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JL Collins: “The Simple Path to Wealth” | Talks at Google

Author and financial blogger JL Collins brings his refreshingly unique and approachable take on investing to Google.

The author of “The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life”, JL offers easy-to-understand, effective tips and resources to understand investing with confidence.

In this interview with Googler Rachel Smith, JL Collins discusses money and investing, including: how to think about money and investing to build wealth, how to avoid debt, how to simplify the world of 401(k), 403(b), TSP, IRA and Roth accounts, TRFs (Target Retirement Funds), HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) and RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions).

He also talks about what the stock market really is and how it really works, How to invest in a raging bull, or bear, market, and specific investments to implement financial strategies.

Learn more at or get the book here:

Moderated by Rachel Smith.


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  1. So if he "wasted a couple of decades" trying to figure out to make more, and was unsuccessful, we all should believe that it is impossible? There are lots of data out there and several strategies are earning 18% per year (the past 10 years) while SP500 is averaging 7%. This advice is useless and suited the best for people who are incapable to efffectively manage their portfolio.

  2. To combine “Security” and “Freedom” is increasingly at odds… our tech-cultures[s] are investing power into so-called “Security” at the expense … of “Freedom”…

  3. I agree 100% with your view on home ownership.  I actually have a theory that GOV and industry colluded on the invention of the 30-year mortgage.  After all, when your home is on the line….you will show up to work, earn an income and pay taxes for the next 30-years.

  4. 90% of his advice is excellent, but just cant get his logic in the rent vs buy.. long term as long as you buy sensibly and not buy something you cant afford… buying is always the best idea and im not from the US.. imagine having to pay rent in your old age and being kicked out because the landlord wants his family member in there instead? just dont get it – you also have an asset at the end of it all to pass on to your family or you can sell it and downsize if you wish… renting is expensive most the time and you get less house for your money… sorry just dont get that part

  5. One of the most intelligent people who doesn't have an agenda. This is the advice he wanted to give his own daughter (whom he wants nothing but the best for in life), and the message simply spread. The reason his message exploded into a world-wide audience is because it is true. He wasn't looking to gain anything out of it for himself, but such things turn out this way.

  6. Just want to give some feedback to the interviewer here. Hopefully she reads this or someone passes it on. No fingers pointed as its such a hard job with such an eloquent mind/communicator here. He was literally leaving her with hooks and openings at the end of each topic he discussed, almost begging her to follow up and to probe further. Yet she just stuck to that piece of paper and at a few different points during the conversation wasn't even listening to what he was REALLY trying to say…. Guys like this are gold mines of information and sometimes too smart to even realize how well they communicate.

  7. Never ever go with one persons perspective on anything, 'read my blog', 'read my book', 'so simple'. Read many different opinions and then form your own based on what makes sense to you. Many of us watching this will live to be 100+ years old thanks to modern medicine and healthy lifestyles so we all have to have a long term view about money (which is different from fiat currency, if you don't know the difference you have much to learn). Normalcy bias (the stock market will continue to rise forever, faith in the U.S. dollar will continue on forever, this crypto stuff seems exciting) is very dangerous. Like Collins said the people in the audience and watching this have an above average intellect. Perhaps one reason one of us might want to pick their stocks is because they have a conscious about not financially supporting certain companies or countries for moral or ethical reasons — for example I will never allow my money to invest in companies affiliated with apartheid israel as part of a boycott, divest, sanction campaign. For others they will want to make sure their money doesn't fund the gun industry, oil industry, fast food, companies with poor animal rights records, etc. And when JL heard the comment about people leaving large sums of money in checking and savings accounts that should have been a huge opportunity for him to discuss the harm caused by inflation and near zero interest rates for 7+ years (put that money to work or lock its value in real assets like physical precious metals for example).

  8. Jim is the real deal!  I wholeheartedly agree with everything Jim said except the part about Homeownership.  If you can get a house below your means and stay there forever, you will make out at the end.  The goal should be to pay off the mortgage by the time you retire.  You can move and cash out at that point or stay in a paid for home.  My net worth would be $500K less if I continued to rent.

  9. A house isn't a terrible investment if you can get it heavily discounted. Buy a Tax Deed house from someone whose about to lose their home from a Tax Deed or Property Tax that they can't pay. You could get a house for $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 Dollars. Pay that plus the back taxes after you've done a Title Search for no more encumbrances on the house. And you're scott free with potentially with a ton of Equity.

  10. Warren Buffett said, "You don't have to be very smart to pick extraordinarily Great Stocks. Just buy stocks within a very narrow frame of focus; and stick to that." 20 Well picked stocks is enough to change your life to the financial good.

  11. On indexing, I interpret the strategy that one should own broad index funds, and NOT targeted indexes (such as sectors, factors, low vol, equal-weight, etc).

    I don't know a single person besides myself, who is in my network/friends/family, who takes hours out of each day to do research on businesses and invest on their own. I don't expect them to. I invest on my own, and have never lost money over time, because I don't "pick stocks," as they say. What I mean by that is that I don't buy flavor of the week businesses, take big risks, or trade in and out. I can count on one hand the amount of companies that I have ever sold my shares of. I have a some positions in the red on paper, but they are paying me dividends and the companies are doing very well. The rest have more than made up for it. The thing about benchmarking to the index fund is that you need to do an immense amount of work in order to figure how you compare. You need to create a mock-purchase of VOO (or spy or vti) for every single transaction you made in your own account, along with dividends reinvested, and compare those internal rates of return. Just because the 500 index returned 20% in 2017, doesn't mean your fund returned 20%, because you likely added to that account throughout the year, buying at higher and higher prices. Your return will be much lower.

    The only thing that really matters to me at the moment is that my portfolio produces $1,500 or so in dividends annually at today's dividend rates. I buy every month, so this figure will rise substantially. It's all that matters.

  12. I liked the interview – great questions, great answers, sound advice. On one thing I beg to differ: The index funds mentioned are not suited for an early retirement because they don't pay a dividend. No dividends mean no compounding, lots of time wasted during market downturns and that you have to touch your prinicipal when you want to withdraw your 4%. I also started to write a blog on this subject, which you can find here: Thank you for the interfview!

  13. With respect to owning a home or condo he is speaking from a non-cyclical market point of view. For people in Coastal California markets, infill Texas locations over this last cycle, Denver, Portland, and other growing tech economies, Florida and the Southeast today; the wealth created with average leverage has been and can be huge.

  14. I think that the secret to Warren Buffett is that he got in early and is very talented at predicting future trends .. even with that it took 30 years to build that portfolio . People starting out late in the game may have to do some speculating and know that 95% of the OTCs are going to fail . he just happened to pick a few that succeeded ..that took a lot of insite . and talent . just how it is .. the average person might be able to generate a modest retirement income through this method ..
    It is one pathway for sure ..

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