This guest article is composed by Bogleheads forum member Mrs.Feeley.
Many thanks to all who came today to the first meeting of the Madison Bogleheads’ chapter! We met on July 19, 2014 at Sprechers restaurant in Madison. It was a pleasure to meet everyone and hear your stories of how you came to be an index investor. LarryG’s account of meeting Mr. Bogle during the early Boglehead days, and tales of his days in the School of Hard Investing Knocks were especially wonderful to listen to. I don’t know about anyone else, but I picked up several tips while listening to the wide-ranging chat. I also had a very good time both in meeting the delightful people who attended and enjoying the feeling of having finally encountered kindred investing souls.
Have I missed anything important from today’s discussions?
One of the things which was great about today’s meeting was that, even though there were only six of us in attendance, there was someone from just about every life stage of investing, from young-with-young-children to nearing-retirement to recently-retired to long-retired. Listening to the advice and concerns of other investors at each stage in the game was wonderful and valuable. A speaker wasn’t necessary to provoke some very lively discussion.
Organizing future meetings
Tom from the Minnesota chapter was kind enough to attend and share ideas, meeting agendas and organizational advice. Some notes and suggested ideas for our group:
- We should consider ways to get the word out about our group in the Madison area. Membership in the MN Bogleheads group increased significantly after a Minneapolis newspaper financial columnist wrote about the group. We should get our meeting dates posted on the Madison weekly publication Isthmus calendar. Wisconsin Public Radio’s “On Your Money” show would also be a good outlet to contact. Other publicity ideas would be welcome. It would be nice to be able reach university and government employees.
- The MN Bogleheads meets four times a year. Meetings usually include a speaker or presentation by members on wide-ranging topics from personal investment statements, to asset allocation, withdrawal strategies, Bogle basics, 529 plans, international investing, Social Security, private pension plans, tax lost harvesting, etc. Their most popular meetings have included speakers on tax and estate planning. Tom suggested we find a knowledgeable tax attorney willing to give a presentation.
- Presentations last about 20 minutes, after which the club breaks into small discussion groups.
- It almost goes without saying that when scheduling speakers from outside the group care must be taken to avoid financial speakers who are selling products and services.
- Tom reported that summer meetings of the MN Bogleheads don’t usually attract many people because of busy schedules, though fall meetings are far more popular. We discussed maybe having another meeting in September or October. One scheduled so that those who could not attend today’s meeting would be available for the second get-together. A fall meeting date should probably be chosen to avoid conflict with fall football schedules. Sprecher’s was a perfect place to meet. They provided a large, quiet conference room. A conference room at a Madison public library is also a good option, offering the advantage that people wouldn’t have to order food.
- The MN Bogleheads is organized around a steering committee that handles meetings, speakers, schedules, etc.
A big thank you to Tom for taking the time out of his vacation to come down to share with us his experiences with helping to start the MN chapter!