“The Answer Is for People to Accept That There Are Two Models and Not Be So Defensive. We All Need to Acknowledge That the Other Guy Is a Friend and Someone Who Is Trying to Help.”

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

 can say from what I’ve seen people often claim you are let me put it in a nice way.. abrasive. While I have no issue with your viewpoint, I think many object to the methodology of how you do it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Larry. There are lots of people who say that. Even people who support me say that. I’ll try to explain what I think is really going on.

I believe in 90 percent of what the Buy-and-Holders believe. There is only one point of disagreement. I say that valuations have to be taken into consideration in all calculations. They say that they should never be considered. If valuations were a small factor, this would not be a big deal. But the valuations effect is so big that whether you take them into consideration or not makes a HUGE difference.

I am 100 percent polite and warm and kind in my interactions with Buy-and-Holders. Always. No exceptions. The thing that is “abrasive” is that I say “Well, you got the numbers wildly wrong in that retirement study and the error is going to cause millions of people to suffer failed retirements.” It hurts people’s feelings for me to say that. But, if it is true that valuations matter, what I am saying is so. There’s no soft way of making the point. If you believe that valuations matter, you are either “abrasive” or dishonest. There are no other options.

I think the answer is for people to accept that there are two models and not be so defensive. We all need to acknowledge that the other guy is a friend and someone why is trying his best to help. I accept that there are lots of good and smart people who really believe in Buy-and-Hold. They have a right to believe what they believe. But if I were to say that I believe in Buy-and-Hold, it would be dishonest. There never should have been even a tiny bit of pressure applied to me to persuade me to post dishonestly. My right (and the right of all Valuation-Informed Indexers) to post honestly should be respected.

The Buy-and-Holders were the top dogs for a number of years. They are not accustomed to being challenged. They have to accept that those days are over. People learn new things over time and we move on to new and better ideas.

I say all the time how much I like and respect the Buy-and-Holders. It’s a rare event when one of them says that about me or about any of the Valuation-Informed Indexers. I have had Buy-and-Holders threaten to kill my wife and children. Never have I made any such threats in return. So who is truly the “abrasive” one?

People need to hear both sides to be able to make informed decisions of their own. As of today, the Valuation-Informed Indexers need to stand up for themselves to even be able to speak (as evidenced by the 15 bans!). I am 100 percent happy always to praise the Buy-and-Holders for their many legitimate insights and I always am sure to do so. I am NOT willing to say that I agree with them. I shouldn’t be pressured to do so. And my unwillingness to do so should not be perceived as “abrasive.” My view is that it is the abusive tactics of the Buy-and-Hold dogmatics that are truly “abrasive.”


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