62 Powerful John Bogle Quotes


John “Jack” Bogle is an investing icon.

He was the founder and chief executive of The Vanguard Group and is credited with creating the idea of investing in index funds.

Throughout his life, he made it a point to inform investors the impact of high fees on their investment returns

Here are 62 powerful John Bogle quotes on investing and personal finance to help you better manage your financial life.

62 Powerful John Bogle Quotes

On Mutual Funds

john bogle quotes

#1. “Fund performance comes and goes. Costs go on forever.” – John Bogle

#2. “Income earned by the sweat of your brow should be taxed at the lowest rates, not the highest. Capital gains should be taxed at a higher rate.” – John Bogle

#3. “The mutual fund industry has been built, in a sense, on witchcraft.” – John Bogle

#4. “Surprise! The returns reported by mutual funds aren’t actually earned by mutual fund investors.” – John Bogle

#5. “The principal role of the mutual fund is to serve its investors.” – John Bogle

#6. “We need a mutual fund industry with both vision and values. A vision of fiduciary duty and shareholder service, and values rooted in the proven principles of long-term investing and of trusteeship that demands integrity in serving our clients.” – John Bogle

#7. “Index funds eliminate the risks of individual stocks, market sectors, and manager selection. Only stock market risk remains.” – John Bogle

#8. “Managed funds are astonishingly tax-inefficient.” – John Bogle

#9. “Hint. Money flows into most funds after good performance, and goes out when bad performance follows.” – John Bogle

#10. “Buying funds based purely on their past performance is one of the stupidest things an investor can do.” – John Bogle

#11. “Even for taxable clients, mutual fund managers supervised the assets in very much the same way, simply ignoring the tax impact and passing the tax liability through to largely unsuspecting fund shareholders.” – John Bogle

#12. “It’s 1,450 out of 1,500 ETF funds that I just wouldn’t touch because they’re not diversified enough. Or they have some huge speculative twist to them that if you can guess the markets right you will do very well for a day or two but who can do that? Nobody.” – John Bogle

The two greatest enemies of the equity fund investor are expenses and emotions

#13. “The two greatest enemies of the equity fund investor are expenses and emotions.”

On Investing

#14. “Fund investors are confident that they can easily select superior fund managers. They are wrong.” – John Bogle

#15. “My biggest prediction for the future is that people are going to start looking after individual investors.” – John Bogle

#16. “Investor emotions plus fund industry promotions equals trouble.” – John Bogle

#17. “Successful investing is about owning businesses and reaping the huge rewards provided by the dividends and earnings growth of our nation’s, and, for that matter, the world’s corporations.” – John Bogle

#18. “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. Learning is to the Studious, and Riches to the Careful. If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him.” – John Bogle

#19. “In the long run, investing is not about markets at all. Investing is about enjoying the returns earned by businesses.” – John Bogle

#20. “Speculation leads you the wrong way. It allows you to put your emotions first, whereas investment gets emotions out of the picture.” – John Bogle

#21. “The true investor will do better if he forgets about the stock market and pays attention to his dividend returns and to the operating results of his companies.” – John Bogle

#22. “The idea that a bell rings to signal when investors should get into or out of the market is simply not credible. After nearly 50 years in this business, I do not know of anybody who has done it successfully and consistently. I don’t even know anybody who knows anybody who has done it successfully and consistently.” – John Bogle

Investing is not nearly as difficult as it looks

#23. “Investing is not nearly as difficult as it looks. Successful investing involves doing a few things right and avoiding serious mistakes.” – John Bogle

#24. “You know the rule of 72, divide the number into 72, any number you want, and that’s how long it will take your money to double.” – John Bogle

#25. “The historical data support one conclusion with unusual force. To invest with success, you must be a long-term investor.” – John Bogle

#26. “If your fund doesn’t last for the long term, how can you invest for the long term?” – John Bogle

#27. “The grim irony of investing, then, is that we investors as a group not only don’t get what we pay for, we get precisely what we don’t pay for. So if we pay for nothing, we get everything.” – John Bogle

#28. “Your success in investing will depend in part on your character and guts, and in part on your ability to realize at the height of ebullience and the depth of despair alike that this too shall pass.” – John Bogle

#29. “The mistakes we make as investors is when the market’s going up, we think it’s going to go up forever. When the market goes down, we think it’s going to go down forever. Neither of those things actually happen. Doesn’t do anything forever. It’s by the moment.” – John Bogle

The winning formula for success in investing is owning the entire stock market

#30. “The winning formula for success in investing is owning the entire stock market through an index fund, and then doing nothing. Just stay the course.” – John Bogle

On The Stock Market

#31. “But most short-term renters of stocks are not particularly interested in assuring that corporate governance is focused on placing the interests of the stockholder first.” – John Bogle

#32. “If the data do not prove that indexing wins, well, the data are wrong.” – John Bogle

#33. “Owning the stock market over the long term is a winner’s game, but attempting to beat the market is a loser’s game.” – John Bogle

#34. “The courage to press on regardless of whether we face calm seas or rough seas, and especially when the market storms howl around us, is the quintessential attribute of the successful investor.” – John Bogle

#35. “If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.” – John Bogle

#36. “Don’t think that you know more than the market. No one does. And don’t act on insights that you think are your own but are usually shared by millions of others.” – John Bogle

#37. “Over the short run, however, the fundamentals are often overwhelmed by the deafening noise of speculation, the price at which the stock market values each dollar of earnings.” – John Bogle

#38. “The stock market is a giant distraction to the business of investing.” – John Bogle

#39. “Before costs, beating the market is a zero-sum game. After costs, it is a loser’s game.” – John Bogle

#40. “The transfer of Wall Street from private ownership to public ownership has been a big step backward.” – John Bogle

#41. “Where returns are concerned, time is your friend. But where costs are concerned, time is your enemy.” – John Bogle

#42. “As a result, Keynes warned, the stock market would become a battle of wits to anticipate the basis of conventional valuation a few months hence, rather than the prospective yield of an investment over a long term of years.” – John Bogle

#43. “Reversion to the mean is the iron rule of the financial markets.” – John Bogle

#44. “What may work for the few cannot work for the many.” – John Bogle

#45. “I believe deeply and profoundly that speculation is a loser’s game.” – John Bogle

Simply buy the entire stock market

#46. “It will also tell you how easy it is to do just that. Simply buy the entire stock market. Then, once you have bought your stocks, get out of the casino and stay out. Just hold the market portfolio forever. And that’s what the index fund does. This investment philosophy is not only simple and elegant. The arithmetic on which it is based is irrefutable. But it is not easy to follow its discipline.” – John Bogle

On The Economy

#47. “When there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one.” – John Bogle

#48. “I think it’s gone much too far. Most of them are not worth the powder to blow them to hell.” – John Bogle

#49. “On balance, the financial system subtracts value from society.” – John Bogle

#50. “Rely on the ordinary virtues that intelligent, balanced human beings have relied on for centuries. Common sense, thrift, realistic expectations, patience, and perseverance.” – John Bogle

#51. “In Las Vegas we all know that it’s the croupiers who win. At the race track, it’s those who control the handle who win. State lotteries, does anybody think the participants in the lottery win? No. The state wins.” – John Bogle

#52. “The multiple failings of our flawed financial sector are jeopardizing, not only the retirement security of our nation’s savers but the economy in which our entire society participates.” – John Bogle

#53. “It’s amazing how difficult it is for a man to understand something if he’s paid a small fortune not to understand it.” – John Bogle

#54. “The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” – John Bogle

#55. “Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!” – John Bogle

#56. “Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It’s cheaper!” – John Bogle

#57. “Gunning for average is your best shot at finishing above average.” – John Bogle

#58. “For finally, you can always count on Americans to do the right thing, as Churchill pointed out, but only after they’ve tried everything else.” – John Bogle

#59. “I will create value for society, rather than extract it.” – John Bogle

#60. “Pressed to identify useful financial innovations created during the past quarter-century, Paul A. Volcker, former Federal Reserve Chairman and recent chairman of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Board, could single out only one. The ATM.” – John Bogle

#61. “Time is your friend. Impulse is your enemy.” – John Bogle

The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan

#62. “The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan. Stick to the good plan.” – John Bogle

Final Thoughts

There are 62 powerful John Bogle quotes.

You can use these quotes when it comes to investing or even in your general personal finances.

The key to remember is that financial freedom is possible.

You just have to take the steps and the initiative to not only start the journey, but stay on the path for the long term.

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