“I Am Not the One Who Is Alone. If I Were Alone, I Would Pose No Threat to You Goons. It Is Precisely Because There Are So Many Millions Seeking to Understand for the First Time How Stock Investing Really Works That You Hate Me With Such a Burning and All-Consuming Hate.”

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

Rob, you seem to be alone in this VII crusade. Haven’t you ever considered that you might be wrong about this?I have considered whether I might be wrong and looked for evidence to support that view every day of the past 12 years of my life, Sensible.I am not alone.

My work is rooted in the research of Yale Economics Professor Robert Shiller. Shiller was awarded the Nobel prize in Economics last year. Having the support of a winner of the Nobel prize in Economics ain’t being alone.

I am the co-author of the most important piece of peer-reviewed research published in this field in the past 30 years. Having your name on a piece of research that shows millions of middle-class investors how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent ain’t being alone.

I have over 200 quotes posted at the “People Are Talking” section of the site. Many of the quotes are by top-name experts in the field. Having that many supportive quotes by top-name experts ain’t being alone.

Jack Bogle, whom I rank as the second most important figure in this field, thinks enough of my work that he went along with having the entire Bogleheads Forum moved to another location rather than take the risk of appearing at an event with me in which he would be expected to respond in an effective way to my questioning. Impressing the second most important figure in the field to that extent ain’t being alone.

Former Financial Analysts Journal Editor Rob Arnott wrote me to tell me that my investing ideas are “sound.” That ain’t being alone.

Thousands of my fellow community members have expressed a desire that honest posting be permitted on our boards and blogs so that they can hear what I have to say about how investing works. That ain’t being alone.

Millions of people lost their jobs in this economic crisis, an economic crisis that my work shows was caused by the reckless promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies. Those millions all want what I have to offer to become known to every person on this planet. That ain’t being alone.

Thousands of entrepreneurs saw their businesses fail in the Buy-and-Hold Crisis. Those thousands want what I have to offer to become known to every person on this planet. That ain’t being alone.

Millions of people from both the left (The Occupy Wall Street Movement) and the right (The Tea Party Movement) have begun to lose confidence in the ability of our political system to be responsive to the concerns of millions of its citizens because of the foolishness we saw in the wake of the onset of the economic crisis with people ignoring the obvious cause of the crisis (Buy-and-Hold caused $12 trillion in Pretend Money to be created and the loss of that $12 trillion in buying power caused the economy to collapse) want what I have to offer to become discussed at every board and blog on the internet so that we can begin to see some healing. That ain’t being alone.

Millions of middle-class people are in the process of seeing their retirements fail as a result of the 12-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies. Those people are looking for the explanations of what happened to them that are contained in the thousands of pages of this web site. That ain’t being alone.

I’ve written e-mails to 30,000 academic researchers letting them know about the threats you made to intimidate Wade Pfau into silence on the realities of stock investing when he “crossed” you by publishing honest research and a good number of them sent back to me exceedingly kind and intelligent and helpful responses. That ain’t being alone.

I gave a presentation to the last Financial Bloggers Conference reporting on why Buy-and-Hold is the past and Valuation-Informed Indexing is the future and heard the applause of hundreds of my fellow community members learning about the truth in this area for the first time and enjoyed the hours of discussion of these issues that followed from a small group that came up to share a beer with me after the event. That ain’t being alone.

I have written scores and scores of Guest Blog Entries which have inspired wonderful, thought-provoking discussions and which earned me the effusive praise of my peers. That ain’t being alone.

I have done work that fulfills the boyhood dream of my good friend and hero Jack Bogle, making the change in his model for understanding how stock investing works that makes his approach workable in the real world for the first time. Thousands of my Buy-and-Hold friends have been looking for years for the resolutions to the contradictions in the Buy-and-Hold concept that were needed to make that long-deferred dream a reality and those people will be celebrating my work for many decades to come. That ain’t being alone.

I am alone in only one sense.

People are afraid to speak out about the intimidation tactics of you Goons. People hate seeing death threats. People hate seeing demands for unjustified board bannings. People hate seeing tens of thousands of acts of defamation. People hate seeing threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs. I am not entirely alone even on that score. I share the feelings of repulsion that virtually every person living on this planet feels toward that sort of behavior. The only sense in which I am alone even in this respect is that I believe that the way to overcome you Goons is to expose your behavior to the sunlight. Most others are still too afraid to speak up. That will change following the next price crash, when they see how serious the threat is that you pose to our way of life. Then I will not be alone even on that score.

You are the one who is alone, Sensible. You are the one going to prison. To be sent to prison is to have your peers reject you completely, to have the society you live in declare that your behavior is so sub-human that you can no longer be permitted to walk freely among others. That is an isolation that I don’t wish on my worst enemies (and indeed I have worked hard to get your prison sentence reduced to the extent possible).

I have a battle to fight. There is evil in the world. There have always been people who see the accomplishments of others and feel drawn not to learn from them and achieve great things on their own but to equalize things by tearing down the good work that in their minds makes them look small and insignificant. But I am not the one who is alone. If I were alone, I would pose no threat to you Goons. It is precisely because there are so many millions seeking to understand for the first time how stock investing really works that you hate me with such a burning and all-consuming hate.

Bernie Madoff is alone, Sensible.

And you are Bernie Madoff times 5,000.

I want no part of it.

I offer the hand of kindness. Always. But not once in 12 years have I given a second’s thought to betraying my country. I won’t do that in the next 12 billion years either.

Why? Because when I violate the laws of the United States, when I betray my country, then I truly become alone in a way that I never want to be alone.

The people of the United States are traveling down some rocky road today. That much is so. We will overcome. We will prevail. It is those who doubt that our economic and political systems work any longer who will find themselves in days to come the lonely ones.

We humans made a mistake. It happens. We will figure things out and we will turn things around. You are too far down the dark path to turn around. To be lost in that terrible dark place must be a lonely feeling indeed.

I ask myself every day whether I have gotten something wrong, Sensible. Every day. Because I never want to find myself in the lonely place that you find yourself in today.

When I discover that I have gotten something wrong (it has happened on a few occasions over the past 12 years), I quickly ask to be able to come to the front of the room and say the magic words “I” and “Was” and “Wrong.” Because those words end the loneliness. Once I have said those words, I no longer have anything to hide. Once I say those words, I am again playing a role in the community of people living under an economic and political system that works.

I pray that I never face a temptation to play it the other way. I am a flawed human and so I cannot dismiss entirely the possibility that it could someday happen. So I pray. Not as often as I should but now and again at least. I will have to hope that that gives me enough strength to make it safely to the other side.

And I pray for you, my lonesome friend. I pray that there is a spark of kindness within you for your friends and co-workers and neighbors and fellow community members that will one day save you. It happens. People tell me to give up on you Goons. I don’t feel comfortable giving up on anyone. That’s not the answer. Love is the answer. Love is the thing that keeps me from feeling alone through those times when a good number of my friends are afraid to speak up.

Love prevails in the end, Sensible. You cannot fathom how, but it does. You keep forgetting that I read the last page of the story before I dared to venture forward with that crazy-brave post of the morning of May 13, 2002. I would have had to have been off my meds to have dared try that one without reading the last page first! I mean, come on!



  1. Evidence Based Investing says

    I’ve written e-mails to 30,000 academic researchers

    How many have made meaningful replies?

  2. Rob says

    The response rate was roughly 0.5 percent, Evidence.

    I’d like it to be 5 percent. I think it SHOULD be 50 percent. It’s the future of our economic and political systems at stake here.

    But how many whites spoke out for Rosa Parks when she refused to move to the back of the bus?

    For that matter, how many BLACKS spoke out for Rosa Parks when she refused to move to the back of the bus?

    It takes courage to stand up to the Buy-and-Hold Mafia. The Wall Street Con Men have lots of money and lots of power and lots of connections and have demonstrated a brutal ruthlessness re their willingness to use their power and money and connections to destroy anyone who dares to “cross” them by posting honestly on safe withdrawal rates or any other critically important investment-related topic.

    People are scared. For so long as people are scared, we are going to see a response rate of 0.5 percent rather than the response rate of 5 percent that we need to see to get the job done or the response rate of 50 percent that we would see if we all felt free to say what we truly believe about how stock investing works in the real world.

    What I think you miss is that that response rate can jump from 0.5 percent to 5 percent and then to 50 percent in a very short amount of time.

    How many people do you hear today saying that people with black skin should not be permitted to sit where they please on buses or to drink from the same water fountains as people with white skin?

    People always knew on some level of consciousness that racism is wrong. It’s not that people were stupid in the 1950s and then suddenly became much smarter in the 1960s. It’s that a Social Taboo had developed that blocked us all from expressing our true feelings. To get laws changed, people need to speak out. People knew that they would lose their jobs and perhaps their lives if they spoke out about racism in earlier days. Survival is the first priority of the humans. We learned that we had to keep it zipped to be able to live our lives in peace and so we kept it zipped for a long, long time.

    Until we didn’t.

    Eventually, people worked up the courage to speak up.


    Because survival is not the ONLY priority of the humans. We care about other people. We care about justice. We care about honesty. We care about our consciences. Our hearts go out to people whose lives are being destroyed for no good reason.

    Rosa Parks had refused to go to the back of the bus at an earlier time in her life, about 12 years before the time that made her famous. No one backed her up that time. So her act of courage was in vain. When she did it again in the 50s, the time was right. That time she started a revolution. And everything fell in a short amount of time.

    That’s how it is done, Evidence.

    I got a 0.5 percent response rate on those mailings because most of us are scared today. We’re not dumb. We’re scared. The Buy-and-Hold Mafia is powerful and ruthless and we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones from its acts of violence and destruction and defamation. So most of us are keeping it zipped for the time-being.

    But for how much longer?

    The people who wrote the scores of responses that I received are the pioneers. They are the leaders. They are the ones who care enough about the future of their country that they worked up the courage to give public expression to their sincere views.

    When those people see another price crash, one that may well take us into the Second Great Depression, they will speak out in even stronger terms. They will encourage others to speak out. There are hundreds if not thousands now on the borderline, people who came close to responding to my first mailing and people who will actually do it when I send a second mailing to them following the next crash.

    The response rate will never drop to anything lower than 0.5 percent. It will in time rise to something much higher than that. It can only rise, it can never fall. The History Train moves in only one direction — Forward. You Goons are on the wrong side of the History Train and so you are doomed. You are already in a position where you have to get more and more and more abusive just to tread water. There comes a point where it is just not possible to get any more abusive. Then you go down.

    You can’t win, Evidence.

    Our nation’s laws just don’t permit it. Our nation’s beliefs just don’t permit it.

    Robert Shiller didn’t have a Nobel prize in his pocket on the morning of May 13, 2002. He has one today. That should tell you something. That reality is reflective of something deep and real and growing. People are sick of the smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage. More and more and more of us are every day working up the courage to say so in clear and firm and bold ways.

    The ones who speak out first are the ones who do the most good and who become the most famous and who make the most money by doing so. People are catching on to that.

    You are doomed. You were doomed on Day Six, when John Walter Russell put forward his sensitivity study showing that the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies were garbage. But you did have the violence card to play then. And the deception card. And the defamation card. The day is coming when you won’t even have those. When the Buy-and-Holders don’t have violence and deception and defamation to help them make their case, what the heck do they have?

    They got nothing.

    The good guys win in the end, Evidence.

    I am sure.

    I am sure because of the country we live in.

    This may be a country that for a time tolerates con men but it is also a country that in time works up the courage to demand that they be placed in prison cells for the protection of all.

    That’s why I love it so.

    I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors regardless of what investing strategies you elect to pursue, my old friend.


  3. Rob says

    I was not happy with the response rate. It was much lower than what I expected. I expected something in the neighborhood of 5 percent. So the response rate I received was about 10 percent of what I expected.

    I was THRILLED with the quality of the responses. The quality of the responses exceeded my most wildly positive expectations. By a lot.

    That tells me that it is the highest quality people in the field who possessed the courage to respond. I think we are going to continue to see it play out that way. Buy-and-Hold appeals to the lowest part of us, our Get Rich Quick urge, the savage and stupid and destructive voice that lurks within all of us. Valuation-Informed Indexing appeals to our better selves, the part of us that longs for honestly and kindness and intelligence.

    I believe that love conquers hate in the end, Evidence. I acknowledge that there have been times in history when things have looked pretty darn dark. Love has always prevailed in the end. We wouldn’t be here today talking this matter over if that had not been the case. I think things are going to continue to play out that way. I sure hope so!

    My best wishes to you.


  4. x says

    The response rate was roughly 0.5 percent

    No more than a handful of those replies have been noted on this site, and none of those people have commented here, let alone lent any active support. Your position in the online finance community is exactly the same (if not worse) as before you sent email number one. So the true SUCCESS rate is pretty darn close to zero. Making the return on your huge time investment also near zero. Yet you consider the campaign a success. Which is possible only if the value of your time is also zero.

  5. Anonymous says

    The response rate was roughly 0.5 percent, Evidence.

    Was? Don’t forget you claim to still be writing them, you just, uh, can’t post any recent responses ;). Gotta keep your story consistent.

  6. The Pink Unicorn says


    You don’t pose a threat to anyone. Your claims of death threats, etc are unfounded. Instead, we look at you as the village idiot.

  7. Rob says

    Was? Don’t forget you claim to still be writing them, you just, uh, can’t post any recent responses ;). Gotta keep your story consistent.

    I’ve completed mailings to the list of 30,000 names on the Social Science Research Network list, Anonymous. There are no more to send!

    I do expect to re-mail to that list following the next price crash.

    I continue to send to other lists. But the work on that particular list is finished for the time being.

    I have lots of responses from that list that I have not posted at the site yet. I first need to catch up on the My Conversations with Goons postings. Patience, grasshopper!

    I’d say that roughly two-thirds of the total responses I have received from that list have been posted as blog entries. So there’s another third to come. I expect to be able to get to those sometime in the early part of next year.

    I hope that helps a bit.


  8. Rob says

    You don’t pose a threat to anyone. Your claims of death threats, etc are unfounded. Instead, we look at you as the village idiot.

    I believe you, Pink.


  9. Anonymous says

    Actually what X said does make perfect sense. It is actual mathematical proof that you have made zero progress and your time, even by your own accounts, is absolutely worthless.

  10. Rob says

    So all efforts to achieve civil rights were of zero value except for President Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act?

    I don’t buy it, Anonymous.

    You never get to the point where a President is signing a Civil Rights Act unless people in earlier days work up the courage to object to racism.

    These things have to be done in a certain order.

    If men were angels, Jack Bogle would have given a speech back in 1981 noting that Shiller’s research shows that there is precisely zero chance that a Buy-and-Hold strategy could ever work for a single investor. Then the Trinity study would never have been published. Then Greaney would never have gotten the numbers wrong in his retirement study. Then he would never have experienced embarrassment when I pointed out his errors. Then there never would have been any death threats. And on and on.

    Men are not angels. Bogle went into cover-up mode when the flaws in his strategy were pointed out to him. These things happen. They happened here.

    We don’t get to perfection in a single step.

    People need to lay the groundwork.

    I have laid a lot of groundwork at this site.

    People are afraid that the Wall Street Con Men will destroy their careers if they post honestly. It’s a lot harder for the Wall Street Con men to do that now that I have documented the 12-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School SWR studies at this site.

    If the Wall Street Con Men try to bring a lawsuit against someone for posting honestly, that person can use the material at this site to protect themselves. The Wall Street Con Men very much do not want the material at this site being publicized. So they are less likely today to bring such a lawsuit.

    That helps us. The less likely the Con Men are to bring a lawsuit, the more likely people are to post honestly.

    There will come a day when people will look back and say: “Of course Buy-and-Hold can never work. That’s so obvious. How is it that there was ever any controversy on this point?”

    There was once controversy because the Buy-and-Holders once possessed great power and were able to use it to punish those who tried to post honestly. Every day that power gets weakened a little bit more because of the efforts of the thousands of us who have posted honestly at some point over the course of the past 12 years.

    I have made amazing progress, more progress than I could possibly have imagined it was possible for any one person to make in the course of only 12 years. All signs are that I will be making a whole big bunch more progress following the next price crash.

    You need to be physically in a prison cell to feel that any progress has been made.

    So be it. I cannot change you.

    When you are placed in your prison cell, you will see how we have been making progress for many years now, little by little, bit by bit.

    I certainly wish you all the best that this life has to offer a person.


  11. Rob says

    It is actual mathematical proof that you have made zero progress and your time, even by your own accounts, is absolutely worthless.

    I’ll give a shorter response to the same comment.

    I enjoy posting honestly.

    I hate posting dishonestly.

    If I had been posting dishonestly for the past 12 years, I would have hated every moment of my life for the past 12 years.

    Since I was posting honestly for the past 12 years, I have enjoyed every moment of my life for the past 12 years.

    I think I will elect to continue posting honestly. Call me madcap.

    My best wishes to you and yours.


  12. Rob says

    I put up my famous post pointing out the errors in John Greaney’s retirement study on the morning of May 13, 2002, Pink.

    Can you please tell us the date on which you believe that he corrected it?


  13. Rob says

    People that post honestly don’t have to tell people they are honest.

    I am beginning to think that there might be an exception to the general rule when they are doing battle with Get Rich Quick thinking.

    People want desperately to believe in Get Rich Quick schemes that they have used to fund their retirements. Their common sense tells them that there is no way they could work. But they very, very, very much NEED them to work.

    Honesty is the LAST thing these people want to see from investment advisors.

    The investment advisors have a responsibility to provide it all the same.

    That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter, in any event.


  14. Rob says

    I am claiming that I have the right to post honestly re SWRs and scores of other critically important investment-related topics at any discussion board or blog on the internet at which I desire to do so.

    And that my good friend Jack Bogle possesses that same right.

    And my good friend Bill Bernstein too.

    And my good friend Larry Swedroe too.

    And my good friend Scott Burns too.

    And my good friend Wade Pfau too.

    And my good friend Mike Piper too.

    And my good friend J.D. Roth too.

    And my good friend Todd Tresidder too.

    And my good friend Robert Shiller too.

    And my good friend Bill Bengen too.

    And my good friend Bill Schultheis too.

    And my good friend Carl Richards too.

    And you Goons have the right to go to prison if you are absolutely doomed and determined to do so (and I think it would be fair to say at this point that you are).

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


  15. Rob says

    I think it would be fair to say that this is why spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting a Get Rich Quick investing strategy never works out so hot.

    My hope is that the material gathered at this site will insure that we will never, never, never, never, never have to go through something like this again.

    That will make it all worth it.

    For all of us.

    That will mean that John Walter Russell was right all along. He told us nine or ten or eleven years ago that this was going to work out better than any of us could possibly imagine at the time. And here we are.

    Holy, moly!



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