Mr. Bogle and me


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, including this one:

Back in October he posted this comment alerting me to his very generous review of my book on the…

Bogleheads forum: The Simple Path to Wealth

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:

We are in the Middle of a Revolution

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
  • ETFs
  • 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:

Christopher Guest Post – JL Collins 

Millennial Revolution:

An Interview with the Godfather…of FI


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.

Me (Nov.1)

Thanks Shawn!

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)

Hey Shawn…

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)

Hi Daehee…

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.

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Important Resources

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  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. vorlic says

    Hi Mr Collins, I only recently learned of Mr Bogle and what he does for the world of FIers… because of you, Mr Collins.

    So be rightly proud of his gratitude to you – especially as you didn’t solicit him for it… not directly, anyway!

    Your Stock Series is my lunchtime reading.

  2. Mark Haser says


    Congrats, this is incredible! As a former Vanguard employee, I have always been in awe of Mr. Bogle. The fact that he wrote you a personal letter is truly a great tribute to the book and blog. Thank you so much for sharing!


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Mark…

      I was candidly hesitant to write about this, but given the response I’m glad I did.

      Did you ever pass him in the hallways?

  3. Shawn says

    Today is a good day. My FI hero Jim, wrote about his hero Mr. Bogle (who is also one of my heroes) and shared an amazing story that involved me in the same post. I don’t get star struck over athletes or actresses, but I am smiling and giggling like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning after Jim shared this story. Tuft & Needle has an amazing product and I am blown away by the generosity of a new queen sized mattress from Daehee.
    Jim, I feel how you must have felt when you saw that email from Mr. Bogle. It must be such an honor to know he read your book. Thank you for sharing!


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey Shawn…

      I meant to send you an email pointing out this post and your story I’d shared in it, but you beat me to it! 🙂

  4. Physician on FIRE says

    The feeling you got when The Jack Bogle sent you an e-mail? That’s how I felt when I checked my inbox last night.

    A personal e-mail from The Jim Collins! Well, not the Other Jim Collins, but The Jim L. Collins who has this wonderful blog and kind soul.

    I’m glad to hear your book has reached the titans of the good side of the industry.


  5. Adam Watson says

    Thank you for taking the time to recognize good practices and amazing people — in much the same way as Mr. Bogle did for you. We’re all grateful.

  6. Ben Dieterich says

    Hi, Jim. It was such a pleasure meeting you and your wife at the Chautauqua in Ecuador and I’m so appreciative of the “one-on-one” session we shared. We are all proud of your accomplishments, thankful for your contributions to the “movement” and happy to learn of the recognition you received from Mr. Bogle. (Thanks for the link to the interview with Jack – great stuff indeed).

    I have been telling so many people about our Chautauqua experiences and conversations as well as sharing links to your blog whenever possible. I always felt like I arrived late to the FIRE game, especially compared to so many of the bright young individuals we spent time with in Ecuador. But at least I found my way and can now, at age 52, put the ball in motion to begin my version of early retirement. (Thanks again for giving me your blessing)!

    All the best to you and your family. I sincerely hope we will have the chance to meet again in the not-too-distant future. Thanks for everything, Jim.


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey Ben…

      It was a pleasure meeting you there. It is folks like you that make these such awesome events.

      From where I sit after this last birthday, at 52 you are one “of the bright young individuals we spent time with in Ecuador.” 🙂

      We look forward to the next time our paths cross!

  7. Kevin says

    Hi Jim,

    Long time reader here. I’ve been meaning to purchase the book but haven’t gotten around to it until reading this post. I bought two, one for my wife and I and one for a family member for Christmas.

    Just wanted to reach out and tell you thank you for sharing all this wondering knowledge and information. Its truly changing lives.

    Happy holidays,

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Kevin…

      …and thanks for picking up the book. Hope you, your wife and your family member all enjoy and benefit from the read.

      Happy Holidays!

  8. Steve Fallert says

    Dear Jim,

    Congratulations on receiving the e-mail from Jack Bogle. That is some exciting stuff. Validation for all the effort put into your book.

    And it is also exciting that Taylor Larimore is promoting your book to the Bogleheads.

    Hopefully, that type of endorsement to an enthusiastic audience translates into more sales. I just put three more copies into my Amazon cart to send to friends for Christmas.

    I also enjoyed the Tuft & Needle story. When my daughter returned to college at Clark University this year, she rented an apartment and was living off-campus for the first time. Which means she needed a bed. Which means that I used your old Tuft & Needle link to purchase a mattress (queen size!) to have delivered directly to her apartment building. The packaging made it easy to haul up three flights of stairs.

    By all reports, she couldn’t be happier with her bed, and now she has a quality mattress that she can continue to use after she graduates.

    Take care and happy holidays,


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey Steve….

      Thanks for making my book part of your Christmas giving! I hope the recipients enjoy the read and benefit greatly from it.

      Thanks, too, for sharing the T&N story. Glad it is working out so well for her. Now, do yourself a favor and… 🙂

      Happy Holidays!

  9. Biglaw Investor says

    The Jack Bogle! What an honor and what an honor rightly bestowed upon you. And to think that Taylor Larimore is cc’d on the email. You can go wrong with those two guys. Thanks for sharing your story with the rest of the world.

    Those guys are living legends.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks, Biglaw…

      Bogle and Larimore are Titans and having their blessing is still a bit surreal for me. But nice! 😉

  10. Chris Hipskind says

    Wow Jim! That is so exciting for you! It gives me goose bumps! It just goes to show when you give your passion away it comes back hundred fold! Thank you for all you do and I look forward to meeting you someday. If ever near Portland, OR I would love to meet up?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      sends a chill down my spine as well. 🙂

      If all goes well, next fall we plan a year-long driving tour around the US and Portland will definitely be on the agenda.

      Would be great to meet up while we’re there.

  11. bh says

    I wanted to share the flip side of T&N – what happens when it’s not a good fit. I tried out a T&N and it didn’t work for me (tragically, I have a lot of trouble finding a mattress that is comfortable) but the return process was easy-peasy. I just had to give or donate it locally and prove it with a photo. So if anyone is a little nervous about ordering a mattress online, T&N really is as easy to work with as they say!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks bh…

      I appreciate having you weigh in.

      No product works for everybody and what is key is how companies handle it when theirs doesn’t.

      Stories like yours reinforce my confidence in T&N.

      Good luck in your continuing search. The right mattress is a blessing once you find it.

  12. Jone says

    Woot Wooot!

    Congrats Jim! I too owe a good deal of wealth (both material and otherwise) to these two fine gentlemen!

    Getting money is easy, holding onto it is hard, but making it grow – that’s the hardest of all…..and Mr. Bogle made it happen easily for us little guys.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Woot to you, too, Jone!

      Yep. Building wealth suddenly became so much easier once I started following the trail they blazed.

      All the more remarkable to get a nod from them on my book & blog now. 🙂

  13. Jacky says

    Congrats Mr Collins!
    Congrats for your great blog, your book and the great email you received from Mr Bogle.

    Mr Bogle introduced me to Index Investing when I watched the great documentary “The Retirement Gamble”. I was truly impressed. The word “Saint” is exactly the one I would use to describe Mr Jack Bogle.

    I was introduced to your blog by FIRECracker/Wanderer’s blog (I am Canadian too after all, eh).

    Keep up the great work Sir =)

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome Jacky…

      Glad my Millennium Revolution friends got you here. Glad you like it and I appreciate the kind words.

  14. Mr. PIE says

    Well that is fantastic news and what an honor.

    I don’t know if I had mentioned this to you before but we plan to leave a couple of copies of the book at our respective work locations when we hit FIRE to perhaps get a few others thinking about simple facets of investing and wealth building. We can now add a little note inside the front cover that the author is an acquaintance of THE Mr. Bogle.!!

    Congrats again!!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Mr. PIE…

      “acquaintance” might be a stretch, but we have now exchanged emails! 🙂

      I love the idea of leaving a couple of my books behind. Very subversive of you… 😉

  15. Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions says

    Opening that email must have been incredible! Congrats Jim – a real honor!
    Now that I’ve returned to work (temporarily) people have started asking me how I am retiring/leaving full-time work before I can “really” retire at 55 with my pension. They usually comment that investing is really confusing and they get mixed messages about what to do from everyone they know (including the high cost advisors they use through our 403b plans!). I share “The Simple Path to Wealth” whenever I hear that. And I have a copy on my shelf that people can borrow – and it’s “out” now 🙂

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Vicki…

      a great honor for sure. I’m still giddy.

      Thanks for spreading the book and message. I’d be curious as to what they say when they return the book. 🙂

  16. Norm Nason says

    That’s quite an honor, Jim–and well-deserved, as your book is excellent. After reading it myself, I purchased several copies for my young relatives this holiday season. I can’t think of a better way to not only help them secure their financial future, but also to thank you for the good work you do. Best wishes and happy holidays.

  17. Daniel Steve Villarreal, Ph.D. says

    This is a great story! I’ve wanted to be a Vanguard-owning Boglehead for years, but sadly, as a US citizen expat with no US address who lives in Taiwan, their rules don’t allow it! I’ll have to move back to the US, establish a residence, and then open my Vanguard account. Bummer, man!!!!!

      • Daniel Steve Villarreal, Ph.D. says

        Ain’t that the truth! 🙁
        The first time I wrote to them, I got what might be called a baldfaced lie. I was told that the Gummint, by law, didn’t allow them to serve expats. Weird–they sell to people in foreign countries, but not Americans who live overseas. I finally found that what they said simply ain’t so–it’s their internal policy.
        I doubt that this was Mr. Bogle’s intent when he set up the Vanguard system.
        Thanks for the response!

  18. gwenith42 says

    That’s so cool that Mr. Bogle emailed you! I noticed & read the Forbes article (because of your writing about Vanguard) and wondered if you saw it during your travels…
    Perfect example of the ‘virtuous flywheel’ of all you folks reinforcing each other that helps pull us newer people in and spread the word… I found MMM in February this year and through him, I found you, and Jacob, The Frugalwoods, Go Curry, Mr. 1500, The Power of Thrift, Millennial -Rev, MadFi, etc, etc… Lot of good people, with a lot of good work –
    I’m 46 and late(r) to the game, but I’ve made huge changes to my finances since February and I’ve given your book to two young folks… never to too late for any of us, right?
    Please keep blogging – the reinforcement is good for those of us still on the journey.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      ‘virtuous flywheel’

      What a great phrase!

      Yep, never too late. Especially at the tender age of 46. 🙂

      You’ve found your way to many of my favorite blogs. Puts me in good company.

  19. FIRECracker says

    “You’ve got Bogle Mail!”

    Now that your life has peaked what else are you going to do? 😉 See, that reaction you had when THE Jack Bogle e-mailed you? That’s the reaction I had when I got your first e-mail. I spent the better part of the day bouncing around my AirBnB, failing my arms and yelling “Oh my God it’s JIM! It’s JIM COLLINS. GAHHHHH!” So I know how you feel. Walking on cloud is exactly how I would describe it.

    Congrats! That’s what you get for writing a kick-ass book. Think you can convince Mr.Bogle to come to a Chautauqua? 😉

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Yep, now I can lay down and die in peace.

      “I spent the better part of the day bouncing around my AirBnB, failing my arms and yelling “Oh my God it’s JIM! It’s JIM COLLINS. GAHHHHH!” ”

      Ah, do you happen to have video of that? 😉

      • FIRECracker says

        Good God, if I filmed myself every time I acted insane, there wouldn’t be enough memory in the world to store it. So no video-graphic evidence, unfortunately. BUT don’t worry, I will be there to spew crazy all over you in person very soon. 😉

  20. TJ says

    T&N didn’t work for me. Mattress donations aren’t accepted out here. They called (and paid for) 1-800-GotJunk to come pick it up. Pretty cool!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks TJ…

      As with bh above…

      I appreciate having you weigh in.

      No product works for everybody and what is key is how companies handle it when theirs doesn’t.

      Cool solution they came up with right there. Stories like yours reinforce my confidence in T&N.

      Good luck in finding the right mattress for you. It will be a blessing once you do.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Xyz…

      It is very kind of you to say so.

      Even though I hear it more these days, it still gives me a thrill!

      Glad you are on your way!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Almost as cool as, I dunno, maybe traveling to France and buying a river boat to fix up and live on? (and to host your friends. Hint) 🙂


      Feel more like Incredible. As in it not being credible that such an email would ever come to me. 😉

  21. trisha says

    By the way:
    I had breakfast with a couple of (younger) men working in the “financial sector”.
    They knew their stuff. I mentioned that I knew you, (personally!) and that you were one of the main reasons we were now in France, living on a canal boat, financially independent and happy as hell.
    When they heard your name, a hush fell over the waffles – and – my stature in their eyes rose immeasurably. “Really? You KNOW him? He’s our idol!”

    You have NO idea the influence you’ve had in the world, Jim. Well done!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Now that is a way cool story.

      Was this in France? Were they French or visiting Americans?

      Now, had they fully appreciated who YOU are and what YOU’VE done, it would have been MY stature in their eyes that would have soared. 🙂

      BTW, next summer we’ll be in the UK for an event you might also want to attend. Maybe Malachi too. I’ll shoot you an email.

    • Jone says

      “….a hush fell over the waffles…”

      They have talking waffles in the UK?

      (Seriously, that made me laugh so hard I snorted!)

  22. Mrs. BITA says

    Congratulations. If I had been asked to sit down and make a list of folks who should be rewarded with a personal email from Jack Bogle (and what a _very_ odd assignment that would be), I would have put your name at the top of that list. This could not have happened to a more deserving person. At least now you know what you can put on your tombstone : )

  23. Kevin says

    Outstanding Jim. I heard this story during the Chautauqua trip at our original meet and greet. (I was lucky enough to be sitting next to you). Because of you (and my father) I am a firm believer in Vanguard. I feel very lucky to have great role models that are helping my wife and I to achieve our dreams. It is such a neat experience for us to be able to meet our ‘financial hero’s’. If this email made you feel like my wife and I felt getting to meet you and the other bloggers….I’m sure it was a fantastic feeling!! Keep up the great work.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Kevin…

      Attendees like you guys are what make Chautauqua so great.

      BTW, all…

      Kevin not only attended the Chautauqua, he wrote this awesome song about his experience. I’ll be sharing it my upcoming Chautauqua post, but those of you who read these comments deserve an advance viewing!

      • Kevin says

        What an honor. Thank you for sharing this. I was just tickled that you liked the song…let alone….liked it enough to share.

  24. Tom E. says

    Wow Jim, congratulations! The only thing I could compare it to would be having Jack Nicklaus write me a letter complementing me on my golf game. 🙂 Needless to say, that will never happen…

    FWIW,our conversation in Ecuador resulted in me changing my asset allocation and putting me years closer to early retirement. You’re making a real difference with what you do!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Tom!

      Great to hear from you and delighted our Chautauqua conversation has made such a difference to you.

      It has been fun watching your adventures around the world. 🙂

  25. Simon says

    I think the principe of only seeking respect from those you respect was a great point! It would be very interesting to see a blog post on the main principles that you believe in or have developed during your life.

  26. Dave says

    Congrats Jim, I received the book myself yesterday and read it last evening. How cool to have Mr Bogle get into touch with you!!!

    Dave in Wolfeboro

  27. Frugal in Georgia says

    Congratulations, Mr. Collins, that is awesome. One of my favorite quotes is “Praise from the praiseworthy is beyond all reward” (from the Lord of the Rings), and you certainly just received that.
    I plan to give your excellent book to my sons for Christmas.
    Keep up the great work with this blog.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks FinG…

      Never heard that quote before, but I like it. And it fits.

      Glad you found my book a worthy gift to your sons. Hope they agree. 😉

  28. ExploreMountainsOnSkiFoot&Bike says

    It is amazing where the journey goes. A letter to your daughter led to correspondence from your hero. So cool.


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Indeed it has been.

      From a simple way to archive some info for my kid to this.

      “What a long strange trip it’s been…”

  29. Jess says

    Congrats! You richly deserve the email you received. Thank you for making FI and index funds so easy to understand. As a neuroscientist, I thought I’d never have the “head” for finance, but you have revolutionized my understanding of the importance of investing. Thank YOU!

  30. Peter Payne says

    Wow, great to receive notice by Mr. Bogle. I was once looking for help with a 20th Anniversary Mac I needed a hard drive for, and got pointed in the right direction by none other than Steve Wozniak. I also received an order on my website from Steve Jobs once. I pooh-poohed the idea but verified that the IP did trace back to Apple’s campus. What a time to be alive!

  31. Freedom 40 Guy says

    We actually got a Tuft & Needle mattress a few months ago – in part due to reading good things about them here. The story you share above about the way they are running the company is amazing and makes me happy to know that I’m supporting them with my dollars. On top of that, in my opinion the mattress is one of the better ones I’ve ever slept on, and it was waaaaaaay less money than the typical mattress store mattress.

  32. Julie at Nest Egg Chick says

    Wow Jim, this is incredible! Congratulations! It’s incredible how that whole 6-degrees -of-separation (or is it closer to 4.2?) works. You have done so many amazing things for so many of us – you certainly gave me a much-needed understanding of investing, index funds, bonds, and so much more, and I am so grateful and appreciative. It’s wonderful that folks who took notice were able to connect you with your hero – and that your hero is so awesome that he reached out to you! Have you framed that email and put it on your wall yet? 😉

  33. tanguy says

    Great achievement for you ! wow, stunning !
    I really really the interview of Jack Bogle, especially on the consideration that future returns will be lower but that it is not the reason not to invest…
    Thanks for sharing, great stuff.

  34. HBFI says

    Jim, that’s awesome getting an email like that from a living legend like Mr. Bogle. And thank you for everything you do. Your writing has been a huge inspiration.

  35. Paul says

    There is a very interesting interview with Jack Bogle on either Business Insider or Yahoo Finance in which he talks about how future social security benefits should be considered when calculating a bond allocation. It is unique way of looking at social security and has me thinking about cutting back on my exposure to bonds.

    Perhaps someone with more tech savvy than me can provide a link.

    Mr. Collins, I’d be curious to hear your take on this.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Paul…

      I haven’t seen the interview, but I am familiar with the concept.

      The idea is that, if you have say $20,000 in annual SS income it is the equivalent of 500k in bonds, using the 4% rule. So, in considering your asset allocation you’d think of that 500k as part of your fixed income (bond) allocation.

      If you had 1.5m in assets and 20k in SS and you wanted a 50/50 allocation: 1m in stocks/500k in bonds + SS

      I agree with this line of thinking and it is one reason I hold 75% of my assets in VTSAX.

      Here’s my take on SS:

  36. ABHP says

    Hi there, thanks for this great post. I’m new to the game (I came via personal finance blogs and MMM) and am currently boning up on index investing as I prepare to make the move.

    I’m humbly wondering if you or one of your readers might explain something Bogle said in his interview for me. I’ve pasted the paragraph below and am wondering specifically about the “wouldn’t go long on the interest rate side… half short, half intermediate” line. Unfortunately I don’t know enough yet to keep up with what he’s saying.

    “Sure, the stock market isn’t cheap, and so I worry about that. Cash is so hopeless that you almost can’t afford not to invest, but you’ve got to be fairly conservative. I wouldn’t go long on the interest rate side. I would personally maybe go half short, half intermediate. Even though in the long run, longs will do better because their interest is higher.”

    PS – my library has ordered your book at my request – Toronto Public Library, apparently among the world’s busiest library systems, let’s hope they order multiple copies for the frugal and eager learners in this city!

    Thanks for your time.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi ABHP…

      and welcome to the blog and the FI game.

      Let’s take a look at that quote, piece by piece:

      “Sure, the stock market isn’t cheap, and so I worry about that.”

      By many measures, like various P/E ratios, many investors see the market as being expensive. Mostly in the sense that it takes more dollars (P) to buy a dollar’s worth of annual earnings (E). So the P in the ratio is too high and the thinking is that it must come down. Of course, if the E side (earnings) were to rise that would also lower the ratio to more traditional levels. And that’s what makes predicting market movement this way unreliable.

      “Cash is so hopeless that you almost can’t afford not to invest…”

      Interest rates are so low, even negative in some places in Europe, holding cash produces little or no return. Or even a negative return when you take inflation into account.

      “…but you’ve got to be fairly conservative.” Because stocks are seen as expensive.

      So maybe bonds are the best option, but….

      “I wouldn’t go long on the interest rate side. I would personally maybe go half short, half intermediate. Even though in the long run, longs will do better because their interest is higher.”

      Because I don’t have the full context of this quote, I’m not sure, but I think he is taking about bonds here. If so, “long” refers to long-term bonds like 30-year treasuries, ‘intermediate” are bonds maturing in ~5-7 years and “short” are maturing in ~13 years or so.

      Usually, but not always, the longer the maturity of the bond the greater the interest it pays. But this longer maturity also means greater “interest rate risk” since there is more time for rates to change.

      Since rates are at historic lows, the feeling is that they might well rise in the coming years. This would hurt long bonds, but the shorter maturity of intermediate and short bonds means the less impact rising rates have.

      If this is confusing to you, don’t feel bad. Bonds are confusing. 🙂
      This might help:

      • ABHP says

        Ahh, thanks so much for the insight/taking my hand and walking me through that paragraph. I understand much better now. High five from Toronto.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Oh, and thanks for steering the Toronto Public Library to my book!

      Have all your friends request it at the same time 😉

  37. Adam says

    Sad news yesterday evening. This blog entry came to mind almost immediately. What a good person. He did more to bring responsible, straightforward investing within reach of the everyman than anyone else ever has or will.

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