“If you reach for a star, you might not get one.  But you won’t come up with a hand full of mud either.”

Leo Burnett

I came across this quote many years ago and, looking back, it’s the way my life has unfolded.  Personally, I never got that star but things have been pretty damn good and the reaching was fun.  I’m still at it.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way:

Spend less than you earn – invest the surplus – avoid debt

Do simply this and you’ll wind up rich.  Not just in money.

If your lifestyle matches or, god forbid exceeds, your income you are no more than a gilded slave.

As individuals we only have one obligation to society:  To make sure we, and our children, are not a burden to others.

The rest is your personal choice.  Make your own and make the world a far more interesting place.

While giving is a fine and pleasant thing, no one has an obligation to do so.  Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something, most likely the idea of giving to them and/or their pet project.

Spend sparingly.  Tip generously.

You own the things you own and they in turn own you.

Money can buy many things, but nothing more valuable than your freedom.

Life choices are not always about the money, but you should always be clear about the money choice you are making.

Without F-you Money you are a slave.  If you have debt, you are a slave with still stouter shackles.

You weren’t born to be a slave.

Carrying debt is as appealing as being covered with leeches, and has much the same effect.  The idea that many, indeed most, people seem to happily cover themselves with debt is so beyond my understanding it is hard to imagine how, let alone why, the downsides would need be explained.

Take out your sharpest knife and start scraping the little blood-suckers off.

This includes car loans.

Seek respect only from those you respect

On luck:

  • If life hasn’t been turning out the way you’d hoped, take a moment.  Look around.  Open your eyes.  There might just be some luck flowing past waiting for you to grab it.
  • If you are basking in the glow of your hard work, initiative and success, congratulations.  Now, when you’re done patting yourself on the back, take a moment and give a little thanks.

Travel slowly, avoid the sights, linger in outdoor cafes, talk to the locals, leave your camera at home, do it now, do it while you’re young.

The problem with Beanie Babies, or anything else produced as a collectible, is that when people buy them they save them.  They will never be rare and rare equals value.

 Fads, manias and bubbles:  What they all have in common is that by the time you start reading about them everywhere, the end is near.

It’s OK for the other guy to get a deal, too.

You can’t pick winning stocks:  

If you choose to try to best the averages, God Bless and God Speed. You may well be smarter and more talented than I. You are most certainly likely to be better looking. I’ll look for your name along with Warren and Peter’s in the not too distant future.  I extend the same to all those folks I’ve met in Vegas who assure me they have bested the house. I listen, gaze up at the billion dollar casinos and reflect on how many smarter, more talented and better looking people there are than me.

Index funds. End of story.

Vanguard.  End of story.

This whole civilization thing has been a huge mistake and we’d all be better off as hunter/gatherers.  But since we do live in this complex, technical world you had best learn about money.  Money is the single most important, effective tool in navigating it.

Lead with your bright and shining example and maybe I’ll follow. Berate me for not believing as you do and I’ll likely tell you to go fuck yourself.

Sound investing is not complicated.  Complicated investments make money only for those selling them.

Keep a mental list of people you’d like to have a cup of coffee with.  Invite them.


There is nothing you can’t learn, no place you can’t go, if you read.


Addendum 1: I couldn’t have said it better myself….

Addendum 2: The Strangely Simple Rules of Life 



    • Susan says

      How do I know where to invest the money my dear, wise, beloved mother left me on 4/1/2016? Most of her money is in a place where I think should b reinvested into Vanguard!?
      I seem to be running into ‘lack of trust’ due to my lack of knowledge of which my late mother tried to guide me…I am a senior citizen & retired!
      Please respond ASAP

      • jlcollinsnh says

        Welcome Susan…

        If you are asking my opinion, I’ve laid out my thinking in the Stock Series and related posts. Just hit the button next to Manifesto and give it a read.

        For a more concise, better organized and more polished version, you might pick up my new book The Simple Path to Wealth.

        Be sure to read the Disclaimers first.

        Good luck!

    • Michael says

      Me, too. I’m 62 years old. Not a single investment other than two houses and those are really liabilities. My focus now is getting rid of $26k consumer debt. Then build a reserve. Then, finally, invest. I’d hoped to retire at 66. But that’s unrealistic at this point. Nevertheless, I’m going for these financial principals and see what happens. I hope we have fun doing this!

    • Joe Feca says

      Just watched your google talk. Its SO encouraging. Mid 50’s guy here. a 401k yes, but a mortgage as well. Worried that something health-wise is going to happen to me before I can build a better nest egg. I’m healthy now. Anyway, that’s me. I’ll be reading. ITs never too late,right? 🙂

  1. Andria says


    I found this site off of MMM. I am 34 and I want to spend the next 20 years investing as much as possible. I only have 70k saved. 30k in a roth Ira at Scottrade in stocks and another 30k at scottrade in stocks but in a Ira. Then I have 10k in a 401k.

    Just turned my life around in January after discovering MMM. I have 4k for emergency and I put 500 in a month making 3% at the bank.

    Any suggestions or where should I start reading first?

    I want to invest in other things but not sure where to start I want to try and retire by 54 but not sure were to put the money.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Andria….

      Welcome and congratulations on the new path you’ve chosen for yourself.

      I’m going to arrogantly assume that when you ask “…where should I start reading first?” you are referring to on this blog. 🙂 Here you go:

      From there I’d read the stock series starting here:

      Finally, I just finished being interviewed here:

      …in case you get tired of reading.

      please feel free to comment and ask questions along the way.

    • Andria says


      Thank you for letting me know where to start reading.

      I have a few questions and I could use some advice please.

      I started contributing 40% of my salary which is almost $700 every two weeks to a 401k that is at Fidelity to the following funds:

      Asset Class Subclass Fund Name Current %
      Stock Investments LARGE CAP FID CONTRAFUND K
      Stock Investments MID-CAP FBR FOCUS INV
      Stock Investments SMALL CAP ALLNZ NFJ SMCPVAL AD
      Blended Fund Investments LARGE CAP FID BALANCED K
      Bond Investments INCOME PIM TOTAL RT INST
      Total: 100%

      Total current balance 10K Is this okay?

      Then I have a IRA through Scottrade of stocks that total 30K.
      Then we have Two Roth IRA accounts that total 30K through Scottrade of stocks and I am doing the max 10K contribution now.

      I am saving $500.00 a month in a savings account that is giving me 3%. My balance is 4k

      After reading your blog I am thinking I may need to change some things around. I want to start the VTSAK fund as well.

      Should I go in the VTSAK for a IRA or a mutual fund? I am thinking if I do IRA I could roll over the 33K from my Scottrade IRA and get it going. Then I will contribute any extra money to the VTSAK fund each month. Then keep my Roth IRA’s through Scottrade. Any suggestions would help. Or is this too much stock and should I do some bonds?

      I have never invested as much money as I do now so it is scary. : ) I like what you did for your daughter helping her to find something she does not have to constantly worry about. I need that. We are 34 so we are trying to save as much as possible for the next twenty years.

      Thank you and thanks for what you do. I am so excited to have found your blog and i signed up.


      • jlcollinsnh says

        Hi Andria…..

        Looking at your 401k, the good news is that you have the US market covered with the small, mid and large cap funds. You’ve also got some international and some bonds.

        The bad news is you are using 6 funds to do it and they are likely high cost ratio choices.

        1st, you can dump the balanced fund. It is just duplicating what you have in the others. Hopefully you can dump some others as well.

        Personally, I don’t see the need for International as I describe here:
        or Bonds at your age.

        But if you want them, Fidelity has an interesting “fund of funds” fund that covers every thing you have in those six: FFNOX, Fidelity Four-in-One Index Fund. It has a reasonable expense ratio of .23%. If that’s an option in your 401k, it’s all you need. Assuming you want the International and bonds. If not all you need is one of these:

        Your 401k almost certainly will offer one of these Total Stock Market Index Funds:
        FSTVX or FSTMX. The first has the lower cost @ .07% so I’d go with that if you can.

        If not, it’ll likely offer one of these Index 500 funds: FUSVX or FUSEX. Any of these four work well.

        VTSAX is an excellent choice for your Roths and IRA.

        As for this being scary, be sure to read Stocks — Part I and the rest of the series. That should help you decide if and when you want to smooth out the ride with the REIT and Bond funds.

        In another week or so I’ll be publishing a post on Target Retirement Funds. These make things even simpler than the Simple Paths I’ve described. You might find them of interest, too.

        Stay tuned, and thanks for subscribing!

      • Andria says

        Okay great, thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it and I am going to look into changing my Fidelity account asap.


        • S F says

          I just wanted to thank you for all your pearls of wisdom. It’s hard to know who has your best interests in mind when it comes to investing but everything I’ve heard/read from you rings true. Also, your advice on life in general is priceless. We need more people like you in the world. Let me know if you plan on cloning yourself so I can invest lol… but seriously thank you I think you got the star for sure.

      • Draggon says

        Jim –

        I’ve been poking around on your blog a lot lately, and it’s pretty cool how much you go out of your way to help people. Generally speaking, you give them tremendously better advice for free than what they would get paying a “professional” for same. Kudos!

        The reason I’m posting (on a particularly old post) is because I was perusing the comments here and came across the mention of your interview with MF. I just got done listening and wanted to extend my thanks for taking the time to do that. It was wonderfully inspiring even though I’m still trying to put my finger on why. I have already read enough of your blog (and other resources) to know everything you talked about in the interview, but even so, hearing you talk about it resonated even stronger with me.

        I think part of it is that, contrary to my logical thinking based on real data, I’m still resisting – just like you talked about – the FACT that “I can’t pick winning stocks – and no one else can either.” I’m no dummy, but why do we do this to ourselves??? I’ve always been a good saver (like you), and I know I’m very close to everlasting (heh) F-You Money (though I’m still too chicken to pull the plug), but I’m also still thinking there’s “got to be a way”.

        It’s slowly but surely sinking in. Thanks for the inspiration!

      • jlcollinsnh says

        Hi Draggon…

        Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad to hear the message resonates with you. Glad also you enjoyed the MF interview:
        It was great fun to do.

        As for individual stocks, once you have index funds set up to do the heavy lifting, there’s nothing wrong with setting aside a small percentage to add some spice.

        Truth is, and don’t tell anyone, I just bought an individual stock a couple of weeks ago. First time since 2012, so clearly I don’t make a habit of it.

        It is a play on what’s happening with oil prices. If I’m right, it might be a quick ~20%. If it stagnates, it still pays ~5.8% in dividends. If I’m wrong, opps! 😉

  2. Andria says


    Yes, I wanted to know where to get started on your blog. :). Thank you very much for the information so I can get started!!!!!!


  3. Andrew says

    I hopefully have 2 pretty quick questions.

    I have e-trade account which I am currently invested in the VFINX and the VFSAX. Am I duplicating myself ?

    I am 23, and also want to know is it better to have the dividends re-invest in the fund, or have them deposited into the account. I would assume to have them re-invested so you get them to compound for you. but a little advice would be great.

    Thank you – and what an awesome blog!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Andrew…

      ..and thanks!

      VFINX is the S&P 500 index fund. It invests in the 500 largest US companies.
      VFSAX is not an actual fund. My guess is you meant to type VTSAX, which is the Total Stack Market Index fund.

      VTSAX invests in every publicly trade US company. Both are great choices, but I prefer VTSAX for its broader range.

      Yes, there is considerable duplication between the two. I’s suggest you chose one and keep things simple.

      And, assuming your goal is to grow your investment, yes I’d recommend you reinvest your dividends and capital gains.

  4. J A says

    Hi Jim –
    Your writing is really inspiring to me. I’m 26 and I feel like I’m cheating at life by absorbing these ideas now!
    Just wanted to say hello and to thank you for sharing your thoughts and your integrity.
    I’m in MA so I’ll invite you for a cup of coffee some day.

    • jlcollinsnh says


      I love it! Cheating at life!

      I’ve often wished some of the blogs like Mad Fientest and MMM were around when I was starting out. Would have saved me a lot of heartache and $$$.

      Thanks for checking in. Coffee sounds like a plan! Let me know next time you make it up to NH.

  5. WS says


    sorry to bother you but I had a few questions to ask and was hoping you could help me out a bit. I’ve also asked MMM as well and am hoping someone can help us figure everything out.

    1) THANK YOU for your blog! LOVE it! Very helpful! Now because both you and MMM have recommended vanguard my husband and I are looking at rolling over everything to them from our american funds ira’s. the only thing that I’m slightly uncomofrtable with is NOT having someone local to answer your questions, make sure to follow up wtih everythings been done correctly etc. I HATE being transfered around on the phone with a company and feeling like I get different answers each time I talk to a different person. Thoughts?

    2) I would like some advise… when reading these early retirement blogs we want to save/ work for early retirement but the problem is noone explains HOW to pull the money out before age 59 1/2… soooo.. where exactly should a young couple (29) be saving our money if we want to retire before age 50 so we can live off of that money?

    3) my husband and I are now in a higher tax bracket… Im self employed and and have just recently incoporated into an s corp… im lookin at trying to determine If I should save into a ROTH IRA using my personal income.. or starting a SIMPLE/SEP and having the corporatin help fund our retirement.. we have only 1 full time employee other then myself and husband. He also works outside of our business. Any suggestions on what we should look at?


    We would appreciate any advice! Thanks!

    Also want to mention our tax brack is netting $100-$110k a year.. and we have 1 Rental house paid off.. and our personal home paid off.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome WS!

      Congratulations on the debt free personal and rental homes! Great start for age 29!

      1. My pleasure!

      Regarding Vanguard my experience has been that they are extremely helpful and it is easy to get a real person on the phone. My suggestion is that you call them directly and explain what you’d like to do. Then you can evaluate your experience with them for yourself.

      2. What I think you are asking here is how to balance tax advantaged (IRAs, 401Ks) “buckets” with regular investment “buckets” so that you can easily pull money out without bumping into the 59.5 age limit rules.

      If you are planning to retire before age 50 that implies an aggressive savings rate. With such a savings rate you should be able to fully fund your tax advantaged buckets and still fund your regular buckets. Then, before 59.5, just tap the regular buckets.

      If you haven’t already, for more on this you might want to read:

      3. You can fund both a SEP and a Roth.

      Since you are self employed, a Simple/SEP is a great option and provides great tax deferral. Go for it.

      You should also fully fund Roths for both you and your husband, assuming you are under the income threshold. For 2013 that’s 178k in adjusted gross income assuming you are married and filing jointly.

      Hope this helps!

  6. Ken says

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for publishing this insightful blog on investing and becoming FI.

    I’m 34 and have received an inherited IRA of about 100,000. Would you recommend putting it all in index funds (VTSAX) now with the market being “expensive”?


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome Ken….

      I’m glad you are here. But rather than answer your question I’m going to give you an assignment.

      Sit on your 100k until you read the stock series here on the blog. The answer is in there, along with a bunch more you should know before investing.

      Good luck and check back!

  7. FiscalEngineering says

    I am totally with you on “Spend sparingly. Tip generously.” I don’t eat out often, but when I do, I make sure I tip generously. I cook and bring lunch to work 95 % of the time to “make up” for the tips that I know I’d give when I eat out. I always tell myself these tips will be for waiters/waitresses with a minimum wage who are college students or single mothers or whoever needs to support their family.

  8. Reuben says

    Hi Jim

    I am reading your posts from New Zealand and have been really enjoying learning about index funds and Vanguard. I am really keen to start investing my savings into one of these funds however being based in New Zealand I have to face exchange rate risk if wanting to invest in VTSAX etc… Do you have any recommendations on how to go about my investment and what my potential options are?

    Thanks, Reuben

  9. Rod says

    Every time I read this manifesto, I get the same great feeling. I’m working on mine, but yours is so profound. If I ever get out east,
    ill buy you a coffee, and hope we can visit. Thank you kind sir, Rod

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Rod…

      Thanks! I’m honored you like it well enough to read more than once.

      I’d be delighted to have the coffee with you. We can compare manifesto notes!

  10. Corey says

    This is the most awesome article I have ever read. I am printing this and sticking it above my desk!! So I see it everyday. Now I have both you and MMM above my desk.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      That’s quite a compliment, Corey. Thank you!

      Just curious, which post of MMM do you have above your desk?

      • Corey says

        Actually it wasn’t one of his articles. It was his interview with Forbes in which he basically spells out all of his philosophies on managing finances and living a more simple life. (Its like 7 pages long actually) That was my first time stepping into this new beautiful world of valuing your freedom over material things.

  11. Joe says

    Hi Jim,

    Question for you: nowhere in your manifesto (or entire website) do you talk about “socially responsible investing” (e.g. divesting from fossil fuel companies). I’m curious what your take on it is.


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Joe…

      Actually this has come up several times in the comments here:

      My concerns with them are that they tend to be actively managed funds. That means stock picking and high ERs, two key indicators of poor performance. Plus, everybody’s idea of what is “socially responsible” differs.

      That said, since there is big money to be made offering these, they have sprung up everywhere like mushrooms after a rain. Those interested can likely find one that closely matches their sensibilities.

      As for me, I figure asking my money to make me more money is asking enough of it as it is. 😉

  12. Andy says

    Hi Jim,

    I spent most of this weekend pouring over all your articles, including many of the links. Wow! What a wealth of information (pardon the lame pun!). I was particularly struck by your advice/opinion regarding house ownership. I bought a fixer-upper in a popular college town for $140,000 cash in 2010, and after sinking a another $120,000 (thanks to a mortgage) into it have a house worth close to $370,000. When I bought the house my wife and I had dreams of living in it at least 15 years. We are now 5 years in and, though we enjoy our house, are wanting to travel a lot with our 9 year old daughter. I run a small business that pays for us to live reasonably well (I’m drawing $50k p.a.), but not enough for us to travel more than two weeks once a year. Your articles were truly inspirational! We are now toying with the idea of selling our house, investing at least $200,000 of the proceeds into index funds (my company SIMPLE IRA is already invested in VTSMX), and holding at least $20,000 back in a ‘Travel Fund’.
    Obviously this is a big decision to sell up and ‘risk’ our equity in the stock market, but after running the numbers it seems we could hit 60 (we are both 43 now) with approximately $1 Million in investments, which would make for a comfortable retirement! Though house prices are rising here, I can’t see us realizing that level of profit from selling our house in 17 years (especially given the on-going costs of home ownership: rising property taxes, maintenance and repairs, etc).
    So, I wanted to thank you for your website, and for giving us a fresh perspective on our future. We love our house, and it has a lot of our blood, sweat, and tears in its walls. But a comfortable retirement, and the ability to travel with our daughter now, is far more compelling!

    Kind regards,


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Andy…

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      It’s great that your house has worked out so financially well for you. Deciding what to do next is a rather delightful problem to have! 🙂

      It’s nice to have options.

      If you decide to sell the house and go with index funds, remember and expect the ride to be volatile. It just part of the process.

      It is with houses too. The difference is you can’t drive yourself nuts looking at the exact price of your house as it fluctuates as you can with a fund. 😉

      All the best on your journeys, financial and otherwise!

  13. Haole B. says

    Aloha Jim! The service you provide to those lucky enough to stumble upon your site is invaluable, & I’m so glad I randomly stumbled your work about 2 mo’s ago, as well as Mustache, Madfientist, et al. It was the advice in your manifesto that really cued my epiphany. Thank you so much. It’s quite a personal reality shift when you can break outside the “normal” American life of obtaining auto, student & home debt, as well as working through my most vital, active years, to retire at 65+, after buying lots of stuff. I’m still in a bit of shock, but now mostly just super excited to get to a bit more freedom.

    My wife & I are in our young 30’s, & just moved to AZ from HI after 4 beautiful years of stacking our F-you money (although we had know idea of the concept yet; I’m reading Noble House now – excellent, BTW). We quit our jobs to travel Asia & NZ for a few months as we’d always wanted to, taking the better part of a year off from our high stress careers as nurses.

    We have always been savers, but have never tried hard enough to save that 50-70% (we are now). Our net worth is around 250k, with about half in 401’s/IRA’s/403b. We are planners as well, but the housing market here in Flagstaff jumped ridiculously in the past few months as California investors snatch up every home we’ve put an offer on (they have been trumping our offers for cash).

    We have a strong psychological desire to own a home, but our 1st choice “settle down town” is proving more financially challenging than thought. We’ve always wanted out of the “throwing rent money away” lifestyle, but now I feel that I’ve just been programmed by the media that I only recently shut off. We have ~75k, which we were about to throw down on a dream home, but now we’re torn on moving back to HI for ~30% better pay, & rent for 10 yrs to get our real F-you money. The cost of living would probably run ~10% higher (knowing what we know now about island living). Ultimately, wherever we are we’d like to go part time for our sanity & health, maybe quitting entirely in 15-20yrs or so. Working alongside nurses in their 60’s & 70’s has amplified my desire to get out before this breaks me. My wife just started opening her mind to all of the good info on this site as well. I take every bit of advice with a grain of salt, but may I ask – what would you do, if you were me at 32, unsure about having kids (for lifestyle reasons, not the $), making 70k/yr in AZ vs. 100k/yr in HI, with a seller’s market in Flagstaff & a near impossible one in HI. We’re living rent-free with the roommates (parents) for now, luckily. but we need our own space. We are trying to give the new job a year & continue to look for houses – but now I’m so conflicted. So many pro’s & con’s to weigh – a good problem to have, I know. Any & all words of wisdom would be much appreciated.

    Thank you again for your invaluable service, I share your work with everyone I care about.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Aloha Haole!

      What would I do? Buy a house or live in Hawaii?

      Hawaii here I come! 🙂

      But that’s me, and I’m much more a wings kinda guy:

      But this is about you and your wife and perhaps reading that post will help you clarify where on the Roots v. Wings spectrum you fall.

      Next, it is great to hear you are freeing yourself from the idea that renting is throwing rent away. That’s just real estate industry propaganda nonsense. Better to rely on, you know, facts and math. 😉

      Owning a house is fine if that’s really what you want. But you should take the time to understand the financial costs. This post will help:

      Read this one, too: Just so you are aware of some of the downsides.

      If you want to own a “dream home” that’s fine. An expensive indulgence, but fine. But it will very likely lock you into long-term working careers.

      Financial independence and freedom from the daily grind is also an expensive indulgence. And it is also fine.

      You have a rather sweet (if not easy) choice to make: Roots v. Wings.

      And remember, you can always change down the road. I have:

      —Wings when I was single and for the first 10 years of our marriage.
      —Roots (and houses) while we raised our daughter.
      —Wings again now that she’s spread her own.

      Enjoy the journey!

  14. Curt says

    “…it only took me five decades and countless mistakes to get here”

    I feel better knowing I am in good company! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. It is very, very helpful to me and I am sure it is helpful to countless others.

  15. Manoj Mathew says

    I am loving the content and comments on this site. May I humbly suggest a couple more things to include in the Manifesto.

    1. Know what you are SAVING your money for and why…example categories below.

    2. Know what you are ‘spending’ your money on and be ruthless about minimizing expenses in each category (examples)
    Eating Out

    3. Besides tipping, donate to charity…start somewhere even if its 5%. Give $20 to that person holding the homeless/jobless signboard.
    When we give, we’ll get rewarded in mysterious ways. Believe me. It works! Opening ones pockets to help others, will widen your pockets to hold way more money.

  16. Yong says

    Your Manifesto is the single best article I’ve read in the past couple years that I’ve been obsessed with financial planning. I just read it again and it is even better the second time around. Appreciate the sage words and your clear and concise advice.

    A Big Fan

  17. Ed says

    Hi Jim,

    Haven’t been on here for awhile, but since I have been recommending your site often to new employees at my work, I thought I would check in, and I had forgotten how inspiring, logical and fun your writing is. I have been following you & MMM for a few years now, and am now saving about 50-60% of my income, and even started a side gig to hopefully save even more. I am 59 and plan on retiring, at worst, in 3 years but possibly sooner. I would not be in this position if I hadn’t started reading and following yours and MMM’s advice. So, thanks a lot for what you do.


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Ed…

      Welcome back!

      Thank you so much for the very kind words and for taking the time to post them. It is comments like yours that really make my day and keep me motivated. And passing the site on is the highest praise of all.

      Congratulations on your great progress. Glad this blog has helped!

  18. Sherri says


    Love this! Heard you on Mad Fientist’s podcast and had to come check out your site. Husband and I both recently turned 40 and are kicking ourselves for not doing things the right way years ago. The only debt we currently have is student loan (mine) and a mortgage, both at 3% (and mortgage is a 15 year with 12 to go). I’m not sure that paying those down faster is better than simply investing any surpluses….thoughts?

  19. Nick says

    The URL in the “You can’t pick winning stocks” link is broken. You left the apostrophe in “can’t” in the link, but it shouldn’t be there.

  20. Miguel M says

    Dear Jim,

    I heard you on the Mad Fientist’s podcast and loved hearing what you’re teaching. I’ve ordered your book on Amazon.

    Where I feel stuck is not in having the buy your own freedom mindset.

    I feel stuck in what career path to choose. I’m 27 and am nine years in to an undergrad degree in accounting that I picked because family said it was a safe bet. The material is not interesting to me and I don’t gel with the mindsets of people in the field.

    I’m finally going back to college to finish my degree but I’m unsure of what to do next, what to choose job-wise. I’m afraid to pick something just because it’ll give me a firehose of money that is a “salary” that I can use to build wealth, but the thought of being stuck in something I don’t like paralyzes me. Can you give me some direction?

    I’m glad I found your writing!

    Miguel M.

    • Andria says

      I am late responding. Miguel, I was having the same issue as you. I did not like my career and had no idea what I wanted to do. I just started buying my freedom and figured it would come to me at some point. Not sure if this will help you but it helped me a lot. I was always skeptic with astrology readings but this reading was spot on for me and other people I know. I started buying back my freedom 5 years go and will be free to start doing the work I love next year. It is free you and the coolest insight I have ever had into myself. I Hope it is not to woo hoo and can help :). Jim you are so amazing. I cannot believe how quickly I will be free next year.

  21. david s says

    I posted this same message on an older comments page of your website:
    I have one third as much as we need to be FI. We’ve set up the path to FI, saving 64%, now we are waiting for it to grow.
    With kids on the way I would love to take a few years off from life and be with them; in short being FI in 8 years may be less important than doing so now.
    According to my calculations, it would cost us hundreds of thousands in the long term for me to take off this time and be full time dad, before reintegrating into workforce. This would derail the current FI track and get on more of a 20 year journey.
    Do you know of an analysis of this dilemma, or have thoughts about it?
    Thank you,

    • jlcollinsnh says

      If you’ve done the math, David, and it sounds like you have, this is a personal call only you can make.

      Good luck.

  22. David Rudge says

    Just read the Simple Path to Wealth, which I very much enjoyed. I have two questions for you. First, who (or what) is the publisher? (I keep a growing list of books I’ve read and this is the first time I’ve ever had difficulty finding the name of the publisher and the place of publication from the book itself.) Second, I’m wondering if one could have an even simpler investment philosophy. As I understand it, you advocate a stake in the bond market as you approach and during the draw down period to smooth out volatility. I’m wondering whether this might be a function of the percentage with which one plans to draw down. In other words, it makes sense to invest in a Vanguard index bond fund if you you have a draw down rate of 4% or higher and wouldn’t make sense if you have a 0% draw down rate. I’m wondering whether there is a sweet spot between these two where you would identify it as pretty much a coin flip whether or not to invest in an bond index fund.

  23. Suzanne Skidmore says

    Thank you for writing and sharing the manifesto. It would make a useful addition tucked into to a greeting card for graduations, weddings, 18th birthdays, etc.

  24. Liz B says

    I just finished reading your book and unfortunately have to return it to library today–there is a huge line of holds on it. Thankfully, it had answers to many questions I’ve tried to figure out on my own over the past few years, but a few questions I’ve wondered at that I did not find answers to in the book.
    Brief background: We are a low-income family of 6, soon to be 7 and are as well set up (frugally, I mean) as probably anyone can possibly be. We can fit into ERE’s $5000-7000 per person per year model, it’s just that our income does not much outpace that. We are renting for very cheap in an excellent neighborhood where everything we need is in walking or biking distance, and if not, mostly also by public transit. We have been car-free for almost 5 years, and our grocery budget is $600/month. We do not make excessive purchases, except my husband is addicted to books. I was taught young to live within my means, and to always save/invest something, and to ride out market lows. So far we have succeeded in those areas.
    One of the most helpful things in the book was your “basic hierarchy for deploying investment money” because we have always contributed up to the employer matching amount, but are at an income that is not taxed, and I was trying to figure out if the Roth IRA was the next best step, or just to increase the contributions to the employer plan (simplicity).
    I have a few investment questions obliquely related to that hierarchy:
    1) If we decide to move away from our “perfect setup” in the city to live near either of our aging families, both of which live in rural areas, we would need to be able to both buy a vehicle and a home of some type. I have looked around, and it is not feasible to rent in either area. Assuming this situation is 5-10 years away, would it make sense to save money for those events by opening an individual/joint (non-retirement) account with Vanguard and invest the money (VTSAX) in that “bucket” until we know whether those plans are firmly on the horizon?
    2) Your section on HSAs was extremely helpful. Because of our current income situation, we are on Medicaid, but when the income bumps up (it will), I was trying to figure out whether the employer’s PPO plan or the high-deductible with the HSA would be the better option. From the standpoint of having children, it seems entirely possible that the PPO could cost us less out-of-pocket, because you never know when someone is going to swallow a battery or get hit point blank in the face by a random kid’s irresponsible boomerang usage. However, the PPO is only $50/month more with a $3000 family deductible, and the HSA has a $6000 family deductible. The employer contributes $900 automatically and up to additional $900 in matching funds ($1800/year) to the HSA. Having children, I could easily see maxing out the deductible on either plan, in which case the plan with the HSA would end up costing us $50/month more, even with the employer contributions, if I did my math correctly. Is there a compelling reason then to still choose the high deductible plan with HSA, or is it really just a gamble from our standpoint? Also, where do HSA contributions fit in the investment contribution hierarchy, and is this dependent on the amount of “buffer zone” in case of emergency? What I mean is, I could see where a more comfortable income with the ability to save a higher percentage of income would be able to absorb the fluctuations inherent in the high-deductible/HSA option by paying out of pocket rather than drawing on the HSA, whereas, we are currently only able to maintain a much smaller “emergency fund”—typically only enough to cover travel expenses to a funeral in the family type thing. Since you recommend that families planning to use the money to pay for current bills keep it in an FDIC insured savings acct rather than something like VTSAX, I’m guessing the HSA would only make sense for a family that could also save the parallel amount in an ordinary account, invest in VTSAX, and save the receipts for the HSA for years down the road (assuming the laws about that don’t change). Am I thinking about this correctly?
    And here is one other question I have about content in the book:
    This may sound silly and simple, and even dumb, but that is precisely the point, since your book is titled The Simple Path to Wealth. I appreciate your suggestion about rebalancing whenever the market goes up or down 20% or more. However, is there a simple way to figure this? Even the worst individual days didn’t see such huge drops, did they? Data I could find listed days like October 15, 2008 as a drop of about 8%. The only single-day drop over 20% that I could find was October 19, 1987. Do you mean 20% over a time period, say a week or month? Or however long or short it takes to get that total of 20% change? How would that 20% be calculated, since I know you can’t just add/subtract daily percentage changes. Or were you simply being facetious with this number, since it doesn’t ever appear other than that particular day in 1987?

    Thank you for your help in learning these things. Your book was the next step I needed beyond what my father taught me, and he taught me well. I have been exposing my oldest son, age 14, to the ideas of financial independence and early retirement, and I think he may well go for it. He sees the connection between F-you money and the goals and dreams he has for his life, and has a general sense and his own ideas of how to get there.

  25. jlcollinsnh says

    Hi Liz…

    Well, we can solve your husband’s book addiction right off: The Library! As you already know. 🙂

    I tell people, my book collection is so large I have an entire (and lovely) building dedicated to housing it. Moreover, I have a full time staff to manage it. All of this is free, I just have to let some other people read my books sometimes too. 😉

    OK, on to your questions:

    If you are not paying federal income taxes, there is no benefit to 401(k) and IRA plans. In fact, should your income rise by the time you retire, you could have set yourself up to pay taxes when you begin withdrawls.

    Roth is perfect for your situation.

    1. How flexible will you be when the time comes? If you can delay the move and purchase for a few years in case the market has turned down, I’d be inclined to use VTSAX and hope it gets me to my goal sooner. If not, stick with cash. Of course you can use a stock/bond allocation to tailor how much risk you are willing to take:

    2. Insurance makes my eyes glaze over, so I’m likely not the best person to ask on this. That said, your thinking seems sound to me. You might check out the Mad Fientist on this:

    The 20% drop I refer to would be over a period of time and, as you observe, very rarely in just a single day. Sometimes a few weeks, most often over a few months and could easily be over a year or more.

    Hope this helps!

    Congratulations on exposing your son to these concepts. What a wonderful advantage he’ll have should he embrace them and start so young.

    • Liz B says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. This should at least last me until I can scrape together enough for my own copy. There was so much useful info in the book, it was too much to take notes on in the time it had to go back to the library.

  26. Mighty Investor says

    Loved the manifesto, and that you managed to work in a reference to Beanie Babies. That takes a certain artfulness! Your comments about “read constantly” remind me of how Buffett and Munger are always talking about how they have their heads in books non-stop. I wonder if spending time on blogs and related web-based content counts as “reading” for purposes of achieving success…..

    Today is the first time I’ve visited your blog. Looking forward to reading more.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks MI…

      I’m glad this was the first, or one of the first, posts here you read.

      Personally, in addition to books, I read magazines and blogs and for me they all “count” 🙂

  27. TigerLily67 says

    Just recently discovered your blog (and the whole FI blogging / podcast world for that matter!) and am absolutely loving it! Although I made really bone-headed decisions with money in my 20s (and most of my 30s) I’ve since righted the ship and blogs like this help to encourage me in my quest for FI! Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      “I made really bone-headed decisions with money in my 20s (and most of my 30s)”

      So did I, Tiger Lily, so did I. 😉


  28. Louis says

    Hi Jim,

    Since finding your audiobook “The Simple Path to Wealth” on Audible, I’ve been more proactive than ever with building a secure financial future for myself. I can’t thank you enough for the knowledge that you’ve shared with the world, even though the combination of acronyms, percentages, and esoteric financial terms occasionally makes my head spin! I often need to take notes and look up terms on Investopedia as I listen along, but that’s part of the process, I suppose.

    Long story short, I graduated with a BA from Brown University in 2012 with $80k in student debt. Most of it was privately issued, and several of my loans with Discover have interest rates of nearly 10%. If only I had known more about what I was getting myself into at the young age of 18. Your brief comment about the ethical considerations of issuing student loans to the youth truly resonated with me. You’re right that it’s basically indentured servitude!

    Right now, I’m in the final interview stages of a company that will pay $90k in salary. The size of my student loan debt leaves me no other choice but to secure as high a salary as possible. If I’m fortunate enough to secure this position, I’m planning to divert at least $3K per month in order to pay off my student loans entirely by the age of 30. Per your advice, I’m finding the sharpest knife that I can find and cutting off the leeches one by one!

    I’m also planning to begin setting aside savings as I move along in addition to investing in VTSAX, as you suggested. However, I’m seeing that the minimum amount for Admiral Shares is $10K. Are there other approaches that you would recommend for someone who doesn’t have access to this amount of money? I certainly wish that I did…

    Many thanks,

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Louis…

      Thanks for taking the time to write and share your story. Glad to hear my writings have been useful. The more you read, the more all those details will make sense and fall into place.

      VTSMX is the “investor shares” version of VTSAX. It has a slightly higher ER, but the entry point is only $3000. Once you hit $10,000 you can shift it into VTSAX. I believe Vanguard does this automatically, but it is worth watching to be sure.

      Sounds like you are off to a fine start. Enjoy the journey!

  29. Big Mike says

    I find it interesting came to read your blog from a link on from “Can I Retire Yet” Your manifesto is almost exactly what I have been doing and saying for years. If people did not know better, they would this it was me.

    You have great insights(not just because I agree with them either).

  30. R Hucks says

    Mr. Collins:
    I thoroughly enjoy your blog/website and enjoyed your book. So much so that I bought copies for my children. I’m 56 and have been maxing out my retirement savings options for about 10-12 years. Looking to retire at 59 or 60. Fortunate to still really enjoy what I do for a living as well. Already have decided that a 3 index fund portfolio (+ maybe enough in a structured CD ladder to cover living withdrawals when markets are down) is the way I’m going. Currently with Fidelity, because that’s where my employer has the relationship. They’ve taken steps very recently to compete in the low-cost index fund arena with Vanguard. I have personal investments with Vanguard, and love their approach. THANKS for hosting this site, and for sharing your manifesto. I look forward to re-reading your book again very soon (trouble is, I highlighted about every other line in it)!

  31. Zack says

    Okay, I finally finished the beta version of the financial independence course I talked with you about a few months ago. I was hoping you could look it over and see what I should add/change to get the J L Collins stamp of approval. I know the presentation needs to be redone but I wanted to crowdsource the content a bit before taking the time to get the presentation looking and sounding professional.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Zack…

      Congratulations on finishing your course.

      Unfortunately, I simply haven’t the time to vet it. But I wish you and your students all the best.

  32. Lee says

    Hi Jim,
    I have VTSAX in my Vanguard brokerage account. I also have VTSAX in a Roth IRA. I am 35 and currently not working and living overseas. I started late to invest. Since I can’t contribute to my Roth IRA, I am buying VTSAX in Vanguard brokerage account. I am thinking of adding either VBN or VBTLX to my taxable account. I can slowly add to each fund (VTSAX and (VBN or VBTLX). Which bond do you like? Thank you for all you do! Enjoyed your book and blog. Lee

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Lee…

      If you mean BND, it is the ETF version of VBTLX and so is the same portfolio.

      I am unaware of a fund ticker of VBN.

      VBTLX is my bond fund of choice.

  33. Timj says

    I read A Random Walk Down Wall Street, well half of it. I got the point early on. Since then I’ve moved everything over to low cost diy stuff through Schwab and Vanguard. I went from losing money through my investor managed to averaging the market. Thank you for continuing to spread the word. My wife and I only have a mortgage as far as debt goes. At 49 I have over a million dollars in my retirement and can afford to pay cash for my kids college. I know some of it is luck but it’s also that although we live very well, just not over our means. But between you, minimalism and frugal movements, I’m thinking I’d like to try the early retirement gig. Next up is f-you money. Thanks again.

  34. Carlos Nunes says

    Dear Mr JL Collins,

    My name is Carlos and I am a Brazilian living in UK.

    Since I found your blog long time ago and your manifesto I’ve changed the way I manage my approach to money.

    I loved the simplicity and clarity of your approach.

    To give you an idea I dropped my portfolio from around 200 different Assets to just few ones in the last few years and still working towards to keep only 2 (75% VTSAX and 25% Total bond).

    My portfolio wasn’t bad in terms of returns but was really bad in terms of efforts vs return, and when comparing to your 2 assets strategy I know I will achieve long term better results without the hassle 😎😎 (thanks again)

    Financially speaking I already F.U my money, but still working to other reasons and goals rather than just the money.

    I did not achieve yet my goal of portfolio simplification as I am still have some assets that are waiting for maturity/liquidity (at least the interest rates for bonds in Brazil are still beyond reasonable value in our favour)!

    Also your blog gave me extra motivation to start my on blog for helping people in Brazil 🇧🇷 to F.U their money and achieve Financial Independence!

    Thank you very much for that and let me know when you are around UK so we can have a nice pint or a good bottle of wine (I will pay for sure as a matter of gratitude for everything I learned from you)

    Best Regards,

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Carlos…

      Thanks for checking in!

      This is a very astute point:

      “My portfolio wasn’t bad in terms of returns but was really bad in terms of efforts vs return”

      As it happens, we will be in the UK May 31-July 9. Ship docks at Southhampton where we’ll spend a couple of days. Then Winchester and on to London 9-12th. From there Chautauqua till the 23rd. Not sure the plan after that and until July 10th when we head to Amsterdam.

      • Carlos Nunes says

        That is great!

        Coincidentally I will be in London for a weekend with my family from May 31st to Jun 2nd so if you guys do not have any plans we can have the 🍺 or the 🍷.

        Let us know what you think and we can try to plan something (contact below)

        Note: thanks for not publishing my phone number.



  35. Luz says

    Love this Manifesto and also the Nine Basics. I’m curious: does being low-income change the formula at all?
    According to my calculations, my husband and I will be in a position to cover our bases (monthly expenses, emergency fund, decent retirement, help kids get established/care for aging parents, possibly buy a small house) + pay for a few extra goals like live abroad for a year. But never really go beyond that.
    We have no debt and live within our modest means ($30,000/year). We are extremely frugal and invest our surplus (though it is nowhere near the 50% suggested, since we would be left with $12,000 a year to live on after taxes and health insurance). My husband immigrated to the US with little English and had to start over from the bottom. He’s returning to school this fall and his earnings will likely settle around $40,000/year which is enough to support our growing family, but leaves little for much else. He loves his career path, but it’s obviously not lucrative.
    I have a grad school degree but am taking 10 years out of the workforce while I still have preschoolers. When I go back, my (part-time) earnings will go toward covering the long term goals mentioned above. Like my husband, I love my field, but it’s not particularly high-earning (especially in comparison to the FIRE crowd). That’s great for staying in the career for 30 years, but not the best for financial independence. Given the opportunity costs we’ve made for our kids, the meaningful but non-lucrative careers we’ve chosen, and the fact that it’s taken time (precious, compounding time) for my husband to establish himself, can we still experience financial independence above and beyond covering our bases? The point is not in retiring early, but I would love to generate f-you money since you never know what life will bring and I like having options. Would any of the principles require a bit of a modification for our situation?

    On a separate note… a recent illness made me question our extreme frugality. I’m one of those people that gets gratification from delaying gratification. But I also realize that life (my own or loved ones) may not be as long as I have planned. Right now, nearly every cent of our surplus goes towards long term goals. If I had less time to live than the 95 +/- years I’m setting money aside for, I would invest more in making memories with my loved ones (road trips, eating out, going to amusement parks etc) rather than sacrificing so much of the present for the future. Where do you strike that balance?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Luz,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Mr. Collins is currently traveling and unable to respond just now.

      We find for most questions, he has already covered the topic. Using the Search button might very well provide your answer. If not, please post your question again after October 15, 2019.

  36. Scott says

    Regarding the manifesto point keeping a mental list of people you’d like to have a cup of coffee with and invite them. You are now on my list and officially invited. Should you find yourself back in Wisconsin I’m in. If it’s in the summer I’ve got an extra motorcycle if you don’t mind being on something other than British Triple.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Scott…

      …As it happens, we’ve been in WI the last couple of months and leave tommorrow for the SW.

      Not sure when we’ll be back…


  37. Maria says

    Hello Mr. Collins,

    I’m 18 and (freshmen in college) and am just starting to explore investment and financial independence (so forgive me if my question has a very simple answer). I just finished your book “The Simple Path to Wealth” and am making plans to follow the plan laid out by using the $3000 plan. I found the chapter for your daughter particularly interesting, as it was most applicable to my path. I noticed how you told your daughter to start living off her investments once she reaches financial independence (in her early to mid thirties). I was wondering where she would hold these investments as there are penalties to withdrawing early from IRAs. I was wondering what type of bucket these particular investments should be held in (like a savings account with high interest?) and whether there are tax advantaged buckets they can be placed in that allow from withdrawal earlier than 59 and 1/2.

    Thank you so much,

  38. Stephen C Francis says

    Message from Satan

    In the interest of full disclosure:
    • I am English. We Brits usually make the best villains, tyrants and evil overlords in the films. So, not a great start.
    • I am a landlord of many properties. Certainly, here in the UK but perhaps elsewhere as well, the word “landlord” is usually preceded by the word “evil” as an essential qualification for the role.
    • Finally, to absolutely confirm my position on the dark side, I am a financial adviser. It is a small mitigation that am, at least, independent rather than one of those truly evil ‘tied’ agents out to sell their companies financial wares for the god of profit above all else!

    Having read your book, which I really enjoyed, along with so many others about finance and financial independence, I have a concern about ethics. Whoa! Satan is bothered about ethics?
    Well, I suppose I must have. It is, after all, important to know and understand the opposition.

    I am going to start with three assumptions:
    • You are in favour of democracy. Without democracy, there is little incentive for anyone to make more of their lives and certainly not the freedom to do so.
    • You are in favour of capitalism. This has been described, by Winston Churchill (yes, another evil Brit!), as the worst possible economic system, apart from all the rest. Financially, it has been an astoundingly successful model. A key point is that it aligns the goals of companies and the people as their shareholders.
    • You are a Christian or at least a good person. Our regulations are broadly based on a Christian ethos even if our governments are secular.

    Now, I warn you that I am going to be rude and insulting. What else would you expect from Satan?

    How much is a company share worth?

    There is no absolute value. The price is simply a temporary equilibrium between what sellers are prepared to sell it for and buyers are prepared to buy it for. Neither are idiots, or at least we hope not. Assuming they each have access to full and accurate information about the company, their analysis should be fair. Rather than the buyer or seller having an un unfair advantage, the relative value will more depend on timeframe and the needs for investment or disinvestment.

    In modern economies there are strict rules about accounting and against the trading by those with insider information that might make their position unfair. Of course, there are rogues even in our highly regulated firms, but this is not too common.

    The result is that we believe we have an efficient market.

    However, this all relies on having very clever and hard-working analysts to provide good information to the buyers and sellers of the shares, who are largely made up of active fund managers.

    Good companies with rising profits are rewarded by this system because their shares are bought and the demand increases their share price and total value. Bad companies are punished by sales of their shares leading to lower capitalisation.

    This is an essential part of the self-regulation of our capitalistic system.

    It makes no difference to financial advisers, at least independent ones, whether they choose one fund manager over another. So, there is every incentive for them to do their best in selecting good funds for their clients. Better returns are more likely to encourage their clients to invest more which adds to the ongoing service fees to the adviser.

    This further reinforces the implicit regulation of the financial system.

    Now, I will get to the point.

    Where do things stand about the ethics of investing in index tracker funds?

    Do they work? My feeling is that, for the most part, the answer is yes.

    It is often stated about how few active funds consistently beat their respective index. What a stupid idea! The index is simply a measure of the weighted average of all the shares held in that index. It is not something separate from what the fund managers are doing but, to a very large extent, just an average of what they are doing. So, on average, how can active funds beat the average of what they are doing? And, yes, once charges are added, the net returns, on average will be yet lower.

    So, if a tracker fund is average and fees are lower, then net performance will be better.

    But, this is simply taking a free ride on the work by all the active fund managers. Without their analysis the pricing of shares and hence the associated index would be meaningless and, ultimately, capitalism itself would be in jeopardy.

    One way I have described this is that you could save a lot of money by popping round to a neighbour to ask for his Wi-Fi code. You could connect your computers to his connection and avoid having to pay for your own. It would work, but would it be ethical?

    Another visual image, though I appreciate yet more insulting, is that a tracker fund is a parasite on this creature we call the stockmarket. It’s fine when just drawing a little blood while the creature goes about it’s business doing the hard graft of analysis, buying and selling shares, keeping the market efficient. But when the parasite grows larger, and invites its friends to this free meal, how long before the host is weakened. Do the parasites then just feed on each other?

    If everyone invested in tracker funds, what exactly would they be tracking? The figures for 2019 were that 45% of funds were trackers. If nothing else, that means that every 1% move by active managers has a disproportionate affect on the market.

    My conclusion is that trackers are a good thing for investors but, are they ethical?

    Will they damage the very efficiency of the market? Mmm. We’ll have to see. I cannot see that they can be a benign influence on the market though they are exerting a lot of downward pressure on fees.

    Perhaps time to look for another job.

  39. TAM says

    Jim, I am a big fan and enjoy your common-sense approach, but also an approach based on carefully considered research. I apologize if you have addressed my question previously and would appreciate guidance where to look on your blog. My question is, your thoughts on paying off one’s mortgage early? I have read multiple sources on paying off early vs. investing recommendations. My psychology steers towards the “paying off early” camp but always like to hear other’s views.

    Most appreciative and best to you, TAM

  40. Mariela says

    I’ve been listening to you audio book” The Simple Path to Wealth” and I enjoyed tremendously finding a “wealth of info”. At the end states that to print the book there is a link provided by the seller. Could not find such at Amazon.

    Many Thanks

  41. Celia says

    Hey Jim,

    I was born in the US, grew up in Israel, and now living in Greece. I heard about your blog through several groups and bloggers on Facebook (one of whom has translated most of your series into Hebrew).

    “Fads, manias and bubbles: What they all have in common is that by the time you start reading about them everywhere, the end is near.”

    I love your blog, and find that I relate to it on many levels. The only thing that makes me nervous about living by its ideas, is that I’m reading about them everywhere!

    Do you think the end might be near?

  42. Vanessa says

    Hello Mr. Collins,

    My husband and I are huge fans of your book, Simple Path to Wealth. I’m a high school teacher at a Continuation High School in a lower socioeconomic area. I love teaching financial literacy to my students and would love to start coaching their families as well. I passionately feel it’s the best way to help my community. The only hurdle is many of my students’ families are undocumented workers. Is there a way they can invest for retirement even with undocumented status? Any tips are appreciated. Thank you so much for reading !

  43. Anne says

    Hi there! Not sure if you’re still reading/responding to these comments, but just in case…

    I’ve just read Simple Path to Wealth and have turned several friends onto it, I’m so grateful for your sharing your wisdom! I’m slowing making changes to my money distribution and habits and am very excited about it.

    My question:
    My mom is 71 and will retire in the next 1-2 years. She has always set money aside for retirement, but isn’t confident that she has ‘enough’. Based on the 4% rule, she seems to think she needs more to live on than she has saved.

    Her 401K money is managed by a financial advisor that her office uses. She also has money saved in an eTrade account, which my dad manages. He seems confident in his money skills, but does not talk about his tactics at all.

    I’ve been telling my mom all the great things I’ve been learning from Simple Path and some FI podcasts. Do you think that, at age 71, it makes sense for her to start investing in VTSAX and implement some of your methods? Or does the fact that her time horizon is shorter make it illogical? I’ve at least persuaded her to use a HYSA instead of a traditional savings account, but that’s not going to do a whole lot for her.

    Thanks in advance, and thanks again for all of your good work!

  44. Phillip says

    5+ years ago, I would agree with “Vanguard. End of Story”. Today, Vanguard’s low cost advantage is more-or-less gone compared with other major brokerage providers (Fidelity, Schwab, etc) having equal products and MUCH BETTER customer service (more competent phone reps, faster response times, better website, better “free” advisory services, etc.). I’m a Flagship Vanguard customer and still buy and hold Admiral mutual fund shares and Vanguard ETFs but have no great love for them vs their primary competitors today.

  45. Rahim says

    Omg! I can’t thank you enough!!! I used to be clueless about Stocks and bonds and the whole subject of investing. I had a lot of cash because I adhere to the lifestyle you recommend in your book but I was afraid to invest thinking investing is very complex. I have probably read your book “ Simple Path to Wealth” more than 10 times now and most of my money is now in Vangaurd VTSAX except my monthly spending and emergency fund. Thank you so much for all the values you have brought to us investors !!!!!!

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