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

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
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


  1. Craig Klinefelter
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Under performance…
    Hi Jason~
    I have a question regarding performance over a period of time. I am currently investing into SCHA and SCHZ, however the SCHA vs IRJ are vastly different in performance over the YTD, 1yr, and 2 yr. It would seem as though on that invested into the IJR have more growth…. and having it been over time, would have higher cumulative annualized returns. SO, bale out on SCHA and transfer over to IJR or leave it be?
    With gratitude,

    • Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Hi Craig,

      I did not see this comment until now. My apologies!

      I have always preferred IJR as my small-cap fund, partly for the reason you state. It used to cost a bit more than SCHA and VB, but not anymore. Plus, it’s a little more volatile than other small-cap funds, and my plan puts that volatility to work by buying the lows and selling the highs. The lower and higher they are, the better the plan performs.

      So there’s basically no reason to use anything other than IJR.


  2. thomas
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,
    I am a subscriber to your newletter and have been running the 3 sig. Started the 9 sig in Feb 2017, i am at a partial allocation
    12,000 in TQQQ, 7,500 in AGG, per the signal I should sell off part of the 12,000 but since I am at over 30% bonds . Not quite sure how to handle this. Sell the gain (since less than a less highest tax rate since in taxable account) and then wait for the next buy signal or leave it alone and wait for next buy signal to invest the next portion
    thanks in advance
    PS I did like the potato chip video, although I did not notice a price increase here

  3. Douglas Kerr
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Hello Jason,

    You book, webpage, and PDF’s mention that the 3Sig Calculator is free to use (which I am/was very-much looking forward to), but if I’m not mistaken, it looks like the 3Sig Calculator is only available with a purchased subscription to “The Kelly Letter” now. Am I correct to assume the 3Sig calculator isn’t free for anyone to use anymore, or have I missed something very important?

    • Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Hi Douglas,

      My books, etc. don’t say the calculator is free to use. I mentioned in my book, The 3% Signal, that I offer spreadsheets and other tools on my website, but not that they’re free.

      I did offer both spreadsheets and the calculator for free for a couple of years following the book’s publication, but made the calculator part of The Kelly Letter paid service a year ago.

      If you would like to have a free look at it (along with everything else on the subscriber site), please email me and I’ll provide you with access.

      Thank you for your interest!


      • Douglas Kerr
        Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:39 am | Permalink

        Hi Jason,

        Thank you for your reply, and my apologies for the confusion. I have sent you an e-mail.

        All the best,
        Douglas Kerr.

      • Stephan Eichert
        Posted April 20, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        I tried to paste a screen shot but couldn’t make it work so i just copied the text. It’s not a problem for me since i subscribe but it does send you on a wild goose chase when you try to find the free calculator.

        “Kelly Letter Log InKelly Letter Subscribe

        Y=The 3% Signal
        The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing
        Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere: Don’t Be One of Them
        The Kelly Letter
        The 3% Signal quarterly calculator is still free and amazing,
        but now located on the 3Sig Tools page. See you there!”

        • Posted May 10, 2018 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

          Hi Stephan,

          Where did you find the “still free and amazing” text? I don’t see it anywhere.

          It’s left over from when the calculator was free. It’s now part of the Kelly Letter subscription (and still amazing), and I will change that text if you can point me to where you found it.


  4. Edwin
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    If one is about to start the plan, given that interest rates most likely will be rising, will this impact the returns of the bond fund? To date it is down 2+%.

    • Posted May 29, 2018 at 4:25 am | Permalink

      Changing interest rates and moving bond-fund prices do affect performance, but not in a way that changes the plan.

      Sometimes the fluctuations work in the plan’s favor, such as when bond prices are slightly down and there’s a sell signal that moves money from rising stocks to slightly falling bonds. Also, over time rising bond yields offset declining bond prices. Through many time frames tested, simply continuing with bond funds as the safe repository worked best.

      As usual, following the financial media obsession with a non-issue will harm your performance. They’ve been waning of a bond-market crash for five years. They’ve been wrong. The Sig plans have hummed along through their warnings. They’re still warning. The Sig plans are still humming.

      Bottom line: Stick with a bond fund, per the plan.

  5. Darlene Belford
    Posted December 20, 2018 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    I purchased the Kindle version of your book, The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Investing. I am frustrated because I cannot print the worksheets no matter how hard I try. I can’t even print the page with the worksheet in order to read/recreate myself. Can you help me out here?

  6. Posted February 19, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve read your book, The 3% Signal, and looked over the webpage on the 3Sig Tools. I can’t find any reference for how to account for cash withdrawals from an account. As you state several times in the book, using a retirement account is ideal for your system, but such an account will be subject to eventual periodic withdrawals.

    I’ve played with your spreadsheet a little, trying to use Column D and Column F to enter negative share amounts to account for sale/withdrawal of a portion of the account balance, but entries have a geometric rather than arithmetic effect (large negative numbers have a disproportionate impact). Using Column H might do it. I’m just not good enough with spreadsheets to figure it out.

    Any comments? Thanks!

    • Posted April 26, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Good catch, Phil.

      It’s true that the spreadsheet is not set-up to account for the withdrawal phase of the plan.

      I recommend withdrawing needed cash by selling shares of the bond fund only, which should provide plenty of balance during your higher-bond-balance retirement years. When the plan signals a sale of the stock fund, you could sell more than specified if the bond balance is running low. The usual imbalance happens by the bond balance becoming too big, but may not be the case during the withdrawal phase.

      I hope this helps, and wish you a happy retirement.

      With best wishes,

  7. Posted April 19, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Jason … do you check this page for comments?

    It’s been two months exactly since I posted a comment/question (2/19/19). Could you respond to it?

    Phil H.

    • Posted April 26, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I apologize for the delay, Phil. I did finally see your comment and reply.

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