I have been sending e-mails to various people re my article describing the intimidation tactics used to silence Academic Researcher Wade Pfau’s reporting on the dangers of Buy-and-Hold investing strategies. In response, Legal Lecturer Albert Sanchez Graells posted a tweet saying: “An interesting independent vision on personal finance strategy, well worth a read” and linking to the article telling the Wade Pfau story.
Graells is not only a law lecturer. His Twitter profile reveals that he is also a Spanish exile, a runner, a jazz fan, a frustrated musician, and a vocational cook. He authors two blogs: (1) Integrity in Public Contracts — Turin 2012; and How to Crack a Nut.
Albert told me in an e-mail that: “I have read your post and the situation seems well below any professional and academic acceptable standards. I am tweeting your link. I hope it gives it some extra visibility.”
I responded with the following words:
Thanks for the kindness of posting the tweet. I am certain it will help. It may be that we will not see an immediate reaction. But it will cause people to begin thinking about the matter in the back of their minds. And down the road it will cause them to be more open to hearing other points of view.
I certainly agree that in an objective sense “the situation seems well below any professional and academic acceptable standards.” In fairness, I think I need to add that there are some unusual circumstances that apply. What we are seeing here is what they refer to in the psychological literature as “cognitive dissonance.” The Buy-and-Holders made major advances in our understanding of how stock investing works. They made one mistake (for perfectly understandable reasons). By the time we discovered the mistake, they had made a career commitment to an approach that doesn’t work. They are having a hard time accepting that they made a mistake and the millions of investors who bought into the idea are ALSO having a hard time accepting it and are encouraging those who promote the idea to continue doing so.
We need to get a national debate launched. That’s how we will achieve a healing process. I thought that the publication of Wade’s research would get us there and then this exceedingly unfortunate development closed that natural path to a good place. Now I am stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out what alternate path might help us all get to the place where deep in our hearts we all really want to be.
Your encouraging note brought a nice measure of cheer to my Monday morning.
Albert wrote back: “Glad to have contributed a drop in the ocean of debate need. Best wishes.”