“I Don’t Think Buy-and-Hold Can Ever Work for a Single Investor in the Long Term and I Can Point to Academic Research Showing That to Be the Case. That’s the ‘Controversy'”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to the Invest It Wisely blog:

I found him to be…not insane.

Thanks, Kevin. I’m going to use that endorsement on the back cover of my book on investing!

I’m joking around, of course. I think it would be helpful if we all did our part to try to see the lighter side of this never-ending “controversy.” The reality, of course, is that there have been differences of opinion about stock investing going back to the day the first market opened for business, and that the entire idea that there is some sort of “controversy” here rather than just a difference of opinion is 100 percent manufactured. I don’t think Buy-and-Hold can ever work for a single investor in the long term and I can point to academic research showing that to be the case. That’s the “controversy.”

If you have a reasoned rebuttal of his views, I’ll be happy to link out to it as well.

These words are also exceedingly helpful. We need to hear BOTH sides. But of course we only want to hear those willing to construct civil and reasoned presentations of their case. Civil and reasoned criticisms of Valuation-Informed Indexing (the alternative to Buy-and-Hold that I advocate) help us all. I am obviously not God and I obviously am every bit as capable of getting things wrong as any Buy-and-Holder. I need to hear civil and reasoned criticisms of my work as much or perhaps even more than everyone else does.

Um — Thanks for your contribution too, Blogwatcher.

I think!




  1. Rob says


    But I cannot tell the complete story until the story has come to completion, Trebor.

    I completed a first draft of the book several years back. I’ll write the final version after we have opened the interest up to honest posting on safe withdrawal rates and many other issues. At that point, we will have all sorts of resources available to help people out. Newspapers and magazines and books and web sites will all be telling the same helpful story.

    The story of what works in stock investing hurts people’s feelings today. I wish that it weren’t so but it is so. You can’t sell a book that hurts people’s feelings. You first have to help people get over their hurt feelings. That’s today’s agenda.

    I wish you all good things, Trebor.


  2. Rob says

    The attitude you evidence in this comment does you harm, What.

    That’s my sincere belief.

    I believe that there is a part of you that would like nothing more than to learn about a better and safer and smarter way to invest in stocks.

    But there’s this other part of you that holds you back, that says “I don’t ever admit mistakes, not ever!”

    I think that’s sad.

    I want to bring out that good side of you and to help it overcome the bad side of you.

    Anyway, I certainly wish you well in all your future endeavors regardless of which investing strategies you elect to pursue.

    Take care, man.


  3. Trebor Martin says

    Was it two, or maybe three, years ago that you took that month-long hiatus from your blog to focus on your second book because there was an urgent need to tell the story? Now there is not rush?

  4. Rob says

    There is certainly a rush, Trebor.

    I would like to see Bogle make his “I Was Wrong” speech by the close of business today and to see the New York Times feature it in a front page article in tomorrow’s edition and for the rest of us to work together to bring this economic crisis to an end within six months.

    I don’t always get everything I want down here in the Valley of Tears.

    Perhaps you’ve noticed.


  5. Rob says

    I called for an end to the Campaign of Terror on the morning of May 13, 2002, What. I was the first.

    This is not a one-man job. I do not get to decide what we as a nation collectively do in response to the 30 years of academic research showing that there is precisely zero chance that a Buy-and-Hold strategy could ever work for even a single long-term investor.

    My best wishes to you.


  6. Evidence Based Investing says

    I called for an end to the Campaign of Terror on the morning of May 13, 2002, What. I was the first.

    Could you give us a link to this?

  7. Rob says

    Of course I could, Evidence.

    But then I would have to kill you, right?

    We don’t want that, do we?


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