John Bogle: 15 top quotes from an investment legend

The investment industry has lost a true legend in the shape of John Bogle.

The Vanguard founder, who passed away yesterday aged 89, created the industry's first index fund back in 1975.

‘Jack Bogle made an impact on not only the entire investment industry, but more importantly, on the lives of countless individuals saving for their futures or their children's futures,’ Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley said in his tribute to Bogle.

Bogle became one of the biggest critics of mutual funds, often criticising the fees investors had to fork out for these vehicles.

In a world where investing got increasingly complex during rapid technological change, Bogle’s approach to investment remained remarkably simple and attracted a cult following. In 2017, legendary investor Warren Buffett described Bogle as his ‘hero’.

Bogle authored a number of books over the years, offering a fascinating insight into his mind. We highlight 15 of his greatest quotes, many of which appeared in these books.  

'The creation of Vanguard and its truly mutual (fund-shareholder-owned) structure has been the so-far-single counterexample to this pattern. I explain why this structure has worked so well, and why it must ultimately become the dominant structure in the industry' 

John C Bogle (2012), The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs Speculation.

 

'Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy.'  

The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs Speculation.

'Rely on the ordinary virtues that intelligent, balanced human beings have relied on for centuries: common sense, thrift, realistic expectations, patience, and perseverance.'

John C Bogle (2010), Common Sense on Mutual Funds.

'Don't look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!'

John C Bogle(2007), The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns.

'Investing is not nearly as difficult as it looks. Successful investing involves doing a few things right and avoiding serious mistakes.' 

'If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.' 

'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.'

'Index funds eliminate the risks of individual stocks, market sectors, and manager selection. Only stock market risk remains.'

'Buying funds based purely on their past performance is one of the stupidest things an investor can do.' 

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns.

'The miracle of compounding returns has been overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.'

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns.

'The mutual fund industry has been built, in a sense, on witchcraft.'

John C Bogle, Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor.

'I believe that the behaviour of too many of our corporations, investment bankers and fund managers has jeopardized some of the trust that investors have had. It's not the economic engine that we need to focus on, but the need to make sure that our investors receive their fair share of the returns that that great economic system produces.' 

'Owning the stock market over the long term is a winner's game, but attempting to beat the market is a loser's game.'

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns.

'The two greatest enemies of the equity fund investor are expenses and emotions.' 

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns.

'Your success in investing will depend in part on your character and guts, and in part on your ability to realize at the height of ebullience and the depth of despair alike that this too shall pass.'