Over the years in posts at the Random Roger blog I’ve talked about the extent to which many people interested enough in markets and investing to seek out blog content on the subject are likely the people of influence in their social and family circles for investing and other financial literacy issues.

In the last month I have had three such conversations; one with a family member, one with a fraternity brother and the other with one of the other firefighters on our department (I have been very actively volunteering as a firefighter since 2003).

The first two conversations were along the lines the most basic elements of portfolio construction in terms of equity exposure versus fixed income and how an emergency cash balance fits in. I discussed the extent to which every so often the stock market goes down a lot scaring the hell out of a lot of people but that it always comes back–the variable being how long it takes to come back. I also talked about how certain bond funds will likely get crushed if interest rates ever go back to normal levels.

Each of these two folks wants different levels of engagement with markets but neither wants very active engagement in terms of time they spend following what they own or the number of trades they need to make.

In terms of minimal involvement each of these folks could use one or two core equity funds and one fixed income fund that one way or another could spare them from bond market carnage if it ever comes.

You might not choose that type of portfolio for yourself or recommend that type of portfolio for clients but it can get the job done depending on the investor’s needs. Neither of the people I spoke to ever brought up beating the market which is interesting. Maybe this was coincidental but both simply wanted their money to grow and wanted to avoid any obvious landmines (if there are any).

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