Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
To be honest. I have no idea who John Greaney is. Other than he must really knew how to yank Rob’s chain in a way that destabilized Mr Bennett.
John Greaney is a nobody. Rob Bennett essentially wasted 20%+ of his life because of some Internet nobody. I guess that would drive anyone loopy.
I don’t agree with you, Laugh. I think it would be fair to describe the peer-reviewed research that I co-authored with Wade Pfau as the most important research published in this field in the past 30 years. That research wouldn’t exist but for the “chain yanking” that you refer to here.
Greaney is not the first insanely abusive poster in the history of the internet. The question is — Why was he tolerated? Every site has published rules prohibiting the tactics that Greaney employed. Why were those rules not enforced? The answer is that we all have a little bit of Greaney within is. Greaney is a cartoon version of all Buy-and-Hold investors. His behavior shows us what the Get Rich Quick urge that resides within us all looks like up close and personal. Greaney is pure emotion, zero reasoning (when it comes to stock investing). We ALL are largely emotional creatures who like to flatter ourselves by telling ourselves that we are rational. Coming to understand why Greaney behaves as he does helps us all to understand why we make stock investing so much more risky than it needs to be.
And I do not agree with you that Greaney is a nobody. His retirement study was top-notch stuff. It was his study that got me interested in posting at the Retire Early board in the first place. And Greaney was very popular at that board, a board comprised of VERY smart people. How did he get to be so popular if he is such a nobody? And Greaney was smart enough himself to be able to retire at age 40. How did such a smart guy get so taken in by a pure Get Rich Quick approach? Greaney is a true believer. All of us who want to become more effective investors should be trying understand how ANYONE can be a true believer in Buy-and-Hold.
Greaney is a frugal guy. If you told him to buy a car without checking out the price, he would laugh at you. Yet he doesn’t bother checking price when buying stocks, something to which he devotes a lot more of his money than he devotes to cars. There’s something odd going on here and every person who cares about stock investing should want to come to a better understanding of it.
I haven’t wasted one day of my life during the past 15 years. I have generated powerful insight after powerful insight after powerful insight. I have achieved things that someone with my background has zero right to reasonably expect to be able to achieve. I did it because I realized early on that Greaney was not a nobody and that his behavior was telling us all something important about how stock investing works in the real world. He was telling us the same thing that Shiller’s 1981 research findings told us — investing is an INTENSELY emotional endeavor. Follow a strategy that ignores the emotional element (revealed in the P/E10 level) and you are following a strategy that leave out 80 percent of the story.
That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter in any event. I wish you all good things.