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Austin Pryor

Austin Pryor

Founder and Publisher

Austin leads SMI, the newsletter business he founded in 1990. With more than 38 years of experience in the investment business, Austin provides overall direction to the organization while continuing to author many articles for the SMI newsletter and web site. Before founding SMI, Austin started and ran his own investment management firm, which ranked in the top 5% of all investment advisers in the U.S. during its first five years of operations. 

He is the author of the Sound Mind Investing Handbook, A Step-By-Step Guide to Managing Your Money from a Biblical Perspective, which enjoys the endorsements of numerous respected Christian teachers and has sold more than 100,000 copies.

Austin was once on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, working directly with founder Bill Bright, helping to develop the ministry’s approach to working with high-capacity donors. He was a founding board member of Pro Athletes Outreach, a Christian training ministry to pro athletes and coaches of many sports, and The Christian Embassy, an outreach ministry to government and diplomatic officials in Washington, D.C.

Austin received an undergraduate degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Kentucky. He and his wife, Susie, have three adult sons and 10 grandchildren, and live in Louisville, Ky.

Most Recent Articles

Now Available: Personal Portfolio Tracker and Fund Performance Rankings With Data Through 9-30-18

We've just updated SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker and our monthly Fund Performance Rankings to reflect mutual-fund performance data through Sept. 30, 2018.

  • The Portfolio Tracker is our most popular web tool. It enables you to take the full universe of 20,000+ mutual funds we track and easily transform that data into a concise report covering only the specific funds available via your 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan(s).

    Using the Tracker, you can personalize SMI's mutual-fund rankings to your specific situation.
     
  • The Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) report is a PDF file containing performance data and SMI's momentum rankings for more than 1,600 no-load funds and ETFs. The funds included have been selected on the basis of asset size, brand familiarity, and brokerage availability.

    Check page 2 of the FPR report to learn how to use it. On page 3, there is an overview of the 70+ risk categories that will help you compare "apples to apples." Page 4 has explanations of the various data-column headings.

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An Upgrading Overview: Easy as 1-2-3

Why Upgrade?

SMI offers two primary investing strategies for “basic” members. They are different in philosophy, the amount of attention they require, and the rate of return expected from each. Our preferred investing strategy is called Fund Upgrading, and is based on the idea that if you are willing to regularly monitor your mutual-fund holdings and replace laggards periodically, you can improve your returns. While Upgrading is relatively low-maintenance, it does require you to check your fund holdings each month and replace funds occasionally. If you don’t wish to do this yourself, a professionally-managed version of Upgrading is available.

SMI also offers an investing strategy based on index funds called Just-the-Basics (JtB). JtB requires attention only once per year. The returns expected from JtB are lower over time than what we expect (and have received) from Upgrading. JtB makes the most sense for those in 401(k) plans that lack a sufficient number of quality fund options to make successful Upgrading within the plan possible. Here are the funds and percentage allocations we recommend for our Just-the-Basics indexing strategy.

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Now Available: Personal Portfolio Tracker and Fund Performance Rankings With Data Through 8-31-18

We've just updated SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker and also our monthly Fund Performance Rankings to reflect mutual-fund performance data through August 31, 2018.

  • The Portfolio Tracker is our most popular web tool. It enables you to take the full universe of 20,000+ mutual funds we track and easily transform that data into a concise report covering only the specific funds available via your 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan(s).

    Using the Tracker, you can personalize SMI's mutual-fund rankings to your specific situation.
     
  • The Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) report is a PDF file containing performance data and SMI's momentum rankings for more than 1,600 no-load funds and ETFs. The funds included have been selected on the basis of asset size, brand familiarity, and brokerage availability.

    Check page 2 of the FPR report to learn more about how to use it. On page 3, you'll see an overview of the 70+ risk categories that will help you compare "apples to apples." And on page 4, there are explanations of the various data-column headings.

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SMI Private Client Classic: Personal Portfolio Management Is Now Available to All

Six months ago, SMI Advisory Services announced that professional management of individual accounts using the SMI strategies was being offered for the first time. SMI members responded enthusiastically, pushing the assets under management in SMI Private Client to nearly $100 million!

Until now, Private Client has been available only to those with at least $250,000 to invest. With the debut of Private Client Classic, professional management of the SMI strategies within a personal account is now available to anyone with as little as $2,500 to invest!

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September Sightings

Rising and Falling Uncertainty

Worries abound, from Chinese trade wars…to midterm campaign-related uncertainty…. [But] I’ve crunched data since long before PCs arrived, [so I know that] the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has been positive in 87% of the fourth quarters of all midterm election years, ever…. [emphasis added]

It’s also been positive in 87% of the quarters that follow — the first calendar quarter after the midterms. That’s six months running. It’s the most consistent positive streak in all history. Those six months typically render a +14% rise.

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Now Available: Personal Portfolio Tracker and Fund Performance Rankings With Data Through 7-31-18

Heads up! We've just updated SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker and our monthly Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) to reflect mutual-fund performance data through July 31, 2018.

  • The Personal Portfolio Tracker is our most popular web tool. It allows you to personalize SMI's mutual-fund rankings to your specific situation. The result is a monthly report showing only the funds you're interested in, ranked by momentum and sorted according to various risk categories (or without the categories, if you prefer).

    This allows you to take the 20,000+ mutual funds we track and instantly transform those rankings into a concise report covering only the specific funds available via your 401k and/or other retirement plan(s).
     
  • The Fund Performance Rankings report is a PDF file containing performance data and SMI's momentum rankings for more than 1,600 no-load funds and ETFs. The funds included have been selected on the basis of asset size, brand familiarity, and brokerage availability.

    Check page 2 to learn more about how to use the FPR. On page 3, you'll find an overview of the 70+ risk categories that will help you compare "apples to apples." And on page 4, there are explanations of the various data-column headings.

Want to get an email when the Tracker and FPR updates go live each month? Visit the SMI home page and click on "My Account" under Quick Links. From there, go to the "Email Subscriptions" page and check the box next to "FPR/Tracker Update."

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Understanding “Regression to the Mean” Helps Manage Expectations

In investing, as in life, it’s important to manage your expectations. There’s nothing quite like an unmet expectation to drive misery and misbehavior. That helps explain why fewer people own stocks today than before the Great Recession (54% now vs. 64% then). Many of those who left the market likely had no idea the market could fall so far so fast.

One way to manage your expectations is to have a working knowledge of regression to the mean.

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Now Available: Personal Portfolio Tracker and Fund Performance Rankings With Data Through 6-30-18

We've just updated SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker and our monthly Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) to reflect final mutual-fund performance data through June 30, 2018.

(We try to post the Tracker and FPR updates between the 10th-14th of each month, depending on data availability and when the weekend falls.)

  • SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker is our most popular web tool. It allows SMI members to personalize our mutual-fund rankings to their specific situations. The result is a monthly report showing only the funds each member is interested in, ranked by momentum and sorted according to SMI's risk categories (or without the categories, if a member prefers).

    This allows a member to take the 20,000+ funds SMI tracks and instantly transform those rankings into a concise report covering only the specific offerings available via his or her 401k (or other retirement plan).
     
  • The Fund Performance Rankings report is a PDF file containing performance data and momentum rankings for more than 1,600 no-load funds and ETFs. The funds included have been selected on the basis of asset size, brand familiarity, and brokerage availability.

    You'll find help in understanding how to use the FPR (page 2), an overview of the 70+ risk categories that will help you compare "apples to apples" (page 3), and explanations for the various data-column headings (page 4).

To receive an email when the Tracker and FPR updates go live each month, visit the SMI home page and click on "My Account" under Quick Links. From there, go to the "Email Subscriptions" page and check the box next to "FPR/Tracker Update."

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Are You Making Acceptable Sacrifices, Well-Pleasing to God?

Another anniversary has arrived! We’re now at 28 years and counting since Larry Burkett challenged me with an idea for a monthly financial publication, one that would build on the biblical principles he taught and would make specific and appropriate investment recommendations without conflicts of interest or ulterior motives.

Larry was God’s provision for the early difficult days of SMI. He extended grace to me. Asking nothing in return, his mentoring, encouragement, and public support during the early 1990s allowed us to survive a slow, underfunded start, and his on-going friendship enabled SMI to grow and flourish. Without Larry, there would have been no SMI.

A lot has changed around here since July 1990 when I ordered a printing of 500 copies of our first issue. For one thing, we have about 7,500 or so members rather than a list of a few hundred friends pulled together from my Rolodex! I now have a whole crew of teammates who help support our website, our radio appearances, and our mutual-fund partnership (rather than just one loyal and long-suffering secretary.)

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Now Available: Personal Portfolio Tracker and Fund Performance Rankings With Data Through 5-31-18

SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker and monthly Fund Performance Rankings (FPR) report have been updated to reflect mutual-fund performance data current through May 31, 2018. (The Tracker and FPR typically are updated between the 10th-14th, but we've been able to move things up a bit this month.)

SMI's Personal Portfolio Tracker is our most popular web tool. It allows SMI members to personalize our mutual-fund rankings to their specific situation. The result is a monthly report showing only the funds each member is interested in, ranked by momentum and sorted according to SMI's risk categories (or without the categories, if a member prefers). This allows a member to take the 20,000+ funds SMI tracks every month and instantly transform those rankings into a concise report covering only the specific offerings available via his or her 401k (or other retirement plan).

The Fund Performance Rankings report contains performance data and momentum rankings on more than 1,600 no-load funds and ETFs. The funds included have been selected on the basis of asset size, brand familiarity, and brokerage availability. You'll find help in understanding how to use the FPR (page 2), an overview of the 70+ risk categories that help you compare "apples to apples" (page 3), and explanations for the various data-column headings (page 4).

To receive an email when the FPR and Tracker updates go live each month, visit the SMI home page and click on "My Account" under Quick Links. From there, go to the "Email Subscriptions" page and check the box next to "FPR/Tracker Update."

Continue Reading