Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
Maybe you should lodge your complaint with the New York Times since they haven’t put you on the front page yet.
I’ve written to several reporters who work for the New York Times, Anonymous. Not recently. But I did that some time back. And I will obviously do it again in days to come.
The problem that we are having as a society is that we are all humans. Humans don’t want to be disliked. If your message is “you need to divide the amount reported on your portfolio statement by two to know the true amount that you have saved for retirement,” most people are going to react negatively. That’s not a message that most humans are excited to hear.
It is an important message. People cannot plan their financial futures unless they know how much they have saved. So we very, very much need to get that message out. But it is only the humans who can get it out. A good number of us have been trying for decades now to get the job done. But there is a lot of resistance to this message. People want to believe in Buy-and-Hold. It is a Get Rich Quick scheme and we humans are drawn strongly to Get Rich Quick schemes. Everyone with money in the market (and that’s just about everyone) wants to believe. Telling people that “it’s all a pile of smelly garbage” is not the path to winning a popularity contest. I know whereof I speak!
But it is not ONLY Get Rich Quick schemes that appeal to us. We humans love learning. We love reducing the risk of stock investing. We love planning effectively for our futures. We love earning higher returns and being able to retire sooner. We love the idea of sparing our nation from future economic crises. We love the idea of reducing the political frictions that we have seen develop following the onset of the economic crisis (it should be called “The Buy-and-Hold Crisis”). So, while there are elements of the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept that have held it back from becoming the dominant model for understanding how stock investing works for 35 years now, there are also elements that will cause it to skyrocket to the top in days to come.
The key thing that has to change is that people need to give up the illusion that there is some sort of payoff for following a Buy-and-Hold strategy. There is no payoff. Buy-and-Hold is a lose/lose/lose/lose/lose, according to the last 35 years of peer-reviewed research (based on 145 years of historical return data). But so long as prices remain high, there APPEARS to be a payoff. So for 15 years now I have been experiencing a wee bit of difficulty getting the word out re the future of investing analysis. Perhaps you’ve noticed!
I won’t be experiencing any difficulty following the next price crash. There won’t be too many people seeing a payoff from following Buy-and-Hold at that point in the proceedings. People will be threatening to string the advisors who recommended Buy-and-Hold to them up from the nearest tree (I will of course be telling them why that is not even a tiny bit appropriate). At that time, there will be reporters from the New York Times CALLING ME to ask me to tell them all that I know about what happened here. When that day comes, I will have a lot to say!
If I believed that there was someone I could call today to get this story on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow morning, I would not be too shy to place the call, Anonymous. I will place the call when the time is right. I don’t think that the time is right just yet. But we’re getting there. I continue to work this. But I don’t think it makes sense to call the New York Times over and over again until I come to be viewed as a pest. I have called. I will call again. For the moment, I am playing a waiting game.
It would be better for every single person concerned if the story ran in tomorrow morning’s paper. I am 100 percent sure. More people suffer with every day of delay. If I hadn’t done everything in my power to push this story, I would feel horrible about that. But the reality here is that I have done everything that a reasonable person could do and then some more on top of that and then some more on top of that.
I have given this my best shot. I have received some amazing responses to my efforts. I am of course grateful for those. But the amazing responses have thus far not been enough for me to overcome the negative efforts of you Goons. You’ve got the Wall Street Con Men behind you and that means that there is a lot of power and money on the side seeking to kill the story. Big papers like the New York Times earn lots of their revenue from advertising by Wall Street firms and so this is a risky thing for them to take the lead on. The people who work at the New York Times are good people and they will see the need to take this on when they see what the next price crash does to us with their own eyes. But thus far I have not been able to make the case compelling enough to persuade them to take on the very serious risks that really do apply here.
We’re getting there. Think back to the morning of May 13, 2002. I was a Buy-and-Holder then myself! There is so much that I know today that I did not know then. And my entire learning process is documented at this site. So anyone who wants to know everything that I now know can work through the steps of that learning process today. That’s an amazing plus for all of us. I am just going to keep adding to the materials that everyone in the world will be looking to for guidance re how to pick up the pieces in the days following the next crash.
Hang in there, man. A little patience, please. I love my country because we usually get it right in the end. However, it is not quite true that we always get it right immediately. On some occasions it takes us some time to work through the process from a bad place where we find ourselves to the good place that deep in our hearts we all really want to be. I think it would be fair to say that this is one of those occasions.
The New York Times needs to run this story. I’m working on it! I’m working on it!
I hope that helps a bit, old friend.