My name is Rick Ferri. I’m a financial analyst, investment adviser, and creator of this free website.

I started the Core-4® portfolio concept in 2007 when it was clear to me that simple investment portfolios of a few good funds outperform complex strategies with multiple funds that are often higher cost.  Owning a few low-cost, broadly diversified index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the long-term is easy to implement, simple to maintain, has lower fees, fewer taxes, and results in higher returns.

But if that’s true, why do so many industry professionals favor complex portfolios over simpler ones?

Call me cynical after 30+ years as an investment adviser, but to me, complexity is a marketing gimmick. It’s used by some advisers and fund companies to trick you into thinking you’re missing out if you don’t have a complex strategy. Truth be told, there’s no academic evidence that complex portfolios beat simple ones – the only guarantee is higher cost. I call complexity job security for advisers.

Simple investing is a virtue – the ultimate in portfolio sophistication. A few low-cost, broadly diversified index funds or ETFs held in a portfolio will beat complex strategies almost every time. Why waste your time and money on complexity? Be simple and be rewarded.

Unfortunately, simple is not easy. Building an elegant portfolio of a few good index funds among the bustle of Wall Street can be daunting. The media bombards us with marketing messages designed to push expensive products. Advisers tell us this time is different, and we need their expertise to tactfully maneuver. None of this is true. Simple works – you just need tools to get started.

This free Core-4® website provides the tools you need to hammer down costs and remove complexity. The index funds and ETFs suggested for Core-4 Portfolios™ are widely available through any US brokerage firm and many international firms. Invest in one or invest in more. Use them as-is or add a personal touch. Can’t find anything you like? I can personally help through my hourly fee service at

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


I have been helping investors for 30 years as an adviser, researcher, author, speaker, and mentor for advisers. My books include All About Index Funds, All About Asset Allocation, The ETF Book, The Power of Passive Investing, Serious Money, and a forthcoming book,  A Few Good Funds: The Genious of Simple Investing. I co-edited The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning and am the host of the Bogleheads on Investing podcast featuring the top movers and shakers in the investment industry.

The first Core-4® portfolio was introduced on the forum in 2007 – the Classic Core-4 Portfolio. This strategy offered broad stock, bond, and real estate exposure utilizing only four index funds. The concept proved to be robust and found wide acceptance among investment bloggers and in the print media.  Public agencies also took notice. The Texas State Securities Board features the Classic Core-4 Portfolio in the Texas Investor Guide, Strategies for Investing Wisely and Avoiding Financial Fraud. I have since added 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.

Investing involves risk. Neither I nor Rick Ferri, LLC, guarantees the performance of any fund or portfolio mentioned. I may personally hold positions in the securities mentioned on this site.

Portfolio Visualizer is a free online software platform by Silicon Cloud Technologies, LLC, in Austin, TX.  The company specializes in software solutions for investment research and analysis, portfolio management, and financial planning to empower investors and investment managers with better quantitative investment analysis tools. Neither I nor Rick Ferri, LLC guarantees the accuracy of Portfolio Visualizer data.

Core-4® is a registered trademark of Rick Ferri, LLC. For-profit licensing of Core-4®  is available to fund companies and institutional investors who wish to developed products around this trademark.