Jason Kelly is the author of The 3% Signal (3Sig), which introduced the technique that pushed dollar-cost averaging aside as the stock market’s new best practice. His nine other books include The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing, a BusinessWeek best seller now in its fifth edition; and its companion volume, Stock Market Contest.

Every Sunday morning he sends out The Kelly Letter. It highlights the latest coin-toss forecasts being foisted on the unsuspecting by “z-vals,” a shorthand introduced in 3Sig for zero-validity pundits, proven to be wrong half the time but still blathering on a regular basis. The letter also runs the original 3 percent signal plan and two permutations, providing subscribers with a clear (and usually humorous) look at financial markets. Yes, 3Sig is still running circles around the z-vals with just a single quarterly rebalance to its famous signal line, no forecasting required — or desired.

He graduated from the University of Colorado in 1993 with a BA in English, but not before a professor told him that he would never succeed as an author because he “lacked a basic command of the English language.” Luckily, IBM disagreed and hired Jason as a technical writer at its Silicon Valley Laboratory in San Jose, California. Once income from his freelance writing matched his income from IBM, Jason left corporate life to become a full-time freelance writer. About IBM hiring him for the only “real” job he’s ever had, Jason wrote in his book Financially Stupid People, “I keep a special smile for Big Blue because of that break. It was the only company that believed in me. I never knew the meaning of the term ‘competing offer.'”

One of Jason’s Japanese publishers, Shueisha, brought him to Tokyo on book tour in 1999. He took that opportunity to visit his old high school exchange student friend, and wrote a funny article about the experience. That article remains one of Jason’s most widely read. It’s still on his site. Japan went straight to Jason’s heart, and he decided to live there. He rented out his home in California and moved to Sano, Japan in 2002 for what he thought was going to be a one-year stay. This many years later, he still lives and works there.

After the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, he started Socks for Japan, a volunteer organization that hand-delivered 160,000 care packages from around the world to survivors. See photos and read reports about the effort here.

In addition to writing new books and The Kelly Letter, he’s an investor in Red Frog Coffee in Longmont, Colorado, a delightful shop managed by his sister and business partner, Emily. It was voted Longmont’s Small Business of the Year in 2014.

He divides his time between Japan and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

You can contact Jason on the contact page.

Elsewhere Online

Jason is on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube but your best bet for timely investing info is a subscription to The Kelly Letter.


  1. Sam
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    IJR or small cap is constantly lagging behind the market in recent years. Is this a fundamental change in the market and now using IJR is still a good choice? How about QQQ? QQQ performs better and has high volatility too.

    • Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I am watching the small-cap lag, but have not come to a determination yet. Yes, QQQ has been performing better lately, but there was a time when we could have said the same about IJR. More to come on this topic!

  2. Posted June 20, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Jason, would it make sense to apply a 1% rule at the end of each month instead of a 3% rule each quarter to take advantage of market volatility in attempt to earn 12% annual return per year? Thank you

    • Posted June 28, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi Paul,

      No, more frequent rebalancing schedules do not improve performance. They create additional activity for no benefit. Less activity can work as well as quarterly does, such as annually, but not more activity. The reason less activity is undesirable is psychological. People feel skittish about leaving their investments unattended for more than about a quarter.

      For best results, stick with the quarterly plan.

      Happy Sigging!


  3. William Riles
    Posted December 14, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason:

    I was just wondering how your peer to peer lending investment is working out. Thanks.


  4. Noah J
    Posted September 3, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    One of the first finance books I read was The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing and it got me interested in pursuing a career in finance.

    I am currently a student of finance at the University of Colorado Denver and am involved in the management team for a club called Portfolio Management Group (PMG). I noticed in your biography that you spend time in the Longmont area not far from Denver. The group and I would love to have you speak to us regarding finance and your books. If you’re unable to meet at the group would it be possible to meet over coffee and do an informal informational interview about different career paths in finance?

    I really appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I am looking forward to your response.

    Best Regards,
    Noah J

    • Posted September 6, 2018 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Noah,

      I’m happy to know that my stock book began your career in finance, and would be delighted to speak with your club. I like helping students.

      Let’s make arrangements via email. Please watch for a note from me.

      My best,

  5. Brian O'Reilly
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Well, Hi again, ordered 3% should arrive Sunday 2/18/2018. Looking forward to the read and newsletters. Thanks!

    • Posted February 20, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad to hear it, Brian! Enjoy the read. See you Sunday.

  6. Tommy Fredericksen
    Posted May 13, 2017 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    I’m long time subscriber to Kelly newsletter. My monthly payment is thru PayPal. Recently i had to terminate use of my credit card on the paypal account. I entered a diff. one at paypal. My Apr subscription came due and the new card was not used and my subxcription payment was not made. I called and they told me they could not use the new card for continuing subscription. So how can i make payment to you.
    Enjoy the newsletter
    Tom Fredericksen

    • Posted May 15, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      This is all taken care of, Tom, and you’re good to go again. Thank you for the long patronage!

  7. Dane Robertson
    Posted October 25, 2016 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Aloha Jason,

    We are currently using the 3% signal. Since this strategy requires “shuffling” funds between an index and a bond, how do we avoid the commission fees that go with it every quarter? Also, if the index is “pretty close” to the 3% signal line, should we just skip the signal for that quarter?


    • Mark Faasse
      Posted December 10, 2018 at 3:49 am | Permalink


      I’d be interested in your response to this query, which got posted a while ago.


    • Posted December 14, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      At long last, Dane, a reply.

      It’s easy to get around commissions on ETFs needed for the plan by using commission-free ones, such as the iShares family at Fidelity, i.e. IJR/AGG for the stock/bond combination used in 3Sig.

      You can skip the signal when it’s pretty close. The plan is very forgiving, and hard to derail. Even if you skipped a big signal one quarter, the plan would get itself back on track the next quarter and such hiccups along a lifetime path of investing don’t matter much. If so, then you can imagine the low stress stakes involved in skipping a tiny signal.

      Happy Sigging,

  8. Larry
    Posted October 1, 2016 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I just finished reading your novel Y2K: It’s Already Too Late. Do you think we still have a chance?

    • Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I think we just might!

      What a trip down Memory Lane. I had no idea anybody was still reading that book. Thank you!

  9. Posted March 15, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mr. Kelly,

    Just finished your book “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing.” I thought stocks would be an excellent and different field to get into after starting my own social good company, Ripple.

    Being a senior in high school, this book gave me an excellent insight on what to look for in individual stocks, and I am extremely appreciate for the depth and care you took in writing it. After learning that Robinhood provides free stock trading, I knew that this book could definitely come in handy.

    Just wanted to express my thanks!


  10. RAJIV J
    Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Hello MR. Jason.. I am like a new born baby in stock trading. Even I don’t know how these things works. MR. Jason would you please like to give me some tips or refer any books or any other materials from where I can start stock trading..



    • Posted April 11, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Hi Rajiv,

      The best place to start is The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing. It will provide you with all the fundamentals you need to follow a discussion about the stock market, see why almost everybody gets it wrong following mainstream advice to buy and sell on emotional news flows, and eventually realize that The 3% Signal is a superior approach. So, start with the stock book and then move on to 3Sig. Good luck!


  11. Jose rascon
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Hey, Mr.Kelly
    How does you subscription letter work? Is it a month to month payments?
    thank you sincerely
    Jose Rascon

    • Posted October 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Jose, most subscribers pay month to month with Amazon Payments, but you can also pay yearly with Amazon Payments or a check. All three options are shown at the bottom of the subscribe page.

      I hope to see you on the list soon!


  12. Jason G.
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Mr. Kelly,

    I just finished reading your Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing. Excellent book and I am hoping to implement its fundamentals soon.

    I have about $50k in an IRA that has been there for several years. It was only the last couple of years that I got interested in purchasing stocks. It’s a bit depressing that I didn’t have that interest back in 2008/2009 when everything was on sale, but I guess everyone has to start somewhere. Of course, the stocks I bought a couple of years ago were all done on emotion and website “tips.” Fortunately I am up about 30 percent, but nowhere near the potential it could have been. I wanted to let you know I appreciate a well written book that is easy to follow, with sound fundamentals.

    Jason G.

    • Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Jason! I’m glad the book is helping you to ratchet up the performance potential of your IRA.

      You’re wise to notice that the prime buying opportunity of this cycle is behind us. It’s good to get started, but remember the advice in the book to move gradually. The volatility of just the past month provides a good case-in-point. Averaging into the stocks you want to own removes some of the stress of getting the timing exactly right, which none of us can, but prevents your capital from stagnating on the sidelines forever. I would further urge you to focus on high-yielding stocks. Get paid while you wait for capital appreciation.

      I wish you well!


  13. Brandon Cox
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Mr.Kelly
    This is brandon from Buffett Magnet middle school. We are doing a work project called World In Need about Japan’s nuclear crisis and were wondering if your organization could help the people in that area.

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Hi Brandon,

      Yes, we could and did help people forced to evacuate from the Fukushima radiation zone. A family of such refugees even moved into an apartment in my neighborhood for part of last year, providing me with plenty of firsthand information as we continued Socks for Japan.

      In the first weeks following the disaster, all of our volunteers wore protective clothing to help guard against radiation. After a while, though, we read that the protection didn’t do anything, anyway, and continued working in the danger zone in normal clothes because that’s what survivors were wearing and we wanted to blend in well with them. We trusted the radiation level reports of the government, but also compared them with privately collected readings. All of them indicated that we were safe to continue operating.

      The controversy now is over whether the readings were accurate or not. We won’t know for sure who was affected by the experience for many years yet, when cancer rates and other long-term effects can be charted. Fingers crossed.

      Rumors circulated that our volunteer team lost weight due to radiation sickness. That’s not true. None of us went through typical radiation sickness symptoms. The reason we became thinner was because we were extremely busy, doing physical work, and eating little while in the field with survivors.

      Good luck with your project!


  14. Brandon C. Lewis
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Hi, Mr. Kelly!

    I just finished reading your latest revision of “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing” and wow what an informative book. I’d like to think that initially I had the steel nerves to invest and was just lacking useful knowledge and practical know-how. But after reading your book I think I’m finally armed with what I need to invest wisely and for the long haul. At least to get started on the right foot anyway 🙂 Keep up the amazing work and happy investing!

    Brandon C. Lewis

    • Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Brandon, for the enthusiastic comment. Good luck to you in the market. Remember to start slowly. Learn with small amounts of money, not large, and find the style that works for you. There’s no rush and no time limit, so make the effort to find how you fit into the great squirming money machine of the stock market.

      Here’s to your success!

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