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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:30 am 
Professional TSP Advisor
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Joined: Jan 02, 2009
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My name is Alex Strashny. I publish the Peaceful Gains TSP newsletter. TSPking has graciously allowed my service to be tracked in the brand new Professional FantasyTSP. In this post, I will tell you a bit about myself and about my free newsletter.

How the newsletter got started. I started working as a statistician in the federal government a few years ago. I actually started on the job while still working on my Ph.D. dissertation. I would work at the office during the day, then come home and work on the dissertation during evenings and on weekends. In 2007, I had finally finished my dissertation and received my Ph.D.

After my attention was freed from writing the dissertation, I started thinking about the Thrift Savings Plan. As the amount of money I had in the TSP began to increase due to regular contributions, I started thinking more and more seriously about how to invest it correctly. I wanted to know exactly how much of my money should be invested in each TSP fund at all times. I looked at a lot of investment advice. After studying it, I typically found that the advice made little sense to me. At first, I thought that the investment advice that I was seeing didn't make sense simply because it was popularized and thus simplified. I thought that if I just read more "serious" articles, I would find in-depth advice that made sense.

Though I didn't find the answers even in the more serious articles, during this search I did realize two things. First, when it comes to investment and trading advice, the old saying is true — those who know don't tell, and those who tell don't know. Second, I am a Ph.D. statistician. The question of how to invest well cannot be that difficult from a statistical point of view. I should be able to figure it out on my own. And if I can't, how can so-called financial experts?

These two realizations were very empowering. I sat down and started writing things out. I wrote down in mathematical terms what the problem actually was. I then used the math and statistics that I knew to solve it. I wrote a computer program to apply my equations to financial data. I tested the program on actual financial data to verify that it produced good returns. By mid-2008, I had solved the problem.

Right away, I began using my asset allocation method for allocating my own TSP retirement savings. At the same time, I would hear from people about how they were trying to follow some popular investment advice (which was telling them to hold on to stocks), and yet, they were still losing their retirement savings. I thus saw a great win-win opportunity. I could genuinely help people make better investment decisions and at the same time make money for myself. I know math, statistics, and computer programming, which many other people don't. This allows me to give people useful advice that they would not otherwise receive. In October 2008, Peaceful Gains was born. Peaceful Gains TSP, its first newsletter, was launched right away.

About the newsletter. Right now the newsletter is completely free, without any obligation to continue the subscription when / if I start charging for it.

The allocations in the newsletter are determined in a conceptually simple way. I pick the mix of funds that maximizes the expected returns while not exceeding a fixed maximum risk. Return and risk -- that's all I look at. The trick is knowing how to mathematically define these quantities, and then how to find the mix of funds that satisfies the above condition.

The result is also straightforward. My strategy achieves consistently high long-term returns with smaller drawdowns. It performs well, both when stocks are going up, and when they are not.

The newsletter actually gives two allocations -- Conservative and Balanced. That's why in the Professional FantasyTSP box you see both Peaceful-C (for Conservative) and Peaceful-B (for Balanced). You pick the allocation that's right for you. The only difference between our two allocations is that the maximum allowable risk is lower for the Conservative allocation. In other words, the Conservative allocation is safer. On the other hand, the Balanced allocation has a higher expected return. As a result, the Balanced allocation has also had higher historical returns.

All responses welcome. My goal is to create the best financial advisory newsletters possible. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do let me know me, either in the forums, through PM, or through email. And please let your friends and coworkers know about my newsletter.

Happy trading, and have a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

Disclaimer. Peaceful Gains, LLC is not a registered investment advisor and does not provide any individualized advice. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Future accuracy and profitable results cannot be guaranteed.

Copyright © 2008-2009 Peaceful Gains, LLC. All rights reserved. By using our website (peacefulgains.com) or our newsletters, you agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use.

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AGG (F Fund)
iShares Lehman Aggregate Bond (AGG)

S&P 500 (C Fund)

DWCPF (S Fund)
Dow Jones U.S. Completion Total Stock Market Index (^DWCPF)

EFA (I Fund)
iShares MSCI EAFE Index (EFA)