Kevin at the Invest It Wisely Blog: “I Don’t Usually Mind a Little Bit of Controversy, But I Was Contacted by the Person in Question (Academic Researcher Wade Pfau) and Asked to Take It Down”

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:

Hey Rob,

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.

Thanks!

Kevin

This morning I sent Kevin an e-mail containing the following words (I have also added an Addendum to the Wade Pfau article linking to this blog entry):

Kevin:

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.

Rob

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!”

Comments

  1. Evidence Based Investing says

    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.

    Some people respect others, some people don’t. Kevin is one of the former, you are one of the latter.

  2. Rob says

    I respect you, Evidence.

    On the morning of May 13, 2002, I put forward the suggestion that every investing board and blog on the internet should permit honest posting on safe withdrawal rates and on many other critically important investment-related topics. Had my view prevailed on that day, you would not be facing a long prison sentence today.

    It’s easy to say the word “friend.” It’s a lot harder to engage in the behavior that is required of a true friend. I have been a true friend to you over the past 10 years, Evidence. To be a true friend to you is to evidence respect for your worth as a human being.

    My best wishes to you, my old friend.

    Rob

  3. Rob says

    I have also been a true friend to Wade.

    Please take a look at my first e-mail to him. Wade contacted me with the aim of learning more about Valuation-Informed Indexing (he had become intrigued about the concept as a result of reading my famous posts at the Bogleheads Forum). I was honored and delighted. But on the same day that Wade contacted me, he also put a post to the Bogleheads Forum that contained defamatory comments about me (he explained to me that he was concerned about what Mel Lindauer would do to him if he posted honestly and that he hoped that his defamatory comments would help him get on Mel’s good side).

    I told Wade in that first e-mail to him that he needed to correct the defamatory comments or I would have nothing to do with him. I noted that I was very excited about the prospect of working with him and learning from him and spreading the word about Valuation-Informed Indexing far and wide. But I didn’t feel that any of that justified seeing this fine young man destroy his career by becoming associated with the sorts of Internet Sewer Rats who have seen fit to put up posts in “defense” of Mel. So I told him what he needed to do. He first needed to disassociate himself from those comments. Then and only then could we begin working together to learn what we needed to learn together for Wade to earn that Nobel prize that today he do richly deserves.

    Who was the friend here? The fellow who took the risk of missing out on a great learning experience because he cared about the future career of the other fellow? Or the Lindauerheads and Greaney Goons, who threatened to get Wade fired from his job if he continued to publish honest, breakthrough research that would help millions of us overcome this economic crisis and become able to retire many years sooner than has ever before been possible? Or the person (John Bogle) who looked the other way when he saw the death threats and the tens of thousands of acts of defamation and the board bannings and the threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs?

    I submit that I have been 1,000 times the friend of Wade Pfau as have John Bogle or Mel Lindauer or John Greaney or any of those who have put up posts in “defense” of these three. What say you, Evidence?

    Rob

  4. Rob says

    When you buy a camera or a sweater or a banana, you look at the price before agreeing to put money down on the table, right, Canyon?

    That’s what Valuation-Informed Indexers do.

    The Wall Street Con Men naturally would prefer that we buy stocks regardless of price. They all become multi-millionaires if they manage to persuade enough of us to do that.

    The problem is that Buy-and-Hold ALWAYS causes a wipeout of every investor who falls for the marketing mumbo jumbo. The collective losses are always large enough to cause a collapse of the entire economy.

    Most middle-class people have money in the stock market today. Our employers have taken away our defined-benefit pension plans and told us that we need to provide for our own retirements. Once we put the responsibility on middle-class people to provide for their own retirements, it became imperative that we provide a means for them to learn what the academic research says about what works. The internet is the obvious way to get that information out to people today.

    When the middle-class has been destroyed, our free-market economic system goes down with it. Even the Wall Street Con Men benefit in the long-term from a decision to permit honest posting on the academic research.

    That’s how it works, Canyon. Once we permit honest posting, there are millions who will follow sensible strategies. There is not one middle-class person alive who does not want to learn how to invest more effectively. The problem is how to deal with the Wall Street Con Men, who have incurred hundreds of billions in legal liabilities during the 10 years in which they have been covering up the errors that were made in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies.

    Rob

  5. Evidence Based Investing says

    What say you, Evidence?

    Wade asked that you not publish the correspondence between the two of you. You did not respect his wishes.

    In fact you spent months publishing private emails every day and then posting hundreds of tweets about that.

    Not the actions of a friend.

  6. Rob says

    I’m afraid that this may be one of those ones re which we are going to need to agree to disagree, Evidence.

    Wade is a young man. When we get the Ban on Honest Posting lifted, he will not gain the ability to perform honest research for a single day. He will gain the ability to do honest research for the remainder of his life.

    And the economic crisis affects Wade. He lives in Japan. But today’s economy is a global economy. He will see benefits from the end of the economic crisis in the United States.

    Wade should never have been threatened. If anything, he should be applauded for having published honest research on the dangers of Buy-and-Hold investing strategies. I certainly applaud him for it.

    My view is that it is those who threatened Wade and those who have failed to speak up in support of his right to do honest research who lack something in the friendship department. I spoke up in support of his right to do honest research immediately. I continue to speak up in support of his right to do honest research today.

    I have been more outspoken on this topic than Wade has been himself. I think it would be fair to say that I have been more of a friend to Wade than Wade has been to himself.

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

    Don’t let the bad guys gets you down, man.

    Rob

  7. Evidence Based Investing says

    When we get the Ban on Honest Posting lifted, he will not gain the ability to perform honest research for a single day

    There is no ban on honest posting. Wade can post where he likes. The only ban is on you, Rob “hocus” Bennett.

  8. Rob says

    Right. Except if Wade posts honestly on the dangers of Buy-and-Hold, Lindauer and Greaney and Bogle team up to insure that he loses his job and his kids go without food or shelter. Those sorts of tactics show that Buy-and-Hold is rooted in science, Evidence.

    Not this boy.

    Please try to find someone else.

    I can’t go for that.

    No can do.

    Rob

  9. Evidence Based Investing says

    Except if Wade posts honestly on the dangers of Buy-and-Hold, Lindauer and Greaney and Bogle team up to insure that he loses his job and his kids go without food or shelter.

    Except you don’t have a single piece of evidence that any of that is true.

  10. critter says

    —reading my famous posts at the Bogleheads Forum—

    You never posted on the Bogleheads Forum; it was set up specifically to ban you.

  11. Rob says

    The same community used to meet at Vanguard Diehards.

    And, yes, they moved to the new place because Morningstar.com was not willing to ban honest posting and Lindauer felt that there was no way to “sell” Buy-and-Hold to that board community without a ban on honest posting given the 30 years of academic research showing that it can never work in the long run.

    I strongly believe that honest posting should be permitted. I would like to see people of intelligence and integrity attracted to this industry again. I see it as a win/win/win/win/win. Is anyone able to imagine any possible downside?

    Please take good care.

    Rob

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