On November 14, 2009, I sent a follow-up to the e-mail to Carl Richards (author of the Behavior Gap blog) described in yesterday’s blog entry. The full text of the follow-up e-mail is set forth below.
I have given more thought to our recent e-mail exchanges since last night.
Part of my job as a journalist is to inform middle-class investors of WHY it is that the “experts” in the investing field have not let them know of the dangers of Buy-and-Hold Investing for 28 years since the academic research showed that it cannot work in the real world for the long-term investor. Your handling of the matters discussed illustrates the problem well. You have great knowledge. You do great work. You have a good appreciation of the biggest problems. Yet you hold back from telling people in frank and plain language WHY it is that investing has become so intensely emotional an endeavor (because most of us are staking our retirements on an approach that our common sense tells us can never work). This is a news story that I need to report.
I am going to write a blog entry describing your take on things to the best of my ability. I expect that I will be using a number of sources to inform my writing of the piece: (1) material at your blog; (2) material you have posted as comments at other blogs; (3) your decision to tentatively ban me and then to lift the ban (I will of course describe the circumstances as fairly as I am able); and (4) our e-mail correspondence. So I WILL be reporting on the material in your e-mails.
As indicated in my e-mail from yesterday, I will generally NOT be quoting your precise words (although I probably wil report the precise words of parts of my responses). The part of your e-mail correspondence that I most need to quote are your views on the work that I have done developing the Valuation- Informed Indexing concept and your views about the problem with the Buy-and-Hold approach. I don’t think it is proper to quote these comments in full as you were making them in a private e-mail and might have stated things differently had you been thinking that they would be published. If you had agreed to be quoted, I would quote you. But you have indicated that you would prefer that I refrain from quoting this material, and I view that as generally being a reasonable request.
I say “generally” because I do see a need for a brief quote providing the color needed to make clear to my readers that it is not just me saying that you see merit in my work but you. The seven words “what you are doing has huge value” does the trick. Part of the news story here is that someone who sees huge value in the work reacts with at least a measure of hostility to blog comments rooted in the understanding of investing that follows from completion of that work. It is my intent to quote those seven words of yours in my blog report and then at the “People Are Talking” feature (with a link to the full blog entry) of my site.
There is a possibility that you did not mention reservations that you hold re my work in the e-mail to me. If you have reservations that you feel should be included in the blog report to put in context your seven words or any of your positions that I will be describing using only my own words, I am of course fine with that. I will make note in the report any reservations you have either in your words or by a description using my words, at your preference.
If you would like to see the text of the blog report before I post it (my guess is that it may take me a few weeks to be able to get to this item), I am happy to send you the text of the blog entry before posting it for your review. I cannot give you a veto over what appears. But if there are points where you persuade me that my account is either not accurate or not fair, I would certainly remain open to making whatever changes are needed to construct the most accurate and fair report possible.