Getting started

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Welcome to the Bogleheads' Getting started page. There is a lot of information available to help. Take your time and get organized.

The Bogleheads motto is Investing Advice Inspired by Jack Bogle. We are part of his campaign "to give ordinary investors a fair shake."

The site consists of this wiki and the Bogleheads forum. Both the wiki and forum were built by volunteers who are dedicated to helping people begin or improve their investing by applying our investing principles.

Introduction

Bogleheads emphasize regular saving, broad diversification, and sticking to an investment plan regardless of market conditions. We follow a small number of simple investment principles that proved over time to produce risk-adjusted returns far greater than those achieved by the average investor. They have been further distilled and explained in thousands of posts on the forum.

The power of the wiki is its ability to link content. If a topic has a link, there is more material available. This is not a structured course. Use those links to explore anything you want, and consider bookmarking this page in case you get lost. The start-up kits below are designed to help you begin or improve your investing journey.

Bogleheads investment philosophy

We suggest you start your journey by reading the Bogleheads investment philosophy first. In short, this is:

Prepare to invest Create a portfolio Maintain discipline
  • Live below your means
  • Develop a workable plan
  • Never bear too much or too little risk
  • Invest early and often
  • Diversify
  • Invest with simplicity
  • Use index funds where possible
  • Minimize costs
  • Minimize taxes
  • Never try to time the market
  • Stay the course[note 1]

There are some short video segments that introduce these principles. See: Video:Bogleheads® investment philosophy.

Next, choose the start-up kit that fits your situation, and begin.

Personal finance planning start-up kit

Are you ready to invest? Personal finance is more than just investing. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Investing only comes after you have a sound financial footing. This start-up kit covers topics such as budgeting, owning versus renting a home, insurance, saving for college, and charity.

Investing start-up kit

Start your investing experience here. If you want a quick introduction to investment planning, see this Bogleheads forum topic: "Laura’s investment planning overview"

Retirement planning start-up kit

This start-up kit covers retirement topics, such as employer retirement plans (401(k)), planning for retirement, and spending during retirement.

Asking questions

Once you are familiar with the content in the start-up kits, or if you are looking for content related to a specific topic, you can use outlines for quick access to specific topics. And the site navigation page contains a comprehensive topic list which you can use to navigate to specific topics you are interested in.

If you have questions on any investing or finance topic, just ask in the Bogleheads forum. No question is too simple or too complex. If you have a specific question, ask it.

If you would like assistance with your portfolio, it can be helpful to review the basics in the Bogleheads forum topic: "Investment Planning". Then, post your portfolio using the template in Bogleheads forum topic: "Asking Portfolio Questions".

Investors outside the US

Although there are differences in tax laws, available funds, and regulation, the Bogleheads investment philosophy applies to investors world-wide.

Outline of non-US domiciles contains a list of wiki articles which provide detailed information for investors outside the US, including the European Union (EU). The outline is available as a menu here.

US citizens living abroad have special tax concerns. For more, see: Taxation as a US person living abroad, and US tax pitfalls for a US person living abroad.

If you would like help with your portfolio after reading getting started, post your portfolio using the My portfolio: seeking advice template for non-US investors. Please include your home country in the post title.

Notes

  1. The phrase "stay the course" just means "stick closely to your plan." For an explanation of the term, and its origin, see: "Stay the course". Wikipedia. Retrieved July 16, 2020.

See also

Further reading