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My investing breakthrough, thanks to the late John Bogle

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When someone makes a significant change in life, it’s not always clear how they arrived at the change. The circumstances, often including the stressors, environmental factors, or that “final straw” are sometimes difficult to recognize in real time. Years later, clarity often arrives.

My personal finance influencer

As far as my hindsight is concerned, John Bogle delivered the personal finance advice that really changed my outlook. His book, titled The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns, completely changed the way I viewed money, the stock market, and saving in general.

For those of you who don’t know, John Bogle is considered the founder of the index fund, which he introduced in 1976 after a few stops at other firms. At the time, this drew outrage, as large brokerage firms claimed his actions were “un-American”. Mr. Bogle pushed forward, and in 1977 he made moves to allow individuals to purchase securities directly, lowering overall fees and removing a huge burden to investing. He’s always been known as a champion of the individual investor, and every action throughout his career shows this.

John C. Bogle died in early 2019 at the Age of 89. The press release which highlights his life can be found at Vanguard.

Investing made simple

Mr. Bogle had one goal in life: to give everyone the opportunity to receive their own share of market returns. That’s right, he didn’t set out to make everyone rich, or teach people how to hit the “home run”. Instead, he taught investors how to ensure they weren’t left behind. This is beyond honorable, and because of Mr. Bogle’s actions, individuals today have unprecedented access to stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds at a low cost.

The philosophy

The simplicity of Mr. Bogle’s philosophy is what really stands out. He’s not advising individuals to purchase tons of individual stocks, day trade, or assemble complex tax-avoidance strategies that need to be monitored daily. What he is doing is encouraging index fund investing which will guarantee your share of market returns. Who wouldn’t want their rightful share?

For me, I invest in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (Ticker: VTI) at Fidelity. And by invest, I mean that I purchase more every single chance I get and plan to continue doing so until 2044, when I finally pull the retirement cord. This fund tracks the total stock market by investing in 4,076 stocks which mimic the landscape of the total market. Would you rather buy 4,076 stocks individually? I sure wouldn’t. Oh, and VTI has returned nearly 8% annually since its inception in 2001. Not to shabby!

The best advice I can give you: buy the book

Seriously, don’t take it from me. You can pick it up from Amazon for around $14 delivered. I promise you won’t regret buying it. In fact, there is a good chance it could be a life-changing read. Once you finish, you can drop that expensive subscription to your Uncle Bob’s stock picks and start plugging away at the market.

Why the Wealthy Idiots?

Our mission here at the Wealthy Idiots aligns very closely with the wisdom of Mr. Bogle. We 100% believe that anyone can successfully invest without assistance from a paid advisor, and because of him, this is more achievable than ever before. With products like the 401(k), Roth IRA, and HSA, and brokerages like Fidelity, Vanguard, and Schwab, there are a world of possibilities for the retail investor. Get started today!

Author

  • D.C. joined the Marine Corps right out of high school. When he left active duty after 5 years of service, he quickly earned a bachelors degree and an MBA. He got his first private sector job at a modest salary and quickly worked his way up through promotions. Once he started making decent money ($38k at the time), he quickly realized he needed to learn how to save for his future. After nearly ten years of research and application, he wants to share his knowledge and financial best practices so more people can become Wealthy Idiots!

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