Consider Vanguard saying today that it has $ 4.99 trillion under management. If Jack Bogle and his heirs were the biggest shareholders of a company as large and profitable as Vanguard, they would certainly be billionaires many times.
Jack was proud, he wasn't a billionaire, even though he didn't say it publicly.
"I have fun," he told me. After all, in the US, the industry's titans must be rich. People are so often measured by the size of their financial assets, he said, and his was not really amazing.
But of course that is the point. He built something bigger than personal wealth: a reasonable way for large masses of people to get a fairer share of the world's financial pie.
His index funds have been multiplied by Vanguard and copied and transformed by many others. The funds are not perfect. Jack acknowledged that if the index funds were dominant enough, they could distort the marketplace. It is a problem that others will have to deal with.
Nor was he a doctrinal index. In his personal portfolio, Jack holds shares of actively managed funds, including Vangard's Wellington Fund, founded by his mentor and former chief Walter L. Morgan. But Wellington's fees have always been low and are now only 0.17 percent, according to Morningstar, among the lowest for any actively managed fund.
As Jack told me in 2012, "My ideas are very simple. When you invest, you get what you do not pay ." He popularized these ideas and put them into practice by a personal victim.
We owe him for all fees we are not paying for.