Sound Mind Investing (SMI) Newsletter is America’s best selling financial newsletter written from a biblical perspective.
I have been an SMI subscriber for a year and a half and I have been very impressed with the quality of the material. The articles are well written and very timely to current market conditions. Since those who work with the newsletter are Christians I feel like the articles have already been filtered by Christians.
In fact, Mary Hunt’s comments at the introduction of the The Sound Mind Investing Handbook – A Step-By-Step Guide To Managing Your Money From A Biblical Perspective 5th Ed mirror my thoughts on both the SMI book and the SMI newsletter. Mary Hunt writes:
In the same way that I’m not economist, I’m not exactly an investment wizard either. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Austin Pryor, author of The Sound Mind Investing Handbook. … Everything I know about investing I learned from Austin Pryor.
Today I want to introduce you to the SMI Newsletter.
Each 16 page newsletter is broken down into the following major sections / categories:
Cover Article – Here are the cover article titles for 2009
Is a College Education Still Worth the Investment?, The Richest Man in Babylon, Almost Too Good To Be True, How to Avoid Panic and Reduce Fear, Protecting Yourself Against “The Big One”, A Dollar in Danger Leads Many to Gold, Investing with Rising Inflation in View, Making Money From Home, Biblical Wisdom For Giving, and A Road Map For Investing in Gold.
Editorial – comments by Austin Pryor (founder of Sound Mind Investing)
Level One Article – addresses those who are working towards becoming debt free.
Level Two Article – addresses those who are in the process of building an emergency fund.
Level Three Article – addresses those who are venturing into the world of investing and who are setting aside money for retirement.
Level Four Article – addresses those who are dealing with an investment portfolio in excess of $25,000.
Recommended Funds: Each month SMI suggests mutual funds that are performing well against their peers.
Money Talk – deals with financial discussions in the news.
Looking Ahead – General financial planning suggestions.
Additional features, benefits, and products:
The Newsletter offers both a traditional print subscription or an online subscription.
Online members have access to a members only blog with investment news, 401(k) tools, several investing strategies, fund performance rankings, and more. You will also have access to eight additional free special reports.
SMI describes their community boards:
With over 10,000 members, our message boards are a great resource for getting questions answered, gaining valuable input on financial issues and decisions of all types, and a place where you can share your knowledge on a particular topic or just offer an opinion on a recently written article or blog post.
There are many additional features and benefits to SMI, but I won’t take the time to introduce everything. You can visit their site and get more details.
Web Membership: A Web Membership delivers each complete issue of the printed newsletter in electronic form. Plus Web Members get additional valuable benefits: early access to new issues, use of SMI’s 401(k) Fund Tracker, a monthly update of our Fund Performance Rankings, information on our Advanced Strategies, access to our content archives, Member’s Forums and Editors Blog, and more.
Why I first subscribed to the SMI Newsletter:
- After about a decade of investing through a financial advisor I was ready to have more direct control over my own investments.
- I am looking for investment, teaching, and education along with guidance. SMI provides both some structure and flexibility to your investing plan.
- Superior investment Returns: When I was considering my investment options I went back and dug through my previous five years of investment performance. In each and every account SMI Upgrading outperformed (at times significantly) my current investments. This was not a short term streak, but each year over a five year period.
- Lower overall maintenance cost: When we made the change to following some of the SMI strategies we had two Roth IRA accounts, 1 ESA account (with one on the way), and a general funds account. Each account came with its own layer of fees. With SMI I paid for the newsletter and was able to handle all the investing by myself.
- Free Trial – Hey, I like for free trials. During my two month free trial I downloaded every article for the last three years. I have now read every word of every article and found the information extremely formative to my understanding of investing. I don’t see the free trial as a current offering, but there is a 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. You must be completely satisfied. If SMI doesn’t live up to your expectations for any reason, just cancel during the first three months and receive a full cash refund of the print subscription price, no questions asked. You risk absolutely nothing!*
- Appealing options for smaller accounts with a huge amount of diversification. SMI has a mutual fund called SMIFX. This mutual fund is different than most because it owns a batch of other mutual funds, not a batch of other stocks. Thus, each SMIFX share represents ownership of at least 20 different mutual funds. This was especially appealing for smaller ESA accounts.
- Because of my age, I was looking for a higher risk/reward component to add to my investing plan. The SMI sector rotation strategy provided that missing ingredient in my investing plan.
*Updated: It is important that you personally verify to see if the above offerings/benefits are still current offerings. To verify information please visit the SMI website and contact them directly.
*Updated 2/3/2010 – I removed some information regarding TD Ameritrade that is no longer valid.
Three reasons not to subscribe to SMI:
I would not subscribe to SMI if any one of the following applied:
- You feel that the Bible teaches Christians should practice faith based investing.
- If you are new to investing. I’ll preface this by saying that subscribing might be a good decision, but at least for the first few years I would use an advisor who will give you some guidance. If you want to learn more about investing and the market, then the newsletter subscription would be of value to you.
- You are paying off debt and do not plan to actively invest over the next few years. Even though SMI does have an article that addresses those in this category, you would be better served focusing your time reading material like The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness or Debt Free Adventure.
The Sound Mind Investing Newsletter costs $79.00 per year. If you also want to add a web membership you will pay an additional $4.50 per month.
If you prefer to get just the web membership (you can download the newsletter online plus access to a ton of other information) the cost is $8.95 paid month by month.
Obviously for those who are comfortable with the Internet I recommend the web membership.
From the SMI website:
The average price of the financial newsletters featured in the authoritative Hulbert Guide to Investment Newsletters is $234 per year. Our Print Subscription + Web Membership costs just $133 per year making SMI an unbeatable bargain. Your total annual cost, including the web membership, is $100 less than typical investment newsletters.
I highly recommend the web membership as you will have access to three years of archived newsletters. That is a ton of valuable resources for this already low price.
This post does contain affiliate links. I have been a user, subscriber, fan, and promoter of the SMI team before they introduced their affiliate program. You can read this post where I talk about why I fired my financial advisor. In that post I explained that I subscribe to the SMI Newsletter.