Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Why do you continue to do what you do? Clearly, you are not making any money running this board and it doesn’t seem to have resulting in a consulting business or other kind of revenue generating endeavor. You also don’t seem to have a following. So after spending all these years going down the same path, the question remains why you keep doing what you are doing?
I’m not making any money, Reality. You got that one right. I haven’t made a dime in 13 years. That makes me very, very, very sad. It makes my wife even sadder!
I don’t think you are right when you say that I don’t have a following. There’s one sense in which you are right. No one posts comments here but you Goons. That reality leaves the impression that I do not have a following. But I have had thousands of people express great enthusiasm re my stuff. I have had some of the biggest names in the field tell me that they rank my site as the #1 investing site on the internet. That translates into MILLIONS of followers once the Ban on Honest Posting is brought to a full and complete stop. That translates into wealth at Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett levels. I could get by on those sorts of amounts, you know?
The short answer to your question is that I have never been offered any options for handling things in any other way. Back in the 1960s, the Buy-and-Holders started us all off on a grand quest to learn in a scientific way how stock investing works. They generated dozens of genuine and powerful insights. They made a mistake re valuations. Shiller corrected the mistake in 1981. The Buy-and-Holders elected to cover up the mistake rather than to acknowledge it. We are now in the economic crisis that inevitably was going to follow from that terrible choice. The Buy-and-Holders would be thrilled to go back in time to gain an opportunity for a do-over. But no time machines are available to them. So they go with this abusive stuff instead to put off for a day or a week or a month or a year the time when they will finally have to come clean and acknowledge that valuations really do affect long-term returns after all.
I love my country, Reality. That’s a four-word explanation of why I do what I do. I love my country.
Our country is in a jam. We shouldn’t be. We are the luckiest generation of investors who ever walked Planet Earth. Combine Shiller’s “revolutionary” (his word) finding with the many good findings of the Buy-and-Holders and it becomes possible to reduce stock investing risk by 70 percent. The peer-reviewed research that I co-authored with Wade Pfau shows that. So we are in an amazingly positive situation.
But the Wall Street Con Men have power and money and influence and a ruthless determination to block millions of middle-class people from learning how stock investing works in the real world. So tens of thousands of entrepreneurs have seen their businesses fail. And millions of workers have lost their jobs. And millions more are on their way to suffering failed retirements.
I don’t think we will be able to make it if we don’t open the internet to honest posting following the next price crash. It’s not just that we are going to see a deepening of the economic crisis, possibly putting us into the Second Great Depression. Even the continued viability of our political system is in jeopardy. Millions of middle-class people are not going to get the joke when their retirement plans fail. They are going to be angry. They are going to be asking lots of hard questions. I want to be available to soften their anger to the extent that that will be possible. I need to have credibility in their eyes to be able to do that. I won’t have credibility if I tell lies just to make a buck today. So I continue to post honestly.
We have a great country, Reality. I believe that we will get through this. We have gone through dark times before and survived them. The Buy-and-Holders are not bad people. Jack Bogle is a hero of mine. None of the material at this site would exist were it not for the things I have learned from reading Bogle’s books and speeches. I think it is going to melt Jack’s heart when he sees the human misery he caused with his support for the Campaign of Terror led by you Goons. I think Jack is going to flip and demand an end to the Ban on Honest Posting. I expect to be working closely with Jack to turn things around. I think the years following the next crash are going to be exciting and positive times. I believe that even some of you Goons will be getting involved in constructive projects in those days. We’ll see.
I love my country and I want to help. I want to help the millions of middle-class investors. I want to help all the investment advisors who don’t like the idea of giving up their personal integrity to be able to make a buck in this field. I want to help all my Buy-and-Hold friends who started out doing something very, very good and important and now find themselves on a very dark path indeed. I get a kick out of helping people. I look forward to taking all the bad stuff we have seen over the first 13 years of our Debate About Having a Debate and turning it into gold.
I talked to lots of people at the Financial Bloggers Conference (FinCo15) that I returned from the other day. There were a few who debated me. That’s of course fine. There are lots of good and smart people who still believe in Buy-and-Hold and I think we all learn from them making their case to the best of their ability. There were a greater number whom I would describe as confused, who see that there are holes in the Buy-and-Hold dogmas but who cannot begin to perceive how fatal a mistake the Buy-and-Holders made when they elected to cover up the last 34 years of peer-reviwed research in this field. And there were a good number of people whom I spoke to who agreed with me on most points but who hold back from saying so in clear and firm and simple language because they know how that would upset lots of people and do damage to their careers.
We are on the one-yard line, Realty. It’s been 34 years since Buy-and-Hold was discredited by the peer-reviewed research. When you see people using death threats to intimidate those trying to tell people about the peer-reviewed research, you know that the “strategy” under discussion is in its last days. Buy-and-Hod died intellectually 34 years ago. It is close to dying in practical terms. It is one stock crash away from its demise. Or at least so Rob Bennett believes.
I love my country. I enjoy putting the talents that God gave me to productive use. I get a kick out of helping people. I am honored and humbled to be the lead player in the most important political/economic story of my lifetime; what journalist would turn down that opportunity? I care about every soul that I have connected with over the past 13 years, including you Goons.
Does that tell you what you need to know?
I call the situation that I am in “the Perfect Trap.” I can’t make a penny because if the model for understanding how stock investing works that I have developed becomes better known, lots of powerful people will have to say the words “I” and “Was” and “Wrong” and they really, really, really don’t want to do that. Yet I cannot let go because the shift from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing is the biggest advance we have ever achieved in the history of personal finance by a factor or 50 or more. Yowsa!
Could I be wrong?
Anybody can be wrong about anything. I check myself every day trying to find any sign that I am wrong. I have never found anything of any consequence. So I have to continue on the path that I am on today. In the event that I am wrong, I will just have to live with it. These things happen in this world. I cannot deny the mountain of evidence that says that I am right. I couldn’t live with myself if I did that.
If I am not wrong, our country is close to entering the greatest period of economic growth in our history. We will in not too much more time be seeing 34 years of powerful insights becoming opened up to us in one day. Imagine seeing all the advances that we have seen in the computer electronics field arrive on our doorsteps in a single day. That’s what we are going to see in the investing field except to a far bigger extent than what that suggests because it is far more important that we get investing right than that we be able to communicate through computers.
We are in the process of changing the world in a very big way and in a very positive way, Reality. I’m not trying to keep any of this to myself. I am open to sharing with everyone. This is good stuff piled on top of good stuff piled on top of good stuff piled on top of good stuff. No downside whatsoever. You don’t see projects with that sort of upside too often. I have never seen anything like this anytime, anywhere.
That’s the story. I love the good that thousands of us have done with a burning love. I don’t love the Goon stuff even a little bit. But I do acknowledge that even you Goons have made many positive contributions mixed in with all the smelly garbage that you specialize in. This story is so positive that even those doomed and determined to destroy themselves and their country end up making positive contributions! Wow!
Love is the answer, Reality. It really is. I 100 percent believe that you are going to see that following the next price crash. I’m rooting for you!