Jack Bogle

I’ve written about Jack Bogle before, but if you don’t recognize the name, he is the founder of Vanguard and creator of the first index mutual fund. He died earlier this month at the age of 89, and while he is mostly known for revolutionizing the investment world, it also turns out that he was just a really good person.

Most tellingly, back in the 1970s Bogle did not charge the 4% commission, which was customary for mutual funds to reinvest dividends on behalf of its clients. He wanted to help people build wealth, so he waived the additional fee much to his own financial detriment. Not only that, but the mutual structure he pioneered kept him from amassing the level of fortune attained by his peers.

When asked about this reality in 2007, Bogle responded with a story about a famous writer at a party with a hedge fund manager: Someone asks the writer if it bothers him that the hedge fund manager makes more money in a day than the writer ever will from a publishing deal. The writer responds, “Yeah, but I have something he’ll never have: enough.” Then Bogle added, “And I have enough, too.”

Secondly, Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal called Bogle for career advice back in the mid-1990s. Zweig was anxious about taking an opportunity to work for a personal finance magazine, thinking they might take his integrity. Bogle quickly fired back, “If they can take your integrity away from you, it’s not integrity.” Well said, sir.

The financial world is littered with greed and corruption, so it’s important to acknowledge the life of a man who lived above the fray. Jack Bogle was a visionary and placed the needs of his clients ahead of his own.

Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.