3Sig Tools

Nothing on this page will make sense if you haven’t read The 3% Signal. If that’s you, please read the book and return here when you’re ready to begin this life-changing new approach to stock market investing.


3Sig Quick Start cover

3Sig Quick Start Guide.

This one-page primer containing four simple steps will have your 3Sig plan up and running in no time. Free. Get the guide


3Sig Calculator.

This is the easiest way to generate your plan’s customized signals, including a convenient email feature to create a personal history of quarterly actions. Included with a Kelly Letter subscription. Subscribe to the letter

3Sig Calculator screen shot


Single-Page Printable Version of Mark’s Plan.

Below is a link to the single-page printable version of Mark’s plan that you read about in Appendix 1 of The 3% Signal, page 299. It might be helpful to keep handy when rereading Chapter 7 of the book.

Mark’s Plan
[PDF 68 KB]


Your 3% Signal Plan Spreadsheet.

Here’s where you can get a working spreadsheet like the one Mark used, named My 3% Signal Plan. The first three lines of the sheet still contain his data. To make the sheet yours, you’ll want to change the names of the investments in the header from their current IJR and VFIIX to the funds you’re using (if they’re different), and then edit the appropriate data cells as explained next. Please read the following when looking at the sheet for the first time:

  1. IMPORTANT: The formulas in the first three data rows are different from each other because they need to get you started in the plan. Once you’ve filled in the third data row with your own data (Row 4 in the sheet because Row 1 contains the headers), you’ll be able to keep copying and pasting that row’s formulas in all subsequent rows. Only Rows 2 and 3 contain special formulas for use in the starting phase.
  2. Begin your plan in Row 2. Type in the quarter, SPY price, and then the prices and dividends of the stock and bond funds you’re using (IJR and VFIIX in Mark’s sample data). After that, type in your allocation to the stock fund in Cell I2 and to the bond fund in Cell P2.
  3. One quarter later, move to Row 3. As before, add the quarter, SPY price, and then the prices and dividends of your funds, then your quarterly cash contribution in Cell H3. That’s it. Once the row has these inputs, it will automatically calculate everything else and tell you in Column M what to do that quarter.
  4. I recommend highlighting cells with manually-entered data for easy checking later. Cell H3 should be highlighted already in your sheet, but might not be if the spreadsheet software you’re using didn’t import the file correctly. The shading key at the bottom of the sheet shows recommended colors and situations in which to use them.
  5. One such situation is the “30 down, stick around” rule, which you saw Mark follow by skipping four quarterly sell signals from Q203 to Q104, and Q209 to Q110. Notice on his sheet (available in the previous section and in Appendix 1 of The 3% Signal) that he needed to add the adjustments in Column N and made note of this in Column L. He also highlighted that the cells in Columns Q and W were affected by these changes. I recommend following this convention when managing your sheet as well.
  6. Anytime you need to adjust the order, use Column N. When you do so, change the formulas in Columns Q and W by replacing the M cell used in them with the N cell. Just change the M to an N in each cell, as follows (there will be numbers after the letters in your formulas):

    Standard Column Q formula: O-((M*C)/E)
    Modified Column Q formula: O-((N*C)/E)

    Standard Column W formula: G+M
    Modified Column W formula: G+N

    Once you’ve done this one time, you can then just copy and paste the modified cell formula for later usage. Having highlighted the cells will make the modified ones easy to find in the future.

    New! I now offer a version of the sheet that makes this adjustment for you automatically, with dynamic formulas in Columns Q and W. You’ll find its link in the Google Drive section below.
  7. The sheet will automatically tell you if you need to add new cash by showing the amount in Column S. If you want to supply an amount different than the sheet calculates based on the quarterly shortfall, you’ll need to override the advice by adjusting the number of shares you’ll buy by using Column N again. Now you know how. If, for example, the sheet tells you to add $1,000 but you don’t have it, you would enter zero in Column N. Notice Mark doing something similar in Row 35 (Q109) when the plan told him in Cell M35 to buy another 411.66 shares of IJR, but he decided to buy only 50.19 shares. That was all his bond balance could afford and he opted not to add more money. He made note of it in Column L. To read about this moment in his history, see “March 2009″ on page 263 of The 3% Signal

That’s it! Now go vanquish the z-vals. Here’s the spreadsheet in two file formats:

My 3% Signal Plan
Spreadsheet on Google Drive
[Cloud-based. No file download.]

You need a Google Drive account to save a working copy for yourself, which you can then manage online. Do not request permission from me to work directly in the source file. Instead, open the document then go to File > Make a copy... to create your own working copy. Here’s how the File menu drop-down looks in Google Drive:

Google Drive File Menu

New!
My 3% Signal Plan (with auto update of Cols Q and W based on whether Col N is blank)
Spreadsheet on Google Drive
[Cloud-based. No file download.]

Don’t want to update the formulas in Columns Q and W yourself, as explained in Bullet 6 above? Then download this version of the sheet. I’m still offering the non-automated, original version as well because some readers said they prefer updating manually as a way to better understand what’s going on.

My 3% Signal Plan
Spreadsheet as a Microsoft Excel file
[XLSX 9 KB]
Just about any spreadsheet software can open this file format.


Run Your 3Sig Plan In Canada.

The 3% Signal is popular in Canada, but you poor Canucks don’t have access to all the investing options your friends south of the border enjoy. This tipsheet will point you in the right direction. Free. Read the tips

151 Comments

  1. dan
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    hi jason,
    i read both of your books. great read. i want to implement your plan but with IJR reaching its all time high every day, should I wait to jump in until it goes down a bit?

    • Posted December 17, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Dan,

      Great! Yes, you should put all of your capital in the bond fund for now, and await a buy signal. If you’re itching to get going, then begin January with a portion of your target stock capital (80%, most likely). For example, you could move 40% of your capital into IJR in January, then move the remaining 40% into it on the next buy signal.

      Congratulations on preparing to begin your plan!

      Merry Christmas,
      Jason

  2. Rick
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your great book! It is going to change my way of investing!
    The 401(K) in my company provides a super low cost total market index fund. The others are at least ten times more expense. Do you think 3% is a good goal for the total market index fund? Or should I set a 2 to 2.5% goal instead?

    • Rick
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, even worse, it is tracking S&P 500 instead of total market index fund.

    • Posted December 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Great, Rick!

      Go with the total market index fund, and stick with 3% as the quarterly growth rate. It should work just fine, and spare you the high fees of the others!

      Happy new year,
      Jason

  3. Max
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    Jason,

    With the feds signaling that interest rates most likely will go up over the next 4 quarters, is it a good idea to convert bonds to cash for the 20% portion of the 3sig plan? I have notice that bond prices have been takening a big pounding and will drop even more so in the next few quarters.

    • Posted December 29, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      The letter won’t do so, Max. Because the systems move capital into and out of the bond funds each quarter, even fluctuating bond-fund prices tend to wash out in the end. Sometimes we can buy them cheaper, sometimes sell them higher, and so on.

      Also, the last time the Fed created this impulse in investors, the central bank ended up not raising rates and bond investors who bailed out were left with egg on their faces. It’s best to just run the signal system as intended.

      Happy new year,
      Jason

  4. Alwyn Pinto
    Posted January 29, 2017 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    what is the difference in the 3% signal and the 9% signal plan ?
    I could not find a mention in your book on this one.

    • Posted February 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      It’s not covered in The 3% Signal, Alwyn. It’s explained on the subscriber site of The Kelly Letter, along with the 6Sig plan, and all three plans are run in the letter.

      There’s also a 3Sig Calculator, which I’m turning into a more complete package to accommodate all three plans.

      In short, 3Sig uses no leverage in pursuit of a 3% quarterly growth target, 6Sig uses 2x leverage in pursuit of a 6% quarterly growth target, and 9Sig uses 3x leverage in pursuit of a 9% quarterly growth target. There are many important details involved with 9Sig in order to harness and control its high volatility.

      Late breaking news: You’re now a Kelly Letter subscriber. You can see all three plans explained in the User Guide, via Kelly Letter > Help > User Guide.

      Welcome!

  5. Mark
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Powerful book! I have some catching up to do and should have heavy income the next 10 to 15 years. There is a limit on traditional IRA to $6500 a year, but I’m older and have the means to donate much more annually. Do you suggest a brokerage account if I don’t have access to a 401K? I will have to deal with taxes but I don’t see another choice.

    What do you think Jason?

    • Posted February 3, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I’m generally in favor of “heavy income,” so that’s a plus.

      The annual contribution limits are a drag, and many people are urging government to change them. They really haven’t kept up with inflation.

      You could consider a backdoor IRA which is when you exceed the annual Roth limit by contributing to a regular IRA and then converting it.

      If that doesn’t work and you’re out of tax-advantaged options, then proceed in a regular brokerage account. Yes, you’ll pay taxes on quarterly sales, but given the low frequency of them in the plan it’s easy to make sure you always sell shares held for more than a year, thereby limiting the capital gains you’ll be liable for.

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