This will be my only post of the week, as I am currently on a family vacation in New York City. I spent today in the Financial District, approaching bankers and other well-dressed individuals on Wall Street and asking them if they had considered embracing a low-cost indexing strategy. Most ignored me. Some swore colourfully. My children were frightened.
During quieter moments, I’m rounding out my summer reading this week with John Bogle’s Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life. Bogle, as long-time Couch Potatoes will know, is the founder of The Vanguard Group and the father of index investing. This book contains no practical advice for investors; rather, it’s a reflection on everything that has gone wrong in business and finance in recent years. In the world of investing, Bogle sums things up like this:
- Too much cost, not enough value
- Too much speculation, not enough investment
- Too much complexity, not enough simplicity
Amen to all three points. It’s hard to overstate the influence that Vanguard and Bogle himself have had on investing in the United States. Not only is Vanguard now the largest mutual fund company in the world, but the fact that investors have the option of choosing its funds, with their extraordinarily low costs, has changed the mutual fund landscape in that country. If a fund company tried to charge Canadian-style fees in the U.S., they would be run out of town by angry mobs with pitchforks. Rumours have floated around since last year that Vanguard may eventually come to Canada: that day can’t come soon enough.
See you next week. Until then, stay passive, my friends.