I just used your fund guide and newsletter to put together a portfolio for retirement. They were a tremendous help, especially the distributed yield info. Thanks for a great product!
— Lee Vaughan, The Woodlands, TX
Please extend my most heartfelt compliments to Dan and the staff of the Independent Adviser for your excellent and timely coverage of the … issue that I recently had with Vanguard. … I am very skeptical that this issue would have ever been resolved without Dan's intervention. Good work!
Initially I thought you were like a number of newsletters, but I found after a while you really get into what is going on with Vanguard.
— C. Huth
Dan, I wish I met you in 1991. Now, approaching 80, I read advice on retirement portfolios and know how off the mark I am. … Anyway, thanks for being there. Your advice and insights are worth more than anything I've ever received elsewhere.
— C. Gaines, Oro Valley, AZ
Over the many decades I've had ample opportunity to evaluate many MANY dozens of investment letters, and I'm pleased to say I've seen not even one that can come close to yours as to careful and helpful guidance AND as to focusing on the issues and questions OF THE MOMENT—i.e., what guidance we need NOW instead of what we may have needed a year ago. If I stay with just one, you can bet—you can lay odds—it will be The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors.
— M.H., Los Angeles, CA
My IRA is invested solely in Vanguard mutual funds. I am usually in six or seven funds. Rarely have I invested in a fund that Dan has not rated as a buy. In the 15 years that I have been required to take a minimum yearly distribution, I have bettered the Vanguard 500 Index Fund in nine of those years, and tied in three. At the end of 2013, my IRA was worth 29% more than it was in 1998, when I turned 70. My best investment over many years has been…spending it!
— Harvey R. Tuck, Dayton, Ohio
Our joint accounts, Roth and IRA's are invested in seven Vanguard funds selected from your Model Portfolios. Seven additional Vanguard Funds were selected through the years by utilizing your monthly Independent Adviser guidance. These mutual fund investments enable us to feel comfortable and rather secure in our retirement years. Our Social Security and my pension cover our yearly expenses.
— SWO, Cheltenham, PA
I've implemented Dan's numerous recommendations and all have been doing well. I am especially pleased with Selected Value, Odyssey Aggressive Growth, Icon Health Care, and others. At least, with Dan's analysis and recommendations, I'm getting ahead. I'm fortunate to not need the money now. As a result, I'm just letting my holdings compound and appreciate.
— Mark W., NY
[My biggest successes with the Independent Adviser:] Investing in Select Value and Dividend Growth. I already had money in my favorite Vanguard fund — Health Care — and was looking for complementary funds to invest in. Very happy with your recommendations. Also, appreciated your tip to put short-term cash into a short-term bond fund vs. a money market. In [calendar year 2012] made 3%-4% interest vs. 0%, so that tip alone paid for my subscription to your newsletter. Appreciate your help!! I have college for one son now, and my second will be in college next year. So big bills there. Overall I want to retire at 59½, which is 2 years away, and then just cruise around the world whenever I feel like. Thanks for all your wise advice.
— Tom N., Dublin, CA
Keep up the good work. I have been retired since 1989, and have kept my IRA in your Conservative Growth portfolio, and doing real well thanks to you. [I'm using the money] for our living expenses, as I am drawing my [required minimum distribution] every year.
— R.P.L., Danville, CA
I have been a member for years—12 years or more? I have no aptitude for investing on my own, so I have generally followed the newsletter advice. Best fund: PRIMECAP Odyssey Aggressive Growth in recent years. Best advice: Stay the course and how dividends add up over time. I feel more comfortable donating to charities, especially conservation concerns. I have traveled extensively. I am 72 and don't have to worry about my future.
— PHL, Clarkesville, Georgia
Currently 98% invested with Vanguard. I have every year-end issue of The [Independent] Adviser dating back to 1993. My file of Independent Guides dates back to 1995. I have been following Dan's advice for 20 years of the stock market ups and downs. My investments are heavily based on his review and history on each fund. I have two portfolios: My IRA/SEP and my investment account. My retirement entertainment and financial support is managing these investments. Happy to say this year we are up 19%.
— J.P., Savannah, GA
I have been helped by you for over a dozen years, been retired 19 years and have more money now than when I retired. And yet have done everything I wanted to do. Travelled all over the world, took the whole family, children and grandchildren on a cruise, bought two new cars, remodeled the house, helped the grandkids with help to go to college and am living the good life.
— R.B Wright, Corvallis, Oregon
My Vanguard holdings have increased nicely, and so we are very comfortable in our retirement. We don't worry about the ups and downs in the market because we know Dan is watching out for us. After putting three children through college, we added to my grandchildren's education funds. We are able to help our children financially, paying down their mortgages. That makes us happy.
— DMcK, Souderton, PA
Since I began investing in 2003, I have done better following The Independent Adviser's model for growth than my financial adviser has done investing in my 401(k). I am now in the process of rolling over into an IRA and moving the money into my Vanguard IRA. I am using the money I've made to fund my living expenses for the next two years while I pursue post-doctoral education. I will continue to remain invested in funds following your advice.
— Kevin, Los Angeles, CA
In 1998 I transferred from the American Dental Association program to Vanguard and have used The Independent Adviser since. Using a combination of the Conservative Growth and Income Models, my totals are essentially the same after all the withdrawals. I retired in 2007 at age 78 and now live comfortably in Florida. Thank you for your investing advice and your counsel in less favorable times.
— W.E.P., Bonita Springs, FL
[My biggest successes with The Independent Adviser have been] following the investment recommendations in the Model Portfolios and the yearly Hot Hands picks. I'm not a big fan of index funds/ETFs, which basically relegate you to an average return, so I primarily follow the actively managed fund recommendations. … One of the most important things to consider when selecting a fund is cost; hence my many years with Vanguard. It's the one parameter that you have complete control over as an investor. I'm enjoying a very comfortable retirement in as high if not higher tax bracket than in my working years. [Required minimum distributions] are a fact of life after 40 years of successful 401(k) and IRA investing. Remember, it's always better to have to pay taxes than to go hungry.
— Lee Hennis, Hermosa Beach, CA
[My greatest successes with the Independent Adviser:]
- VHCAX…and now POAGX
- VGHAX has always been a large core holding
- VASVX has been a great stabilizer
- Smaller investments in VWO and VINEX have also done well for me
I have stayed fully invested for the last 14 years, since I retired, and have been living off of my IRA. At this point, I still have essentially what I started with…even after having to give my ex-wife half of it some years back! My new wife and my daughter have also done well with VHT and POAGX! Thank you for your advice!
— C.J.I., Lake Arrowhead, California
After a dismal experience with a Cowboy ex-USMC jet pilot and local RIA adviser in New Bern, NC, I transferred about $100k that was in my IRA with his stock picks, individual bonds, and a few risky alternates or baskets…plus his self-startup mutual fund aimed at Russell 2000 stocks. In April and May of 2012, this account was invested in Vanguard funds, guided by Dan's Conservative Growth Model. Through the second quarter of 2013, my IRA was up about $20K, after $12k of withdrawals (required minimum distributions and voluntary amounts for retirement expenses).
— Robert Shuck, New Bern, North Carolina
I find Dan's advice invaluable, as I invest in accounts for my three children and a grandson. I subscribe to another newsletter and like to cross-reference, but I like Dan's commonsense approach and personable style of writing. I'd be lost without The Independent Adviser! I'm hoping my children will be pleasantly surprised when I finally turn their portfolios over to them. So let's keep them growing!!!
— E.C.O., Walnut Creek, CA
[My biggest success with The Independent Adviser:] Moving all my money from cash and Merrill Lynch into your model portfolio as a start to control my own investments. Wishing I had done it earlier, but I travel with my job and did not get the time so I wrongly trusted someone that was only out for their profit. I am 62 this year and have been taking your advice for about two years. I have gained between 15% and 20% the whole time and now am looking forward to retiring in 5 more years. Thanks for the guidance to take control of my own destiny.
— All the Best, E.J.C., New Orleans, Louisiana
I appreciate especially the level-headedness. [Dan] has a great sense about where the market is going, and I have never lost by following his particular fund recommendations.
— BEM, Bloomington, IN
[Dan's] advice enabled me to overcome my reluctance to own equities and to build a more balanced portfolio using the funds he recommended.
— DJ, Davis, CA
Hi Dan. What you really helped me with my investing was your help with bond selection and sectors. I didn't have a clue how to research those fields. Also, you give me peace of mind…sort of like meditation! [With the money we've made,] my husband and I have purchased a villa in Sarasota, FL.
— A.V., Bryan OH
I followed (loosely) both the Conservative Growth and Income Model Portfolios for about 10 years after early retirement in 1997. I continued working and started withdrawing funds from (mostly) the bond funds, about 3% per year. Then I took more $$ after full retirement. I gradually shifted to all Income Portfolio. I have now much more (about 150%) in my investments than I did at retirement. Whoopee!! I'm 77 and have been fully retired for 6 years.
I have taken distributions of $20k to $30k per year for a long time now—maybe 6%-7%. This augments Social Security income to maintain my income at near-preretirement income level. I'm happy to keep the principal in my accounts at about the same level, so I take distributions to maintain that amount. I have traveled, improved my home, helped relatives go to college, etc. I have enough money that should last as long as I do, as long as we don't have a complete melt-down in the financial markets. I survived 9/11, so it looks good for the future.
— SW, Calistoga, CA
I grew up poor, and entered the Navy at age 18 with $1.68 in my pocket; made the Navy a career, and struggled to make ends meet with the meager enlisted pay. I learned the value of saving and investing, but really did not know much about investing until I was in my 30s. After making some mistakes, I honed in on mutual funds as investment vehicles that I could understand. It was not until the 1990s that I found Dan Wiener's investment newsletter which then provided the foundation for my life's investing strategy.
My wife and I saved and then invested in all the funds in Dan recommended Growth Portfolio. We have always been extremely pleased with the results. Clearly the most valuable parts of The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors are Dan's fund recommendations and the "how to" parts which are clarified in plain language. And a big plus is the added wisdom that is easy to understand and then used for decision making. Dan's Independent Adviser is clearly a plan with a way to put the plan into effect. Another valuable part of Dan's investment advice that is hard to find elsewhere is the clear explanations of the economic and other factors which affect investments. That research and reasoning behind owning the recommended funds substantiates where I put my money. I also value the interviews with the fund managers which give me a firsthand understanding of the people I trust with my money.
I use Dan's investment letter to recommend Vanguard funds and specify portfolios for eight of my family members, who now include my two grandchildren. As a result we have been able to travel often, pay for our children's college expenses, now saving for our grandchildren's college, and have a decent lifestyle in retirement.
Finally, my two most important informational investment sources are every Thursday when the Hotline is out, and every first of the month when the new Independent Adviser is published. Moreover, I read, reread, and often refer to the annual Independent Guide to the Vanguard Funds. All three are is better than Morningstar in that Dan is directing, "talking" to me about the funds, and it is not a "sterile report."
— Al, Burke, VA
My biggest success is following the recommendations for (no) changes to the model portfolios. I do not have exactly the same funds in my nest-egg, but tend to invest in that direction when I make changes. I have opened a brokerage account, and invested in the POAGX fund, solely on the basis of the recommendation by Dan. My exposure to bond funds is minuscule.
— HGG, West Monroe, LA
Health Care, Wellington and Selected Value have been my long-term holdings and I am very pleased with their historical returns.
— SDB, Carlsbad, CA
On 1/5/98 we put $5k in each of Health Care, PRIMECAP, and U.S. Growth, reinvesting the dividends. On 8/20/02 we sold U.S. Growth at a loss, but it had paid about $90 in dividends. Today, the $10k remaining after I sold U.S. Growth is now worth $50,295 and still going.
— CVS, Durham, NC
We have been able to not decrease total assets, grow some, and live comfortable into our mid-80's. If we can stay on this track, our children can enjoy their trust funds. The thing we like best is we feel Dan is really interested in helping his subscribers and that we can trust his advice which makes life less stressful. Thanks.
— GT, Vero Beach, FL
My biggest successes were choosing funds like Selected Value and Vanguard Health Care Admiral funds that Dan recommends. I figure with his help the money I invested from the sale of my home has earned 20%+ so far this year. My dad has earned a paltry 5% with his paid and managed advisory account. I'm using some to live on, but am hopefully saving the bulk of it to help me purchase another home. As a single mother, I really need to do well. I'm very pleased with Dan and his advisory service!
— Jill M., Austin, TX
I started investing with a financial planner. Then, as I became better educated and confident, I began updating (solo) my plan. I found [The Independent Adviser] and used it as a cross check with my own plan. I adopted changes from IA because they made sense and supported my plan. … I have a very workable retirement plan (in retirement) thanks to IA's coaching.
— MF, Middlebury, VT
My goal more than 20 years ago was to accumulate $600K, but I was hopeful in reaching $800K with sound recommendations from Dan and average market growth. I am pleased to say that my portfolio is just under $1.2 million upon retirement.
— DF, Orchard Park, NY
I chose Vanguard for my IRA mutual funds back in 1994 because I trusted Mr. Bogle's advice that expenses were a vital element to watch if investing long-term. Later I subscribed to your [Independent] Adviser and followed your recommendations of which funds to own in my IRA accounts: buying, exchanging and selling per your newsletters. Your advice that a good manager is MOST important led me to Warren Buffett and BRK back then to buy a share (a holding still). John Templeton also impressed me so I got into Mr. Mobius's TDF, another winner for me. Enjoy retirement living in an old Victorian at the Jersey Shore which the family visits and vacations at regularly. My 26-year-old Chicago grandson was here when only 6 MONTHS old and has never missed a summer visit yet. Enough said?
— Ken, Ocean Grove, NJ
My biggest success was to have a well-diversified portfolio of good- to great-performing Vanguard funds. I have used other investment advisers, but Dan Wiener and the folks at the Independent Adviser provide the most concise and useful information. I am retired, so this money will keep me living comfortably during my retirement, and I must say I am happy with the returns and feel confident that with Dan's advice my investments will be well-protected.
— Fred O., Los Gatos, CA
I had previously invested in several Vanguard funds. However, reading Dan's advice certainly helped me fine tune what and where I invested. Very pleased. Keep it coming.
— Steve Angers, Lafayette, LA
I estimate we have conserved $80,000 in broker fees since becoming an Adviser member. Since 90% of the $80,000 was invested in your portfolio recommendations, you can compute the average return of your four Models, check how long I have been a member, and do the math. Add that to the increase in returns on my original portfolio since becoming a member, and Adviser looks good.
Year after year, I have followed the Conservative Growth Model Portfolio. My late wife and I easily could afford several trips every year, and still had money left over. As with the above trips, helped my daughter and my grandson buy new cars, among other things. I bought new cars, as well. I am so lucky to have the help and advice Dan is giving me weekly, monthly, yearly. Thank you so very much, Dan!
— Frank P. Albrecht, Plantation, FL
I'm 74 years old, so I still want to make money without too much risk. I have half my money in bonds funds. I put the other half in the Conservative Growth Model. I'm happy to say I've done quite well. … I'm taking my sister on a Caribbean Cruise to Roatan.
— Shirlee Meyers, Lincoln City, Oregon
Biggest success was using the Growth Index Portfolio as the model for my investment. Sad to say, I liquidated it last fall, anticipating the reboot, etc. I am now back in it. Being retired, I am preserving capital and making a few bucks for autos and leisure.
— CJM, Marshfield, WI
After getting shafted by two Financial Planners, I started following your newsletter. Best financial move I ever made. We use it for our company Simple IRA. Moving to [PRIMECAP] Odyssey Aggressive Growth has been great for us. It also has been great for the Roth IRAs that we started for our two kids. Your advice has helped financially with putting two kids through private high school, college, and paying for one wedding. Only one wedding to go.
At age 56, I am almost ready to retire (or substantially reduce my working hours). I hope to try and enjoy more free time before the body limits what can be done for enjoyment. Still enjoy golf and tennis. Hope to start knocking off items on my bucket list. Many thanks for your advice over more than 15 years.
— JFB, Lafayette, Louisiana
I am retired, so my biggest success has been maintaining my principal, as well as my standard of living. With an allocation of 75% GNMA and 25% equities, I weathered the 2009 mini-crash, even getting a call from Vanguard Admiral commending me. But I couldn't have done it without Daniel Wiener at my back.
— S.A., Sedona, AZ
POAGX has done WONDERS for me in terms of returns. Glad I got into it with Dan's consistent and persistent recommending of it. Didn't do so when he first mentioned it, as I was heavily into Capital Opportunity. Now 25% of my portfolio is in POAGX. It's for retirement, which is just around the corner!
— K. N. Kerbawy, Bay City, Michigan
I learned to be patient and only rebalance the portfolio as suggested by Dan, or very
close to it. This I have been doing for the IRA investments over the last nine years
since I have been a member. For my private investments, which are about 35% of the total investment, I decided to only invest in Vanguard stock funds only, willing to take more risks, and used the funds from the Income Model as guidance for selecting the stock funds.
My biggest successes have been Capital Opportunity, Equity Income, Selected Value, Health Care and Dividend Growth. For my private investments I did well with PRIMECAP Core, Dividend Growth, and MidCap Index. I am 72 and plan to stay the course for hopefully another 10 years before going more conservative. I have sufficient pension income that I do not foresee that I will be forced to make unexpected big sales of the investment portfolio.
[With the money I've made, I] have no debts, invested in an upscale house, and the rest went into a variable annuity and other private investments in Vanguard funds as explained above.
— WvB, Fountain Hills, Arizona
[My biggest success:] Staying with the funds recommended by Dan!!! Making the changes Dan recommends. They have done really well and it keeps me focused for the long haul over the last 15 years with the Adviser. Vanguard's low fees also help.
— T. Helm, Cumberland, R.I.
I have been reading and following Dan's advice for almost 20 years, and my biggest success was heeding his advice to stay invested after the Recession of 2007–9. I regained all of my 42% loss and much more while many others fled the market and missed the recovery. I have now been able to retire at 57, debt-free with a 7-figure investment account. Thanks Dan!
— David W., Glendale, AZ
[My biggest success with The Independent Adviser:] Growing my wife's savings for retirement; PRIMECAP Odyssey Aggressive Growth has been a very profitable suggestion. Used as my bucket 3 from which I take profits to refill buckets 1 and 2. Doesn't sound exciting, but I sleep well. My wife and I have been retired for 12 years, and your newsletter has played a very helpful 25% of our portfolio. Thank you very much.
— Leonard Theriault
[My biggest success with The Independent Adviser:] Using the Hot Hands fund. I could have purchased my car with cash, but took a zero percentage loan and invested an amount equal to the price of the vehicle. I have made approximately $2,000.00 on the investment. I intend to keep the money in the HH, and when I pay my car off of the zero percentage loan, I will take whatever I made on the car investment money and use it for my next car purchase.
I keep about three years of cash requirements in the GNMA fund and Short-Term Investment-Grade. The balance of my portfolio I keep 50/50 in Wellesley and Wellington — minimum volatility and minimum stress. We are retired, so we use profits for income and to keep from running out of money.
— L.J., Huntsville, TX
[My biggest success:] Maintaining positions in Vanguard funds Dan has recommended over many years. I never trade in anything. I just exchange into better funds Dan recommends. I have not always changed something that Dan has recommended, such as GNMA. But I have followed his recommendations generally.
— Frank, Horseshoe Bay, TX
[My biggest successes with The Independent Adviser:] Following the suggestions to go with proven fund managers for funds like Dividend Growth, Selected Value, the sector Health Care Fund, and buy/hold Wellington, Wellesley and Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Bond. Reinvested it all through dividend reinvestment.
— Skip Schweizer, Virginia Beach, VA
The newsletter just seems to keep me focused on the larger, long-term picture of investing. When the market is gyrating wildly, I take comfort in the newsletter's counsel to know I am doing the right thing. The words and recommendations seem to put everything in perspective and remove that silly notion that I must react with every blip in the market. I also enjoy the inside information on the Vanguard fund managers and when they are becoming less effective. This is the only newsletter to which I subscribe and the only investment advice to which I will pay any attention. I have always managed my own investments but need a little reassurance from time to time which this newsletter provides.
I never take money out of my investment portfolio. I allow all interest, dividends and capital gains to reinvest and I just keep rolling merrily along. The reinvestment has produced incredible results over the last 6-7 years that I have been reading this newsletter. I am grateful for this advice which prevents me from making catastrophic investment errors and keeps me on a sensible course.
— Edward M. Klekotka, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
I'm very pleased with the steady as you go approach. I'm not shooting for the stars. I am a college professor with a bit over half of my retirement with Vanguard and the other with TIAA-CREF. Now 75 with no intention of retiring immediately, I follow the Conservative Growth Model in general and am very pleased with the results. The bulk of my Vanguard money is in funds for retirement and will stay there in case I ever retire. Two non-retirement funds go toward health care planning, and Social Security money has been put into Wellington and is funding a good part of my daughter's college tuition!
— AJD, Monterey, MA
I have been following Dan for so long I forget exactly when I started, I think it was about 1996. Since that time my total investments have increased 300%, and that is after taking out about 4% per year to augment retirement income starting in 2000. I consider that my biggest success, but have had wonderful success with Dan's picks like Health Care, Capital Opportunity, PRIMECAP, and PRIMECAP Odyssey Aggressive Growth. The winners go on and on. Another great thing he has done is make me a better-educated investor. Bottom line: He is a winner and we benefit.
— Tom, Boise, ID
Dear Mr. Wiener, Well, I don't have great successes, but with the help of your advice I have been able to pick better picks with my 401(k) through my work, and when the market dropped in 2000 I took whatever was left and paid off my mortgage and started from scratch once more. I am now up to $55,000+, which is really great as I don't have much money to put in but my employer puts money in also. The most money I have made is the past 2 years, all with the help of your instructions and my trying to match what was available to me, and it has worked. Bless you and thank you very much. I am 76 years old and still working because I can't afford to retire because we lost a lot of retirement money with Prudential both with my father's money and with my husband's, and I vowed never to put my faith in those people again. If I am going to loose money I will do it on my own; I don't need others to do it for me. With your advice, which I have come to trust, I am much more comfortable and have not done too badly, albeit very small, and we have no debt. Much thanks to you, sir, and to your other employees.
The funds I have at Vanguard consist of my entire IRA account. I retired 7 years ago and have been taking monthly distributions since June, 2006. Despite the distributions (approximately 4% of the account each year plus an extra $10,000), my account balance is very close now to what it was when I retired. That is success, indeed! Using Dan's Income Portfolio and heeding his monthly and weekly advice, I have been able to weather the ups and downs of the market with no adverse effects. It's a very comfortable and pleasant retirement!
— NBH, Peoria, AZ
I follow Dan's recommended funds, which has put me in a comfort zone plus proven to be financially successful. I continue to save for when I move from semi-retirement to full retirement.
— Jack I, Manasquan, NJ
My biggest success with The Independent Adviser has been sticking it out through and after the 2008/2009 crash. I have no debts and consider the interest I don't pay to be tax-free income.
— J.F., San Antonio, TX
I needed the discipline to hold when cautioned and sell when it was suggested. Dan's approach is one that resonates with me. I believe him.
— S.E.S., Phoenix, AZ
Dan, your advice years ago has definitely paid off. I have done well for myself and my wife because of your expertise. I sincerely respect and appreciate your knowledge and leadership.
— Sincerely, Brian Lander, Stilwell, Kansas
[My biggest success has been] your advice to put Health Care Fund in [my] IRA, which has increased in value considerably in the last year. I am leaving it there for my grandchildren.
— D.R., Oxnard, CA
A strong position in Health Care Fund was by far the biggest success followed by Wellington et al. It's all still invested even though I retired unexpectedly from high tech early at 59 before the crash of 2008. Fortunately, the total amount has grown since then even with enjoyable living expenses.
— Philip Wilson, Stratham, NH
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"America's leading expert on investing in Vanguard funds"
Daniel P. Wiener is editor of The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors, a monthly newsletter that keeps abreast of recent developments at Vanguard, and the annual FFSA Independent Guide to the Vanguard Funds. Through his newsletter and guide book, Dan helps tens of thousands of Vanguard investors choose wisely among more than 100 Vanguard mutual funds. The Adviser is a five-time winner of the Newsletter Publishers Foundation's Editorial Excellence Award. View More »
Vanguard Funds Correlation
Model Portfolio Performance