The ultimate retirement DISTRIBUTION strategy

by Paul Merriman on April 23, 2014

The Ultimate Retirement Distribution Strategy – using variable distribution 
In last weeks podcast, Paul addressed a strategy for those needing a fixed stream of income you can count on. This week, he explains how you can take best advantage of variable distributions, if you can tolerate cash flow that goes up and down depending on the success of your investments. To get the most from this, also see the related articles and charts at:

Optimizing Retirement Income For Fixed Distributions

by Paul Merriman on April 17, 2014

How much can you afford to withdraw from your accounts in retirement? This podcast discusses how to make your retirement last a lifetime using fixed distributions, or consistently living on a fixed stream of income. To get the most from this, also see the related articles and charts at: In upcoming podcasts, Paul will address optimizing retirement with a variable income from your investments.

Paul Answers Your Questions

by Paul Merriman on April 9, 2014

In this Podcast Paul answers investment questions, and even a personal one.

1. Our money is in taxable accounts. Your Vanguard, Fidelity and T Rowe Price portfolios are for tax-deferred investors. What changes should we make for taxable accounts?

2. How does your portfolio compare to U.S and international total market indexes?

3. Is 30% in bonds too conservative at age 29?

4. My wife and I are in our mid-thirties and 10 years away from early retirement. How much risk should we take?

5. Schwab has very low minimums and expenses in their index funds. Would these funds be a good place for a first-time investor to start?

6. We are coming to San Miguel and wondered if we can meet with you?<

The Ultimate Buy and Hold Strategy 2014

by Paul Merriman on April 2, 2014

Everyone should have an “ultimate strategy,” based on the best way you know how to do something. This podcast, updated for 2014,  presents the best way I’ve found to position yourself for the future. The ultimate strategy must have a long history of success, be able to be managed simply, offer better rates of return on investment and no more exposure to risk you’re willing to take. It should also allow you to rest assured that your strategy works in good times and bad. No matter what times are like, this is the “Ultimate Buy and Hold Strategy” for the long haul.

Recommendation: Before listening to this podcast, please print the pie graphs (or have them available to reference). You can find them – and more articles on this topic – at:

How Do Predictions of a 2014 Crash Affect You?

by Paul Merriman on March 26, 2014

The # 1 article on last week was entitled, “New doomsday poll: 99.9% risk of 2014 crash.” This warning is a compilation of scary predictions about the losses investors are about to experience. What scares a lot of readers is the names of the “experts” are well known and very convinced of their positions. Paul warns investors that listening to this kind of advice can be very costly, even life changing. He shares how he deals with the possibility that these gurus might be right, and even predicts when the next big bear market is likely to come.

22 Advantages of Index Funds

by Paul Merriman on March 19, 2014

In this 10-minute podcast, Paul Merriman covers 22 advantages of index funds and index ETFs. There is no other investment in the securities industry that has so many advantages. Whether you are a first time investor or a multi-millionaire, index funds and ETFs are the best answer to meet most investor’s long term needs.

Answers to Questions Posed By Sound Investing Listeners

by Paul Merriman on March 12, 2014

This podcast answers questions currently on the minds of our podcast listeners and readers.  The questions are:
1.  Why don’t you recommend dividend-based funds?  I think you will be surprised by the answer.
2.  Where is the reward in watching dividends and stocks go up and down?
3.  What do the headings and percentages in your conservative, moderate and aggressive portfolios mean?
4.  Why not just invest in the MSCI All Country World ETF?  That would give an investor virtually all public companies without having to go to the trouble of using 8 to 12 funds.
5.  Now that you are no longer with your company, are investors better off following your recommendations on their own or still using an advisor?

Who Can Investors Trust?

by Paul Merriman on March 5, 2014

This Podcast is the first in a series intended to supplement what students are learning at Western Washington University’s “Personal Finance” course funded by The Merriman Financial Education Foundation.  This information is especially for first-time investors, but Paul believes most investors will find value in listening to this series. While it’s not easy to identify who’s information is to be trusted, finding the wrong source of information may cost young investors millions of dollars over the course of their lives.  Included is a list of what Paul trusts to lead you to being a successful investor for the rest of your life. For more on this topic, read Paul’s MarketWatch article.

How to buy an immediate life annuity

by Paul Merriman on February 26, 2014

Should you use an immediate life annuity (ILA)… or should you maintain control of your money by investing in stocks or bonds?  For many people, ILAs are the only way they can fund their retirement, as they have insufficient savings and/or investment knowledge. Paul discusses the ILA and explains how annuities are priced, plus the lowest cost places to shop. The surprise is how different the prices can be for exactly the same product.

The Magic of One Percent

by Paul Merriman on February 19, 2014

One percent sounds like such a small amount. Yet, over time, it can make a huge difference in your financial security and retirement income. Paul explains how to maximize your return on investments and take advantage of this profound difference in your investment portfolio management.

Fine Tuning Your Asset Allocation 2014

by Paul Merriman on February 5, 2014

Fine Tuning Your Asset Allocation 2014
Determine the right balance of equity and fixed income indexes in your portfolio! This podcast provides a quick review of how to use the new, updated Fine Tuning Table.   Plus, Paul discusses returns for 2013 in comparison to 1994, which was the last time bonds suffered a substantial loss. And he examines the reasons for the major difference between the S&P 500 and the worldwide equity approach he recommends.
To get the most out of this podcast, we recommend you refer to the 2014 Fine Tuning Table and the MarketWatch article on Asset Allocation, in additon to the 2013 Fine Tuning Table and its related podcast.

Hulbert Financial Digest Results

by Paul Merriman on January 29, 2014

The Hulbert Financial Digest is the only real record of the performance of financial newsletters. Having subscribed to Hulbert for over 20 years, Paul investigates the annual issue which reports the latest results, short and long term. In this podcast Paul discusses the best lessons from this annual issue and how his free recommendations compare with newsletters that charge for their advice. Paul also discuss why these results do not mirror the real results investors achieved.

Understanding and Managing Investment Risk – Part 2

by Paul Merriman on January 22, 2014

In this second in a series of articles and podcasts addressing investment risk, Paul Merriman continues to expand upon the three concepts of risk:

1. Never take a risk that you don’t get a premium for having taken.

2. Risk is not just about losing money, but also taking advantage of opportunities.

3. There is no risk in the past – we know what we should have done.  

Understanding and Managing Investment Risk – Part 1

by Paul Merriman on January 15, 2014

Learn how to identify, understand and manage investment risk. In this series of three podcasts (and accompanying edited transcripts), Paul Merriman discusses more than 20 legitimate risks which have the possibility of doing real harm to your portfolio. In Part 1, Paul examines eight risks anyone can manage. Of all the risks, these are the easiest to understand and manage… and yet few investors do.

Review of 2013 Investments and Predictions for 2014

by Paul Merriman on January 8, 2014

In this podcast Paul helps investors create reasonable expectations through a review of his portfolio recommendations in 2013.  He points out the winners and the losers that invariably were the outcome of proper diversification.  He also comments on his personal returns that he calls a “home run,”  and offers his recommendations for 2014 and beyond.

The Best Advice I Ever Got (or Gave)

by Paul Merriman on January 1, 2014

Paul offers his own “best advice” along with that of other well-known investment advisors, including Nobel prize-winning economists Robert Schiller and William Sharpe, William Bernstein, Charles Schwab, Joe Mansueto and others.

In this installment of the series, “Overcoming Three Hurdles to Saving and Investing for the Beginning Investor”, Stacycontinues to look at the hurdle, “I lack the money”, and recounts one of Paul’s experiences where he suggested saving a dollar a day.  Stacy includes a 1-page download and suggests that regularly saving a little bit over a long time can help create a brighter financial future

Are REIT’s still a good investment?

by Paul Merriman on December 11, 2013

In this podcast Paul discusses what he wrote about REITs in 2007 and reconfirms his recommendation to hold this asset class in our tax deferred portfolios.

My Favorite San Miguel de Allende Websites

by Paul Merriman on December 4, 2013

Most of Paul’s podcasts are based on facts but in this podcast he shares 30 plus minutes of the feelings he has about retiring to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Paul, and his wife, Zan, fell in love with San Miguel within 24 hours of landing in Mexico.  The trip started as an attempt to find a little sun and see something besides the ocean cities of Mexico.  The trip ended 10 days later with the decision to buy a home and eventually retire, at least part of the year, in San Miguel. In this rambling podcast Paul discusses the lifestyle, the beauty, the relationship and the costs of living in San Miguel.