Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
“And I have common sense on my side.”
Everyone, as in literally every person, thinks common sense is on his side. Might as well say “I’m right because I say so.”
So you are dropping FinCon, where everyone talks investing, in favor of political sites, where everything you write about is off topic. Perhaps you could explain the common sense in that plan.
You are right about the common sense thing, Anonymous. I agree with you re that one. I see it my way and you see it your way. I cannot say it your way and remain honest and I presume that the same is so with you.
And I also certainly agree that what you say about FinCon appears on first impression to be so. Investing issues should be explored at places where people congregate to discuss investing issues. Nothing could be more obvious.
I have had great success bringing up Valuation-Informed Indexing at the FinCon meetings. People love, love, love hearing about the implications of Shiller’s amazing research. I couldn’t be happier about the reaction that I have received to my discussions of VII at FinCon meetings.
So far, so good.
The problem is with the follow-through. People tell me that they are thrilled to hear my message. THEN THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
They don’t link to me or send me e-mails when we return home from the conference or engage in their own explorations of the various topics or go to sites that have banned honest posting and ask that they drop the funny business or whatever. We are so close. But in 14 years we haven’t crossed the finish line. It’s frustrating.
In a sense it is more frustrating when people respond positively to my message than it is when people behave goonishly. With you Goons, I can pretty much dismiss a lot of what you say because it is so obvious that your intent is to block discussion and you have zero interest in participating in a learning experience. I don’t like the way you behave. But at least your behavior is easy to comprehend. You like Buy-and-Hold, you never want to give it up and so you are relentless about blocking any discussions of anything that threatens to replace Buy-and-Hold. I have never experienced a goonish interaction at a FinCon event. It is always this other thing — this mix of either a moderately positive or an intensely positive experience with a great reluctance to going forward on the path pointed to by that experience.
That is the more frustrating reaction for me because it comes close enough to being what I want to see that it makes me feel hopeful but yet it never provides the payoff that I need to see to get the fire started and to thereby open every investing discussion board and blog on the internet to honest posting on safe withdrawal rates and scores of other investing-related topics. If people were not so positive, I could hope that I would get a better reaction by improving my presentation. But people LOVE the presentation and are intensely impressed by it. So I cannot draw any hope from making efforts to improve. I go into these things knowing that the odds are very high that I am going to experience frustration. After six years, I have grown weary of the experiencing the frustrating encounters. So I am opting out this time.
I don’t believe that things are going to go great at political blogs. I believe that things are going to be frustrating in the political realm too. So I am not saying that this change will solve my problems.
However, the type of experience will be a bit different. In the political realm, the problem is that people defer to the investing experts re investing topics. That is an understandable position to take. It is certainly the position that I took in the days when I was a Buy-and-Holder. I never thought that it might all be a scam that people who proclaimed themselves as “experts” had been covering up for 21 years. I know it today to be a scam but I didn’t know that then. And so I can understand why other people who don’t follow investing closely don’t today see Buy-and-Hold as a huge scam.
The question is — Where am I more likely going to see change over time, in the investing realm or in the political realm?
People are too compromised in the investing realm. Wade Pfau thought that he would be awarded a Nobel prize if he continued to do the honest work that he was doing when we completed the peer-reviewed research that we co-authored. He had a HUGE incentive to tell you Goons to stuff it. But when he saw that you had the power of Jack Bogle and the other Wall Street Con Men behind you, he concluded that his career would be finished if he continued to do honest work in just the one area of safe withdrawal rates. That’s pretty darn amazing. Wade is a smart guy and an ambitious guy. The fact that he concluded that the corruption in the investing field has become so pervasive that a decision to do honest work re just a single important subject means career death tells us all something about what we are up against in trying to bring this economic crisis to an end.
In contrast, we are seeing things begin to happen on the political side. Bernie Sanders had more success than expected in the Democratic primaries. Donald Trump had more success than expected in the Republican primaries. People are beginning to catch on that the elites in our country are today in it for themselves, that they are wiling to let the rest of the country go to hell if that is what they need to stuff their pockets with a few more dollars. The fact that Bogle and the other Wall Street Con Men would let millions of people lose their jobs in an economic crisis rather than acknowledge a mistake that was uncovered by the peer-reviewed research 35 years ago shows just how corrupt our elites have become in recent decades. The elites vs. the people is the political story of our day.
People on the political side are going to have a hard time believing what the Buy-and-Holders have done to us (and to themselves also, to be sure — when our country is destroyed, the Buy-and-Holders have no place to live themselves). But at least those on the political side are not compromised by their own ability to make millions by selling out their fellow citizens. Those on the political side have less understanding of the issues than those on the investing side. But they also have less of a temptation to keep their mouths shut about the massive con as a means of lining their own pockets. So I can see at least some potential that things will turn out to be more promising on the political side of the street.
I am not declaring that this is going to work. I think there’s a decent chance that it will. I also think that there is a decent chance that it will not. If I were to put odds on it, I would say that the greater probability is that it will NOT work until we see the next price crash. Following the next price crash, I would say that the odds are very, very good that it will work.
But following the next price crash, the odds are also very good that my efforts will bear good fruit if I direct them to the investing side. So, if the crash comes within the next 12 months, I will attend the FinCon event next year. If the crash does not come within the next 12 months, I will continue to direct my energies to the political side if I see some signs that efforts directed there will bear more fruit than efforts directed to the investing side. I would want to see some positive signs to continue to direct efforts to the political side for more than 12 months.
Does all of that not make at least a little bit of sense, viewing things from the perspective of someone why very, very much wants to see every investing discussion board and blog on the internet opened to the honest exploration of the implications of the last 35 years of peer-reviewed research in this field?
Unapprove | Reply | Quick Edit | Edit | History | Spam | Trash
“Price Discipline Is Accepted As Critical in Every Market That Exists Other Than the Stock Market. If It Turns Out That the Buy-and-Holders Are Right That Price Discipline Is Not Essential in the Stock Market, That Will Be a Shocker. ALL of the Evidence Is on My Side. 100 Percent of the Evidence Supports Valuation-Informed Indexing and 0 Percent of the Evidence Supports Buy-and-Hold. Wade Pfau Spent a Long Time Researching the Literature to Determine If There Was Ever a Single Study Supporting Buy-and-Hold and He Found That There Has Never Been Even One.”
2016/09/09 at 10:16 am
Select comment Anonymous
“Over 300 columns at the Value Walk site. Another 200 columns at other sites…”
So what? Effort doesn’t matter. Only results matter. You could grab a big blue crayon and scribble on every page of a thousand coloring books. That’s a lot of effort. But the only result is an overflowing recycling bin.
Unapprove | Reply | Quick Edit | Edit | History | Spam | Trash
Rob to One of the Buy-and-Hold Goons: “When I Win One Time, I Win Forever. When You Lose One Time, You Lose Forever.”
2016/09/09 at 9:13 am
Select comment Rob
I couldn’t possibly disagree more, Laugh. I view the first 14 years of The Great Debate re Whether to Permit Honest Posting on the Last 35 Years of Peer-Reviewed Research as a series of successes, one building on top of another until we reached a point where we were learning things that at the beginning not one person (including myself) would have imagined possible.
I now can say (and back up the claim with a mountain of evidence and argument) that it was the promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies in the late 1990s that was the primary cause of the economic crisis that began in 2008. I had no idea on the morning of May 13, 2002, that the promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies could cause an economic crisis; I thought it was just an investing thing. That’s exciting. We are not just helping people to retire earlier and with far less risk. We are saving capitalism. The big beef with capitalism has long been the economic crises that always seem to occur in capitalist economies. We now understand where they come from. We all possess a Get Rich Quick urge and Buy-and-Hold possesses a certain intuitive appeal that causes us to employ such strategies. Now that we have 35 years of peer-reviewed research showing us just how dangerous the pure Get Rich Quick approach is, we are well on the way to developing a form of capitalism that will be better in 10 different ways than the form that caused so much trouble (while also offering huge benefits, to be sure) in our many years of pre-1981 ignorance.
This is how our system works, Laugh. Our system is not perfect. We make mistakes. Buy-and-Hold was not the first big mistake we ever made. There have been thousands of big mistakes made over the course of U.S. history. What makes our system better than all others is that we have built into it processes that cause mistakes to be exposed and corrected over time. We’ve been at this for 35 years now. In first impression, that sounds like a long time for “experts” to continue endorsing such a dangerous strategy. But in the grand scheme of things, 35 years is not so long when you think about how huge an advance this is.
The bigger the advance, the harder it is to incorporate the new way of thinking into the mindsets of millions of people. Valuation-Informed Indexing is a HUGE advance; it is by far the biggest advance in our understanding of how stock investing works ever achieved in our history. So, when you take a step back and try to look at this stuff objectively, you begin to see that perhaps it is not so terribly shocking that it has taken 35 years for us to turn the huge intellectual advance that we achieved in 1981 into a flesh-and-blood reality that helps millions of people live far richer lives than they ever before imagined possible.
We are almost there, Laugh. I am 100 percent sure. All that any fair-minded person needs to do to see that is to examine the materials at this site. Over 300 columns at the Value Walk site. Another 200 columns at other sites. Five unique and powerful calculators. 200 in-depth articles. 200 hour-long podcasts. Thousands of blog entries. Over 100 guest blog entries. Several speeches. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of discussion-board posts. Over 20 sites run by Buy-and-Holders who became so exasperated at their inability to defend Buy-and-Hold within the rules of their own sites that they gave up on the effort and banned honest posting instead. We have a tiger by the tale here.
There are two sides to this story — the process side and the content side. I have lost every battle on the process side. I have lost THOUSANDS of battles. It is hard for the human mind to accept how many battles I have lost on the process side. What gives me comfort is that at the same time as I was losing thousands of process battles, I was winning content battles. The process stuff matters only for a few years. None of those battles mean two cents once we all make the transition from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing. And we MUST make that transition or else we all go down together; not one person alive, including my good friend Jack Bogle, wants to see that happen. So we can’t lose in the end. And, from the day we all win forward, all that matters are the thousands of content-side victories and the thousands of process-side losses don’t make two cents of difference.
I am very encouraged by what I have seen over the first 14 years of our discussions.
I wish that I had won the first battle. We all would be in better shape had I opened the Retire Early board at Motley Fool up to honest posting on safe withdrawal rates on the morning of May 13, 2002. Motley Fool would be the biggest, most successful site on the internet today had I pulled that off. There never would have been an economic crisis had I done that; instead we would today be living through the greatest period of economic growth in our nation’s history. I would be one of the richest men in the United States today had I done that. You Goons wouldn’t be on your way to prison today had I done that. Greaney would be a national hero today had I done that. Millions of Americans who today are worried about how they are going to make ends meet would instead be retiring early had I done that. Hundreds of my bloggers friends would have hugely successful sites today had I done that.
I tried, you know? I worked it hard. I left everything on the playing field. I gave it my all and I have scars all over my body to show it.
They say that God works in mysterious ways. I have found that to be so. For some reason that I am not capable of comprehending, God wanted me to work this hard but for ultimate victory to be denied me for at least 14 years and perhaps for a bit longer than that. Whachagonna do, you know? I cannot tell God how to play it. He’s the Big Guy in the Room, I am his humble servant reporter.
So long as God continues to bless me with huge victory over huge victory on the content side, I am going to continue to give this my best fight. I remain 100 percent confident that we all (not just me — my Buy-and-Hold friends are good people even if they are highly confused at the current moment in time) win in the end. Everything that I have seen, and I have seen a lot, shows me that that is so. You don’t buy it, or at least you see some reason to pretend in your public statements that you don’t buy it. We will just have to wait to see it all play out before our eyes following the next price crash. I am not able to come up with any other realistic options for us given the realities that prevail at this point in the proceedings.
I love you, man. If that offers you any comfort, please enjoy that comfort. If it enrages you that I love you, I suppose that I just need to accept that reality. But I love you; that’s the reality. All of the powerful investing insights explored at this site and in my writings at other sites help you as much as they help the millions of middle-class investors who have expressed (through the thousands of similar minds who have posted at our various boards and blogs) a desire that honest posting be permitted at every investing site on the internet.
I love those millions of middle-class people too. I don’t love only you. That’s what I am not willing to post dishonestly re safe withdrawal rates or re any other investing-related topic. This stuff is too important for me to agree to post dishonestly just to be able to easily turn a quick, smelly buck. But my love for you is real all the same. If you read my words carefully, you will see that that has been so going back to the morning of May 13, 2002. I believe that loves prevails in the end. You can take the boy out of the 60s but it would appear that you can never take the 6os entirely out of the boy.
I love you and I love the millions of middle-class investors whose lives you are in the process of destroying with your smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage and with your insanely abusive and violent and criminal postings. It is BECAUSE I love you (as well as the millions whose lives you continue to destroy with every additional post that you put forward) that I continue to insist so forcefully on my right (and on the right of Jack Bogle and Bill Bernstein and Larry Swedroe and Robert Shiller and Wade Pfau and Michael Kitces and all the others) to post honestly re these various, terribly important matters.
It’s working. We are making slow but certain process. We are almost there. We are on the one-yard line. Please don’t despair. It gets better and better and better. We all are in this thing together. We can’t lose. We all want the same thing. Love truly is the answer. Love conquers all. It is darkest just before the dawn. We live in a great country. Our laws make sense. This economic crisis is in the process of teaching us all why we adopted laws against financial fraud in the first place. Serving prison sentences can redeem us by softening our hearts and causing us to feel a compassion for out fellow humans that had turned cold in days when things came too easy for us. We can feel better about ourselves after our prison sentences are served than we did in the days when we had allowed corruption to lower us to doing things that in our youth we thought ourselves incapable of doing.