The worlds of politics, entertainment, and personal finance collided Sunday thanks to an unlikely exchange on Twitter—and it ultimately resulted in some sage investing advice.
That’s celebrity publication Us Weekly giving White House press secretary Sean Spicer investing tips that any long-term investor, including those of us at MONEY, would wholeheartedly endorse.
The 140-character fracas began when a Politico reporter tweeted a story about Carl Higbie in the Independent. Higbie is a former Navy SEAL and a spokesman for a pro-Trump super PAC whom the White House reportedly interviewed to replace Spicer as press secretary, according to the Washingtonian.
Spicer responded to Vogel’s tweet with a tweet of his own: “Getting government updates from Washingtonian is like getting stock tips from usweekly.” At which point Us Weekly’s social team informed Spicer of their preference for investing like Vanguard’s Jack Bogle.
Bogle is the father of indexing, which calls on investors to buy and hold all the stocks in a market through a low-cost fund rather than trying to pick and choose individual securities.
The good news is that the truth came out in the end. If you, as an individual investor, pick stocks, you’ll most likely earn lower returns than you would by simply investing in a diversified portfolio of low cost index funds. Research shows that investors just don’t have the talent to buy stocks low, and sell them high. In fact, they often do the opposite.
Just last week, The National Association of College and University Business Officers reported that the nation’s largest and endowments with $1 billion or more in assets posted average losses of 1.9% in the fiscal year ended June 2016—despite their large teams of stock pickers and reliance on complex hedge-fund-like tactics. Meanwhile, the smallest endowments that don’t have those resources actually outperformed.
The New York Times, for instance, noted that tiny Houghton College in Western New York saw its modest $46 million endowment grow nearly 12% over the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2016 by literally following Bogle’s advice. The college shifted away from expensive fare such as hedge funds in favor of low-cost funds run by Vanguard.
Interested in learning more? Money has compiled a list of index funds, and a few other low cost options, that you should use to populate your portfolio.