Is The Simple Path to Wealth outdated??!!


An original painting by Alex Ferrar
On display at  Sobremesa, Antigua, Guatemala


Sometimes it feels like I’m blowing flower petals into the wind.

Recently my pal Mindy Jensen of Bigger Pockets sent me this question that had come up in her Woman’s Finance group:

I recently read the book The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins. (well audible read it to me) I really liked it but my husband pointed out to me that the info in it might be outdated and his simple method of two phases might be old news since it was written in 2016.
Phase 1) wealth accumulation
Phase 2) wealth preservation
Basically the summary is going 80-100% VTSAX (vanguard’s total stock market index fun) during phase 1 and then upping to your 10-25% to bonds in VBTLX (vanguard bonds) should set you up well and keep things simple.
Is this still true?
Is there a newer Simple Path To Wealth?
I’m ready to accumulate faster and more aggressively after being risk adverse my first few years of investing. I work FT and can invest about 1/3 of my income right now, or more.
I’m 38 and need to maximize the accumulation phase for the next 10-15 years.


It always amuses me.

I lay out a Path that requires staying the course for decades, and a couple of years in someone is asking if it still applies. 

One thing I’d bet, this woman’s husband will never stay the course for The Simple Path. Or any other approach. He will always be wondering if it still works, what the next new shiny object is. He’ll jump from idea to idea.

The Simple Path is designed to work for decades and decades, and it will.  As long as…

  1. The US remains a capitalist country.
  2. We have a stock market where individuals can share in the prosperity.
  3. We have low-cost broad-based index funds to invest in those companies.

Regarding that first point, it is instructive to note The Simple Path to Wealth has been published in Russia and the contract to publish it in China is signed. Seems even in communist countries people figure out how to apply the principles in it.

What does go out of date in SPW are the details around things like 401k and IRA contribution limits. Sometimes I think about issuing an updated version with those, but of course it would be outdated again shortly anyway. My readers are smart and perfectly capable of checking the current details around these things.

So, rest easy. The Simple Path to Wealth is still valid and people all over the world are implementing it.

Want some encouragement and inspiration? You’ll find it here:


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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.
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  • 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. John Bondurant says

    As Mr Bogle said: “The index fund is one way, and almost always the best way, for investors to capture their fair share of the returns generated by American business.”

  2. FIRE-Man Sam says

    The true beauty of The Simple Path to Wealth is that it is a timeless book. While the technical details will inevitably change, the principles remain constant. JL’s book sits amongst other timeless personal finance books such as The Richest Man in Babylon which is still valid after almost a century in print.

  3. Todd R Garrett says

    We’ve been on the Simple Path when it was still the ‘Stock Series’ on the web & have found that it continues to work just as well as it did then. It’s not hard, but it certainly requires a ‘stick to it’ approach….but so does anything worth having.

    We’ve tried (read: FAILED) a LOT of different approaches within the parameters of a / our / my 401k but the SPW has been the one constant that ‘IF’ you stick to it, the rest will follow. If you think you’ve got a better plan – give it a go – you can always pick up the SPW again, later, after you’ve tried the newest, latest and greatest fad(s).

  4. Grayson says

    Short answer: no.

    Longer answer: the information in Simple Path is timeless. There will always be temptation and FOMO with whatever trendy new advice is popular, but JL’s advice is timeless and will only fail if you don’t follow it.

  5. Chad Hill says

    Is math “Outdated”?

    It’s really a mathematical equation.

    So no, it’s not outdated.

    But for those who desire to recreate the hamster wheel, they will see everything as outdated.

  6. Steven says

    SPW is excellent but I don’t follow the bond index advice (I think indexing for stocks is the only way to go). Maybe over the course of an entire career bonds might make sense but within the last almost 20 years, they haven’t been consistently better than cash (which is getting 5% now at most places), CD’s and/or some money market accounts IMO. Everything else tho, I agree with 100% (including portfolio ratios with just holding in CDs or US Treasuries in lieu of an Index Bond Fund).

    • Fred says

      For my bonds side I am holding about 50% BND and 50% PTTRX (actively managed) because it is offered in my 401k. Actively managed bond funds do consistently outperform the bond index. Strict indexers will argue they do so with higher risk but that risk, at least in the case of PTTRX, has never materialized in 35 years.

      Bogleheads has a thread specifically comparing these two funds.

      I agree that indexing stocks is the only way to go for equities.

  7. LW says

    Looks like Pathfinders’ audience is for the pre-retirement crowd. Am I wrong? I have SPTW and have been following it for about five years. Is this new book for my kids or is there something there for us? Just curious.

  8. Tony says


    Thank you do all of you do. I love all of your work and writings.

    Curious to see if you think that your ballast funds could be a little heavier weighted to VMRXX given it’s competitive yield and hedge against short term principal loss in VBTLX. I’m in my wealth building stage and weighted heavily towards VTSAX, but I appreciate having a small portion of our funds in a slightly more conservative fund to smooth the ride. Thanks again

  9. Christy Garcia says

    I’m 51 and over the past year I’ve read at least 5 books on investing for retirement. The Simple Path to Wealth is my most recent. I first learned of Collins on a recent Morningstar podcast. After reading this book, most parts twice, I finally feel super confident in managing my own investments and know that I will never use an advisor. I’ll continue to study up until retirement aged…hoping just 5 years away at least for FI status, but this book really summed up all the knowledge I’ve been accumulating. And I’ve definitely learned my own investment style of simplicity which this spoke to. Thanks JL! I still have yet to read Pathfinders but just waiting for my next Audiobook credit!

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