Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
|You may be surprised to hear this from me but yes valuations do matter. There are a number of indexers who believe that the reason you shouldn’t invest in individual stocks is because it’s straight-up gambling and even Warren Buffett himself is nothing more than a lucky gambler. Buffett of course has repeatedly mocked these true believers in the Efficient Markets Hypothesis in his letters. He doesn’t mind them because he figures if his competition isn’t even trying, it’s easier for Berkshire.
But indexing is a different beast than individual stocks. You’ve probably heard of Bogle’s phrase “the majesty of simplicity”. Simplicity is what truly makes indexing special. Any idiot can do it and be a success. Market timing, while possible, is much harder than many people including you seem to think it is. If market timing was so easy then I’m sure you wouldn’t have missed the 2009 buying opportunity. Thing is as hopeless as you (and I, and many others) are with this stuff all is not lost. Over time buying and holding the index has yielded very good results, results superior to those of most who either pick their own stocks or buy managed funds. Buffett can beat the index, one of my favorite bloggers a young Buffett wannabe Joshua Kennon can beat the index. These people are the exception, not the norm. Buffett (and Kennon) both realize this and that’s why, even though they reject some of the core beliefs of indexers, they recommend indexing for almost everyone else.
Bottom line is your approach to investing takes something that works and that is simple and makes it needlessly complicated. The end result of VII is the opposite of what you intend it to be. Just look at your own performance over the past 18 years and compare it to any diligent indexer’s performance.