“What Do You Want in an Investment Advisor? Do You Want Someone Who Whispers Pretty Lies in Your Ear?”

Set forth below are the words of a comment that I recently put to the Goon Central board:

I now remember why he pissed everyone off.

I piss lots of people off, Cut-Throat. It’s an established fact.

What do you want in an investment advisor? Do you want someone who whispers pretty lies in your ear? Or do you want someone who tells you the way it really is and helps you to retire many years sooner as a result?

You won’t have a hard time finding someone who will be only too happy to whisper pretty lies in your ear for a fee. This kind is all over the place in the Buy-and-Hold years.

I ain’t that kind. I couldn’t live with myself if I played it that way. I sweated blood putting together my Retire Early stash. If I thought that someone was whispering pretty lies in my ear, I would be mighty pissed off at that person. I don’t do to others what I wouldn’t want someone else doing to me.

I offer no apologies for telling it straight, with no chaser.

I don’t wake up in the morning thinking “Gee, who can I piss off today?” I’m always polite. I’m always warm. I’m always friendly.

But when it comes to reporting numerical calculations, I play it straight. I’ve never even given two seconds of thought to playing it any other way.

If you can’t take it, you have every right in the world to refrain from reading my posts. You won’t hurt my feelings.

It’s when you cross lines that you are by law not permitted to cross that you find yourself being named in lawsuits. That’s not personal. That’s business. I know from thousands of people who have told me so in passionate words of gratitude that my straight-talking approach suits lots of people just fine. So, if you cannot take straight talk and you do not want to add to the damages you are already on the hook for, just stay out of my way and we will get along just fine.

I’m friendly. I’m warm. I can do friendly and warm.

I cannot do dishonest. Not with the numbers people use to plan their retirements. No matter how much it hurts some people to hear the real numbers (and it really does hurt people, this much is very clear to me today).

My take is that it is the people who have been feeding you a line of b.s. for years that you should be pissed at, not me. But the reality is of course that you will be pissed at whoever it is that you elect to be pissed at. What I can say re me is that I do not do this with the aim of pissing you off. But, if reporting the numbers accurately pisses you off, then so be it. Getting the numbers right trumps your precious little feelings, in my book (I don’t mean that sarcastically, I am trying to put forward myzzz sincerezzz take here and it is necessary to use some language that might sound strong to you to get the point across).

This stuff matters, man. Any hurt you feel hearing the numbers from me is nothing compared to what you are going to feel when you see numbers you didn’t ever expect to see at the bottom of the last page of your portfolio statement.



  1. sparky says


    I only take advice from people with a proven track record. I would take medical advice from a doctor who is obese and smokes. I wouldn’t let a Jiffy Lube technician rebuild the engine on my vintage Porsche and I would take financial advice from someone that hasn’t built a meaniful net worth from investing. So Rob, would you like to comment as to how much dollar net worth you have built solely from investing.

  2. Rob says

    The proven track record for Valuation-Informed Indexing is the 140 years of historical stock-return data available to us, Sparky. During that entire time, VII has never once failed in the long term. In contrast, Buy-and-Hold has never once succeeded in the long term.

    Your mistake is that you are making your judgments as to what has worked or not before all the facts are in. In 2000, Buy-and-Hold seemed wonderful. Today, it looks not so great but not so terrible. After the next crash, it will seem like the worst “idea” in the history of personal finance.

    No one invest only for the length of a bull market. For a strategy to truly work, it must work for your entire investing lifetime. Get Rich Quick strategies do not fit the bill. Only research-based strategies can work both in bull markets and bear markets.

    Anyway, I certainly wish you all good things REGARDLESS of what investing strategies you elect to follow. Take care, man.


  3. says

    I think when it comes to investing advice, it’s important to keep feelings out of it and just focus on the numbers, because that’s what investing is all about anyway – the numbers.

  4. Rob says

    Thanks for stopping by, Pam.

    I think the Buy-and-Holders would agree that it makes sense to go by the numbers and leave emotions out of it. The tricky part is deciding what particular numbers need to be considered. Buy-and-Holders give consideration to all the numbers EXCEPT the numbers relating to valuations/emotions. Valuation-Informed Indexers INCLUDE those numbers. Whether you include those numbers or not makes a big difference in all the investing choices you make.

    Please take good care.


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