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

180 Comments

  1. Gene Stum
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Can you use a eqjuity etf that has options? Trade options on this etf using a simple option strategy like buying a call or put, credit spreads, debit spreads, iron condors, or butterfly. Would this allow you to use the 6sig or 9sig rather than the 3sig approach.

  2. Oscar Jimison
    Posted January 30, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    If possible, I’d like a version of the quarterly procedure steps for TSP enrollees based on allocation percentages as opposed to dollars/shares.

  3. Chukwuka Egbujio
    Posted December 9, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Can the 3sig plan be run on cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, as an investment option considering the degree of its volatility?

    • Posted December 29, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I doubt the 3% target would apply. I would need to backtest this, but don’t have plans to do so. There is not enough data in crypto to know what a reasonable quarterly target should be, so rebalancing would happen to an almost arbitrary benchmark.

      The process could still work, but would be based on luck as much as anything, i.e. crypto falls this quarter, the plan buys more, then crypto rises by chance. There is no fundamental reason the value of crypto should grow over time, whereas in stocks we have the long upward march of earnings as a guide.

  4. Christian
    Posted October 26, 2019 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    I wonder if you still think a small cap fund best to use? Since the book was written, small caps and the S&P have diverged and the S&P has preformed far better and the small caps. It’s hard to understand how the 3Sig along with volitility would make up this difference.

    • Posted November 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Christian,

      It’s true that small caps have lagged recently, but they have done so at times in the past as well and have always ended up reverting. The 3Sig plan will continue using them on the assumption that they will do so again.

      Running multiple permutations of the plan, as I do in my letter, can help. There are times when small caps outperform, and other times when the stocks of the Nasdaq 100 (used in the 9Sig plan) outperform.

      It’s possible to run 3Sig with an S&P 500 index fund, but I would recommend sticking with a small-cap fund for the higher volatility.

      Jason

  5. Kevin
    Posted October 4, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Question….is the signal line computed using the stock fund balance before or after the buy/sell action that took place three months prior? For instance, this quarter the signal had me buy. Next quarter, do I use the stock fund balance prior to this buy or after this buy? Thank you.

    • Posted October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      It’s calculated from the desired price the previous quarter. For the letter, this is almost always the closing prices of the previous Friday. For 3Sig, I add 3% to it; for 6Sig, 6%; for 9Sig, 9%.

      The calculator enables you to put this price in so it bases its calculations on the desired price, not the resulting fill price (usually the Monday after the Sunday letter).

  6. Joe Petti
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    JASON: I READ BOTH YOUR BOOKS AND I AM EXCITED TO START THE 3Sig System and subscribe to your letter.

    With the market appearing to maybe start correcting, what advice would you give to start the plan with a $100,000 for a 76 year old retiree at this time?

    • Posted October 6, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Joe!

      I suggest beginning your 3Sig system at the adjusted allocations for retirees, shown in the book. For example, beginning with a 50/50 stock/bond allocation could be correct. It’s based on your time from retirement.

      Happy Sigging,

      Jason

  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.

  8. 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,
      Jason

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

      Jason

      • 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

        Submit
        Y=The 3% Signal
        Home
        Articles
        Books
        The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing
        Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere: Don’t Be One of Them
        The Kelly Letter
        About
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        Contact
        Calculator
        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.

          Jason

  12. 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
    Thomas
    PS I did like the potato chip video, although I did not notice a price increase here

    • Raquib Buksh
      Posted April 29, 2020 at 1:49 am | Permalink

      Any solution to this particular scenario?

  13. 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,
    Craig

    • 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.

      Jason

  14. Daniel Scrugham
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Also, does which funds can be traded without fees at Scottrade, my current broker? Thank you for answering!

  15. Daniel Scrugham
    Posted March 5, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    It says on the Quick Start PDF that the Calculator is free at jasonkelly.com/3sig. However, when I go there it says it only available to Kelly Letter subscribers. Can you give me the link to the free calculator? Thanks!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. v.kamalakara reddy
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Dear Kelly,
    I am from India. Just read your book 3% signal. I felt that if you have rewritten the book sold in india using the stock or bond funds available in India for indians would have made it more advantageous. No regrets anyway for buying the book. The essence is grasped . In India, the funds pose a problem to implement your plan. There is a minimum amount prescribed to move funds in or out. For example, to make first deposit or withdrawal from debt fund we need to move a minimum of Rs.10,000 every time. Fractional units based on the amount to move in or out as per the plan is not possible with this restriction. This poses a problem. Can you please suggest a way out as to how to adjust your plan meeting this restriction.

    Regards,
    v.kamalakara reddy

    • Posted December 17, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Hello Reddy,

      Rights to the book were not sold to an Indian publisher, so I assume you read the edition published by Plume in New York. I’m happy to know that the gist of the plan still came through. If you know of a publisher in India interested in the rights, please pass along their information.

      The restriction you described shouldn’t be overly burdensome to the long-term investor. With 10,000 rupee equal to about $150, a steadily built retirement nest egg will fairly quickly reach a capital level that makes the transactional minimum a non-issue. While you build to such a level, make all contributions to your bond fund and await a buy signal for the stock fund of at least Rs 10,000.

      Eventually, all signals will exceed Rs 10,000 and this issue will disappear.

      Please let me know how it goes, and best of luck to you!

      Jason

  22. Dave
    Posted October 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Jason,

    Just finished reading your book and I’m going to get started. Wondering what you think of managing two accounts? I have a 401k at work, only equity index fund is an S&P 500 index (0.03% fee) and only bond fund is intermediate term (0.05% fee). Also have an IRA with etrade that I can rollover my employer match into. My thought is to run the plan in my 401k with my contribution using the available S&P 500 and bond funds, and rolling over my employer match to the IRA on a quarterly basis and running the plan there with a small cap index and a different bond fund. doe that seem reasonable and are there any cautions you may have?

    Thanks,

    Dave

    • Posted October 14, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Dave,

      Glad to have you!

      Your plan seems fine to me. Those low expense ratios in your 401(k) are fantastic. I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble of moving the rollover into the eTrade account where you’ll be hard-pressed to find expenses that low. However, I see that you’re eager to get some of your money into small caps per the plan, which is reasonable. The performance will be better over time, and there are some very cheap ETFs in every brokerage list these days.

      So, go for it! I hope the plan improves your performance while reducing your stress, as billed.

      Best wishes,
      Jason

  23. Paul
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    I read the book and am considering investing per the book. Why do we put the money from each check in the bond fund and then calculate quarterly as opposed to 50% from each check into the bond and index stock fund? Since they are both dollar cost averaging, is it for ease of quarterly calculation.

    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Paul,

      All contributions go into the bond fund first because we can’t know for sure as they’re going in whether it’s a good time to buy the stock side. By allocating half of their amount to the quarterly signal line, we preserve some buying power but also put money to work based on the price action of the stock side.

      This has worked better historically. Besides, it’s just easier to manage. The 3Sig Calculator and the spreadsheets are set up to factor in half of your quarterly contributions, so the final signal accounts for everything.

      Easy as pie: Put all new money in the bond fund, and follow the resulting signals.

      Happy signaling!

      Jason

  24. Kyle
    Posted September 1, 2016 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    I just finished reading your book and am amazed at how simple and easy to follow you make your plan. Everything you wrote about the stock market and the way people react to it is so true and well written! I can’t wait to start implementing your plan in my account. I have a few questions first:

    1) I have a TIAA CREF retirement account that doesn’t seem to have the best offerings. For my stock fund, would you suggest the cheaper Vanguard mid-cap index fund (VIMAX; 0.08% expense ratio) or the only small cap index fund that is offered at a more expensive 0.31% expense ratio (TRBIX)? I’m not sure if the more expensive fund is worth the higher price to get exposure to the volatility of small caps.

    2) The bond funds available are all expensive. The best options include the following:

    TIDPX (0.46%)
    TBPPX (0.46%)
    TIHPX (0.51%)

    Not very good, right? Any suggestions here?

    3) Finally, this account doesn’t allow market orders. Trades happen at closing prices. Is that something your plan can account for? I’m guessing it’ll just be a little more work.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!!

    • Posted September 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Kyle, and thank you for the enthusiastic comment!

      To your questions:

      1. Go with VIMAX.

      2. TIHPX is more volatile than the others. The point of the bond fund in the plan is safety with some income while the capital awaits a signal for deployment. The remaining two funds are almost identical, but TBPPX has a slightly higher yield so go with it.

      3. Closing prices are fine. The 3Sig Calculator (included in a Kelly Letter subscription), will automatically adjust your next quarterly signal to the prices your last quarterly orders filled at. If you’re doing it manually, just calculate from the price you desired the orders to fill at rather than the price they actually filled at. In your case, the desired price would be the previous day’s close.

      Enjoy your new life of profit without stress running 3Sig!

      Jason

  25. Thomas
    Posted July 10, 2016 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,
    I would like to try this in my son’s 401K, the only options for Vanguard domestic equity are:
    V Extended Market Index
    V Institutional Index
    V Prime Cap Fund
    V Windsor or Wellington
    which of these would be an okay substitute for the small cap as these are all large caps
    for the bonds they use V Total Bond Market Index Fund which I assume is close enough

    • Posted July 13, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Thomas,

      Yes, the Total Bond Market is perfect for the bond allocation.

      Please provide the symbols and expense ratios in the plan for the stock funds mentioned, and I’ll help you choose the best one. Sometimes the expenses differ per account type at Vanguard.

      Standing by,
      Jason

  26. ROBERT
    Posted July 2, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Hello Jason,

    I have used the 3% Signal investing technique & tool for 1 year now and all has been successful, I think?

    In any case, I need to clarify how I should be making contributions to my chosen BOND fund (VAB, in Canada). Here’s my situation:

    I currently contribute $75 into my RRSP account on the 15th & last day of each month — $150 Total each month; $450 Total per quarter.

    Consequently, I currently purchase $150 of VAB each month, until the last month of the quarter where I have to use the 3%Sig tool; given, that I have not purchased VAB in the signal month, I am confused as to what to include in the tool. Do I purchase first VAB as per usual in the two previous months and then run the tool or should I run the tool without the current’s month contributions?

    I am really trying to make this process as seamless as possible. Please advise if you feel there is a more advantageous method to make my contributions of $450 quarterly (current deposited semi-monthly to purchase VAB).

    Cheers,

    • Posted July 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Excellent, Robert!

      It’s good to see your first 3Sig year has gone well, guiding you through the various media confusions offered up, including endless Fed predictions, getting the bond market wrong, meaningless guesses as to the presidential campaign’s impact on stocks, and the Brexit. The plan is beating the market and the pros, and you’re running it. Great!

      As for your bond-fund contributions, it doesn’t matter whether your “last” payment for the current quarter is counted toward the current quarter’s contributions or the next quarter’s. In fact, just know that you contribute $450 per quarter, and add half of that amount (so $225) to your signal line value. Remember, the signal line is 3% growth plus half of the quarterly contributions. Until you change your contribution amount, just add $250 per quarter to the 3% growth balance to get your signal line.

      On the calculator above on this page, you would enter 250 in the field “New Cash Added to Bond Fund In Current Quarter ($)”.

      Keep up the good work!

      Jason

  27. Marc
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    I recently finished reading The 3% Signal and would like to implement this strategy but I have a question on the GNMA bond fund. I realize interest rates do not look like they will dramatically rise any time soon, however I plan on using this strategy long-term and am wondering if interest rates do begin to quickly rise will the GNMA fund be the best place for cash reserves or would shorter term bond funds be safer?

    Thanks
    Marc

    • Posted July 2, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Hi Marc,

      Ignore all bond market warnings. They’ve been wrong for years. The z-vals are just as clueless when it comes to bonds as they are when it comes to stocks. None among us knows if or when or by how much interest rates will rise, much less what that will mean for bond funds. In addition to this:

      1. 3Sig moves capital into and out of its stock and bond funds, so fluctuating prices on both sides are sometimes advantageous and sometimes not, balancing out to neutral meaning you have nothing to worry about. If bond-fund prices fall for a while, then stock-fund sales that direct capital into bond funds will benefit from the lower bond-fund prices.

      2. For long-term bond-fund holders, 95% of a fund’s profit comes from distributions, not price appreciation. Because you’ll be a long-term user of the bond fund, this will benefit you.

      In short, go with just what the book suggests: a general-market bond fund, medium-term bond fund, or GNMA bond fund. Some of my favorites in the ETF category due to very low expenses and good performance are AGG, BND, CMBS, and SCHZ.

      Go get ’em!

      Jason

  28. Don Crumpacker
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Jason,
    I have been a long-time subscriber of The Kelly Letter and am full-in with the 3SIG plan. I’m active US military and getting online access, particularly when deployed, is sometimes difficult. I currently have my ROTH set up with an 80/20 IJR/AGG allocation and contribute 229.16 (ish) on both my 1st and 15th payday for both me and my wife and accounts are through Fidelity so we pay no transaction fees. So… my question is, given the online access difficulties, would it be in my better interest to utilize FGMNX as my bond fund vise AGG? I would be able to automatically invest 2x/month without having to manually enter share purchases as I currently have to do to purchase AGG shares. Additionally, I would be able to invest my full bi-monthly amounts throughout the quarter leading up to the re balance so I would not have cash sitting idle if I’m unable to access my account for AGG share purchase. Expenses for AGG are .08% compared to FGMNX expenses of .45%(considerably higher). I know you’ve run most of the numbers for mutual funds vs. low cost ETFs. Would the return on fully invested funds offset some of the expenses? It would definitely simplify my investing time.
    Any insight is appreciated.

    V/r, Don

    • Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your loyal readership, Don!

      I can see how a mutual fund would be more convenient for you, and that matters. A plan you can live with is one you’ll actually run, whereas hassles tend to fall by the wayside. Yet, expenses matter, too. You want the most efficient way to run the plan.

      How about a compromise? While FGMNX is a worthy bond-fund choice, you rightly point out that it’s pricey, with an expense ratio of 0.45%. However, Fidelity’s bond index funds FBIDX and FSITX charge only 0.22% and 0.10%, respectively. Either will work fine for the plan. Can you go with one of them instead of FGMNX?

      Even better, as a member of the armed forces, you have access to the government’s superb Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which offers stock and bond funds at an expense ratio of just 0.027%. I’ve never seen cheaper. For more on this, see “Thrift Savings Plan” on page 202 in The 3% Signal, specifically the sidebar “Members of the Armed Forces: Attention!” on page 204.

      Best wishes,
      Jason

  29. Kat
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Hi! Back again for another set of questions–this time, it’s about dividends.

    For Q2, I received $3.25 dividend from my stock fund and nothing from my bond. In cell O2, the equation basically reduces to O2+((G3*D3)/E3) without any quarterly cash contribution; can you clarify why the equation is like this? Shouldn’t it be something like (D3/E3)+O2? My assumption here is that D3 represents the dollar amount I’m gaining, so I’m literally given $3.25.

    And for clarification, dividends from both funds are reinvested into the bond side? Not into their respective funds?

    Looking forward to your response!
    Kat

  30. Dan Bee
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    I have a question about clarification about “30 down; stick around.”

    Q1 closing price $250; Q2 $280; Q3 $250; Q4 $225; Q5 $200; Q6 $200; Q7 $190; Q8 $180; Q9 $ 170
    On Q8, I look at the 2 year quarterly closing prices and I see that Q2 and Q7 have more than a 30% gap. My question is, even though we’re not selling for 4 sell signals, does the time when that clock starts reset if in Q8 or Q9 there’s still the 30% gap?

  31. Fred Bright
    Posted March 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I was modifying the sample plan spreadsheet to automatically indicate when the “30-Down; Stick Around” action has occurred: check to see if SPY had dropped more than 30% from its highest quarterly closing over the previous 8-quarters.

    In order to setup the automatic 30% drop calculation, I back-loaded the SPY quarterly closing price for 8-quarters prior to the Q400 starting date of the sample plan spreadsheet; back to Q199.

    Based upon the SPY closing price of $150.38 on Q100, this data triggered a SPY drop greater than 30% for the quarter Q101 (-30.2%); the quarter after the sample plan started. And more than 30% drop again in Q301, Q202, Q302, and Q402. These all occur before Q103, which was the first 30% drop noted on the sample plan.

    Questions:
    Is back-loading SPY values prior to the quarter of the plan start date an incorrect approach?
    Should the back checks for the 30% drop begin after 8-quarters of post start date quarterly data have been entered into the spreadsheet?

    • Kat
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      That’s a really great question. I started recently and my inclination is to back check 8-quarters prior to start date. I find the added context to be helpful, and I would also like another opinion on this. 😀

      – Kat

  32. Espen Donali
    Posted March 3, 2016 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason, and thanks for an interesting book about 3Sig !

    I have a question about 3Sig, related to me living in Norway, and the currency risk of buying stocks and bonds in the US market.

    I would like to follow the 3Sig method, but the US dollar has increased very much relative to the Norwegian Krone (NOK) the last two years. Hence, I run a currency risk if I buy stocks and bond in US dollar.

    So I wonder, under the present currency situation, if it would be better for me to run your 3Sig system by using a Norwegian index fund that follows the Norwegian stock exchange (OBX), rather than to buy an American index fund?

    I have no knowledge to judge if OBX can serve the needs for your 3Sig method.

    1) is OBX to small in terms of market shares?
    2) is its large cap profile not suited?
    3) is it too variable?

    OBX has almost doubled the last four years.

    The fund i have in mind is “Nordnet Superfondet Norge”. It is new index fond since 2014, following OBX. It is free of any charge.

    So, summing up, can I use OBX for 3Sig?

  33. Chris Williams
    Posted March 1, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Jason,

    At one point I thought my E trade account did not have access to SCHA and SCHZ. That was when I was using the app on my iPad. But using the actual web site for E Trade rather than the E Trade app On my iPad I was able to locate SCHZ and SCHA indexes as available to be traded. Question though: it seems that the volume is a bit low on the Schwab funds. Should that concern me? It does appear that IJR and Vanguard GNMA are also available. It looks like IJR has decent volume to it and GNMA doesn’t have a high volume either. Should 117,000 volume or thereabouts these indexes seem to have be of any major concern for getting into and out of a position?

    Also, I like the down right convenient calculator on your website for calculating each quarter’s signal but it seems like it might not be incorporating the dividend info on its calculations. I may be mistaken though. The spreadsheet seems to take dividends into consideration. If the calculator works just fine then I would probably just stick with that. Any pros and cons I’m missing between those two choices?
    Thanks!
    Chris Williams, Kansas

    • Posted March 1, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Chris,

      I’m glad you were able to find SCHA and SCHZ at E*Trade. I didn’t see them on the list of commission-free ETFs, though, so double-check to make sure you’re not unnecessarily paying commissions each quarter. If not, you’re all set. Other combinations that work are IJR/AGG and VB/BND.

      No, don’t worry about the volume. There’s enough liquidity in these for your needs.

      The “downright convenient” calculator, eh? I won’t elaborate on the inside joke for the benefit of others, but know that I got it and it made me smile. Those were (not) the days.

      The calculator does take dividends into account by including them in the “New Cash Added” field. All new cash to the plan goes in that field: dividend distributions and fresh contributions. I will soon clarify this in an update of the calculator, but the functionality will remain the same. It’s ready to go right now.

      Still not caring how you slice it,
      Jason

      • Chris Williams
        Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        Jason
        So you are right. E*TRADE has them available to be traded but they are not commission free. It doesn’t look like any of the ones that you listed are commission free. So I don’t know if you are familiar with some of the ones that might work over in the E*TRADE account or where I should go. Are you saying that the Schwab website will let me trade those funds like the vanguard group ones commission free? I haven’t actually done any trades in my E*TRADE account yet so I can just as easily open up another brokerage account somewhere else that lets me do commission free trades on those ETFs. I like those vanguard ones because it looks like they have some higher dividend yield.

        • Chris Williams
          Posted March 3, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          Strike the request for which funds to use in E Trade. You already told me and I missed it. Sorry about that. Looking at Schwab and their two funds. Called them tonight and their two indexes are commission free. Thank you for the help my friend!
          Chris

  34. Kat
    Posted February 27, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,
    VFIIX requires a $3k buy in. Wouldn’t you have to keep at least $3k in at all times?
    Kat

    • Kat
      Posted February 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Ok, never mind that. Vanguard said it would be alright depending on the type of brokerage account.

      I’m trying to use a vanguard fund similar to IJR to simulate the conditions you have going for Mark. Where can I find data for the div column. What source can you recommend?

      Thanks!

      • Anthony
        Posted March 14, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        Kat,

        I use Vanguard for my investments. I found VB is a similar replacement to IJR. The advantage is no transaction fees! I also use BND for the bond fund. Additionally, the ETFs provide a much lower expense ratio, but its a little trickier to manage. I found that the ETFs match their admiral class expense ratio.

        – Anthony

  35. Terry
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Question about 3sig rebalancing. Question about adding cash applies to any tier, but I’ll use tier 1 as the example. If I decide to add cash during 2016 Q1 to Tier 1, I understand that I should put that money immediately into the bond fund. When using the 3Sig calculator at the end of the quarter, it asks for both the “new cash added” as well as the “bond fund shares currently owned”. Let’s say I added $10,000 and now have 100 shares of the bond (hypothetical numbers that may not add up exactly), but before adding the cash I had 20 shares. Should I put “100” into the “shares currently owned” line, and IN ADDITION put “$10,000” into the “cash added” line? Or do I put “20” into the “shares currently owned” line (shares before adding the cash), and “$10,000” into the “cash added” line? Or some other permutation?

    Thank you!

  36. Lou
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    Jason,

    I believe I found my answer to my previous post, but I’m back with another one: does the quarterly schedule have to be Jan., Apr., July, and Oct.? Or can it be ANY 4 months one quarter apart (implemented consistently, of course)? For example, can the schedule be Feb., May, August, and Nov.?

    Thanks,
    Lou

    • Posted December 9, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Hi Lou,

      It can be any three months, but why not just go with the calendar quarter?

      Jason

  37. Robert
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Hello Jason,

    When you say to put all new cash into bond fund, does this mean I have to purchase units of the bond fund. This seems redundant given that I will have to turn around and sell units of the bond fund (if indicated to do so by tool); thus creating two transactions ($10 per trade). For example, I will be putting $450 per quarter into Tier 1. I ran the tool and the indication was to sell (-14) shares. But my $450 contribution would equate to buying (+18) shares. Does this mean I just buy )+4) shares and use the remaining (of my $450) to purchase the indicated number of shares of the stock fund as indicated by the tool. Please clarify!

    Cheers,

    Ps. I have the book and I am in Canada, so I am running XUS (stocks) and VAB (bonds).

    • Posted December 3, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      As you add capital to your account, immediately buy shares of the bond fund with it. At quarter’s end, when a stock-fund purchase is signaled, you would sell shares of the bond fund to create buying power for the stock-fund purchase. You’re not supposed to end the quarter with all contributions made during the quarter sitting in cash. They should already be in the bond fund, benefiting from dividends.

  38. Carolyn
    Posted October 17, 2015 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason and followers.
    I am new to 3Sig. I have liquidated half of my holdings and now have Buy Limit orders for IJR submitted for their hopeful execution @$107. I have not bought any BND shares as yet, not sure why I would do that, since I have half a portfolio still engaged in the market.
    My question is in how to start out using the spreadsheet. How do I use the calculator/spreadsheet”—how do I transition into the 3Sig plan when I don’t have a “last quarter’s” number to put in there.
    It would be helpful if you had some section of your Letter that showed many examples of how people jump into 3Sig, or transition into 3Sig.
    Thanks for your response in advance.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Tsk, tsk, Carolyn, from the reading comprehension docent. The answer is in the first three bullets of the spreadsheet section above, copied for you below, verbatim:

      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.

      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.

      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.

  39. roger
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I read your book and was impressed. Nevertheless, I thought that your plan put simply is basically buying stock during down market periods, selling stock during up market periods, or doing nothing during periods of consolidation. I do understand that if you are adding new funds each quarter you would be adjusting with the purchase of stocks most of the time. I have run your calculator considering stock price increases as well as stock price decreases or no growth at all. I have also considered new contributions as well as no contributions. I must be doing something wrong as I am always in a buy mode and never in sell mode. Can you help me understand … I am looking to put together a model to prove to myself that I will make money using your system over time. Thanks

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      If you’re properly building in 50% of new contributions to the quarterly growth target, then large enough contributions could leave the plan in need of putting that capital to work — which is correct. The last six years show why. As the worrywarts warned of a crash the whole way, the market has moved higher. Over much longer perios of history, the market rises two thirds of the time and falls one third. The obsession with the one third is what kills most portfolios by sitting in safety forever. That’s why they lose to the rising market line.

      3Sig gets around this by putting most of the capital to work and reserving just a portion of it for opportune investment moments. It beats the market by losing a little less in down times and making a little more in up. This nudging is more effective than going for home runs because the market’s pace of rising is substantial enough on its own to leave most managers in the dust. Why? Because they diversify into safe, go-nowhere assets that aren’t really safe at all in the context of definitely losing to the performance the investor would otherwise have achieved.

      So, being in a buy mode most of the time is correct. If you’re adding lots of capital to your plan, great, and you should expect the plan to hustle to get it working for you.

      Best wishes,
      Jason

  40. Gaby A.
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason, back again on the site, but was absent for your rollout of the Canadian fund suggestions so excited to consider those instead. I have a question about an alternative to the bond fund. What do you think about a dividend ETF instead for the 20% portion? Something in the 3-5% yield range? AFAIK, as long as you’re not chasing yield, these ETF’s don’t swing too wildly. They may move more than a bond fund, but would the reinvested dividends make up for that?

  41. Russ
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Jason,

    Thanks for a superb book. One of the things I like best about 3Sig is how it responds to what the market is doing instead of the mindless repetition of dollar-cost averaging. I agree with you that this approach helps prevent us from panicking out of the market near bottoms. We get to take positive actions whether the market is up or down. The lows can still be scary, but having a calculated response to them where we actually get to “do something” helps keep us invested.

    I do have one question: Why do you put the dividends from the stock fund into the bond fund, as you describe on pages 65 and 88? Dividends are a legitimate part of the earnings of stock funds. To my mind, just because they’re a fixed-income portion of the value of a stock fund doesn’t mean they belong on the bond fund side of things. Aren’t you going to a lot of trouble to come up with that figure every quarter?

    Russ

    • Posted September 10, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Russ!

      The reason all cash contributions to the plan (including all dividend distributions) go into the bond fund initially is that we don’t know whether they’re arriving at a good time to buy stocks or not. The quarterly signal tells us that, and the modification to it that draws in new cash is shown at the top of page 139. By treating new cash this way, we guarantee that it’s kept safe until the best time to deploy it into stocks, i.e. a buy signal.

      Jason

      • Russ
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        I think I may be mistaken about how dividends are tracked by a mutual fund. I always thought they were added in as part of the Net Asset Value, in which case if you separated them out, you’d be taking away part of the NAV. But maybe the dividends are considered separate from the NAV. In that case, I can see how it would make sense to credit the stock fund dividends to the bond fund account in 3Sig. Can you set me straight on this?

        Russ

  42. Mark
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Jason,

    Enjoying the book. In backtesting, I found what I believe are significant differences in input values (SPY Prices, IJR Prices, etc.) between exhibits in the book.
    Here is an example:

    Table 27 excerpt:
    Qrtr SPY IJR
    Q209 84.30 42.24
    Q309 97.27 49.88

    versus Table in Appendix 1 excerpt:
    Qrtr SPY IJR
    Q209 91.95 44.43
    Q309 105.59 52.34

    Which of these exhibits is correct?

    Thank you.

    • Posted September 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Mark,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the book!

      The differences you noted with your eagle eye are due to my using adjusted and unadjusted prices at different places in the book, as mentioned in the first paragraph of “A Note On Performance Calculations” on page xiii. The discussion flowed better in the text by sticking with adjusted prices for consistency. For the hard calculations, however, I used unadjusted prices and incorporated the effect of actual dividend distributions to better reflect the change in balances that investors experienced at the time.

      Thus, from the end of the first paragraph on page xiii: “For this reason, some of the prices discussed in Chapter 7, ‘The Life of the Plan,’ are different from those shown in adjusted price tables elsewhere in the book.” Because the Appendix 1 table is from Mark’s plan in Chapter 7, it uses those same unadjusted prices.

      Jason

  43. John
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason!

    I just bought your book – I’m looking forward to starting the 3 sig plan! However, it seems as though my 401k has limited index fund options. For Bonds, I can invest in a Short Duration Gov’t Bond Fund (the fee is .09%), or a TIPS Fund (.05% fee). The other bond funds available are HYFAX and OSIIX, which have fees of .64% and .56%, respectively.

    The Small Cap index fund available is a Russell 2000 fund that charges a .09% fee. NRGSX and MSGZX are other options that charge .78% and .86%, respectively.

    It seems like using the index funds would result in lower returns. Would you recommend going with the index funds to save on fees, or the actively managed funds to possibly earn a greater return (but pay more in fees)?

    Thanks!

    John

    • Posted September 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the world of 3Sig, John! You’re going to love it.

      What are the symbols of the Russell 2000 fund, the short duration government bond fund, and the TIPS fund?

      Jason

      • John
        Posted September 12, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your reply Jason!

        The symbol for the Russell 2000 fund is NTGI-QM – I don’t believe it’s traded actively, it might be a fund just offered through my plan.

        The short duration gov’t bond fund doesn’t have a symbol, but the full name is Northern Trust Short Duration Govt Bond – Non Lending. In the past 5 years, its average return has been .72%, and the expense ratio is .09%. The TIPS fund doesn’t have a symbol either, but its full name is Northern Trust TIPS Fund – Non Lending… Its average return has been 3.25% over the past 5 years, and the annual fee is .04%.

        Thanks again for your advice!

  44. brad
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Jason,
    I am having a hard time understanding how the number in the column VFIIX Shares + Divs Reinv+ Cash Before Action is arrived at. If the beginning balance is $2,000 plus the contribution of cash of $607.50 (50% of the 1,215) plus dividends of $33.21 (.17 x 195.31 shares) plus bond appreciation of $21.48 (.11 x 195.31 shares) where is the difference ($610.81) coming from?
    Puzzled

  45. Sreekanth
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    How to use the 3 signal when you have a large sum to invest, like say, $500000?

    1. Do you put 80% into the stock fund and 20% into the bond fund straightaway?
    or

    2. Do you keep the whole in the bond fund and then transfer say 50000 every quarter into the stock fund and add that to the 3% growth rate.

    Thanks

    • Posted August 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Hello Sreekanth,

      This topic is covered in “Starting with a Large Cash Balance” on p. 134.

      Basic overview: Historically, it’s been better to put large sums into the market straightaway, but most people are reluctant to do so for fear of this being the perfectly wrong moment, thus cash tends to linger on the sidelines earning too little (or nothing, as is the case now).

      To get around this, I suggest breaking up your large cash balance into four equal sizes that you’ll invest in 3Sig across the next four buy orders — which won’t necessarily happen back-to-back. Thus, this approach could take a few years to get your money fully deployed in the 3Sig plan. You could modify it by breaking your cash into two quarterly buys.

      Jason

  46. Humberto
    Posted July 28, 2015 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Jason Kelly,
    I am planning to apply this 3sig investment technique in Brazil – where I live. But the Small Cap fund available here has its profits taxed in 15%.
    For me to have an idea of the impact of this “hindrance over time” (p. 170) would it be possible to simulate Mark’s gains if his investments had been affected by a situation like this ?? I mean, how much less would his final balance of US$ 200.031 (p. 284) be ?
    Thank you very much for your attention.
    Best regards.

    • Posted August 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Hello Humberto,

      To get a rough estimate, you would run his spreadsheet showing the impact of losing 15% of each stock-fund sale to taxes before reinvesting the proceeds into his bond fund. I haven’t done this yet, so can give a quick answer, but we can agree that it would crimp returns.

      Isn’t there some way to find a fund with a lower tax burden, or to run the plan in a tax-advantaged account?

      Jason

  47. Posted July 15, 2015 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    For the dividend, is that stated in dollar format per share? Like if the yield is 3%, do you convert that to dollar amount of what the shares are worth at the end of a month, quarter, or year?

    • Ariel Barreiro
      Posted July 20, 2015 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      I also have this question, I am finally almost ready to start the plan and wanted to add the spreadsheet. Where does the dividend figures come from? I guess it’s from what you get over the quarter, but does it make sense to have an initial one?

    • Posted July 23, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      The dividend is the sum of distributions received in the quarter ending, expressed as dollars per share. You don’t have to calculate backwards from the yield; moreover, the yield is derived from the amount paid. For example, BND paid 52 cents per share in the second quarter of this year, so that would be the figure to enter. IJR paid 36 cents, so that’s what you’d enter for its dividend. They would be 0.52 and 0.36, respectively.

      Once you actually own the funds, you can just check your statement history to see what you were paid and then enter the exact amounts, and adjust the shares you owned as a result of reinvesting. You’ll have the whole history at your fingertips, sparing you the need to search for numbers.

      • Kat
        Posted February 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jason, can you explain why some IJR div data’s omitted from Mark’s log? Like in Q301?
        via this link: http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/ijr/dividend-history
        Div data lines up pretty closely as Mark’s plan moves toward 2013, but not quite exactly at the start–how come?
        Thanks,
        Kat

  48. Chuck
    Posted July 15, 2015 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    OK I think I figured it out.

  49. Kevin Africa
    Posted July 11, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Great books! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to take control of my retirement. I have read both the Neatest Little Guide and 3% Signal and am very new to investing. I have two questions:

    1. Based on looking a the equations on the the spreadsheet, it looks like it assumes that all of the quarterly contributions were used to buy the bond fund at a single price(Column E). Since I will be buying shares in the bond fund throughout the quarter, at different prices, it seems that bond shares before action (Column O) would be incorrect. Should I use the bond fund’s quarter cost basis instead of the current bond price, for Column E, and check that the number of shares before action is correct (Column O)?

    2. From the two books, I wasn’t able to discern which strategy I should focus on: Maximum Midcap or 3% signal. As a young investor, how should I split my investments on the two strategies? Should I just focus on one strategy?

    Best Regards,
    Kevin

    • Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      1. Yes, use the bond fund’s quarterly cost basis and make sure the current bond fund price is not too far off track. You could also just manually input your bond fund’s balance based on your records. Many people don’t keep them carefully, but it seems like you do.

      2. I would run 3Sig before anything else. If later you decide you’d like to try for more without wading into the z-val swamp, then you could get a 6Sig or Maximum Midcap plan going. My confidence is highest in 3Sig, however.

      Jason

  50. Chuck
    Posted July 11, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand the directions to get started with the spreadsheet in IMPORTANT and the first bullet item under it. I don’t understand how to start my own data entry in Row 2 like you say and maintaining the formulas. You suggest filling in Row 4 with my own data but won’t that include the data from Rows 3 and 4? I feel like this needs to be much more detailed and specific with step by step instruction, at least for me.

    Thanks,

    Chuck
    Reading, PA

    • Posted July 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I know, it is pretty detailed, Chuck.

      However, all you have to know is that the formulas used in Rows 2 and 3 are different from the ones that are used from Row 4 onward. You don’t have to change any of them, anyway. I only provide the information in case somebody looked at the formulas and became concerned that they didn’t just repeat from Row 2 downward. So, as the instructions say, begin your plan in Row 2, keep going down in Row 3, 4, 5, and so on. Once you have Row 4 filled in, just keep copying its formulas all the way down for as many additional rows as you keep the plan going. The point here is that you should NOT copy the formulas down from Row 2 or 3. That’s all.

      If you don’t like the spreadsheet, please try the calculator. It’ll figure everything out for you and provide a history by sending an email of each quarter’s actions.

      Good luck,
      Jason

  51. Terry
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    I have a similar question to the one above. The calculator above only works for tiers 1 and 2. Will you be providing a calculator to use with Tier 3 stocks as well? Or am I missing a way I can use this calculator for individual stocks…?

    Thanks.

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Terry,

      The calculator will work with an individual stock. Just use the stock’s data where “Stock Fund” is indicated, i.e. balance, shares currently owned, and current closing price. The calculator won’t show you the 10% threshold I use for focusing attention in the letter, but it’s not hard to deduce it from the calculator’s output.

      J.

  52. tamar
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    From a newbie: I’ve been working to set up my 3Sig plan and I thought I had it figured out. But when I tried to put my data into the spreadsheet it didn’t come out.
    This might be my problem: I decided to adjust the percentages of Tier 1 after I had started, and that involved adding assets to both IJR and BND, which is what I’m using instead of VFIIX. You explain where to put in IJR, namely in column N, but I can’t figure out where to put in an amount to increase BND. Putting it in as a Qtrly contribution goes to IJR, as far as I can tell.

    Can this be adapted for the 6% Sig and/or for the Tier 3 holdings as well? It looks as if I would need a new spreadsheet for each item, as well as for my IRA, in order to use the formulas.

    thanks
    T

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Thank you for giving it a whirl, Tamar!

      <> All quarterly cash contributions are recorded in Column H “Quarterly Cash Contrib”. They are pulled into the new value of the bond fund in Column O “VFIIX Shares + Divs Reinv + Cash Before Action”. It’s fine to change “VFIIX” to “BND” or whatever bond fund you’re using. The math doesn’t change.

      <> The sheet is not set up for anything other than the 3% signal, but it’s easy to modify it yourself for a 6% signal by changing the multiplier from 1.03 to 1.06 in the formula for Column J “3% Signal Line + 50% Cash Contrib This Quarter”.

      <> Alternatively, consider using the 3Sig Calculator at the top of the page. It enables you to select the growth rate you’re using, and will email you results so you can build a history of quarterly actions in a folder on your computer.

      Go get ’em,
      Jason

  53. eric morgan
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Horribly confusing. Over 300 pages of descriptions and analysis, but the book or this website does not actually walk you through in a clear and concise way sending up the portfolio and using the spreadsheet.
    After 4 editions I expect more from an author.
    The system may work, but the way you explain executing the system doesnt work.
    DISSAPOINTED.

    • Posted July 10, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Sorry you feel this way, Eric. I’ll point you to areas that will help:

      <> There are only five steps in the plan’s quarterly procedure, and they’re presented both in brief and in detail in “The Quarterly Procedure” beginning on p. 160.

      <> Spreadsheets and a guide to using them are available on the 3Sig Tools page.

      <> Also on the 3Sig Tools page, you’ll find my free 3Sig Calculator that will take inputs from you such as your stock-fund balance, bond-fund balance, and quarterly contributions and tell you exactly what to do. It doesn’t get much simpler than this, right? It’ll even email you the results so you can build up a history of quarterly advice to refer back to in the future.

      So, don’t be disappointed! The plan is clearly spelled out for you, and I’ve provided tools to help. If you still need assistance, please post again.

      Good luck and best wishes,
      Jason

  54. Helen
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Jason,
    I’ve read your books and have used your advice for Tier 1 over the past couple of years. Thanks!
    Since I got your latest book, I’ve spent most of my free time over the past 2 weeks going over the 3Sig. I just couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong but with your spreadsheet fully populated by Chris for “Mark’s Plan” I was finally able to understand the plan in action.

    It really helped to have it fully populated to understand the impact of each of the new parts of the plan.
    a) The 50% contributions keep your number of shares up over the long haul.
    b) The ignore the 4 sell signals after a big drop in SPY helps not to sell your shares on the way out of a recovery

    I used the 2001 to 2013 time frame for “Mark’s Plan” but substituted in $500K with $6K a quarter contributions (age 50 or over has the catch-up).

    The changed the high 80/20 initial split between stock and bond to 50/50. With 80/20 the signal line fell into the troublesome territory of needing more cash too much for my risk averse comfort zone. Also, I had forgotten to ignore the 4 sell signals on the recoveries from a large fall in SPY in my homegrown spreadsheet.

    Last night, I finally got a convincing set of numbers to come up using a conservative 50/50 initial split so that I had plenty of buying power combined with lower risk, I also played with the percentage of contributions going to stock, but the initial split was the biggie. The final results were good, with only a few adjustments needed in column N.
    Also, I changed columns Q and W to use N when populated and M when N is blank, so I don’t have to remember to do that part.

    Thank you so much for your books. I am switching from the normal 3% quarter value averaging to the 3 Sig now. Just changed my contributions to go 50% to stock instead of 100% cash.

    Thanks for the plan.

    • Posted May 20, 2015 at 3:09 am | Permalink

      You’re most welcome, Helen! Your tip on the spreadsheet is a good one, and has been suggested by others as well. I’ll implement it soon.

  55. Helen
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Suggestion for spreadsheet columns Q and W – make them automatic.

    Instead of manually changing columns Q and W, couldn’t you just use something like this to check if N exists (not zero), then use it, otherwise use M
    Example for Row 3
    for Q:
    =O3-(( IF(N30,N3,M3) *C3)/E3)

    likewise for G:

    =G3+( IF(N30,N3,M3) )

    • Helen
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      Can’t use 0 (zero), there must be another logical test though. Sorry I didn’t get it correct in the first post

      • Helen
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:15 am | Permalink

        =O3-(( IF(ISBLANK(N3),M3,N3) *C3)/E3)

        =G3+( IF(ISBLANK(N3),M3,N3) )

        • Posted November 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, again, Helen for this suggestion. It’s now offered to readers in the Google Drive section above.

  56. Helen
    Posted May 4, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Jason
    Have you back tested 3 Sig for 401K plans for people investing the maximum possible amounts?
    I think 2015 limits are $18,000 plus $6,000 catch-up for people age 50 and over.
    24000 / year = 6000 / QTR.
    I tried a few examples and adding $3000 to the 3% signal line causes it to soar to an unsustainable level quickly.
    (Unless I did something wrong in my spreadsheet)

    Should the adding of half of the quarterly contributions to the signal line have a cap on it?
    Maybe something like a $1200-$1500 cap would be suitable as a starting point.

    I would appreciate seeing an example of how 3 Sig works for an existing 401k retirement account with these parameters:
    $500,000 starting point
    $24,000 yearly contributions
    run for 12 years using the 2001 to 2013 time frame for IJR prices.

    Thank you.

  57. Kristin
    Posted April 29, 2015 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    I’m starting to use the 3sig method in our Roth IRAs and we have very limited funds to contribute right now. What percentage of the original investment in new cash is necessary to make sure we stay on target? Any idea on the range of what’s necessary to contribute regularly?

    • Posted May 20, 2015 at 3:31 am | Permalink

      Congratulations on beginning the plan, Kristin!

      Any contribution to the plan is fine, up to the allowable limit. Be sure you earmark half of all contributions to the growth target of the plan. For more on this, see “The Modified Growth Target” on page 137, paying particular attention to the formula at the top of page 139. Tired of manually calculating all this? Try out the free 3Sig Calculator on the 3Sig Tools page:

      https://jasonkelly.com/3sig/

      Go get ’em,
      Jason

  58. S. Schwartz
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    In the 3Sig system in Tier 1 of The Kelly Letter you currently have approximately $662K in IJR, a small-cap ETF. By having such a large amount in one ETF aren’t you running the risk of counterparty default since so many of the ETFs lend out their shares?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmoore/2014/08/29/securities-lending-makes-some-etfs-free/

    • Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never seen this presented as a meaningful risk, probably because BlackRock (owner of iShares, thus manager of IJR) and other management firms would presumably not lend out so much of their holdings as to expose themselves to an inordinate amount of counterparty risk. The article mentions that an astute trading desk can mitigate this risk, and the likes of BlackRock and Vanguard have such desks.

      I like VB, by the way, as mentioned in the discussion around Table 11 on page 83 of The 3% Signal, so was pleased to read the following in the article you linked:

      “Remarkably, some low fee ETFs can beat their benchmarks because of securities lending policies. This essentially makes them free to own. … Some index trackers are managing to beat the indices they track, just as active funds aspire to do. In fact, some ETFs such as the Vanguard Small Cap ETF (VB) has done so over a period of many years.”

      Way to go, Vanguard!

  59. Scott Campbell
    Posted April 11, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing made me a bunch already in my retirement account. On your advice I bought and held DDM and UMPIX in 2008 and just kept investing every year. I can’t thank you enough for the advice.

    Now I’m ready to run 3Sig. Just finished reading and thought it was fantastic. Is DDM too risky to use as the stock account in 3SIG? (I know the expense ratio is high.) Does it matter when the “quarters” start?

    My company’s 401(k) plan only offers 29 different funds (which make your book so enlightening, the expense ratios are ridiculous). None of them are small cap funds. It’s managed by Fidelity though. Any thoughts?

    Thanks.

    • Posted April 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Glad to hear it on your retirement account, Scott! Way to go holding those leveraged longs from the bottom of the subprime crash. Few had the fortitude to follow that idea.

      You can run leveraged funds with the signal system, but it’s a different permutation. In the letter, I run MVV using a 6% signal and a 50/50 stock/bond target allocation so there’s plenty of buying power into crashes. The plan actually desires crashes, as the recovery from them is when it makes outsized profits from the stick-around rule and powerful surge higher: 66% in 2009, 50% in 2010, and 71% in 2013.

      As for your 401(k), are there any small- or mid-cap index funds available? If not, what’s the lowest-priced stock fund of any variety? Post the five cheapest stock funds in the plan and I’ll help you choose one.

      Jason

      • Scott Campbell
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        Thanks for your reply! Here are the cheapest funds of the 29 offered by my plan:

        Small Cap: GTSVX at 0.83, PSVIX at 0.86
        Mid Cap: PEGZX at 0.77
        Large Cap: VINIX at 0.04 (is this volatile enough for 3Sig?)

        Good news is, there is a bond fund VBTIX at 0.07 and a host of Vanguard Targeted Date Retirements at 0.18.

        Also something called “BrokerageLink” available through Fidelity which gives access to most of Fidelity’s funds.

        • Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          This is as easy as falling off a log! Run your 3Sig plan with VINIX on the stock side and VBTIX on the bond side. Just look at ultra-low-priced VINIX (cyan line) beating the rip-off z-val funds over the past five years (click to enlarge):

          VINIX beating the z-vals, 5 years ending April 17, 2015

          It’s plenty volatile and you’ll do just fine with VINIX. Proceed with confidence, leave the overpriced z-vals in the dust.

  60. Posted April 6, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Dear Jason

    I read the two books The Neatest Little Guide to Stock… and now the 3% Signal book. I like the 3% Signal approach and want to start using it. Here a few questions though:

    – I live in Switzerland and saw just now how the Euro weakened against the Swiss Francs. I am tempted to using the US ETFs you write about as they have a very low TER. Would you think this is smart for me or should I better look for ETFs that are denominated in CHF to avoid currency changes/risks?

    – I first read your book The Neatest… and was ready to follow its advise. Then read 3% signal and now I think this is a better advise for me. For whom are these two books? In case I follow the 3% signal book technique I would not bother at all what I learned in your other book of course.

    Best regards
    Ralf

    • Posted April 11, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Ralf,

      Thank you for reading both books!

      Currency exchange issues are always a hassle and introduce another way to second-guess your plan by trying to time the currency market — another z-val zone. If possible, I recommend investing in a locally-traded fund that tracks a US stock index. As in Canada, the best bet in Switzerland might be a large-cap index like the S&P 500 rather than the 3Sig plan’s preferred small-cap fund, but the plan will still work.

      As for my two stock books, The Neatest Little Guide provide people with the basics of the stock market and introduces them to the primary ways of approaching it. The 3% Signal presents a complete plan that gets around most of the mistakes people make when investing, regardless of whether they got the basics from my stock book or another. Even people following 3Sig will find info in The Neatest Little Guide useful, such as the difference between market and limit orders, and a picture for what’s going on in the market.

      Jason

  61. Steven Emer
    Posted April 2, 2015 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason….loved the book and I am a subscriber to the newsletter. Have you back tested the 3%sig in a protracted bear market like Japan’s? I’m sure the results aren’t pretty, but do they beat buy and hold or an Ivy type strategy?

    • Posted April 11, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Hi Steven,

      Actually the results are good in a protracted bear market. In truth, what people call protracted bear markets are ones that fall for a while and then go sideways for a long time. That’s what happened in Japan, and the 3Sig plan is helped by its 30-down rule and its associated two-year limit. This prevents the plan from staying in all stocks for the entire duration of the sideways movement. Instead, it stays in them during the time frame in which a sharp recovery is most likely, then gives up on the recovery and reverts to running its standard plan, which still benefits from sideways fluctuations over the long time frame. Even when going sideways, stock markets still fluctuate, and 3Sig uses the strength and weakness as usual.

      It can’t totally avoid a collapsing market, but neither can anything else and all attempts to do so end up allocating too much of an investor’s capital to safe funds that underperform. The stock market portion of a person’s net worth needs to be invested aggressively, and 3Sig is the most prudent aggressive stock market plan I’ve seen because it takes care of an investor’s emotions while also tapping the high performance potential of small-cap stocks.

      I’ll see if I can’t pull together results of running 3Sig in Japan one of these days, and post them on the Strategies page.

      Jason

  62. Phil Robins
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Jason, since I’ve been reorganizing my three account portfolios a question has arisen with regards to the bond fund in each account.

    1. My 401(k) is set up in Tier 1 with FSEVX (small/mid cap index) and a FSITX as my bond fund. I make weekly contributions, so this one is set for regular infusions of new cash (50/50) when the buy signals come.

    2. My/Wife’s ROTH IRA are set up with MVV and FSBIX (bond) and get a once per year infusion of new cash. Starting with a 50/50 balance in MVV and FSIBX, how should I utilize the once per year infusion of new cash? Divide it 50/50 at the beginning of the year or over the next four buy signals? As you know it is a relative small amount ($6,500) for each ROTH account.

    3. With our JOINT brokerage account I am setting it up for both Tier 1 (IJR) and Tier 3 (XBI) but only have a single bond fund currently. Will I be able to accurately track an 80/20 distribution between Tier 1 IJR and Tier 3 XBI out of one bond fund, or does each position need it’s own bond fund?

    Thanks

    • Phil Robins
      Posted March 28, 2015 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      Belay my last! (ie. the questions above.) I have it sorted to my satisfaction. A bond fund for each each Tier position. Tier 3 (XBI) moved to the ROTH IRAs. Will add yearly ROTH contributions to the bond fund and trickle it in over four buy signals. Tier 2 (MVV) set up in the Joint Brokerage (along with Tier 1 IJR) so that I can add fresh cash as needed with out government restrictions. Next quarter I am going to sell the Bond Funds and buy Bond ETFs to get around minimum balance requirements in the funds.

      Here’s how I have it sorted:

      401(k) (Tier 1)
      FSEVX (DOW total small/mid cap index)
      FSITX/MWTIX (bond) – going to compare these two bonds over the next year and see if the 0.45 Expense Ration of MWTIX is worth it over the 0.1 Expense Ration of FSITX as far as performance.

      ROTHs (Tier 3)
      XBI
      AGG (bond)

      JOINT (Tier 1 and 2)
      IJR
      CMBS (bond)
      MVV
      AGG (bond)

      Regards

      Phil

  63. Chris Bell
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Hello Jason,

    I’m about 90% finished with your book and it’s amazing. I’ve been a fan ever since you taught me how not to be financially stupid (by the way I’ve purchased and shared that book with 10 people in my life since 2010). Anyways, I’m 28 and I’d like to be able to take more risk now while I’m young and possess more decretionary income.

    For the younger risk takers who still want to employ your strategy what do you suggest? I’d like to tell you my current plan and get some feedback about it. I was pondering using 5% of my “Buying the Bottom” account for riskier investments. This 5% account would only be funded twice per year if depleted and never surpass 5% of my overall net worth. My main goal is and always will be security of principle.

    I’m still new to investing, but your strategies have never steered my wrong. Please let me know your thoughts and thank you for another compelling read.

    Chris Bell

    • Posted March 30, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Hi Chris,

      Great! Thank you for being a fan. I’m glad my books are helping you.

      Sure, you could allocate part of your bottom-buying account to riskier stocks you want to take a flier on. As long as that kind of stuff happens after the main 3Sig plan is set up and running, it’s hard to go too wrong. Maybe you’ll get lucky, maybe you won’t, but you’ll learn and have fun without endangering your core plan. Even if you accidentally wiped out your whole bottom-buying fund, the worst that would happen is that the market would crash and you’d find yourself unable to fund all 3Sig buy signals — and that’s a low probability. So, go for it!

      Jason

  64. Norm Owen
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Please do send Quarterly Calculator when available.
    Thanks,
    Norm

  65. Julie
    Posted March 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I’ve enjoyed both of your books very much but still consider myself very much a novice and need advice! I have about $100,000 I’d like to invest (inherited money sitting in the bank). I have a Roth IRA and a rollover IRA as well as a 457 that I am currently contributing to through my job at present. I am trying to decide which account to use to avoid taxes with transactions – is it true that only $6500 can be contributed annually (I’m 54 yrs old) between the two IRAs? If the signal requires a much larger cash input, how does that work? Also, I’m not sure if inherited money can even be used in an IRA…? If the IRAs are not an option, I will see if I can use the 457 (Edward Jones), but am not optimistic about that. Thanks for any advice in this regard.
    Julie

  66. Phil Robins
    Posted March 20, 2015 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the reply above about how to start from scratch.

    I just finished reading Money Matters Ken Moraif’s new book, “Buy, Hold and Sell.” He advocates investors over 50 and retirees move to cash if the market is starting to go into the bear mode, (he claims to have correctly predicted the 2008 crash and has a proprietary system using the 200 day moving average to give him the sell signal.) Do you have any thoughts for older investors such as my self (62) with regards to riding down a bear market with 3Sig (as did Mark) with the chance the market may not recover in my lifetime?

    • Posted March 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Since there’s no way for anybody to reliably predict where the market will go next, your best bet is to follow the 3Sig target allocation schedule in Table 33 on page 153.

      For most of a person’s working life, the stock/bond target allocation is 80/20. It begins ramping down the stock side 10 years away from retirement. At retirement, it’s 50/50, and continues becoming more conservative until reaching 20/80 15 years into retirement. I suggest rereading that section, “Adjusting Your Bond Balance as You Grow Older,” beginning on page 152.

  67. Steve P
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason

    If you don’t mind a couple of clarification questions about the use of 3sig when you are getting started with a large cash balance (outside of a retirement plan). I’ll try and be succint:

    1. You recommend spreading large cash injections over the next 4 buy orders. If you are starting with 0 shares then i assume the first buy signal is generated when the performance of the index < 3%. Subseqently are you excluding the next cash injection from figuring into the signal? If you did (counting 50% of the new money to calculate the "required balance") then surely this would overwhelm any performance from the index itself and you would just generate 3 consecutive buy signals.

    2. For the injection of the new money (not regular "contributions" but initial amounts) are we still buying 80% fund, 20% bond?

    3. Do I assume that your general statement that "No Cash" will ever be used to buy the stock (given its all invested in bond funds) only really applies to the retirement account scenario….OR outside of the account should i basically just plough everything into BND first (any particular time?) and then sell BND and buy IJR at the quarterly intervals – seems to make more sense to buy BND and IJR at the same time at the correct proportions.

    4. Again, for regular accounts and depending on answers above, i assume you make a distinction between "Initial cash injections" and regular smaller injections which can be sustained over a long time interval

    Thanks!
    Steve

    • Posted March 19, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Hi Steve,

      I’ll answer all four questions together, since they’re related.

      All cash goes into the bond fund, whether a transferred balance or regular contribution. Nothing starts in the stock fund. All stock fund buys or sells are via quarterly signals only. You do not divide contributions along the 80/20 allocation lines.

      It’s fine to begin the plan in one fell swoop, even with a large cash balance. In that case, you would move the entire account into the bond fund to await a quarterly buy signal. On the first buy signal, which would happen when the stock fund failed to grow at least 3% in a quarter, you would move 80% of the capital into the stock fund and then follow the plan as usual after that.

      If you feel nervous moving all at once, then moving in quarters is acceptable. In that case, you would move one quarter of the stock allocation in on each of the next four buy signals, which might not happen in a row. They could be interspersed with sell signals, which should be followed. During this phase, just monitor the price of the stock fund. If it fails to grow 3% in a quarter, that’s a buy signal and you should move a quarter of the stock fund allocation in on each one. After you’re fully in the stock fund, you would follow the plan’s normal procedure.

      I hope this helps. Transfer away!

      Jason

      • Steve P
        Posted March 19, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Jason – this does help.

        So essentially – do not include your “seed cash” in your required stock balance calculations (so that a buy decision becomes a straight 3% calculation). However, presumably once you have made your injections (all at once or over 4 buys), then any other “regular contributions” to the bond fund then count 50% towards the next qtrs required stock balance.

        • Posted March 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          That’s right. As long as you put all cash contributions into the bond fund, and add 50% of their value to the quarterly signal line, the plan will work like a charm. The quarterly formula drawing in half of the new-cash value is at the top of page 139.

  68. Phil Robins
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    (Jason, I moved this question here to the end so perhaps there is a better chance you will see it)

    Jason,

    I just finished your 3% book in two sittings and am starting on the “Neatest Little Guide.” I have been a Bill O’Neil disciple for about three years with my (and wife’s) ROTH IRAs and our joint brokerage account, and was Garrett for a year or two before that. I have been DCA’ing my 401(k) during the past 13 years. After reading your book I am going to switch everything over to the 3Sig system. (My wife and I are both 62.)

    1. Do I understand correctly that when starting from scratch within an account that you start with all funds in a bond fund, then move 80% of the bond fund into the small cap fund 25% at a time (at each quarter end) but only when the small cap fund ends the quarter less than 3% above the previous quarter’s closing price?

    2. Or should I go ahead and put 25% in the small cap fund at the next quarter’s end, (just to get started) then track the signal for buy, sell, and hold from there, adding adding the additional 25% amounts during buy signals each quarter until I am fully invested with 20% left in the bond fund?

    Phil

    • Posted March 19, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Phil,

      Smart move! This caught my attention, and it’s my pleasure to reply to a former Garrett. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without 3Sig once it’s operating in your account. To your questions:

      1. Correct. Store all capital in the bond fund, and get the stock fund up to its target 80% allocation over the next four buy signals. If you don’t need the peace of mind from such a gradual transition, feel free to just go all in at the 80/20 stock/bond target allocation in the next quarterly buy signal. Over most time frames, this works, but psychologically many people need the gradual transition. Nothing wrong with that.

      2. I would wait for the next buy signal, even for the first quarter of your stock capital allocation. If you’re dying to get in the stock fund, then diving in with just a quarter of your capital is a non-dangerous way to do so. The plan will get you ahead just fine no matter how you start it, so if it makes you feel better to get going then by all means make your first stock fund buy with that initial quarter of its allocation. The worst that could happen is a crash follows, at which point you would enjoy a much better buy price with your ample buying power on the next quarterly signal, which would be a buy.

      Go get ’em!

      Jason

  69. Tom Parks
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the book, and I am planning to convert my 401K to the 3-sig plan. However I do have 2 questions regarding implementation and spreadsheet use for you.

    1.) Conversion to the 3-sig plan over 4 buy signals – where do you recommend putting your assets while waiting for the buy signal? Bond Fund?

    2.) The excel spread sheet puts the small cap dividends into the bond fund, my plan re-invests dividends back into the small cap fund (not the bond fund). Do I change the spreadsheet formula and have the small-cap growth equal to 3% plus dividends?

    Thanks for your help,
    Tom

    • Posted March 19, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Hi Tom,

      1. Yes, keep the capital in the bond fund while you’re awaiting buy signals.

      2. You should be able to elect where to receive the dividends. If you can’t, then, yes, add the dividend distributions to the signal line so you don’t let them provide part of the 3% growth that should come from price appreciation only.

      Good luck with it! You’re going to love the plan.

      Jason

  70. Sam
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    I’ve read two of your other books including Stock Market Contest (very clever!) and just finished The 3% Signal. Genius of a book. Thank you for distilling mounds of investment research/wisdom/experience into a simple working plan that ordinary folk can implement. After finishing your book this week, I confessed to my wife, and now to you, that I was Garret. No need to explain, we know the Garrett character, and that was me.

    If you don’t mind, I have a question or two.

    1. My current 401(k) is 50% invested in the market. I would like to switch my approach to 3Sig. In your book you suggested moving 25% of a balance into the next buy signals. Since I’m already ‘invested’ more than that, do you think it is OK to start with the same 50% allocation and then introduce the rest in the next 2 buy signals?

    2. Next, my 401(k) doesn’t have an appropriate fund that can be tracked publicly, but I’ll give you the full name (I could only find a PDF on the funds when I did a Google search) WF/BLACK ROCK S&P MC INDEX CIT N. There is also of the same but the flavor is RU2000. The expense ratio on the mid cap is .074% and the small is .132%. I know you said go with the small cap, but also go with the cheaper one. Not sure if there is enough difference in those expense ratios to not take the small cap (the mid cap has outperformed it on all time frames).

    3. Other dilemma I have is the bond fund part, really no good options, but I think my correct choice should be TGLMX (TCW Total Return Bond .59% expense). Another option is OSIYX, 0.79% expense that suffered a 16% loss in 2008.

    Thanks for the tip about adding extra after-tax capital to a 401(k) from the bottom-buying account. I had no idea that was possible.

    Again, thanks for all the hard work and letting us know about 3Sig!

    • Posted March 19, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      You’re most welcome, Sam. We were all Garretts once upon a time. To your questions:

      1. Yes.

      2. Given that the mid-cap has outperformed in all time frames and is cheaper, go with that one.

      3. Go with TGLMX, and tell your employer to get on the stick and offer an ultracheap bond market index fund!

      Best wishes with 3Sig,
      Jason

  71. Byron Anderson
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    In Q209, I’m getting thrown off by the signal line + cash now showing 62,360. I’ll spend more time walking that 30% pullback response on the ‘ignore sell 4 times, but if you could walk me through establishing the signal line during that window from 72,907 to 101,377, that’d be wonderful.

    I’m moving assets already as it takes a bit with accounts in five or more brokerages. Thanks for the insights and plan.

    • Posted March 16, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      You bet, Byron.

      The reason the signal line slipped back to $62,360 that quarter is that Mark was unable to fully fund the buy signal in the previous quarter, so he could not catch the stock fund’s balance up to the previous signal line. The calculation for the signal remained constant throughout, but the input that is the previous quarter’s balance was smaller from Q109 because he bought only what he could afford with his bond-fund balance, rather than drawing on outside cash from his bottom-buying account, as he did in Q408.

      The key to understanding the lower signal line is the input from “IJR Balance After Action” column. In Q408 it was $69,993, on the signal line as intended thanks to Mark’s new cash from his bottom-buying account. In Q109 it was $59,753, not up to the signal line because he didn’t fully fund that quarter’s buy signal at the bottom of the bear market. Thereafter, he ignored the next four sell signals per the 30-down rule and then resumed the plan.

      Good luck with the transfer and getting started!

  72. Chris
    Posted March 13, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Hello,

    I have been a regular reader of Jason’s books and newsletters for almost a decade. Jason is the most underrated financial author around. I’m definitely a follower for life.

    I wonder if I am misunderstanding something in “The 3% Signal” and would much appreciate if someone could help clarify. The back testing I call into question is the $85,721 for plan #2 on page 89 of the book. My understanding is the $85,721 is simply “The 3% Signal Plan” run from Q1-2001 until Q3-2013, without any adjustments except to add new cash when the VFIIX balance is depleted. In other words, it should be Mark’s plan found in Appendix 1 without any sell signals ignored, no regular quarterly cash contributions, and no rebalancing of the VFIIX balance at 30%. When I run Mark’s plan without the adjustments, I arrive at $50,296 not $85,721.

    I have made my spreadsheet available for download here:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9cOiE-zWqBkMnc4UW5XVS1OYWs/view?usp=sharing

    On the “MarksPlan” tab you can see that I have duplicated the spreadsheet from the book and arrived within $2 of the final balance of $200,033 from Appendix 1. On the “Page89” tab I have simply duplicated “MarksPlan” but removed the adjustments to run a pure basic 3% signal, which I believe is what Jason is running to get to $85,721. I arrive at $50,296 ($35,425 less).

    I think the book is great – it has me convinced this is the way to invest for the long haul. I am ready to commit to “The 3% Signal” for multiple personal accounts and worry about fishing instead of the stock market – I just wish I fully understood the back testing calculation first.

    Again, any help would be appreciated. All the best.

    -Chris

    • Posted March 13, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Hi Chris,

      Problems with your sheet include:

      <> The sell signals ignored early were Q402 then Q2-403, not Q203-Q104.

      <> You’re not ignoring sell signals per the plan, you’re ignoring calls to ignore the sell signal per the 30-down rule. Ignoring the next four sell signals after the 30-down rule is triggered is critical, because it boosts performance in a recovery after a big drop. Thus, the “IJR Shares After Action” in your Column W should not be declining in the quarters where sell signals were to be ignored.

      <> This problem is further reflected in your Column S “New Cash Needed” sum of $11,299. Notice in Table 15 on p. 89 that Plan 2 required new cash of $27,249. All such new cash is drawn in at prime buying points and grows significantly in recoveries to follow. Your sheet, by missing this new cash and failing to hold through powerful recoveries, is producing the end balance discrepancy you’re seeing.

      I admire your effort to backtest the backtesting! Your duplication of Mark’s plan looks good. The reason for the slightly different quarterly 30-down schedule for Mark and the plain version of the plan back in 2002-2004 is that his quarterly contributions pushed the signal line higher than a plan that has no contributions. Elsewhere, notice that your version of Mark’s sheet shows the 30-down rule working correctly in the ignored sell signal quarters as the “IJR Shares After Action” balance froze in place during the phases, as it’s supposed to do.

      Jason

      • Chris
        Posted March 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Jason,

        Thanks a lot! Now my spreadsheet ties perfectly to the $85,721 number seen on page 89. I can now go forward with even more confidence in “The 3% Signal” as I understand it that much more.

        It is interesting to note how Mark’s plan has a slightly different 30-down schedule based on his contributions, but the math makes perfect sense.

        Your response is much appreciated.

        If anyone is interested – the corrected spreadsheet is available for download by clicking here.

        -Chris

        • Posted March 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          You’re welcome, Chris! J.

        • Helen
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          Thanks for the spreadsheet Chris!
          I put this as a jumbled comment later on (page 5 of these comments), but thought I’d put it here too a little more cleaned up:

          Columns Q and W can be done automatically.
          If column N is blank use column M, if N has something in it use it. Then you don’t have to manually change the equations. It makes it easier to test leaving N blank or populating it too.

          Row 3 as example:
          FOR COLUMN Q:
          =O3-(( IF(ISBLANK(N3),M3,N3) *C3)/E3)

          FOR COLUMN W:
          =G3+( IF(ISBLANK(N3),M3,N3) )

          • Posted May 20, 2015 at 3:09 am | Permalink

            Correct. This suggestion to automate the sheet’s reaction if N is blank is a good one, and has been suggested by other readers as well. I’ll implement it soon!

  73. Jack Chism
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to picture this: Suppose, within a deferred variable annuity (qualified), that I balance it at 80/20 in S&P600 and a bond fund. The annuity company is willing to rebalance it quarterly, back to 80/20 from whatever it is at that point. Would that be competitive with manually rebalancing in response to the 3% signal? Thanks.

    • Posted March 13, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      It wouldn’t be competitive, but it would be pretty good. The 3% signal puts a higher demand on the stock side than does the target allocation alone, so the buys are of a bigger discount and the sells happen less frequently due to the allowance for the fund to grow 3% per quarter. This upward tug on the stock balance over time trumps targe allocation rebalancing alone.

      Still, you’ll do pretty well with just the rebalance and if it’s easier for you due to the arrangement with the annuity company, then maybe that’s the overall better way for you to go. You’ll beat most z-vals while avoiding their high fees and distracting advice, but, just to be clear, you won’t quite keep pace with 3Sig.

  74. Glenn
    Posted March 10, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Jason, if I am understanding the My 3% Signal Plan spreadsheet correctly, ‘New Cash Needed’ in Column S is triggered when the bond fund goes to $0. I assume, as discussed in subsequent Kelly Letter analysis, the trigger for additional cash should be 10% of overall plan balance. Excess bond fund balance trigger would occur at 30%. Both of these modifications would be noted in Columns L and N. Is this correct?

    • Posted March 11, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Mostly correct, Glenn. Moving in excess bond balance when it exceeds 30% of the plan is noted in Columns L and N. Adding fresh capital to the bond fund does not need to be noted anywhere because 50% of all quarterly cash contributed (Column H) is factored into the signal line in Column J.

  75. Mr. D.
    Posted March 10, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the quick and comprehensive answer.

  76. Mr. D.
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    On pages 293-294 of The 3% Signal all the statistics include monthly contributions and in some plans the new cash needed.

    I wish I could see the result of $10,000 initial, using the two funds, NO further contributions, NO new cash added.

    I am not convinced the effort and risk-adjusted return of 3Sig makes it significantly better than buy-and-holding a very low cost balanced fund over this time period.

    • Posted March 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Table 70 on pp. 293-294 is focused on results of the various plans in the chapter, which shows how three different investing approaches navigated the real-life headlines of the 2000-2013 time period.

      The comparisons you want to see can be found in Table 15 on p. 89. Its Plan 4 shows using $10,000 to buy and hold an 80/20 mix of the two funds with no new cash provided, and Plan 5 shows just buying and holding the stock fund.

      Buying and holding a balanced fund would underperform any of the above permutations because it would allocate too much of its capital to asset classes that trail small-cap stocks over the long term. Remember from the discussion on p. 93 that one reason 3Sig outperforms is that its signal plan with just the two funds instills confidence to focus the majority of assets on the high-performing small-cap stock category, something that no balanced fund nor traditionally diversified portfolio ever does.

      To see the difference this makes, look at this chart comparing the long-term path of IJR against Vanguard Balanced Index Adm (VBIAX), a very low-cost Morningstar gold medalist in the domestic allocation category. In the past five years, IJR returned 93% compared with just 50% in VBIAX. 3Sig’s focus on the historically top-performing small-cap category boosts its performance, and its signal system provides the investor with the confidence to ride out the volatility of the category.

  77. Jen
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Thank you for sharing such a great plan! I first came across 3Sig in your most recent version of The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing, which I loved! So, I couldn’t wait to read The 3% Signal. I enjoyed reading about more specifics of the 3Sig plan!

    After reading the first book, I started the 3Sig in my IRA, which is going well. However, in The Neatest Little Guide, you also mention the benefit of leveraged accounts. So, we are running a 2x leverage index for my husband’s IRA, which really amounts to a 6% signal, since we are still quite young and can handle the higher ups and downs. My question to you is do recommend going as aggressive as a 3x leveraged index? If so, do you then make it a 9% signal? And what would your Fund/Bond ratio be? I know with 3% signal, you do 80/20. In our 2x leveraged account we do 50/50 to account for lower lows.

    Thanks so much! I can’t wait to give copies of your books out as gifts because what lifetime gifts they will be!

    Jen

    • Posted March 9, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Jen!

      Yes, the parameters you specified for running 2x leverage with the plan are consistent with the way I do it in Tier 2 of the portfolio in The Kelly Letter: the quarterly signal rises to 6% and the target allocation changes to 50/50. Even though this has performed well, I’m not confident that it will beat 3Sig over the long term. One of the main drawbacks is that investors have a very hard time watching a 2x leveraged fund fall in a crash, and can derail the whole plan in such a moment. Even the higher bond allocation can’t guarantee getting around this. So, I do still recommend 3Sig.

      Similarly, the risks go through the roof when you get up to 3x leverage, and I don’t feel comfortable endorsing it. I am experimenting with it in the letter, but the experiments are around how to contain the risk to prevent the fund from chewing through all the buying capital in the bond fund. Other controls are needed: limited position size, limited amount of the bond fund that can be used on a single buy signal. These contort the intention of 3Sig so much that they create a whole new plan, not just a modification.

      One method I’m testing that shows promise is layered leveraged, in which a high-risk signal system would layer on leverage as the market sinks. For example, a 1x stock fund would be held and bought down to the -10% level, then a 2x fund down to the -20% level, and finally a 3x into market drops beyond -20%. It’s not yet clear to me whether this works or not. Still testing.

      To be clear: 3Sig is the highest-confidence way to go. There’s a reason I devoted a whole book to it. The permutations are experimental.

      Best wishes,
      Jason

  78. kris
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Just finished your book and would like to start your 3Sig system. Let me know when the calculator sheet is ready.

    Thanks

    Kris

    • Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Will do, Kris. As long as you’re on the free list (join at the top or bottom of this and every page on the site), you’ll receive notification when it’s available. Meantime, have a look at the spreadsheet.

  79. Toni Borrett
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason, Love the book! Hoping to get the ‘kids’ into it; they’re adults! I’m going to start one for the grandkids! Would also love to hear when/if you investigate what funds are suitable in Australia. I have an idea (we have a much smaller market) but your recommendations would be good. Cheers, Toni

    • Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Toni! Good idea for the grandkids. Yes, Australia is on the list of countries needing a foreign equivalent tipsheet. The top requests so far, in order from most to least, are: Canada, UK, Australia, and general Europe. Lots of research to do. I’ll email the free list when the tipsheet is ready.

      • Maureen Clark
        Posted January 5, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        Hello Jason

        I would like to add to the Austraila tip sheet request too! I recently posed in the Forums a question on this issue.

        • Posted January 6, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, Maureen. I hope to have one ready for Australia one of these days.

  80. mark
    Posted March 3, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason. Thank you for the great book! I have really enjoyed it. I was wondering what to do if the signal gives sell signals for several quarters when you have a large cash balance to start with. Do you keep the whole balance in cash until a buy?

    Thanks
    Mark

    • Posted March 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      You’re most welcome, Mark!

      You would keep the balance in the bond fund, and trickle it into the stock fund over the next four quarterly buy signals, no matter how small they are. For example, you might get a schedule like this:

      Q2 Small Buy (move in 1/4 of the capital)
      Q3 Big Buy (move in 1/4 of the capital)
      Q4 Small Sell (hold)
      Q1 Big Sell (hold)

      Q2 Small Buy (move in 1/4 of the capital)
      Q3 Small Sell (hold)
      Q4 Small Sell (hold)
      Q1 Big Buy (move in final 1/4 of the capital)

      At the end of this two-year period, you would have invested the large cash balance gradually at opportune times in the market. Mathematically, this is not always the best approach, but it gets around the very common problem of leaving cash to languish on the sidelines forever for fear of moving it in at the wrong time. The four moves in spread the balance over a larger period, always move in after a quarter of weak growth or a loss, and this assuages your mind that you’re not being careless with the large cash balance.

      Jason

      • Mark Cross
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        So if you had $100,000 to invest and you were starting from scratch now, would you put $25,000 in the equity fund at the end of March and then $25,000 more in each of the next 3 buy signals?

        • Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Not necessarily at the end of March. The end of this quarter is currently on track for a sell signal, not a buy. You would put $25K in at each of the next four buy signals, whenever they happen and possibly with sell signals in between. By the way, if your total capital was $100K, you’d allocate just $80K of it to the equity fund and put $20K in at each of the next four buy signals, just to be clear.

          • Mark Cross
            Posted March 8, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

            Help me understand why it would be on track for a sell signal. IJR is virtually the same as it was at the end of December. Would it not have to be over 3% above this point to be considered a sell signal?

            • Posted March 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

              Ah, I see. Until last Friday, 3Sig in The Kelly Letter was on a sell signal for the quarter because I last ran the signal on Jan 13, not immediately at the end of Q4. The letter’s last action price on IJR was $112.11, so the IJR price target for 3% growth for it this quarter is $115.47. It traded above that from Feb 13 until last Friday. Currently, it’s $114.60.

          • Phil Robins
            Posted March 16, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

            Jason,

            I just finished your 3% book in two sittings and am starting on the “Neatest Little Guide.” I have been a Bill O’Neil disciple for about three years with my (and wife’s) ROTH IRAs and our joint brokerage account, and was Garrett for a year or two before that. I have been DCA’ing my 401(k) during the past 13 years. After reading your book I am going to switch everything over to the 3Sig system. (My wife and I are both 62.)

            1. Do I understand correctly that when starting from scratch within an account that you start with all funds in a bond fund, then move 80% of the bond fund into the small cap fund 25% at a time (at each quarter end) but only when the small cap fund ends the quarter less than 3% above the previous quarter’s closing price?

            2. Or should I go ahead and put 25% in the small cap fund at the next quarter’s end, (just to get started) then track the signal for buy, sell, and hold from there, adding adding the additional 25% amounts during buy signals each quarter until I am fully invested with 20% left in the bond fund?

            Phil

  81. Joe Screpetis
    Posted March 2, 2015 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed your latest tome! Bought five copies to give as gifts to friends and family I’m so impressed with it.
    I would like to be informed when the quarterly calculator is ready to be rolled out. Cordially, Dr. Joe

    • Posted March 3, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Dr. Joe! Your friends will thank you, too.

      The calculator should be done sometime this month. The developer, a math whiz, and I are double-checking the code, logic, formulas and so on and I’ll be installing it on this page shortly after we’re finished. I’ll send an announcement to the free email list (top and bottom of this and every page on the site), so as long as you’re on the list, you’ll know when it’s available. You’re going to love it.

      Jason

  82. Haim Ginzburg
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason
    Great book! A must read for every investor.
    I wish I could go back in time (20 years)…
    I would love to have a quarterly calculator.
    Thanks so much !
    Haim Ginzburg

    • Posted February 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      You’re most welcome, Haim!

      Thank you for subscribing to The Kelly Letter. You should have your welcome note by now. See you with a new note on Sunday!

      Until then,
      Jason

  83. Larry Rogers
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I’m considering options trading. Would you mind recommending a couple of instructional books? Do you have one?

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