Here’s part two of my interview with Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf, the authors of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing and frequent contributors to the Vanguard Diehards Forum. Before we get into the interview, I want to remind everyone of the Bogleheads’ Book Giveaway (read the instructions on how to sign up. Please only sign up once. I will hold a random drawing and announce the winner on Monday, February 20th).
5. What is ONE thing you would like the reader to take from this book?
That almost anyone can learn the basics of effective personal finance and investing. It’s really pretty simple stuff. While investing can be simple or complex, for the vast majority of investors, simplicity trumps complexity.
6. Do you guys find yourselves teaching the concepts in the book to your families?
Taylor: My wife, Pat, was a successful business woman with a good grasp of figures. When I find a particularly good piece of advice, I often share it with her. Every three months we review our quarterly statement. We are elderly and we know that one day one of us will need to manage the portfolio alone. More than ever, we understand the value of owning a simple portfolio.
Mel: My wife, Marlene, has absolutely no interest in investing. I used her as a test subject as we worked on the book to see if she could understand what we were saying and not have her eyes glaze over. Once she said she understood what I was writing, I knew we had a book that anyone could read and understand, and that’s exactly what we hoped to achieve. So many financial books are written at such a high level that they go unread by the very investors who need the information the most. So, we tried to write a book that everyone could read and understand, and assumed no prior investing knowledge when we were working on the book.
Michael: I don’t. I’m sure Elke has learned the basics from reading the book though.
7. Did Mr. Bogle offer any assistance in writing the book?
At the beginning, we agreed we would not use our friendship with Mr. Bogle to ask for his help or endorsement. When the book was finished, our publisher sent a copy to Mr. Bogle, asking for permission to use his picture on the cover and to use the word “Bogleheads” in the title. To our delight, Mr. Bogle not only gave his permission, but also wrote the lovely seven page Foreward.
8. How many hours a week do you spend on the forum?
Taylor: I spend about about 40 to 60 hours a week. This includes the research I need in order to give accurate replies to questions. It is a very satisfying feeling to be helping others the way others have helped me.
Mel: It varies, but I probably spend 4-6 hours per day answering questions, depending on my schedule. Believe it or not, I do have another life (golf, fishing, long walks on the beach, homeowner’s association president, etc.) and a great wife of 47 years who’s very understanding but still likes to do other things besides watch me sit at my computer, such as travel, dine out, movies, theatre, etc. I do, however, take my laptop with me when we’re traveling and try to check in on the forum on a daily basis whenever possible!
Michael: Not nearly as much as Taylor and Mel. A couple of hours a week, I guess.
9. Can we expect any other books in the future?
Taylor: The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing contains my best thoughts, and I doubt if I could do any better. This will be my last and only book.
Mel: We’ll just have to wait to see how things play out. I wouldn’t rule it out.
Michael: Nothing is planned at this point.
That’s it! I want to thank Taylor, Mel, and Michael for their dedication to helping people invest and plan better. I also want to thank them for writing such a great book. This book should be a gift and REQUIRED READING for EVERY high school and college graduate.