I’ve recently been sending e-mails to many people (I’ve sent 650 so far) in an effort to make them aware of The Wade Pfau Story and thereby to bring the economic crisis to an end and to open up honest posting on the realities of stock investing at every investing board and blog on the internet. I sent one to my friend Kevin at the Invest It Wisely blog. Kevin was kind enough to link to the article. This naturally caused a freak-out at Goon Central, the site owned by John Greaney (the individual who led the effort to intimidate Wade into agreeing not to publish further research showing the superiority of Valuation-Informed Indexing by threatening to have a number of Goons send defamatory e-mails to his employer).
Kevin late last night sent me the following words:
I think this one touched a personal nerve. I don’t usually mind a little bit of controversy, but I was contacted by the person in question and asked to take it down, and if they can verify their identity I’ll probably comply (I know that ties right into the theme of your post, haha… but I don’t want to take sides here — I’m more interested in the theories themselves rather than any personal disputes). I’ll swap the post for another one that’s “less personal” if you don’t mind.
Every single person involved (including Wade) is more concerned about the theory than about any personal disputes. That’s true of me. That’s true of you. That’s true of Lindauer. That’s true of Greaney. That’s true of Bogle. That’s true of Shiller. That’s true of every single person affected by the economic crisis and of every single person who at one time or another was taken in by the Buy-and-Hold mumbo jumbo.
The question is — How do we turn to a discussion of the theory now that we have collectively as a society spent 10 years covering up the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies that became public knowledge on the morning of May 13, 2002? If you or any of the people named above offer me any suggestions for making that happen without them incurring hundreds of billions of dollars in legal liabilities for the failed retirements they have already caused, please know that I am 100 percent in.
Unless someone comes up with something, the only effect of a further continuation of the cover-up is to expose all the people named above to even larger financial liabilities and to even longer prison sentences. Is that what you want for people like Wade and Bogle and Lindauer and Greaney and possibly even Shiller (Shiller has said that he has never told us all he knows about stock investing because he fears what the Buy-and-Holders will do to his reputation if he does so — How are the millions of people who are in the process of suffering failed retirements going to feel when they learn that and how are we going to restore confidence in our economic and political system without taking into consideration how those millions of people are going to feel about what has been done to them?). It is sure not what I want for them. I am going to do all that I can to keep both their legal liabilities and their prison sentences as limited as possible.
Thanks for all the help you have offered. I know you are sincere and that you are trying and that you are scared. I believe that we are all sincere in our own ways and we are all trying in our own ways and we are all scared in our own ways. I believe that there will come a day when one of us will come up with the magic words that takes us all to the place where we all feel safe and where we are are all moving forward together on a daily basis and where we have all put the ugly side of this matter 100 percent behind us.
I am of course happy to submit guest blog entries for posting at your site at any time you are willing to host them. It obviously is a positive step for you to host them. But it is also obvious that those guest posts will have 1,000 times the positive effect they have today after we have together taken those steps we all need to take to put the ugly side of this matter 100 percent behind us and to spend the remainder of our days exploring together all the amazing investing insights that are opened up to us once Wade and hundreds of other academic researchers in this field feel free to do honest and productive work once again.
Please have confidence that we are collectively working up the courage to take this to a positive place. If you think it is possible for you to say anything to Wade to reassure him, I hope you will do that. He is obviously in a very dark place today. He has done work that will win him a Nobel prize and make him known as a hero to all of us. Those of us who love the guy need to reach out to him and show him that we care and that we are there to help in a real and truly effective way.
Most of all, please understand that there is no “dispute” between Wade and me any more than there is any dispute between you and me or between Mel and me or between John and me or between Jack and me. We all want the same things. We all want to learn how to invest effectively and to do what we can to teach others to invest effectively. We all want to bring the economic crisis to an end. We all want to do what we can to limit the civil liabilities and criminal penalties of those who have participated in the 10-year Campaign of Terror against our board and blog communities. It’s a question of us working up the courage to show our desire for those good things with actions that are positive and helpful and life-affirming.
Hang in there, man. I read the last page of the story before I dared to put forward the May 13, 2002, post. It gets better. A LOT better. The ugly side of this gets blown away in the wind in time. The insights we mine together make all of our lives richer and fuller and better for many, many years to come. The smart and good and hard-working young man who contacted you wins a Nobel prize on the last page of the story. Remind him of that. That’s been a dream of his for many years now and he needs to get back on the path leading to realization of that dream to start feeling good about himself again. He needs to keep that in mind to keep his spirits up when the world seems to be closing in on him because of mistakes he made in the sorts of weak moments we all experience from time to time.
Wade once told me how he was was looking forward to watching with his wife a version of Season Six of the Lost television show with Japanese subtitles. If you talk to him, please tell him that I recommend that he consider the advice that Jack took to heart at the end of that season — Sometimes it is best to just “let it go.” There are times when it is best to continue the fight and there are times when the only possible way forward is just to let it go.
And please tell him that there are people in this world who love him and who are wishing all good things for him and look forward to having a beer with him on the day he is awarded his well-deserved Nobel prize.
Addendum: Kevin sent me a response e-mail after I posted this blog entry. He said:: “I hope you two can make it up someday! I’m definitely not scared of publishing stuff that other people disagree with, but I do try to respect other’s feelings and he seems to be taking it personally. I’ll still be happy to link to non-personal posts from you that don’t call out anyone in particular.”
I sent a reply saying: “I understand your decision. He IS taking it personally. That’s for certain. And we WILL make it up. Wade’s a great guy. He has two small children for whom he has responsibility. He is afraid of what will happen to them. My guess is that Bogle’s heart will melt a bit following the next price crash and we will all be on the same page at that point.”
Kevin then wrote: “Thanks for understanding, Rob. I appreciate it!”