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Have you ever been to a reception and had ordinary conversations until you ended up talking to a group of like-minded people? You laugh and talk like you’ve been friends forever.

Well, that happened to me.

They call themselves Bogleheads in honor of John C. “Jack” Bogle, who founded the Vanguard Group and is the father of the index fund, a low-cost, A no-frills buy-and-hold investment strategy that has made many regular investors millionaires.

I didn’t realize I was a full-blown Boglehead until recently, even though I followed the man and his investment philosophy. A Bogle bobblehead sits on my bookshelf like a talisman – a gift for the book “The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing”.

I can’t help but think of Bogle and Bogleheads when I read news reports about the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, who is accused of soliciting billions of dollars from customers and investors after his company collapsed in 2022 Cryptocurrency exchange, FTX.

Bankman-Fried has been one of the most prolific promoters of the cryptocurrency, which appeals to investors looking to get rich quick. They thrive on increasing risk and investing in speculative things like crypto in the frantic pursuit of high rewards.

Bogle “was a maverick who took on Wall Street and the investment community by championing the cost-effective index fund that was widely derided by stock pickers but eventually came to dominate the investment world,” one of my former colleagues wrote in 2019 : after Bogle’s death at age 89.

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Bogle often pointed out that only a small percentage of individual stock pickers can beat the S&P 500 – one of the best indicators of stock market performance – over a long period of time. He believed that index funds, designed to mimic market indices, were a more cost-effective way to build wealth. He wanted investing to be easy.

A boglehead closely resembles the tortoise in the children’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.” As you may remember, the Hare mocked the Tortoise for his slow and steady approach to racing. The hare boasted about his speed and was so overconfident in his abilities that he took a nap.

But the turtle slowly but methodically stayed on course on the way to the finish line. You know the rest.

Recently, I, along with my husband and two daughters, were invited to speak about investing as a family at a Bogleheads conference in Maryland sponsored by the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy. Next year the group will meet in Minneapolis. (In the interest of full disclosure, I own Vanguard mutual funds in my 401(k) plan and other investment portfolios.)

“Jack Bogle believed that every investor, including retail investors, deserves a fair shake and their fair share of market returns,” said Christine Benz, CEO of the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy. “This conference is about preserving that legacy to continue to expand.”

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Bogleheads is committed to teaching people the importance of investing and having enough.

They believe what Bogle wrote in his book Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life.

“Not knowing what is enough undermines our professional values,” Bogle wrote. “It turns into sellers those who should be trustees of the investments entrusted to them.”

For more personal and timeless financial advice, order your copy of Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones.

This year, for the first time, conference attendees were able to take either the 101 course, which focused on basic investing, or an advanced course that covered how to make the most of Social Security, real estate, structuring your retirement portfolio, and Roth investments. conversions.

My kids are great savers but cautious investors who are tired of the turmoil in the stock market. They have rebuffed attempts to get them to read investment books and articles.

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It took some persuasion, but they relented and agreed to talk about how my husband and I advanced the Boglehead trail.

Can I tell you that my heart almost burst because something finally clicked with our girls, especially our oldest, 28?

During panel discussions with investment experts, she started texting me. She sat in a row behind me with her sister and my husband.

Me: “Treasury Inflation Protected Securities. TIPs are designed to protect you from inflation.”

Me: “Inflation protection bonds. They are also intended to keep pace with inflation. So the thing about inflation is that your money loses value because prices go up. If your money doesn’t keep up with inflation, you won’t have enough to buy things you need and want, like groceries or a car.”

You: “Small Cap, Medium Cap”

Me: “Small cap = small companies that have the potential to grow and therefore make an investor more money.” Mid-cap = medium-sized companies. At some point Apple was small, then medium, then HUGE.”

More and more Americans own stocks. This is great for their financial future.

The one-word questions without question marks went beyond several other investing terms she heard speakers mention. While I was answering a question, she asked her father what something else meant. Her younger sister, 23, leaned in to hear his whispered explanations.

They listened. They were engaged. Thanks to the Bogleheads, they were eager to learn more.

My people have broken through where I fought. They had inspired my children to become more informed investors who were willing to wait patiently to grow their wealth. And be satisfied with enough.

BOM – The best of Michelle Singletary on personal finance

If you have a personal finance question for Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary, please call 1-855-ASK-POST (1-855-275-7678).

My Mortgage Repayment History: My husband and I paid off the house in the spring of 2023 thanks to additional payments and the use of a mortgage adjustment. Even though it lowered my perfect credit score from 850 and my column about it sparked serious debate among readers, it was one of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made.

Credit card debt: If you have a habit of carrying credit card debt, stop it. It’s just a myth that it will improve your credit score. If you want to get rid of your credit card debt, you should consider whether a balance transfer is right for you.

Money moves throughout your life: For a more in-depth overview of my timeless money advice, check out Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones. The interactive package offers guidance for every stage of life, whether you are just starting your career or planning to retire.

Test yourself: Do you know where you stand financially? Take our quiz and read more personal finance advice.

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