The simplest solution is usually the best.  But if that’s true, why do investment strategies tend to gravitate toward the complex rather than the elegant?

The answer is because Wall Street exists to make money from you, not for you. Brokers, advisers and fund companies consistently tell you that their expertise in selecting superior investments lead to superior returns. Yet there is no evidence to support that assertion. The cost of complexity is high and high cost lowers performance. A library of academic studies prove this to be a fact.

Simplicity is a virtue, but getting there isn’t easy. There’s a lot of noise and confusion in the middle. The media  bombards us with marketing hype designed to misled, and we’re told by some advisers that investing is hard and a well-diversified portfolio requires complex strategies that need constant maintenance. None of this is true. A few low-cost, broadly diversified index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in a low-touch portfolio will get you to your financial goals faster and with greater certainty.

Core-4® Investing provides you the tools to hammer down cost and remove complexity. All the index funds and ETFs suggested for Core-4 Portfolios™ have low fees and are available through well-known investment companies. Best of all, the Core-4 Portfolios™ are free for your use. Invest in them as-is or add a personal touch. Can’t find anything you like? We can build a Core-4® Custom Portfolio for your special needs.

It’s time to get to the core of an investment strategy that works for you!


In 2007, investment analyst and adviser Rick Ferri introduced the first Core-4 portfolio on the Bogleheads.org forum. This low-cost design offered broad stock, bond and real estate exposure utilizing only four index funds. The strategy proved to be robust. The performance was better than most complex strategies that cost a lot more and required a lot of upkeep.

Rick Ferri’s “Classic Core-4 Portfolio” as it is referred to today was so simple that anyone could use it – and they did. Thousands of people invested in the Classic Core-4 Portfolio or a derivative of it. The strategy also found wide acceptance among investment bloggers and in the print media.  Public agencies also took notice. The Texas State Securities Board highlighted Rick Ferri’s Core-4 Portfolio in the Texas Investor Guide, Strategies for Investing Wisely and Avoiding Financial Fraud.

Let’s get started!


No More than Four – is our company motto. The free information offered on this site will help you build a well-balanced, globally diversified portfolio with four funds – or less if you prefer. Since every investor is different, there are six Core-4 Portfolios strategies available and 24 different allocations. Use one or more portfolios to fit your needs and tastes.

First, select a Core-4 Portfolio™ that you like best. Second, choose a risk level for that portfolio to fit your needs. Third, select from a list of suggested funds or use comparable funds that you have access to. Fourth, view the past risk and return of your portfolio using Portfolio Visualizer, and fifth, invest your Core-4 strategy!

There are over 5,000 mutual funds and 2,000 ETFs available to US investors. How to choose among these funds can be daunting. That’s why each portfolio comes with a suggested list of four representative mutual funds and ETFs. A simple portfolio design using these suggested investments makes the process easy. But perhaps you don’t have access to those funds such as in a employee retirement plan with limited options. Use the closest investments you do have access to. Most of the time a close broadly diversified low-fee fund in an asset class will work fine.

Custom Portfolios are available by Rick Ferri. Licencing of Core-4 portfolios is also available.


Rick Ferri, CFA created the Core-4 concept. He has been helping investors for 30 years as an adviser, researcher, author, speaker and mentor for advisers. Rick’s books include All About Index Funds, All About Asset Allocation, The ETF Book, The Power of Passive Investing, Serious Money, and forthcoming book, The Education of an Index Investor. He also co-edited The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning and is the host of the Bogleheads on Investing podcast featuring the top movers and shakers in the investment industry.

The Classic Core-4 Portfolio was published in 2007 on Bogleheads.org, the world’s largest not-for-profit on-line forum and investment Wikipedia. There are over 25,000 registered users and over 1 million visits annually. The website is funded in part of the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy, a 503(c)1 organization.

The Classic Core-4 allocation consisted of a total US stock market index fund, total international stock index fund, US real estate index fund, and a broad market bond index fund. It has served investors well over the years. Rick Ferri has since created several alternative Core-4 Portfolios to meet the growing needs of individual investors as they discover the benefits of Core-4 simplicity, transparency, affordability and reliability.

The information on this website is free for public use. Core-4® is a registered trademark of Rick Ferri, LLC. Investing involves risk. Neither Core-4 Investing nor Rick Ferri, LLC guarantees the performance of any fund or portfolio mentioned. From time to time, the owner of Core-4.com may hold positions mentioned on this site.

Portfolio Visualizer is a free online software platform by Silicon Cloud Technologies, LLC is an Austin, TX.  The company specializes in software solutions for investment research and analysis, portfolio management and financial planning with the goal to empower investors and investment managers with better quantitative investment analysis tools. Neither Core-4 Investing or Rick Ferri, LLC guaranties the accuracy of Portfolio Visualizer data.