Nine Laws to Financial Freedom – Resources Page


Welcome to the Nine Laws to Financial Freedom Resources page. 

As a free report,  feel free to send it to anyone who you feel might benefit. Simply fill in the form, 9 Laws to Financial Freedom — found to the right of the screen –  and I’ll send it to you immediately. 

I’ll also keep you updated in the future.



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The Nine Laws to Financial Freedom

My book, Millionaire Teacher, became an international bestseller, but I didn’t write it to make money.  Instead, I wanted to offer evidence-based financial suggestions that people could benefit from.  Many of the lessons within Millionaire Teacher can be found in 9 Laws to Financial Freedom. You could save your money and NOT buy the book.


Introduction: Getting Real About Denial

When I was five years old, I received a tetanus shot in school.  I bawled like a patsy but eventually learned that I wouldn’t be receiving my next shot until the fifth grade.  This was the greatest news ever; in my mind, grade five was adulthood, or pretty close to it.  Lost in denial (with my parents’ traffic warnings ringing in my ears) I figured an unseen Chevy could end everything before the distant age of ten.  So why sweat it?

My Kindergarten denial was harmless, but financial denial is potentially dangerous.   The odds are decent that you’ll reach retirement age. I don’t actually like the “R” word myself.  I prefer “financial freedom” instead:  the option to work — if you choose to — or lay on a hammock after a workout and a massage for as many years as you wish. If this sounds desirable, please keep reading; I’ll list a few laws you could follow to increase your odds of financial success.

  • Introduction: Getting Real About Denial
  • Law #1  – Only Fools Pay Regular Credit Card Interest
  • Law #2 – Rainy Day Money Prevents Drowning
  • Law #3 – Pay Yourself First
  • Law #4 – Embrace Your Inner Sloth
  • Law #5 – Be Aware When Financial Advisors Exploit
  • Law #6 – Financial Advisors with a Conscience
  • Law #7 – When Falling Stocks Are Better Than Rising Ones
  • Law #8 – Bonds Aren’t For Wimps
  • Law #9 – Start with a Map or Risk Getting Lost
  • End Note: Further Suggestions


To read the full report, please fill in the form to the right of screen and I’ll immediately send to you the 9 Laws to Financial Freedom — and keep you updated in future.




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Law #5 – Be Aware When Financial Advisors Exploit

Additional Resources

  • Unconventional Success, David Swensen
  • The Buffett Hedge Fund Challenge
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Burton Malkiel
  • Morningstar
  •  The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, John Bogle
  • The Essays of Warren Buffett, Lawrence Cunningham
  • The Four Pillars of Investing, Dr William Bernstein
  • The Dick Davis Dividend, Dick Davis

For further reading on the superiority of index funds over actively managed funds:

  • Millionaire Teacher, by Andrew Hallam, Wiley, 2011
  • The Elements of Investing, by Charles D. Ellis and Burton Malkiel
  • The New Coffeehouse Investor, by Bill Schultheis
  • The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read, by Daniel R. Solin
  • The Quest For Alpha, by Larry Swedroe
  • How A Second Grader Beats Wall Street, by Allan S. Roth
  • Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton G. Malkiel, 2003
  • The Bogleheads, by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf, 2007
  • The Four Pillars of Investing, by William Bernstein, 2003
  • The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing, by Paul B Farrell, 2004
  • The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, by John Bogle 2007
  • Unconventional Success, by David Swenson 2008


 Law #6 – Financial Advisors with a Conscience

Additional Resources


Law #7 – When Falling Stocks Are Better Than Rising Ones

Additional Resources

  • CNN Money Buffett Advice –  Read more about Buffett’s philosophy
  • The Essays of Warren Buffett, Lawrence Cunningham


Law #8 – Bonds Aren’t For Wimps

Additional Resources


Law #9 – Start with a Map or Risk Getting Lost

Additional Resources


End Note: Further Suggestions

Additional Resources

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91 Responses

  1. John says:

    Great read and very much enjoy your blog

  2. Gaby says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks again for another great read!!! I am always grateful for all your posts and advice. You always put things in perspective and make me want to keep saving more in hopes of reaching financial freedom :)

    All the best,


  3. sundaravaradan says:

    Dear Andrew

    When my friend Manish recommended your book , I immediately bought it online through kindle and read the book with excitement. I had mastered the Law no 1 to 4. But miserably failed in Law 5 and 7. Not aware of the Law no 6 and I found no one so far other than your book. Done reasonably well in bonds taking risk. Started investing in Index both bond and stock.

    Now I pray for falling market to invest in stock index using my hard earned savings. Also want to enter bond index at a reasonable price. All bond index already at high price currently.

    I am a resident of Singapore but would be settling in India . Great book and really thank you for sharing the 9 laws

  4. Derald Cook says:


    I enjoyed meeting you in Manila at EARCOS a few years back and have read your book since and applied many of the principles. I have left Mont' Kiara International School and am now back in Marin County, California. I have recommended your book to several of my new colleagues, which they have purchased.

    Derald Cook

  5. DIY Investor says:

    The U.S. is facing a retirement crisis as baby boomers are totally unprepared for their years age 65 and beyond. They don't have resources they counted on because they saved too little, charged too much, got caught up in the bubble, paid too much for financial services and borrowed against rising house prices prior to the housing bust. Simply, many have no choices or options as they face their so-called "golden years".

    All of this can be avoided in the future by spending a short amount of time reading and following Andrew's rules. At least one person in every family should understand these rules and explain them to others.

    In the U.S., with 401(k)s etc. we have been put in charge of our retirement but nobody gave us an instruction booklet. Andrew provides that booklet.

  6. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for this. I am half way through your book, which I am enjoying tremendously. It comes at just the right time. I teach overseas and need to get back on track with investing. I hate to think how much of my money Raymond James has taken over the years. Index funds it will be from now on (plus appropriate percentage of bonds). Thank you for the links, especially the compound interest calculator.

    A fun coincidence: we are interviewing for a new Headmaster this week, and when I asked candidate 1 what he's reading, he mentioned your book!

    Two questions after reading your nine rules. When saving the rainy day fund, where should one invest or gather it to maximization growth potential? Should it be part of the index/bond funds pile? And do you recommend that I roll over my WA State teacher's retirement account into the Vanguard account I plan to start this week, or just leave it where it is? Wouldn't I stand to earn a lot more compound interest if I rolled over that nice little lump and started adding to it, instead of letting it sit there making money but being unable to add to it?

    Thank you, and take care. You are truly inspiring.


  7. Ken Kowalsky says:

    Hi Andrew

    I'm Jeff's father, he passed your book millionaire teacher on to me. I'm 75 years young and was being stiffed by the mer's and after reading your book I started really examining my porfolio and the so called financial adviser who was looking after my interest or should I say his interests. I discovered it's nearly impossible to make any money their way when they take over 5 grand each and every year for sending me a statement pretty expensive. he never called me once I had to call him! I bit the bullet and sold everything and put it into the couch potato index, you know I read about this couch potato idea years back but it seemed to simple, oh how I wished I had moved on it then. But now is now. I did this back in July and already I'm ahead the game and completely comfortable.

    Question I'm 70% bonds, 15% Canadian, and 15% World, I know bonds are more safe at my age but should the money invested be evenly balanced so when rebalancing your balancing equal dollars?


  8. Ron says:

    Many thanks Andrew

  9. Karim says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I truely enjoyed reading your book. You provide very sound and logical advise in a very simple way that can be understood by anyone. I wish this was available ten years ago. I hope people do take this simplistic view of personal finances and follow-through and not get tied-up with all the more complicated products thrown from the financial industry.


  10. Be'en says:

    Hi Andrew

    The updates and resources provided here are priceless. I had downloaded your older version of the 9 Rules and read it. Subsequently, I read your book which was, like your blogs, very readable.

    The book expands well on the topics covered here and if someone does not have the time to read the book, the information provided here is enough for someone to get started to follow an investment strategy that's recommended by the likes of Warren Buffet.

    Love your articles at the "Assetbuilder" site, too!


  11. Jim Brady says:

    excellent Andrew great up date, have read your book also. It should be part of every high school curriculum in Canada.


  12. Curt says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the Nine Rules. Reading your book earlier this year helped me make the decision to take back control over my investments. I had been investing on my own for about 15 years when I decided that I was ready for professional help because I felt like a professional would help me make better returns. After reading your book and a few others and looking at how much I was paying for "professional" help I realized that the only person I was helping was my advisor and not myself. He had me in a "diversified" portfolio of 52 funds!!! After moving to Vanguard we have reduced that to 5 funds and I have been very happy with my returns. It is even more impressive when I consider the money I save by NOT paying for "advice." Thanks for the motivation and thanks for the abreviated version of the Nine Rules. It will be easy to pass this on to some of the younger folks I work with as I have already passed your book on to someone I think will benefit from your advice! Thanks again,


  13. David Beasant says:

    Excellent advice but wish I had read it and followed it many moons ago.

  14. Marc says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Just 2 words, "Great Book"

    If I have read your book as early as it was being published. I wouldn't have bought the mutual funds that pay exorbitant admin charges to the financial advisers.

    I will do my part to send your reports to people whom really want to retire not having to worry about daily expenses.


  15. Bill Glave says:

    Excellent reference materials for all investors! Have bought and read and reread your book, and again have used it as a reference. Only negativity is that we (my wife also) are retired, and are seeking incomes opposed to capital gains. Very few blogs, websites etc address this specific area. I.e. Your suggested portfolio is great for the investor seeking growth, but , unless one is prepared to rebalance every time a withdrawal is needed on a RRIF, it is not very useful.

    I do enjoy your blogs, so keep trucking!

  16. Luca says:

    Thanks Andrew

    The report was quite helful and refreshing after reading your book a month ago—I believe that it provides a realistic picture even for novice investors like me who have just started testing the investing arena.

    Thanks again and look forward to more of your works


    Luca Caruana

  17. Patti Smaldone says:

    Many thanks Andrew!

    I enjoyed reading your book, yet appreciate the "recap" here. In an arena where I doubt my every decision and move.. I welcome some trusted advice to educate myself. I also love your writing style! It keeps my attention and focus, and explains investing in a way I can understand.

    Thank you,

    Patti Smaldone

  18. PattiSmaldone says:

    Many thanks, Andrew!

    I enjoyed reading your book, yet appreciate the "recap" here. In an arena where I doubt my every decision and move…I welcome some trusted advice to educate myself. I also love your writing style! It keeps my attention and focus, and explains investing in a way I can understand.

    Thank you, Patti Smaldone

  19. Linda says:

    Andrew, many thanks for the updated 'Nine Laws to Financial Freedom!' I want you to know that many of our family members and friends have benefited from all of your research and from reading your book. Frankly, the 'Millionaire Teacher' should be required reading for every high school student. You have laid out a road map for everyone to manage their finances successfully and simply so they have time to focus on the real important things in their lives.

    Andrew, thank you so much for all the work you have done to help others!

    Best regards,


  20. Steve F. says:

    Your writing is simple, informative, inspiring and easy to follow allowing a persons financial decisions to be made with confidence. After reading your "Nine Laws to Financial Freedom" report, I immediately bought your book on amazon. I look forward to teaching my daughter to be financially secure by the age of 30 as you did. Thanks, Andrew. Good thoughts to you, always.

  21. Matt says:

    Andrew–Another well written article. My father has read your book, but still falls for the malarky that his financial advisor (and long-time friend) feeds him (such as the fact that he better keep his annuities, which are underperforming indexes, because if Obama is re-elected, we will see another market crash like 4 years ago). I sent him this article in hopes he would focus on the simple, but important information in Laws 5 and 6.

    It is amazing how people cannot separate their emotion from their money, even when they read your simple, straight forward writing on how investing should be.

    • Thanks Matt,

      If there were such a thing as predicting stock markets based on past elections, then your dad's advisor would certainly be barking up the wrong tree. In Kenneth Fisher's book, Markets Never Forget, he outlines some patterns of stock markets based on elections. Your dad's advisor has obviously never read it. Instead, your dad's advisor is suggesting that if it rained last Saturday, it will rain this Saturday, instead of wondering whether it will snow in November a few times, because history suggests it has. In truth, when a Republican is elected, the markets generally lurch. But in most cases, when the public realizes that the pro-business politician isn't making the headway they expect, the markets generally fall. Democrats, typically, have the opposite effect. When they get elected for a first term (this would be Obama's second) the market often responds downward, but when the public sees that the President isn't killing business, the stock markets generally rise nicely through the term. Democratic terms have historically produced far better returns than Republican terms in the stock market. Who would have thought? Check out this fascinating read:

      I think every investor should check this out, for its myriad of incredibly researched gems. Having said that, only a knucklehead advisor would truly suggest an investment strategy based on who he or she thinks will win an election. Such smoke and mirrors keep him in a job I guess. Too bad your dad's guy has it backwards.

  22. Cole says:

    Andrew, Yours was the first book that sparked my interest in personal finance and led to the exploration of many other finance topics. Thank you and keep up the good work!

  23. Steve says:

    Hi Andrew,

    You asked for my opinion.

    I am giddy that you tossed out the old rule #9 in this update. You knew that stock picking goes against the Dharma from Bernstein, Bogle, Bogleheads, Burns, Schultheis, Malkiel, Buffet, Swensen and Solin who all recommend to us ordinary investors to stay away from picking individual stocks.

    Your contributions to the investing public are: (1) presenting an international perspective, (2) encouraging the younger reader that they can be a millionaire by age 40 by starting early and learning to invest. (3) At the beginning of your book you were very personal about who you are, how you began learning about investing and showing how you found the money to invest through frugal living. While the indexing strategy content and argument of the passive over active management has already been written by the above mentioned authors, (4) your writing style provides a refreshing look at the indexing strategy aimed at novices, who might be turned off by the conventional personal finance books.

    Have a great weekend,


    • Thanks Steve,

      If I write another book, perhaps you might want to help as a drafting consultant. Your feedback is great! You can tell how many people on Amazon appreciated it.



  24. Steve says:

    Sure, I was never a drafting consultant in my life, but then again, I didn't know what a mutual fund was until 45 and didn't know about indexing strategy with low cost funds and viable asset allocation until 55.

    I'll be happy to help.

    Talk soon,


  25. WinnieLee says:


    Your massages are simple to understand. For a non English mother tongue speaker I have no problem to understand them. The facts are disclosed while fund managers will not tell you. It's very informative and I learn a lot from there.

    Thank you.

    Winnie, singapore

  26. Natalie says:

    Andrew, Your "Nine Law" report is truly a synopsis of all that you share in your workshops. Thank you for sharing it with the many masses that are unable to attend these valuable talks. You have a gift in making things simple, clear, and doable. Thank you for sharing your insight and gift to all of us.

  27. Daria says:

    Thanks for the preview. I would argue the point on bonds though. What is going to happen when the first person starts to sell bonds and there are no more buyers because interest rates can't go lower? People don't realize they can lose their principle in bonds and it will be ugly. You can say that over time they'll bounce back, but if you invest now, at the very top, it's a hard pill to watch the investment plummet.

  28. Maurice says:

    An excellent read Andrew, not that I needed any encouragement to follow your suggestions on indexing, especially through E.T.F's. How anyone can continue to pay the sometimes exorbitant M.E.R's on many mutual funds, baffles me.

    I have passed on your "Nine Laws" to a few others who will undoubtedly, benefit from the experience.

  29. Thank you so much Gaby,

    I'm glad it was helpful!



  30. Dear Sundaravaradan,

    I'm thrilled that you pray for falling markets now. We can pray together on this one!

  31. Thanks Derald,

    It's great to know that you're helping me spread the word about low cost investing and the conflicts of interest within the industry.

    Thank you!


  32. Thanks for sharing this Susan. Very cool!!! Where are you working?

  33. Hi Ken,

    In some cases, it depends on your risk tolerance. Personally, at 42 years of age and no pension, I like the textbook allocation of bonds representing my age. Having said that, I don't think I'll ever go higher than 60% in bonds. I can handle volatility (emotionally) and I'm greedy enough to want growth. If you can tolerate volatility yourself (and there wouldn't be THAT much) you might want to try the same thing. An equally allocated portfolio, in contrast, would have much more volatility and carry higher short term risk. Thanks Ken!


  34. Karim and Bhaskar,

    Thank you so much. I have a feeling that you both are spreading the benefits of low cost indexing and promoting the idea that falling markets are good for younger investors, long term. Thank you!


  35. Thanks Jim,

    I'm trying to teach it right now to three high school classes. It's tough, because a lot of re-wiring has to take place. Good investing and saving is so contrary to how many people (especially young people) think!

  36. Curt, I am so glad you fired your advisor. He or she had you in 52 funds!!!??? That's insanity. Thank you so much for the encouragement Curt. I am so happy that I could help, even if it was just in a really small way. Thank you!

  37. Thanks David,

    At least you can benefit from now on, and help to pass this on to the next generation. Thank you!!


  38. Thanks for the kind words Marc. I'm thrilled to know that you'll be helping me to educate others. Greatly appreciated! Thank you!!

  39. Thanks so much Bill! Have you tried Scott Burns' blog at Assetbuilder? His focus is more on retirees, and he's an amazing writer. Let me know what you think:

  40. Thank you so much Luca! I'm glad you found it useful. Thank you for letting me know!!


  41. Thanks Patti,

    How's your progress in working towards that "number" we spoke about this past summer? Are you on track? Did you share my book with Mark?

  42. Great to hear it Cole! Are there any other books you would recommend to my readers?



  43. If I draft another book, I will definitely contact you. The more wise, critical eyes the better! Michael O'Higgins and I are considering a book together on overall wHealth. I capitalized the "H" on purpose. Our proposal is to create a book about health that's broader than just money or just lifestyle…a sort of blend between the two. O'Higgins is a brilliant man. I've written a few articles about him on this site and he has already written some interesting books. We'll discuss both of our investment philosophies—which do differ slightly.

  44. That means a lot to me Winnie. Thank you! I really wanted to make it as clear as possible.

    Thank you!


  45. Natalie,

    It's great having you as my neighour! You're lovely inside and out….and I know that you're sharing what you know about money. Thank you for that. You'll change lives!


  46. Thanks Daria,

    Do you not own bonds? I'm curious.



  47. Thanks so much Maurice! I'm thrilled that we're on the same educational team!



  48. lud says:

    Hi Andrew excellent advice always read your blog will be buying your book soon.All the best. Lud.

  49. Franz E. says:

    It has been my dream since I was very young to have financial freedom as I saw my parents struggle from our day to day expenses with a meager salary. I am just starting to learn about investing and my boss has recommended your website. He said, he learned a lot from you and have used them on trading/investing. Thank you for your advice. Will keep on reading your blog and will buy your book.

  50. Rob Thompson says:


    What an excellent publication. Sorry it took so long to get to. Life has been very crazy here.

    I only have one comment, a very minor one. Regarding bonds: Yes they should always be a part of your portfolio. I'm not really a beholder to the 100 minus age theory but for most that is a good place to start.

    My concern is that there needs to be a warning regarding the threat of inflation on bonds or bond funds purchased during times such as these in the US. There is a very real risk to losing money with bonds transitioning from low to high inflation. Most people think "bonds are safe"…not necessarily so as I'm sure you realize.

    I also believe that the "bond portion" of a portfolio needs to be diversified just as we do with equities. You should own short, medium, and long, world, and high yield as will as TIPS.

    The world of the individual investor has gotten complicated yet I believe we are getting smarter.

    Thank you again for your publication.



    • Thanks Rob,

      You are right about bonds. In my book, I mention that I prefer short term bonds for the very reason you describe above. With a short term bond index, I can't lose to inflation. As bond prices drop, yields rise, and a short term bond index will buy the higher yielding, lower priced bonds when it renews the bonds within in it that have expired. Of course, in a single year I could lose to inflation, but it's a mathematically impossibility that I could lose to inflation over 2-3 years.



  51. Wade says:

    I read " Millionaire Teacher" about 2 weeks ago. Great book.

    Andrew, does Vanguard's "Life Strategy Moderate Growth Fund" (VSMGX) meet your criteria of a good investment?

  52. Su-Chong Lim says:


    I finally got around to actually reading the "Nine Laws to Financial Freedom" through, rather than just skimming the 9 Laws themselves. I have read your book Millionaire Teacher, and because of the book, have been following the Canadian Couch Potato Blog intensely since June. In that context, I didn't learn anything you hadn't already imparted to me already in the Millionaire Teacher book, although the "9 Laws" was a handy review of material I was already up to date on already.

    The one exception to my unqualified agreement was your "Law 2" — A Rainy Day Fund Prevents Drowning. Interestingly, this is very common middle ground advice given by so many Financial advisors and books that one could argue it is only prudent common sense. However, if it interpreted to state: " Put a priority on first saving 6 months of Emergency Funds to live on in case you lose your job or are unable to work before contributing to other savings for investments", then a plausible dissenter would be David Chilton in "The Wealthy Barber Returns". In this rather disjointed recent sequel to the original and excellent "Wealthy Barber" 25 years ago, the author does reward the reader with a few worthy nuggets. One of them was the initially surprising news that he is retracting his original advice given in the first book to put priority to saving an emergency fund of 3-6 months living expenses before saving for investment. His explanation is that he found out from his audiences in subsequent lecture tours and from readers that too many undisciplined (normal) people considered the saved emergency funds fair game for quasi-emergencies e.g. I'm so stressed I need a vacation, and my productivity is so bad now, this is really a good use of the money because it's boosting my productivity etc etc. Once those funds were spent, the fledgling investors felt obliged to save again to build it up before investing and the cycle repeated itself. That made me think a lot, and I have to take his point — that's what people are like, that's true! Probably even me, although I like to think of myself as disciplined! Anyway, allegedly since he stopped preaching this requirement, he feels people looking to him for advice have started saving for investment earlier.

  53. Rob says:

    Hi Andrew

    Question regarding how you bought used cars (page 6 for those wondering). I love the idea of buying a car after the depreciation is completely gone but my worry is always repairs.

    For example

    After nearly a 1000E in maintenance (timing belt and a few other things) on our 10 year old car it started over heating. The mechanic wasn't sure what was causing the problem and after 3 more visitsdecided not to spend anymore and traded it in for a demo (saving 8 grand in the process)

    Friends bought what they thought was a reliable older car only to find out it was due for a timing belt change and tires. Ouch

    1. Did that ever happen to you?

    2. How long did you usually keep your cars

    3. What about taxes

    Thanks in Advance

    PS Enjoyed your book so much I bought copies for all my family for Christmas.

    • Hi Rob,

      I did end up losing money on a 1989 Tercel that I bought in the late 90s. I think I put about $1000 of repairs into it during the three years I owned it, and sold it for about $1000 less than I paid. But this $2000 loss was less than I would have lost in depreciation for a new car, the moment it rolled off the lot. I guess there's always risk with opportunity, right? Anything can happen. Like you, however, I will still continue to buy used cars. In my eyes, I'm not nearly wealthy enough to own a new car. It's so much money wasted, in my view.

      Fortunately, I made profits on some of the used cars too! Until I recently bought a 74 Benz, I was ahead of the game on cars. As for the Benz…it was my frivolous buy, and I felt like I finally deserved to be a bit frivolous. That said, it's not worth much!

  54. Rob says:

    Probably the underlying issue isn't that people aren't saving but that they are still spending too much, spending that might add would have gone on a CC had they not had the cash. Also putting money into a tax deferred investment doesn't mean people won't pull the money out.

  55. Rob says:

    Hi Andrew

    Saw you answered my question for the other day but I can't seem to find the original comment (show's up on the side but not in the feed). But only wanted to say thanks for the fast reply and that a car is probably the toughest purchase to do right. sometimes you get lucky and other times you get a lemon.


  56. Jeffrey Lee says:

    Hi Andrew, I have just finished reading your book and I have to say I feel so enlightened! Thank you so much for sharing with us your insights and experiences. You always put things in perspective and just make me want more to keep saving and investing in hopes of reaching financial freedom.

    Anyway question is, you recommended that one index portfolio should comprise of an index fund (both stocks & bonds) of one's own country and one international index fund (Stocks), the latter being to spread out one's portfolio and for some exposure to the world.

    Then again I was just wondering whether it would be wise for me to spread out even more in depth, i.e. my portfolio will consist of not just the aforementioned two index funds but also some index funds from my regional countries and countries that I deemed suitable for investing.

    For example, I am a 20 year-old Singaporean, and I am thinking of having a portfolio like the one below:

    =My Country's Index Fund=

    35% Singapore Total Stock Index

    15% Singapore Bond Index

    =Regional countries Index Fund=

    10% Indonesia Total Stock Index

    10% Malaysia Total Stock Index

    =International Index Fund=

    10% World Total Stock Index

    15% USA Total Stock Index

    =Country of-my-choice Index Fund=

    5% Korea Total Stock index

    Do you think it is appropriate? :) and what would you suggest if not?

    Thanks for reading! 😀

  57. Joseph @ San Francisco says:

    Hi, Andrew,

    I recently bought your book from Amazon and finished it in 2 weeks. It’s indeed refreshing. I want to apply your methods on my retirement portfolio but need more guidance on the operational details. (I am 40 this year.)

    My question is: If I already have a good amount of money in my retirement accounts, what’s the best way to use it to build an Index ETF portfolio? I am asking because I suspect the market is high/overheating now. If I build the portfolio right away, do I run the risk of buying high (with all my savings)? On the other hand, if I don’t build the portfolio now, I can only sit with those cash that generates very low interests. I am a good saver and have no issue on saving for retirement every month, but I really need to know how to make the best use of the lump sum of money I already saved. Thanks!


    • Hi Joseph,

      Do you remember, in my 4th chapter, how I described the stock market like a dog on a leash? If the dog (stocks) are running away from the owner (business earnings) then the dog eventually has to slow so earnings can catch up.

      Currently, the U.S. market’s PE ratio is roughly 14.5 times earnings. This is roughly in line with the U.S. market’s 100 year average PE ratio. In other words, the markets are not expensive. International markets trade currently at 12 times earnings. The owner is actually ahead of the dog slightly.

      Every 2/3 years (on average) the markets will rise. This means that the markets will regularly be hitting new highs. This doesn’t mean that the markets are overpriced. Remember, you always need to consider earnings levels (the owner’s movement) and currently, earnings are always at all-time highs.

      You mentioned that you already have a portfolio of investments. That’s super. Make the switch to a diversified, low cost model.

  58. Quinn says:

    Hi Andrew,

    My husband and I bought your book from iTunes a few days ago.
    Your book was a delight to read and we both sped through the entire book in no time.
    It was such an easy read and we both love your no nonsense approach to money.
    We are very excited to put your plan into action but don’t know if now is the time to start (most will say duh, yes).

    As Joseph mentioned, if we are to invest in the stock index now are we buying high?
    We are both 40 and planning on having a little one soon.
    Our portfolio consists of $200K in savings & $150K in 401K.
    Our 401K is with our employers and so the options in investing are limited.
    If you are in our shoes, what would you do?

    Also, where can we locate info regarding the US market’s PE ratio vs earnings?

    We want to start to be smart with our money and your advice is the one that speaks to us the most.

    Warmest Regards,

  59. NewInvestor says:

    Andrew, thank you for the book!

    Your book was recommended by a couple of different friends over the past few months. Unfortunately (as with many others in this thread) i have already invested in a 25 year Isle of Man policy. I’m only 2 years in though, so I’m thinking I just have to scale down the monthly payments to the minimum and wait until I can withdraw money? I have about 60,000 in the account now but have access to none of it.

    It’s a shame I didn’t read your book earlier, but I’m 32 and hopefully have some solid investing time ahead of me.

    I’m really looking forward to investing sensibly with index funds and bonds. I hope that I can encourage others to read your book and give themselves the chance to make an informed choice when investing.

    Thank you for advocating for common sense investing. It certainly is difficult to find this information any other way.

  60. Mojo says:

    HI Andrew,
    Thanks for writing this book, its means million already to people who are scared of words ‘finance planning’, mutual funds, TSX, Nasdaq etc etc. These words are like Dr explaining what kind of new flu with its generic medical name i got!
    I am yet to finish book (few more pages) but i have got an idea what i am getting from it. For beginning you really reflect life of any east Indian family migrated to Canada,, we save save and save except don’t know what to do with it!! Your book solves that mystery for me.
    I have done lot of reading in parallel to your book (from links and references, which was great). Read lot articles from couch potato, Rob carrick etc etc..
    Now I am ready to jump in,,,but not sure what extent. I am sorry I am putting up my Question here without your permission!
    – I have about 5k in TFSA (scotia balanced :)+ can open TFSA for wife (full 25k) — Can i use this accounts as my TD-e funds or like?
    OR shall i just open new account with investments in index or e-series (am based in Calgary)
    Another Q is I have RDSP account for 10yr son with BMO? Any suggestions? (got $20k there with contributions+Govt inject)

    At last I have $400k mortgage, i am holding $160k cash (didnt pay this as mort just to find out if i can make better use of cash investing). No other Debt. Biggest caution and worry is life of my autistic son,,, where do i put my money So my son will have care once i am not here !! Or how do i make 10% more than neighbour who don’t need to worry about kid (disability).
    my income is 100k, with 2 kids. wife cant work because of above reason. Sorry for my long story

  61. Albert says:

    Hello Andrew,

    I read your book a few years ago, and got into index investing during the correction of 2008. Needless to say i happy with my returns so far. I only wish i had been greedier at the time.

    I currently spend a few months of the year in Spain with my wife and wanted to know if your book is available in Spanish. I´ve tried to explain the need for her to invest for her retirement but think it would be best if she read about it from someone who is more knowledgeable. I have most of my investments in TD e-series but haven´t been able to find the Spanish equivalent for her to invest in. I was wondering if you might be able to point me in the right direction.



  62. Laura says:

    Hi Andrew,
    I love your logical approach to investing and your writing style. It is refreshing to read and informative to boot. However, I cannot find anywhere within this report (or your book) an explanation of what types of accounts are proper to open and invest within. What are these accounts called? I’m confused about pre-tax accounts (and rules) and post-tax investments with extra cash lying around or inheritance, for example. Retirement savings accounts such as Roth-IRA and 401k or 403b aren’t too difficult to understand, but they have strict restrictions about when you can withdraw and roths have contribution limits. But what if you want to invest but not necessarily with ‘retirement’ account restrictions? In the same vein, what’s the deal with opening an account (whatever type it is?) with pre-tax vs. post-tax earnings? How does one actually go about choosing and opening these accounts? Are they just straight up index stock (or ETF?) purchases through a company like Vanguard?

    Thank you,
    Laura (young and starting early)

    • Hi Laura,

      A good rule of thumb is to take advantage of tax deferred contribution room first, then invest in a taxable account with the remainder. So, if your employer offers a matching 401K, contribute what you can to that. That’s free money, if your employer chips in a contribution. Second fill out your IRA contribution room, which I believe is about $5000 a year. After doing that, if you have money left over, you can invest in a taxable account, which has the highest degree of flexibility, but it won’t be tax deferred. YOu could open the IRA and the non IRA account through Vanguard. Call them up. Tell them what you would like to do, and they will help you open up the accounts you wish. In some cases, Vanguard refers to the taxable account as a general savings investment account….not specifically designated for retirement. Remember never to invest money that you may be needing inside of a 5 year window (regardless of the account) because markets fluctuate, and you could be in for a rude surprise if you need money. It could simply be worth less.

      Hope this helps.

  63. Steve says:

    I have read your book twice now and am really excited about starting but still have some questions. You say in the following post below to contribute to your 401k if employer matches first because its tax deferred but are you not going to get slammed by all the expenses that you talk about in the book? The exp ratio,12B1 fees, trading costs, sales comm and taxes due to excessive turnover. When you say contribute max to your 401k do you mean if I can contribute up to 30% max of my pay, I should do the full 30%? What if they do not have index funds as an option in 401k choices? I guess I thought I had it all figured out and I got on the phone to open the account and then did not know what type of account to open. I read the post attached below and if I read it correctly it says to max 401k out, then max out IRA and then use a taxable account if you have anything left. Where do the index funds come in, within the IRA and taxable account? Sorry for the long response, I am just trying to get this right once and for all.
    Thank you,

    Andrew Hallam

    says on February 1, 2014

    Hi Laura,

    A good rule of thumb is to take advantage of tax deferred contribution room first, then invest in a taxable account with the remainder. So, if your employer offers a matching 401K, contribute what you can to that. That’s free money, if your employer chips in a contribution. Second fill out your IRA contribution room, which I believe is about $5000 a year. After doing that, if you have money left over, you can invest in a taxable account, which has the highest degree of flexibility, but it won’t be tax deferred. YOu could open the IRA and the non IRA account through Vanguard. Call them up. Tell them what you would like to do, and they will help you open up the accounts you wish. In some cases, Vanguard refers to the taxable account as a general savings investment account….not specifically designated for retirement. Remember never to invest money that you may be needing inside of a 5 year window (regardless of the account) because markets fluctuate, and you could be in for a rude surprise if you need money. It could simply be worth less.

    Hope this helps.

  64. Ron Bruce says:

    Just got the 9 Laws this morning so will read it after work.

    I did get your book yesterday and almost got through it… very good.
    I can see I’ll be needing to have a chat with my bank and figure out a few things.

    Index funds sure were never mentioned at the bank. Hmmm.

  65. Ron Bruce says:

    Andrew, I’ll be reading a lot more I’m sure but is it a simple matter (well not so simple if I have to struggle with Scotiabank) of getting my RRSP turned into a Index fund account.

    I know you don’t keep track of every bank out there but that’s the gist, right?

    Now that Scotiabank supposedly owns Tangerine maybe I could just flip it over into that?

    Anyway thanks for the blog, book and 9 Laws. I’ve got lots to learn.

  66. Charlie says:

    Hi all,

    36 year old married father with twins babies here, finally taking charge of my finances after being misled by Financial Advisors.
    I have since ordered Andrew’s book. In the meantime, does anyone have any idea’s of how a South African living in Dubai can get into Index Funds. There does not seem to be too much info out there.

    Much thanks,

    • Hi Charlie,

      I’m glad you ordered my second book. There’s plenty of very specific information in The Global Expatriates Guide To Investing that shows exactly how a South African in Dubai could invest with index funds. I’m glad you asked!


  67. Esther Trueman says:

    Andrew we missed you recent seminars at the Lake Chapala Society, are you still in the area, and will you be giving another talk?

  68. Greg says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I just got your Millionaire Teacher book yesterday and finished it today. I’m a newbie and I feel empowered after reading your book. However I do have a question I hope you can help me out with.

    For example, I know if I start with 10k I put $3500 in US Stock Market Index, $3500 into a Bond Market Index and $3000 into International Stock Market Index, if I want to add $100 a month to this portfolio every month do I put $35 into US Stock Market Fund, $35 into Bond Fund, $30 into International Stock Market Index evenly like this every month until January of the following year and then reallocate the entire portfolio to the proper allocation %?

    Any help here will be much appreciated!

    Thanks for writing this book and I wish I knew this information years ago but look forward to getting started now.

  69. Susan says:

    Hi Andrew,
    My husband and I are International school teachers who have just read your Guide to Investing. We are opening an account with Saxo (DBS Vickers insisted that we needed to come to Singapore and open a Singapore bank account).
    Our question is in regards to the Permanent Portfolio. We are New Zealanders, mid 40s but we seriously doubt we’ll retire to NZ. We currently live and work in Bangkok. Please can you explain what bonds we would be best to buy? I have looked at your different Permanent Portfolios for different nationalities but I’m not sure I understand why you recommend different markets for different nationalities? Thanks

    • Hi Susan,

      As mentioned in the book, I gave different bond funds for those retiring to different home countries. Someone who is going to be paying their future bills in British pounds, for example, could buy a bond fund representing British pounds. It’s important to have the majority of your investments in the currency for which you will be paying your future bills. That said, you don’t know where you plan to retire. So go as global as possible with the bonds. Buy a U.S. bond ETF and a Euro bond ETF. This will ensure broad diversification as well.


      • Susan says:

        Hi Andrew,
        Thanks for your reply. We have a lump sum available now to invest (about $30K USD). I have a couple of questions –
        1. Should we split that 3 ways – shares (add to what we have bought), bonds and gold? Or is it best to buy one asset class?
        2. In your book you say that bonds should be short-term (1 to 3 year bonds) yet the recommendations (iShares Global AAA-AA Government Bond UCITS ETF or iShares Global Government Bond UCITS ETF or iShares Euro Government Bond 7-10yr UCITS ETF ) are all ‘Effective Duration’ around 7+ years. We are confused as to why you recommend these as they are longer-term bonds?
        Thanks for any advice you can offer.

        • Hi Susan,

          If you can find a short term bond ETF, that would be better than a longer term one. I don’t know what context I listed that ETF. Either a shorter one didn’t exist, when I wrote that, or I was referencing an ETF for the Permanent Portfolio–which requires a longer term bond index.


  70. Marcus says:


    I’m a UK citizen living as an expat in Singapore (PR) and want to invest in low cost tracker funds in either UK or USA (or both)
    and am totally confused as to how to do it. Please could you point me in the right direction? I’m looking to make regular payments on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

    Thank you for any help.

  71. Marcus says:

    Thank you!
    I’m generally a little nervous to rely on books in case regulations have made them obsolete – but with this recommendation, I’ll definitely be buying it!
    Much appreciated.

  72. Sandra says:

    Hello Andrew,

    Your book was recommended to me by a friend of mine who is returning to international teaching in Dubai this year.

    I am 41 years old, 12 years in to a teacher pension, and assuming that I make it the next 22 years I will have a full BC teachers pension to rely on in retirement.

    So I am investing some in RRSP’s and some in TSFA’s. I signed up for Credential Asset Management through my local credit union. I can do low cost self directed investing and was hoping to do the couch potato strategy. However, when I go to buy indexes, I do not know what to buy.

    In your book you recommend some TD products but they are not in the list.

    SO, how do I know which funds to buy?


    • Hi Sandra,

      If you have a copy of Millionaire Teacher, look at the top of page 109. I gave a sample portfolio of iShares ETFs that you can buy from any brokerage.

      If you have other questions, let me know.


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