Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned at School


Purchase from Amazon

Read the Reviews before Buying



Millionaire Teacher Book

Millionaire Teacher Kindle

 Millionaire Teacher Audiobook – MP3 & CD


Millionaire Teacher Book

Millionaire Teacher Kindle

Millionaire Teacher Audiobook – MP3 & CD


Millionaire Teacher Book

Millionaire Teacher Audio Book on CD


 Also available online from Kinokuniya Bookstore, Singapore



RULE 1 Spend Like You Want to Grow Rich
The Hippocratic Rule of Wealth
Can You See the Road When You’re Driving?
One of the Savviest Guys I Ever Met—And His View on Buying Cars
Careful Home Purchases
Millionaire Handouts
How Did I Become a Millionaire?
Looking to the Future
RULE 2 Use the Greatest Investment Ally You Have
Compound Interest—The World’s Most Powerful Financial Concept
The Bohemian Millionaire—The Best of Historical-Based Fiction
Gifting Money to Yourself
When You Definitely Shouldn’t Invest
How and Why Stocks Rise in Value
RULE 3 Small Percentages Pack Big Punches
With Training, the Average Fifth Grader Can Take on Wall Street
Financial Experts Backing the Irrefutable
What Causes Experts to Shake Their Heads
When the Best Funds Turn Malignant
Reality Check
Who’s Arguing against Indexes?
RULE 4 Conquer the Enemy in the Mirror
When a 10 Percent Gain Isn’t a 10 Percent Gain
It’s Not Timing the Market that Matters; It’s Time in the Market
On Stocks … What You Really Should Have Learned in School
Internet Madness and the Damage It Caused
Taking Advantage of Fear and Greed
Opportunities after Chaos
RULE 5 Build Mountains of Money with a  Responsible Portfolio
What Are Bonds?
Profiting from Panic—Stock Market Crash 2008-2009
Having a Foreign Affair
Introducing the Couch Potato Portfolio
Combinations of Stocks and Bonds Can Have Powerful Returns
RULE 6 Sample a “Round-the-World” Ticket to Indexing
Indexing in the United States—An American Father of Triplets
Indexing In Canada—A Landscaper Wins by Pruning Costs
Indexing in Singapore—A Couple Builds a Tiger’s Portfolio in the Lion City
Indexing in Australia—Winning with an American Weapon
The Next Step
RULE 7 Peek Inside A Pilferer’s Playbook
How Will Most Financial Advisers Fight You?
The Totem Pole View
Is Government Action Required?
RULE 8 Avoid Seduction
Confession Time
Investment Newsletters and Their Track Records
High-Yielding Bonds Called “Junk”
Fast-Growing Markets Can Make Bad
Gold Isn’t an Investment
What You Need to Know about Investment Magazines
Hedge Funds—The Rich Stealing from the Rich
RULE 9 The 10% Stock-Picking Solution … If You Really Can’t Help Yourself
Using Warren Buffett
Commit to the Stocks You Buy
Stocks with Staying Power
Selling Stocks
The Nine Rules of Wealth Checklist


andrew hallam

andrew hallam

I'm a freelance finance writer, lucky enough to have been nominated as a finalist for two Canadian National Publishing Awards. I'm also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School, a book explaining how I became a millionaire on a teacher's salary, while still in my 30s. Working to empower people financially, I'm available to motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and index investing. I'm happy to comment on your questions, first, please read the Terms of Use.

You may also like...

107 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    Yippee! This is great news. I hope it will be available in Kindle format. As expats we try to limit the number of books we need to physically carry around the planet.

  2. @Susan
    Thanks Susan,

    It will be on Kindle! This weekend's task for me is to bold everything (within the book) that I want online links to. It should bring it to life!

  3. pgreensoup says:


    I'm glad to know your book is about to be published and even happier to know that it will be available in digital format. Congrats on publishing, my friend. I can't wait to read the book! Any chance you'd come to Prague to do a little promotion?

    • Thanks Patrick,

      I know that I'll be going to Canada and the U.S., but I didn't make plans for Europe. That said, I believe the book is going to be available in Europe. I've seen the price in pounds sterling and in Euros, which is cool to see.

  4. Hey Andrew, out of curiosity, what age group is it written for? Highschool? University?

    I can't wait to put my hands on it.

    • Hey Passive,

      I have a tough time answering the age-target question, after speaking to (and questioning) hundreds of adults, at investment seminars. Here's why:

      The average adult knows barely more about investing than the average 10th grade student. And you can't blame them. Few people receive a decent financial education at school. You and your friends are likely very knowledgable, but when you stand in front of 100 adults and ask them who can tell you what a bond is, you'd be amazed to find that the vast majority don't know. The average adult wants something easy to read, that doesn't take their knowledge gaps for granted. I think a 15 year old could read Millionaire Teacher and understand it. But I also think that this quality is what makes it accessible and interesting for the average 25,35, or 45 year old reader as well. That's the part that I'm really proud of. I had adult readers (dozens of them) read my chapters, and when they weren't sure about something, I wanted them to let me know, so that I could correct it. And of course, I wanted the book to have an entertaining flair as well! Thanks for being such a loyal supporter of my project Passive. We're really both trying to do the same thing (educate people about money) which feels great. Thanks!

  5. Think Dividends says:

    Are you going to autograph it for your all your blog readers?

    Looking forward to reading it.

  6. I can't wait to read this puppy Andrew!

    I've read a bunch of personal finance and investing books since I took over my own financial affairs and became vested in my financial journey; and this one is going on my shelf with pride for sure. It should be a great read.

    BTW – I got my own site up and running:

    Amongst everything else you have going on (teaching, books, running, etc.) I hope you continue to stop by as often as you can.



  7. The Dividend Ninja says:


    This is fabuous :) Much congratulations on getting your book published! I know its going to be packed with very insightful, indepth, and well reasearched information. And yes I most certainly am expecting an autographed copy – I'll preorder on Amazon now.


    The Dividend Ninja

  8. Paula @ AffordAnythi says:

    Congratulations on publishing your book — I'll be looking for it on Kindle!

    • Thank you Paula,

      It will be available on Kindle in September, and I look forward to hearing what you think about it. I think you'll like it!

      Thanks for the support!


  9. Gareth Barlow says:


    Great news on the advance reviews.

    As a keen follower of your blog and your general investing philosophy, I have a question regarding the possibilities that are open to me regarding the reading of your new book.

    Should I:

    a) buy it when it is released?

    b) borrow it from someone else once they've read it?

    c) wait for it to appear in a local library?

    d) obtain a photocopied version of it while travelling in Asia?

    When answering, please consider what you would have done in your early days of investing!

    • There's no doubt Gareth:

      Humbly, I'll admit that there are pearls of wisdom throughout that little masterpiece, so you'd definitely want your own copy.

      But would I have bought my own copy, back in the day, when I was tighter than bark to a tree? Nah….. I would have convinced a friend to buy it, and then I would have offered to buy it off him, after he read it.

      Keep in mind: I would have selected that friend carefully—knowing that he or she would likely give me the book for a cup of coffee, rather than make me pay.

      Then I'd have my own copy for eternity, while investing the savings in a diversified, low cost index fund.

      You are an excellent study, grasshopper! I sense that you'll like that advice!

  10. Cool stuff, Andrew! I will definitely be pre-ordering when I get the chance. Congrats on your success; you have shown all of us what anyone can accomplish with hard work and determination.

  11. Hello Andrew.

    First off, I don't think I've had the chance to say congratulations on the book! I'm looking forward to it.

    I just went to pre-order, but had a thought. The Amazon site lists September as the release date, but you mentioned that the Asian release date is August. Do you know where I should order to get a copy delivered to Japan in August?

  12. Jonathan says:

    Hi Andrew,

    May I know if the book is already available in Singapore now? I'm very interested in buying it.

  13. Thanks for the interest in the book Jonathan,

    It should be available in Singpapore's public bookstores in about 3 weeks. When I know that it's in Singaporean stores, I'll get it out there on the blog!

    Thanks for your interest! I currently have a single, galley copy of the book, which was delivered last week, and even I chuckle at some of it. I tried to make it informative, and funny…and yeah, I guess I laugh at my own jokes!



  14. Monia says:

    Hi Andrew, What's the difference between a listed and unlisted index fund? I've been reading this article:
    But would like to know what your opinion is.

    PS Is this the right place to post questions? If not, please direct me.

    Thanks :-)

    • Hi Monia,

      Listed index funds are also known as exchange traded funds. They're categorized as "listed" because they trade on the stock market, and you could buy and sell them multiple times within a single day, if you wanted to. Of course, that would be silly, but the ability to trade them is one main difference. An unlisted index fund doesn't trade directly on the stock market. In the U.S., unlisted indexes (through Vanguard) and listed exchange traded funds have competitive internal costs associated with them. But you linked to an Australian article, and in Australia (as the article correctly suggests) there is a big price difference between ETFs and Vanguard Australia's unlisted indexes. This isn't something you would see getting skimmed off your account. It's an internal cost that gets skimmed off the value of your index, but it isn't itemized on a statement.

      If you were contributing a few thousand dollars a quarter (or more) then I would recommend buying unlisted ETFs through a broker. You would pay a small purchase commission, but it would be worth it, because it would be cheaper in the long run than going with Vanguard Australia.

      If, on the other hand, you wanted to automatically invest small monthly sums, then Vanguard Australia makes it more convenient for you. Just keep in mind that with the unlisted ETFs, you will earn about 0.5% more each year, because they're cheaper.

      Further questions are welcome.

  15. Monica says:

    Another confusing article! Help! Just read:
    Main question is: Am I better off in an EFT or an index fund in Australia?

    Do you recommend just purchasing a fund and adding to it only once a year or adding whenever you can such as monthly payments?

  16. LCF says:

    Hi Mr Hallam, I just stumbled upon your interview on Today. It is an inspiring story for the employed middle class, but most importantly, your experience is truly something many of us can relate too.

    Many of us begin to worry about our personal financial management, at a stage in our lives when our financial responsibilities get heavier. I agree with you that even in Malaysia, our education systems do not provide much guidance in financial literacy. It also does not help that the mass media constantly encourages people to spend for instant gratification.

    I have not read your book, but you bet I will be looking for it at Borders this coming weekend!

  17. Chris The Truck Driv says:

    Wow Andrew, all this is very exciting! What a great video…I wish I had been on I can talk about all the wasted years I spent in this life….OK …I got my copy of Millionaire Teacher. Maby your agent can book you at Barnes and Noble here in Sacramento…I will come out and see you speak! Thanks Andrew

  18. H says:

    Hey Andrew, read your book and it really opened up my mind to investing!

    Do you have any advice for a 22 year old? what should my start-up capital and diversification ratio be like?

    Also, do you have any idea where i can purchase a commodity tracking index in Singapore?

    • Hi H,

      If you are going to be buying ETFs in Singapore, save on the commissions and buy just one at a time. You could put one fifth of the money in the Singapore bond index while splitting the remainder of your money between the world stock index and the Singapore index.

      But just buy one index at a time, and make sure you have about $2000 minimum to keep the transaction costs lower. If you are just starting out, perhaps you just just buy one index per quarter. You shouldn't have to concern yourself with the allocation until the account gets to about $30k or so.

      There are commodity ETFs that trade on the NYSE and they can be purchased here in Singapore. If commodities had experienced awful returns over the past five years, I would consider them. Don't get lured into chasing past winners though.

  19. TK Park says:


    I got the book today and finished it in one seating. I found it extremely interesting and you opened my eyes on index funds. I will be giving the book to my sister and will recommend the book to all my friends 😉

    Thank you!!!

  20. FFN says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Awesome book for beginners and intermediates alike! I just finished reading it yesterday! I would like to ask two questions:

    1) How long did you take to be a millionaire from the day you started?

    2) Did you do other investments to get your million (eg. properties, etc) or only through index investing?

    Thank you for your taking time to answer those questions!

    • Hi FF,

      It took me 18 years to build a net worth of a million dollars. But I was very fortunate that I found relatively high paying jobs over that time, which helped a lot. During university, I worked at B.C. transit. Back in 1992, as a student, I was making roughly $18 an hour–and I worked odd jobs during the weekends (even while working at Transit) to add to my investments. I'm an outlier. There's no doubt about it. And my level of frugality was extreme. Moving to Singapore also helped me. I chose a school that paid well, and they pay for my housing. A lot of money can be saved when you aren't paying your own rent. Most of my gains were made in the stock and bond markets, but I also made roughly $300,000 in real estate. I bought an acre of ocean front land for about $150K, and sold it for roughly $480,000. That didn't hurt.

  21. FFN says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your reply. After reading your book and this comment, it has given me added confidence to become like you. I have got more questions to bombard you with.

    What age were you when u started off? What were your average returns for the 18 years with both index investing and stock picking? Why don't u do stock picking anymore even though u were doing well picking individual stocks as seen from your book and articles? Most returns from picking stocks comes from dividends and index investing gives lesser dividends imo. In your book, you have said that people can't go on beating the market all the time by picking stocks so to minimize the allocation to 10%. But if you were to pick fundamentally strong companies with no debt, good free cash flow, with a wide moat and huge margin of safety especially during a crash, then there is minimal risk like index investing but with higher returns to boot. Dividend yield is also higher with these companies. Looking forward to your answers and views. Thanks!

    • Hey FF,

      To be honest, I don't think I'll ever personally know anyone who is able to beat a diversified balanced portfolio of indexes by buying individual stocks. So I choose to go where the odds are highest. Too many people try to make it look easy. But it isn't. And ten year track records are nothing…just blips in time. Over a lifetime, indexing gives far better odds of success

  22. Mike says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Just finished the book. Great read, thank you for it. With respect to the Canadian index funds, do they pay dividends? I'm hopeful they do and that it may be possible to setup a reinvest dividends with no additional charges from the management company. Thanks again!


  23. Great book!!! It has inspired me to get to work and try to open a TFSA eseries fund. Or just put more money in my couch potato ETFs.

    Thanks for writing it- it was a great read.

    PS I didn't know you worked for BC Transit! That's cool :)

  24. Nick says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Is it possible to even begin investments with indexes with a few hundred dollars? I'm Singaporean and I am really new to this.

    Thanks in advance for your help. I have read the good, good read, but I'm afraid there is little to really guide the beginner in this world of investments. As you said, we're not taught in school about this.

    Warm Regards,


    • Hi Nick,

      To save on commissions, you may want to look into the purchase fees associated with Standard Chartered. DBS Vickers has a flat fee commission for purchases below roughly $40,000. That fee is $30 U.S. per purchase.

      If you were buying an ETF with just $200, you could do it, but you would be giving away $30 U.S. as a commission to do so.

      SC, I believe, has a commission rate that's far kinder to small purchases.

      • Nick says:

        Hi Andrew,

        Thank you for the reply. Yes I had just opened an SC e-savers account in order to facilitate the opening of the Online Trading Account. It charges 0.20% for trading in SGD and 0.25% for USD.

        The only stumbling block now is the questionaire regarding transaction experience, history and knowledge of the mechanics of the market. As I have said, I am taking my first step into investment, hence I wonder if there are other firms that are more willing to open an account for a complete newbie like myself.

        Also, because I am a Singaporean living in Singapore would you still recommend Vanguard?

        I had just read your book, excellent read! It inspired me to take this first step to grow my future.

        Warm Regards,


        • Thanks for the kind words about the book Nick. I'd be thrilled, of course, if you would write a review for the book on Amazon, if you have an account with them.

          Your question about the account opening, as it pertains to your experience is definitely timely. It appears that the Singaporean brokerages are closing doors to new investors. In fact, a friend of mine who has used DBS Vickers for years, recently had to fill out a form to continue using the brokerage. It seemed (from what I could see) that she needed to be an accredited investor (someone very rich or experienced) to be able to continue using the account. This is an account with more than $400,000 in it, but she felt compelled to fudge the form today, suggesting that she had a net worth (assuming assets somewhere) exceeding $2 million.

          Only Americans can use Vanguard, so unless you're from the U.S., this won't be an option. It sounds like your brokerage is closing doors to newbies as well, or at least making life difficult. Perhaps some of my other readers can help shed some light on this. I'll soon be doing a thorough bit of researc on the matter, but perhaps somebody else has the info I'm looking for.


          Thanks again for the kinds words about the book Nick!


          • FFN says:

            Hi Andrew,

            DBS Vickers is not really closing doors to newbies. It's just that if they want to buy ETFs and a few others, they need to fill up a form. SGX came up with this ruling to protect the new investors and it came into effect from Jan 1, 2012. It applies to all brokers in Singapore. I googled "SGX SIP" and I found a site at…. Hope this helps.

  25. AMG says:

    Hi Andrew – purchased the book and read it this weekend. Thoroughly enjoyed and appreciate the links (kindle version). I feel empowered, and wrote my MLynch financial advisor and gave him a summary. Here's his response below – think you and others will find of interest.

    "Interesting, however, the timing of this now I believe is terrible with interest rates at the level they are at with bonds.The big question is would you stay with a strategy if it was down 10-20% when the market might be up 20%? Most would not."

    • AMG,

      I'm glad you liked the book.

      Your advisor's word choice reveals plenty. He used the word "timing".

      Research "market timing" and see what you can find.

      Then find a reputable investment book that suggests people shouldn't have bonds as part of a responsible portfolio. I don't think you'll find one.

      There are good advisors who are compelled (for whatever reason) to sell expensive products. But there are uneducated advisors selling their ability to time markets and ignore the diversification of assets. Your advisor, unfortunately, sounds like he falls under the latter category.

  26. AMG says:

    I'm looking at my company (Viacom) 401k options.

    They offer a low-fee bond index plus a S&P 400 index…but the only intl funds have 0.65% and 1.10% fees. Would you ever invest in a fund with fees this high?

    • 401K accounts can be great deals–especially if your employer kicks in a generous amount. You may not be able to get your entire investment account as "low cost" as you would like, based on the available options within the plan. So the only course of action is to ensure that it's as "low cost" as it possibly can be.

  27. GA says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I could not put your book down. Read it in one day and it was amazing! My husband and I have been looking to invest for a couple years now but have been intimidated by the market and where to begin investing. Your book lays it out beautifully. Thank you.

    My husband and I live in beautiful British Columbia where as you know the housing market is quite expensive. Would you recommend putting more towards your mortgage or investing in stock indexes? Also, I was doing some research online and noticed that VanGuard has opened up in Canada. Would you recommend to invest with VanGuard or still stick with the TD e-series index stocks if we are looking to invest 25k? Ideally, we would like to invest a small chunk of money every month or even twice a month so it is taken out of our bank account right when we get paid. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi GA,

      I'm thrilled that you found the book so useful!

      Vanguard hasn't really come to Canada in the same way it's in the U.S., unfortunately. They have just offered some exchange traded funds on the Toronto Stock Exchange (ETFs). These are very similar to the products that my friend Keith owns, whom I mentioned in my book's fifth chapter.

      The e-Series funds are far more flexible, but the account won't be easy to set up. TD bank will make it difficult for you, unfortunately. That said, it's worth it.

      Go to TD bank and open a RRSP investment account, using their regular indexes (they are more expensive than the e-Series funds). Then, once you have bought them and set up regular contributions, fill in the online paperwork to convert them to the e-Series funds. When setting up an appointment with the bank, tell them that you would like them to have the e-Series paperwork waiting for you when you open your account. They will print it off (as they did with my sister last month, in Victoria) and you would fill it out and patiently wait a short while for the indexes to be converted to e-Series products. Don't let the rep scare you. He/She will NOT want you doing this.

      Are you maximizing your RSP contributions each year? If so, and you have extra money (beyond the $5000 you can put in a TFSA account annually) then I would certainly put any extra surplus on your mortgage, rather than invest in non-tax sheltered accounts. Many aggressive savers/investors don't do this. They open taxable investment accounts, hoping for better returns than they would make by (in comparison) paying off their mortgage.

      I love what you said about my book. If you get a chance, would you mind writing a brief Amazon review? You could just cut and paste from what you wrote above! I'd love it! Thanks, and here's the link:

  28. Novice Investor says:

    Hi Andrew – My husband read your book, and then I read your book (in one day, I might add) and I'm riveted. Your book was so clear, compelling and empowering – thank you for sharing this! I want to do some reallocations now and cut some of the fat off my portfolio. I have a question – does it matter the type of account (IRA, brokerage, etc) for which you should be putting money away? I mainly have Roth IRA and my retirement funds and didn't know if there is an advantage over either. Thanks!

    • Hi Novice,

      I'm glad you liked the book. I get really excited when someone finds this stuff out for the first time, and then they act on it to ensure the likelihood of a more prosperous future. It's a thrill to hear that I've helped. Thank you!

      Of course, maximize any IRA or 401K contributions you can make first. Those are taxed at friendly rates. Then, when you have added all that you're allowed to add, then ensure that you put money into a standard non retirement investment account. They call them "non retirement" account, but essentially, you're likely still saving for retirement. The non retirement account won't be taxed as leniently, that's all. This is why you fill up your contribution room in a IRA or 401K first (if your employer offers one).

      In each account, you could have the same indexed portfolio, essentially. With some employer 401K accounts, unfortunately, they have restrictions, based on what you can invest in. If they don't have an option to use Vanguard, you might want to politely ask your employer for that option. You're not really a novice now–only by name on this blog. Talk to your friends and colleagues about this stuff, and you'll find that you know much more than most of them.

      Thanks so much for the really kind words about my book. If you wouldn't mind, do you think you could paste them into an Amazon review? I'd love to see a review like that! Thanks Novice! Here's the link:

      • Novice Investor says:

        Thanks for the response Andrew. This totally makes sense!

        I'm going to write your review on Amazon right now. It's the most I can do to repay you for this knowledge!

  29. I love the review! Thank you Novice!

    I'm thrilled that you're a teacher too. Whether you recommend my book in the future or a multitude of similar books, you'll be educating other people. Teachers like doing that, and they're good at it. That's what we do. Thanks again!

  30. Brian says:

    I just finished your book and I’d like to thank you for the valuable lessons and concepts you presented. Like many people I did not know much about this important topic. I was ready to walk down the street and start investing with the “professionals” before I found your book… thanks again!

    I am a recent graduate working as an engineer and I am now in position to invest. I am investing in my company’s 401k plan with an additional Roth 401k with Prudential. However, I know little about it. I looked at the allocations of the funds and I really don’t know enough to make logical changes. After reading your book I’m contemplating transferring that money out so it can grow through index funds. Is that wise or would having the 401k be a good supplemental investment? Also, my company does match to a yearly predetermined amount.

    I do not have enough money right now to comfortably buy all three suggested index funds (as they are each $3,000 minimum with Vanguard). Which should I start off with while I save money? My instinct would say to start with the bond index, as it is stable.

    Thanks, Look forward to hearing back.

  31. Brian says:

    I just finished your book and I’d like to thank you for the valuable lessons and concepts you presented. Like many people I did not know much about this important topic. I was ready to walk down the street and start investing with the “professionals” before I found your book… thanks again!

    I am a recent graduate working as an engineer and I am now in position to invest. I am investing in my company’s 401k plan with an additional Roth 401k with Prudential. However, I know little about it. I looked at the allocations of the funds and I really don’t know enough to make logical changes. After reading your book I’m contemplating transferring that money out so it can grow through index funds. Is that wise or would having the 401k be a good supplemental investment? Also, my company does match to a yearly predetermined amount.

    I do not have enough money right now to comfortably buy all three suggested index funds (as they are each ,000 minimum with Vanguard). Which should I start off with while I save money? My instinct would say to start with the bond index, as it is stable.

    Thanks, Look forward to hearing back.

    • Hi Brian,

      I'm glad you liked the book. If you have a couple of minutes, and you wouldn't mind posting an Amazon review, that would be awesome! Here's the link:

      As for your question, 401K plans are superb, and you need to take advantage of it to its fullest. If there's not a low cost option to invest with Vanguard through your 401K, see if you can ask your employer to offer it in the future. It would be the best thing for you and your colleagues. Having said that, even if they don't offer such an option, the fact that your employer matches contributions is more than enough incentive to take advantage of the employee 401K plan as it is.

      As for an additional investment, how about a Target Retirement fund. I mention them in Chapter 6 of my book. The minimum starting investment is just $1000 for that fund. And within that fund, you would have full diversification. Check out my 6th chapter again.

      And thanks for the kind words about the book. If you have time, I'd love a review on Amazon, as mentioned. It really helps a lot.



  32. Samuel says:

    Hi Andrew,

    This is a great site you have going here. I'm an undergrad based in Singapore looking to invest my first $1000 in collecting index funds.

    Could I request that you have a look my investment plan to ensure I'm not headed to the rocks? I am currently looking at the iShare S&P 500 index fund which I gather can be bought through a brokerage account with DBS Vickers. I understand I will incur a high commission % (due to my limited investment) but I wish to pull the trigger anyway to build the habit.

    But my first investment will be to myself; by buying your book! May I know whether you have it stocked locally (Singapore) or is your publisher in the US?



    • Hi Sam,

      The book is available in most of Singapore's bookstores.

      As for your initial index (ETF) purchase you might find kinder commission rates for smaller investments at the Standard Chartered Brokerage instead of DBS Vickers. Good luck, and please let me know what you think of the book.


  33. Brian says:


    Check amazon for my review. Glad to help spread the word!

    Thanks for the response and advice. Thanks, I reread the chapter and for some reason overlooked that type of fund. The Target Retirement Funds will be a great way to save until I have enough money to manage the stocks/bonds to the allocations I'd prefer. I'm curious as to how they come up with the allocations of stocks to bonds versus the retirement dates they have established.

    As for the 401k, you seem very keen on this investment, is that because of the tax benefits (plus the employer contribution which through my company amounted to $1,000 last year)? Historically are 401k returns comparable to or better than the index fund approach? I'm having trouble believing that the 401k will stack up against index funds managed they way described in your book and the given historical returns. Also, within the 401k are seven or so allocations which I know very little about. Can you point me in the right direction as far as making the most of them?

    I can’t recall of the top of my head any 401k information in your book, but this would be a great topic for your next book!

    Thank you,


    • Thanks for the review Brian!

      As for the 401K, many employers actually give employees some options about where they want to invest. Vanguard is usually on the list. If Vanguard is not on the list, then I suggest that you collect a few workmates to petition for it. Once you have the Vanguard option, you can enjoy the employer contribution AND invest in the manner that's suggested in my book. It becomes a double bonus.

      If your employer won't add Vanguard (they should!) then you should find the lowest cost funds within the 401K and build a diversified portfolio with those funds. But don't give up on your employer offering Vanguard. Most open-minded employers who learn just a little bit about investing will offer Vanguard as an option. I believe that Vanguard is actually the biggest 401K participant in the U.S. Don't give up on your employer. They will do the right thing if you show them the light.

      • Brian says:

        Thanks for the 401k advice Andrew.

        On a different note, I am looking to purchase a house/property in the near future (2-5 years), as the rental prices in my area are high. What would be the best way to save for this short-term goal while being able to withdraw money with the least fees and best chance of a safe gain?

        Thanks again,


  34. Alex says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I've just started reading your book and am really enjoying it. I'm an American teacher working in London the last four years. I've been trading and investing for a couple of years now, so your book is ideal for me.

    My fiance and I are looking to try to work in Bangkok. I've checked into the pay packages and with them paying for accomodation as well, it is what we need to get a start into our savings for a home when we decide to settle. Any advice on the international schools in Bangkok?

    I look forward to reading the rest of the book and thanks again for sharing your experiences!


    • Hi Alex,

      ISB is an incredible international school in Bangkok, with one of the best packages available. After the low costs of living are considered, you'll find that you can save a tremendous amount of money working at that school.

      Good luck!

  35. SV says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Just finished your book! Simple to read and easy to digest for the average person. I loved how your book has multiple examples real investors and how they were able to outperform the largest mutual fund companies.

    After reading your book, I began researching index funds with Vanguard and realized they have an ETF option for the same index funds (VGSIX vs. VNQ) for a lower expense ratio. I called Vanguard to ask them the difference and they said you can trade the stock intra-day and must open a brokerage account. Obviously after reading your book I dont plan to trade intra-day but can you shed some light on the ETF's vs. Traditional Index funds specifically through Vanguard. Would it be worth it to take advantage of the lower expense ratio. They also have an Admiral option but that requires 10,000 minimum.



    • Hi SV,

      Vanguard has such low fees with its regular indexes, and such great convenience associated with deposits, reinvestments etc, that I would probably just go with their regular indexes. The differences will be minimal over the long term, and when your account grows large enough, the lower expenses of the admiral shares will kick in. And these expenses are extremely low, very comparable with the ETFs.

      Thanks for the kind words about my book. I would be thrilled if you could spare a few minutes for an Amazon review. I notice that I have 49 reviewers. I would love it if you could make it an even 50! Here's the link, in case you can:

      And let me know if you have further questions.


  36. Sean McHugh says:

    Hi Andrew,

    A mutual friend is hopefully making her way towards you this very eve clutching a fistful of dollars so I can claim your book as my own.

    I’m a teacher in Singapore as well, and I started out in this path on my ownio a few years ago, but was left a little bewildered by the sheer number of ETFs available and whether to purchase them through the SGX or the USA, I’m using DBS Vickers. The costs with SGX are less, but which do you advise? Feel free to ignore this question of it’s obviously answered on your book.

    About the new regulations from MAS, anyone in Singapore who wants to trade has to undergo their online quiz – but it’s not so bad, and I’m guessing after they’ve read your book they will find it even easier. One top tip though, you can run the test in two browsers concurrently, so enabling you to ‘cheat’ as in refer to the relevant teaching material when answering the MCQs. I learn quite a bit, and passed the test. Hooray!

    But … I’m still clueless about what ETFs to choose, but I’m hoping that will all change once my friend returns with our wise words clutched betwixt her slender digits!

  37. andrew says:

    hi andrew , i read in your book that the price of bonds and stocks have an inverse relationship. but i'm still yet to found a bond that has an inverse relationship with the market as a whole. do correct me if i'm wrong, THANK YOU

  38. Andrew says:


    I enjoyed your book and reviewed it on my blog as part of my summer reading list. Check it out at, if you're interested in finding out what I wrote. I think I read that you took a year off from SAS to promote the book, so does that mean you'll be returning next year?



    • Thanks for the review Andrew. I look forward to checking it out!

      I was planning to take a year to promote the book, but I went back to SAS in January to teach the Personal Finance class half time, and I'll be back full time in August. Thanks again for the review!


  39. Congrats on your book! Glad to hear there are people out there like you who want to encourage and educate others based on what you actually did to become successful.

  40. Ryan says:

    Andrew thank you for your book. I have now shared it with frineds and family who are also benefitting from your ideas. I do have a question for you: I have been fortunate and seen nearly 20% growth in my “stock” holdings, and am wondering when does a person take some of that off the table? I have been able to maintian my 60:40 stock:bond ratio through the annual contribution I make to this investment every February, so my question is do I take some of the profit now and move it to bonds or let it ride? I appreciate your advise, as I think this is a great problem to have. Ryan

    • Hi Ryan,

      If you have maintained the allocation you started with (assuming 60/40 stocks and bonds) then you don’t need to take any profits off the table. Rather than thinking about taking profits in the future, look at your portfolio allocation and ask yourself if you are still aligned with your goal allocation. If so, don’t sell a thing. If, however, the markets rise back to back years, gaining 15%-20%, and you can’t keep your allocation where you want it, despite the bonds you would be buying in this case, then it would be time to rebalance. I do it myself, when my alignment is out by 10% or more.

      Glad the book was helpful!


  41. Albert says:

    Hi Andrew

    Questions for you, I read in your book & your posts here that you invest on a monthly basis, and that you buy the laggard, whether it’s stock or bonds.

    Now my investment allocation looks like this:
    28% ISHG
    36% VXUS
    36% VTI

    Come the end of month when I want to add to the investment, if I just pour all the money to either one of those above which is lagging, the allocations for each will be slightly off then, right?

    Please elaborate how you mean investing in the lagging one works.

    Shouldn’t we invest according to that proportion unless we have a birthday or the allocations are off by +-5%?

    Thanks heaps.

    • Hi Albert,

      When the account is small, one monthly deposit can shift the allocations. Don’t worry about that. When the account grows larger, a single monthly purchase won’t shift the allocation at all, unless you’re investing a huge lump sum. Just keep adding money to each index (one per month) and don’t worry too much about the allocation getting out by 5% or so. It’s no big deal.


  42. Marcus says:

    Hello Andrew. I am a friend of your brother I. and his wife S. in Victoria. They put me on to your book. I absolutely loved your book and ever since reading it have felt the need to let you know my story.

    I was never taught anything about money when I was young, neither by my parents nor my school. I went to university financially illiterate. For the following 10 years I funded my schooling and traveling with student loans and credit cards. In October of 2006, I began my career with a debt of $100,000.

    I soon realized I was in trouble when I really looked at all of the student loan and credit card statements. I was shocked at the reality of my situation and took it upon myself to become financially literate. I started to read as much as I could about the financial world concentrating on how to pay down debt. I also learned the valuable lesson of talking about money with people. Fast forward 6.5 years and I have my debt down to $16,000 and my wife and I have $50,000 in equity in our home.

    We had a financial advisor whom gave us great advice along the way but had us in the high MER funds you describe in your book. So we have ended that relationship and my wife and I have each opened Web Broker accounts with TD. We each have a portfolio allocation of 34% CDN Bonds, 22% each US index, Intl index and CDN index. Our accounts are setup as RSP accounts so that we are ‘tax sheltered’.

    So our goal continues to be paying down my student loan debt but it feels good to get some savings going as well. I really want to thank you for your book and the fine advice it provides. It is the best resource that I have read through my financial self-education. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I know you have advised on many other resources to read but if you might recommend one or two in particular that might be best for me that would be much appreciated.

    All the best Andrew.

    cheers Marcus

  43. Graham Mackenzie says:

    Dear Mr. Hallam,

    I just wanted to write you and tell you how much I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from “Millionaire Teacher”. I read it twice, the second time to take notes so that I could share the info with friends & family, as you exhort your readers to do. (I have also shared your book with friends and recommended it to others.)

    The one thing I found lacking was advice on how to track the general movement of bond and equity markets. Much of your advice is centered on actions to take when these markets are rising or falling. How would a newbie know where to find / interpret this info, especially over relevant time periods (ie, longer than just one day)? Thanks in advance for any tips / info you could share in regards to this.

    Be Well!
    Graham Mackenzie

    • I’m glad you liked the book Graham. The easiest way to track the performance of your funds itself is through your brokerage statement. I’m thinking pragmatically here. If your goal allocation, for example, is 30% bonds, 70% stocks, and you find that at the end of the month, you have 80% stocks, it means your stocks rose during the month (compared to your bonds) and that you should buy bonds the following month. As you’re building your account, don’t worry about this kind of rebalancing. Each month, just buy an alternating index. Once your account grows beyond the $50,000 point, you may then want to keep purchasing the lagging index to keep your portfolio close to its target alignment. Keep, however, an eye on commissions. Don’t get too carried away about matching things precisely, and ensure that you have at least a couple of thousand dollars to invest before making a trade. If you want to see (out of curiosity) the performance of different indexes, you can do so by using, click finance, then enter the symbol for whatever it is you want to look at. As an example, here’s the 5 year chart of the Vanguard total stock market index.;range=5y;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;

      • Graham Mackenzie says:

        Ah, yes; of course! Since the funds (both stock and bond) you are suggesting we invest in are indexes, they act as barometers for their respective markets, and all we need do is focus on their percentages in our portfolios. Clever!

        But suppose a person wants to keep their eyes peeled for opportunities *between* their monthly re-allocations? (For example, a minor catastrophe which happens to cause stocks to become severely undervalued for a couple weeks.) I don’t want to delude myself into thinking I can become a day trader, but I do want to try and take advantage of the irrational mass movements of the markets you’ve described in your book (such as post-9/11 and 2008 recession.) I read the NY Times daily, and so have started trying to interpret their “Stocks & Bonds” column, but was wondering what tools you use to track general middle-term trends (I guess you said Yahoo is your pick.)

        Thanks again so much!

        • Hi Graham,

          I don’t look at the stock market very often and think it’s counterproductive to do so. But if I want to see what the market is doing, I use Yahoo finance and enter the ticker symbols for the funds I own. This is an area, however, where extra vigilance (unlike most endeavors) won’t necessarily lead to better results. In fact, the opposite can be true.

          Just look at the market when you’re ready to invest and purchase your lagging index.


  44. Mychal says:

    Andrew, I’m a student, 18 years old, and I love your book. Thanks to your book I was able to understand investing well enough that I could start reading and understanding the book the Intelligent Investor. I’m ready to start investing but I don’t know whats the right path for me, I can only invest $3000, that’s all the money i can invest. So which would be better, a TD e-series fund or an ETF, for the amount of money i have. Much appreciated!

  45. Julie says:

    I am halfway through you book. Please allow me to share that:

    a) You have made this year’s Christmas shopping so much easier. Guess what everyone’s receiving? I have already “bought” this book for my brother. “Bought” because he’s in Singapore and I am overseas.
    b) I can relate to many things you have written i.e. from the “very helpful” and “caring” financial advisor who tries her best to stop you from terminating your ILPs that have been under-performing, to the nutty behavior of investors. During the Asian Financial crisis in 1997, I lost two school teachers – one to a massive heart attack the day the market crashed, and another, to suicide.
    c) Your explanations are simple and straight-to-the-point. I am a slow ready, not-that-smart, and it has taken me 3 days to read and understand Rule 1 to Rule 4. It took me 6 months to read what Peter Lynch wrote in Learn to Earn.
    d) I bought your book after 7 years of “DIY” investing in stocks, & mutual funds via ILPs (ignorantly). Better late than never although it is better never late. I can’t turn back the clock but I can help others by spreading the news about your book, and “firing” my financial advisor.

    Thanks again!

  46. Collin says:

    Dividends are described incorrectly in your book: If a stock pays 5% in dividends, its price decreases to reflect that payout. Otherwise there would be a free lunch. So a 5% dividend isn’t a net gain of 5%·

    • Hi Collin,

      The dividend explanation is correct:

      If a $10 stock pays a 50 cent dividend (as mentioned on page 30) then a 5% net gain is made if the stock was purchased at $10, remained at $10 a year later, and the 50 cent dividend was paid during that given year. If the stock price rose, and the dividend payout was 50 cents, the net gain would be higher.

      Remember that the dividend coupon and the yield on a dividend are two separate things.



  47. Sharif L-Aminu says:

    Hi Andrew! As an ordinary teacher you applied these principle and you succeeded.But me i’m very low income earner,does the millionaire teacher concern us,do you think if i apply it i can become a millionaire.Thanks

    • Hi Sharif,

      I don’t know whether or not you will become a millionaire, but you will be better off after applying these principles than you would have otherwise.


  48. Justin says:

    Hi Andrew-

    After reading your book I elected to open a Vanguard account and seize control of my investments. The funds from my previous financial institution (traditional IRA and roth IRA) have finally hit my Vanguard account and I am ready to implement your investment strategy. My one concern centers around the VTSMX & VGTSX funds being close to 52 week highs. I am weary of continued gains and while you preach this should not be an emotional decision is it wise to buy these funds at their current price per share? Part of me says put 100% in VBFMX and wait to see if there is a market correction at which point I can buy VTSMX & VGTSX. Any advice you can provide is much appreciated.



    • Hi Justin,

      If you sold on a high, you would be buying on a high, right? It’s best not to speculate. Just build the portfolio. It will fluctuate, but if you can’t ignore that, you might be better off with an advisor charging you a fee to build and manage an index portfolio. Most people are better off with such an advisor, for many of the same reasons you are currently concerned with: speculation.


  49. Andrew says:

    i hav read your books. can u teach me which index fund is worth to invest in Malaysia?

  50. Alex says:

    Dear Andrew,

    Re: Hong Kong MPF

    Have you done any research into Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Scheme in terms of what most closely resembles an Index Fund?

    It appears there are no passively managed Index Funds with low fee structure on offer.

    Lots of teachers, and teacher wannabees here in HK who I am pretty sure are facing similar problem.

    Best Regards,


  51. DaveM says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m a fellow Canadian, distance runner and also age grouper triathlete. I started pretty late in life, at 44, but have since made good progress finishing my fourth year of racing with a couple of Majors under my belt (Boston and Chicago) and an IM70.3WC. If only has I started running and maintaining a healthy lifestyle when I was a teenager, a time when I had the world by the tail. Alas, time went by, suddenly I’m out of breath climbing a dozen steps, and on the verge of “upgrading” my pants yet another size. Thankfully I took action and can honestly say I’m healthier than any time in my life.

    Having just about finished your book, the parallels are leaping off the pages. Thank you for reawakening me to taking care of my financial health. My wife and I built a reasonable portfolio between 20 and 15 years ago, but have since completely neglected it as work mounted, the family grew and steady contributions were set aside to pay off our obligations. The portfolio is in the hands of someone I don’t know, I’ve never spoken to and I haven’t a clue what holdings I have! All I can tell you is it has underperformed the Indexes by a wide margin. It’s fat and out of breath, but at least it’s not dead! Although there is still a couple chapters to go in the book, a plan of action is being formed to retake my financial health, but more importantly, to take what you are teaching me to my children. For this, my family shall be in your debt!

    On a more specific note, I have a fairly lucrative pension waiting for me when I retire. It is a DB package in a very well funded plan within a fairly solid company, so I’m not terribly stressed about post-retirement, but the pension lost it’s indexing a few years ago, so it will slowly lose its value when I start collecting it in 2031. It would be nice to have it backed up by what I have invested already, supplied and reinvigorated by new money. Since publication, I noticed Vanguard has come to Canada. I will take some time to look through your web site for any articles you may have written in that regard, since you appear to hold the U.S. branch in high esteem. At first glance, the Canadian offerings are somewhat sparse as of Dec 2014, but I’ll do my research to find the best products with low fees.

    Thanks again for educating not just me, but all of us in a manner that has been easy to wrap our brains around.


  52. curt jensen says:

    Hi Andrew,
    I am interested in starting up an index portfolio but must open an account through TD direct international luxembourg. The funds do not match up with your suggestions from td waterhouse ca. Any suggestions would be wonderful —- looking for a simple Index /ETF portfolio for a 40+ investor.

  53. Lee says:

    Hi Andrew

    I just read your book, the global expatriates guide to investing – it is an incredible book! I have already recommended it to 4 of my friends. I live in the UAE, where, just like in Singapore, it is easy pickings for the Devere Group and other financial advisers charging ridiculous commissions (and you have to start wondering on the level of the training when your former personal trainer disappears for 4 weeks and then pops up working as a financial advisor for Devere). Unfortuantely, you arrive here, suddenly realise that you have money and should be investing and they come to you with what looks like a good option.

    While the advice has come slightly too late for me, I already had put in over U.S.$100,000 in a 25 year friends provident scheme. Over the last 4 years, in the biggest bull market in recent history, my portfolio only increased by U.S.$2,000 over what I put in and massively underperformed (I stupidly didn’t pay enough attention to what they were doing!). I was then told that it would cost me U.S.$45,000 in surrender fees to pull out of the “savings” scheme (therefore Friends Provident would be taking pretty much half of what I put in over the last four years for “investing” my money). Anyway, I have now pulled out as much as I can from it without a surrender penalty and am fighting to get back the rest.

    But looking forward, I feel luckyin some ways, I am in my early thirties and in a good job so can still start saving again in accordance with the principles outlines in your book (for those of you living as expats – I can’t recommend it enough). Now, I want to set up a portfolio of ETF funds mapped out, as per the below, but have a few questions which I really would appreciate you taking the time to answer – I imagine that these same questions are also currently being considered by others!.


    I am English and my girlfriend is a fellow Candian. We are both in our early thirties. We plan to stay in the UAE for at least 10 years. We would then most likely retire to Canada, but that isn’t certain and could actually end up moving anyway. I currently earn in AED. which is pegged to the US$. In terms of currency exposure, we would therefore perfer to keep some in U.S.$, have some in Candian and some in British pounds (thinking a 45,30,25 split). We can obviously do this by exchanging the money and then investing in the various exchanges through an on-line broker through which we can access numerous different exchanges. I think a few swap ETFs (since we live in a tax free jurisdiction), some fundamental index ETFs and some general cap ETFs to have a mix. We were therefore thinking of the following:

    80% – Stocks (as per the below)
    20% – Short Term Bonds (CAN/TSE)

    15% – US Stock Market S&P (US$/NYSE)
    (Swap Based ETF Index)

    10% – US Small Caps (US$/NYSE)
    (Swap Based ETF)

    20% – World Stock Market (U.S$/NYSE)
    (Capitalisation ETF Index)

    15% – Emerging Markets (GBP/LSE)
    (Capitalisation ETF Index)

    10% – British Stock Market (GBP/LSE)
    (Fundamental Index)

    10% – Canadian Stock Market (CAN/TSE)
    (Swap-Based ETF Index)


    1. I have an account with Interactive Brokers. I wasn’t aware about the Estate Tax issue until I read your book (thank you for that!!!), which is worth avoiding. I do however still want (i) exposure to the US market and (ii) to keep some U.S.$ in the retirement portfolio. I can invest in US stocks through the Candian or British stock exchanges, but that would involve having all of my portfolio denominated in Candian dollar/GBP (since will need to convert to buy on the exchanges). I have considered investing through an off-shore company set up in an off-shore jursdiction which means I avoid the estate tax issue and can still invest in the US. Do you know if people do this? While it would cost roughly U.S.$1,000 per year to set up and maintain, I would be looking at saving around U.S.$150,000 per year and therefore in terms of cost in the portfolio would be fairly small (ane would get smaller in time as portfolio grows).

    Alternatively would perhaps to do it anyway and then exchange out when I get older and this becomes more of a concern (I am only 33) although this maybe expensive, or possibly investing through another exchange that pegs itself to the dollar and has US stock market index trackers. I would then also have to change brokerage firms to avoid any US connection – noting it seems that cash in a US brokerage account could also possibly be liable for estate tax.

    2. I have U.S.$200,000 saved up that is just sitting in cash at the moment. We may use it for a deposit for a house in the next year or so if the property market tanks a little here (it like the stock market has doubled in the last 5 years but now slows signs of a correction). I know you shouldn’t try and time the market, but since stocks have gone up for like 6 years in a row and while I want my portfolio to comprise a large amount of stocks (and for ease of management, set it up and, apart from rebalancing every year, want to pretty much leave it alone with minimal tinkering) – is now a good time to start putting my money in the stock market?

    Any helps/thoughts you have on the above would be much appreciated!!


  54. Charlie says:

    Hi Lee,

    My story almost mirrors your exactly. Care for a coffee to shoot the breeze?


  55. Lee says:


    That woud be good, I work in the DIFC. As a follow up, I note that you can invest in ETFs that track the S&P 500 which are demoninated in US$, but which are listed and traded on the London Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange. I haven’t tried it yet (having a few problems with the brokerage software), but this should allow me to keep my portfolio 55% in US$, 30% in CAN $ and 15% in GBP, give me exposure to the US stock market, while at the same time avoid estate tax.

    I should therefore be able to trade on my interactive brokers account and still avoid Estate Tax issues, as long as I keep cash in the brokerage account below U.S.$60,000 (cash in brokerage accounts is counted as US based property I understand). I am still considering Saxo Capital Markets in order to be completely safe, but from reviews IB is both better and cheaper.

    My portfolio would therefore look something like the below:

    10% – SWAP – Horizons CDN Select Universe Bond ETF (HBB)(0.30%)(CAN)
    5% – Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond Index VAB(Investment Grade Securities) (0.12%)


    25% – Developed World (US$ but traded on LSE)
    Vanguard FTSE Developed World UCITS ETF (VDEV)(0.18%)

    20% US Stock Market (US$ but traded on LSE)
    Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF (VUSD)(0.07%)

    10% Emerging Markets (USD but traded on LSE)
    Ishares Core MSCI Emerging MArkets IMI UCITS ETF (EIMI)(0.25%)

    15% – British Stock Market (GBP)

    15% – Canadian Stock Market (CAN)
    (Swap-Based ETF Index – HXT Horizons S&P/TSX 60™ Index ETF (HXT)(0.07%)

    The expenses ratios for each fund look fairly low (certainly lower than the 4% I was paying with Devere), but if anyone has any suggestions or tweaks or think any other funds would be better, please do feel free to let me know.


  56. MDE says:

    Loved your book! Learned so much as it was easy to read for a beginner investor. Can you let me know if the Vanguard allocations you suggested are still the best ones in today’s market…

    “35% Vanguard U.S. Bond Index (Symbol VBMFX)
    35% Vanguard Total U.S. Stock Market Index (Symbol VTSMX)
    30% Vanguard Total International Stock Market Index (Symbol VGTSX)”

    And if not what would your recommendations be?
    Tnx a lot!

Leave a Reply

Advertisment ad adsense adlogger