Jack Bogle, Fiscal Saint
Back in November, Mrs. jlcollinsnh and I had packed our bags and were preparing to leave our hotel to catch our return flight to Quito for our annual Chautauquas.
We’d spent the week in the little fishing village of San Clemente on the Ecuadorian coast relaxing and catching up with friends I’d made on previous visits but she had not met before. The days were warm, sunny, laid back and spent mostly walking the beach pausing for beer and camarones (shrimp) at our favorite seaside joint.
In the few minutes left before heading down to meet our taxi, I logged on to check my email. I had just finished and was shutting down when a new one popped up. I figured I might as well take a quick look at it, too. When it opened, I was stunned.
There, in my inbox, was a personal email from Jack Bogle himself.
The Jack Bogle.
On the off chance you don’t know, Jack Bogle is the founder of Vanguard and the creator of the first index fund. He is my personal hero and, as I’ve written elsewhere (here and here for example), a fiscal saint.
If you are on the path to FI (financial independence), or aspire to be, he should be yours as well. No one has done more to help us average folks build wealth, both with the tools he created and the philosophy he provides.
The email was short, only a couple of paragraphs, and because it is personal I’m not comfortable sharing it, other than this one line:
“…and thanks for writing a book (The Simple Path to Wealth) that will help many more investors to adopt the core principles on which I’ve built my long career.”
I will also share with you that he addressed me as “Mr. Collins” and signed it as “Jack.” You can be sure, starstruck as I was and remain, I was not about to reply addressing him so informally.
That reply, I am happy to share:
Dear Mr. Bogle…
It is hard to express what an honor it is to receive your email. You have long been my personal hero, and I am not a fellow given to having personal heroes.
In my writings and conversations I am prone to referring to you as a “fiscal saint,” a fitting term I don’t use lightly.
You have paved the way for people to achieve financial security and wealth, creating a prosperity then able to fund all the non-profit efforts that improve the overall lot of humanity.
As you may know, I write to what has come to be known as the Financial Independence (FI) movement. These are people who have put the accumulation of wealth building assets ahead of the purchase of fancy things. In effect, they are buying their freedom. Freedom to live life to the fullest and in a manner of their own choosing.
Vanguard and the broad based index funds you have created are key tools in this endeavor.
You truly have created an economic revolution and, personally, I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
One of my readers once boldly compared my contributions to yours. In my reply I said, “If I have lighted a candle in the darkness, Jack Bogle has been a white hot sun. I only discuss what he has created.”
You richly deserve the years you have been blessed with, and I wish you many more to see the fruits of your labor continue to unfold.
Thank you, and…
Warm Personal Regards,
PS: Let me also take a moment to thank you, Mr. Larimore, for your very kind comments to the Boglehead community regarding my book and for taking the time to bring it to Mr. Bogle’s attention. Very much appreciated!
Sadly, while nominated, he has yet to receive that Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Mr. Larimore, copied in my reply and mentioned in the PS, is the Taylor Larimore, a formidable guy in his own right who Jack Bogle has dubbed “The King of the Bogleheads” and who has authored two highly respected investment books:
Back in October he posted this comment alerting me to his very generous review of my book on the…
Mr. Larimore is personal friends with Mr. Bogle and he also, very kindly, brought his review and my book to Mr. Bogle’s attention. For this I remain forever in his debt. Thank you, Mr. Larimore!
One of my guiding principle is…
Seek respect only from those you respect
So, as you can imagine, this still has me walking on clouds. Thanks for letting me share it with you today.
Here’s a great interview with Jack:
In it you can read his views on many of the questions I get asked around here…
- How Vanguard and indexing came to be
- What if everybody indexed?
- Why he’s not a billionaire
- Who should play him in the movie
- Vanguard’s legal tax challenge
- Future stock market returns
- Betterment and other “robo-advisors”
- The future of indexing
- Donald Trump
- The inheritance tax, infrastructure and Social Security
- Today’s youth
- Why Vanguard is named as a tribute to the British Empire and yet is located near Valley Forge, PA
Here’s the last line:
“Dear Mr. Bogle,” this pilot wrote me. “I peeked. And all I want to do is thank you.”
My Guest Posts on…
Physician on FIRE:
A quick Tuft & Needle Story
At the end of the last couple of posts, I’ve shared with you the exciting news that Tuft & Needle is now a key sponsor of this blog. I am thrilled because I use and can recommend their product without reservation and because I absolutely love the ethics behind how these guys do business.
Here’s an example, illustrated in this actual email exchange. Shawn is a long-time reader and Daehee is the CEO of T&N.
Shawn (Nov. 1)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM!!!! Hope it is a great day for you.
PS, I saw that T&N will be advertising on your site since they eliminated the affiliate links. I did take your referral for Tuft & Needle beds over a year ago and I am sure glad I did. My girlfriend has some back issues from a previous car accident and this mattress has been amazing for both of us.
Jane and I are on the beach in San Clemente, Ecuador for a week before the two back-to-back Chautauquas. Not a bad b’day at that!
I’m cc’ing your email to Jordan and Daehee at T&N so they can see your comment on the mattress.
I’m thrilled it has helped your GF, and thrilled to have them on my site!
Hope her post accident issues move quickly into the past!
Shawn (Nov. 1)
I hope you two love birds enjoy every moment. It was 30 degrees with a decent frost on the Harley this morning (took everything it had to start) here in NH.
Yes, we LOVE our T&N mattress. The misses prefers a fluffy mattress and I prefer firm. Somehow this mattress works perfectly for both of us. I only wish we had bought a queen rather than the full. But that is my own fault.
Daehee (Nov. 2)
Jim, thanks for sharing us on the conversation, that’s awesome.
Shawn, nice to meet you. We’re happy to hear that you love your T&N mattress. Can you confirm your shipping address with me? We’ll get a queen-size sent out to you for a better fit.
Shawn (Nov. 2)
Seriously!? There is nothing wrong with the one we have. We just should have ordered a bigger one to give us more room.
Me (Nov. 15)
What ever happened with this?
Shawn (Nov. 15)
Jim, this was so amazing. I received the mattress yesterday! I ordered a new queen size frame that is due any day now. I still can’t believe they sent me a free upgrade. I have been promoting them for a year anyway, but now I will tell everyone.
Thank you again for writing about them and this amazing mattress. They have made a lasting impression with me and my family for sure.
Me (Nov. 15)
good to hear!
Thanks for letting me know!
Me (Nov. 15)
You continue to exceed expectations! Well done.
Any problem with my sharing this on my blog?
Daehee (Nov. 15)
That’s great! Yes, feel free to share—we’re happy to help the jlcollinsnh community. Thank you for sharing Shawn’s email in the first place so we could send him a surprise gift.