A Giant Lives On

John Bogle

The investment world lost one of its most influential figures January 16th, as John Clifton Bogle, better known a Jack Bogle, passed away at his home in Pennsylvania.  Jack was 89 years old and responsible for introducing the first index mutual fund for individual investors in 1976.  He built Vanguard from scratch, which ultimately became the world’s largest mutual fund company, and now manages over $5 trillion dollars for investors.

Jack has always been an advocate for the individual investor, refusing to market Vanguard funds through back-end payments to brokers, therefore passing the cost savings on to investors.  Jack has authored some of the most important investment books of my lifetime, including my personal favorite Enough. True Measures of Money, Business and Life (2008).  The book brings together both an outline for building wealth and a deeper meaning for using it to enhance your life and the lives of people around you.  I highly recommend it.

Jack also graced us with so many fantastic quotes that can only be rivaled by Warren Buffet.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack.”
  • “The idea that a bell rings to signal when investors should get into or out of the market is simply not credible. After nearly fifty years in this business, I do not know of anybody who has done it successfully and consistently.”
  • “Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy.”
  • “When there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one.”

Jack had the unique ability to make the complex seem simple.  His confident, clear communication style resonated with millions of investors;  so many so that he even has a cult-like following called Bogleheads (seriously, Google it; they even have an annual conference).

We will miss you Jack Bogle.  We will miss your commentary, your endless fight for the little guy, and your unwavering ability to provide a common sense voice in the middle of a noisy world.  Your impact on the investment world will live on through Vanguard and the changes you brought to the investment industry.

Rest in peace Jack.

Steven Elwell, CFP®
Partner, Chief Investment Officer


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