I'm sorry about the hate mail. Unfortunately, it is the price honest leaders must frequently endure (Jesus was crusified).
This is how I met Jack Bogle:
In 1994 I was fortunate to read "Bogle on Mutual Funds
." In the book, Jack's "Twelve Pillars of Wisdom," each backed-up with Mr. Bogle's reasoning and academic reasearch, was so logical that I drastically changed our complex 15 managed funds portfolio to a 7 fund portfolio that incorporated indexing
. It was gratifying to see almost immediately that our Bogle-designed portfolio was outperforming the funds we had discarded.
In 1999, when I learned that Mr. Bogle was going to be the Keynote Speaker at a Money Show in Orlando, Florida, my wife Pat and I made the decision to go and hear the speech and hopefully meet him personally. We drove to Orlando and spent the first night in the Convention Hotel.
Next morning after breakfast, Pat and I were walking down the hallway towards the auditorium when I saw a tall gentleman in a light sweater talking to two elderly ladies. I instantly recognized Jack from pictures I had seen. He had been on the cover of the February 1991 issue of Financial World
magazine (which I still have). We had expected John Bogle, chairman of a giant mutual fund company, to be surrounded by guards and staff -- not two old ladies seeking advice.
Pat and I listened to the conversation. We were too star-struck to say anything. We followed Jack and the ladies into the auditorium where he almost immediately went to the polium to speak before a crowd of several thousand. This is a portion of his exact words recorded by a member of the press:
"I count that you'll have the opportunity to attend roughly 130 different seminars, masterminded by more than 100 speakers. It looks to me as if the great proponderance of them will offer you their secrets for success in the new millennium. Many speakers will offer you tempting solutions involving at best complexity and at worst financial legerdemain and witchcraft.
. . Many speakers will offer you tempting solutions involving at best complexity and at worst financial legerdemain and witchcraft," Bogle said.
"I must confess that, no offense intended to the presenters, I wince when I see so many subjects that seem to offer easy roads for you to build your capital: `Wealth Creation and Preservation: Increasing Yields to 15-20 Percent.' `The Possible Trillion Dollar Opportunity of the Internet,' `Finding Future Wealth in Diamond Mines,' `High-Profit, Low-Risk Strategies' . . .
"I assume from the titles that these speakers will offer you the secrets of success. Let me offer mine: The one great secret of investment success is that there is no secret . . . Investment success, it turns out, lies in simplicity as basic as the virtues of thrift, independence of thought, financial discipline, realistic expectations and common sense."
I doubt if Mr. Bogle will be invited back to many more Money Shows.
In 2002, I learned that Mr. Bogle was to be Keynote speaker at a Miami Herald sponsored Financial Convention in Miami. Mel and I took a chance and invited Jack to a Florida seafood dinner prepared by Pat in our condominium. To our surprise, he accepted. We took a chance and invited everyone
on the Morningstar Boglehead Forum to be our guests. 21 Bogleheads showed up for what became "a magical night." Our dinner that evening became the first Boglehead Reunion and a friendship with Jack and his wife that has changed our lives like so many others.
There is no one in the mutual fund industry with a greater combination of practical experience, perseverance, inventive genious, literary ability, kindness, modesty, desire to help others and impecible character.
Best wishes and Happy Holiday!