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Christopher Konovalov
Christopher Konovalov

Fail-Safe Investing: 17 Easy Rules to Follow for Lifelong Financial Security

Fail Safe Investing: How to Achieve Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes

Do you worry that you're not paying enough attention to your investments? Do you feel left out when you hear about the clever things other investors seem to be doing? Relax. You don't have to become an investment genius to protect your savings.

Fail Safe Investing 12.epub

In this article, I'm going to show you how to apply the principles of fail-safe investing, a simple and effective strategy that can help you achieve lifelong financial security in just 30 minutes. You'll learn what fail-safe investing is, why you need it, and who is Harry Browne, the author of the book Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes. You'll also discover the 17 simple rules of financial safety that he outlines in his book, and how to implement them in your own portfolio.


What is fail-safe investing?

Fail-safe investing is a way of managing your money that minimizes the risk of losing it and maximizes the potential for growth. It's based on the idea that you can't predict the future, so you shouldn't rely on forecasts, trends, or expert opinions. Instead, you should diversify your assets across different types of investments that perform well in different economic scenarios. This way, you can protect yourself from inflation, deflation, recession, depression, war, peace, or anything else that might happen.

Why do you need fail-safe investing?

You need fail-safe investing because it can help you achieve your financial goals without exposing yourself to unnecessary risks. Whether you want to save for retirement, buy a house, pay for college, or travel the world, fail-safe investing can help you get there faster and safer than other methods. Fail-safe investing can also help you avoid common mistakes that many investors make, such as chasing hot stocks, following fads, gambling on tips, or panicking during market crashes.

Who is Harry Browne and what is his book about?

Harry Browne (1933-2006) was one of America's best-known investment advisers, the author of a dozen investment and political books, a radio personality, and the 2000 Libertarian candidate for president. He was also the creator of the fail-safe investing strategy, which he explained in his book Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes. The book was published in 1999 and has been praised by many investors and financial experts for its simplicity, clarity, and wisdom.

In his book, Browne distills the wisdom of his thirty years' experience into lessons that can be applied in thirty minutes. He shows you what you need to know to make your savings and investments safe and profitable, no matter what the economy and the investment markets do. He also teaches you how to build your wealth on your career, make your own decisions, build a bulletproof portfolio for protection, take advantage of tax-reduction plans, and enjoy yourself with a budget for pleasure.

The 17 Simple Rules of Financial Safety

Browne's book is organized around 17 simple rules of financial safety that he claims can make you rich and keep you rich. These rules are based on common sense, logic, and evidence, not on speculation, emotion, or hype. Here are the rules and a brief explanation of each one:

Rule #1: Build your wealth upon your career

Your career is your most valuable asset, because it's the source of your income and your potential for growth. You should invest in yourself by developing your skills, expanding your knowledge, and increasing your value to your employer or clients. You should also protect your career by maintaining a good reputation, avoiding conflicts of interest, and keeping your expenses low.

Rule #2: Don't assume you can replace your wealth

Once you have accumulated some wealth, you should treat it as a precious resource that can't be easily replaced. You shouldn't risk losing it by gambling on risky investments or spending it frivolously. You should also avoid borrowing money to invest or to buy things you don't need. Remember that it's easier to lose money than to make money.

Rule #3: Recognize the difference between investing and speculating

Investing is putting your money into something that has a proven record of producing income or increasing in value over time. Speculating is betting on something that might or might not pay off in the future. Investing is safer and more reliable than speculating, but it also requires more patience and discipline. Speculating can be fun and exciting, but it also involves more risk and uncertainty. You should only speculate with money you can afford to lose.

Rule #4: Don't invest in anything you don't understand

You should never put your money into something that you don't fully understand or that sounds too good to be true. You should always do your own research and analysis before making any investment decision. You should also avoid investing in anything that involves complicated formulas, secret methods, or insider information. If you can't explain how an investment works or why it's profitable, you shouldn't invest in it.

Rule #5: Don't let anyone make your decisions for you

You are the best person to manage your own money, because you know your goals, preferences, and risk tolerance better than anyone else. You shouldn't let anyone else make your decisions for you, whether it's a broker, a financial planner, a newsletter writer, or a friend. You should always be skeptical of any advice or recommendation that comes from someone who has a vested interest in your actions or who doesn't know your situation well enough. You should also avoid following the crowd or the media hype.

Rule #6: Don't try to time the market

You can't predict the future, so you shouldn't try to guess when the market will go up or down. You shouldn't buy or sell based on short-term fluctuations or emotions. You shouldn't chase after hot stocks or sectors or jump on bandwagons. You shouldn't panic during market crashes or get greedy during market booms. Instead, you should stick to a long-term plan that suits your objectives and risk profile.

Rule #7: The "sure thing" usually isn't

There is no such thing as a sure thing in investing. There is always some risk involved in any investment, and there is always some uncertainty about the future. You shouldn't fall for any promises or guarantees of high returns with low risk or no risk. You shouldn't believe any claims or testimonials that sound too good to be true. You shouldn't trust any authority figures or experts who claim to have a crystal ball or a magic formula.

Rule #8: Beware of tax-avoidance schemes

Rule #8: Beware of tax-avoidance schemes

Taxes are a fact of life, and you should pay your fair share of them. But you shouldn't let taxes dictate your investment decisions or make you do things that are otherwise unwise or risky. You shouldn't invest in something just because it offers a tax deduction or a tax credit. You shouldn't use complex or shady strategies to evade or avoid taxes. You shouldn't let tax considerations override your common sense or your financial goals.

Rule #9: Diversify your investments

Diversification is the key to reducing risk and increasing returns in investing. It means spreading your money across different types of investments that have different characteristics and performance patterns. By diversifying, you can reduce the impact of any single investment going bad or any single event affecting the market. You can also benefit from the growth of different sectors and regions over time. You should diversify not only across stocks, bonds, and cash, but also across industries, countries, and currencies.

Rule #10: Build a bulletproof portfolio for protection

A bulletproof portfolio is a portfolio that can withstand any economic scenario and provide you with a steady income and growth. Browne suggests that you build a bulletproof portfolio by allocating 25% of your money to each of the following four types of investments:

  • Stocks: to provide growth and protection against inflation

  • Bonds: to provide income and protection against deflation

  • Gold: to provide protection against currency devaluation and political turmoil

  • Cash: to provide liquidity and flexibility

By doing this, you can ensure that no matter what happens in the economy or the world, at least one of your investments will do well and offset the losses of the others. You can also adjust your portfolio periodically to rebalance it back to the original 25% allocation.

Rule #11: Keep some assets outside the country

You shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, especially if that basket is your own country. You should diversify some of your assets outside your country to protect yourself from political risk, currency risk, or economic risk. You should invest in foreign stocks, bonds, or funds that give you exposure to different markets and opportunities. You should also keep some cash or gold in a foreign bank account or a safe deposit box that you can access easily in case of an emergency.

Rule #12: Don't invest in what everyone else is buying

You shouldn't follow the herd or the hype when it comes to investing. You shouldn't invest in something just because it's popular, trendy, or fashionable. You shouldn't buy something just because everyone else is buying it or because the media is raving about it. You shouldn't fall for fads, bubbles, or manias that drive up prices to unsustainable levels. Instead, you should look for undervalued, overlooked, or ignored investments that have solid fundamentals and long-term potential.

Rule #13: Don't borrow money to invest

You shouldn't use leverage or debt to boost your returns or buy more than you can afford. You shouldn't borrow money from a bank, a broker, a credit card, or a friend to invest in something that might or might not pay off. You shouldn't use margin accounts, options, futures, or other derivatives that magnify your gains and losses. By borrowing money to invest, you increase your risk and expose yourself to margin calls, interest payments, and potential bankruptcy.

Rule #14: Don't expect too much from your investments

You shouldn't have unrealistic expectations or fantasies about your investments. You shouldn't expect them to make you rich overnight or solve all your problems. You shouldn't expect them to deliver consistent or guaranteed returns or beat the market every time. You shouldn't expect them to perform well in all conditions or match the performance of other investors. Instead, you should have realistic expectations based on historical data, current conditions, and your own objectives.

Rule #15: Enjoy yourself with a budget for pleasure

You shouldn't deprive yourself of happiness or enjoyment while pursuing your financial goals. You shouldn't sacrifice your present for your future or your future for your present. You should balance your saving and spending habits and allocate some money for pleasure. You should create a budget for pleasure that allows you to spend a certain amount of money each month or year on things that make you happy, such as hobbies, travel, entertainment, or charity. You should also reward yourself for achieving your milestones or reaching your targets.

Rule #16: Review your investments periodically

You shouldn't neglect or ignore your investments once you have made them. You should monitor and review them periodically to make sure they are still aligned with your goals, preferences, and risk tolerance. You should check their performance, fees, taxes, and risks at least once a year or more often if needed. You should also rebalance your portfolio if it deviates too much from your original allocation or if your circumstances change.

Rule #17: Plan for your estate

You shouldn't leave your wealth to chance or fate when you die. You should plan for your estate and make sure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and in the most efficient way possible. You should write a will that specifies who gets what and how much. You should also use trusts, gifts, or other strategies to minimize taxes, fees, and delays. You should also update your estate plan regularly to reflect any changes in your family, finances, or laws.


Fail-safe investing is a simple and effective way to achieve lifelong financial security in 30 minutes. It's based on 17 simple rules of financial safety that can help you protect and grow your wealth in any situation. By following these rules, you can avoid common mistakes, reduce risk, increase returns, and enjoy yourself along the way.

If you want to learn more about fail-safe investing, I recommend you read the book Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes by Harry Browne. It's a short and easy read that explains the concepts and examples in more detail. You can also visit his website at for more information and resources.


Here are some frequently asked questions about fail-safe investing:

  • What is the difference between fail-safe investing and passive investing?

  • How do I calculate how much money I need to retire?

  • What are some examples of investments that fit into the four categories of the bulletproof portfolio?

  • How do I rebalance my portfolio and how often should I do it?

  • What are some common pitfalls or challenges of fail-safe investing?

Here are the answers:

  • Fail-safe investing is a form of passive investing, which means that you don't try to beat the market or time the market. You simply buy and hold a diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds or ETFs that track the performance of different asset classes. However, fail-safe investing is different from other forms of passive investing in that it uses a specific allocation of 25% each to stocks, bonds, gold, and cash. This allocation is designed to provide protection and growth in any economic scenario.

  • To calculate how much money you need to retire, you need to estimate how much income you will need each year to cover your expenses and maintain your lifestyle. Then you need to multiply that amount by 25 to get the total amount of savings you will need. This is based on the 4% rule, which states that you can withdraw 4% of your portfolio each year without running out of money. For example, if you need $50,000 a year to live comfortably, you will need $50,000 x 25 = $1.25 million in savings.

  • Some examples of investments that fit into the four categories of the bulletproof portfolio are:

  • Stocks: Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) or SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)

  • Bonds: Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX) or iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG)

  • Gold: SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) or iShares Gold Trust (IAU)

  • Cash: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) or FDIC-insured bank account

  • To rebalance your portfolio, you need to adjust the weights of your investments so that they match your original allocation of 25% each. You can do this by selling some of the investments that have grown too much and buying some of the investments that have shrunk too much. You should rebalance your portfolio at least once a year or whenever it deviates more than 5% from your original allocation.

  • Some common pitfalls or challenges of fail-safe investing are:

  • Lack of patience: Fail-safe investing requires you to stick to your plan and ignore the short-term fluctuations and emotions of the market. You may feel tempted to chase after higher returns or switch to a different strategy when you see other investors doing better or worse than you. You may also feel bored or frustrated by the slow and steady pace of your portfolio. You need to resist these temptations and feelings and focus on your long-term goals.

  • Lack of discipline: Fail-safe investing requires you to follow the 17 simple rules of financial safety and avoid making common mistakes. You may find it hard to follow some of the rules, such as not investing in what you don't understand, not letting anyone make your decisions for you, or not expecting too much from your investments. You may also find it hard to avoid some of the mistakes, such as trying to time the market, falling for tax-avoidance schemes, or borrowing money to invest. You need to overcome these difficulties and stick to your plan.

  • Lack of knowledge: Fail-safe investing requires you to understand how your portfolio works and why it works. You may have some questions or doubts about some of the concepts or examples that Browne uses in his book. You may also want to learn more about some of the investments or strategies that he recommends. You need to do your own research and analysis and seek reliable sources of information and education.

I hope this article has helped you understand what fail-safe investing is and how to apply it in your own portfolio. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for reading and happy investing! 71b2f0854b


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