Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
And yet you became, as you proudly proclaim, “the most hated man on the internet”. One doesn’t gain such a title without generous amounts of antisocial behavior, no?
My stuff causes great pain to large numbers of people, Anonymous. That is a stone cold fact.
I am a journalist. The job as a journalist is to tell the truth, not to be popular.
Woodward and Bernstein are recognized as two of the most important journalists of my lifetime. Do you think that their stuff always made people feel good? It did not. Nixon won reelection in a landslide in 1972. There were millions of people who wanted to believe in him and who didn’t want to believe that members of his Administration had committed crimes. There was a time when Woodward and Bernstein were two of only three journalists working the Watergate story (the other was a guy at the New York Times). Lots of people saw no profit in bringing people down with all this obstruction of justice stuff. Still, they soldiered on. They did their job.
Valuation-Informed Indexing is a huge advance. It turns stock investing into a virtually risk-free endeavor. If people were capable of being objective about this, there wouldn’t be one person opposed to the advance. The only problem we have is that Buy-and-Hold came first. Because that’s so, lots of people experience hurt feelings when they hear what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research says. They scream out “Make that stop! I cannot bear to hear that!”
But is that really how they feel deep down inside?
I don’t think so. I believe that Bogle was sincere when he said that using the peer-reviewed research as a guide is a good idea. I am just following his lead, taking his ideas where they go if you do not refuse to follow them once following them puts you in circumstances where you are required to acknowledge a mistake.
It is true that I became for a time the most hated blogger on the internet. I don’t think that I am quite that today. Views have softened since the 2008 crash. But there are still people who dislike me. There are people who love me to death. That’s been so going back to Day One. But there are also still people who feel a strong dislike for me. I don’t think that Mike Piper was lying when he told me that he had readers telling him that they would abandon his blog if he did not ban me there. I think that really happened. I think that that’s an important fact that people need to know.
Is it anti-social behavior to report accurately and honestly what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research says re what works in stock investing in the long term? I sure don’t think so. I think it is the most pro-social thing that a person could possibly do. We are the luckiest generation of investors who ever walked Planet Earth. If we gave ourselves permission to post honestly, we could overnight reduce stock investing risk by nearly 70 percent while increasing our returns enough for us all to retire five to ten years sooner than we ever before imagined possible. That’s anti-social? Huh?
It depends on how you use the word.
My behavior is “anti-social” if you define the word as “upsetting large numbers of people in a serious way.” That’s not a crazy definition of “anti-social.” And I am guilty of that. Large numbers of people really are upset by my stuff in a deep and serious way. I can acknowledge that much.
But they wouldn’t be upset AT ALL if they could appreciate the full story. If they could see how much richer their lives would be (in every sense of the word) if we they came to understand the implications of the past 33 years of peer-reviewed research, I would be the most popular poster on the internet. I want to bring things around to that place. I want people to see me as a teacher and a friend and a helper, not some nasty guy who is making them feel bad by telling them that their retirement plans are going to fail.
How do we get to that place?
We don’t get there by me shutting up or by me agreeing to write one-sentence responses to the questions that people direct to me or by me agreeing to only post once per week or once per day or once per thread even when my fellow community members ask me ten questions about VII in the posts that I put to some threads.
We need to find some way to get the word about Valuation-Informed Indexing out to the millions of middle-class investors who very, very, very much need to know about it.
If doing that means that for a time I become the most hated blogger on Planet Internet, then so be it, you know? I don’t like it. But these are the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I didn’t create these circumstances. I need to deal with them to the best of my ability. It’s been 33 years now that we have been covering up the greatest advance in the history of investing analysis. I cannot believe that it is a good idea for me to permit that to become 34 years because I am not willing to accept whatever abuse gets laid on me because I am the first to speak plainly and boldly and honestly about what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research tells us.
In my definition of “anti-social,” there would have to be some INTENT to upset people. I have zero such intent. My intent is to HELP people live richer lives. 100 percent. So, no, I don’t think that it takes anti-social behavior for one to become the most hated blogger on the internet. In most cases, it would. But in the odd circumstances that apply in the investing realm today, posting honestly about the biggest advance in the history of personal finance will make you the most hated blogger on the internet even if your sole intent is to help millions of people live richer lives.
That’s my sincere take re this matter in any event, Anonymous.
I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors regardless of what investing strategies you elect to pursue.