Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for one of my columns at the Value Walk site:
You are not on the same page as Wade as he asked you to stop. You are not on the same page as he wont even speak with you. Sending out 30,000 emails about someone says more about you have significant issues versus the message itself.
Wake up, Rob. That is NOT normal. It is called stalking.
As for your desire to have expel say, “I was wrong”, that goes back to the central issue of you wanting to find someone else to blame for your failures. Your retirement plan failed because of you. Stop blaming other people.
The 30,000 e-mails were not all about Wade, Sammy. They were about the problem that we are having as a society making the transition from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing. The article that I referenced in the e-mails did indeed tell about how Wade and I worked for 16 months on this amazing research and about how excited he was about our findings and about how he was threatened and about how he stopped promoting the research so that the threats would stop and he could continue to be successful in his career. But the article talked about a lot of things other than Wade. And it of course said many things that put Wade in a very positive light. I love Wade. The idea that I would ever do anything to harm him in any way is of course 100 percent crazy. That’s Goon talk, nothing else.
You are right that Wade asked me to stop talking about our research and to stop talking about Valuation-Informed Indexing and not to send the e-mails. That part of your statement is accurate. But why do you think he did that? Wade himself had been promoting the study heavily before he was threatened. He had gone to the Bogleheads Forum and told people all about it. He got a generally good response. When some Goons came onto the thread and started doing what Goons do, he was very harsh in his responses to them (harsher than I usually am). Wade is not a Goon and Wade doesn’t like Goon tactics. So why did he ask me to stop telling people about our amazing research?
He is EMBARRASSED.
Nothing could be more clear. He knows that our research is of huge importance. He knows that it belongs on the front page of the New York Times. And he of course knows that he is no longer doing what needs to be done to get it there. So he is embarrassed.
He’s not the only one. Shiller is embarrassed that he has not done more. Bogle is embarrassed that he has not done more. Michael Kitces is embarrassed that he has not done more. Carl Richards is embarrassed that he has not done more. Bill Bernstein is embarrassed that he has not done more. Rick Ferri is embarrassed that he has not done more. Larry Swedroe is embarrassed that he has not done more. It would be a shorter paragraph if I wrote the names of people who are NOT embarrassed that they have not done more. We are ALL embarrassed that we have not done more.
We’re all in the same boat, Sammy. We all want the same things. We all want to know how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent. How do we get from the place where we are now to the wonderful place where we all want to be omorrow? We don’t get there by silencing each other out of embarrassment that we didn’t get there quicker, do we?
I want Wade to win the freakin’ Nobel prize, okay? There’s no bigger Wade Pfau fan than Rob Bennett.
I want Bogle to go down in history as the biggest hero to the middle class that ever lived. There’s a good chance that that is going to happen if he corrects the one error he made when he developed his strategy. There’s not too much chance if his continued unwillingness to correct the error puts us in the Second Great Depression. I am the best friend that Jack has on this planet. He doesn’t see it that way today. But it’s so. And I bet that he is going to see it that way following the next crash.
If the 34-year cover-up had never happened, there would not be one person today offering any opposition to the idea of teaching every investor all there is to know about Valuation-Informed Indexing. Our problem is that the 34-year cover-up DID happen. And it is very embarrassing to many people for this to get out.
What are we going to do about it?
I follow a two-prong approach. My rule is to be as honest as possible without crossing the line and becoming uncharitable while also being as charitable as possible without crossing the line and becoming dishonest. Does that not make sense? I am trying to HELP my Buy-and-Hold friends. Always. I want to bring all the embarrassment to an end. We can’t do that without ending the cover-up. So I want to end the cover-up. But it’s not that I want to hurt my Buy-and-Hold friends in any way. I want to PRAISE my Buy-and-Hold friends. But I only want to praise them for the things they got right, which is a lot, not for things they got wrong. I HURT my Buy-and-Hold friends when I praise them for things they got wrong. That just makes things worse. It’s because too many people have been doing things like that that we are in this mess in the first place.
I have raised the possibility of an amnesty for people who have continued to promote Buy-and-Hold because they once truly believed in it and who are suffering cognitive dissonance re the last 34 years of research because it is just too hard for them to accept that they got something wrong. That makes sense, does it not? But I can’t adopt an amnesty by myself. We have to get Congress involved. That means that we have to have a national debate. I’ve been calling for a national debate for 13 years now! That’s the answer. Once we all come clean, it all gets better and better and better with each passing day instead of worse and worse and worse.
This column entry is about going to the dentist. I told my dental troubles to a fellow I was talking to at a church picnic this weekend. The guy told me that he hasn’t been to a dentist in 10 years! He knows that he needs a root canal and he is afraid to go! Huh? Wha?
That’s sad stuff, Sammy. It’s also painfully human stuff. This fellow made his situation worse by going into denial. He needs to make a darn dentist appointment! Yes, it is going to hurt. But then the hurt is going to pass. And he won’t be walking around anymore with all that fear about what the future is going to bring.
The Buy-and-Holders are wonderful people who have done wonderful things. Shiller added a piece that they didn’t possess when they were putting together their strategy. Shiller is their friend, not their enemy! And I am their friend, not their enemy!
Wade wants to be writing about Valuation-Informed Indexing and talking about Valuation-Informed Indexing and teaching Valuation-Informed Indexing and answering questions about Valuation-Informed Indexing and taking up research project on top of research project exploring the limits of Valuation-Informed Indexing. The 16 months that we were working together were the happiest 16 months of his life. He told me so on many, many occasions.
He just doesn’t want you Goons harassing him like you have been harassing me for 13 years.
You Goons need to knock off the funny business. That’s the answer. We all win (including you Goons!) when you do that.
That’s my sincere take, in any event.
Hang in there, Sammy. It gets better. A LOT better.
I am sure.