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Getting Started

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Getting Started FAQ

If you’re new to Sound Mind Investing and are not yet a member, start by reading the content in our Investing Basics tab. The nine principles you'll read about there will give you a good feel for how we approach investing. If you are a member, once you sign in to the site with your member credentials, you’ll see a Start Here tab. That’ll walk you through the process of choosing the strategy that’s right for you and implementing it in pursuit of your goals.

For those just starting out, Just the Basics is our easiest core strategy. However, our Dynamic Asset Allocation (DAA) core strategy is our preferred strategy. Access to DAA requires a premium membership, but we think you’ll find its benefits well worth the slightly higher membership cost. DAA helps you share in some of a bull market’s gains while minimizing (or even preventing) losses during bear markets. DAA is a defensive, low-volatility strategy that nonetheless has generated impressive results, demonstrating the power of “winning by not losing.” To understand more about DAA, read the cover article we wrote when we introduced the strategy, Dynamic Asset Allocation: An Investing Strategy for the Risk-Averse.

If you’d like to be a bit more aggressive, consider blending your use of DAA with our Fund Upgrading core strategy. For a look at some very compelling research into this approach, read Higher Returns With Less Risk Re-Examined

More information about each SMI strategy can be found on the Choose Your Strategy page.

Our top recommended brokerage firm is Fidelity. The company's fund lineup and pricing provide the greatest overall flexibility for implementing SMI’s strategies at low cost. Schwab is a solid alternative, so if you already have an account there, you may not need to change.

Although E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Vanguard are not optimal options for implementing SMI's Fund Upgrading strategy, they may be used successfully with our other strategies. That is why it's helpful to know which SMI strategy (or strategies) you're interested in using before choosing a broker.

If you are an SMI member, look for more information on our Choose Your Broker (BASIC) and Choose Your Broker (PREMIUM) pages.

Minimum investment amounts can be an obstacle for those using our Fund Upgrading and Sector Rotation strategies.

Fortunately, Dynamic Asset Allocation and Just-the-Basics utilize exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which typically don't have set minimums (except the cost of one share). Therefore, it’s possible to use either strategy with a relatively small amount of money.

The short answer is “yes,” but how you go about it depends on how many investment choices your plan offers. If your plan offers many investment choices (i.e., a large number of mutual funds), then you are able to use any SMI strategy. Some workplace plans provide access to a large number of funds via a “brokerage window.” A brokerage window typically allows an investor access to all of the investment options available via a particular broker, such as Fidelity or Vanguard.

If your plan offers only a limited set of investment choices, we recommend using our Personal Portfolio Tracker to manage your fund choices. Read Using SMI’s Portfolio Tracker to Manage a Limited 401(k) Plan.

On the homepage of the SMI site (top right side of the page), you’ll see a Recent Articles section. It lists the last several articles that we've posted. For earlier posts, click the Read More Articles link at the bottom of that little column.

You can also sign up for email updates from within your My Account page. These updates, available either daily or weekly, can be customized by the topics and strategies of particular interest to you.

My Account

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My Account FAQ

Click here to retrieve it.

Click here to make these updates.

It costs $11.95 per month for a Basic-level membership or $19.95 for a Premium-level membership, with discounts available if you pay annually. For more details on the differences between the two membership types, click here.

Feel free to look around the site. Many of our articles are available whether you’re a member or not, but our investing strategies are available to members only. Be sure to read the Investing Basics section. The nine principles found there will tell you much about our approach to investing.

Remember, you can choose to pay month-to-month (click the Monthly Pricing tab), with the freedom to cancel at any time.

You can upgrade by visiting the My Account section. Select the My Billing tab and look for the Upgrade to Premium button.

If you are a monthly subscriber, you can still take advantage of the annual subscription discount and pay for a year in advance. To change your billing frequency from monthly to annually, first visit the My Account section. Then select the My Billing tab and look for the Switch to Annual Billing button.

The print newsletter is a benefit given to all SMI members. However, we realize that some people prefer online access only. That’s fine. We don’t lower the membership price for those who prefer not to receive the print newsletter, but we can certainly stop sending it to you. To opt out of receiving the print newsletter, go to the My Account page, and you’ll see an opt-out box at the bottom of the My Account tab.

You can use your credit card with peace of mind. We encrypt credit card information using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology — the same technology banks use to provide you with secure online access to your account information.

Yes. You can order a membership or other SMI products or services by calling toll-free at 877-736-3764.

Your membership will remain active until you tell us to cancel it. If you signed up for a monthly membership, your card will be charged on the same date each month. If you signed up for an annual membership, your card will be charged again on your anniversary date.

A Premium-level membership may be changed to Basic-level membership as follows. Those paying monthly may make this change at any time by calling customer service at 877-736-3764 Monday through Friday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Time. Those paying annually may make this change at your next annual renewal date.

Sorry, but there are no refunds for annual memberships, in part or in whole.

Just give us a call at 877-736-3764 Monday through Friday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Time.

If your Sound Mind Investing subscription doesn't live up to your expectations for any reason, you may cancel at any time to avoid further charges. Neither monthly nor annual SMI Web Memberships are refundable, in part or in whole.

Absolutely. Call us toll-free at 877-736-3764 Monday through Friday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Eastern Time. If you don’t reach us, leave a message and we will make every effort to return your call promptly. You may also e-mail us at [email protected].

Everything Else

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Everything Else FAQ

No. Sound Mind Investing does not accept any outside advertising, nor do we receive any compensation from the funds or brokers we recommend. We refuse to let the lure of ad revenue bias the information we present to you.

(Note: Technically, any information you may see on this site regarding the SMI Funds or SMI Private Client is considered an advertisement. The SMI Funds and SMI Private Client are managed by SMI Advisory Services, a separate, but affiliated, business.)

Rarely. We have several outside writers who provide articles from time to time. Typically, these are people who have a unique area of expertise and with whom we have had a long relationship. We are not actively looking for additional writers. However, if you have a unique area of financial expertise and an article idea you believe would be of interest to our members, feel free to let us know.

Talk to a real person

We are available to answer your questions and help you troubleshoot any issues with your account or our website. Give us a call.


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