you know when to switch to 100% stocks? Wouldn’t this be considered market timing which you advocate against?

    Really respect your advice, your book was a game changer for me and I have since gifted to many others.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Drew…

      It has nothing to do with market timing.

      The point I was making, humorously I hope, was that I hadn’t followed my own prescription as to when to be 100% stocks.

      The more serious point is not to obsess about such guidelines.

      I’m perfectly content to own the bonds we own. But if the market takes a major plunge, it might tempt me into 100% stocks which, technically according to my own writings, I should have done in 2016 once my earned income spigot was turned back on.

      • Joe Adams says

        Thanks so much for your website JL. I have read your book and your FU money video on youtube is as spot on and funny as is your meditation video comforting. In the words of Jack Bogle – INVEST WE MUST! PRESS ON BROTHER!

      • Mary says

        Really enjoy your website, JL. It was brought to my attention when my son gave me your book for Christmas! I in turn gave it to each of my other 3 children asking them to read it as a birthday present to me. I know you’re not answering every question now but in case this is at all interesting to you… My husband and I took $350k out of the market a couple weeks ago – maybe 2 days into the onset of the recent “Coronavirus dive” as the media is blaming it on. We intend to buy a house in which we will live for at least 5 years. We close in about a week. It was a good deal and we should make back the money plus some, making it about equal to what we predict the opportunity cost to be, using 4% return. However, now that market is down even more AND mortgage rates are at a 49 year low, should we buy back into the market and take out a mortgage? My husband is retired and I am still working, planning to retire in about 5 years. Thanks!

    • Into the FIRE says

      Also – Did you hear about Escape? MIT has come up with a really cool travel aggregator (with some sweet bonuses like weather and points of interest).

      Right now, they’re running a promotion for you to get $10,000 if you can plan the cheapest around the world itinerary.

      Here’s my referral link:

      I’m sure you don’t need another $10,000 though!! 🙂

  2. Amy says

    Glad to see your post, Jim.
    Since the market has gone down some, I was wondering if you were going to post anything. 🙂
    Looking forward to listening to your interviews.

  3. Mahmoud Dahy says

    Jim, it is always a pleasure to read your posts. The wisdom you have taught in your book the Simple Path to Wealth has given me enough muscles to stand a bear market. Heck, I think I can even handle a full blown market crash thanks to you and what you taught me in your book. I’m staying the course with a side dish of panic of course as mentioned in your book. Thanks again for this post. I also enjoy your meditation video 🙂

    • Vorlic says

      Hi Mr Collins, “going dark” is underrated! I do it all the time, sometimes it’s the only way to “keep your head while all around are losing theirs”, as a certain Rudyard once said…

      There isn’t a day goes by without my having another realisation about the power of FI. It feeds into everything.

      Hope Steve MkII is proving a worthy successor. Good choice 😉



  4. Tom Butter says

    Just the calming voice I’ve been waiting for throughout this media-hype. Thanks, JLC!

    If you have a chance to answer one question:
    I recently opened my first Roth IRA (fully fund my 403b) and I started a 3 fund portfolio consisting of low-cost index funds. However, after reading (probably too much) about how I needed MID-cap and SMALL-caps I mixed included mid/small-cap index funds with the portfolio at 5% each.

    I’ve was interested in why you don’t bother with these. Thanks again!

    My current portfolio:
    FXROX =75%

    • Tracyl5 says

      I think JLC would say that Mid-caps and Small-caps are already included in the Total Stock Market index fund that you have (FXROX).

        • Alex Peirce says

          So what’s the right proportion? 1%? 5%? Or maybe only certain sectors? Or certain stocks… It’s a bit of a fools errand, I guess. I’m in Canada, so I’ve chosen a mix ETFs for exposure to the CA market, the US, and international – so I’m not strictly following the advice on this blog. But it feels better to me. If what you have feels more comfortable than just the full market (ie you want less large cap exposure), go for it. I can’t say if it’ll perform better or worse – I can only say it’s more complex to manage than just one ETF.

          • Else Müller says

            If someone considers to diversify into a “worldportfolio” with more international assets and also small cap/small cap value i can highly recommend Paul Merrimans Podcast “Sound Invesing” with his so called “Ultimate Buy and Hold Portfolio”. He discusses all the numbers and risks in detail and also the difference to bogleheads strategy ( as well as JL Collins Portfolio in consequence)
            I love to listen to his stuff as much as I enjoy to read Collins – but in the end I have to decide by myself…
            And as you said: guideline is only how you feel most comfortable.

    • Nathan says


      FZROX is “Normally investing at least 80% of its assets in common stocks included in the Fidelity U.S. Total Investable Market Index, which is a float-adjusted market capitalization-weighted index designed to reflect the performance of the U.S. equity market, including large-, mid- and small-capitalization stocks. Using statistical sampling techniques based on such factors as capitalization, industry exposures, dividend yield, price/earnings (P/E) ratio, price/book (P/B) ratio, and earnings growth to attempt to replicate the returns of the Fidelity U.S. Total Investable Market Index using a smaller number of securities. Lending securities to earn income for the fund. ” (Quote from Fidelity’s page).

      Translation: We buy a lot of stock from the market, but we pick and choose which ones. FXROX holds 2491 stocks, while VTSAX holds 3566. Due to this, replicating the jlcollins strategy would probably require holding some additional funds like you’re doing.

      • TomButter says

        Mid/Small Caps were honestly the only part of my portfolio I wasn’t sure of. This helps a lot. Appreciated!

        I would hold VTSAX if it didn’t have the 3k minimum. After learning about the history of Fidelity with index funds I agree with JLC that Vanguard might be more likely to keep my funds at low so I may move it over someday to VTSAX .

  5. Donna says

    Glad to see your post Jim. Learned alot from your posts. I’m 75/25 as well. Getting a little jumpy on days like yesterday and today..but pushing through.

  6. Adam says

    These dips get me pretty psyched. This evening’s four-figure 401(k) order will pick up an extra share and a half of FXAIX compared to last week’s high. Woo! And as I tweeted last Monday:

    “Global markets reel…”
    “U.S. stocks are deep in the red…”
    “The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq plummeted…”
    Oh no, we’re all the way down to levels not seen since January 31, guess we’ll have to start eating cat food.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      “Oh no, we’re all the way down to levels not seen since January 31, guess we’ll have to start eating cat food.”

      🙂 🙂

  7. steve poling says

    About “Wealth Preservation Stage” vs “Wealth Accumulation Stage” in the face of book royalties & blog income… If memory serves, in the former you withdraw 4% from your 75%/25% balanced portfolio to live, and in the latter your balance is 100%/0% with savings from earnings going into the portfolio.

    However, since I’ve retired I’ve withdrawn 0% from my portfolio b/c I have rental income and my dear wife’s salary (w/health insurance). If one has income from blog+royalties+other, it seems one should reduce withdrawal rate accordingly & increase the equities/bonds balance. The only risk I can see from a 100% VTSAX portfolio is a forced sale during a down market that eats up principal. Am I missing something?

  8. Manuel Carrasquillo says

    Mr Collins,

    Thank you for the work that you do. You are a voice of tranquility and reason in an often loud and chaotic world.

    • dylan says

      I second that Manuel! My uncle just called me in a panic to say I should have a YEARS worth of living expenses in cash in the bank…. so rather than punching him in the face MMM style I had to rush to for some sanity.

  9. wendy says

    Today I was pulled into a conversation with coworkers about the drop in the market. I reminded them that the closing value didn’t particularly matter unless they were trying to retire/sell stock today, so they should just ignore the media frenzy… if they wanted to react, they could remember that it means ‘stocks are on sale!’ so they should check the couch for any loose change to put into the market.
    In the course of the convo, one of younger coworkers had good comments & questions, so now I’ll probably need to buy yet another copy of your book… I keep handing them out to young ones who seem interested. 🙂

    • Mikel says

      Just email them this link ;p
      Sorry if that costs you any royalties Mr. Collins, but since your officially still in ‘Preservation Mode’ I can’t see how it should upset you! This post was interesting to me because I hadn’t heard a thing about the markets dropping. Here in the Netherlands the only news subject is Corona… Which is causing enough knee-jerky panicking without mentioning stocks. -Mike

      • jlcollinsnh says

        Wonder how many of those in panic mode can name even one of the last 4-5 “epidemics” that were all over the news during the last few years? 😉

      • Wendy says

        Oh, I share blogs too, but a tactile object given freely (from someone you know) often has a different perceived value.
        They may not remember to read the blog, but I’ve noticed that books still mean something.

  10. Renee Quistorf says

    I bought VTSAX, et al on sale yesterday at close of market. Happiness! Even though I could have bought it cheaper today, who knew? No one. I’m still happy I got it on sale.

  11. Dave says

    It seems like a good time to stop by the library and pick up one of John Sanford’s books to read about the fiction happening in the Twin Cities and forget about the fiction in the financial news. I have a lot of catching up to do since Storm Prey!!

  12. Nadja says

    Hi there,

    Totally understand if you can’t address every comment! Just in case this is a topic that has not come up yet, wanted to see if you had some advice. Basically we just moved all our IRAs to Vanguard from American Fund (is invested in an American Target fund). We were about to sell everything off form the American Target fund and purchase VTSAX and maybe some bonds. Now I am not sure if this is the right time to do this king of re-balancing of our portfolio given the market dynamic. Any thoughts/ advice?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Alex Peirce says

      If not now, when? Not to be facetious, but that’s just asking how to time the market. Now may not be the best time, but you’ll never know which “now” is good until it’s in the past. 🙂

  13. Nate says

    Hey Jim. I just wanted to thank you as a long time reader. I put my first dollars into the total stock market index in 2013 a day after I graduated and have stuck every extra dollar until today. Selling is not an option and I’ve never even had a inkling to sell in seven years. I went from student debt to close to FI in that time. You changed my financial life and I’m so grateful for the stock series. Thank you.

  14. Eric says


    Huge fan – your google talk was actually my first exposure to you.

    General question – with lowering expense ratios, have you considered adding international exposure via VXIAX or VTWAX? I know this question has been asked before, but philosophies can change.

  15. Mike W says

    Hi Jim,

    I have a medium size pension plan which I consider like a bond.

    I put all my other investments in (100%) into stocks. I have managed to grow at 18% per year with new money added to the portfolio.

    With the draw down I am not too worried since there will more better deals in stocks to buy in the near future.
    Your post has a lot of truth for anyone who is willing to ride the cycle of ups and now downs in the market.

  16. James David says

    Curious what you think of going with VTI (ETF)over VTSAX(Mutual fund)? VTI now has a lower expense ratio (0.03%) & have read it has tax advantages over VTSAX if in a taxable account. It used to be a disadvantage because of the fee for buying ETF’s, but there are no fees now, so that obstacle is removed. I understand that I have to buy entire shares at a time & that VTSAX would still be best for automatic deductions. Also VTI is better if you want to do tax-GAIN harvesting; because you can sell it, then immediately buy it back. If you sell VTSAX, I think Vanguard makes you wait 30 days before you can buy more?
    As for tax efficiency:
    VTSAX tax-cost ratio is 0.78%
    VTI tax-cost ratio is 0.49%

    • jlcollinsnh says

      VTI and VTSAX hold, as you know but for the benefit of others, exactly the same portfolio.

      And, VTI these days is the better choice for exactly the reasons you put forth. Same holds true for VBTLX and BND.

      In tax advantaged accounts, where there is no tax consequence to consider, it is probably to good idea to swictch.

      I should probably get around to that myself one of these days. 😉

        • Jim M. says

          Thanks JD for the question and of course JL for the response as I was wondering about this too.

          Question about the price of an ETF share…if a buy order is placed after trading hours, like on a Saturday, would the price of the ETF share be the closing price of the previous business day Friday? Or some other price set on the next business day Monday?

          I just opened my Vanguard taxable brokerage account and looking to make my initial investment, likely going with VTI for the slight optimization reasons as outlined above.

          Jim M.

  17. Jeff says

    Thanks! I bought your book and devoured it. I am itching to double down in this bear environment and set it and forget it. I am thankful for the media since I don’t look at my assets everyday. When I hear the mass panic, I bust out the vanguard app to deposit. It’s hard not be emotional and almost greedy in times like these. Glad to still be young and get this opportunity.

    I keep a copy of your book on my desk as a talking point and I finally had my first borrower. I’m exited to hear their thoughts after they read it.

  18. Steve Barber says

    We have the blog.
    We have the book.
    In difficult, temporary, times what we need now is the T-Shirt.
    Can I suggest the print…..
    “What would Uncle Jim do???” 🤓

    Thanks for all the work, advice and wisdom you add to this often crazy world.

    • Nelson says

      Or better yet, a coffee mug! Nothing starts a conversation like a mug and it would pair nicely with my Vanguard mug. Another revenue stream is waiting to be tapped! 🙂

  19. boyan says

    Jim, I have been a voracious reader of your blog and book in the past 2 years. Thanks for the great lessons!
    A few days ago I decided to go from theory into practice and invested 1/3 of my savings in the msci world index etf (I live in Europe). I suffered the unexpected drops that were triggered by the virus, but will not pull out and I will stay the course. I feel lucky I did not follow one of your advice and decided to do some kind of dollar-cost averaging by not investing all. Now, I know everyone in those times is trying to buy the bottom of the market, but what do you believe is reasonable strategy to invest the remaining 2/3 of my savings which I want to put in the same broad low-cost index. Many thanks and keep the timely blog.

  20. John Casey says

    Over the past week I’ve never thought more about anyone I’ve never actually met or spoken to in my life than you! Since I’m still around 6 years away from FI, I welcome the opportunity to continue maxing out my annual contributions at a discount.

    I heard Jack Bogle once say in a Youtube interview “Don’t just do something, stand there!” Thanks to reading your book I not only understand what he said I have the confidence to control my behavior and stay on the simple path!

    Thanks again Mr. Collins!

  21. Julie says

    My personal guideline is to rebalance when stocks go up or down 20 % and during the first week of January each year. However, the last time the market was down almost 20 %, while I was thinking it’s time to move, that sneaky old market took off and I didn’t have time to get it done. I’m really tempted to rebalance now. Any opinions?

  22. jlcollinsnh says

    With the market down ~15% today from its high, I decided to move some VBTLX into VTSAX in my IRA.

    Like buying anything on sale, you never know if you got a good price. Wait and it might be still lower tomorrow. Or the opportunity might be gone.

    If prices go lower, I’ll move more.

    Of course, since these are mutual funds, I won’t know where my price lands until the dust settles at market close today. Hope it keeps falling! 🙂

  23. Cindy in South says

    I am a turtle. A very old (relatively speaking) turtle. The 2009-2011 was a complete disaster for me (salary reduced 50% in 2009 and then complete job loss in early 2011). I lived off of my difference in salary and savings for those two years and when I completely lost my job in early 2011, I ended up losing my house and living in the basement of my ex-husband for five months. I, ultimately, got a job several hours away, in September 2011 close to my original income prior to the 2009 fiasco, but I had to move. I just paid off my very small house I have now in my new location, in 2019. After what I went through, I just was afraid not to pay off my house and it was real cheap anyway. I also am now 60. I am still turtling along, working, have a small pension that grows the longer I work, and I just started putting money in Vanguard. I have been putting $100 a month in the settlement account and when it hits $3000, I will transfer to VTSAX. Hope to keep working until 67, maybe even 70 to take advantage of the stock market.

  24. Luis says

    Hi JL,

    Good to receive your words of wisdom from FIRE Mountain.

    I hope this isn’t market timing but at the end of the year for the past five, I’ve been doing Roth conversions. On average the amount has been the same so as to minimize taxes. However, due to this “correction” I’ve done two Roth conversions this week that total two thirds of the past years’ amount. I’m taking advantage of this market drop for now.

    Glad to hear all is well and look forward to your next post.

    Semper FI,

  25. Eric says

    Guess who retired on Monday?
    Still, I haven’t paniced and won’t sell a single share. Thanks to the advice here (and from Your Money or Your Life and Work Optional) I don’t need to for 2-3 years. I’m just bummed I won’t be making any more 401k contributions that buys at sale prices.

    This qualifies as the quote of the day “Heck, I could have bought at those levels last October. “

  26. Katie says

    Thanks so much for the great post! I listened to your Guided Meditation too and loved it! Been a follower of yours for many years and invest in VTSAX because of you! I figured, if your advice was good for your daughter then it would be good for me too 🙂

    Several months back I realized I had never actually signed up to be on your email list so I signed up but didn’t receive this post (glad I thought to see if you had posted!). Please let me know if I may have done something screwy… Thanks for everything, always!

    Your fan,

  27. Punster says

    just finished listening to your book — amazing… Simple question hope you can answer. I am in UK. Vanguard offers US funds as VNRT ETFs, VUSA ETF, and US equity funds accumulation

    am i right in saying that us equity accumulation fund is the best of three?? ie closest to vtsax???


  28. Max says

    I read the book on vacation last December ’19. Until then, the only investment I did was 401K and accumulated 90% of my net worth in savings and decided to frontload all of it this January’20 (excluding 6month expenses) into VTSAX (80%) and VTIAX (20%). A friend advised me to dollar cost average (DCA) and what I read in book or blogs, frontloading makes sense to me. With all the market drop now, my returns are negative and being a first-time investor felt a bit pinched.

    But keeping the long term view and thinking have ~25 years before I retire helped me to calm my nerves. I even bought more VTSAX after reading this post yesterday. Thanks for the book and this post for a first-time investor like me. I may exchange some of the VTIAX for VTSAX as VTSAX provides sufficient international exposure and this market drop shows some correlation of VTSAX with the international situation to some extend.

  29. VR says

    I give financial talks to folks at work and someone asked me yesterday what we should be doing given the plummeting stock market as a result of COVID-19. Without even thinking, my response, as I was rubbing some hand-sanitizer on my hand was – “Keep your hands clean” 🙂

    Nice to have blogs like these to keep my head straight.

  30. Frankie says

    I hope the market keeps dropping! What an exciting time to have the great game plan layers out from The Simple Path To Wealth!! I’m still contributing to my 457 plan bi-weekly, my brokerage account with vanguard with 100% into VTSAX.

    • Grizzly says

      Hi Frankie,
      I also took JL’s advise and invest 90% of my equity. I was happy last year but feel I’m too slow reacting to the market.. Now my assets is down 30% and I lost all my principle as well. 🙁
      Since I don’t have extra cash in hand, I cannot take advantage of all-time-low in past 3 years.. :(( I feel I got locked in this situation.

  31. Mr Fergus says

    Hi Mr jlcollinsnh, i am a big fan of you and all about this blog. In such a way we are starting our own blog telling our experience. Is brilliant (and i am not exaggerating) the way you write this and even more the kindness of the way you do things. I could give several examples but a guy that after writing a book says that the content is pretty much all on his blog make me think: This man can only be a good man. If by curiosity you want to know our blog:
    All advices are welcome and thank you for all that you have done.
    Mr Fergus

  32. Corey says

    Hey JL,

    you are the reason I am in indexing with VTSAX and contribute my bimonthly automatic investments every month and dont pay attention to what is going on in the market. As I am staying the course, and calculate 10 years til FI, what is the proper asset allocation once I decide to hang it up. I am currently 80/20, would you recommend something along the lines of 60/40 or 50/50, or even stay at 80/20 forever? Thanks so much for being the biggest inspiration in my my financial literacy!

  33. Rudolf Diesel says

    Thanks for the good words to keep this all in perspective. Your website, your book and your reenactment of “The Gambler” have helped me on the way to retirement. After your last post, I used some of the knowledge and bought a new car.

  34. Joey says

    I turned 20 a few days before this crash and unfortunately for me, I bought the admiral shares of VTIAX hours before the drop. In addition to my maxed out Roth from last year, I would like to finish off my goal of $10,000 invested in one year with an extra $1,000 in VTSAX. Any advice on when to toss it in? I was thinking to just throw the emotions out the window and deposit on Monday. Been a fan of the blog for a few years now and The Simple Path to Wealth got me started real early so, thanks!

    • Remy says

      Focus on time in the market, not timing the market. At 20 years old your money will have decades to grow. The difference between putting a few thousand dollars in when VTIAX was $29 vs $26 will make such a tiny difference that you’ll look back and wonder why you ever even cared about it. Invest it as soon as you can and then put set up automatic investments so you can take your brain out of the equation!

  35. Lee says

    Hello Jim,

    Thanks for your words of wisdom. Question: Does your blog program let you put a date on your posts? I can only tell when it was written by the comments (which have dates).

  36. Peter Nichols says

    Hey Jim,

    Thanks so much for this blog and your book. I’m interested in your thoughts on a carbon bubble. You can learn more here:
    I have friends and family who are encouraging me to give up index investing in favor of fossil-free funds such as biawx. These funds have higher fees.
    This is another site that provides information:


  37. Laura Verde says

    Hi Jim!
    I am a physician. You’d think that to get to where I am at today, I should be fairly smart… However, when it comes to money and investing, I am dumb as dirt!
    I just finished reading your book and I cannot thank you enough for that. While I’m still not 100% clear on deductible IRA, non deductible IRA and Roth IRA, one thing I got is that I need to go 100% stocks. My next step will be to open a Vanguard account and go with VTSAX, as I am in a late start wealth accumulation phase, as most physicians are.
    I have money on a high yield savings account and the question is when to move that to VTSAX. Of course I’d like to wait till the market hits rock bottom with this Corona virus fear, but how do I know when that will happen? I know that means I’m trying to predict the market, which you discourage, but how do I go about that? Do I look at the Dow everyday and take my best guess? Is there a Magic number that I should look for? I guess I’ll have to call someone at Vanguard, as I have no idea how to do it!
    I’d appreciate any words of wisdom.
    Best regards,


    • Max says

      “Time in the market matters more than timing the market.”
      At the same time, I agree this market looks confused about coronavirus but if you aggregate all the turns last week it closed at ~1% higher than the previous week. In the long term, the market should recover from this so you need not worry if you will left enough in your savings for 6 months’ expenses or whatever makes you sleep well at night. While I do not favor Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA), which basically means contributing a fixed amount periodically but for the first-time investors who are nervous in times like these that might be a good way to start. If you think that by following DCA you will miss on big rallies as the market recover then you can contribute 50% in one shot to VTSAX and remaining as DCA to VTSAX.
      At the end of the day, do what makes you sleep well at night.

  38. Stacy says

    Hi Jim,
    I came across the Google interview with you earlier this week on Youtube. It was so inspiring that I have been listening and reading every free chance I have. I’m getting your book today.
    Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge and making it so much easier to understand!!
    I have my Roth IRA investments in a target fund and blue chip funds… both have high expense %. I’m wondering if it is an easy move to move to Vanguard and would I have to pay taxes on any gains from the current funds?
    Also, 401k only offers vimax, vsmax and target funds. Should I got with mid and small cap funds or stay target when the great ones aren’t offered ?
    I know someone probably asked this question already… if u wouldn’t mind posting the link that would be amazing😊
    Thank you!

    • John Casey says

      It would be easy to transfer your assets to a Vanguard Roth IRA. Call them and they will help you. It might make sense to liquidate your assets before transferring to avoid fees from liquidating non-vanguard funds in preparation prior to your transfer. Do your homework on this first just to be sure to optimize efficiency and avoid fees/charges. You could also consider staying at your current brokerage and buying VTI which is the same as VTSAX except it is an exchange traded fund instead of a mutual fund. There will be no tax consequences on gains because the account is a Roth. You want to do a direct transfer to Vanguard. DO NOT have any money sent to you directly or you will be penalized. Big mistake. Vanguard (or any other broker) will help you with the direct transfer to them.

      As far as the 401(k) goes………It is not terrible to be in target date fund as long as the expense ratios are reasonable and there are no other options(.40 or less). I would check again to see if you have an S&P 500 index fund option. Most do and usually has an expense ratio lower than the target date funds.

      If you are willing to accept the volatility and NOT sell in a down market you might consider changing funds to a target date that is actually further out than your actual age would dictate. In essence what you will be doing is increasing the ratio of stocks to bonds exposure thusly increasing volatility. Before doing this look at what stocks the money will be invested in. If VTSAX is your investment goal (the entire U.S. market) realize some target funds will mix in international as well. Not a deal breaker but worth noting if this not your intention to invest internationally as well. Also realize that you could also choose FSKAX through Fidelity. It is an all market U.S. index fund similar to VTSAX with an even lower expense ratio (.015%) without the minimum of $10,000 for an initial investment.

      I would not bother with the small/ mid cap stuff in your 401(k). An all market investing approach (VTSAX or FSKAX) would cover these segments anyway. The Simple Path to Wealth is the way to go.

  39. Andy says

    -19% from our January top. 55% S&P 500(VFIAX) Index and 45% International Developed Index(VTMGX). No Bonds and 6 months in cash.

    Weighted expense ratio of .05%.

    All I can do is stay the course, add more money to it and stay calm. Now is the time to hold tight and stay on the roller coaster.

  40. Lori says

    Hello Jim, I loved your talk at Google and have stalked you on YouTube for some time. I never get tired of listening to you. In addition to an amazing voice, your brilliant, solid and generous advice has been a warm welcome in a rather avaricious field. (But for legends like JB of course).

    We’re sitting on some cash ($250K CDN) but no real pension in our early 50s. (Self-employment and all its ups and downs.) I know we should never time the market but getting so much conflicting advice. If Covid-19 (and its consequent global tragedy) goes full bore hysteria and recession then it would seem prudent to hang on and see. I certainly don’t want lives lost, but as my stocks plummet, some stock buying now may offset the hard landing?

  41. Justine says

    Hi! I’m just discovering your great resources while I’m freaking out about a good portion of my funds plunging about 25% in the last couple weeks. It has been quite a shock to realize I’ve been utterly and gratuitously naive about what I’ve done with my money over the years. At 50 (urban dweller, perpetual renter) I’ve been looking to buy my first house in the not-too-distant-future and should have rolled a good part of the down payment into cash equivalent instead of leaving it in the market. Trying to calm myself down and ride it out–and in the meantime educate myself and hope it’s not too late. Thank you for offering so much immensely helpful information.

    While you may have intended this from mainly a financial perspective, saying “A year from now we’ll have trouble remembering what the Coronavirus was” discounts the nearly 5,000 people who have already died from the virus, including 250 in Italy just in the last 24 hours, and all the deaths still to come both from the virus and from people who are unable to get proper treatment for other illnesses because of the shortage of medical facilities. The loved ones of those who die during this period will certainly remember what coronavirus is, as will families hard-hit by the economic repercussions of all of the cancellations of events and the necessity to care for their children at home while schools are closed. Public memory may indeed be short in the grand scale, but this virus will echo for years. The way communities, cities, and states have come together to try to slow the spread of a pandemic that threatens lives is quite heartening.

  42. Talaat McNeely says

    This was a great article as always JL. We would love to interview you on our email as well. Is there an email address of yours that we can send our request to? We’ve told the world that your book is required reading and would love to have our audience to hear from you directly as well.

  43. James says

    So, I’m in a quandary. Well, at least I think that I am, thus my post today. I found my way to your book via Scott Rieckens’ Playing with Fire book. I finished reading it and started on the stock series right at the end of February. I wish I would’ve known about your website before but alas here we are.

    I started using Personal Capital several years ago and used their Retirement Fee Analyzer to highlight those funds with excessive fees. I made good progress in changing funds to reduce fees. We are averaging an 0.04% annual fee over our entire portfolio.

    In Sep 2018, we moved two of our IRA’s (with pretty high fees) to Personal Capital under their management. I didn’t think at the time that their 0.89% fee was out of line. For these two PC IRAs accounts, our annual fund fees average (without the management fee):
    – Annual Fees: 0.10%
    – Earnings lost to fees (over 10 years): 3%

    When using the calculator before I hadn’t really paid much attention to the “assumption” sliders on the calculator but was singularly focused on the Expense Ratios of the funds. Now, I noticed the Additional Investment Fees slider and remember that 0.89% management fee?

    When adding in the 0.89% management fee for the two PC IRA funds:
    – Annual Fees: 1.00%
    – Earnings lost to fees (over 10 years): 25%!!

    Adding insult to injury the plethora of funds in these PC IRA accounts have expense ratios that are still rather high, between 0.19% to 0.59%.

    With the market down 30+% should I just stay pat and deal with the fees until a later date with better market conditions? Or bite the bullet, make the move to Vanguard with VTSAX/VBTLX and let it ride?

    Open to all constructive suggestions and comments.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi James…

      Here is my review of PC published several years ago:

      While their free tools are fine, I would definitely move your funds to Vanguard. Assuming you move to funds with similar assets classes, this market drop is a non-issue.

      In fact, for those funds in your taxable account, it works in your favor by minimizing the capital gains on the sale and the resulting cap gains taxes.

      Good luck!

      • James says

        Thank you Mr Collins for the reply. I will then plan on moving these IRA accounts to Vanguard and into VTSAX/VBTLX soonest.

        Thank you again!

  44. Jason says

    Great post as usual from you. I wanted to let you know what a positive impact your book as well as your blog posts have made for my friends and family. I’ve even gotten my wife and our 8, 11, and 15 year old girls to read your book (I pay the girls $1 per chapter to read and answer Q&A). I’ve also shared the book with multiple co-workers who all believed that investing was too hard and required a financial advisor. One came into the office last week and said that the book had changed his outlook on retirement and life.

    Like many of your readers, I’m on the path to FI and I was only three years from retirement, which I planned for age 44. It’s tough to see my 100% VTSAX / TSP C& S fund positions take such a hit and I still haven’t looked at my account balances. As the market has dropped I’ve continued to pull cash from other “buckets” and buy more VTSAX (the OLED 4K TV will have to wait). The hardest part has been with my wife. We got used to looking a personal capital every weekend and counting down our time to FI. I keep telling her we are buying stocks on sale and that we are in the wealth accumulation phase so the worst case scenario is I have to work longer.

    All that to say, “Thanks.” Your book is my personal favorite on investing and I’ll continue to recommend it to all of my friends / co-workers.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks, Jason…

      …I appreciate the kind words.

      Bear markets are never easy, but these quotes might provide some perspective:

      “We are compensated with higher rates of return in stocks because of ugly times like this.” – Gino

      “Bear markets are normal events. You shouldn’t be surprised by them, you should expect them.” JL Collins

      “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

      — Jack Canfield

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