Last Updated on August 30, 2023 by Prakash Kolli
John Bogle quotes offer valuable insights for all investors. With around $7 trillion in global assets under management as of 2021, you can say, John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group Inc., knew a thing or two about investing. After passing away in 2019, Bogle left Vanguard Group Inc. as the second-largest investment firm in the world after BlackRock.
John Bogle is the author and co-author of many books discussing his investment philosophy. The following are famous John Bogle quotes, some directly from his books, to inspire and guide investors saving for retirement.
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20 John Bogle Quotes
Invest in Index Funds
Bogle’s investment philosophy was to buy diversified funds, mimic a market and earn similar returns. This method of investing led Bogle to create the first index fund available to the public, known as the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, in 1976.
1. “In investing, the winning technique is to own the whole stock market via an index fund and then do nothing”
2. “If the data do not prove that indexing wins, well, the data are wrong.”
3. “The index fund is a practical, cost-effective way to achieve the market’s rate of return with little work and price. Individual stocks, market sectors, and management selection are all removed from index funds, leaving simply stock market risk.”
4. “Index funds eliminate the risks of individual stocks, market sectors, and manager selection. Only stock market risk remains.”
5. “The winning formula for success in investing is owning the entire stock market through an index fund, and then doing nothing. Just stay the course.”
Bogle Advocated for Low Cost Investing
Bogle believed that low-cost investing should be affordable and accessible to all investors. He eventually transformed the mutual fund industry by creating the first index fund. Index funds charge low management fees because they are designed to track the market, requiring little active trading or oversight.
In the following quotes, John Bogle reacts to how actively traded investments have high management fees that eat into investor returns.
6. “Where returns are concerned, time is your friend. But where costs are concerned, time is your enemy.”
7. “The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.”
8. “Low expenses allow lower-risk portfolios to deliver larger returns than greater-risk portfolios.”
9. “It’s amazing how difficult it is for a man to understand something if he’s paid a small fortune not to understand it.”
Say No to Speculating
John Bogle believed that investors should focus on investing in businesses, not just numbers. Once you buy into a business, you should stay the course and hold on to it for the long run. You are correct if you think this sounds a lot like Warren Buffett’s investment philosophy. Buffett admired John Bogle because of this shared belief in investing.
The bottom line for both investment gurus is, don’t try to time the market, invest in good businesses and hold on to them long-term.
10. “Ask yourself: Am I an investor, or am I a speculator? An investor is a person who owns business and holds it forever and enjoys the returns that U.S. businesses, and to some extent global businesses, have earned since the beginning of time. Speculation is betting on price. Speculation has no place in the portfolio or the kit of the typical investor.”
11. “Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy.”
12. “Speculation leads you the wrong way. It allows you to put your emotions first, whereas investment gets emotions out of the picture.”
13. “The mistakes we make as investors is when the market’s going up, we think it’s going to go up forever. When the market goes down, we think it’s going to go down forever. Neither of those things actually happen. Doesn’t do anything forever. It’s by the moment.”
Bogle Attempted to Simplify Investing
Investing in individual stocks can have higher returns but also at a much higher risk. Bogle encourages investors to be patient, invest in good businesses, and hold them for the long run to earn solid returns.
14. “If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.”
15. “Rely on the ordinary virtues that intelligent, balanced human beings have relied on for centuries: common sense, thrift, realistic expectations, patience, and perseverance.”
16. “The stock market is a giant distraction to the business of investing,”
17. “In the long run, investing is not about markets at all. Investing is about enjoying the returns earned by businesses.”
18. “Compounding is nothing short of a miracle. As a result, even little investments started in one’s early twenties are likely to grow into enormous sums throughout a lifetime of investing.”
19. “The main risk for investors is not short-term volatility, but not earning an adequate return on their wealth as it grows.”
20. “Investing is not nearly as difficult as it looks. Successful investing involves doing a few things right and avoiding serious mistakes.”
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Conclusion on 20 John Bogle Quotes to Guide Your Investment Strategy
As Warren Buffett told a CNBC reporter after John Bogle passed away, “A lot of Wall Street is devoted to charging a lot of nothing. He (Bogle) charged nothing to accomplish a huge amount.”
John Bogle quotes are lessons in investing that all investors saving for retirement should follow. Bogle always put the interests of the typical investor first before profits by creating affordable investment solutions.
The key message investors should take from these Jack Bogle quotes is that investing is a long-term game. Start early, and invest in a portfolio of index funds to benefit from the diversification, low-cost, excellent businesses, and lower risk.
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Nadia Tahir is a freelance writer and content creator. She mostly writes in the areas of lifestyle and personal finance. She also enjoys writing on her blog about motherhood at This Mom is On Fire.