About me

WHO IS THIS GUY AND WHY AM I DOING THIS?

My name is Mark Vining and I enjoy investing and personal finance, contrary to most people who don’t.   I have studied it in my spare time for over 30 years and have read hundreds of books on the subject. Recently, I sold a small business that I ran for over 17 years which has allowed me time to focus on my personal interests and create my Simple Investing Simple Living website.

What spurred me to focus on this was attending a meeting of a financial club called the Bogleheads.  It is a national group formed by people who follow the investing principals of John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard. Vanguard is an investor owned mutual fund company that is one of the largest in the world, founded under the principals of being low cost and putting the investor first.  While at this meeting, I met a man named Mike Finley from Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Mike’s knowledge of investing and personal finance was impressive, so after the meeting I asked him what he did for a living-and what a surprise!

Mike was a career military person who retired at age 45.  He then went to the University of Northern Iowa and earned his degree.  While attending college, he started and was president of the UNI Financial Literacy Club.  Since graduating, he has devoted most of his time to educating people on investing and personal finance.  Mike offers up to three evening classes per semester at the UNI campus which are well attended. He is well-known in his community and what is most amazing- he doesn’t charge anything for the classes.

After meeting Mike, I attended some of his classes to see what he was all about.  I was even more impressed.  His website is in the recommended resources page and has a lot of useful information, along with his class schedule.  I would highly recommend attending his investing class if you can make the drive to Cedar Falls weekly.   

My enjoyment of the subject along with watching Mike change people’s lives has inspired me to offer my help to anyone who is interested in learning about investing.  I want to stress – I am not selling anything or charging a fee, nor recommending specific investments.  This is simply my offer to help you in your educational process to help you get more out of life.

WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT THE SUBJECT?

After reading and studying literally hundreds of books on the subject written by some of the brightest economists, professors, and investors in the world some truths started to show through which I have listed below:

The financial industry is built to make money, not for you but for them.  That’s probably not a surprise but what might be is just how much they can take from your returns.  When you work with an “advisor” or “professional” their recommendations typically are influenced with what they can earn. If they work for a financial firm, there is a good chance they will be recommending funds that are owned and run by their company.  They have a conflict of interest and that’s putting it lightly.  It’s not in their interest to tell you how simple it can be or to educate you on your investments.  In reality, it’s better for them to make things seem complicated so you believe you need their “professional” assistance.  Most advisors are employees of a large financial firm and are in effect, trained salesman working on a commission or bonus structure. There are some advisors that are fee only and are fiduciaries.  Fee only advisors typically charge by the hour or the job.  They can be used for assistance when needed but they are few and far between. They are the best choice.  If you have an advisor or decide to use one, it will help you to have a better understanding of investing, so you know what they’re proposing, along with having some tools to evaluate them and hold them accountable. It is important to clearly understand how you are being charged and how much you are being charged for their services.

Unmanaged passive index funds have year after year beat the vast majority of managed funds.  They are low cost and provide superior returns.  I can show you the books and resources that show this unequivocally.  These are the people you should learn from.  They have no financial interest in your outcome.  Under the recommended resources page are books authored by some of the best.  You should be skeptical of anyone giving you financial advice, including me!  The amount of your money up for grabs is huge.  Don’t take this lightly.

You can have a diversified portfolio of investments with as few as two index mutual funds.  Once you become more knowledgeable, you may want to add a few more, but it’s not necessary if you want to keep it simple.  You will most likely have higher returns than 75% of all investors and you won’t have to put much thought into it after it’s set up.  Bottom line, almost anyone can become wealthy regardless of income.  It’s not that hard.

Inside the investing page of the website is information to help guide you on your path of self-education. It gives a base level of information to get you started along with the recommended resources page. If you prefer a one on one meeting and the ability to ask questions, I have put together an investing course that takes about 4 hours to complete.  I call it Personal Freedom: Investing Made Simple and it can give you a good start on understanding your investments. You do not need to provide personal financial information.  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please send me an email through the contact tab.