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Welcome to "Core and Explore" investing! ==> My returns by year <==

My conservative and aggressive "core" index fund portfolios and my Explore Portfolio for added return continue to shine brightly!  ==> Read

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Kirk's Newsletter Explore Portfolio Performance

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Core and Explore: I recommend a "core" portfolio for about 80 to 95% of your funds and an "explore" portfolio made of stocks from my newsletter portfolio for the remainder. My newsletter stocks are volatile by design to add to overall returns, but you need a good core portfolio to sleep well at night. I offer different core portfolios for aggressive & conservative investors. My newsletter portfolios are ALL significantly ahead of where they started 2000 at which I feel is quite an accomplishment given how well I did in 1998 and 1999.

For most investors in the accumulation phase, I recommend a total investment portfolio mix with perhaps 80% in my recommended Aggressive Core portfolio with the remaining 20% of your portfolio in my higher risk (more volatile) "Explore Portfolio."

For most investors in the retirement phase, I recommend a total investment portfolio mix with perhaps 90% to 100% in my recommended Conservative Core portfolio with the remaining zero to 10% of your portfolio in my higher risk (more volatile) "Explore Portfolio."

Annual Returns By Year - Total and Annualized Returns [1]
Year VFINX Vanguard S&P500 Index Fund [2]
Kirk's Recommended 80% Core Aggressive + 20% Explore 95% Core Conservative + 5% Explore BRKA Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Fund [3]
Core Portfolio
Explore Portfolio
From 9/30/98 20.9%


1999 21.1% 12.84% 21.0% 117.0% 40.2% 18.0% (19.9%)
2000 (9.1%) 0.5% (6.0%) (11.5%) (7.1%) (0.1%) 26.6%
2001 (12.0%) (1.2%) (7.0%) 1.3% (5.4%) (1.1%) 6.5%
2002 (22.2%) (5.1%) (13.1%) (21.2%) (14.7%) (5.9%) (3.8%)
2003 28.5% 19.1% 28.2% 76.7% 37.9% 22.0% 15.8%
2004 10.7% 9.6% 12.9% (4.2%) 9.4% 8.9% 5.9%
2005 4.8% 5.6% 7.4% 13.2% 8.6% 5.9% (0.7%)
2006 15.6% 11.0% 15.0% 12.6% 14.5% 11.1% 23.3%
2007 5.4% 6.5% 6.3% (10.3%) 3.0% 5.7% 28.7%
2008 (36.4%) (17.1%) (29.9%) (34.6%) (30.8%) (18.0%) (31.8%)
2009 26.5% 18.4% 26.2% 33.5% 27.6% 19.1% 2.7%
2010 14.91% 8.93% 14.25% 20.4% 15.5% 9.5% 21.42%
2011 1.97%
2012 15.8% 8.8% 13.6% 7.1% 12.3% 8.7% 16.8%
8.5% 5.9%
(0.16%) 1.53%
0.18% 0.35%
(4.5%) (2.6%) (5.2%) (4.8%) (5.1%) (2.7%) 2.8%
18.2% 9.81% 15.4%  19.2%
16.2%  10.3%   2.4% 
(18.2%) (9.15%) (15.6%) (14.0%) (15.3%) (9.40%) 4.00%
Total Return since 1/1/1999 507%
565% 344% 670%
APR since 1/1/99
Total Return since 9/30/98 632.5%


APR since 9/30/98


Avg. % in Stocks 100%
50-80% 76%

[1] The performance data featured represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate; therefore, you may have a gain or loss when you sell your shares. Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance data quoted.

The S&P Index Fund is the largest holding in both my Core Portfolios. 

[3] Like Warren Buffett's BRKA, I don't beat the S&P500 every year but my long-term results crush it.

APR = "Average Annual Return"

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Great Portfolio Results!
The table below show my results vs the S&P500 since inception with the S&P500 and core portfolios normalized so they are all equal at the start of 1999. Why are other newsletters afraid to show you this data? The obvious answer is they are ashamed of their results and/or have something to hide.

My Explore portfolio inception was 9/30/98 with $100,000
80% Core Aggressive+ 20%Explore 95% Core Conservative+ 5% Explore
Portfolio Value as of Conservative
Core Portfolio
Explore Portfolio 100% in VFINX



12/31/1998 $156,820 $156,820 $156,820 $156,820 $156,820 $156,820
12/31/1999 $176,960 $189,760 $340,221 $189,862 $219,852 $185,123
12/31/2000 $177,923 $178,443 $301,245 $172,661 $204,325 $185,019
12/31/2001 $175,728 $165,896 $305,132 $151,907 $193,359 $182,971
12/31/2002 $166,776 $144,151 $240,443 $118,259 $164,885 $172,176
12/31/2003 $198,694 $184,859 $424,949 $151,963 $227,440 $210,086
12/31/2004 $217,823 $208,631 $407,035 $168,284 $248,921 $228,857
12/31/2005 $229,922 $224,169 $460,719 $176,311 $270,324 $242,445
12/31/2006 $255,183 $257,872 $518,631 $203,886 $309,634 $269,273
12/31/2007 $271,862 $274,132 $465,249 $214,876 $318,879 $284,607
12/31/2008 $225,286 $192,180 $304,500 $136,618 $220,580 $233,370
12/31/2009 $266,679 $242,437 $406,441 $172,808 $281,497 $278,010
12/31/2010 $290,496 $276,993 $489,492 $198,574 $325,100 $304,438
12/31/2011 $290,708 $274,597 $470,378 $189,185 $320,311 $304,055
$363,413 $394,041 $622,227 $309,987 $452,363 $381,224
Total Return since 12/31/98
466% 892% 507% 565% 344%
APR since 12/31/98 5.9% 7.2% 9.6% 7.5% 7.9% 6.1%
Total Return since 9/30/98


APR since 9/30/98


Avg. % in Stocks
50 to 80%

  1. All my portfolios use the significant amount in cash to buy when the markets are down and take profits when the markets are up for significant added return over buy-and-hold of the S&P500 index fund.
  2. Exceptional stock picking in my explore portfolio has allowed significant out-performance over the long-term while the cash offers protection during the unexpected downturns that you do not get with 100% in stocks.
  3. My "5% Core Conservative+ 5% Explore" recommendation has matched the APR of the S&P 500 since 12/31/98 with about half the risk due to contributions from my "Explore Portfolio," regular rebalancing and the roughly 49% cash/fixed-income position! 
==>Bottom Line: For one of the most difficult periods in investing history, my newsletter "Explore Portfolio" shined with less risk than having 100% in stocks!!
Don't Miss out!!

  1. My Explore portfolio inception was 9/30/98 with $100,000 but it was not widely circulated until late December 1998 so I start "documented returns" from the start of 1999. My average annual returns would be even better vs the competition if I added the 56.8% from 1998.
  2. The returns for "80% Core Aggressive + 20% Explore" and "95% Core Conservative + 5% Explore" assume annual rebalancing between core and explore weightings every year on January 1.
Testimonials about Kirk's Investment Newsletter (Contact them via Facebook)
  • Steve Thompson: "If my better than average returns continue I'll be able to retire at a higher standard of living and sooner than I originally thought. Kirk's newsletter for me has been a true life changing event."

  • David Gratson: "Kirk's understanding of investing, and in particular the technology of which he recommends, is excellent. He understands how the small investor needs to be wary of headline information, and he does his homework to value companies and decide when to buy or sell. I have also learned a lot about fixed income (bonds etc) investing from Kirk's newsletter, and that understanding is particularly important as I age. I think you would find Kirk's newsletter a great complement to your investment process and I highly recommend subscribing to his newsletter."

  • Steve, David and many others, like Steve Merrick, Carol Sun, and Roberta Hamilton, have volunteered to personally vouch for me. Just ask and I will put you in contact with them via email or telephone to verify my results are real.

  • More Testimonials or ask directly people who post on or like my Facebook Newsletter Page
My "Newsletter Explore Portfolio" is designed for those who wish to add an aggressive growth component to their diversified "core and explore" investment portfolio. My newsletter stands on its own as a great value even if you don't want to buy individual stocks and want to stick with my core portfolios.

Besides great results, I provide personal individualized response to all of my subscribers. Every e-mail you send me, you will get a response, no exceptions. That is perhaps the most rewarding part of my service and I am proud that I've made friends with a great many of my long time subscribers. I truly believe in customer service and making my subscribers feel they are getting their money's worth. The truth is I love helping people learn to make money!

Don't miss out on my next "buy more of Stock X" email or my "Take profits NOW" email ==> subscribe NOW!

Too good to be true? I DOCUMENT every buy and sell I've made in my newsletter since it started, including commissions. I update this buy and sell list for subscribers every month so all my dirty laundry (bad picks) are never hidden. This is a real, documented record that I invite you to verify after you subscribe and have my list of ALL buys and sells since inception on an Excel spreadsheet backed up with Quicken to verify my math. If you find I have made a major return error, say 1% or more on any year but not something like forgetting to credit my portfolio with a dividend, then I'll happily refund all your money plus give you $100 for finding the error AND let you have the subscription for free for a year. I believe my accuracy is far better than 0.1% so I feel safe making this offer.

A subscription to "Kirk's Online Newsletter" is only $180 a year ($175 if you pay by check)

Compare other newsletters to my results

Did your current investment newsletter tell you to raise cash by taking profits near the market top in 2007?
  • Mine did! I took profits to increase the cash position of my most aggressive "explore portfolio" to 30%.
  • See the October 2007 "Take Profits" page from my newsletter
Did your current investment newsletter tell you to use cash raised when the markets were near their highs to buy a blue chip DOW stock when the markets were at their lowest levels in 13 years?
  • Mine did! When the markets made a 13 year low, I had cash in the portfolio and told my subscribers to use some of it to buy some General Electric (GE Charts) shares at $6.76.
  • click to view PDF file: GE March 4 Buy Alert at $6.76
Did your current investment newsletter tell you to use cash raised from when the markets were near their highs to buy a speculative, very high growth telecom growth stock when the markets were at their lowest levels in 13 years and that telecom stock was making an all time low?
  • Mine did! I had cash in the portfolio and told my subscribers to use it to buy some some Finisar (FNSR Charts) shares at $0.24.
  • click to view PDF file: Finisar Mar 3 Buy Alert at 24�
  • Finisar had a 1:8 reverse split so the split adjusted buy price is $1.92. See what it is today FNSR Charts
More about my investment letter:
  • It has multiple stocks to take advantage of electronics manufacturing in China, solar energy, natural gas and the green house gas reduction move to electric automobiles.

  • I took extensive profits in my technology stocks in the Spring/Summer of 2000 and bought Banks, GNMAs and Strip Zero bonds with the profit taking dollars. I also hold significant cash reserves. The strip zero bonds returned over 50% and the financial stocks did over 20% while the tech stocks crashed! This allowed me to keep many of my gains in the bear market then reapply the cash when the market was low in 2002 and 2003.

  • I always have a risky stock or two for a few percent of the portfolio for those that like to swing for the fences. They often go down 50% or more before going higher (or going lower) so I move money into these in steps at buying points that I share in the newsletter and I often take profits quickly should we get a huge bounce.
  • For example: WCOM was one stock in my portfolio that I lost money going down in the 2000/2002 bear market but I bought 5,000 shares at 7˘ and quickly sold 1,500 shares at 25˘ on a bounce so I'd lock in breaking even on that trade since the bounce happened in a day. Eventually I sold those remaining WCOM shares at 21˘ and moved on. WCOM hurt my performance in 2002 but I still managed to beat the S&P500 even with that bad stock pick. In my newsletter, I explain what I learned from bad picks and how to move forward. Even losses can be a learning experience if handled honestly. I publish a list monthly of all stocks I've owned and what I learned from the losers.

  • I use mutual funds and cash to reduce risk and take profits when appropriate which I explain in the newsletter. I also give BUY, SELL and "Take Profits" target prices for stocks I am looking at.

  • To match my newsletter stock portfolio performance, subscribers would have to buy exactly what I hold going forward but most just use my ideas and incorporate my methods into their individual portfolios. Of course, they won't get the exact same results I list.
Some say I can not get great results like I have done without taking disproportionate levels of risk. My portfolio beta (currently about 0.97) is much less than that of QQQ yet my results are far, far better. I hope I proved them wrong and my results say I am doing a good job of it!

I have a fairly diverse list of companies from many industries (semiconductor capital equipment, biotechnology, telecommunication, banking, shipping and energy exploration). When the Nasdaq was going to the moon in 1999 and 2000, I didn't add net money to technology but took profits and put them into beaten down areas like banks, bonds and a strip zero coupon fund that I took profits in just after the 9/11 attack for a 50% gain! This taking profits and moving the money to beaten down areas is a proven strategy to reduce risk while still getting good gains. I still hit my share of duds (that is part of investing - all honest advisors have losers) but the overall results are what count and those results have been fantastic (if I may humbly say so).

This portfolio uses the asset allocation model I discuss in the article "Make Money In A Flat Market With Asset Allocation & Market Volatility"

Don't miss out on my next "buy more of Stock X" email or my "Take profits NOW" email ==> subscribe NOW!

Kirk Lindstrom (me) - a GARP or "Growth At a Reasonable Price" investor "who made a fortune in the market" and is now teaching others my techniques via my newsletter. Any changes to my portfolio or my thinking goes out to subscribers between issues via email so they are kept up to date.

I currently write about investing on my blog 'Kirk's Market Thoughts", at Facebook's Investing for the Long Term, Seeking Alpha and various other web sites and blogs on a less regular basis

I wrote for 10 years at "Investing - Personal Finance" at which eventually failed after I left.

More: I Graduated from U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears!) with a degree in Electrical Engineering and computer science in 1979. I went straight to Hewlett Packard to work in the R&D lab of the Optical Communication Division (Now a division of Agilent) and and spent 20 years designing Optical Transceivers and leading design teams. I like both design and leadership so I did both. I was not pleased with market timers and mutual funds that I owned that sold out at the bottom after the 1987 correction so I taught myself how to invest. I did well and made roughly 30% compounded between 1992 and 1998 in my personal account.
More (cont) After 20 years, I semi retired from HP and now work for myself while helping and teaching others. Even after the great Bear markets of 2000/2002 and 2007/2009, my personal portfolio is beating the S&P500 by a wide margin and ended 2016 near an all time high. This is a portfolio that funded my lifestyle for a decade while I built my online writing business. (It is very hard to give accurate return numbers since I now spend some of the gains my portfolio generates.) I am even prouder of how many long-term subscribers are living comfortable lives and offer to recommend me when needed.

I still do some engineering but mostly I help others and manage my own investments to fund my lifestyle. In the early 2000s, I consulted for a local investment firm as a part time stock analyst. I may even go back to work for someone else someday if the stock prices get low enough to tempt me for the stock options and I find something really interesting to do. With my asset level, it is nice to be able to work when and where I want to and not be forced to take a job just to put food on the table and pay my expensive Los Altos, California lifestyle.

Don't Miss Out!

Unlike Other Newsletters, I discuss many stocks in every issue and usually make one or more buys each month so new readers are current on at least one stock that is a good deal. I send out email alerts when I change my thinking and I send out emails on the same day I make a buy or sell so others can follow the next day, or even that day if there is enough time.

Don't miss out on my next "buy more of Stock X" email or my "Take profits NOW" email ==> subscribe NOW!

A subscription to "Kirk's Online Newsletter" is $180 a year. ($175 if you pay by check)

Higher returns from the stock market are had at a price of higher volatility. I like to think my stock selection can help you beat the "safe and sane" method of index investing. My advice is to use my newsletter stock portfolio for the "explore" part of your "Core and explore" portfolio rather than a managed aggressive growth mutual fund.

KEY Articles

Article about Kirk:: "Taking the Bull by the horns: Local investor quintuples portfolio"
A few, minor errors in the article are corrected here.

You can get a large sample of my writing at my blog, Kirk's Market Thoughts, and I especially recommend these key articles:

Click for FREE sample of Kirk Lindstrom's Investment

best regards
Kirk Lindstrom
Editor of "Kirk's Investment Newsletter"
New Articles -
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Older Articles: Article Archives @ "Kirk's Market Thoughts" and Seeking Alpha

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this newsletter is not intended to constitute financial advice, and is not a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security. This newsletter is strictly informational and educational and is not to be construed as any kind of financial advice, investment advice or legal advice. Copyright Kirk Lindstrom 1998-2024.

Remember that the past is no guarantee of the future but my past results have been excellent. I hope to continue to outperform but make no promises. I currently (1/11/23) own positions in ALL of the securities in the Explore Portfolio but I have no investment banking relationship with any of the companies. Note: "CORE & Explore" was coined by and is a registered trademark of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Schwab protects the trademark I helped "conceive" and I can use it as long as I post that note)

Refund Policy: Use PayPal to pay $180 and if after two issues you don't like it, then I'll refund you $120 so your risk is $60 (two issues at $25 plus $10 misc. fees.) If that is too much to risk for good advice, then you probably should stick to the simple, FREE portfolio I recommend which is 120% less your age in a total stock market index fund at Vanguard (VTSMX) or Fidelity, then the balance in a total bond fund (like VBMFX) or cash (see my newsletter for my specific recommendation.)   In my newsletter, I offer a suggested, “three bucket” fixed income portfolio for the fixed income side of your asset allocation that allows for more "rebalancing gains" as well as takes advantage of some bond market timing for special occasions.. 
 Note: One Refund Per Lifetime.