“The Only Way It Could Be “Off-Topic” for Me to Try to Help My Friend Jack Bogle Learn About the Mistakes He Has Made and To Get on the Right Track Is If Bogle Was a 100 Percent Corrupt Individual Going Back To the First Day”

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

And yes Mr. Bennett, that very much and emphatically includes you.

Thanks for including me, Hogie. The questions we are discussing here are of huge importance. I am confident we agree on that. The points made in your first comment are obviously sincere and intelligent. So I see considerable value in that comment and want to respond to it. I don’t see the point made in the second comment (that I posted off-topic — something I would never do in a million years) as being quite so obviously sincere. My take is that it is the product of cognitive dissonance. You believe it because you must believe it to maintain confidence in Buy-and-Hold. And so you have been able to persuade yourself that you really do believe it. Humans do this kind of thing ALL THE TIME in areas other than investing. I wish that we all could accept that it is likely that they do it in the investing realm as well.

You don’t say what it is that you believe that I ever said that is “off topic.” I can come up with only one guess — the majority of the board believes in Buy-and-Hold and I say that Buy-and-Hold doesn’t work. Is that it? My view is that Bogle himself doesn’t hold as a primary belief a belief in Buy-and-Hold. Bogle’s primary belief is that investing strategies should be rooted in the academic research. This belief led him to a belief in Buy-and-Hold because once upon a time the academic research really did support Buy-and-Hold. Now that the research supports Valuation-Informed Indexing (call it Buy-and-Hold 2.0 if that makes it easier to accept), Bogle should be disowning Buy-and-Hold and shifting to support of VII instead.

And he would! If only he would tolerate discussion of the research findings that show him to have been wrong in his early beliefs! My aim is to make him aware of how he got on the wrong track (and of course to make all other Buy-and-Holders aware of the same). How do I do that without describing what the research shows? I MUST do that to achieve my goals. And yet it is precisely my descriptions of what the academic research of the past 30 years shows that causes the Buy-and-Hold dogmatics to lose their cools and to dismiss me as “off-topic” and “abrasive” and worse. Do you see the problem I face?

I noted up above that I formed my friendships with Academic Researcher Wade Pfau as a result of my postings at the Bogleheads Forum. Wade found VII exciting and wanted to learn more about it for the purpose of doing research. He found that VII checks out in every possible way. He was so excited about his findings that he expressed a belief that he might win a Nobel prize in Economics as a result of it (I am personally convinced that he will). He told me that he was amazed that no earlier researcher had looked into the things he looked into. He marveled at his finding that we know today (by examining the data that our mutual friend John Bogle has been advising us for years to study for guidance) what we need to know to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent! While greatly diminishing risk!

Here’s a link to an article at my site that tells the Wade Pfau story:


I find it more than a little hard to believe that you could read that article and read Wade’s research (a link is provided in the article to the underlying research) and conclude that the work Rob Bennett did at the Bogleheads Forum was “off-topic” to the purpose that John Bogle intended to pursue when he began his career, Hogie.

It may be that those findings upset Bogle today, now that he has spent 30 years telling people a very different story. It hurts him because he wanted to do good work and because he is human and made a mistake and that mistake hurt millions of people who Bogle intended to help. But who is Bogle’s real friend — the people who continue the cover-up and thereby aid him in causing even more financial losses for the people he intended to help or the guy who has worked unceasingly for 10 years and without receiving a dime in compensation to get Bogle and all his followers back on the track that he and they had intended to pursue going back to the first day — using research and data to learn WHAT REALLY WORKS IN THE LONG RUN.

I am not an off-topic poster, Hogie. I’m not anything close. You’ve got the wrong guy re that one.

And I ain’t anti-John Bogle either. I rate John Bogle as the second most important investing analyst in history (I rank only Robert Shiller higher). The only way it could be “off-topic” for me to try to help my friend Jack Bogle learn about the mistakes he has made and to get on the right track is if Bogle was a 100 percent corrupt individual going back to the first day and never even intended to help a single middle-class investor but just to get rich himself exploiting their weaknesses. I don’t believe that for two seconds and I am 100 percent confident that you don’t believe that for two seconds either.

So our only difference of opinion is whether Bogle was wrong in saying that it is not necessary for investors to practice long-term timing. Wade’s research shows that he was very. very. very wrong. There would be no problem here if you had any confidence that Wade messed up. If you thought Wade had messed up, you could hold a view different than mine and we could still be friends. The problem is that somewhere in your consciousness you entertain at least a small belief that perhaps Wade (And Rob! And the hundreds of our fellow Bogleheads who have written warm and enthusiastic endorsements of my work!) is on the right track. I have a funny feeling that, once you work up the courage to give those thoughts the serious consideration they merit, we are going to be working together to discover some very exciting truths about how stock investing actually works in the real world.

I wish you all good things, Hogie. It would make me feel greatly encouraged if you could say in your next comment here that you feel the same way about me and about the hundreds of our fellow Bogleheads who have said that they found great value in my thousands of “off-topic” posts at the Bogleheads forum. Take care, man.


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