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The Father of Index Investing Passes Away

The Father of Index Investing Passes Away

A mostly calm Thursday that saw the Dow flipping between tiny losses and gains got a shot of adrenaline in the late afternoon on word of potential progress in China-U.S. trade negotiations. The Wall Street Journal reported that people close to the talks said American officials are considering pulling back on some or all tariffs to both encourage China to deal and to try to stabilize the stock market. Excitement was quickly tempered, however, as a Treasury spokesman told CNBC, "Neither Secretary Mnuchin nor Ambassador Lighthizer have made any recommendations to anyone with respect to tariffs or other parts of the negotiation with China." The Dow still finished with a small improvement, 0.7% to 24,370, to notch a third straight day of gains.

But top of mind for many investors was the passing of Vanguard founder John Bogle. "Saint Jack" was the father of the index fund. What's now known as the Vanguard 500 Index (VFIAX) mutual fund turned into a wide investing movement that spawned thousands of imitators that ultimately saved investors trillions of dollars in fees. Vanguard remains one of the best providers of high-quality, low-cost index funds, such as these six core offerings. And combined with its suite of well-run actively managed mutual funds, Vanguard is a dominant name in retirement accounts -- several of its funds are among the most popular options in 401(k) plans. It all comes back to Bogle, who died Wednesday at age 89, but not before leaving a lasting legacy and even cheating death several times over. Here, Kiplinger's Steven Goldberg looks back on the life of one of investing's most important pioneers.

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