Host Jon Luskin, CFP® and the Bogleheads® community ask questions to financial experts – live.
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Paul Merriman answers questions about small-cap value investing.
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[00:00:00] Jon Luskin: Bogleheads® Live is our ongoing Twitter space series where the do-it-yourself investor community asks their questions to financial experts live on Twitter. You can ask your questions by joining us for the next Twitter space. Get the dates and times of the next Bogleheads® Live by following the John C Bogle Center for Financial Literacy on Twitter. That’s @bogleheads.
[00:00:22] For those that can’t make the live events, episodes are recorded and turned into a podcast. This is that podcast.
[00:00:29] Hi folks, Jon Luskin, your Bogleheads® Live host here for a pre-episode head’s up. Normally our podcast listeners are spared from any number of exciting technical difficulties that those folks who attend our live events get to enjoy.
[00:00:45] For our 10th episode, I am unable to spare our podcast listeners. Due to technical difficulties, we didn’t have the best audio quality for Paul. And now onto the 10th episode of Bogleheads® Live.
[00:01:03] Thank you everyone for joining us for the 10th Bogleheads® Live. My name is Jon Luskin and I’m the host for today.
[00:01:09] My co-host for today is Paul Merriman, a nationally recognized authority on mutual funds, index investing and asset allocation. After retiring from Merriman Wealth Management, Paul created the Merriman Financial Education Foundation dedicated to providing investors of all ages with free information and tools to make informed decisions in their own best interest and successfully implement their retirement savings program.
[00:01:35] Today, we’ll be discussing the selection of asset classes with Paul Merriman. I’ll rotate between asking Paul questions that I got beforehand from the Bogleheads® forum at Bogleheads.org and Bogleheads Reddit. And taking live audience questions from the folks here today.
[00:01:49] Let’s first start by talking about the Bogleheads®, a community of investors who believe in keeping it simple, following a small number of tried and true investing principles. You can learn more at The John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy at boglecenter.net.
[00:02:05] Mark your calendars for future episodes of Bogleheads® Live next Wednesday, Cody, Garrett, and Sean Mullaney will be discussing tax planning for early retirees (Episode 11). That’s the “FIRE” movement. On June 1st, we’ll have Robin Wigglesworth discussing his book Trillions: How a Band of Wall Street Renegades Invented the Index Fund and Changed Finance Forever (Episode 12). The following week, we’ll have Dan Egan of Betterment. Other future guests include Barry Ritholtz, J.L. Collins, and Jim Dahle of The White Coat Investor. You can see the full list of future guests at: bogleheads.org/blog/bogleheads/live.
[00:02:41] We’re doing a call for volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer to help turn this live episode into a podcast, we’d be looking for podcast editors to help spread the message about low cost investing. Shoot me a DM (via Twitter): @jonluskin
[00:02:54] Before we get started on today’s show, a disclaimer: This is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment, tax, or other financial planning decisions
[00:03:05] Let’s get started on today’s show on selecting asset classes with Paul Merriman. Now, I received a lot of great questions. So thank you to everyone who submitted questions on those Bogleheads® forums and Bogleheads Reddit ahead of time. We may not have enough time to answer all those questions.
Paul, thank you for joining us today on Bogleheads® Live.
[00:03:23] Can you please tell us about the mission of your foundation and how it might be different from the Bogleheads® approach?
[00:03:31] Paul Merriman: There’s a lot in common. For both of us, it’s about education, but ours is not a forum set up. Ours is really a group of people who are trying to present information that people can use to make better investment decisions. We are trying to help the do-it-yourself investor get a better return. We rely on a ton of the research – all research that is basically in house – in order to give people tables and different kinds of documents for them to make these investment decisions. We’re in a teaching mode trying to help people figure it out. It’s a different way of learning than what you all have with the Bogleheads®, because yours is a team approach. Ours is really a small group of teachers who are trying to help.
[00:04:28] Jon Luskin: Paul, this question comes from ripperobgyn from the forums:
[00:04:33] “I’m 52, still in my accumulation phase. I’m a big believer in his (Paul’s) four fund all US portfolio – that being large blend, large value, small blend, small value – 25% for each of them. Can Paul discuss past results, comparing that to his Ultimate Buy and Hold Portfolio? Also, if possible, can you compare that to others such as a 70-30 split between the total market and small cap value? Or, 50-50 split between the S&P 500 and small cap value? “
[00:05:04] Paul, before you answer that question, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your Ultimate Buy and Hold Portfolio to give listeners some context…
[00:05:12] Paul Merriman: Way back when – back in the mid-1990s, that portfolio was built to teach people about the impact of combining different equity asset classes. And there were 10 of them. I did not invent them. They all came out of the academic community. I was trying to figure out a way to make it easy to see the impact of adding something to the S&P 500.
[00:05:40] We still do this and update it every year. In 10% increments, we go from a 100% S&P 500 and we add 10% in large cap value. What impact did that have? It turns out that it added about two tenths of 1%. What happened then when you added another 10% and that was small cap blend? That added one tenth of 1%.
[00:06:07] What happened if you added small cap value? That was about four tenths of 1%. And we kept adding these 10 asset classes. Now, by the way that included international blend and value and small and large, and then some REITs and some emerging markets. It was this massive diversification. But then we were managing money for people and we told them how they could do it themselves at Vanguard®, or if you didn’t want to do it, then we would do it “in house.”
[00:06:40] But it was easy us to do it “in house.” It was not easy for people to do on their own. After we sold our firm and I retired and started the foundation, and after we had been trying to continue to teach the Ultimate Buy and Hold Portfolio along came John Bogle and a fellow named Chris Patterson at almost the same time.
[00:07:05] They told me we’ve got to make it simpler. And so all of these other portfolios – the four fund or the two fund – these are attempts to accomplish what the Ultimate Buy and Hold Portfolio did. And by the way, there was nothing ultimate about it. It was a confession that I have no idea what the one place you should put money is. But if you divided it equally, it seems like you’d have a pretty doggone good portfolio. And it was, and still is.
[00:07:41] The Ultimate Buy and Hold Portfolio…We have a table that shows these returns – it shows the risk of each one of these combinations. There are about nine different portfolios. But, for what it’s worth, over the last 52 years, the Ultimate Buy and Hold all equity portfolio compounded at about 12.3% per year compared to 10.7%, I believe, for the S&P 500 for that period.
[00:08:12] The four fund strategy – and this is the thing we love about it…we have two, four fund strategies. One is as the gentleman represented: 25% each in those four major asset classes. That was a 12.5% return. The four fund worldwide strategy – which I think came from a Boglehead – I don’t remember the fellow’s name – but that’s also a 12.4% compound rate of return. Now that two fund strategy that he mentioned where it’s the S&P 500 and small cap value 50-50, that actually is a 12.7% compound rate of return. They’re all very similar, but the reason they’re all very similar is they are a balance of large blend and small value – or small blend and small value. So those returns are going to cluster. The risks are a little different. But, they’re all strategies that are going to do better than if we don’t diversify amongst many asset classes. And of course the S&P 500 – the total market index – that is basically one asset class.
[00:09:36] Jon Luskin: For those folks who are a little less geeky: To break down what Paul just shared with us, some folks may keep it really simple – simplicity being an important key when investing – we’re going to buy every single stock that’s available on offer. And then our wealth is going to grow alongside the global economy.
[00:09:54] Alternatively, we can invest a little bit more disproportionately in companies that are smaller in size or maybe underpriced compared to their earnings. This is a small value approach. And, historically the research shows that by taking more risk with this approach has been rewarded with more return. By tilting our portfolio away from their broad market, we can earn a little bit more, but we do so by bearing greater risk,
[00:10:19] Paul Merriman: I’ve talked to a lot of people, Bogleheads® among them, who say “Look, I’ve got small cap value. I’ve got small cap growth. That’s right there in the total market index.”
[00:10:31] But the problem is there’s so little of it that it has no impact whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the compound rate of return of the S&P 500 and the total market index for the last 93 years is basically the same. The fact that they have some is nice, but it doesn’t change the financial future.
[00:10:53] Jon Luskin: Absolutely.
[00:10:55] We’ve got our first audience question.
[00:10:57] David (audience): Mr. Merriman, thank you for your time today. I’ve followed your work over the years and I’ve recently been enjoying your podcast. It’s called Sound Investing. Thank you for those efforts. Much appreciated. My understanding is that you view trend following and the momentum strategies as, potentially, beneficial within a broadly diversified portfolio. I must admit I’ve read some of the research, but I have a difficult time internalizing the value of the so-called momentum factor and trend falling. So I was just wondering if you could talk about that a little. Try to explain why you see it as a beneficial strategy for a longer term investor.
[00:11:37] Paul Merriman: David probably knows that I, for many, many years, helped people do market timing and provided market timing systems. In my practice, we actually were the first advisor that Dimensional Funds Advisors (DFA) ever approved that did market timing. We were not doing market timing with DFA funds. We were using regular mutual funds for the market timing. And I’ll be open about it. Half of my retirement portfolio is absolutely purely buy and hold. And the other half is using trend following and momentum market timing. Both sides of that portfolio are completely mechanically managed. But, I will say that market timing is the most difficult of all investment strategies. It asks people to do things that are just beyond the pale. It asks them to take multiple losses in a row. It asks them to sell at one price and buy it back at a higher price. It asks that they underperform the good years and hopefully outperform the bad years.
[00:12:51] Right now my market timed portfolio has been doing well because it hasn’t been in the market. Very little of it is. The momentum part is, but the trend following is not. I am a fan of those things, but I do not spend any time trying to teach people how to do it themselves, because I have found maybe one out of a thousand investors who will actually do what those systems tell you to do. I don’t blame them because those systems don’t know anything about what’s going on in the world, whether it’s political or it’s economic…They’re dumb systems. It’s hard for people to accept a dumb system.
[00:13:37] I look at indexing as a dumb system. I love dumb systems because they do everything to ring out the emotion from investing. I’m teaching do-it-yourself investors now. I’m not managing money. I don’t want to encourage people to do things that I think are going to fail. I do believe we can teach people to be a legitimate, good lifetime buy and holder, but it takes a lot of work because I find a lot of people at the end of the day who raise their hand and say, “I am a buy-and-holder,” they’re acting like a market timer and that’s not good.
[00:14:19] Jon Luskin: To echo a little bit of what you just said. Simplicity is important. The simple, low cost index fund investing approach certainly makes it easy. We don’t have to worry about jumping in and out of the market. We just ride the market return.
[00:14:35] Let’s turn to a question that we got from Bogleheads Reddit . From criticalsell3604, who writes: Paul. I see you are a big Avantis® fan. Do you think that their small cap value US fund will outperform other small cap value funds in the long term? What do you think of it compared to a small cap value index fund, such as that offered by Vanguard® or iShares®? Are small cap value funds in a taxable account okay? Is there any reason to consider keeping them in a Roth only?
[00:15:17] Paul Merriman: First of all, I gotta tell you why we recommend the Avantis® small cap value. I am not the brains of this outfit when it comes to picking ETFs. Chris Patterson, recently did a piece for the Bogleheads® on some of this. I thought it was a marvelous piece. He has gone through and looked at every major equity asset class that we have in some part of any of the portfolios we recommend. His goal was to find the very best small cap value. The very best small cap land and large cap value. He spent a lot of time going through what makes a good, small cap value, for example, and then to figure out, which one, when you look at all of these factors of market and size and how deeply discounted the value might be and the expenses, and is the fund, the ETF big enough that it’s going to trade in an efficient way… He looked at them all. And the reason that the AVUV Fund came up a year and a half ago was because it showed the factors loaded in a way that met the requirements of being the best small cap value.
[00:16:39] And for example, we also have a Vanguard® series of recommendations. But sometimes in those small cap value funds at Vanguard®, the average size company is maybe $6 billion – or it was $6 billion – maybe it’s $5 billion now…But the bottom line is, that the size of the company with the Avantis® is much smaller. More discounted in terms of value. Plus they apply the factor of quality.
[00:17:10] And so it has advantages. It’s not because we like Avantis® anymore than we like Vanguard®. It’s about that single ETF is positioned to do better.
[00:17:23] We go to the style box at Morningstar® and you look at the small cap value style box. When you have a very good period for large cap companies, what you’ll see is that the small cap value funds that are made up of larger companies do better than the small cap value funds that have smaller companies. And that is because there is this tilt – or whatever you want to call it – to rewarding the larger companies at every size, mid, large, and small. But we don’t want to take a large company in small cap value for the long term, even if it’s been doing well lately. If we were market timers, we would try to move around inside that box, but we’re not market timers. For the long term, we want to be in the small cap value that is smaller and more deeply discounted.
[00:18:26] And it’s true that it’s a little more expensive. It’s one one tenth of 1% more. But when I look at the last two years, the average advantage per year of the Avantis® small cap value is about 7% per year. And that is because this has been a time when small cap value was being rewarded,
[00:18:50] I guarantee it will have periods of under performance, but we are counting on the long term. These positions that we’re recommending are forever. I don’t mean that I’m going to be 50% in equities, in small cap, on a buy and old basis. Half of that is value. I may change how much equity I want to have in my portfolio, but it will not change the percentage of the equity that small cap value is. From my viewpoint, it’s a permanent position. It’s just a question of how it relates to the fixed income portion.
[00:19:30] Now, the question about taxes…This is an ETF, and dividends are a small part of these small cap value funds. I personally have small cap value in my taxable account. We have to remember we’re expecting a premium for small cap value. Over even small cap blend. And, it’s a sizeable premium, it’s a, probably at least a 2% compound rate of return premium. A bit more taxes is not a problem. As far as I’m concerned.
[00:20:05] Jon Luskin: Hi folks, Jon Luskin at your Bogleheads® Live host jumping in for a quick podcast edit. Here, Paul mentions that the Avantis® small cap value fund doesn’t throw out a lot of income. Therefore holding that in a plain vanilla taxable account, as opposed to a Roth account, isn’t a big deal.
[00:20:25] However, not discussed, is the fact that, dividend distributions aside, this small cap value fund is going to outperform the alternative. That is, the small cap value fund is ideally going to grow a lot. And with growth comes taxes. And with a lot of growth comes a lot of taxes.
[00:20:41] Roth and health savings accounts (HSAs) are tax free accounts. Qualifying distributions are made tax-free. To best take advantage of the tax free growth of those accounts we should put in those accounts, those things that are going to grow the most.
[00:20:55] What’s the thing that leads, historically, is the thing that is most likely to grow? Small cap value. Therefore put small cap value investments in your Roth and possibly, in your health savings accounts.
[00:21:07] Of course, if you put only small cap value investments in your Roth and HSA accounts. You’re going to be overweight, small cap value across your entire household. Therefore you can overweight other investments, such as the broad market index and bond funds in other accounts. This is a subject of asset tax location also known as “tax location” also known as “tax efficient fund placement.” To learn more, check out the second episode of Bogleheads® Live, where Rick Ferri talks about across account rebalancing.
[00:21:35] And now back to the show…
[00:21:37] You said so many great things in there…A few of which I want to echo. Firstly, if you’re going to hold this thing forever, if you are taking this small cap value approach, “Hey, I want a higher return. I’m going to take on more risk.” This strategy can underperform compared to a plain vanilla “I’m just going to buy everything.”
[00:21:59] That means we’ve gotta be prepared to hold this thing forever. Because the moment that we decide we’re sick of it, the moment we’re tired of the under performance, the moment we sell it, that is going to be the moment that it outperforms. That’s just going to mean Murphy’s Law. That’s fate. If we’re taking this higher risk for higher return approach, we’ve got to be prepared to stick with it.
[00:22:20] Paul Merriman: You gotta have nerves of steel. When you hold small cap value. This is one of the challenges. One of the reasons that it’s nice when it’s one of many different asset classes, but if you look back to 1928, almost half of the time, compared to the S&P 500, it’s underperforming. And, yet at the end of the 90 some years, you’ve got about 14 times more money.
[00:22:48] So there are periods…17, 15, 7, 14 years…there are these periods during which small cap value – it isn’t that it’s not making money – it’s that it’s not doing as well as the S&P 500. Which I personally believe is going to be the reason that so many people are going to use the 50% S&P, 50% small cap value combination. Because actually, over the last 52 years it has lost less money than the S&P 500 itself. And had a much higher return.
[00:23:30] There is some magic to combining asset classes that don’t correlate. It’s really a shame if we don’t take advantage of that.
[00:23:39] Jon Luskin: To add a little bit more to what you mentioned with respect to the Avantis® fund, which goes deeper into the small cap value space…to quote Larry Swedroe, another big factor investing proponent, he says “Funds like these are more ‘value-y.’” So, if we’re trying to go for the small cap value premium, we should really go for it. A small cap value index fund isn’t going to give us as extreme exposure to the small cap value space as something like a small cap value index fund.
[00:24:07] Now, we still have to be obsessed with our investing expenses. Notice that the fees on the Avantis® fund are several times what they are with the low cost, small cap value index fund. Even though there’s several times more, there’s still a reasonable, a quarter of a percent to get into that fund. We’re not paying anything like triple digit expense ratios. It’s still a reasonable fee to pay if we want to take on that additional risk seeking out that higher return.
[00:24:35] Abbas368 writes: No international in the two fund portfolio? Yet Mr. Merriman stresses diversification. Why is that?
[00:24:45] Paul Merriman: This is a fascinating question because after I had my meeting with John Bogle in 2017, I really had to take a close look at all of the diversification that I had been committed to. And, in fact, even today, my equity portion is one half international and one half US and one half large and one half small and one half value, a little more than one half value and a little less than one half growth. A massively diversified portfolio.
[00:25:22] John Bogle, when I met with him in 2017, was nice to me, but he was critical of how confusing this all is. We looked at all these different combinations and how low could we go in terms of giving people exposure to the meaningful asset classes…
[00:25:43] Here’s what we found out. Yes, it is good to have international in the portfolio. Yes, it is possible that our economy will fail when others are doing well. That is all possible. But if you look at the last 52 years, having internationals in the portfolio helped in one period in the seventies. If you were in a distribution or an accumulation stance, having the internationals in there, made a difference as to how much you had at the end of your life.
[00:26:20] But, if you ignore that impact, having the international in there has really not added much except diversification. And that’s great. The more we can diversify and get the same return that is just ducky.
[00:26:37] But by having the four funds or the two funds, we get enough value. We get enough small cap. We get enough large. We get enough of what we need to accomplish almost exactly the same return with basically the same risk. People say, “Do I have to have anything in internationals?” No, you don’t.
[00:27:03] We produce what we call fine-tuning tables for do-it-yourself investors that show the year by year result with nine different equity portfolios, along with fixed income, in 10% increments so that people can see what that ride would have been like. At the bottom of each page, we show the worst three months, the worst six months, 12 months, 36, 60, the worst drawdown. We want the do-it-yourself investor to know as much as an investment advisor themselves would know to give advice. Because the do-it-yourself investor has one client and they have the most important client in the world.
[00:27:49] I would also say you don’t need to know anything, just buy a target date fund. End of story.
[00:27:56] Jon Luskin: Fantastic. Certainly that target date fund is going to have that international diversification. If you don’t want to go, the US only approach, that could be a pretty simple way.
[00:28:09] This one is from Random Musings who writes: As cycles of excess returns between large cap growth and small cap value tend to last for significant periods of time, does typical investor behavior ultimately result in not seeing the full potential of small value investing? Does the risk of introducing clients to small value near the beginning of a large cap growth outperformance cycle, make this problematic?
[00:28:42] Paul Merriman: The question is a great one. If somebody can figure out how to get people to invest and focused on the things that aren’t doing well, rather than the things that are doing well, that would change somebody’s financial future.
[00:28:59] People are going to be excited about small cap value after it’s had a run. They want a piece of that action. It is no different than climbing on the,bandwagon of technology or the bandwagon of, unfortunately cryptocurrency. I don’t want people to pile into an asset class at the top.
[00:29:21] On the other hand, when somebody’s got a pile of money and somebody says “You should put it all in the market right now.” And, the market is high and they are at the risk of getting in right at the top…
[00:29:33] So what do you do if you’ve decided you want to change a commitment to your asset allocation? If you are afraid you’re going to end up being in right at the top, then maybe you should be dollar cost averaging in. Just the way that other person who’s got all this money wants to get into the market. Maybe they should be dollar cost averaging in…
[00:29:57] Is it the most efficient way to invest? Probably not. But, it is likely a more human and psychologically acceptable way to invest.
[00:30:09] Now, there is an assumption in that question that at this moment in time, we’re at a point where growth is going to take over and small cap value – both large and growth – and small cap and value aren’t going to do well.
[00:30:25] The fact is that the small cap value advantage can go on for a long time. It’s been a short run in this particular case. I don’t know if looking to small cap value would, in fact, be getting in at the top at this point.
[00:30:43] But having said that, the fact is I know nothing about the future. I know the past, but the problem is there is no risk in the past. We always know what we should have done. It’s so easy. Our problem for all of us is what to do next. That is not easy.
[00:31:03] Which of course the idea I think is if you’re not diversified, get diversified. I would say that about somebody who came into my office who had all their money in Microsoft®. I would say that to somebody who has all their money in one asset class. Do I think somebody who has all their money in Microsoft® is going to do poorly? Probably not. It’s just that I think we have to treat the past with respect.
[00:31:34] From 2000 to 2009, we all know the S&P 500 and total market indexes sucked. On the other hand, if you had a diversified portfolio during that period of time, the diversified equity portfolio actually did fairly well – around 7% to 8%.
[00:31:55] I want to set up a portfolio to work well in different markets. You will see that with the combination of S&P 500 and small cap value. Be prepared, on average, the annual return of those two asset classes… The difference is 15% a year, on average.
[00:32:17] Jon Luskin: You made an important point that we already touched on earlier, which is that these strategies can take a long time to outperform. You need to be prepared to stick with it. And that’s going to be the case, regardless if you’re targeting that small cap value premium, trying to earn a higher return by taking on more risk, or that’s still going to be the case if you’re just going with the plain vanilla total stock market approach. And, that’s still going to be the case, even if you’re investing in bonds. Which is a very relevant point today. Folks are going to see losses in bonds. It’s just like any other investment strategy. We need to stick with it.
[00:32:51] Drumboy256 asks: Regarding Paul Merriman’s strategy, versus a Bogleheads® three fund or four fund…I’m curious on Paul Merriman’s thoughts on picking funds in a buy and hold strategy, in which too many funds add complexity. In essence, when does a buy and hold strategy become self-defeating based on the number of funds you’re holding based on factor choices?
[00:33:17] Paul Merriman: That’s a great question and the simpler that we can make it, the better it’s going to be. Because of my background, the idea of a four fun strategy just seemed so simple. I would like to believe that people who are do-it-yourself investors would be able to handle four funds. And, how low can you go?
[00:33:43] And the reality is, it depends on the level of interest that a do-it-yourself investor has. I was in love with investing when I was 19 years old, which is why I became a stock broker when I was 22. And then I found out what a stock broker really was. And I got out of the industry when I was 26.
[00:34:05] Having been in that industry, and having an affection for it, I enjoy the complexities of it. But other people are trying to do the best they can with as little as they can in terms of numbers of things to manage.
[00:34:20] My most popular video is entitled “My Favorite 12 Vanguard® Funds for Retirees.” We’ve had 115,000 opens on that one hour video. There’s never more than two funds in those portfolios. But, I always think of people who are Bogleheads® as having greater interest in terms of understanding what a fund will do.
[00:34:46] I’m looking at numbers right here that look at all sorts of periods of time. That Sharpe Ratio and look at the Sortino Ratio and all these things that tell us about what happens if you tweak a little bit…Can you actually justify that tweak? And is that tweak worth it? Whether it’s low expenses, low taxes, more diversification…Diversification of stocks and of asset classes…
[00:35:15] I recently asked young people yesterday at a university. “Would you want to hire an advisor ror the rest of your life? A really sharp advisor and pay them 1% for the rest of your life to do the right thing for you?”And then I showed them what paying somebody 1% over a lifetime to get what they get would actually cost them. It would cost about $5 million in fees.
[00:35:45] And I asked “If I could find a way to add an extra half of 1% to an equity portfolio, what is that worth to somebody in their twenties over time?” It’s probably worth $1.5 million, and that’s not with a high roller…That’s somebody putting away $6,000 a year.
[00:36:06] I had one big disagreement with John Bogle. And, that 90 minutes with him was one of the most important 90 minutes of my life. His goal for you, as an investor, is to have enough. I think that’s a wonderful goal. But I honestly believe from having been around this industry, that our goals should be for more than enough. Not because more than enough is better than enough. I’m 78 years old. I know what happens to people’s lives. All sorts of things happen. That means that we’re going to need more than we thought we were going to need.
[00:36:46] Enough is great, but more than enough – not only allows you to give money away to others that you might not have otherwise – but it protects you from having things not be as rosy as you pictured them. If you had to work with four funds instead of one, and it got you to more than enough than to enough, then it’s worth it.
[00:37:10] By the way, I offer a free book, a PDF entitled, We’re Talking Millions! 12 Simple Ways to Supercharge Your Retirement. Go Paul merriman.com/signup and you’ll get a copy. That book is about adding little pieces of extra return. That, I think, is worth the effort. I’m all for it.
[00:37:33] Jon Luskin: So many important points in there. Certainly, fees make a huge difference over the course of your life when it comes to investing. One percent sounds like a small number on face value. But, when you do the math, you see that it adds up to millions over the course of your life. So, if you can do-it-yourself, do-it-yourself, because it is going to save you a fortune.
[00:37:54] Now, when it comes to doing it yourself, certainly leaning towards simplicity – there’s nothing wrong with that. As we already mentioned, a target date fund in that tax advantaged account can be a pretty good way to go – assuming that is a low cost target date fund…There are a couple different varieties out there. So, you want to lean towards the low cost varieties.
[00:38:13] Now, if you want that additional complexity, if you’re a little bit of an investing geek, most of the folks listening to this are, then maybe you’re up for the additional task of taking on that small cap value approach – taking that tilt in the hopes of earning more. As long as you have, not only the ability to implement that yourself, but you’ve got that iron stomach, the ability to stick with that plan for the long term.
[00:38:37] Paul Merriman: The last half of my book is about two funds. Totally two funds: a target date fund for 9% of your money if you’re investing 10%. And, for 1% or 2% small cap value, that will produce somewhere between 1% and 2% more over your lifetime.
[00:39:01] Jon Luskin: Just for clarity folks, I believe, and Paul, you can correct me here, but you’re saying, “Hey, if you’re going to save 10% of your salary, then take 9% of that 10% and invest in a target date fund. And then take that 1% and then put that into a small cap value, sticking with that, and making sure it’s a low cost, small cap value fund.”
[00:39:21] Paul Merriman: Yes, exactly.
[00:39:23] Jon Luskin: Fantastic. Well, folks, that is going to be all the time that we have for today. Thank you so much to Paul Merriman for joining us today. And thank you, everyone, who joined us for today’s Bogleheads® Live.
[00:39:34] On our next Bogleheads® Live Cody Garrett and Sean Mullaney (Episode 11) will be discussing tax planning for early retirees. So, if you’re interested in the “FIRE” movement, you probably want to check that out. The week after that, we’ll have Robin Wigglesworth discussing his book Trillions: How a Band of Wall Street Renegades Invented the Index Fund and Changed Finance Forever (Episode 12). .
[00:39:52] Until then you can access a wealth of information for at the Bogleheads forum, Bogleheads a Wiki, Bogleheads Facebook, Bogleheads Twitter, Bogleheads YouTube, Bogleheads local chapters with San Diego being my favorite local chapter, Bogleheads virtual online chapters, The Bogleheads On Investing Podcast with Rick Ferri as host and Bogleheads books.
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[00:40:36] Finally we’d love your feedback. If you have a comment or guest suggestion, tag your host @jonluskin on Twitter.
[00:40:42] Thank you again, everyone look forward to seeing you all again on Wednesday. Where Cody Garrett and Sean Mullaney (Episode 11) will be discussing tax planning for early retirees.
[00:40:49] Until then, have a great week.