Bogleheads on Investing – Episode 011 transcript

mel-lindauer
Mel Lindauer

The Bogleheads are a global phenomenon that began over 20 years ago. It was created by individual investors to help other investors recognize that “costs matter.” I recently interviewed one of the founder fathers of the global movement, Mel Lindauer.

Mel Lindauer, CFS, WMS, was dubbed “The Prince of the Bogleheads” by Jack Bogle. He’s one of the Boglehead forum founders along with Taylor Larimore, and has contributed thousands of posts, helping investors learn the Boglehead way to invest.

In 2010, Mel helped create the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy, an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization. He serves as the voluntary president of the Center.

A Marine veteran, he started investing in the late ’60s and has first-hand experience with both bull and bear markets.

Together with Taylor Larimore, Mel initiated and continues to organize the grassroots Bogleheads’ annual meetings. He’s been quoted in a number of newspapers and national magazines and has appeared on CNN-fn. He was selected as one of Money Magazine’s everyday heroes in it’s March 2012 issue.

Retired since 1997, he was founder and former CEO of a successful graphic arts company in the Philadelphia area for 30 years. Since retirement, he has earned credentials as a Certified Fund Specialist from the Institute of Business and Finance and as a Wealth Management Specialist from Kaplan College. He also holds commercial and flight instructor licenses and was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of his former home state of Kentucky. Mel was elected to the Daytona Beach Shores city council and was sworn in on November 15, 2016.

This podcast is hosted by Rick Ferri, and is sponsored by the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy.

Transcript

Episode 011- guest Mel Lindauer

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Rick Ferri, July 7, 2019

Rick Ferri: Welcome to the eleventh episode of Bogleheads on Investing. Today we have  special guest one of the founders of the Bogleheads, Mel Lindauer. I’ll be talking with Mel about the incredible growth of the Bogleheads over the years in this country and abroad.

Hi everyone. My name is Rick Ferri  and I’m the host of Bogleheads on Investing. This episode, as with all episodes, are brought to you by the John C. Bogle  Center for Financial Literacy a 501(c)( 3) corporation.

Today we’ll be talking with Mel Lindauer. Mel is one of the founders of the Bogleheads. The Bogleheads are a global community of individual investors who helped each other through forums, the incredibly in-depth Bogleheads wiki, there is this podcast, local meetings, national meetings. It’s a global phenomena that just keeps getting better.

So let me introduce the Prince of the Bogleheads, Mel Lindauer. Welcome Mel.

Mel Lindauer: Well it’s great to be with you Rick. I love your podcast. Thanks for all you’re doing. It’s nice to be with you.

Rick Ferri: Well thank you for being on the program Mel. We’re really excited to have you today. You were Boglehead number two. Boglehead number one was Taylor Larimore who was a good friend of Jack Bogle and started the Bogleheads many years ago on the Morningstar forum, but before we get to the history of the Bogleheads, could you talk a little bit about your background. I mean you didn’t come from the investment industry.

Mel Lindauer: No I didn’t. I ran a graphic arts business in the Philadelphia area for thirty years. In 1968, I  started investing with a college friend who was a broker and little did I know that the program he put me in, there was a 50% Commission. And they claimed that by paying a 50% up front, that was going to entice you to stay into the program.

Rick Ferri:  So Mel, I remember that back when I was in the military they would– those 50% plans were called cafeteria plans. Do you remember that phrase?

Mel Lindauer: Oh yes, I remember that well, and in our later days we Bogleheads fought against that to try to get them out of the military bases because they were taking advantage of our service people and fortunately I think that we succeeded. We raised such a ruckus, I think Congress, our Senate, got involved and I think they’re no longer allowed on military bases if I, if I’m correct.

Rick Ferri: I think you are. but go ahead and continue with your background.

Mel Lindauer:  I started investing in the late ‘60s with that program. but when my business  started doing well I thought that I should start learning more about investing. So I started reading a lot of investing books, magazines,and really became a student of investing. So I started helping friends and relatives who asked for my help because I knew something about investing and they didn’t. And eventually when I retired in 1997,  I turned the business over to my sons. I was looking for some kind of charity work that I could do –volunteer work–and that’s how I got involved with the Morningstar forum. I figured that I could help out there by helping other people avoid all the mistakes that I had made in my early years of investing.The Morningstar Diehards forum was the first Boglehead forum. 

Rick Ferri: At first everything was on Morningstar. It wasn’t even called Bogleheads back then was it?

Mel Lindauer: That’s right because the people used to call us, other forum members–there were a lot of forums on Morningstar–and they used to make fun of us and call us Bogleheads and it was a derogatory term back then. We wore the name as a badge of honor but Morningstar thought that Bogleheads was a derogatory term. They didn’t want to upset Jack by calling us the Bogleheads so they called us the Vanguard Diehards and the subtitle of our forum was “Bogleheads Unite, Talk About Your Favorite Fund Company”.. We did not become the Bogleheads officially until we left Morningstar in 2007 and started the Bogleheads org forum.

Rick Ferri: Could you just explain for just a few minutes, for people who are not familiar with what the Bogleheads are, exactly what the organization is, and who the people are that are behind it. How big it is. I mean how much it’s grown.

 Mel Lindauer: Well the numbers are just phenomenal. We get something like seventy to ninety thousand unique visitors a day on the forum. The number of hits are in the millions, so it has grown from a small organization to a very large organization. We have close to a hundred thousand registered members and at any one time on the forum we have about ten guests for each registered forum member that’s online. We get a couple thousand posts a day. It’s  just grown phenomenally. But basically the Bogleheads is an organization of people who volunteer to help other investors, and we have no vested interest. We don’t sell anything. We have no ads. None of the board members, none of the officers get paid a penny either. It’s all volunteer work and I think that’s very important. 

Rick Ferri: So basically this is funded by a nonprofit organization and the way expenses are paid is by donations.So how would someone find out how to donate.

Mel Lindauer:  Well they would donate to the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy and the address is on the forum. They can donate directly to the forum. It’s not tax deductible. If they donate to the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy and then we donate to the forum as part of our mission to support the forum, it is a charitable deduction.

Rick Ferri:  Who was it who came up with the idea of starting a forum that concentrated on low fee investing and at that time at least on Vanguard funds.

Mel Lindauer:  The initial impetus for the Bogleheads on the Morningstar forum was Taylor Larimore. The bogleheads used to post on other forums, but they kept asking for their own forum and that is why Morningstar called our group the Diehards because we kept insisting on getting our own forum. And that forum soon became the number one Morningstar forum, the most popular forum on Morningstar. The number of posts on our forum were greater than all of the other forums combined. So that was a really an effort that was led by Taylor. Taylor is just one unique individual. And Taylor and I got connected fairly early in the Morningstar forum’s beginning.

I joined shortly after the diehards forum was started, but I just wanted to lay in the background and see what was going on,and who was who, and who knew what they were talking about and so forth. And there were questions about annuities that nobody answered, so I thought, “ Well I know about annuities, so I’ll answer the questions.” So I started answering questions about annuities. And then Taylor got in touch with me and said how he really liked the stuff I was doing and asked “Why don’t we work together?” And that’s how Taylor and I ended up working together.

Rick Ferri:  So you said you know Taylor is one unique individual. What did you mean?

Mel Lindauer:  Yes, Taylor is a World War II vet. He was in the Battle of the Bulge as a paratrooper and he and I–as I’m a Marine; he’s a paratrooper– we joke around a lot. But we really respect each other and he is the kind of guy that I would want to have my back anywhere. He is a real  gentleman, an ace. Jack Bogle called him the King of the Bogleheads and it’s a well-deserved title. Jack called me the Prince of the Bogleheads and I told Taylor many times that this Prince has no desire to be King. So Taylor has to stick around as long as I’m around.

 Mel Lindauer:  Yes, Taylor is a World War II vet. He was in the Battle of the Bulge as a paratrooper and he and I–as I’m a Marine; he’s a paratrooper– we joke around a lot. But we really respect each other and he is the kind of guy that I would want to have my back anywhere. He is a real  gentleman, an ace. Jack Bogle called him the King of the Bogleheads and it’s a well-deserved title. Jack called me the Prince of the Bogleheads and I told Taylor many times that this Prince has no desire to be King. So Taylor has to stick around as long as I’m around.

Rick Ferri: Well one of the things that you started was an annual Bogleheads reunion.

Mel Lindauer: Yeah, that was kind of a strange occurrence. I made a post on the old Morningstar forum on Thanksgiving Day of 1999 and I listed all the things I was thankful for: my wife, my kids. and so forth, and a  lot of other people did the same thing. Everybody was chiming in and we felt like we were a family. even though we didn’t know each other. And Taylor chimed in and said basically the same thing that most of us said we were thankful for — our wife and the kids and how lucky we’d been in life and so forth. But at the end of his post, Taylor said,”and I’m especially thankful to Jack Bogle for founding Vanguard because I live in the house that Jack built. He calls his 35th floor condo overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami “The house of Jack built”.

Jack Bogle saw that post. He used to follow our forum on a somewhat regular basis. He wrote to Taylor, asking him if there was any interest in possibly getting together with him. And you know, for Taylor and me, this was like getting an invitation to the White House or an audience with the Pope.

So Taylor knew that I was a snowbird in Florida in the winter and he contacted me and said Jack is going to be the keynote speaker at the Miami Herald “Making Money” seminar. Do you think this would be a good opportunity for us to get together with him like he mentioned. So I contacted the Miami Herald people and asked him if they could arrange something, a room for some of us to get together with Jack at lunch for lunch, for maybe an hour so and they kind of shooed us away as groupies and said that they had Jack too busy. He didn’t have time to get together with us.

So I called Jack’s office and told them that they said that we couldn’t get together. And Jack said “Well I’ll go wherever you want.” So we decided to have the get-together all away from the Miami Herald Making Money seminar. When the Miami Herald folks learned we were going to get together with Jack away from the seminar, they came, hat in hand and said, Mel is there any chance we could send a reporter and a photographer to cover your event with Jack? So we hired a chef, a cook, and a maid and had a get together with Jack with about 22 or so Bogleheads. And it was a memorable evening. After dinner, Jack sat on the living room couch, and we were all gathered around asking questions and so forth and it was really a magical night to remember.

So this all occurred in Taylor’s condo, but Jack and I were staying at the Seminar hotel. I had the good fortune of getting the assignment of driving Jack from the hotel to Taylor’s and then driving him back after the event was over. And you talk about being happy, but also being petrified about what I was going to say to this guy for the half hour or forty minutes that it took to get  to Taylor’s condo. I can tell you that Jack was the most gentle, easy going, unpretentious guy. I knew that he played golf, so I mentioned that and we started talking about golf. There was never a pregnant pause. I mean Jack was just so easy to talk to..What a remarkable guy. I had such a hard time calling him Jack, but he kept telling me to call him Jack. He likes everybody to call him Jack, but to me, he was Mr. Bogle, and it took a long, long time for me to be able to call him Jack.

Rick Ferri:  Well that would be understandable for two reasons. Number one: who Jack Bogle was.  But number two: you are in that culture, right? I mean Taylor tells me that you’re a Kentucky Colonel. Is that correct?

Mel Lindauer: [laughing] Yes, that’s correct. I was honored by the Governor of Kentucky by being commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel (I think it was in 1981). My Florida license plate is KY COL I am very proud of being a Kentucky Colonel and proud of my heritage, coming from Kentucky. But yes, you’re right about the culture thing. We did say “yes sir” and “no sir” growing up, and then my time in the Marine Corps simply reinforced it. 

So the very first Boglehead reunion took place in Taylor Larimore’s condo in Florida of 2000.

These reunions have just grown substantially over twenty years, and now, even with what’s going on now, even though Jack has passed, the reunions still seem to continue to grow. We initially thought this get-together with Jack would be a one time event. You know Jack had offered to get together with us and so we had our reunion and we thought that was the end of it but Jack posted using Taylor’s computer that night talking about what a great night it was and how he loved being with his Bogleheads and so forth. And the next thing you know, I got a request, asking when the next get-together with Jack would be held. Well, I had no idea that there was going to be more than one. But I was approached by someone who I didn’t know from the forum. He had inherited a farm in Pennsylvania near Vanguard and he offered  his farm and said he wanted to host the Bogleheads for the second reunion. So at that  time, when he got in touch with me, I told him I was leaving for Florida.and would be gone for three months. I said that when I get back from Florida,  we’d get together and talk about it.

After I got back from Florida, I called and they told me that he had died while I was in Florida, so I told his family that we’d just forget about it. They said they still wanted to do it in his honor because that’s what he wanted. So our second reunion was at his farm in Pennsylvania near Vanguard. And several things happened there. Jack took us on a tour of Vanguard. He was our Vanguard tour director. And Jason Zweig  covered our event. Jason was with Money magazine at that time and we ended up with a six or eight page spread in Money magazine, titled “Here Come the Bogleheads”. That article is still available online.  And that was the start of what continued to be, or what turned out to be, an annual or almost annual event.

We had our next one in conjunction with the Morningstar Conference in Chicago.The next one was in conjunction with the CFA Institute in Denver. We had another one with the Money Show folks. So all the ones we did initially, other than the first two, were done in conjunction with shows where Jack was appearing as a featured speaker.

 In 2005, Taylor and I were busy writing our first book and we couldn’t find anywhere where Jack was appearing, so we didn’t plan one for that year. Jack then got in touch with me and said “Mel when’s our next conference” and I said, we’re trying to find something where you’re speaking and tie-in with that, and  that’s when Jack said “I don’t care about where I’m speaking I’ll go wherever you guys want me” and that was that. We broke away from the shows and started doing our own Conferences. We went to DC. Then we went to San Diego and then after that we went to Dallas/Fort Worth. Dallas/Fort Worth was a really touching event because Jack was in the hospital. Jack had made every one of our events, and he told us that he wanted to speak to the  Bogleheads in attendance, so we put a phone line in and wired it into the ballroom speakers and Jack called in at the appointed time. Don’t ask me how Jack got a phone in the intensive care in the hospital he was in, but anyway, Jack called in and he talked to us for about 15 minutes, so that was the only one that Jack missed .

But being concerned for his health, I thought that we would keep them in Philadelphia so Jack didn’t have to travel, so all the conferences since then had been held in Philadelphia where Jack only had to travel to the Conferences from his nearby home.

Rick Ferri: So I understand  that getting to one of these conferences is a pretty hot ticket in that there’s a limited seating and in order to go to the conference, as soon as the invitation goes out on the internet, on the Bogleheads forum. they have to almost immediately reserve their spot because these tickets are gone within a day.

Mel Lindauer: And there’s a reason for that. We started out the first conference with about 20  people and we liked the intimacy, so I kept trying to enlarge the crowd a  little bit at a time to find out if we were going to lose that intimate feeling, where people got a chance to talk to Jack and the authors that were there and so forth. So we went from 20 to somewhere around 40 for the second one, maybe 60  for the third, and finally we got to 200. And at that point I felt that with anything larger than that, we would lose the personal touch, So we now sell about 225 tickets and they go fast — sometimes  they’ve gone as in as little as six hours. This year we sold out again, despite the fact that Jack is not going to be there– we still sold out in less than one day and we have a waiting  list for people who are hoping that they can get in. But we feel that the 200, somewhere around 200, is the ideal number. Because people got to talk to Jack. They got to talk to people like you and Bill  Bernstein and all of the other authors and the people whose books they’ve read, and it works out that they get a chance to meet them and talk to them.

And we feel that that’s one of the real  important parts of the event. I actually think I could sell out Yankee Stadium. but we don’t want that kind of event, like Warren Buffett’s event where you have thousands and thousands of people there. But I just like the intimate feeling and everybody agreed that that was the ideal setup. so yes. the tickets are scarce as hen’s teeth.

Rick Ferri: But one thing that you did set up several years ago was local chapters so that people could go locally and have the same intimate feeling and talk about a lot of the same topics, And, by the way, I wanted to clarify that the Bogleheads is not about Vanguard. I mean Jack Bogle was the founder of Vanguard, but the Bogleheads is not a Vanguard fan club, they espouse the virtues of Jack Bogle, not necessarily Vanguard.

Mel Lindauer:  Well Vanguard says we’re their biggest fans and their biggest critics and that’s probably true. The reason we like Vanguard and mention Vanguard a lot is because of the low cost and their indexing and so forth, and their corporate structure which is the way it’s set up is unique. But we have mentioned, and we feel that there are certainly other places, especially when people don’t have access to Vanguard; there are other companies that we respect. But the main thing we look for is low cost because cost matters and of course we are fans of indexing, But there are other companies and we mentioned them in some of our books. And, if Vanguard does something wrong, they’re going to hear about it and they’re going to read about it on the bogleheads org. forum. Nevertheless, we are friends of Vanguard. We probably drive, and have probably driven, billions to Vanguard simply because we were getting people out of bad situations into good situations, but we also recommend Fidelity and some of the other places when they have good choices available. I think that in many ways, Vanguard was the leader, but it’s also driven down costs everywhere. So, in many ways, it’s becoming more of a level playing field now where you have indexing  products at Schwab, Fidelity, and you’ve got ETF companies like iShares. Everyone has come way down in price and access to extremely low-cost index investing but, of course, Vanguard was the leader, driving that.

Rick Ferri: I agree, a lot of people don’t have access to Vanguard, but there are a lot of good funds and a lot of good companies everywhere now because it has become much more of a level playing field exactly, and I credit Jack. And our message has gotten across. I’m sure that we had some impact on that–Bogleheads forums have–so it’s good. It’s good for all investors, whether they are at Vanguard or Fidelity or Schwab or wherever they are, it’s good that they’re focusing on costs. So we feel that we might have had some little, played a little part in that you know that was Jack’s mission and ours. What we tried to do is carry on Jack’s mission and spread the word, so helping to spread the word. Let’s talk about local chapters. You know a lot of people can’t make it to the  annual conference, or they can’t get a  ticket to the annual conference, but there are local chapters now, all over the country, even all over the world now. 

Mel Lindauer: Yeah, that’s one of the things that I’m proudest of is setting these chapters up.We have close to a hundred now, and we have them in foreign countries. I think we have six,  maybe six or seven foreign chapters, and we have chapters all around the country. These chapters meet on their own and they do basically what we do in the conference–they get together and they talk about things that they’re interested in. We do not dictate their meeting frequency or their agendas or anything.They’re kind of on their own, but usually I try to pick a coordinator  from the forum and the members come from  the forum, so it’s an extension of the forum. But when people do meet in person and talk about things  that are important to them, and find out that there are other people just like them in Sioux Falls Idaho or you know, wherever it happens to be, I think it’s really great because it also brings in other people, it brings spouses to a lot of the Conferences and to the Bogleheads local chapter meetings. Couples come and it brings maybe a spouse  that’s not really interested in learning about investing, but it’s a social event too, and they go and they hear something and say, “oh this is interesting” So I think it’s a great extension of our forum and our conferences and it’s one of the things that I am most satisfied with in the way it turned out. 

Rick Ferri: And there are even local chapters overseas in several countries and I understand that some of these countries are even starting their own Bogleheads conferences now.

Mel Lindauer: Yes. And some of them send me information on these and some of these things look like they are bigger than our conferences because they don’t put a limit on it and I’ve seen some of these pictures with stadium seating that looks like it goes forever. So the United Arab Emirates in Dubai are one of these groups with huge conferences. And  in one of our Bogleheads Conferences in Philly, when I was  doing book signings, a guy came up to me and handed  me a book that I didn’t recognize. It turned out that he was the author of the book he was giving me and he was also the chapter leader in Taiwan. So yeah, we’ve had people from some of the local chapters from the other countries come over to our conferences. So it’s a great  thing. I really feel that Taylor and I  can be very  proud of the little seed that we planted and the way it’s grown with so many people getting involved like you and Bill Bernstein, and all of the other people. Jason Zweig, who we’ve had at several Conferences, has been a good friend of the Bogleheads over the years. He’s written so many great columns at both Money magazine and later at the Wall Street Journal. And Jonathan Clements, who we’ve had at our Conferences, has always been a Bogleheads favorite,,writing his columns in the Wall Street Journal. And Christine Benz ,too, from Morningstar. It’s been so great to see all of these people who have large readerships spreading the Bogleheads message too.

Rick Ferri: So Mel, you mentioned books several times. Can you talk about the different Boglehead books and you talked about the authors. Can you’re talking about the authors?

Mel Lindauer: Initially I got a call and the guy identified himself as Bill Fallone from Wiley Publishing and he said he’d  like us to do a book. And I’m thinking, I know  there are hundreds or thousands of people who’ve written books and can’t get them published and I get a guy calling me out of the blue asking me to write a book? I hung up on him. I thought it was a hoax. But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He kept  calling back and one time he called back and he mentioned Taylor Larimore.and when he said Taylor’s name,  I figured he must know something. Anyway it was Bill Fallone from Wiley Publishing, a legitimate publisher who wanted us to do a book. And I was leery of doing a book because I told him there  are tons and tons of investing books out there written by people who are much much smarter than we are, and why would you want somebody like us  to write a book? I said the only way I would write a book is if we can assume that people know nothing, and we are going to write at that level because there were books like Bill Bernstein’s first book with all the math in it, I said “it’s a brilliant book, he’s a great guy but if  people can’t understand it, they just put  the book down, their eyes glaze over, it goes right over their head and the book  is not useful”. So there are plenty of  those kinds of books out there, for the people who want the high end. I said the only way I would consider doing it would be if we could write at a level that assumes people knew nothing about investing. So when they agreed, we decided to do the book. We brought Michel LaBeouf in as a co-author, and the three of us  did the book. Well the book was successful in the US, and it started being published in foreign languages. And  later, I was getting books showing up in a box on my porch that I didn’t recognize, and it turned out they were the foreign versions. So the book has been very successful and it’s been printed in a number of different languages and hopefully our message, Jack Bogle’s message, is getting spread around the world. One of the things that I’m most proud of is when I read the reviews on Amazon where people say that they could understand the book, they didn’t talk down to them. Which means we were on target because that’s exactly the audience that we wanted. People who needed guidance and didn’t feel that this was rocket science. So the first Bogleheads book is still out there; it’s now in its second edition.

There was a second book that you were involved in, Rick. So was the Queen of the Bogleheads, Laura Dogu. Taylor and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to display the talents of the people who were posting on the Bogleheads Forum. So what we did was create the outline and then we had people volunteer to write a chapter. Sometimes it was two or three people who worked together on a chapter where they had expertise. So that book is a showcase of the talented folks who are posting on the Bogleheads Forum. Every chapter was written by people who are on the forum and give free advice. Our job was to put it all together and make it read like one person wrote it but each person got credit for the chapters they wrote. So it was a community effort and I’m very proud of  the way that book turned out. 

Rick Ferri: So just to clarify more for me if you will the title of the first book and then the title of the second book.

Mel Lindauer: The first book was The Bogleheads Guide to  Investing and the second book was the  Bogleheads Guide to Retirement Planning. There’s a third book now which Taylor put out which is the Bogleheads Guide to the Three Fund Portfolio. It was his lifelong effort if you will. I was happy to work with Taylor on finalizing that book.

Rick Ferri: So let’s continue to move on and talk about how the Bogleheads continue to expand in many different directions and one which is incredibly impressive is the amount of information and content that is available on the Bogleheads wiki site.

Mel Lindauer: Oh yeah.That’s a treasure trove of information and it is again a joint effort by knowledgeable Bogleheads who volunteer to write the articles, to edit the articles, to keep them up to date, This resource will live on long, long after we’re all gone. And hopefully people are making use of it. We’re getting lots of reads and hits on it and it just continues to expand and more and more people are becoming wiki editors and it’s just an extension, if you will, of The Bogleheads Guide to Retirement Planning, which showcased a number of authors.This is showcasing the wealth of knowledge that’s available on the forum for readers on a regular everyday basis. Not only does it have retirement planning information, but there’s 529 plans; there’s all kinds of information about the tax efficiency of various Vanguard funds and other ETFs. Just you name it, if you’re looking for good quality, unbiased non-commercial information about  low-cost investing, I mean to tell you that the Boglehead wiki is just a phenomenal resource. I just can’t get over how much information is contained there, and it’s free, and you can read it at your pace.

There’s another thing there too.If you want to see the history of the Bogleheads conferences there’s videotapes on there. You can go right through the history of all the  conferences and so forth. In the early  days we had transcripts of what happened. What we said ,what Jack talked about, the Q and A’s and so forth. So there’s a wealth of information there both from a historical standpoint going back to the first Bogleheads Conference up through today’s. So you could spend hours and hours and hours on there and never ever begin to touch all the information that’s available. I highly recommend  it to people who have time to read and want to study, and sometimes you have to read before you even know what the questions are. So you can read some of that information and then you can go on the forum and ask a question about it. And you might be getting an answer from the same person who wrote that wiki article.  

I also want to add that it’s not only in the U.S. Now the wiki has extended internationally. There’s a Canadian webring, there are  other countries, now they’re adding content to the wiki. It’s just phenomenal. We have a Spanish forum and we also have a United Arab Emirates forum. These are subforums now on our forum where people come to Bogleheads.org from the United Arab Emirates and they talk to each other. Some people who are in the US. wanting to go to the Arab Emirates, they’re learning about investing there. So there are subforums on our main forum for Spain and Canada and the United Arab Emirates now. So yes, our reach is international both in the local chapters and also on the main forum.

Rick Ferri: Now I’d also like to add that I had guests from the UK on the Bogleheads forum last month and Robin Powell from the UK is interested in starting a UK forum on the Bogleheads.So hopefully we can connect that together because there are a lot of people in the UK now, especially with all the changes of the laws over there,where indexing and low cost investing now is just starting to become very popular. So this Bogleheads phenomenon, the Bogleheads wiki,  the Bogleheads org site, the conferences, the local chapters is just, just growing and growing. I do want to make one plug for something that’s on the wiki that’s called “Taylor’s gems” which Taylor has  spent years collecting, reading books and maybe you could comment on that because it’s just an incredible collection that Taylor has put together.

Mel Lindauer: Taylor used to go to the library, I think it was every Saturday and read books and he has read so many books over the years and he picks out key elements, things that strike him as being important, and he makes notes of these, and they’re called “Taylor’s gems”. With each book that he reads, he might end up with 20 or 30 or even 50 of Taylor’s gems and then he posts these on the forum where they’re available now for everybody. So, basically, this is Taylor’s summary of whatever book it was that he read. So, if you want to get the key elements of any particular book, all you have to do  is look for Taylor’s gems and you’ll probably find something that really strikes your  interest. Then you go get the book. I was just on the wiki site and there’s lists of literally dozens and dozens of investment books and finance books for individual investors. And next to it are Taylor’s gems. so if you want to just read a little bit about what the book is about. you can just click on Taylor’s gems and you can read them because he’s already read it. If it’s out there, he’s already read it and he’s taken notes.

Yeah and he’s putting them up there on the bogleheads.org. forum and also the people who are putting up content for the wiki have taken his gems and have put them on the wiki and,, by the way, the transcripts from these podcasts that I’m doing with you now are also now being put up on the wiki. So everything’s up there, These are things that are going  to be available for people long after we’re gone and I’m so thrilled to see all this happening, and your podcasts are being included. Today people want to listen to podcasts. and it’s great. I mean, you’re doing a super job and I’m really thankful for you stepping up and doing this.

Rick Ferri: It’s just another tool in our tool belt of educating investors. It’s people helping people. So Mel, just be very clear, the Bogleheads are a non-commercial site and there’s no one getting paid, and also a lot of this is part of the nonprofit organization, so could you talk about those two things.

Mel Lindauer:  Yeah, first, the  Bogleheads forum. No one gets paid  for giving advice. No one gets paid for commercials. No one gets paid for anything connected to the forum. No one in the Bogleheads organization makes any money. No one is paid anything. The same thing is true for The John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy. It’s a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation approved by the IRS. We can take donations and we use donations  to help support  the forum and for educational purposes to try to spread the word any way we can. And also. It’s  the Bogle Center that puts on the annual conferences. 

Rick Ferri: Well you’ve done a fabulous job. You and Taylor have done a  fabulous job getting the Bogleheads up and running and just pushing this thing along for twenty years. You’re to be commended.

Mel Lindauer:  It’s a crusade that Jack started, and it’s turned into a freight train that just keeps on picking up boxcars and moving faster and faster down the track. In the twenty  plus years I’ve been involved in it, it went from a really small thing to what I feel now is something that will carry on long after I’m gone. And you know. we’ve now got people like you and so many others that are spreading the message. 

Rick Ferri: And hopefully you guys will be carrying on for a long time. You’re probably going to outlive me Mel, so there’s nothing to worry about. Things will be just fine.

Mel Lindauer: Rick, I know you’re a pickleball player and you’re a higher-ranked pickleball player. than I am. However, I’m pretty good for my age and I can hold my own and there’s not many guys my age that can keep up with me. My goal is to be playing  pickleball at a hundred. so I’m doing everything I can to  stay in shape. I play pickleball a couple of hours a day. I walk four miles on the  beach every day and I’m doing all I can to reach my goal of playing at 100..I once said to Taylor, “Taylor, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll come to your hundredth birthday party if you promise to come to my hundredth”. Of course, he didn’t realize that he’ll have to live to a much older age, since he’s already about 15 years older than me.

Rick Ferri: Yeah Mel, I  really appreciate the time today that you’ve taken and what you’ve done to help investors educate themselves and avoid all the biases that take place out there, all the noise that happens out there and thank you for everything you’ve done for continuing to spread the word and I know you’re going to be doing this for a long, long time.

Mel Lindauer: Well Rick, it’s been great being with you and I want to thank you for your service and for everything you’ve done for the Bogleheads. You’re an important part, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in October in Philly. 

Rick Ferri: Thank you Mel. This concludes the eleventh episode of Bogleheads on Investing .I’m your host Rick Ferri. Join us each month to hear a new special guest. In the meantime, visit Bogleheads.org and the Bogleheads wiki, Participate in the forum and help others find the forum. Thanks for listening.

[Applause]

 [Music]

Investment adviser, analyst, author and industry consultant

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