Skip to main content

Video: Vanguard’s Jack Bogle on how to invest (and earn) in ‘interesting’ times

25 years later, Jack Bogle's investment advice still makes a lot of sense

With the looming threat of a full-on recession, some are already facing the consequences of an economic downturn. Many more are wondering how they can protect themselves financially for an uncertain future. Oftentimes, the best way to plan for tomorrow is by turning to past wisdom. Check out Vanguard founder and financial guru Jack Bogle’s investment advice for “interesting times” like these.

Stock exchange board

Jack Bogle and smart investing

For the uninformed, the late Jack Bogle was an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. His most notable achievements include founding and serving as the chief executive of The Vanguard Group and creating the first index fund. Throughout his life, he was a smart investor and advisor, recommending long-term thinking and investing or short-term gains and speculative choices.

Related Videos

Bogle’s expertise is on full display in this clip of his 1997 speech at a World Affairs Council of Philadelphia event. The speech, which originally aired on C-SPAN2, begins with him discussing the state of the US and foreign markets. At the nine-minute 28-second mark, he gets into his five essential principles for maintaining an investment portfolio during uncertain times—and his advice is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago.

5 principles for investing during 'interesting times' - Jack Bogle (1997)

5 simple investment principles to live by

So how should you maintain your investment portfolio in these turbulent times and into the future? Let’s take a closer look at Bogle’s five most important things to remember when you’re investing in “interesting times.”

  1. Bogle’s first piece of advice is also the simplest: “Invest you must.” Even though it may not seem like a good time to invest, it’s an even bigger risk to not invest at all. He preaches thinking focusing on the long-term benefits of making your money work for you, not the short-term risk of price volatility. In his own words, “never think you know more than the market does. You’re apt to be wrong if you do.”
  2. His next recommendation is to give yourself as much time as you can. Start investing as early as possible to set yourself up for the future. “Compound interest is a miracle, and time is your friend.”
  3. His third principle focuses on viewing the stock market with a healthy dose of realism. “Have rational expectations about future returns to be mentally prepared for market declines.” Neither good times nor bad times will last forever, so try to keep your emotions out of your decision-making process. “Impulse is your foe,” he said.
  4. For his fourth principle, Bogle advised relying on simplicity above everything else. He said, “Basic investing is simple: a sensible asset allocation to stocks, bonds, and reserves, a middle-of-the-road selection of diversified funds, a careful balancing of risks and returns. Cost can kill long-term returns — don’t disregard low-cost index funds.”
  5. And for his last piece of advice: “Stay the course.” No matter what’s happening in the market or in the world around you, don’t give up on your investments. Patience is essential if you want your investments to grow and your finances to thrive.

Recessions are always stressful, and planning for an unclear future can be a challenge. But with the advice of experts like Jack Bogle, you can gain a little bit of peace of mind. And hopefully, when the next recession hits, you’ll have the wisdom and investment portfolio needed to come out the other side stronger than before.

Editors' Recommendations

Why experts say the FTX failure is a ‘turning point’ and not the end for crypto
Experts say this is what's next for crypto after its catastrophic losses
Line graph showing crashing prices.

The FTX bankruptcy filing on Friday last week culminated in a run on customer deposits that exposed deep fissures in the cryptocurrency market. After a CoinDesk report revealed that FTX's financial stability provided by hedge fund Alameda Research was simply an investment in FTX-created FTT tokens, Binance announced that it was selling off its $580 million investment in FTX, setting off a major selloff. This not only resulted in FTX’s over $30 billion collapse and the resignation of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, but opened the door for now-ongoing Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations. This has done little, however, to stem a spreading crypto contagion.

Even after Bitcoin and Ethereum lost more than 70% from their peak values over the last year, Forbes reports that JPMorgan analysts warned that the FTX fallout could result in another 25% drop in value (simultaneously announcing further investment in crypto). Meanwhile, cryptocurrency lender BlockFi Inc. halted customer withdrawals after conceding “significant exposure” to FTX (per The Wall Street Journal). The crypto creditor now plans large layoffs while Blockfi bankruptcy may be around the corner.

Read more
This is what really happened to FTX: A breakdown of the crypto crash
This is what the fallout from the massive FTX failure could be
what happened to ftx

This past week was another painful reminder that history repeats itself. In just one week, the FTX crypto exchange, founded by Sam Bankman-Fried and valued at more than $30 billion (per CNN), collapsed to $1 billion in just a few days before Bankman-Fried filed for bankruptcy on Friday, November 11. With investors left bereft, holding empty money bags, the cry had all the makings of bank runs that helped to spur the Great Depression almost 100 years prior. The crypto crash was only missing the newsboys on the corner, calling out, "FTX insolvent! Investors busted!"


Read more
A new study says investing in LEGOs is better than gold
This investment strategy is certainly more fun than traditional methods
City street scene made with LEGOs

Looking to diversify your portfolio? Traditional wisdom may tell you to invest your money in gold, artwork, antiques, or wine. But, according to a surprising new study, there’s a much more lucrative investment available: LEGOs. While you might think LEGOs for adults are purely for nostalgia, that's not exactly true. Keep reading to learn why you should consider trading in your gold for the colorful bricks of your childhood.

LEGOs are worth more than gold
A recent study published by the Research in International Business and Finance journal has put a serious spin on traditional investing advice. Economists at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Russia found that LEGOs provide a higher return on investment than most other investment alternatives.

Read more