The things John Bogle taught us: Humility, ethics, and simplicity

So many people have John Bogle stories. For some, it is a chance encounter at a conference and a whispered word of advice. For others, it is a formal meeting.

In one case, it was an airplane day trip and train ride just to meet the man.

Many others never met him, but remember the moment his investment and life philosophies clicked, and suddenly thrust their minds into focus.

When Mr. Bogle, the Vanguard founder who popularized the low-cost index mutual fund and helped put billions more dollars in the pockets of millions of people, died on Wednesday at the age of 89, he inspired an outpouring of memories.

These are the stories of those who learned from Mr. Bogle, a man so many knew simply as Jack – no last name required.

Forthright humility

We may never know how many people were able to leave the full-time work force early after following Mr. Bogle’s instructions, but Christopher DeMers was one of them.

His salary from working in marketing for Intel and good savings habits helped him retire at 51, but so did a big pivot he made years earlier. After encountering Mr. Bogle’s writing, he went from having all of his money in a single, actively managed mutual fund to diversifying his holdings among many Vanguard index funds.

Having worked in technology as that industry’s stocks climbed skyward in the 1990s, Mr. DeMers could have easily talked himself into the delusion that he had some special insight. But he resisted the urge, as Mr. Bogle counseled investors who thought they could outsmart Wall Street.

“If I don’t really know what I’m doing,” Mr. DeMers, 63, said, “I’m not going to beat the market in the long run.”

Read the full story at The New York Times. 


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