Several experts have lived out the guiding principles to successful long-term investing laid out by Jack Bogle.
Although cost-conscious investing has been thrust into the spotlight in recent years, this approach to wealth management is nothing new. It has been 40 years since Jack Bogle founded Vanguard around principles of low fees, compounding returns, and long-term wealth accumulation.
Along the way, there have been a number of individuals who have championed common sense investing, refining and promoting the ideals that Bogle conceived as new technologies and investment vehicles have emerged. Most notably, the official Bogleheads forum has a wealth of general guidance and customized advice for all levels of investors. Below are profiles of 12 individuals to whom every Boglehead can be thankful. This list is presented in alphabetical order.
William Bernstein, like many of the other most visible Bogleheads, has a unique background: he holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and practiced as a neurologist for many years. His first book on investing, The Intelligent Asset Allocator, offers an in-depth analysis of various asset classes and strategies and makes an argument for low-cost indexing as the most logical way to invest.
His Coward’s Portfolio, which he first published in 1996, exemplifies Bogleheads principles. This 60/40 portfolio constructed with index mutual funds can serve as a starting point for almost any investor looking to set up a long-term strategy.
You can find a list of all of William’s books at Efficient Frontier. His talk on his book The Birth of Plenty, given in 2007 at Google headquarters, remains incredibly valuable and insightful as well.
Jack Bogle needs no biography in a feature dedicated to those who have spread his ideals, but such a list would also be incomplete without at least a brief mention. His two most noteworthy accomplishments may be the founding of Vanguard in 1974 and publishing The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, but Bogle has worked tirelessly for decades to promote his brand of common sense, cost-conscious investing.
Now well into his 80s, Jack has remained active as the President of the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center.
Detailed profiles of Jack have been published in Bloomberg and The New York Times.
Laura Dogu has been nicknamed the “Queen of the Bogleheads” for her dedication to assisting relatively new investors understand the important tenets of long-term investing. (She’s posted almost 8,000 times on the Bogleheads forum.) Laura has made a career not as a financial advisor, but as a diplomat; she’s served her country in a number of locations, including as deputy chief of mission to Mexico since 2012.
Laura co-authored The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning along with a few other names on this list. She’s also a contributor to The Bogleheads column published on Forbes, where she and Mel Lindauer deliver advice inspired by Jack Bogle.
Rick Ferri is the founder and managing partner of Portfolio Solutions, a low-fee investment manager with more than $1.4 billion under management. Rick has been a proponent of low-cost investing for years, managing client portfolios primarily through index funds. His approach to managing money is pretty simple: match the markets, and avoid costly fees, commissions, and mistakes resulting from timing and investment selection errors.
Rick’s early years as a financial consultant, where he was amazed at the disconnect between actual investor returns and the performance of the stock and bond markets, caused him to develop an alternative approach that would deliver superior results over the long term.
Rick has based his career — and his numerous books — on the principles of Bogle. (Among his publications is The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning.)
You can follow Rick on his personal site and on Twitter.
Taylor Larimore has been called “The Dean of the Vanguard Diehards” by Money Magazine and “King of the Bogleheads” by Jack Bogle himself. (Bogle also reportedly sang “Happy Birthday” and wrote an original poem to celebrate Taylor’s 90th birthday in 2014.) Taylor served as a paratrooper during World War II before settling into a career in finance. Since embracing Bogle’s principles in the 1980s, he helped to start the Bogleheads community, first at Morningstar and later as an independent site.
Along with Rick Ferri, Mel Lindauer, and Laura Dogu, Taylor wrote The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning.
Michael LeBoeuf was one of the earliest Bogleheads and is a co-author of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing. Michael also wrote The Millionaire in You, in which he introduced LeBoeuf’s Law: “invest your time actively and your money passively.” That book contains a number of arguments against active trading and for tax-efficient index investing.
Michael has also written extensively about best practices for both large and small businesses. He was a professor of management at the University of New Orleans for two decades before retiring in 1989.
You can see a complete list of Michael’s books on his personal site.
Mel Lindauer is responsible for thousands of posts on the popular Bogleheads forum, teaming up with Taylor Larimore to author much of the site’s most valuable content. He’s co-authored the two definitive Boglehead books, The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing and The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning.
Like many of his fellow Bogleheads, Mel has enjoyed an interesting life. He’s served as a Marine, the CEO of a graphic arts company, and a flight instructor and has been commissioned as a Kentucky colonel.
Mel is also president of the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating investors. You can follow Mel on Twitter.
Mike Piper is a former financial advisor and tax accountant who, at the ripe old age of 30, has authored a number of excellent books on personal finance topics. Mike advocates a simple approach to investing built around three simple concepts: 1) diversifying a portfolio; 2) minimizing of commissions, management fees, and taxes; and 3) ignoring the financial media.
You can read Mike at Oblivious Investor and follow him on Twitter. He also contributes regularly to The Wall Street Journal.
After writing an epic post covering the ins and outs of personal finance in 2005, J.D. Roth founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. He quickly grew the site into one of the most widely read personal finance sites and gained high praise for its no-frills, common sense approach to investing and financial management. In addition to his personal stories — he had personally clawed out from a mountain of debt to gain financial freedom — this site has attracted an active community that shares advice on a wide range of personal finance topics.
J.D. sold the site to QuinStreet in 2009, but continued to write regularly and provide advice to his audience for several more years (including a primer on the benefits of index funds in 2010).
J.D. has also contributed his words of wisdom to Time and Entrepreneur, and wrote Your Money: The Missing Manual. You can read J.D. on his personal site and follow him on Twitter.
Bill Schultheis spent several years at Smith Barney before starting Soundmark Wealth Management in Kirkland, Washington. Soundmark is built on a “passive asset class” philosophy, using primarily institutional share class funds in investor portfolios. His book, The Coffeehouse Investor, has been praised as an easy-to-understand financial guide. Bill highlights three primary tasks — determining an asset allocation plan, buying index funds, and saving money — as the key requirements to a successful long-term strategy.
You can read Bill at The Coffeehouse Investor and follow him on Twitter.
Thomas Stanley didn’t have an affiliation with the Bogleheads forum, but he influenced countless readers to pursue a common sense approach to wealth creation. Thomas was a co-author of the hugely influential The Millionaire Next Door, which examined the various types of “Accumulators of Wealth” in American society.
Stanley and co-author William Danko illustrated that avoiding frivolous purchases and consistently saving money are strategies that maximize unrealized, non-taxable income.
Up until his death in 2015, Thomas continued to blog regularly on personal finance best practices, and his personal website still maintains a collection of his writings.
Larry Swedroe has held a wide range of positions within the financial industry, including stints at Prudential Home Mortgage and Citigroup. He’s currently director of research at Buckingham Asset Management.
In addition to thousands of posts in the Bogleheads forums, Larry has authored a number of books focused on investing strategies. These include What Wall Street Doesn’t Want You to Know: How You Can Build Real Wealth Investing in Index Fund.
Larry’s writings appear in a number of locations online, including the BAM Alliance Blog and the Index Investor Corner on ETF.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Know of another Boglehead you’d include in this list? Let us know in the comments below.
September 11, 2015: This article has been updated with relevant links to the Fund Reference database of mutual funds.
December 6, 2015: I was gratified to see this article being discussed at the Bogleheads.org forum, a website that I visit regularly. Bogleheads forum members pointed out that our list should have included some more experts; notably, Allan Roth, as well as many other top forum contributors (thanks, EmergDoc, for the list!) Additionally, as I am myself a Boglehead who also appreciates fine timepieces, I agree it was remiss of us to not mention the infamous $5,000 watch thread in a “hall of fame” article. 😉 In any case, we did not intend the list above to be exhaustive–and I believe the Bogleheads community would have the best nominations, anyway–so I’d invite readers to check out the thread at Bogleheads.org, to see all the additional community suggestions.
— Andy Hagans, Fund Reference editor in chief
About the Author: Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston is senior analyst for Fund Reference, and also serves as COO of parent company Poseidon Financial. His investment expertise has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and USA Today, among other publications. He resides in Chicago.