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John C. Bogle Quotes

Jack Bogle

John C. Bogle quotes: founder of The Vanguard Group breaks down investing like a tent.

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

“Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy.”

“Have realistic expectations.”

“There’s no escaping risk.”

“Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others.  It’s cheaper!”

“When there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one.”

“The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.  Stick to the good plan.  Traditional.”

“The most important things in life and in business can’t be measured.  The trite bromide ‘if you can measure it, you can manage it’ has been a hindrance in the building a great real-world organization, just as it has been a hindrance in evaluating the real-world economy.  It is character, not numbers, that make the world go round.  How can we possibly measure the qualities of human existence that give our lives and careers meaning?  How about grace, kindness, and integrity?  What value do we put on passion, devotion, and trust?  How much do cheerfulness, the lilt of a human voice, and a touch of pride add to our lives?  Tell me, please, if you can, how to value friendship, cooperation, dedication, and spirit.  Categorically, the firm that ignores the intangible qualities that the human beings who are our colleagues bring to their careers will never build a great workforce or a great organization.”

“It’s amazing how difficult it is for a man to understand something if he’s paid a small fortune not to understand it.”

“Presumably you are accumulating money now and putting money away for the future.  Do not, under any circumstances, stop doing that.  That is the first rule.  Don’t stop investing.  The second rule is, particularly for the younger people in the world: a good solid market decline is a blessing.  You’ll be buying – if you invest each month – stocks at lower and lower prices.  Don’t be antagonized by that; use that as an opportunity of a lifetime.”

“Your bond position should equal your age, with the remainder in stocks.”

“The idea that a bell rings to signal when investors should get into or out of the market is simply not credible.  After nearly 50 years in this business, I do not know of anybody who has done it successfully and consistently.”

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

“Successful investing is about owning businesses and reaping the huge rewards provided by the dividends and earnings growth of our nation’s – and, for that matter, the world’s – corporations.”

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

“The historical data support one conclusion with unusual force: to invest with success, you must be a long-term investor.”

“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.”

“Speculation leads you the wrong way.  It allows you to put your emotions first, whereas investment gets emotions out of the picture.”

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

“In the long run, investing is not about markets at all.  Investing is about enjoying the returns earned by businesses.”

“Don’t look for the needle in the haystack.  Just buy the haystack!”

“Gunning for average is your best shot at finishing above average.”

“We live in a very risky world and investors should not get ‘carried away’ with excessive allocations to equities, or for that matter, real estate.  As always, asset allocation and low cost and broad diversification will be essential in earning one’s fair share of whatever returns our financial markets are generous enough to bestow upon us.”

“If you’re very talented and keep winning, you’ll do just fine.  It may take a while.  But the talent is hard to identify and talent is hard to tell from luck.  There’s an awful lot of luck in this business.  Past performance is not helpful in judging future performance.”

“Remember reversion to the mean.  What’s hot today isn’t likely to be hot tomorrow.  The stock market reverts to fundamental returns over the long run.  Don’t follow the herd.”

“Buy right and hold tight.”

“Stay the course.  Discipline is best summed up by staying the course.”

“Don’t think that you know more than the market; no one does.  And don’t act on insights that you think are your own but are usually shared by millions of others.”

“What may work for the few cannot work for the many.”

“Simply buy a total stock market index fund.  Then, once you have bought your stocks, get out of the casino – and stay out!”

“The courage to press on regardless – regardless of whether we face calm seas or rough seas, and especially when the market storms howl around us – is the quintessential attribute of the successful investor.”

“The grim irony of investing, then, is that we investors as a group not only don’t get what we pay for, we get precisely what we don’t pay for.  So if we pay for nothing, we get everything.”

“I will create value for society, rather than extract it.”

“I would always advise young people to follow their star – not my star.  They have to live their own life.  If they decide they want to go into the investment business, do it, but make it a better business than it is today.”

“The business has some problems, substantial problems.  You go fix it, you young people.  That’s what you’re there for.  Don’t believe what the old generation tells you.  We don’t know a damn thing, including Bogle.”

“Three, no matter what career you choose, do your best to hold high its traditional professional values, now swiftly eroding, in which serving the client is always the highest priority.  And don’t ignore the greater good of your community, your nation, and your world.  As William Penn pointed out, ‘We pass through this world but once, so do now any good you can do, and show now any kindness you can show, for we shall not pass this way again.'”

Another recommended read is Unshakeable by Tony Robbins.

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