John Bogle, millionaire & Warren Buffet’s ‘hero’, who paved way for low-fee investing, dies at 89

Vanguard Group founder John Bogle has died at the age of 89, his family has confirmed. Bogle is known as a pioneer of low-cost index funds, whose visionary ideas have enabled ordinary Americans to save money through investment.

Bogle passed away at his home in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, The Philly has reported, citing the late investor’s family. Vanguard Group, the investment company he founded in 1974, has confirmed his death in an official statement on its website. The cause of Bogle’s passing has not been officially revealed, with the Philly reporting that the octogenarian millionaire died of cancer.

Throughout his long career in investment, first at the Wellington Management Company, and then at his own fund, Bogle has been hailed as a trailblazer. He introduced the first index fund for individual investors in 1976, making investment opportunities accessible to ordinary Americans, who no longer needed to pay exorbitant fees to professional managers.

Until then, investors had to pay stock pickers and managers who often would fail to outsmart the market. The concept of passive tracker funds as opposed to the funds actively managed by supposed “professionals” was first met with derision, only to later become the cornerstone of modern investing. In 2016, Bloomberg found that Vanguard’s revolutionary approach directly saved its investors $175 billion in fees.

It also helped stimulate competition on the market, forcing other firms to lower their fees, saving an estimated $200bn to outside investors.

In his letter to investors in 2017, Warren Buffett, a legendary investor himself, called Bogle his “hero.”

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“If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands-down choice should be Jack Bogle,” Buffett wrote at the time, noting that Bogle, whose own net worth was at just $80mn in 2017, “amassed only a tiny percentage of the wealth that has typically flowed to managers who have promised their investors large rewards while delivering them nothing.”

Instead of accumulating billions of dollars, Bogle must be proud that “he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned.”

Bogle has authored many books on “common sense” investing, travelling the country with speech and book tours long after his retirement from the company at the age of 70 in 1999.

He often criticized Wall Street greed and highlighted its ethical problems.

Bogle’s health problems were well-known. In 1996, the same year he stepped down as Vanguard CEO, he underwent a heart transplant. The investor was still connected to the company, which now manages $5.1 trillion in assets worldwide, through the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center.

Bogle was named one of the “world’s 100 most powerful and influential people” by Time magazine in 2004 and, according to Forbes, “has done more good for investors than any other financier of the past century.”

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