“Mr. Bogle helped democratize financial markets,” observed Jason Zweig and Sarah Krouse, columnists from the Wall Street Journal, who today amongst many others eulogizes the passage of John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard: John C. Bogle, Founder of Vanguard Group, Dies at 89. John “Jack” Bogle passed away yesterday. For those of us in the investment world who spend a great deal of time “under the financial hood” of your wealth, we and others name Mr. Bogle as a giant—an industry-leading voice—who arguably did more than any other one individual in modern financial history to deliver low-cost and accessible fund exposure to investors. His presence and vision are firmly entrenched in how each of our client’s portfolios at CCM are constructed. Mr. Bogle is credited for “almost singlehandedly making index funds a practical and popular option.” He created the first mutual fund tied to an index in 1975. His visionary and tireless work are some the main reasons why costs in the mutual fund industry have dropped significantly over the last fifteen years.
It we were to stop there, Mr. Bogle’s legacy would certainly be revered. But, there is a more to the man than his financial and business acumen. Jack is one of those people in life that I would have wanted to meet. Why? Because of the values he espoused and embodied. Almost ten years ago he authored the book, Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life. And though I will not be able to do justice by summarizing the book in this short post, a quick glance at the chapter headings of the book present a window into John’s understanding of our true purpose in life:
- Too Much Cost, Not Enough Value
- Too Much Speculation, Not Enough Investment
- Too Much Complexity, Not Enough Simplicity
- Too Much Counting, Not Enough Trust
- Too Much Business Conduct, Not Enough Professional Conduct
- Too Much Salesmanship, Not Enough Stewardship
- Too Much Management, Not Enough Leadership
- Too Much Focus on Things, Not Enough Focus On Commitment
- Too Many Twenty-First-Century Values, Not Enough Eighteenth Century Values
- Too Much “Success,” Not Enough Character
Below is an extended excerpt from the 10th chapter on Character. It is worthy enough of re-printing here and even if it does not inspire you to read the entire book, know that the values of stewardship, hard work, community engagement, ethical behavior, transparency, and leadership identified in Mr. Bogle’s book are embodied, and lived out (as best we can) in the lives of colleagues and CCM as an organization.
We fully understand that we are here to help clients realize the full potential of their wealth, allowing them to achieve their goals and aspirations. And, please know that behind all the work that we do, underneath all the financial metrics and statistics, ratios and models, planning concepts and designs are the sound principles of governance, community engagement, and personal character that we will not compromise on.
Wondering About the Rabbit We Chase: excerpt from the Chapter 10 of Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life, by John Bogle
“Most of us should not have to spend much time wondering whether the rabbits we are chasing are real or false. The guideposts are all around us. Yet in the quiet of the evening and the sometime loneliness of the soul, many of those who shouldn’t need to wonder about the value of hard work and a life well lived doubtless do exactly that. But whether they wonder or not, surely any one of us who—by the blessings of birth, genes, talents, luck, determination, and the help of others—achieves the financial rewards of what passes for commercial success deserves no such exemption. (Perhaps it will surprise you to learn that I do a lot of lonely wondering about the worth of my own life and career.)
We’ll be better human beings and achieve greater things if we challenge ourselves to pursue careers that create value for our society—with personal wealth not as the goal, but as the by-product. Best of all, by setting that challenge for ourselves, we’ll build the character that will sustain us in our labors. We’re all in the human race together—those who undertake the nobler missions of life, those unsung heroes who make our world work, and those of us who are lucky enough to earn a good living through our careers in business and trade, in finance, and in the other highly paid sectors of American life. So rather than running after a rabbit and finally finding that it’s fake, and, like that greyhound we met earlier, quitting in dismay, let’s just make sure that we are chasing the real rabbit of life, doing our best—in a complicated, risky, and uncertain world—to serve our fellowman.
Once we do that, let’s keep running—and running, and running, and running!—the long race of a life well lived. We have quite enough lionizing of the notion of success as popularly defined by a certain kind of material wealth, fame, and power. But we do not have nearly enough of a more elevated notion of success, defined by a more spiritual kind of wealth, fame, and power, simply summed up in one word: character. And there can never be enough character. Our society needs every one of us to be part of the mission that will place character at the top of our national agenda. We can do it. We can make that noble task our own.”