The simplest, best portfolio on earth!

Every day brings an endless stream of financial news that is supposed to help investors make intelligent decisions about their portfolios. Most of it is rambling nonsense.

Investors continue to search for the financial guru who can tell them if the markets have bottomed out. Or if this is a bear market rally. Or whether they should "flee to safety." Or which stock or mutual fund they should buy "now."

What if you ignored all the talking heads on TV who are putting their spin on the markets? There is no data indicating they are any more accurate than a monkey throwing a dart at a board.

Instead, here is a portfolio you can implement yourself. You never have to rely on an investment "pro."

It consists of two Exchange-Traded Funds: iShares MSCI ACWI Index (ACWI) and iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond (AGG).

ACWI tracks the combined equity market performance of developed and emerging markets countries. You are buying a piece of the world's stocks.

AGG tracks the United States investment grade securities markets. You are buying a piece of the U.S. investment grade bond market.

Vanguard offers similar Exchange-Traded Funds: Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) is comparable to ACWI and Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND) is comparable to AGG.

Here's all you have to do: Determine your asset allocation by taking an asset allocation questionnaire. There are many on the internet. I have one on my web page.

Invest the stock portion of your portfolio in ACWI or VT.

Invest the bond portion of your portfolio in AGG or BND.

How have these portfolios done year to date?

ACWI is up 19.50 percent and AGG is up 2.82 percent (both as of July 31, 2009).

VT is up 22.49 percent and BND is up 3.79 percent (both as of August 21, 2009).

With these portfolios, you engage in no stock picking or market timing. You sleep well at night knowing that you will capture market returns, less very low expenses and transaction costs. Studies demonstrate that the average equity investor, relying on "market-beating" brokers and advisors, captures only a fraction of market returns.

With the right asset allocation and the purchase of only two ETFs, you can fundamentally change the way you invest and vastly improve your returns.

That's why it's the simplest, best portfolio on earth.

Dan Solin is the author of The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read and The Smartest 401(k) Book You'll Ever Read. His new book, The Smartest Retirement Book You'll Ever Read, will be published September 1, 2009. Visit his website at

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