“The Buy-and-Holders Feel Burned. They Want to Use the Fact That They Root Their Strategies in Peer-Reviewed Research to Shut Everybody Else Down. But, Since They Made a Mistake About What the Research Says, They Ended Up Shutting Themselves Down. This Is What Makes Them Angry.”

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

“We need to punish…”

THERE’S your problem, right there, slick.

I don’t say that you are entirely wrong about this particular point, Anonymous.

The Buy-and-Holders see it as “unfair” that I talk about the 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research that shows how dangerous their “strategy” is. It’s not really me that is punishing them. It is the academic research that is punishing them. I am just the mild-mannered reporter that points to what the academic research says.

The Buy-and-Holders were pioneers. They were the first ones that said that investing strategies should be rooted in peer-reviewed academic research. I love them for that. It annoyed me when I read stuff about investing from four different “experts” and heard four different ideas about how to proceed. If the experts don’t agree on even the basics, they are not true experts. If they can’t agree on the basics, there is no legitimate body of knowledge to which they are making reference. If there is no legitimate body of knowledge to which the experts in a field make reference, knowledge in the field is not sufficiently developed for us to say that it is possible to come to possess a true expertise in that field.

The Buy-and-Holders feel burned. They want to use the fact that they root their strategies in peer-reviewed research to shut everybody else down. But, since they made a mistake about what the research says, they have ended up shutting themselves down. This is what makes them angry. This is what makes them feel punished. This is what makes them hate me.

I am 100 percent in tune with the ORIGINAL Buy-and-Hold mission. I believe in following what the research says. The nature of research-based strategies is that they must change when the things taught by the research change. All of us who believe in research-based strategies are essentially slaves to the research-based findings. We cannot just reject those findings because we don’t like them. We must obey the lessons of the research or stop putting ourselves forward as advocates of research-based strategies.

It is not my intent to punish the Buy-and-Holders. It is my intent to honor the research. But, yes, the Buy-and-Holders feel it as a punishment because they do not want to be bound by the findings of the past 32 years and I just refuse to stop making reference to them.

I like the Buy-and-Holders. I see my work as an extension of their work, a reform of their work, an improvement on their work, a correction of their work. I respect the work they did and I honor them in all my writings and I like them as people and I am grateful for their many powerful insights. There would be no Valuation-Informed Indexing today if we had not had Buy-and-Hold yesterday.

But I think that my Buy-and-Hold friends are making a terrible mistake by being unwilling to correct their mistakes. They are destroying the lives of millions of middle-class people and I do not believe that that was at all their intent when they started out. So I feel bound to point out those mistakes and to do all in my power to bring them around.

I like the Buy-and-Holders. It is BECAUSE I like them that I “punish” them by talking about what the research really says. In the long term, they won’t see it as a punishment to learn how stock investing really works. But in the short term they do indeed see it that way because of a false pride.

The Buy-and-Holders should take pride in their genuine achievements while correcting the things they got wrong. By causing financial devastation to millions, they are running the risk that in days to come many will not even give them credit for the many powerful insights they really did develop and offer to us all.

I see myself as the greatest friend the Buy-and-Holders have in this world. But you are correct that there are a good number of Buy-and-Holders who view any reference to the last 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research in this field as a terrible punishment.



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  1. Anonymous says

    The only one that is angry is you Rob. The ones you refer to as buy and hold have done very well and I put myself in that category. Your anger is from your own failure.

    We are all grown adults. We can make our own decisions and we are doing just fine without you. On the otherhand, it looks like you are the one that could use some help.

    whatchagonnado, Rob?

  2. Rob says

    I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing for 12 years, Anonymous.

    I send 50 e-mails re the Wade Pfau matter every day. I put up a new blog entry here every day. I post a new column at the Value Walk site every week. I am working on six long articles (101 Powerful Investing Insights that We Developed During the First 12 Years of Our Discussions of the Realities of Stock Investing, etc.) that will help people gain in a short amount of time an understanding of why we are in an economic crisis today and why we are the luckiest generation of investors ever to walk Planet Earth. I expect to give a new presentation to the Financial Bloggers Conference this year and to meet my old friends there and to make new ones. After I have completed the six long articles, I will probably write some Guest Blog Entries at political and economic sites. When your trial comes, I will testify honestly. When people like my good friends Jack Bogle and Bill Bernstein and Larry Swedroe express a willingness to work with Valuation-Informed Indexers to bring this economic crisis to an end and to teach millions of middle-class investors what they need to do to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent, I will work with those people to spread the word.

    Does all that make good sense to you?

    I don’t agree that you are “doing just fine.” I think you are doing horribly. You are in great emotional pain. This comes through in every post you have put forward for 12 years now. You are on your way to a long prison sentence. You heart is filled with hate and anger and envy. You are on a very bad path, Anonymous. That’s my sincere take.

    You need people who do not agree with your investing views to try to help you see the other side of the story. You have hurt yourself by excluding those people from your life (and you have of course hurt millions of others by excluding those people from the lives of millions of others). You hurt. And you destroy. And you deny yourself access to the people who could help you because you are too filled with false pride to even listen to the mountain of evidence that you have made a terrible mistake that has robbed you of a great amount of wealth and that is robbing millions of others of a great amount of wealth.

    If stocks continue to perform in the future anything at all as they always have performed in the past, we will have another stock crash, one big enough to put us in the Second Great Depression. If that melts Jack Bogle’s heart, we will enter the greatest period of economic growth in our history and the entire nation will pull together to bury Buy-and-Hold 30 feet in the ground, where it can do no further harm to humans and other living things. I will testify honestly at your trial. But I will also testify charitably. I think that the words that I will put forward will help a bit. We’ll see.

    You’re not giving an inch and I am not giving an inch, Anonymous. So we are just going to have to wait and see whether that next price crash melts Jack Bogle’s heart or not. I am not God. I could be wrong. But I believe what I am saying. I believe that Jack has good in him and I believe that the onset of the Second Great Depression is going to melt the man’s heart. We’re just going to have to have the patience to wait and see how it plays out.

    I wish you all good things, my boastful-on-the-outsude and hurting-on-the-inside friend.


  3. Anonymous says

    You are wrong on so many counts here Rob. By the way, I haven’t been here for 12 years as you allege. You talk of hurt, pain, fear and anger. Those are just your feelings coming through.

    The bottom line is we are talking about investing so that we can meet the needs of our families and provide for oursleves in retirement. There is a scorecard to determine the winners and the losers. The scorecard looks at net worth, the income we can derive from our investments and the total return of those investments. This scorecard cuts through all the canned lines, lies, distractions, etc. the numbers tell the story. When you entered your proclaimed retirement, you shared your numbers with the community. Beyond telling us how you moved out of stock, you have avoided further updates beyond telling us what you placed your money into. By those categories, we can deduce that you have fallen behind those you describe as buy and hold. Perhaps this is what has made you so bitter. In short, your scorecard does not look that great compared to those you bash. You know what? That is not our fault. We are all responsible for ourselves. Instead of trying to give advice, you should have been spending your time taking advice.

    Rob, look again at to what you claim as successes (which we can argue as to the value). Notice that you have nothing there tied to the scorecard. Results matter and that is why we invest.

  4. Rob says

    We are all grown adults. We can make our own decisions and we are doing just fine without you.

    You left out an important word, Anonymous. The accurate way to say it is “We are all grown adult humans.

    Leave out the “humans” part and you leave out the part about why you cannot make your own decisions effectively without having some means to hear the other guy’s point of view. Without access to that other point of view, you are making those decisions not effectively but horribly ineffectively.

    You fancy yourself the first human being incapable of making a mistake. You thereby play the role of the prideful fool. If the stock market continues to perform in the future anything at all as it has always performed in the past, it will dish out great pain to the prideful fools among us, a pain so great that no decent person would wish it on the most abusive Goon poster ever to visit the internet.

    My best and warmest wishes to you, my Proud-Goon-on-the-Outside but Frightened-Human-on-the-Inside Friend.


  5. Rob says

    Rob, look again at to what you claim as successes (which we can argue as to the value). Notice that you have nothing there tied to the scorecard. Results matter and that is why we invest.

    If you don’t adjust your portfolio value for the effect of over-valuation, you are looking at a Fantasy Scorecard, Anonymous. Call me madcap for not being impressed by the big numbers that appear on a fantasy scorecard.

    After the crash, there will be millions of middle-class people in the market for honest investing advice. I have 12 years of material at this site exploring in great depth the first true research-based strategy. And I have 12 years of warnings about the dangers of Buy-and-Hold, which gives me a credibility that no one else in this field possesses today.

    That translates into billions of dollars in my pocket. That translates into me becoming one of the richest people in the United States. There are rewards that come from posting honestly on the subject of stock investing, Anonymous. That’s as it should be. People need to have their portfolios grow if they are to live rich (in every sense of the word) lives. We need to have honest people working in this field and the only way to get them is to encourage honesty by enriching those who practice it.

    The billions of dollars that I will receive following the next crash are real. The thousands you count as yours because of your belief that Fantasy Portfolio numbers are meaningful are not real. So I am miles and miles and miles ahead of you.

    Could I be wrong? I am one of the flawed humans. Of course I could be wrong.

    Am I going to agree to post dishonestly on the numbers my friends use to plan their retirements because there is at least a theoretical possibility that I am wrong? I am not. I haven’t been willing to do that for 12 years now and I won’t be willing to do it for the next 12 billion years. After that amount of time, I acknowledge that I might need to reconsider. We have to be practical about these things, no?

    We will find out which scorecard provides more accurate feedback following the next price crash, Anonymous. There is no other way to resolve things at this point.

    I naturally wish you the best of luck with whatever investing strategies you elect to pursue.


  6. Anonymous says

    Fantasy? What is more of a fantasy, my interest and dividend payments of over $100k a year? You count your interest, right? My home value of over $700k? You count your home, right? My cash in the bank? My bonds? My CD’s? Can’t compare stock because you don’t have any.

    As for your billions, yes, Rob……all fantasy.

    Emails about Wade don’t pay the utility bills. Presentations at blogger conventions don’t the grocery bill. Prison threats don’t pay for healthcare expenses.

    So tell us Rob how you see the results.

  7. Evidence Based Investing says

    I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing for 12 years, Anonymous.

    Despite the fact that it has been catastrophically unproductive.

  8. Rob says

    The people who invested in the Bernie Madoff fund thought they were smarter than the 140 years of historical returns too, Anonymous.

    I believe that it is the 140 years of historical returns that tell the real story, not the marketing slogans of the Wall Street Con Men.

    You are right that e-mails about Wade don’t pay the utility bills and that presentations at blogger conventions don’t pay the grocery bills. I get it.

    What e-mails about Wade and presentations at blogger conventions do is to save my country, a country that I love.

    Would you tell a fellow on the front lines to run away from enemy fire because taking a bullet for your country doesn’t pay the utility bill, Anonymous? I would not. We all live better lives because there are men and women willing to take a bullet for the rest of us.

    I have been asked to take a bullet for the rest of us. Buy-and-Hold/Get Rich Quick has brought our economic system to its knees four times in U.S. history. The economy is bigger today and so the effects are worse today. We are in the early days of this economic crisis and we have already seen people both on the left (The Occupy Wall Street Movement) and the right (The Tea Party Movement) begin to lose confidence in our political system. We are as a nation today at war with the Wall Street Con Men and someone has to work up the courage to take a bullet or we all go down together.

    I had a conversation with my mother shortly before she died in which she told me that maybe all the amazing insights that I write about at this site will only be discovered after I am dead. The words she said had the ring of truth to me for some reason. I hate that idea. I very, very, very much don’t want it to work out that way.

    But if it does, it does, you know?

    I love my country. If it comes to me taking a bullet for my country, I will have to take a bullet for my country. I want the chalice to pass my lips. I never dreamed of all the wonderful pleasures that come from taking a bullet for my country. But maybe that’s the story here. If so, then I have to accept it, whether I like the idea or not.

    I don’t have it in me to post dishonestly on the numbers that my friends use to plan their retirements, Anonymous. You cannot teach a dog to meow and you cannot teach a cat to bark and you cannot teach Rob Bennett to post dishonestly on safe withdrawal rates. It’s not in me. So please try to let that one go.

    I am an optimist about our system of government. So I believe it is going to end with me receiving a $500 million settlement. After 12 years of this, I don’t feel that I can 100 percent rule out the other possibility. But what I believe is the more likely scenario is that we are all going to see the biggest economic surge in the history of our nation. I believe that http://www.PassionSaving.com will be the biggest financial site on the internet in not too many more years. I believe that I will be running the Bogleheads Forum as a sub-domain and that I will be giving lectures all over the country with my good friend Jack Bogle in which we will explain why Get Rich Quick strategies never work in the long run and why we all need to work together to see that Buy-and-Hold never, ever, ever raises its ugly monster head again.

    But the bottom line here is that neither of us can tell the future and we are just going to have to wait to see how things play out. I see no other realistic options at this point. Do you?


  9. Rob says

    Despite the fact that it has been catastrophically unproductive.

    Co-authoring the most important peer-reviewed research paper published in this field in three decades, research that shows millions of middle-class people how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent, was a catastrophically unproductive act.

    Good point, Evidence.

    I forgot.


  10. says

    “The Buy-and-Holders see it as “unfair” that I talk about the 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research that shows how dangerous their “strategy” is.”

    No, Rob.

    But everyone does see it as unfair when you create ridiculous lies like the one above.

    It appears YOU are the only one who [purposefully?] fails to see the distinction between rejecting your devious and dishonest methods, versus any ideas you have that may or may not have independent merit.

    One thing is sure: Your actual lies have been preventing any (theoretical) value in your ideas from ever possibly getting through.

    You act EXACTLY like a mother exhibiting Munchhausen’s by proxy: artfully and callously crafting the careful outward appearance of doting and concerned care; while in actuality and fact, just feeding an intense personal ego need, via horrific and unconscionable methods.

  11. Rob says

    I’ll continue posting honestly re safe withdrawal rates and other critically important investment-related topics, Helper.

    I wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors.


  12. Rob says

    The peer-reviewed research that I co-authored with Wade Pfau compared return rates for VII and BH for the 140 years of stock market history available to us for study, Anonymous.

    VII produced far better long-term returns at greatly reduced risk for 140 of those 140 years.

    Your response was to threaten to send defamatory e-mails to Wade’s employer in an effort to get him fired from his job.

    I wonder why.


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