Rule #1

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Payback Time

"... How to buy quality stocks at a discount."
RICH KARLGAARD, publisher, Forbes magazine

"Indeed, Rule #1 rules."
GENE MARCIAL, senior writer, Businessweek

Follow Town's simple, time-tested precepts, and even unsophisticated investors will leave most mutual fund managers in the dust."
ARTHUR LEVITT - former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Phil Town Predicts Stock Market Crash with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC.

Other Videos of Phil Town in the media

Phil Town On Closing Bell talking about Payback Time with Maria Bartiromo

Phil Town On Closing Bell talking about Payback Time with Maria Bartiromo

Phil Town on CNBC's

Phil Town on CNBC's "Closing Bell" live on the NYSE trading floor.

Phil Town on MSNBC's

Phil Town on MSNBC's "Your Business" with host JJ Ramberg and Mike Michalowicz.

About Phil Town and Rule One Investing

I was very fortunate in my life to learn to make money. I met someone who took me in and taught me the one tried and true formula for wealth - Rule #1- and I started broke and made $1 million in five years.

Once I had money, I could pursue the things that interested me. I’ve owned a log home in the woods in Jackson Hole and an apartment in New York City but eventually found my favorite place to live is on our horse farm a few miles south of Atlanta.

I love horses and riding adventures so I’ve ridden across Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau and Masai Mara, high into the Himalaya in Kashmir, into the New Zealand mountains and across the Navajo lands of Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly.

I love snowboarding so I’ve heli-boarded the Southern Alps, Tetons, Cascades and Rubies. I love motorcycles so I rode from Panama to San Francisco and New York to LA and a thousand other places.

Because I teach others how to invest, I got to be on stage with Presidents and Prime Ministers and do TV shows with MSNBC, CNBC and Fox. I got to write two books and both made #1 on the NY Times best-seller list and are in 14 languages.

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Phil Town

How to Invest

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Buy Payback Time

About Payback Time

Phil Town’s first book, the #1 New York Times bestseller Rule #1, was a guide to stock trading for people who believe they lack the knowledge to trade. But because many people aren’t ready to go from mutual funds directly into trading without understanding investing—for the long term – he created Payback Time.

Too often, people see long-term investing as “mutual fund contributing” – otherwise known as “long-term hoping.” But the sad truth is that mutual fund investors are, to a stunning degree, pinning their hopes on an institution that is hopeless. It turns out that only 4% of fund managers consistently beat the S&P 500 index over the long term, which means that 96% of fund investors see a smaller return on their nest egg than a chimpanzee who simply buys stocks in the 500 biggest companies in America and watches what happens.

But it’s worse than that. The net effect of hitching your wagon to mutual funds is that over a lifetime they’ll fritter away as much 60% of your nest egg in fees. Once you understand how funds engineer this, you’ll rush to invest on your own.

Payback Time’s risk-free approach is called “stockpiling” and it’s how billionaires get rich in bad markets. It’s a set of rules for investing (not trading but investing) in the right businesses at the right time -- rules that will ensure you make the big money.

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Buy Rule #1

About Rule #1

Before I became “Phil Town, teacher of investing principles to more than 500,000 people a year,” I was a lot like you: someone who viewed individual stock investing as way too hard to do successfully. As a guy who barely made a living as a river guide, I considered the whole process pretty impenetrable, and I was convinced that to do it right you had to make it a full-time job. Me, I was more interested in having full-time fun.

So I was tempted to do what you’re probably doing right now: letting some mutual fund manager worry about growing your nest egg. Let me tell you why that decision could one day make you absolutely miserable.

The fact is, because of natural market cycles, the mutual fund industry is likely to soon be facing twenty years of flat returns. That means that if you’ve got your nest egg tucked away in funds—especially the type found in most 401ks—your egg won’t get much bigger than it is now. Translation: Get ready for a retirement filled with lots of cold cuts, plenty of quality TV-watching time, and a place to live that’s too small to accommodate your visiting kids.

In this book I’ll show you how I turned $1,000 into $1 million in only five years, and then proceeded to make many millions more. I came to investing as a person who wasn’t great at math, possessed zero extra cash, and wanted a life—not an extra three hours of work to do every day.

Fortunately, I was introduced to The Rule.

Rule #1, as famed investor Warren Buffett will tell you, is don’t lose money. Through an intriguing process that I’ll clarify in this book, not losing money results in making more money than you ever imagined. What it comes down to is buying shares of companies only when the numbers—and the intangibles—are on your side. If that sounds too good to be true, it’s because the mind-set I’ll be introducing you to leads not to bets but to certainties. Believe me, if there were anything genius-level about this, I’d still be a river guide collecting unemployment much of the year.

Part of the secret is thinking of yourself as a business owner rather than a stock investor. Part is taking advantage of today’s new Internet tools, which drastically reduce the “homework factor.” (We’re talking a few minutes, tops.) Part is knowing the only five numbers that really count in valuing a potential investment. And part—maybe the most important part—is using the risk-free Rule #1 approach to consistently pay a mere 50 cents to buy a dollar’s worth of a business.

What I won’t waste your time with is fluff: a lot of vague parables reminding you of what you already know and leaving you exactly where you started. This is the real deal, folks: a start-to-finish, one-baby-step-at-a-time approach that will allow you to retire ten years sooner than you planned, with more creature comforts than you ever imagined.

Phil's Calculators

I've made calculating growth rates super easy for you in case you don't want to use the Rule of 72 or go through the process of finding the best rate to forecast a company's earnings. Using my calculator you'll find the earnings per share growth rate, book value per share growth rate, cash flow growth rate, sales growth rate, ROIC, and finally the sticker price and margin of safety price.


Phil, I will make this short. I had to tell you I am so beyond thrilled. I have wanted to get my financial life straightened out for a long time... I know men do not like the mushy stuff, but I have to say, if it weren't for you I wouldn't be doing any of this. Thank you so very, very, much. It is life changing.

- Kim

Thank you , Phil for empowering the little guy.

- Chuck Livonia, MI

I've been in financial services for more that thirty years, licensed as a series 7 stock broker and series 66 financial advisor. I've never seen a system this good before. Bottom line, it works! I even quit my old firm and moved to one where I could use this system for my clients who are also delighted with the results.

- Steve, Financial Advisor

Phil. Gotta thank you again for getting me into this stuff! Words can't thank you enough.

- DD

Count Don and me in for the "lifetime" program please!!

- Sheri, Genisys Group IBM Premier Business Partner

Your style of teaching is great. So easy for anyone to grasp and relate to. You are the "every man" that can touch every man because you are so normal and relatable. My husband is so excited and is a true believer now.

- Sincerely, Deidra

I was an executive in 2 semiconductor IPO's, I risked a lot but was rewarded well (the American dream if you knew my humble beginnings). I would like to thank you again for this amazing experience. I read and save every commentary as well as listen to every session (live or taped) for the last 18 months. I have gained the courage to do my own investing and I have fun doing it. I lacked confidence and experience, observing and learning from you in class has helped me tremendously. I really appreciate your overall market perspectives and honesty. I feel like a fisherman that finally learned how to fish or a farmer that can raise his own food. I can't begin to express my gratitude.

- Best Regards, Rick

If it wasn't for listening to you, following the tools and the methods you teach, I would be sitting here continuing to worry about my bleak future.

- Huge fan of yours, Pamela

You have no idea how much you've changed my life!!! I am now almost debt free and my life is attracting wealth. I studied, studied, studied and learned to read the charts - thank you from the bottom of my greateful heart.

- Cheryl

My "professionals" have deemed buy and hold is the way to go, even after losing 33% of my savings. NO longer will I tolerate that advice. Sure would've been nice if I had that CNBC segment with Maria B and Manny when you said "GET OUT".

- Jim

Phil is the single best investment ANYONE can make if they intend to move their own dollars around. His insight into how money moves in and out of sectors/stocks in the market is priceless. Absolutely eye opening! His take on buying a dollar for 50 cents is priceless. Is this for everyone... absolutely not. Can this be beneficial and life changing... A RESOUNDING YES. Thanks to Phils advice about value investing and the tools to retrieve data very quickly, I will be ready to retire approx 10 years earlier than I ever thought possible.

- Tonypro

Hi Phil Town, There is a lof of unrest here in Europe as nobody really seems to understand where the journey goes. I really hope I will NOT - like last time - miss your wakening call when we should get out. By they way, I am very grateful for your precious advice, your clear words and the big piece of hope I experienced when I read Rule #1 for the very first time. It really was like a revelation to me and it is not exaggerated to state it changed my life (and that of my family) completely from apprehensive to confident. Thanks a lot and take care!

- Markus

To say the least, I wouldn't have the understanding or more importantly, the confidence to invest as I am now without the help of the real pros like you that have inspired us so much. I would not have understood how to find one dollar worth of value for 50 cents in stocks.

- Layne, Project Manager

Hi Phil, I am glad to see that you are having these workshops because this is without a doubt the most powerful thing that I have learned from you since I learned how to value companies. My results so far have been totally outrageous. I could kiss you for teaching me this.

- Watt

I tried paper trading for 6 months using his method and only have one regret and that is I wish like hell it was real money. GOD BLESS AMERICA and thanks Phil...


I am 22 years old and so far have been very successful. It was great gettting out completely and watching the market plummet until I bought back in again.

- Dave

Thank God for Phil Town! I spent years trying to find someone who could break it down into an easy to understand method of valuing a company. I could never buy a stock previously because I didn't know what a good price or a bad price. Thanks for helping many of us figure that out Phil, and tell Melissa we thank her for her patience while you dole out some wisdom.

- Clay (

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Why I built the Town Toolbox

The Town Toolbox was built to help people learn to invest in the tradition of Warren Buffett, Ben Graham and other great ‘value’ investors, investors who have consistently significantly exceeded the market return and who follow the following basic investing truths:

  • Rationality is the critical skill required for great investing results
  • Understanding the business and its value is the key to low risk, high return investing
  • Loving the businesses you buy and matching your values to your money will help build a better world and great investing returns
  • Events drive fear in the Big Guys and then the Big Guys occasionally create opportunities for the Little Guys like us
  • Reducing basis with DIVs, DERs and BBs reduces market risk, increases the CAGR and can quickly produce 20%+ dividend returns
  • Story-telling about why you’re buying the business is a critical ritual in the community of Rule One investors

R.U.L.E.R.S. - A community of like-minded, supportive ‘little guy’ investors headed up by hedge fund manager and NY Times #1 best-selling author, Phil Town, who invest witha focus on Warren Buffet's investing Rule #1: "Don't Lose Money".

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