“The Reason My Stuff Is So Overpowering Is That We Don’t Have Thousands of People Promoting True Research-Based Strategies Today. Is That My Fault? When Everyone Else in the Investing Advice Field Is Aiming to Give Honest Advice, I Will No Longer Stand Out.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:

I think he meant your behavior was overpowering which is a turnoff

I don’t think you are so terribly far off the mark with this, Laugh.

My stuff IS overpowering. I get that.

I am the person who discovered the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies. I have over 200 endorsements of my work in the slider at the top of every page of my site, some from the biggest names in the field. No other blogger has anything even close to that. I have 5 unique calculators, each of which changes our understanding of how stock investing works in a fundamental way. I am the co-author of the most important piece of research published in this field in the past 30 years, research that shows millions of middle-class investors how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent. I have 200 podcasts that explore the realities of stock investing from every possible angle. And on and on and on and on and on.

Now THAT’s overpowering.

The odd thing here is that J.D. (and lots of others, to be sure) sees something bad about that. Valuation-Informed Indexing is Jack Bogle’s dream come true. It is the first true research-based strategy. We are looking at good stuff piled on top of good stuff piled on top of good stuff. What the heck is the problem?

The problem is that J.D. has lots of blogger friends who have recommend Buy-and-Hold strategies. It makes those people look bad for millions of middle-class investors to learn what really works. That’s the problem here, Laugh. It’s a turf fight. In ordinary circumstances, J.D. would want to help his readers. But his friends in the blogging community will hate him if he tells the truth. So I have put him (and lots of others, to be sure) in a tough spot. That’s why in this particular case “overpowering” stuff has a negative side to it in the eyes of many. It’s a turf fight, nothing more and nothing less.

Now –

Say that we were all 100 percent cynical people and we didn’t give a darn for whether the lives of millions of people were destroyed or not, all we cared about was making a buck. Would I be a true friend to my Buy-and-Hold pals if I kept everything hushed up?

I would not.

The cover-up cannot continue much longer. The total losses from the Buy-and-Hold Crisis will end up being in excess of $20 trillion. No economic system can survive that big a loss. So we are all going down together if we don’t work up the courage to correct the mistakes that the Buy-and-Holders made. We are ALL winners from having those mistakes corrected.

The mistakes are going to be corrected whether the Buy-and-Holders like the idea or not. Given that the mistakes are going to be corrected, why not just correct them now, when the embarrassment factor for the Buy-and-Holders is a lot less than it will be following the next price crash? That sure sounds like a good idea to me.

The other way to look at it is to consider the opportunities that follow from opening the internet up to honest posting on investment-related topics. We are going to see hundreds of super-successful blogs once people feel safe posting honestly. We are going to see tens of thousands of helpful books published. We are going to see thousands of people establishing successful careers HELPING investors with honest, research-based advice rather than destroying their lives with more of the smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage.

How do you hold that back indefinitely, Laugh? You can’t. If you cannot hold it back indefinitely, you are better off just making the move to the research -based stuff now, before you do yourself more harm. If you’ve got to make the change, make it now, for heaven’s sake! It’s not going to get easier after you cause more human devastation.

The reason my stuff is so overpowering is that we don’t have thousands of people promoting true research-based strategies today. Is that my fault? There is only one way to get from where we are today to where we all want to be tomorrow. My stuff is shocking because people have been afraid to tell the truth and thereby alienate the people pushing Buy-and-Hold. Lift the ban on honest posting and you will have thousands of people promoting Valuation-Informed Indexing all over the internet. No more surprise! No more shock! No more “overpowering”!

The first guy who works up the courage to tell the truth about something as important as stock investing is going to be perceived as “overpowering,” Laugh. There’s no getting around it. You know what the answer is? We all should be working TOGETHER to tell people the truth about stock investing. YOU could build a business telling the truth about stock investing. J.D. could build a business telling the truth about stock investing. Jack Bogle could build a business telling the truth about stock investing. When we are all doing it, there will no longer be anything overpowering or odd or special about it. When everyone else in the investing advice field is aiming to give honest advice, I WILL NO LONGER STAND OUT.

My stuff is as overpowering as all get out. All I intend is for it to be honest. The reason why my stuff stands out so much is that just about everyone else in this field is AFRAID to give honest advice. How about we try holding back a bit on the death threats and the unjustified board bannings and the tens of thousands of acts of defamation and the threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs? Then we will have thousands of people putting forward honest stuff and my stuff will not stand out so much and I will no longer be perceived as being so darn “overpowering.”

Does all that not make good sense?

Rob

“Do You Want Bogle to Give That Speech? Until Now, You Have Not Been Willing to Help. The Answer Is Not to Continue to Try to Cover Things Up. The Answer Is to Get Everything Out in the Open.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to the discussion of another blog entry at this site:

I think there may be something to what you are saying here, Pink. J.D. likes me. We are friends. But, when I asked him to get involved to bring the Ban on Honest Posting to an end, he declined to get involved. There’s got to be some reason for that. He’s not at all a bad guy. I think he is a great guy and everyone else I have spoken to feels the same. So there is certainly something odd going on here. I think it is entirely possible that part of what he is trying to convey when he says that my arguments are “overpowering” is that I am too verbose. Maybe what he is trying to say is “you’re just too much, people cannot handle it.”

You are also right that it is off-putting to a lot of people when I put forward long posts. That’s been so going back to the first day. That’s a real issue.

I strongly disagree with your other points — that it would be possible for me to make my points effectively in a single, simple paragraph and that I take things out of context.

Perhaps you feel that I take things out of context. I think it is likely that you genuinely have that feeling. I can assure you that there is ZERO desire on my part to take anything out of context. I write long posts. I go into background and that sort of thing. But never have I put forward a single word with the aim of distracting people from the real issues. I RESPECT the people who challenge my views. I SHOW that respect by taking their challenges seriously. That’s part of the explanation of the long posts. I take the time to write long responses because I CARE. If you go to the trouble to give voice to some concern you have, I feel that I owe it to you to do all in my power to see that that concern is addressed. Never in a million years would I intentionally take something out of context. That would be a mortal sin in my book. It may well be that you perceive it that way. It is my belief that you really do. But that is not what is in my heart.

Why are the posts so long? That’s an issue that very much needs to be examined by people of good faith.

There are millions of people who today believe in Buy-and-Hold. They have been talking about and following the strategy for 40 years now. The core Buy-and-Hold beliefs have been repeated over and over and over again. When you say “timing doesn’t work.” you don’t need to offer any explanation of why you said it because the vast majority of the people reading the words already believes that. So you can indeed make your points in a single, simple paragraph.

That’s not the case for me or for other Valuation-Informed Indexers. When I say “long-term timing always works and always is 100 percent required for those hoping to have some realistic hope of long-term success,” the reaction of the vast majority of my readers is to have lots of questions. If this is so, why haven’t we heard about it from lots of people long before this? That’s the biggest question. If I am to have any hope of convincing those people of the merit of my case, I MUST give the background. I MUST explain how it came to be that 32 years have passed since Shiller published his peer-reviewed academic research showing that there is zero chance that a Buy-and-Hold strategy can ever work for even a single long-term investor and that Buy-and-Hold remains the dominant strategy to this day. The realities that we all face today do not permit me to make my case effectively with responses of just a few words. I must provide background and context or fail in the important work that I do in getting word out about the first true research-based strategy to the millions of middle-class investors who very, very much need to know about it.

There are ways that things could be set up so that I could write shorter posts. One that I mention all the time is that Bogle could give an “I Was Wrong” speech. When Bogle gives that speech, it is going to be written up everywhere. There will be a national debate on these questions. And then people will know what I am getting at when I say something like “long-term timing always works and is always required.” Once that national debate begins, my job gets a lot easier. I can still post and share my thoughts. But I no longer will need to carry the burden of being the only person talking straight to people about this stuff.

Do you want Bogle to give that speech? Are you willing to help me persuade Bogle to give that speech?

Until now, you have not been willing to help. That’s why the ugly stuff continues.

The answer here is not to continue to try to cover things up. The answer is to get everything out in the open. Then the need for long posts disappears.

Say that you believe in Buy-and-Hold 100 percent. If that’s so, then it follows that you should believe that Buy-and-Hold can withstand the challenges that will be put to it in a national debate. If Buy-and-Hold withstands the challenges, confidence in it will be stronger than ever before. So there is no possible way that a national debate could produce a negative result for you. Either you end up switching to a strategy that permits you to retire many years sooner or you are affirmed in your confidence in the strategy you believe in today. Having the national debate is a win/win/win/win/win.

And I will never again need to put forward a long post after we have the national debate because everyone reading my words will “get it” when I say something like “long-term timing always works” or “it’s not possible to identify the safe withdrawal rate without taking into consideration the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins” or “stocks today are a virtually risk-free asset class for those who are informed about the last 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research in this field.”

Long posts shouldn’t be necessary. But they are because of the unusual circumstances that apply in the investing field today. As a society we once believed that Buy-and-Hold worked. Now doubts are growing. But to get people to convert from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing, we must explain to them what happened, why it is that so many experts still advocate Buy-and-Hold 32 years after the research was published discrediting it? We need to stop trying to suppress discussion and instead ENCOURAGE it. We need everyone (Buy-and-Holders and Valuation-Informed Indexers alike) giving voice to their SINCERE beliefs about how stock investing works. In cases in which experts have come over time to believe that they made mistakes re certain points, they need to SAY THAT in clear and certain and simple terms so that we can all process the message and move forward in a mutual Learning Experience.

We ALL want to learn, Pink. That’s why we all are here. We all need to pull together to insure that this wonderful and important Learning Experience moves forward. We do that by changing the tone. You need to drop the Goon pose and work up the courage to say “Thank you!” to the fellow who brought these issues to the table on the morning of May 13, 2002, and thereby opened up the opportunity to learn things about stock investing that you never knew before and that make your life richer in scores of different and important ways.

I am 100 percent happy to begin today working with you to take this to a very positive place, Pink.

Can you grasp the hand of kindness this time?

Or will you fire back with more of your Goon sludge, sinking ever deeper in the negativity that in earlier days you have brought to the table again and again and again.

Greaney’s retirement study does not contain an adjustment for the valuations level that applies on the day the retirement begins. That is a stone cold objective fact.

Why?

Until we answer that question, our work here is not done. I have put forward hundreds of thousands of long posts explaining why I believe he made that mistake. What’s your take? Do you agree with the explanations that I have advanced or is there some point re which you have a somewhat different take? And, if you have a somewhat different take, are you capable of giving voice to it according to the posting rules that you agreed to follow when you were first permitted to participate in any of our discussions?

My best and warmest wishes to you and yours, my old friend.

Rob

 

“For 11 Years Now, We Have Been Seeing Emotions Evidence Themselves, Often in Very Juvenile and Destructive Ways. That’s an Investing Issue. Investor Emotions Are an Investing Issue.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to the Investor Junkie blog:

Rob,

I approve comments that make legit counterpoints. I do not know the full history with Early Retirement Forum, nor do I personally care.

His comment is a legit question (though the personal attack is not). If the commentator does not keep it on topic, he will be banned and comments removed (same applies to you also).

Otherwise I do not moderate and allow each to have their own opinion.

I agree with you that the Goons sometimes ask legitimate questions, Larry. If you look at my blog , you will see that I permit the Goons to post there. A LOT. One of the reasons is that they do sometimes present legitimate questions that we all can learn from (especially me — I obviously need to hear challenges to my thinking). I have two hour-long podcasts at my site that were inspired by questions posed by the Goons.

The Goons really do follow Buy-and-Hold strategies. They post lots of insincere stuff. But they do themselves follow the strategies they recommend to others. That’s one test of sincerity.

So it is not my position that the Goons should not be permitted to participate in discussions in any way, shape or form. They are part of what it going on and to fully understand all of what is going on, we need to understand what drives the Goons. That’s part of the story.

All that said, I think there is a problem if no one comments on their tactics. That fellow at Early Retirement Forum deserved to be able to engage in civil and reasoned discussion. We all miss out when the board is intimidated by a few insanely nasty personalities. I DO care greatly about the Early Retirement Forum. I spent years of my life building it up. There are hundreds of wonderful people there who would like to be having very different sorts of discussions. That board was once a great learning resource for everyone in the Retire Early Community and it is obviously not that today and that is a very, very unfortunate reality in my assessment.

My sense is that you are saying that you don’t want to be the one to comment on these sorts of things because you are the site owner and moderator here. That makes some sense. I hope others will feel encouraged to comment on these process issues. There have been thousands of people who have expressed a desire that honest posting be permitted. I have spoken to lots of professionals in this field who would like to talk openly about their real beliefs about how stock investing works but who do not feel safe doing so because of what they have seen from the Goons. The economic crisis hurts us all. So we are all being hurt by the reluctance of these many smart people to speak out.

The overlying reality here is is that we are in the transition years from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing. All of the evidence now goes in one direction. But it has been difficult to make this change because lots of smart people once really believed in Buy-and-Hold and those people built careers around their promotion of it. The tactics we see from the Goons reveal the desperate nature of the effort to “defend” Buy-and-Hold at this late date, over 30 years from the day the peer-reviewed research discrediting it was published. It may be that you should not comment on these issues in this thread but I very much think it would be a plus if you commented on them in a separate article at some later date. The process issue here is a big issue.

The difference between Buy-and-Hold and Valuation-Informed Indexing is that Buy-and-Hoid ignores investor emotion while Valuation-Informed Indexing takes investor emotion into account. Part of the transition we need to make as a society is in coming to understand that we must talk openly about not just the numbers of investing but also the emotions of investing. Pretty much all of us are uncomfortable about it today because with Buy-and-Hold emotions were just presumed not to matter. For 11 years now, we have been seeing emotions evidence themselves, often in very juvenile and destructive ways. That’s an investing issue. Investor emotions are an investing issue. It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration for me to say that that is the core point of the entire VII project.

Anyway, I am grateful to Miranda for conducting the interview and writing it up and to you for hosting her article. Anything that gets these ideas out before more people is a plus. If there are any others who would like to comment on the emotionalism we have been seeing from our Goon friends, I hope that they will feel encouraged to speak up. When they put it on display at a public forum, it becomes a legitimate issue for all of us to comment on.

Rob

“The First Comment at the Early Retirement Forum Is By a Guy Who Has an Obvious Interest in Learning About the Subject Matter. The Following Comments Made It Known to Him That He Will Be Ostracized If He Continues to Show Interest in This Important Topic. Do We Approve of that Sort of Behavior in the Personal Finance Blogosphere?”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted at the Investor Junkie blog:

I’d like to hear Larry’s and Miranda’s reactions to the comments made about this article at the Goon Central Board and at the Early Retirement Forum. The first comment at the Early Retirement Forum is by a guy who has an obvious interest in learning about the subject matter. The following comments make it known to him that he will be ostracized if he continues to show interest in this important topic.

Do we approve of that sort of behavior in the Personal Finance Blogosphere? Do we feel a responsibility to protect our readers from it?

Kevin Mercandante writes for this site. Kevin recently deleted SCORES of Goon posts from a discussion held at his site. He can explain to anyone who cares to know about it the nature of the problem here.

Joe Taxpaper recently called the Goons out on their nonsense at his site.

As the Buy-and-Hold Crisis worsens, more and more people are reaching the point where they can tolerate no more abusiveness. When we honor the promise we make to ourselves and our readers in the published posting rules that apply at every board and blog, we all will begin moving forward together. This is the most positive story we have seen in personal finance in any of our lifetimes. We make a terrible mistake to let the lowest of the low among us try to turn it into something nasty and dirty.

That’s my sincere take re this important matter in any event.

Rob

Miranda Marquit Interviews Me for an Interview Published at the Investor Junkie Blog

Miranda Marquit recently posted a Guest Blog Entry at the Investor Junkie blog called How to Invest Using Valuation-Informed Indexing: Interview with Rob Bennett.

Juicy Excerpt: Rob Bennett has been advocating valuation informed indexing for years, and his insistence on it has even had him kicked off investing forums, including the Bogleheads forum. “Buy and hold is intellectually dead,” he says. “It’s not practically dead, since plenty of investors still use the theory, but intellectually it’s been dead for more than 30 years.”

The Goons that meet at Goon Central shared their thoughts re the article here.

The Goons that meet at the Early Retirement Forum shared their thoughts re the article here.

 

“Lots of People in This Field Understand Where Things Are Heading and Are Making Efforts to Position Themselves for the Post-Crash Period. Kitces Is Doing That. Bernstein Is Doing That. Swedroe Is Doing That. Pfau Is Doing That. Even Bogle Has Come Out With a Good Number of Statements Showing That He Understands the Dangers of Buy-and-Hold.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:

Why would Wall St make much less money on folks buying bonds then they do stocks?

I don’t think that Wall Street has anything against bonds, Laugh.

It’s the super-safe asset classes that Wall Street doesn’t like. They undersell TIPS, they undersell IBonds, they undersell CDs.

Even there, I don’t think the underselling is motivated primarily by financial considerations. I think there may be some financial considerations. But I don’t see them as the driver.

To make sense of this, you have to understand the history.

The Buy-and-Hold Pioneers are heroes of mine. I’ve said that so many times now that I am getting sick of hearing myself say it. They came up with the idea of rooting one’s investing strategy in the findings of the peer-reviewed academic research. That was a profound advance, a magical advance. It is that advance that makes me love the Buy-and-Holders, that makes me feel that I am one of them.

They made a mistake. It was a perfectly understandable mistake but it was a mistake all the same. They came to believe that “Staying the Course” means staying at the same stock allocation rather than staying at the same risk level. For various reasons, the mistake remained uncorrected for a long period of time. Now people feel that it can never be changed! The feeling is — this mistake we made was so terrible that no one may ever talk about it, all discussion of it must be silenced, we won’t look like Big Shot experts if people learn that we once made a mistake. It’s the failure to correct the mistake that I criticize, not the mistake itself.

Now move forward to today.

Stocks are priced for a 65 percent price crash. The typical middle-class person should have something in the neighborhood of 30 percent of his or her money in stocks. The Buy-and-Holders say that something in the neighborhood of 75 percent stocks is “optimal.” So their numbers are wildly off.

You are asking what the financial incentive is for favoring stocks.

One, there is a financial incentive for selling stocks over things like TIPS or IBonds or CDs. The commissions are generally bigger in stocks. Again, I don’t see this as the driver. But it is a reality that applies.

Two, the experts would need to acknowledge their mistake to advocate bigger non-stock allocations. Their pride is at stake. They don’t want to go there. They are afraid of lawsuits if they acknowledge that they have been giving bad advice for many years now. They worry that they will be drummed out of the field if they offer straight talk when so many others are trying to keep the cover-up going. There is all sorts of nasty stuff going on.

Three, Get Rich Quick sells! This is probably the biggest factor. The way to get your clients to do business with you is to get them to like you. Tell them that their phony bull market gains are real and they fall in love with you. Nothing gains you as many brownie points as telling your clients that Buy-and-Hold really can work. It never does. But it sure sounds good to a lot of people to say that it might this time. Telling people that there is one asset class that is always a good choice for the long term is like telling people that there is some system that will always let you win the lottery. It’s pure b.s. There is zero support in the research for such a claim. But it sells like hotcakes.

Four, please don’t forget the obvious — MOST OF THE EXPERTS PROMOTING BUY-AND-HOLD STRATEGIES ARE DOING SO BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IN THEM. A lot of people would continue to push stocks even if the commissions were LOWER. Stock salesmen are not pure revenue-focused creatures any more than any of the rest of us are pure revenue-focused creatures. Most of us are creatures of habit highly influenced by inertia. Buy-and-Hold has been the dominant strategy in the academic world for a long time. That alone is enough to give it lots of points over strategies that have only been shown to work better by the research of the past three decades.

Wall Street could do JUST FINE promoting Valuation-Informed Indexing. I think in the long run it would do better because we would not see any more financial crises. Financial crises HURT this industry big time.

The move to Valuation-Informed Indexing is in everyone’s interest. It creates all winners and no losers. It shouldn’t be even a tiny bit hard to sell. Logically, promoting a strategy that greatly increases returns while also greatly diminishing risk should be the easiest sell in the world. The problem is that today people who have a long history of promoting Buy-and-Hold are on the defensive. I want to change that. I try to praise the Buy-and-Holders every chance I get to make them less defensive. But the defensiveness is hair-trigger stuff. It is VERY hard to come up with ways to say things that point us to a better future that don’t make the Buy-and-Holders go stark raving nutso.

To a large extent, the industry is doing what it thinks its customers want it to do. If you took a survey, I am sure that most investors would describe Buy-and-Hold as the most responsible strategy. The industry doesn’t want to step in and say: “No, you’re wrong, it’s actually Get Rich Quick garbage, it’s very dangerous stuff we have been pushing so hard all these years.”

I tell that in a funny way to make a point. I don’t dislike the people who work in this industry. I like them. My take is that they are destroying themselves. Yes, their customers like Buy-and-Hold today. But what are they going to think following a 65 percent price crash? The time to deal with that problem is NOW, not after the crash has taken place. People who call themselves “experts” have responsibilities. People who give investing advice should be aware of the last 32 years of peer-reviewed research in their field and should be at least a bit curious about the implications of that research. They make themselves look very bad to the millions of investors who will be looking for someone to hang from a tree by pretending that they are not aware that valuations affect returns and that therefore there is zero chance that a retirement study that does not contain a valuations adjustment could ever get the numbers right. That’s basic stuff, Laugh, and the industry “leaders” in this field have placed themselves very much on the wrong side of the line re that one.

Lots of people in this field understand where things are heading and are making efforts to position themselves for the post-crash period. Kitces is doing that. Bernstein is doing that. Swedroe is doing that. Pfau is doing that. Even Bogle has come out with a good number of statements showing that he understands the dangers of Buy-and-Hold. The trouble is that he doesn’t want to give up all the applause he wins by telling people that their Get Rich Quick fantasies might really some true. So he includes one GRQ statement for every research-based statement and the Get Rich Quickers eat up the GRQ garbage with a fork and spoon while pretending that he never said the research-based stuff. Responsible behavior? Not nearly. But good salesmanship in the short term? The very best!

I hope that helps a bit. The question is a good one.

Rob

 

“The Others Can Be Bought Off or Intimidated Into Silence. I Cannot. Why Not? One Very Obvious Factor Is That I Am Not Employed in This Field. With Wade Pfau, You Can Threaten to Get Him Fired From His Job. I Have Never Received a Penny of Income in This Field. So There Is Nothing You Can Take Away From Me.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:

But you expect people to somehow anoint you as a sage when all you’ve done is repeat something that far more capable and far more schooled and far more successful people have said for decades if not centuries.And if THEY could not develop a magic timing scheme that works in today’s (and tomorrow’s) world, what gives you the hubris to think you, and you alone, could do so?

I don’t care if people anoint me as a sage or not. What I care about is that the words that appear next to my name express my sincere beliefs, that they not be lies. If I say that the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies report the SWR accurately, I am telling a lie. So I am not going to say it, no matter how much in the way of intimidation tactics you apply to me.

How is it that I have done something that smarter people who have worked in this field before me have not been able to do?

Many of those people did their work prior to 1981. Shiller’s “revolutionary” findings changed everything.

Many of the people who did work in this field after 1981 had already done work in this field prior to 1981 and had associated themselves with Buy-and-Hold beliefs. Those people were compromised by their pride in discredited belief and by the friendships they formed at times when the research they needed to put the puzzle together had not been available to them.

Many of the people who did work in this field after 1981 and who were not compromised by taking a false pride in earlier, discredited work were intimidated by the brutal intimidation tactics of those who had.

That leaves me, Anonymous.

I never did any work in this field prior to 1981. So I was not compromised by earlier, now-discredited work. I have done my work post-1981, so I have had access to Shiller’s research. And I have refused to be intimidated by the Buy-and-Hold Mafia. I think a big factor there is that I formed personal friendships with many of the people whose lives were destroyed by Greaney’s refusal to correct the errors in his study. None of this is purely theoretical to me. It is a story of human lives being destroyed by the lowest of the low on the internet.

You make it sound as if no one else has been smart enough to see that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage. There is of course nothing that could be farther from the truth. The very reason why we have seen such abusive behavior from you Goons is that JUST ABOUT EVERYONE sees. Freakin’ Jack Bogle sees it! Bogle is the king of Buy-and-Hold. If the King of Buy-and-Hold sees that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage, who the heck DOESN’T see it? You Goons obviously see it or you wouldn’t behave the way you do.

The others can be bought off or intimidated into silence. I cannot. Why not? One very obvious factor here is that I am not employed in this field. With Wade Pfau, you can threaten to get him fired from his job and he has to think about what will happen to his two small children if he insists on his right to post honestly. I have never received a penny of income in this field. So there is nothing you can take away from me. So I continue to post honestly despite the threats.

You can threaten bloggers that link to me and try to destroy my efforts to earn a living on the internet. That COULD work. But I’ve got 11 years worth of Post Archives that would ruin me if I were to agree to post dishonestly and 11 years worth of Post Archives that stand to make me a huge sum of money following the next price crash if I resist your demands that I agree to post dishonestly. I don’t think you need an I.Q. of 140 to figure out what is the better play for me in these circumstances.

If Buy-and-Hold hadn’t already been ready to collapse when I came on the scene, I couldn’t have done this. I wouldn’t have been able to find honest comments from people like Bogle and Bernstein and Swedroe and Burns and Kitces and Pfau and on and on and on if people had not already begun positioning themselves for the post-crash years at the time I put forward that famous post of the morning of May 13, 2002. I was born at the right time, you know? I didn’t plan this, I fell into it.

What matters is where we stand. Behind Door Number One is Valuation-Informed Indexing and the greatest period of economic growth ever known in our history. Behind Door Number Two is a continuation of the Campaign of Terror and the onset of the Second Great Depression.

I choose Door Number One. Call me madcap. I have a funny feeling that many millions will be joining me following the next price crash, regardless of your intimidation tactics.

The deal here is that you can join in on all the fun or you can stretch your prison sentence out to the longest possible period of time. Those are the two live options available to you today. I beat you a long, long, long, long time ago. The proper way to put it is that the peer-reviewed academic research beat you, I just reported on it accurately and thereby got picked up by the biggest wave ever seen in the personal finance world. Bogle and the others have given you what you need to stretch out the pain. But no one can stop the first true research-based strategy from burying the purest and most dangerous Get Rich Quick scheme ever concocted by the human mind 30 feet in the ground, where it can do no further harm to humans and other living things.

You want my help, you’ve got it.

You demand as a condition that I post dishonestly on safe withdrawal rates, please look up someone else, I am not the right fellow for the job.

I wish you all good things.

Rob

“If Racism Was the Only Reality, We Would Still Have Those Laws on the Books Today. There Was More Going on Than Just Racism. So It Is in InvestoWorld Today. Valuation-Informed Indexing Is Jack Bogle’s Dream-Come-True Every Bit As Much As It Is Rob Bennett’s Dream-Come True.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:

Rob: “Tell the truth of why people with black skin were once not permitted to drink from the same water fountains as people with white skin in 10 words. It cannot be done.”

A: Racism.

(Only needed one word to get the job done, so you can have the other nine budgeted words back, since you love to use words so promiscuously)

Then how did the situation change?

If racism was the only reality, we would still have those laws on the books today.

There was more going on that just racism.

So it is in InvestoWorld today.

Get Rich Quick was always a money-maker for the Wall Street Con Men.

So I could just say “the Wall Street Con Men saw an opportunity to make a buck and that’s why we are in an economic crisis today.”

But that’s not the full truth. It was the Wall Street Con Men who served as the Buy-and-Hold pioneers. It was the Buy-and-Holders who came up with the idea of rooting one’s investing strategies in the peer-reviewed academic research. There wouldn’t be any Valuation-Informed Indexing today if it weren’t for the good work done by the Buy-and-Hold pioneers yesterday. VII is Jack Bogle’s dream-come-true every bit as much as it is Rob Bennett’s dream-come-true.

So, no, ten words is not enough.

If I lie about safe withdrawal rates, we all go down. If I make the Buy-and-Hold pioneers out to be all bad, we will see such social unrest following the next price crash that we will all go down.

My job is to pull us together so that we do NOT all down. I will post honestly on safe withdrawal rates. But I will also point out that it was by reading Jack Bogle’s book that I learned about the errors in the Old School studies. So there must be SOME good buried at the bottom of all this smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage. No?

I will take more than 10 words to tell the story because it takes more than 10 words to tell the story honestly.

My best wishes.

Rob

“Jack Bogle Is a Hero of Mine. He Has Accomplished Great Things. Jack Bogle Is a Con Man. He May Well Find Himself on Trial for Financial Fraud Following the Next Price Crash. Both Claims Are True.”

Set forth below is the text of a recent comment to another blog entry at this site:

Observation: The truth don’t take long to tell.

You’re wrong, Anonymous. Tell the truth of why people with black skin were once not permitted to drink from the same water fountains as people with white skin in 10 words. It cannot be done.

You can tell oversimplified versions of the story that are more lies than anything else in 10 words. But you cannot tell the truth in 10 words.

It would be a lie to say that white people wanted it that way. Because many white people did NOT want it that way.

It would be a lie to say that black people were okay with the situation. Because many black people were NOT okay with the situation.

To tell the truth, you have to say something about the history that both white and black people of the time were born into. People are born into a gravely flawed world and then they work up ways to cope with it.

Jack Bogle is a hero of mine. He has accomplished great things. He is the second most important investing analyst alive today (second only to Robert Shiller).

Jack Bogle is a con man. He may well find himself on trial for financial fraud following the next price crash. He has posted in support of Mel Linduaer on numerous occasions and has failed to address the Lindauer matter after being notified of the problem in numerous e-mails.

The statements in both of the above paragraphs are true.

The complete set of realities cannot be reduced to 10 words. People need to hear both sides of the story to understand enough about the situation we are in today to know what needs to be done to help us out of it.

You are a Goon. Your heart is filled with hate for the past 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research.

You once had a sincere desire to know the realities of stock investing. It is the failure of your dream that has crushed your spirit enough to turn you into a Goon. If Shiller had published his research in 1971 instead of 1981 so that you wouldn’t have gotten your pride tied up in “defense” of the purest and most dangerous Get Rich Quick scheme ever concocted by the human mind, you would be the biggest advocate of Valuation-Informed Indexing alive on the planet today.

The claims made in both of the above two paragraphs are true. It is not possible to tell the true story about what makes you a Goon in 10 words.

My job is to lead us out of the dark place in which we find ourselves. I cannot do it by answering goonishness from one side with goonishness from the other side. I cannot do it with 10-word descriptions of complex human realities.

If I were to try to reduce it all to something in the neighborhood of 10 words, I would say –

All human battles are battles of love versus hate and love must prevail in the end if the humans are to continue to exist together on this planet.

That’s the best I can do for you, Anonymous.

My warmest wishes go out to you and your Goon friends that you will find the spark of humanity that I believe resides somewhere in your heart to this day. Juries want to see a spark of humanity when they are debating within their minds whether to show some mercy or not.

Rob

“This Thing Was Waiting to Explode Before I Came on the Scene. The Buy-and-Hold Mafia Was Intimidating People Before I Put Forward My May 13, 2002, Post. The Wall Street Con Men Didn’t Factor in the Power of the Internet (Which Didn’t Exist at the Time) When They Initiated the Cover-Up.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:

Do you talk to your wife about the future Congressional hearings, civil and criminal trials, and jail sentences for the Goons? If so, what does she say about all of this?

She certainly knows about the Goon phenomenon in a general sense. Rarely do we discuss specifics. She knows that the police came to our house when I called them about the death threats. That gives her the general idea that there are going to be trials at which I will need to testify when this is over, right? But we don’t sit around discussing how much time I will need to spend testifying or whether it was a good idea for me to come forward with a suggestion that I would be willing to settle for $500 million or that sort of thing.

I always tell her about what went on at the Financial Bloggers Conferences when I come back. So she of course knows about my talk this year on “How to Become the Most Hated Blogger on the Internet” and how that was received. I told her about the woman who told me that people sitting near her said that I was “bitter.” When something like that happens, we talk about the human psychology elements of this. On the way back from Midnight Mass, we were talking in the car about my feeling that the best one-word summary of the emotional problem here is “shame,”that people have a hard time standing up to the Goons because on some deep level of consciousness they feel complicit in what has happened, they realize that they have a Goon side to their own personalities and understand that they played a role in causing all of the human misery that has come with the economic crisis and that that makes them not want to think about the implications of Shiller’s research.

The other day at lunch we were talking about something entirely different and my boy Timothy said: “Maybe you really ARE the product of an artificial intelligence project, Dad!” Then he followed that up by observing: “Or maybe you really are on the way to becoming a Saint!” He had read some of the quotes at the “People Are Talking” section of the site and someone at the Early Retirement Forum once said that about my ability never to give in to feelings of anger no matter what tricks you Goons pull. Timothy is interested in programming, so I think that quote tickled him a bit. I thought that incident was very funny.

Does that answer your question, Pink? We certainly talk about the Goon phenomenon. But we certainly do not talk about it to the level of detail at which you and I talk about it here or at Goon Central.

I think it would be fair to say that there is a suggestion in your question that this is all just a little bit too crazy to be true. I certainly agree. But history plays out the way history plays out, you know? Was it not a little too crazy to be true that Nixon kept tapes of his conversations in the Oval Office? Recall that nobody knew that at one time. People were trying to figure out how they would prove the case and they couldn’t come up with anything and then one day out of the blue they learned that he kept tapes of all his conversations, tapes that would obviously offer evidence of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Do you not think that both sides saw that element of the story as just too crazy to be true?

It was the same with the Clinton/Lewinsky matter. There was a semen stain (which could be tested for DNA) and she saved the dress without having it dry-cleaned. How crazy was that?

History is filled with crazy stuff. That’s just the way it is.

I didn’t come into this thinking that I would be testifying in civil and criminal trials and congressional hearings and receiving settlements of $500 million and seeing my old friends from the Motley Fool board taken off to serve prison sentences and all this sort of thing. It all seems crazy to me too. But there’s nothing more crazy than thinking that I am someday going to agree to post dishonestly re the numbers that my friends use to plan their retirements. Of all the craziness that we have witnessed or will witness in days to come, it is that Goon hope that is the craziest element of the entire saga. So, if you are amazed at the craziness, please take a good long look in the mirror, Sensible. You brought a lot of the craziness on us with your belief that someday you might come up with some act of intimidation that would be scary enough to persuade me to agree to post dishonestly. There was never more than a zero chance of that happening and every post I ever put forward evidenced that reality. But that crazy thought has remained stuck in your head for 11 years now. Now THAT’S crazy.

The obvious reality here is that this thing was waiting to explode before I ever came on the scene. The Buy-and-Hold Mafia was intimidating people who showed an interest in reporting honestly on what the academic research says for 21 years before I put forward the fateful May 13, 2002, post. I didn’t know that. I cannot testify to details of what happened in those earlier years because I was not around. But it is what happened in those earlier years that made all that has happened for the past 11 years so crazy. The Big Shots in this field had been covering up the realities before the internet had been invented. People in the field could be kept in line because this is a high-paying field and the threat of losing their jobs caused a lot of people to engage in a lot of rationalizing of their decisions to keep it zipped about the obvious dangers of Buy-and-Hold strategies.

I wasn’t part of any of that. I wasn’t employed in The Stock-Selling Industry. I was a poster on an internet discussion board, nothing more and nothing less. So I saw nothing even a tiny bit “wrong” about posting honestly. THe hundreds of my fellow community members who told me that I started the most exciting discussion in the history of the Retire Early board saw nothing wrong with it either. But it freaked you Goons out entirely. You knew. Perhaps only on some buried level of consciousness. But you clearly recognized a big-time threat when it appeared before you. So we were off to the races.

Blame it on the internet, you know? The internet discussion board is a powerful new communications medium. The Wall Street Con Men didn’t factor in the power of the internet when they elected to cover up the findings of the last 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research. There was a major hole in their strategy that they didn’t see at the time because it didn’t exist at the time. The internet changed everything.

Anyway, we are where we are.

You can call it crazy that you will be going to prison because you didn’t want people to be able to learn about the implications of Shiller’s ideas when they arrived at internet discussion boards and blogs. It IS crazy. I certainly don’t say different. But you knew that there were laws against financial fraud. You knew that the crime you were committing was a felony. You knew that you were leaving permanent evidence of it in the Post Archives. You contributed to the crazy when you did that. I presume that you persuaded yourself that you would get away with it.

That’s crazy. But that’s an element of crazy that appears in MOST cases of financial fraud. When Madoff created those false documents, he must have believed on some level of consciousness that he would get away with it. No? It was a crazy thing to do. He could have made a lot of money setting up legitimate funds. There was no need for him to do things that stood a good chance of landing him in prison. And he was a smart enough man to know that. But he did the crazy thing anyway. Whachagondo?

I ain’t posting dishionestly on the nunbers my friends use to plan their retirements. Zero chance. Not in 11 years, not in 11 billion years.

That’s not crazy. That’s 100 percent sensible. I signed up at the Retire Early board to HELP people seeking early retirements, not to ruin their lives.

So I didn’t bring the crazy to the table here. I see it play out before me every day and I just do normal, healthy things in response. If people choose to engage in financial fraud on a massive scale, the normal thing to do is to testify honestly in the congressional hearings and civil trials and criminal trials that follow. Don’t put any of that on me, Sensible. I’m not the one who threatened to kill family members of any poster who posted honestly on the SWR topic. That was the other guy. His name is: John Greaney. He’s going to prison too. Perhaps you will be in a cell not too far away from his and you will be able to talk about funny stuff that happened in the old days from behind the bars.

I acknowledge the craziness of the situation. ButI think it would be fair to say that the thing that distinguishes me is that I am the person who has been working his backside off for 11 years now to see that the prison sentences are as limited as possible. My wife knows that. That’s the part that she needs to know and she certainly knows that much.

Guess what?

My good friend Jack Bogle knows too.

And my good friend Bill Bernstein.

And my good friend Larry Swedroe.

And my good friend Scott Burns.

And all my friends at Motley Fool and Early Retirement Forum and Morningstar and Bogleheads Forum and at the Financial Blogger Conferences and on and on and on.

They all want our economic system to survive. They all want our political system to survive.

Yes, they are scared of you and your brutality and your lack of conscience. And, yes, they are even more scared when they see people of great money and power and influence like Old Saint Jack saying things that shouldn’t be said or failing to say things that should be said and thereby empowering you Goons to deceive even more middle-class investors and cause even more financial devastation.

Will they work up the courage to do what their consciences have been telling them for 11 years now they must do following the next price crash, which will likely put us in the Second Great Depression?

You know what I think.

That obviously means a long prison term for you.

Given that reality, what would you say would be the more strange thing for me to do? Would it be more strange for me to keep it zipped and see my friend put in prison without me ever having made an effort to see his prison sentence reduced a bit? Or would it be more strange for me to do the best I could day after day after day even though my efforts to help my old friend out were rejected over and over and over again?

There’s lots of strange stuff going on here, Sensible. But it ain’t me bringing the strange stuff to the table. It is strange of you to feel so burning a hate for the findings of the past 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research that you are willing to go to prison to serve the “cause” of keeping discussion of the implications of that research off the internet. You Goons own the strangeness here.

I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors, my strange Goon friend.

I am confident that my wife would wish you the same if I were to ask her. And most of the millions of middle-class investors whose lives have been destroyed by this massive act of financial fraud would probably do the same. We are the Normals. We don’t think like you Goons. We aim to build up rather than to tear down. That’s why you are the ones who are headed to prison and we are the ones who will be reaping the benefits of the 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research for many, many, many, many years to come following the resolution of the crazy, unfortunate, Goon-inspired segment of the otherwise wonderful and positive and healing and life-affirming saga.

Hang in there, man. There are people who care about what happens to you even when your head is so filled with confusion and anger and envy and shame and regret that you are no longer capable of doing so.

Rob