Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
So now you probably think Barton is a supporter and agrees with you, right?
Yes and no, Anonymous.
He didn’t say the words “I endorse Valuation-Informed Indexing and I am going to follow the strategy myself starting today and I am also going to tell all my friends to do the same.” In that sense, which I suspect is the sense that you have in mind, I would not call him a supporter.
But there is another sense in which, yes, I very much think he is a supporter. He wrote an article that made some important points. Those points relate to the Valuation-Informed Indexing story, to the story of why, 36 years after the publication of peer-reviewed research showing that there is precisely zero chance that a Buy-and-Hold strategy could ever work for even a single long-term investor, there are still people advocating this strategy. He obviously sees the importance of those points. But he has not yet been able to put the story together in his head. Because it is not discussed by lots of different people at lots of different web sites.
That’s how we all learn any subject that we come to learn about over time — by talking things over with lots of different people coming at the subject from lots of different perspectives. When Barton has a chance to hear what he needs to hear to fully appreciate the case for Valuation-Informed Indexing — as I believe he will in the days following the next price crash — I 100 percent believe that he will become a big-time supporter.
So perhaps the best way to describe him today is not as a supporter or a detractor but as a person in the state of BECOMING a supporter. I cannot make him a supporter by sending him a single e-mail no matter how many words I include in that e-mail or how powerfully I arrange those words. All that I can do at this point in time is to send an e-mail that makes some points that have particular relevance to him and then wait for the rest of the magic to happen as he hears more points of views expressed in different ways and with different words in the days following the next price crash. Since that’s the best that I can do at this moment in time, that’s what I did. We all have to play the cards that are dealt to us to the best of our abilities.
I don’t see Barton as being that different from lots and lots of others in this regard. Jack Bogle is not a full-throated supporter of Valuation-Informed Indexing today. But he has put forward a good number of statements indicating that he supports the basic principles of the research-based approach. I believe that in the days following the next price crash, Bogle will hear things from lots of different people that will cause things to click for him in a way that they have not clicked to this day and that he will become a full-throated supporter.
I believe that the same will happen with Bill Bernstein and with Scott Burns and with Bill Shultheis and with Wade Pfau and with Larry Swedroe and with Carl Richards and with thousands and thousands of others. All of these people will then be working hard to help us bring the Buy-and-Hold Crisis to an end and to make the transition to the other side of The Big Black Mountain and to live far richer (in every sense of the word) lives than any of us imagined we could ever possibly lead in darker, earlier times in our lives. That’s a good thing, right? That’s something that we all should be looking forward to, right?
I am sure looking forward to that day.
If you’re not, it is my strongly held view that you should be asking yourself why you are not. Learning is a positive. Human progress is a good thing. Knowing how to invest effectively for the long-term is better than not knowing how to invest effectively for the long-term. Reporting the safe withdrawal rate accurately is a plus. Learning together is a win/win/win/win/win. It’s not even possible for the rational human mind to imagine any possible negative following from a Learning Together experience.
These are my sincere thoughts re these terribly important matters, in any event. I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors, good friend.