Table of Contents
John C. Bogle: An American Hero, 1929 – 2019
by James Lange, CPA/Attorney
Many of our heroes turn out too good to be true. Lance Armstrong was one of my heroes but turns out he was a big cheater, as was Barry Bonds. It is risky to admire athletes—you could be deeply disappointed. Politics offers even less hope, and the stakes are higher; if there is a political figure you like, on either side of the aisle, chances are they are also deeply flawed.
Jack Bogle, at least to our knowledge, doesn’t have skeletons in his closet. He brought low-cost index investing to millions and we are all better for it.
I was fortunate enough to interview him twice on The Lange Money Hour, my former radio show. When he accepted my invitation to appear the first time, he agreed to have the show videotaped at the Vanguard studios. Though by that time, I was a radio talk-show host veteran, I had never done a video interview. Interviewing Jack Bogle was my first—and it was formative.
The filming of that show was surreal. Here was the man who founded Vanguard, the largest mutual fund company in the world, a man whose investment sensibilities I shared, a man I have long admired, sharing his wisdom with my audience.
He was a gracious man. He was funny. He was even nice when he said no. On two different occasions I asked him to endorse my books and twice he sent me a handwritten note saying he was too busy, and he would not endorse a book he had not read.
As gracious as he was, he did have an ego. When filming our interview, though we were both sitting, it appeared that I was a shade taller than him. Taking matters into his own hands, he had the director place supports under his chair to appear as tall or taller than me. He was a man of action!
He went to great pains in our interview to point out that he founded Vanguard independently of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) and not as a result of it. According to Paul Haaga, who worked as a law clerk at Wellington Management during Bogle’s rise to CEO of the company, “…Bogle thought concentrating in hot growth stocks was dangerous for investors. Instead, he promoted ‘balanced’ funds containing a wide mix of stocks and bonds, and income funds consisting of a broad portfolio of dividend stocks. This was in Jack’s pre-index fund days,” says Haaga. “But you could see that he was already advocating the principles that became the foundation of passive investing.”
Even in his mid-80s, John Bogle was razor sharp and steadfast in his career-long mission to champion the everyday investor. During our first interview, we spoke about one of his many best-selling books, The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation. The book is a searing indictment of our country’s entire financial system. He calls out Congress, the judiciary, the SEC, the Federal Reserve Board, the rating agencies, the financial press, security analysts, and corporate directors, among other institutions, for abandoning their fiduciary duty and engendering an environment of financial speculation rather than investment. He defines speculation as trading with another person or entity, rather than investing in growth.
The point of investing, according to Bogle, is to add value. Speculation doesn’t create value, it subtracts from it. “Wall Street is a mess,” Bogle asserted, “Can I say it any more boldly? Our financial system is a mess, heavily based on trading and speculation and not nearly heavily enough based on investments.”
During our second interview, he commented, “Today, large financial institutions, such as Vanguard and Fidelity and American Funds, and some of the big private money managers usually associated with mutual funds, hold 70% of all the stock in America. These institutions control corporate America. They have the power, they have the responsibility, but they don’t do very much in terms of corporate governance. You know, things like officer’s compensation, totally off the wall…so, that system has to be fixed.”
John Bogle sought to bring us back to the basics of investing: growing the economy and making money with those investments. Don’t pick and choose, buy indexes; don’t analyze your purchases day to day. Try to eliminate the emotional aspects of investing; buy properly and hold your positions.
A notoriously frugal man, he felt it was appropriate and important to spend money on a trusted fiduciary advisor. That was something of a surprise to me—the founder of Vanguard; the best option for the do-it-yourself investor—endorsing financial advisors. But Bogle comments: “The financial advisor is a very valuable piece of work…helping you with asset allocation, telling you the difference between a Roth IRA and a regular IRA. The system is loaded with nuances. Estate planning is a whole other complexity. In this complex world, I think most people need help.”
John Bogle held strong principles and lived by them—that is heroic in my mind. I highly recommend watching, listening or reading the transcripts of my interviews with him. Words of wisdom from an honorable source. It will be time well-spent.
John Bogle/Jim Lange Video Interview on August 20, 2014 in Vanguard’s studios available at https://paytaxeslater.com/BogleVideo.
John Bogle/Jim Lange audio files and transcripts of both radio shows interviews (August 20, 2014 & July 9, 2015) available at https://paytaxeslater.com/BogleRadio
 Fortune.com http://fortune.com/2019/01/18/jack-bogle-vanguard-remembrance/
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South
164 Fort Couch Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
(across from South Hills Village)
Meeting Room: Carnegie Room
Cut Taxes on Your IRA Withdrawals with the New Trump Tax Laws
To attend any or all of our 3 FREE financial workshops, call 412-521-2732 or follow the link for how to reserve your seat here.
9:30 – 11:30 AM
Who Says You Can’t Control From the Grave? Using Trusts to Protect Your Family.
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Cut Taxes on Your IRA Withdrawals With the New Trump Tax Laws.
3:15 – 4:00 PM
Solving the Investor’s Biggest Dilemma: How to Stop the Current Market Volatility from Threatening Your Long-Term Security.
Easy Steps You Can Take to Combat Hate Now
The shots that killed the eleven worshippers at Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, 2018, reverberated throughout the region and the entire world.
For many of us, it was intensely personal. One of the victims was Joyce Feinberg. Joyce was a long-time client and one of the nicest women I’ve ever worked with. One consolation is that not only did the Jewish community come together, but there was an outpouring of support throughout Pittsburgh and even all over the world.
All the flowers and memorials have been moved inside the Tree of Life lobby now. With the passage of time, the stress of daily life and the onslaught of other horrific events, it is normal for our attention to turn elsewhere. We must never become numb to the tragedy. The most basic thing that all of us can do for the victims is to never forget them, and in their memory, work for good.
Anti-Semitism in Pittsburgh is nothing new. Back in the 1920s my great grandmother, Annie Jacob Davis, and others helped establish Montefiore Hospital, one of many Jewish hospitals in the U.S. One of the primary purposes of the Jewish hospitals was to employ qualified Jewish doctors who could not get work elsewhere.
But, unfortunately, more blatant acts of anti-Semitism are growing at an alarming rate.
In 2017, anti-Semitic incidents surged nearly 60 percent according to the 2017 Anti-Defamation League Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. The ADL is one of, if not the most respected organizations fighting anti-Semitism and racial injustice.
I sit on the advisory board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and several other board members approved this message, so this isn’t just my opinion.
The issue for many of us, including me up until recently, is we didn’t know what to do.
Please allow me to recommend two resources: Locally, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is engaged in an “If you SEE something, SAY something!” campaign to help identify and assess any potential threats to our community. Please visit www.jewishpgh.org for details.
On a national level, ADL has 10 action steps you can take to fight anti-Semitism and racial injustice around the world. On their site, www.adl.org, on a page called “Take Action,” the ADL outlines those 10 things which can combat hate now. Since learning of this resource, I took eight out of ten of the recommended steps. Most can be done quite easily. Of course, ADL has a link to a page for donations, but that is only one of their action points. Please go to www.adl.org to learn more.
If you would prefer making a local impact, please visit the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s website at www.jewishpgh.org.
Spicy Roasted Peppers & Walnut Dip
- 4 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup shelled walnuts
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 500° F: Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and brush with the oil. Spread the bell peppers out on the sheet and roast until they are tender and browning at the edges, 17 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the peppers to a food processor and process until smooth. Add the walnuts, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Process again until smooth. Serve with carrots, radishes, sugar snap peas, celery, and any other crunchy fresh vegetable.
Store any leftover dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Recipe © 2015 Dr. Mark Hymen’s book: The 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook