Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Rob, serious question here: do you think you’re obsessing about this topic? I agree with the idea that you believe in: buy and hold isn’t the best way to invest. Seriously, though, you must’ve thought to yourself, at least a few times…..that “perhaps I could broaden the range of topics beyond the one idea I talk about daily….that buy and hold is not the best way to invest.” ?
My primary message is not: “Buy-and-Hold is not the best way to invest.”
My primary message is: “Honest posting should be permitted on every discussion board and blog on the internet so that we can all discover together whether Buy-and-Hold is the best way to invest.”
Do you see the difference?
If we permit honest posting, we will have thousands of good and smart people helping us to learn the best way to invest. We can’t possibly go wrong with all that help.
For so long as the Ban on Honest Posting remains in place, we are at the mercy of the Wall Street Con Men. It’s all about making a buck and there is no place in this field for people of personal integrity.
I didn’t write about investing for the first three years in which I posted at Motley Fool. I was very popular. I was doing good and important work and I was happy about it. I have never been “obsessed” about investing issues. I could pretty much take or leave discussions of investing, all else being equal.
But all else is NOT equal. My “obsession” began on the evening of August 27, 2002, when Greaney threatened to kill my wife and children if I continued to “cross” him by posting honestly re safe withdrawal rates. And when 200 of my fellow community members endorsed his post.
That ain’t right, James.
Those people are in pain.
They need our help.
The people who promote Buy-and-Hold are also in pain. I have great respect for these people. I have learned wonderful things from them and I care about them. I want them doing good, clean, honest work again. I know that deep in their hearts they want that for themselves too. I don’t have any doubt about it.
Buy-and-Hold is not just a bad investing strategy today. It is a threat to the survival of our free-market economic system. It is also a threat to the survival of our political system. You saw the reaction to the economic crisis (caused by the continued promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies for 33 years after the peer-reviewed research in this field showed that there is precisely zero chance that Buy-and-Hold can ever work for a single investor) on both the left (the Occupy Wall Street Movement) and the right (the Tea Party Movement). We are likely going to see something ten times worse following the next price crash, a price crash that will put us in the Second Great Depression if we don’t open the internet to honest posting soon after it unfolds.
I love my country, James. I want my two boys to be able to grow up in the same sort of country that I grew up in. One with our economic system. One with our political system.
I have a funny feeling that I am not the only one who wants that.
I have a funny feeling that you want that.
To get it, we need to be able to stand up to the Wall Street Con Men and their Internet Goon Squads when they push their smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage. I understand that you (and lots of others) are afraid. But there is no other way.
I am afraid too. I am just like you.
Do you want to know the difference?
The difference is that I am even more afraid of what happens to us all if we continue to duck this problem.
I do this not just for me. I do it for you. And I do it for my boys. And I do it for the Goons. And I do it for the Wall Street Con Men. And I do it for the millions of middle-class investors whose lives are in the process of being destroyed.
I wish someone else would do it, you know? It’s not the most fun job in the world. If someone else would step forward, that would make me very happy.
Do you see someone else stepping forward?
Someone needs to do this job. No one else has stepped forward. So I continue to give it my best shot. I can do no more and I can do no less.
None of the other good stuff that we all enjoy continues to exist unless we set this right. We all want to see it set right. But someone has to get the ball rolling in the right direction for good things to happen. It seems that somehow the Fates or God or Evolution assigned me to that job. Blame them, you know?
I love my country.
That’s the bottom line here, James.
That’s the reason for the “obsession.”
I wish you all good things.