What is a “Boglehead?” Bogleheads are named after John C. Bogle (1929-2019), a founder of one of the first S&P 500 index funds and a lifelong advocate of low-cost index investing. He popularized “don’t look for the needle, just buy the haystack” as an investing strategy that purchases shares of entire markets instead of trying to pick individual stocks. He wrote plenty of books in his own right, but this #FinLit post is about a trio of books spearheaded by one of his most ardent followers, Taylor Larimore.
The Boglehead strategy itself is rather simple and easy to execute. In fact, you can read about it right now on the Bogleheads wiki page. What I love about this book is how it exposes the risks and pitfalls in so many other strategies. A lot of people get anxious even thinking about investing, but this book gave me confidence to learn more by also teaching me what to avoid. Sometimes, seeing what can go wrong is just as important as learning the “correct” method. I read over 100 more books about finance and investing after this one, and while some of them have been brilliant or covered specific topics in great detail, none have achieved the same simplicity and clarity of this book.
For anyone wanting to dig a little more into the Bogleheads ethos, this guide covers a lot of the same ground but with more substance. There’s more discussion of how to build wealth, use retirement accounts, and types of insurance. This book delivers more financial basics beyond the three-fund portfolio strategy, making it a perfect complement to the Three-Fund Portfolio.
No matter what retirement strategy anyone uses, we are all headed to the same place: the future. This book is a deep dive into many topics specific to handling money in retirement. If you want pearls of wisdom regarding withdrawal strategies, gifts and inheritance, and how to stretch your retirement accounts as far as possible, consider this the capstone of the Bogleheads trilogy.