Family Finances: An ode to my investment company

Amanda Gibson’s investment company is changing her life, because it’s the one that most closely aligns with what her own financial philosophy. Bonus: She’ll tell you that philosophy!

Photo by: htmvalerio

As the poem goes, in the spring a young [wo]man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. And this rainy spring day, I’m sharing the story of a love affair for the ages . . . oh, not me and my husband. Me and my investment company, Vanguard.1

I started thinking about investing when I was an economics major at James Madison University. I remember taking “Intro to Business” and thinking that if I only knew what the professor knew about the stock market, I could be rich. I don’t think he struck me as particularly rich, but what did I know, I was a freshman in college. CLEARLY NOTHING.

Then a professor who is an economist by day but a personal finance genius all the time gave me a copy of the book he wrote on personal finance. In it, he outlined his own investing philosophy, which has been echoed in lots of economics books and articles. I will summarize it thusly:

  1. No one can predict the stock market.
  2. If you think you can, you are either Warren Buffet or wrong.
  3. There is a group of stocks called the S&P 500. They are the 500 stocks selected because they most represent the market (i.e., the stock market goes up, these stocks for the most part go up. The stock market goes down, these stocks for the most part go down).
  4. Instead of spending a bunch of time and money trying to pick stocks because of Point 1 (see above), just buy a little of all the stocks in the index, and your money will grow as the stock market grows.
  5. Over time, not paying fees to stock pickers results in much more moola for youla (technical term).

Vanguard is the only financial company built on these mathematically proven principles. So Vanguard and I became not only BFFs, but we were in luuuuuve. Or at least I was, Vanguard was probably just cool with me. My husband, by the way, is totally aware of this relationship and doesn’t question.

Oh sure, like any hot relationship we have had our cooling off periods. After about ten years of steady investing, I got antsy and met with financial advisors from other companies to see what I might be missing. Nothing, it turns out.

Vanguard continues to be my numero uno. When I call, I don’t get a call tree that demands I punch in my account number and then hangs up on me when I don’t type fast enough. Instead, one layer into the call tree I get a live person who tells me their first name and their last name. And they seem to know everything. Seriously, HOW do they train these people so well?!

I should point out that I am not rich yet, but every year my husband and I get a little closer. And one day we’ll ride into the sunset secure in our savings to pay for all of our old people needs–hearing aids, escaping from the winter, and whatnot. Meanwhile, Vanguard will forever stay handsome and youthful, attracting other young men and women with their low fees, good advice, and representatives with last names.

I say all this not because I have been paid to promote the company. Vanguard doesn’t need to pay spokesmen; they’re just that good (says the woman who is smitten with them). I’m just saying. I like, don’t love, my bank. I tolerate my mortgage provider. I grit my teeth and bear my internet provider. But I love my investment company.

Do you love your financial services provider? Or have you had similar experiences with my main squeeze, Vanguard? I encourage you to kiss and tell.

  1. [Amanda is not shilling for Vanguard in any way. She writes from the heart! A heart full of smart investments! — ed.] 
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Amanda Gibson

Amanda Gibson used to teach folks about money at the Fed. Now she spends her days reading history books, raising kids, and thinking of ways to rule the world.

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