Some folks from The Motley Fool interviewed me recently. You can see their article, along with my generic investment advice here, which I first published several years ago:


The power of the nine items is that they are in the order in which you should do them. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but if you are new to investing, you wouldn't know where to start, and you'd have a hard time finding that answer anywhere else. You would probably end up letting some professional manager handle your money while converting much of your gains into his fees. The nine point list solves that problem.

The other power of the list is that it excludes all of the investment concepts that you shouldn't be messing with. Notice that there are no derivatives, or options, or anything exotic.

Obviously every investor is in a different situation, and I wouldn't expect many people to follow the nine points exactly. But I think it helps to know what the standard model looks like before you decide where to make your own exceptions.

All bets are off for the moment, obviously. The big question this week is which one of your neighbors you should eat first when things get bad. And of course I expect some sort of zombie problem. But in normal times, the nine point list is useful.

Arguably, all of our economic problems stem from too many people not following the nine point investment list.

Astute observers will point out that anyone who had a lot of money in stocks, as the model suggests, would have gotten hammered this year. That's true, but one of the obvious exceptions to the model is that if you think you need to withdraw your money in the next five years, you should reduce your stock holdings to avoid the risk of just such a downturn.

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Jul 2, 2010
I believe you know a subscription for ETF's which I am real untold involved. I know previously dispatched you an email on this substance trying to uncovering out how some does it expenditure, and also how is it that I can write to it. I bed not been healthy to hear the way to write to your ETF announcement.
<a href="http://investmentsupport.co.uk" rel="dofollow">Investment Support</a>
Oct 27, 2008
An obvious improvement of the list:

Number 9 should read “Take whatever money is left over and invest the percentage resulting from subtracting your age from one hundred in a stock index fund and the rest in a bond fund through any discount broker, and never touch it until retirement.” instead of “Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker, and never touch it until retirement.”
Oct 26, 2008
lets see, there are stocks that make money. then there are stocks that people think will make money. and stocks that people buy because the stocks price is going up and can be pedded to people who think the stock will be worth more money. but has no real worth. call it the bigger fool method. some one who is a bigger fool than you will buy it. now whats been going on. TAKE A LONG LOOK AT LESTER THUROW'S BOOK. "THE ZERO-SUM SOCIETY. from 1971 its so old that it sold for $12.95
Oct 26, 2008

Hi Scott,

You need to make it so the comments are all on one page, this way people that read this at work can copy and paste the comments all at once thus appearing to reduce the amount of time spend browsing the internet
Oct 26, 2008
Hey Scott, nothing to do with the blog subject, but todays strip - if you put bunk beds in it, you could call it a carbuncle ...
Oct 25, 2008
"The big question this week is which one of your neighbors you should eat first when things get bad. "

Of my two neighbors, one has cats, the other dogs. I think the cats would be missed less, but the dogs have more meat.

Tough call.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 25, 2008
-1) work hard, if you work hard enough and are industrious, you'll have enough money because you don't have time to spend it.
Oct 24, 2008
John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard believes investors should simply buy the lowest-cost index funds available and hold them forever. His rule of thumb is to take your age minus 10 and hold that percentage of your assets in a total bond market index fund and the rest in a total stock market index fund. For example, a 30-year old would put 20 percent in bonds and 80 percent in stocks.

This strategy nearly eliminates "the two greatest enemies of equity investing -- expenses and emotions."
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Oct 24, 2008
The stock market is easy to handle. Just buy when everyone is saying it is going badly, and hold when they say it is going well. Also negative gear (by borrowing to buy more) to magnify it all. But do not overdo it. And spread it around so each company is only a small proportion of your portfolio.

I have been doing it for years, and have done very well out of it. Much better than the silly super our government makes us have. And also better than the stocks that supposed experts have recommended I buy. I stopped listening to them years ago.

And make sure you enjoy it. It is lots of fun.
Oct 24, 2008
Stick to drawing comics, monkey brain!
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 24, 2008
I would have thought that #7 "Put six months' worth of expenses in a money market account." be higher or at least before #6 "Buy a house". That is actually my number one priority, I always have emergency fund. (I secretly think that people with credit card loans are stupid. Can't they do 4th grade math?)

When things get worse, I would eat the lean vegetarians first. It is no excuse to snack on junk food.
Oct 24, 2008
Hi Scott (Adams) -
I've been reading your blog for several years now. I've always enjoyed your sense of humor and the open environment for thinking you promote. Aside from a good number of your comics I've also read The Dilbert Principle and God's Debris- The Dilbert Principle has had an impact on the office/tech job I've been working at for 3 years now (I'm 22), mainly, helped me keep my sanity. As someone who recognizes the extent to which environmental factors impact human behavior I believe you recognize the importance of absorbing new data of varying intensities into your everyday thinking. I would be interested to see what you have to say and the impact (if any) the following would have on your thinking.


As a musician and someone who actively seeks to bring out the best in the world many of the things discussed in the videos struck a chord with me, particularly in the second half of the Addendum. I'm sure you always have plenty on your plate but I do recommend watching both 'Zeitgeist' and 'Zeitgeist: Addendum' within proximity of each other. I've already spent a good amount of time verifying facts and sources used in the video as well as rebuttals and have found nothing yet that has changed my over all agreement with the Zeitgeist videos.

I hope this email finds you well and I want to express my appreciation for your habit adding positive energy to people's lives on a daily basis.

-C (schoolstuff2007@gmail.com)
Oct 24, 2008
Good points, all. When you see professional money managers who try to anticipate the market's ups and downs and pick the 'right' stocks, then go into the tank when they pick wrong, you begin to wonder how an individual investor could ever hope to beat the market by buying individual stocks.

Buying mutual funds is not as good an investment as it once was, because those institutions aren't run as honestly as they should be; there are lots of hidden fees - take a look at the Forbes list of the richest people in America and see how many of them run brokerage houses that offer mutual funds. They didn't get rich off of their own investments - they got rich off of your fees. There are a lot of hidden fees that you have to really dig to find; in addition, many mutual funds sell a large portion of your portfolio within a single year, sometimes as much as three times - this means you're going to get a big tax bill for any gain (not a worry right now, for most people, but think about it long term).

In general, try to diversify and build a balanced portfolio that is appropriate for your timeframe, risk tolerance, needs and goals. Then, keep it balanced and invest it for the long term. There has never been a seven-year period, including the Great Depression, when the stock market averages didn't gain at least 7% per year, so don't panic because you're seeing some short term volatility- the market will recover.

If you are invested in stocks, now is the time to buy more. Most small cap value stocks are undervalued, as are some large cap value stocks. Take Charles Schwab, for example. Their market cap (if you don't know what that means, you should find out!) is now around $24B. However, the firm has $27B in cash. That means if you could buy up all the stock and then just shut the company down, you'd come out $3B ahead - ignoring how much profit the company is making as it continues operations. That's how undervalued many stocks are right now.

But don't buy individual stocks. If you do, your emotions will get in the way of your decisions and you'll buy high and sell low. If you are invested and can leave your investments alone for another three to five years, you really don't have much to worry about. If you're invested and you will need some funds over the next three to five years, try to minimize your current expenses as much as you can, and withdraw as little from your investment accounts as you can. That way, you'll still be invested when the market bounces back.

Oil is down hugely. The housing market is recovering. If business confidence stays up there, we won't see a huge number of lay-offs. I know you're hearing about some on the news now, but overall the economy is still in pretty good shape. With oil coming down, inflation will be down, too, which is goodness. Once the credit markets ease up, we'll be in pretty good shape. Don't listen to the gloom-and-doomers. They're just trying to get their name in the news.

If it worries you when you look at your investment statements, don't look at them. Just think of how well off you'll be when the market goes back to previous levels, and pray that whomever the next president is, he'll realize that raising taxes is not going to stimulate the economy. One can only hope.
Oct 24, 2008
I love the advice and am fairly good about following it. I put the max in my 401k, have no credit card debt, and put all my “extra” money toward my mortgage to pay it off early. You do kinda glaze over one important issue though. I encourage everyone to setup their 401k (most providers have this option) so that it readjusts automatically to “lifecyle” settings. For example, my funds are pegged to my retirement age in 2033. Each year, the portfolio is automatically readjusted to put more to bonds and less to stock. Now in 2008, it is higher risk. As I get closer to retirement age, it will be lower risk and mostly bonds.
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Oct 24, 2008
Sounds very similar to the advice Dave Ramsey gives. To quote him, "Every time I read the story, the tortoise wins."
Oct 24, 2008

Another guy came up with another list of nine important things to keep in mind in terms of investing; been up for a while. Again this article suggests that going crazy with stocks is not a great idea but that index funds are good, at least for the average dude. You won't get super rich, but you won't lose everything either
Oct 24, 2008
From a retiree: If/when you have enough money saved in your 401k to fund a good retirement, move it to a "safer" fund and/or increase your bond component. And if you want to dabble, allow 5% for "wild" stocks.

I followed said advice as well as yours Scott and have been comfortably retired for many years. Two of my three stock purchases tanked; but, the third bought 12 years or so ago, did extremely well and is even holding up now.
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