Interesting thoughts from a great investor.
“The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation” is investing pioneer John C. Bogle’s tenth and last book. It is an enjoyable read that ends with 10 lessons for investors that, while simple, are deeply valuable to the general public. I even developed my own scorecard to keep track of how the clash that Bogle, founder of mutual fund giant The Vanguard Group, alludes to is developing over time.
Clash of the Cultures is a great summary of the breadth of Bogle’s 60-plus years in the investment field. He offers observations on the shocking change in the culture of finance that he has witnessed first-hand. Among the most important of the shifts is that short-term speculation has crowded out long-term investment. Though this has been great for the financial sector, it has come at the expense of the public.
Bogle also offer prescriptions for how to address such opposing forces. The bad news — don’t hold your breath waiting for the financial system to get fixed. The good news is that you can immediately begin following his lessons to at least lessen the chances of losing your hard-money amid this surge in speculation:
1. Remember reversion to the mean. What’s hot today isn’t likely to be hot tomorrow. The stock market reverts to fundamental returns over the long run. Don’t follow the herd.
2. Time is your friend, impulse is your enemy. Take advantage of compound interest and don’t be captivated by the siren song of the market. That only seduces you into buying after stocks have soared and selling after they plunge.
3. Buy right and hold tight. Once you set your asset allocation, stick to it no matter how greedy or scared you become.