Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
You know that most don’t agree with your comments, but let’s put that aside. Bottom line, what is it you want? Is it simply for people to suck it up and bear with your posts and allow you back on the boards?
The fact that the majority of today’s investors do not follow Valuation-Informed Indexing strategies does not have to be viewed as a bad thing. From one way of looking at it, it can even be viewed as a very, very good thing.
Valuation-Informed Indexing is the first true research-based strategy. It is backed by 33 years of peer-reviewed research. It reduces risk by 70 percent. It increases returns by enough to permit those investors who follow it to retire five to ten years sooner. It puts an end to the economic crises that are caused by the boom/bust cycle that inevitably follows from promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies. So the transition from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing is the biggest advance that we have seen in the history of personal finance. It will make us all much richer (in every sense of the word) people.
If there were only a few people who did not know about Valuation-Informed Indexing today, we would want to spread the word for the benefit of those few. But, given that most of today’s investors do NOT understand the implications of the peer-reviewed research of the past 33 years presents us with a huge opportunity. We will not be helping out 10 percent or 20 percent of the population when we open the internet to honest posting on SWRs and scores of other critically important investment-related topics. We will be helping out 80 percent or 90 percent of the population. The opportunity presented here is off-the-charts exciting.
There are some who will indeed have to “suck it up and bear with my posts,” as you put it. That’s certainly true of you Goons. It is also true of some others who feel pain when they see evidence presented that they have made mistakes in choosing their investing strategies. It’s a small percentage of the board population that feels that way, but there are indeed people in this category. Yes, those people have to suck it up. They agreed to tolerate the expression of a variety of viewpoints when they were granted the ability to post at our boards and blogs. They are going to have to honor the promises they made when they were granted posting privileges or find some other internet to which to direct their posts. We have rules on this one and we need to insist that those rules be respected.
The majority of community members are in a middle ground. They don’t fully understand or believe in Valuation-Informed Indexing. So they are not willing to fight for the right to hear about it. But they have zero problem with the idea of permitting people who want to hear about it to do so. The majority of our community members are NOT Goons. They are not Valuation-Informed Indexers. But they have no problem with the idea of others learning about it and in many cases they have a small interest in learning about it themselves so long as the threads in which they do so are moderated in a reasonable manner and they don’t see the death threats and the demands for unjustified board bannings and the tens of the thousands of acts of defamation and the threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs that you Goons have been using to poison those threads for 12 years now.
Getting back on the boards with my right to post honestly re the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research respected is the first step on the path forward, not the last, Anonymous. Yes, of course I want that. And of course I demand that. And of course I insist on that. But please don’t think that that is the end goal. That is what we need to see for progress on all the other follow-up goals to be achieved.
I am happy to list follow-up goals if that helps. My guess is that you could imagine what they are. Or you could listen to the RobCast (#193 — My Vision) that I recorded on this topic:
What I want is what I call “Normalcy.” I don’t want to see any invective from any poster, regardless of which “side” he or she is on. I put the word in quotes because I do not believe that there are any “sides” in a final, true sense. We all want the same thing — to learn how to invest effectively. The Buy-and-Holders need what the Valuation-Informed Indexers bring to the table and the Valuation-Informed Indexers need what the Buy-and-Holders bring to the table. We should be enjoying our good fortune in having been born the luckiest generation of stock investors ever to walk Planet Earth rather than quarreling over whether honest posting on what the peer-reviewed research says should be permitted on our boards or not. We should be going up, up, up, up, up rather than down, down, down, down, down.
What I most want to see is a change in attitude among the Buy-and-Holders. For the first 12 years, the attitude has been: “We have got to make the Valuation-Informed Indexer as uncomfortable as possible, we want them to leave the premises before they win converts and their new ideas begin to catch on in a big way.”
I WANT the new ideas to win converts. I WANT the new ideas to catch on. This is why I say that, for the first 12 years, you Goons and I have been working at cross purposes. I think that is unfortunate. I think it is unnecessary. And I don’t believe that we will have successful interactions until that basic attitude conflict changes.
Are you open to learning new things about how stock investing works?
If you are, I cannot imagine that we will not be able to work together to make everyone happy about the new arrangements.
If you are not, I cannot imagine that will will be able to work together to make everyone happy about the new arrangements.
We have to have that attitude change. We do NOT want anyone to say they believe in things they don’t really believe in. If you believe that the odds of a Valuation-Informed Indexing strategy producing good results are zero, you not only have a right to say so but a duty to say so. But even if you think the odds are zero, you should be happy that there are people in our community willing to argue the case for VII as effectively as they can. Those people add something important to the community discussions and those people must be respected and admired for their contributions. In the event that Buy-and-Hold really is the cat’s pajamas, those people help community members to see that by putting so much effort into making the case for the other side (and failing — which is what they will do in the event that Buy-and-Hold really is the cat’s pajamas and is not just imagined to be so by many of today’s investors).
My ultimate goals are very, very, very ambitious, Anonymous. I want to convert the entire world to Valuation-Informed Indexing. I want to get all the textbooks rewritten. I want to see a Nobel prize awarded to Wade Pfau and I want to see hundreds of academic researchers follow in his footsteps. I want to restore people’s confidence in our economic and political systems. I want to make Jack Bogle and Robert Shiller more famous and more loved and more wealthy than they have ever been before and make myself a good bit famous and loved and wealthy in the process.
But none of that is terribly important at this stage of the proceedings, in my assessment. What matters today is that I want to add to the value of every investing discussion board and blog on the internet in a big way by working WITH my Buy-and-Hold friends to enhance the world’s knowledge of how investing works.
Do you see?
I cannot contribute by arguing for Buy-and-Hold because I do not believe in Buy-and-Hold. If your idea of the purpose of the boards is to spread support for Buy-and-Hold, I don’t belong.
I don’t see that as the purpose. I see the purpose as spreading KNOWLEDGE whether the knowledge that is spread happens to count in favor of Buy-and-Hold or against it. Telling people about the implications of the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research obviously spreads knowledge in an important way. So that’s the direction to which I want to direct my energies.
I want to see us all Learning Together. That’s the short version of the story.
I believe that our wonderful Learning Together project will ultimately take us all to some amazing places. But talking about those places is better put off for later. Once we all see how wonderful the change is when we make the change we need to make, we will ALL be looking forward to our journeys to those amazing places. Today, we need to work up the courage to take the first magic step. The first magic step is adopting an ATTITUDE that is conducive to learning experiences.
That first step has proven difficult for us. The follow-up steps will prove a lot less so. I am sure.
I hope that helps a bit, old friend.