15. Farewell, John C. Bogle
Posted on January 10, 2019
Today’s Letter from Grandma Sylvia
In Memory of
John C. Bogle
May 8, 1929-January 16, 2019
♦Founder of The Vanguard Group, one of the world’s largest investment management companies
♦Pioneer in providing index mutual funds with low expenses for individual investors
♦Pioneer in founding Vanguard, owned by its mutual fund shareholders
I was drowning. My husband had died. In both calm and stormy markets, I was adrift, not knowing how to invest.
Mr. Bogle changed that. He provided a way for me to invest with comfort. He made inexpensive what had been expensive. He made simple what could have been difficult.
“Life is difficult,” wrote M, Scott Peck in 1978 in the book, The Road Less Traveled. Investing was difficult for many before Mr. Bogle started Vanguard and low-cost index funds.
Like countless millions, I’m an ordinary person who doesn’t want to become a financial expert but would like to invest with some assurance of getting my fair share of the market rewards. I can do that with index funds.
Here’s a quote about index funds from Bernard Malkiel, professor of economics emeritus at Princeton University.
“It’s true that when you buy an index fund, you give up the chance to boast at the golf course that you picked the best performing stock or mutual fund. That’s why some critics claim that indexing relegates your results to mediocrity. In fact, you are virtually guaranteed to do better than average. It’s like going out on the golf course and shooting every round at par. How many golfers can do better than that? Index funds provide a simple low-cost solution to your investing problems.”
In the days following Mr. Bogle’s death, many people have written tributes to him. Here are a few:
“If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands down choice should be Jack Bogle.”
“Index funds, overall, have delivered for shareholders a result that has been better than Wall Street professionals as a whole,” Buffett said at the 2017 (shareholders) meeting. The index fund has put “tens and tens of billions into their pockets. And those numbers are going to be hundreds and hundreds of billions over time.”
“You cannot measure the quality of a man by the size of his bank account, but in John Bogle’s case, you can measure it by the size of your bank account. No one on this planet has done more to increase the lot of individual investors in the last 50 years than John C. Bogle, founder and former chairman of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world’s first index mutual fund.”
Rick Ferri, Forbes Magazine
“He was pro low-cost products of course, but he was also against so much of the complicated gobbledygook that Wall Street puts out. Hearing his philosophy was an incredible gift.”
Christine Benz, Morningstar
“I remember Jack for many, many reasons, but most of all for his optimism and the fact that he really believed in helping the small investor and ensuring that that investor could have that great outcome that he or she was looking for.”
Kunal Kapoor, Morningstar
“Investing in index funds is the equivalent of being a “scratch golfer” and shooting every round at par without even having to practice, buy expensive golf clubs, or take lessons from pros. And there’s more: you also get the additional benefit of paying much lower green fees (or private club fees) than most golfers who do practice incessantly, invest in the best golf equipment and pay to take private lessons hoping they could someday come close to being a “scratch golfer”! Sign me up for that deal! “
Mark J. Perry, AEI.
Finally, here’s a link to a Vanguard web site with photographs and a history of Mr. Bogle’s achievements.
In this letter to you, my readers, I add my farewell to Mr. Bogle as he makes his last voyage through uncharted waters.