Business Week Columnist Vivek Wadhwa has tweeted a link to my article on the silencing of Academic Researcher Wade Pfau.
Wadhwa has appointments at Duke, Stanford, Emory and Singularity University and writes columns for the Washington Post as well as for Business Week. I think it would be fair to say after this tweet that he is also a Hero to the Middle-Class Investor and an all-around good guy. His web site is here. His bio is here.
Vivek’s tweet reads: “Received worrisome e-mail from Rob Bennett. Warns of risk with Buy-and-Hold Investing. [Link to Wade Pfau Article] — I have no clue.” I sent a response tweet that reads: “Thanks for kindness of link to Wade Pfau article. We all should work together to get word out & bring to wonderful conclusion.”
Vivek has 31,787 followers. These are genuine followers (he follows only 195). Many of his followers are top-notch people. Looking at just the first few names, I saw Vanessa O’Connell of the Wall Street Journal, Christine Lagorio, an Executive Editor at Inc.com, and Charles Cooper, Executive News Editor at CNET.
Vivek learned of the Wade Pfau article as the result of my recent e-mail to him. He responded last night, saying that he felt that the content of the article was “outside of my field of knowledge” but that he was “glad to tweet a question asking if you are right” and thereby to “let others make up their minds.” He asked me what link I would like him to include in the tweet.
I responded this morning. I suggested that he link to the article re the silencing of Pfau by the Buy-and-Holders (A number of Buy-and-Holders threatened to send defamatory e-mails to Wade’s employer in an effort to get him fired from his job for the “crime” of having published research showing the dangers of Buy-and-Hold investing strategies and several big names in the field [including Vanguard Founder John Bogle] failed to take action against those advancing the threats, thereby implicitly encouraging them [I have sent Bogle four e-mails asking for his help with the matter]).
Vivek sent me an e-mail after posting the tweet that stated: “I tweeted a balanced message.” I responded with an e-mail saying: “Thanks a million. That’s perfect. Balance is good!” He wrote back: “Sure.”
The intimidation campaign against Wade came about as a result of a 10-year effort (successful so far!) to cover up the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies. I reported on the errors in a May 13, 2002, discussion-board post at the Motley Fool site. The author of one of the discredited studies responded by threatening to kill my wife and children if I continued to post honestly on the subject. I continued posting honestly and was banned from the site despite posts by hundreds of my fellow community members saying that the discussion of the how valuations affect retirement planning was the most exciting discussion ever held at that board. In the ten years since, the Goon posters have followed me to hundreds of web sites at which I have posted comments or guest blog entries, always posting abusively and only in extremely rare cases being disciplined in any way for doing so (in contrast, I have been banned from 15 sites at the demand of enraged Buy-and-Holders). Wade learned of my work as a result of my thousands of posts to the Bogleheads forum (before I was banned at that site) and said that he would like to work with me to develop research showing once and for all whether the historical return data supports the Valuation-Informed Indexing strategy (my suggested replacement for the Buy-and-Hold strategy) or not. We worked together for 16 months, exchanging hundreds of e-mails. Wade found that everything I had said checked out and expressed amazement that no earlier researcher had reported on these matters (all of my ideas follow logically from research published by Robert Shiller over 30 years ago). He concluded that Valuation-Informed Indexing has for the entire 140 years of historical data available to us provided investors with far higher returns than Buy-and-Hold while exposing them only to greatly reduced risks. “Yes, Virginia, Valuation-Informed Indexing works!” he said.
The The Big Picture Blog recently posted a lengthy article (“Buy-and-Hold Is Dead — And Never Worked in the First Place”) telling the story of my ten years of work developing the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept with the help of the hundreds of my fellow community members who dared to “cross” the Buy-and-Holders by engaging in original research or discussing the implications of research already published (the VII concept is rooted in the 1981 finding of Yale University Economics Professor Robert Shiller that valuations affect long-term returns — Shiller has said in published interviews that he has never dared to tell us all that he knows about stock investing because he fears that he would be branded “unprofessional” if he were to do so). Site Owner Barry Ritholtz separately linked to an article of mine titled Why Buy-and-Holder Investing Can Never Work.