Conclusion: The Just Keep Buying Rules

How to win the time traveler’s game

IMAGINE YOU ARE approached by a time traveler who has a keen interest in learning how to get rich. To this end, the time traveler has devised a game that they want you to play, which goes as follows.

Tomorrow you will wake up at some point in the last 100 years with no knowledge of your current life and no knowledge of what the future will hold. However, you will be allowed to give yourself a specific set of financial instructions to follow. Assuming that you want to maximize the probability of building wealth, what would you tell yourself?

While it’s tempting to say things like “Buy Apple” or “Avoid the stock market from September 1929–June 1932,” let’s assume that history won’t repeat itself in the same way. You could go back to 1929 and never experience The Great Depression or to 1976 and Apple never makes it out of the garage.

Given this limited information, what instructions would you give yourself today to take with you into the past? How would you win the time traveler’s game?

My answer to this question has been this book. Given that I don’t know anything about you, my goal has been to maximize the probability of your financial success, regardless of your background. With this in mind, let’s review the specific set of financial instructions I would tell myself to win the time traveler’s game.

These are the Just Keeping Buying rules.

Saving is for the Poor, Investing is for the Rich

Find where you are in your financial journey before deciding where to focus your time and energy. If your expected savings are greater than your expected investment income, focus on savings; otherwise focus on investing. If they are similar, focus on both. (Ch. 1)

Save What You Can

Your income and spending are rarely fixed, so your savings rate shouldn’t be fixed either. Save what you can to reduce your financial stress. (Ch. 2)

Focus on Income, Not Spending

Cutting spending has its limits, but growing your income doesn’t. Find small ways to grow your income today that can turn into big ways to grow it tomorrow. (Ch. 3)

Use The 2x Rule to Eliminate Spending Guilt

If you ever feel guilty about splurging on yourself, invest the same amount of money into income-producing assets or donate to a good cause. This is the easiest way to have worry-free spending. (Ch. 4)

Save at Least 50% of Your Future Raises and Bonuses

A little lifestyle creep is okay, but keep it below 50% of your future raises if you want to stay on track. (Ch. 5)

Debt Isn’t Good or Bad, It Depends on How You Use It

Debt can be harmful in some scenarios and helpful in others. Use debt only when it can be most beneficial for your finances. (Ch. 6)

Only Buy a Home When the Time Is Right

Buying a home will probably be the biggest financial decision you ever make. As a result, you should only do it when it fits into both your finances and your current lifestyle. (Ch. 7)

When Saving for a Big Purchase, Use Cash

Though bonds and stocks may earn you more while you wait, when saving for a wedding, home, or other big purchase, cash is the way to go. (Ch. 8)

Retirement is About More Than Money

Before you decide what to retire from, make sure you know what you want to retire to. (Ch. 9)

Invest to Replace Your Waning Human Capital with Financial Capital

You won’t be able to work forever, so replace your human capital with financial capital before it’s too late. Investing is the best way to accomplish this. (Ch. 10)

Think Like an Owner and Buy Income-Producing Assets

To really grow your income, think like an owner and use your money to buy income-producing assets. (Ch. 11)

Don’t Buy Individual Stocks

Buying individual stocks and expecting to outperform is like flipping a coin. You might succeed, but even if you do, how do you know it wasn’t just luck? (Ch. 12)

Buy Quickly, Sell Slowly

Since most markets are expected to rise over time, buying quickly and selling slowly is the optimal way to maximize your wealth. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, then what you are buying/selling might be too risky for you. (Ch. 13, 18)

Invest As Often As You Can

If you think you can time the market by saving up cash, think again. Even God couldn’t beat dollar-cost averaging. (Ch. 14)

Investing Isn’t About the Cards You Are Dealt, but How You Play Your Hand

You will experience periods of good and bad luck throughout your investing career. However, the most important thing is how you behave over the long term. (Ch. 15)

Don’t Fear Volatility When It Inevitably Comes

Markets won’t give you a free ride without some bumps along the way. Don’t forget that you have to experience some downside if you want to earn your upside. (Ch. 16)

Market Crashes Are (Usually) Buying Opportunities

Future returns are usually the highest following major crashes. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of these crashes when they periodically occur. (Ch. 17)

Fund the Life You Need Before You Risk it for the Life You Want

Though this book is called Just Keep Buying, sometimes it’s okay to sell. After all, what’s the point of building your wealth if you don’t do anything with it? (Ch. 18)

Don’t Max Out Your 401(k) Without Considerable Thought

The annual benefit of a 401(k) can be less than you think. Before you lock up your money for multiple decades, consider what else you might need it for instead. (Ch. 19)

You’ll Never Feel Rich and That’s Okay

No matter how successful you get with your money, there will always be someone with more. If you win the financial game, make sure you don’t lose yourself in the process. (Ch. 20)

Time is Your Most Important Asset

You can always earn more money, but nothing can buy you more time. (Ch. 21)

The Financial Game That We Are Already Playing

Fortunately, we don’t need a time machine to play the time traveler’s game, because we are already playing it. In fact, we’ve been playing it for our entire adult lives.

Every day we have to make financial decisions without knowing what the future holds. And though we don’t have a specific set of instructions to follow, we are constantly searching to find the best information that we can. The fact that you’ve read this book demonstrates that you are trying to find the set of instructions that will work for you.

I can only hope that Just Keep Buying has made the list. Thank you for reading.


MY LIFE HAS been a series of lucky events. The creation of Just Keep Buying is no different. This book would not exist without guidance from hundreds of people over the years. Among those that have been particularly supportive include:

Gherty Galace, for inspiring me to write long, long ago.

Michael Batnick, for believing in me before anyone else.

Morgan Housel, for showing me the way without saying a word.

Craig Pearce, for providing clarity and confidence when I need it most.

I would also like to thank Ben Carlson, James Clear, Carl Joseph-Black, and Jim O’Shaughnessy for their invaluable feedback when putting together this book. Shout out to my wonderful friends, especially the Boston Boiz (Justin, Tyler, and Sam), for their ongoing encouragement.

To the Maggiulli and Montenegro families, they say it takes a village to raise a child and I know I wouldn’t be here without my villagers. I love you all.

Lastly, to everyone who has ever shared or supported my work over the years, thank you. From the depths of my soul, thank you. You have no idea what it means to me.

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!