Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
I heard the goons have built up a strong hold on social media sites like reddit. Have you checked them out yet?
I had a thread once on Reddit. My recollection is that someone saw one of my “Beyond Buy-and-Hold” columns and posted it there. It was a good discussion, there were posts on both sides of the issue and there were comments that didn’t take sides, that just asked questions.
Being on Reddit every day would be a huge plus. If Valuation-Informed Indexing became popular on Reddit, the ideas would spread to other sites. Eventually, that would create pressure for the investing sites to discuss research-based strategies as well. So your idea is certainly a good one.
There are two problems.
One, the Buy-and-Hold Goons obviously are aware that word will spread if they let Valuation-Informed Indexing become popular on a large social media site. Before that happens, they will come in and disrupt the threads. We have seen this happen at scores of sites that are not primarily investing sites.
Two, once the disruptors come in, the people who are being persuaded at the social media sites will need to decide who to believe. Their presumption is that those who are expert in the field of investing are the people who know the most about investing. They are properly going to wonder — If there is really 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research showing that Valuation-Informed Indexing is superior to Buy-and-Hold, why isn’t Valuation-Informed Indexing being actively promoted at every investing site?
What do we tell them? That the Buy-and-Holders are so worried about the prison sentences that are going to follow as a result of their 11-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies that they have vowed to destroy the career of any academic researcher who posts honestly on any question relating to stock investing? That puts us right back where we were before we took our cause to Reddit, does it not?
The economic crisis affects everyone living in the United States today, Goon. That obviously includes people posting on Reddit. So, yes, it makes all the sense in the world for us to spread these ideas on Reddit. But it also includes people posting on the Bogleheads Forum and the Early Retirement Forum and Motley Fool and Index Universe and every other investing site. We need to be posting daily on the dangers of Buy-and-Hold at BOTH sorts of sites.
And of course those trying to “defend” Buy-and-Hold in the Year 2013 (32 years after the peer-reviewed academic research in this field showed that there is precisely zero chance that a Buy-and-Hold strategy could ever work out well for a single long-term investor) know that there is a danger in permitting honest posting re the academic research at ANY sort of site and respond appropriately when they learn that people are having honest discussions re the massive financial losses they have caused millions of us.
We need honest posting on the last 32 years of academic research at non-investing sites. We also need honest posting on the last 32 years of academic research at non-investing sites. The key to opening the entire internet up to honest posting on safe withdrawal rates and scores of other critically important topics is announcing prison sentences for those who have posted in “defense” of Mel Lindauer and John Greaney. When people see that there are personal consequences that follow from committing acts of financial fraud, they will stop doing it. That is why we adopted the laws against financial fraud in the first place. We need to start enforcing those laws in a reasonable manner if we all want to see the Buy-and-Hold Crisis brought to an end.
My best wishes to you, Goon.
Rob the Goon Destroyer