Since I first challenged an "investment advisor" to show me HIS portfolio of stocks many years ago (He would not.), I have been very reluctant to follow the advice of such people. After thirty years of investing, I have come back to my first impression: indexing is the way to go. I started out when I was very young, controlled my expenses, saved, and now I work whenever I feel like it. I have weathered all the recessions and have never panicked and sold; I live below my means and never look at my portfolio; you don't lose money until you sell. Indexing and remaining cool have paid off handsomely; now if I could just teach my two sons all I have learned ...
Common Sense Investing I found a lot to like about the The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle. Mr. Bogle was the founder of The Vanguard Group and is famous for creating the world’s first index mutual fund in 1975, the Vanguard 500 Index Fund. The logic of his index fund was to invest in a large number of stocks, all the stocks comprising the S&P 500, to make money from the combination of their growth and dividends. This is a departure from the more common view of investing in undervalued stocks to make money from an increase in their stock value.
Bogle makes a convincing argument that the best way to get the value from the stock market is to invest in all the stocks by buying mutual funds based on indexes of the market that invest in all the stocks.
The author points out that the real net income from stock investments is the investments’ gain minus the cost of the investments. The costs are relatively easy to determine in the case of retail brokers charging for a stock trade when buying or selling stocks. However, the costs are much more complicated for mutual funds because, in addition to the cost of the trade, in many cases there is an annual incentive sales fee for the broker for up to five years (up to 1.5% a year according to the author). I had no idea that there were hidden sales fees in addition to the purchase fee charged by the brokers. In addition to annual fees, most mutual funds typically have additional management fees of 2 to 3%. In comparison, index funds have low management fees (often .4% or lower) with no hidden sales fees.
What is more disturbing is that 99% of mutual funds significantly underperform the S&P 500 index. When the excessive costs combined with the underperformance of mutual funds are compared to S&P index funds, the long term income differences are shocking. The net return after taxes of $10,000 invested in an indexed fund from 1980 to 2005 would have been $76,200 versus $16,700 for other mutual funds (for those mutual funds that survived). This represents 456% more net income to the investor with far less risk.
If you are one of the 85% of investors who let their broker "manage" their assets, Bogle’s book may keep you awake at night. To sleep better, I switched to low cost, low risk index funds.
The author’s perspective is unique since he invented the very first indexed funds. It is a little like reading Thomas Edison's thoughts about the light bulb. Bogle knows the issues and history of investing in indexes versus other types of mutual funds.
This "common sense investing" book was easy to read and easy to understand. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting their investments to produce more income with less risk. Five Stars and hats off to the founder of index investing.
SO helpful. I went over this book with my money manager, and no surprise, he had all this BS to say about how Bogle is wrong. Needless to say, I fired the money manager. Investing has always seemed mysterious, which is what they want you to think! With this and a few other books, I feel just competent enough to do it myself (with a little help from friends and the Bogle website).
The book is well written and endorsed by Warren Buffet. Very positive on Index Funds, that's the flavor of these times. Like sheep investers move in unison from one type of investment to the next. However, our economy flexes and bends, sometimes in positive terms sometimes no so positive. Is one way of thinking going too navigate well through both worlds? Not so sure.
Out of date. This is the 2007 edition. A new edition came out in October of 2017. In addition, and I don’t know if this makes any difference at all, the book is labeled “Illegal for sale in USA”. However, unlike other reviewers I did not see any missing pages flipping through it. I’m going to return it or trash it; I’m not going to wast my time reading something that is 10 years old when an updated version that is less than a year old is available. Unfortunately it is at this time only available in hardcover, but the price is not much more.