In a recent interview, two investment gurus, Burton Malkiel and Charlie Ellis, shared three investing guidelines for those of us who are building or maintaining their retirement nest eggs.


One of the reasons that I also like these two giants is that they both are advocates, as I am, of indexed investing for those of us who are small-fry investors. And, if you are one who invests in a value stock and retains it for the long haul, you are a type of indexed investor, whether you call yourself that or not.


Both Malkiel and Ellis believe that the stock market will not be able to deliver future returns of the magnitude that it has in the past, since the risk free yields that are available in U.S. Treasuries are so low. They feel that a 6 percent return over the next 10 or so years is about what an investor should expect. With that scenario in focus, the costs of investing matter a lot – lower expenses are better. So, if you are investing in a mutual fund that takes 1.5 percent for management and other expenses, that charge represents 25 percent of your long-term return. As a result, no-load or low-load indexed funds may make sense.


Their second tip is to rebalance your investment portfolio regularly, by selling your appreciated stocks and buying back into lower cost stocks of well-run companies. In this way, one can reduce the temptation to take a flyer on the latest hot-tip from your brother-in-law.


I was interested to learn that these gents recommend that investors consider government debt from emerging markets, such as Brazil, where budgets and fiscal policies are relatively strong compared to many developed markets. The two also recommend that yield-seeking investors lighten up on bonds and generate income through shares of companies that are growing dividend payouts.


In that regard, here are nine attractive stocks for the income-conscious among us:


1. 3M Corporation which yields 2.4 percent and has strong financials.


2. Accenture yields 2.1 percent and is a worldwide consulting firm.


3. Automatic Data Processing yields 2.7 percent and is the king of payroll companies.


4. Coca-Cola yields 2.9 percent and has one of the most recognizable brands in the world.


5. Illinois Tool Works yields 2.4 percent and is a global industrial company.


6. Lancaster County yields 3.3 percent and makes condiments and lots of profit.


7. Sysco yields 3.3 percent and is one of the largest U.S. distributors of food.


8. Walgreens yields 2.6 percent and will soon be adding walk-in clinics.


9. WD-40 yields 2.3 percent and is a great buy.


The final tip from our two experts is that investing in indexed funds is the only way that the average investor can hope to keep up with the Wall Street big boys, who have better information, lower investment costs and superior experience. Ellis likened an investor who invests in individual stocks to someone who plays tennis every day against Serena and Venus Williams, since these two women tennis player represent the talent and skill levels of Wall Street’s investment pros. Ellis said, “I don’t think it makes any sense for individuals to take them on.” I couldn’t agree more.


Got a financial planning question for Greg? You may e-mail him at greg@lifesolutionsonline.net


Greg Roberts is a certified financial planner with 35 years of financial and estate planning experience.