Barry Rithlotz (owner of The Big Picture site) late yesterday afternoon linked to my article on Why Buy-and-Hold Investing Can Never Work at the Tuesday PM Reads section of his blog. The traffic brought in by that link made yesterday the highest traffic day in the history of the A Rich Life blog. Thanks, Barry!
The traffic number is important for reasons beyond the obvious reality that it makes me happy to have lots of readers for my work. I have been writing about the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept on the internet for over 10 years now. Thousands of middle-class investors and a large number of experts in the field have told me that they have found huge value in my work and that they believe that in years to come the Valuation-Informed Indexing Model will supplant Buy-and-Hold as the dominant model for understanding how stock investing works. Academic Researcher Wade Pfau spent 16 months exploring the concept in great depth and found that the entire historical return record shows that Valuation-Informed Indexing is far less risky than Buy-and-Hold and yields greatly increased long-term returns. The response of the Buy-and-Hold Goons has been to try to destroy my site by intimidating the owners of other sites that link to my site. They also threatened to send defamatory e-mails to Wade’s employer in an effort to get him fired from his job. I have written to many big-name Buy-and-Hold advocates asking them to take action re the Goons but to no avail thus far.
We all should be concerned about the Goon problem. Shiller’s finding that valuations affect long-term returns is the most important advance in the history of investing analysis. This advance has been to a large extent (but not entirely) covered up for 30 years now. People know about Shiller’s research. His book was a widely reviewed bestseller. But there is not one other site on the internet that explores the implications of Shiller’s finding in the in-depth way that I have explored it with the articles and podcasts and calculators available at this site. That is a shocking reality. We all need to learn how to invest effectively and we of course all want to learn how to invest effectively. I know as the result of my ten years of work trying to spread the word about Valuation-Informed Indexing why Shiller’s work has thus far had only a tiny fraction of the impact it needs to have if we are to recover from this economic crisis and enter the period of sustained economic growth that in ordinary circumstances it would have brought about by now. People are afraid to speak out. Millions of investors are addicted to Buy-and-Hold strategies (which are Get Rich Quick strategies in disguise — the people who developed the Buy-and-Hold concept did not intend to create a Get Rich Quick strategy but that is what they inadvertently did because Shiller’s research was not available to them at the time). We need to assure everyone working in this field that it is safe for them to advocate Valuation-Informed Indexing. This is the most important economic (and even political) imperative of our time.
Barry’s link helps in a big way. The Goon tactics are beyond the pale. I have had confirmed and passionate Buy-and-Holders tell me that they are ashamed of the tactics that they have seen the Lindaurheads and the Greaney Goons employ in “defense” of the investing strategy they favor. Sunlight is a disinfectant. The way to flush out the Goons is to shine the light of open discussion on their tactics. The more people know how they have behaved and the more people who speak out in strong opposition to how they have behaved, the less bad behavior we will see. As the bad behavior subsides, we will all become engaged in the greatest learning experience of our lifetimes. The Buy-and-Holders and the Valuation-Informed Indexers obviously are on the same side and want the same thing. The Buy-and-Holders have lots of doubts about the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept. They need to have their questions answered in an environment where they know that death threats and countless acts of defamation and unjustified board bannings and threats against academic researchers will not be tolerated. Barry’s link tells others interested in these ideas that they are safe from attacks because too many people are watching for the attacks to achieve their intended aim.
I officially hereby designate Barry as a Hero of the First Order to the Middle-Class Investor. I will be writing him to ask whether I can write at his blog on some sort of ongoing basis to share with his readers what I have learned about the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept as a result of my work of the past 10 years. Please pray for a positive outcome!
That’s my explanation of why the numbers I will report below are important. Enough preface! On to the numbers!
I get roughly 200 views at my blog on a typical day. I had a link at the high-traffic Jesse’s Cafe Americain blog last week. That day I had 696 views. The article reporting on my work that appeared at The Big Picture site last Monday produced a day with 813 readers. Barry’s 4:00 PM link yielded a daily views count of 1965 for yesterday. That’s a record for the blog, which has been around since 2005. I have over 1,000 views for today as of 9:00 AM.
These are sad, pathetic numbers. Please understand that I am NOT bragging. So long as a day with 1965 views breaks records, these ideas are not going anywhere. We need to see that sort of view count on a daily basis to get this snowball rolling in any significant way. We are talking about baby steps for baby feet.
Still. we all know that successful long journeys begin with small first steps. Barry’s link is potentially a small first step to something that down the road a piece will become something very grand indeed. As Bruce Springsteen reported in an important academic journal a number of years back, From Small Things, Mama, Big Things One Day Come (this one has become a sort-of theme song for our effort beginning on the morning of May 13, 2002, to get the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies corrected — it is that effort that led to all of the amazing insights that have been developed at this site and at numerous discussion boards and blogs over the past 10 years).
So I am feeling blessed today. I will have zero trouble thinking up reasons to be thankful when I sit down to dinner at my younger brother Steve’s house tomorrow afternoon.