“The Studies Will Be Corrected. We Will Bring the Economic Crisis to an End. We Will Bring on the Greatest Period of Economic Growth in Our History. The Study That Wade Pfau and I Co-Authored Will Be Written Up on the Front Page of the New York Times. We Will Rebuild All of the Boards and Blogs That Have Been Destroyed or Compromised. That’s How the Story Ends.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:

The first comment you list under “People are talking” is “Your ideas are sound.” from Rob Arnott.

Here is more of that quote. “Your ideas are sound. Your stridency is unhelpful to your cause.

As always you are incapable of accepting any advice or criticism.

I certainly accept that he said it, Evidence.

I’ll go a step farther. LOTS of good and smart people have said similar things. Rob Arnott is in very good company re that comment.

Here is a mind-bender for you: Is it possible that Rob Arnott is right that my ideas on investing are sound and wrong that my “stridency” is unhelpful to my cause? That’s what I very strongly believe to be the case.

If I am right in my ideas about stock investing, it is the relentless promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies that served as the primary cause of the economic crisis. Jack Bogle is a hero of mine. I have a funny feeling that he did not dedicate his life to helping millions of middle-class people to invest effectively because he wanted to bring on the Second Great Depression and wipe out their retirement savings.

“Strident” means “harsh.” I describe a harsh reality. So there is indeed a sense in which my words could properly be described as “strident.” But the real problem here is not the words describing the harsh reality, it is the harsh reality itself. That is what must change.

When the reality of the 11-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School retirement studies changes, I will be leading the chorus of praise for those who brought about the change. There will be nothing whatsoever “strident” in the words I direct to my Buy-and-Hold friends on that day.

The Buy-and-Holders made a mistake. That’s the core reality here. If you care deeply about the Buy-and-Hold project, as I do, you very, very, very much want to see that mistake CORRECTED. If the mistake is not corrected, the entire project goes down in flames. Every breakthrough insight brought to us by the Buy-and-Holders counts for zero if the U.S. economy is crippled by the failure of the Buy-and-Hold pioneers to acknowledge their mistake in time to save us from the next price crash and all the political turmoil that will follow from it.

You have a lifetime friend who is turning the key in a car after getting stone cold drunk at a party at your house and you grab the key from him and tell him in no uncertain language that he will be sleeping it off in your guestroom tonight. Is that strident? Your drunk friend probably hears it that way. In his state of mind, he thinks he can make the drive home just fine. You are sober. You know better. You have a vision of him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life that renders you incapable of letting him decide what is in his best interest. This is a time when he is in need of a friend badly and you call yourself his friend. So you do what must be done regardless of what names he calls you in response. He’ll see his way to thanking you in the morning.

Did I do a good thing or a bad thing when I put forward my famous post of the morning of May 13, 2002, reporting on the errors in the Old School SWR studies, Evidence? Greaney was pushing that study on a daily basis at the Motley Fool board. Thousands of my friends used that studies to plan their retirements. Those people will in days to come be suffering one of the worst life setbacks imaginable. All of that could have been avoided had Greaney said “Thank you!” to the person who tried to save him further embarrassment by letting him know of where he had made a MISTAKE. Who is Greaney’s true friend here, you or me?

I am John Greaney’s true friend.

I am Jack Bogle’s true friend.

I am Rob Arnott’s true friend.

I am Evidence’s true friend.

Your hate cannot cancel out my love. That can never, ever, ever happen. If it does, we all go down together. And that is not an acceptable result. I will not permit it.

The studies will be corrected. We will bring the economic crisis to an end. We will bring on the greatest period of economic growth in our history. The study that Wade Pfau and I co-authored will be written up on the front page of the New York Times. We will rebuild all of the boards and blogs that have been destroyed or compromised.

That’s how the story ends, Evidence. Deep in your heart, you know that this is the ONLY way it can end. Please act accordingly from this point forward.

Death threats are strident. Board bannings are strident. Tens of thousands of acts of defamation are strident. Threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs are strident.

Posts pointing out the errors in a retirement study put forward with the aim of saving millions of middle-class lives from ruin? Not so much.

It is the behavior of the Buy-and-Holders — including the KIng of Buy-and-Hold himself, John C. Bogle — that has made my loving and good and constructive and positive and life-affirming act of revealing the errors in those studies and indeed in the Buy-and-Hold Model itself APPEAR for a time to be strident in the eyes of many good and smart people like Rob Arnott.

When we rebuild our economy, Rob will be putting forward a different take. He and millions of others will be saying at that time that they regret not having been sufficiently “strident” themselves to bring this 11-year Campaign of Terror to a full and immediate stop before permitting it to put our economy in the Second Great Depression.

I speak strongly. I speak clearly. I speak firmly.

No argument whatsoever.

I speak out of love for the Buy-and-Hold Project, which once upon a time was a PRO-research project. I don’t apologize for the depth of my love for that project for two seconds.

You want to have someone diss the accomplishments of Jack Bogle and the thousands of other Buy-and-Hold pioneers? Look elsewhere, my long-time abusive posting friend.

Not this boy.

No can do.

I can’t go for that.

It’s not my particular cup of tea.

Please try to find someone else.

My best and warmest wishes to you.

Rob the Strident (Without Apologies!) One


  1. Rob says

    Okay, Stan.

    But I prefer it when people who comment here tell us what they really think rather than self-censoring themselves with all this nicey nice stuff.

    Can you make a little bit of an effort next time just to let go and let it all hang out?

    There must be something about this place of which you do not approve 100 percent!

    Don’t let the bad guys get you down, man.


  2. Rob says

    That’s why I am such a severe critic of the Buy-and-Hold strategy, Stan. It stirs up more emotion in investors than any other strategy.

    You are hurting, Stan. You can deny it from now until Doomsday and you will not convince me otherwise. The hurt comes through in ever post you put forward.

    I naturally wish you all good things regardless of what investing strategies you elect to follow.


  3. Rob says

    It’s what I believe, Anonymous.

    I believe that, now that index funds are available to us all, there is no need for stock investing to be risky.

    Before index funds, there was the risk that you would pick a bad company. That risk is gone.

    The remaining risk is that you will get emotional and treat gains resulting from mispricing as real. That risk is gone for those who understand the findings of the research of the past 32 years.

    The job of an investing advisor is to give investors tools to avoid emotionalism. I believe that the Buy-and-Holders have failed at this.

    I don’t believe that they see it. I don’t believe that they are deliberately giving bad advice. But I strongly believe that they are giving bad advice. Telling investors that there is no need to change one’s stock allocation in response to big price swings is the most dangerous advice that an investing advisor can give, in my assessment.

    Saying that Buy-and-Holders are hurting is a line I use all the time because it is a line that makes a critical point. I wish that there were more working this angle. I think there is room for a LOT more work along these lines.

    Please take good care.


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