Much of the financial world thrives on opacity. Jargon, shorthand and acronyms are the currency of the realm. Financial commentators are often simply looking for their 15 minutes of media fame, baffling their audiences with bulls%!#.

Vanguard is no different. Despite loudly trumpeting that it is unlike its competitors because it’s owned by the shareholders of its mutual funds and ETFs, Vanguard is as opaque as they come. I’m not shy in saying this, and I regularly urge Vanguard to be more transparent.

For example, every year, I call on Vanguard to disclose how much the top brass is paid. After all, shouldn’t we owners know where our money is going? I also try to shine a light on Vanguard’s board members and fund managers to show whether they are invested alongside us, the shareholders, and how much they’ve committed to the endeavor.

I like to think that I operate differently. I always try to communicate in plain English. I want to be transparent, not impenetrable.

Last month, I shared specifically how I go about managing my cash. Today (taking a page from the Mutual Fund Observer, where editor David Snowball bares all every year), I’ll tell you exactly how I’m investing my own money.

To be clear, I’m talking about my open-ended, long-term investment portfolio—think retirement. This is separate from my cash management program. It’s also separate from the money I’ve set aside for my toddler’s education—I’ll discuss that in the weeks ahead. 

If you’ve been following my work, you know that I am emphatic about my philosophy of eating my cooking—owning the same funds and ETFs that I recommend to you, my IVA members. Well, here’s the inside story.

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