10 Reasons I Don’t Like Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund


Paul discuss the key disadvantages of Vanguard’s largest fund and why Vanguard recommends investors put so much confidence and money into this, and its sister fund, that represent the international markets.  Find out why Paul believes using this fund can set your retirement back one to five years and cost your heirs millions of dollars.

Decade Returns

Three Huge Investment Decisions


Three Huge Investment Decisions
Paul discusses the three most important investment decisions people make: 1. Using the past as the best indicator of the future or basing decisions on other sources of important information? 2. Building a portfolio based on a few carefully selected securities or diversifying massively? 3. Do it yourself or get professional help?

Should My Advisor Be Local?


In this podcast, Paul responds to 3 questions recently received from his listener/readers: 1. Is it important that a financial advisor to be local?  2. What are the step-by-step instructions to implement strategies, from Paul’s popular MarketWatch article, to “Make Your Kid Rich For $1 A Day,”?  3. Why does the graph in “The Ultimate Buy and Hold Strategy” show only a 60/40 combination of stocks and bonds, and what should your asset allocation be?


My favorite Vanguard balanced fund


Lots of investors are looking for a one-fund solution, especially those near or in retirement. That would require a balanced fund with the right combination of equity and fixed income. In this podcast, Paul compares 5 Vanguard balanced funds. It’s a tough decision, but Paul shares the balanced fund, or funds, he would use and why.

Hedgefunds – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


This podcast is in response to the latest announcement by CALPRS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, that they have decided to liquidate their $4 billion in hedge fund investments. Paul discusses the sad truth about the expense, returns and slippery nature of the hedge fund industry. Here is just one of the many aspects he reports: At the end of 10 years only 5% of the hedge funds will still be in business. Does that sound like an investment you’d like to make? Of course, as long as it’s part of the 5%. Paul also discusses a hedge fund he helped form in 1995. The good news is it’s still in business.

What You Should Know About 401(k) Plans


Paul is interviewed by Ken Roberts on his radio program Bulls and Bears  In this edited (originally one hour) program, recorded Sept. 27, 2014, Paul discusses  401(k) investing, employer matches, how to choose funds, costs of administration, long-term planning, and distributions in retirement. Like Paul, Ken is a regular contributor to MarketWatch’s “RetireMentor” financial advice columns. You can access his articles here. To see Paul’s recommendations for the top 100+ largest U.S. company 401(k) plans, visit his website.

Should you own alternative investments?


This podcast in is response to a question posed by a retired investor whose advisor recommends he increase his investments in alternative investments. Paul pulls out all the plugs to tell about the good, the bad and the ugly regarding this questionable asset class. In the process, he tells investors what’s likely to be a lot better, with less risk and better liquidity. He references these articles interested investors should read: “The Best Mutual Funds” from U.S. News & World Report and this article by Jason Zweig, one of the most respected financial journalists.

Whose performance do you trust?


One of the biggest risks investors take is basing their decisions on bad investment advice. Sometimes the bad advice comes from commission-motivated salespeople. Sometimes the bad advice comes from ignorant, inexperienced well-meaning advisors who are just learning the business. Often those newcomers have gotten their information from people who have questionable beliefs. And sometimes the advice may simply come from smart people who have gotten their hands on the wrong data or made a miscalculation. This podcast is about information that comes from a source most of us would probably trust, but it appears there is a thumb on the scale that could lead to some bad decisions.


Is the small cap premium gone?


For the last 15 years, a lot of market experts have said that the small cap and value premiums are a thing of the past. Their position is normally based on the idea that once a premium has become common knowledge it goes away. Of course that would suggest that once the premium of stocks over bonds is understood by most people, it will cease to exist. In this podcast Paul looks at the 15 years before 1990, 1990 to 1999 and 2000 to 2013, which should convince investors that those premiums are still highly likely to exist in the future.

Paul answers your questions

In this podcast Paul answer 5 questions:
1. Why should I pay fees to a fund manager if I can build the fund myself?
2. Do REITs make sense in a taxable account?
3. Should I invest in a REIT ETF or mutual fund?
4. How should I dollar cost average $100,000 into the market?
5. What educational material should someone read who has invested in individual stocks all their life?

How to fix a broken portfolio

In this podcast Paul discusses four major challenges to fixing a broken portfolio. Almost every question he receives is about how to make something that isn’t working, start working. Broken portfolios can be repaired with a handful of simple steps, but they’re not necessarily easy steps. Change, even in the face of obvious advantages is difficult for most people. In sharing how he would fix the problems, Paul hopes that listeners can break the logjam and live in peace with their investments.

How To Get The Most From Your 401(k) Plan

The 401(k) is the backbone of most retirements, yet millions of people are investing in 401(k) plans with mediocre offerings. To help make the most of your retirement investment, Paul Merriman offers recommendations for more than 100 Top U.S. company plans and the U.S. Government TSP at his website  In this podcast he explains why and how to use them. 

Differences between Vanguard and DFA Emerging Market Funds

Focusing on the differences between Vanguard and Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) funds, this podcast compares the Vanguard Emerging Markets Fund with four different emerging market funds at DFA. There is no secret to the advantages at DFA but it does take some analysis to understand the way their portfolios are constructed.

Ken Roberts’ Bulls and Bears – A Radio Interview with Paul Merriman

Ken Roberts’ Bulls and Bears – A Radio Interview with Paul Merriman
Paul discusses a wide range of investment topics, why and how investors fail and succeed and offers his sound investing advice. We recommend you skip through the radio show ads and enjoy Paul’s interview.

8 Secrets to help you retire today and enjoy it!

Paul Farrell is one of the most popular writers on Marketwatch.com. Many of his articles are focused on “gloom and doom,” some list the reasons to “buy now,” and an even smaller number address money and lifestyle. The money and lifestyle articles are Paul Merriman’s favorites, although he suspects they are the least read. A recent article,  “8 Secrets to help you retire today and enjoy it!” gives a little of Farrell’s path to his present balance between work and play.

In this podcast Paul Merriman takes on Farrell’s “Lesson No. 1. No, you don’t need a million bucks.”  While Farrell makes a reasonable case that you don’t need a million dollars to retire, Merriman argues that’s a dangerous long-term goal. His advice to young people is that they take steps to retire with at least $2 million. If they don’t make that goal, they can adjust; but we must be careful what we wish for and aim for.



Q&A Regarding Paul Merriman’s Recommended Portfolios

Q&A Regarding Paul Merriman’s Recommended Portfolios

This 30-minute podcast gives investors a better understanding of how and why I put together my recommended portfolios.

Question #1: Why not substitute some bond funds that pay higher rates of return, like peer-to-peer lending securities that pay over 10%?

Question #2: Is it possible to make rebalancing easier by using one small cap Vanguard fund, rather than two?

Question #3: How risky is it to let an investment advisor manage your account? How do we know the manager isn’t another Bernie Madoff?

Question #5: If an investor has millions to invest, are there things he/she should do differently from what you recommend?

Question #6: Why have you recommended Vanguard ETFs that are similar but more expensive than others they offer?

Q&A Regarding Asset Allocation, Financial Advice, Stocks vs. Bonds, and CDs

In this podcast, Paul continues to answer questions from readers and listeners.
Question #1:  I just received $300,000 from the sale of a company and would like to invest in a handful of funds and stocks I like. What do you think of my asset allocation?
Question #2:  Should I put all my bonds in my tax deferred investments?
Question #3:  I have 401(k)s, IRAs, taxable accounts, and my wife has several accounts of her own. Where can we get help to put together your asset allocation using all these accounts?  Is it possible to get good advice on an hourly basis?
Question #4:  My friend and I are in our 20s. I told him you recommend young investors should have all their long-term investments in equity funds. He is keeping 10% in bonds in case there is a big sell off, help protect him from loss and give him money to invest when the market is down. What do you think?
Question #5:  My grandmother has a 10 year CD paying 3.1%.  She wants something that pays more but is safe. What would you recommend?

Q&A Regarding Bonds, Index Funds, ETFs and 401(k) Diversification

In this podcast Paul responds to questions by readers and listeners.

Question #1: In your “Ultimate Buy and Hold Strategy,” you use 40% bonds. What is the impact if you invested less in bonds? How much does a change in bonds change the expected return?

Questions #2: My 401(k) only has three index funds – Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index, Vanguard Small Cap Index and Fidelity Spartan International Index. How would you distribute the investments among the three funds?

Question #3: My 401(k) is run by Schwab, but the investment choices aren’t very good. They offer self direction wherein I can make my own investment choices. Would your Schwab ETF recommendations be a good way to diversify my 401(k)?