Although my profession is in the technology industry, I've always been interested in finance, Wall Street and investing. I've read a number of personal investment books and just finished reading A Random Walk Down Wall Street. I must say this is the best investment book I've read so far. Most books I've read have fit in either the "inside view into the world of finance" (i.e. The Big Short) or a more basic "follow this formula and you'll be rich" (i.e. You're Money Ratios). This book takes a stab at both categories by first picking apart the wider finance industry and its pitfalls and then looking at how you should invest to work around all the sharks out there.
The main premise really stuck with me as well. The book holds that stocks follow a random walk and that one cannot consistently outperform the market (proven by a look at mutual fund/hedge fund returns). Because you can't consistently outperform the market, the greatest gains are made by diversifying as much as possible in broad market indexes focused on low fees.
Based on this I've been looking at diversifying my current savings portfolio into a number of funds:
- Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI, expense ratio 0.06%)
- Vanguard MSCI EAFE ETF (VEA, expense ratio 0.12%)
- Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO, expense ratio 0.18%)
Between these three I get good global diversification in all major markets. Building on this I'll likely move our 401k assets into a different asset class and due to it's no-tax status I think it'd be best to focus on dividend/income paying funds. Currently I'm moving into a REIT and will likely do a dividend stock fund and possibly a corporate bond fund as well.
- Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ, expense ratio 0.10%)
The main reason for choosing Vanguard for all 4 funds is that their fees are by far the lowest in the industry and these funds have a good track record of tracking the underlying index.