Mike Piper of the Oblivious Investor blog deleted from the comments section of yesterday’s blog entry (“Review: The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning”) a comment that I advanced pointing out the role that Mel Lindauer and Taylor Larimore have played in maintaining the ban on honest posting that applies today at both the Vanguard Diehards board (at Morningtar.com) and at the Bogleheads.org forum.
Set forth below are the words of the deleted comment. I will set forth the text of Mike’s explanation of the deletion as next Tuesday’s blog entry (he has given me permission to do so) and I will set forth my response to Mike as next Thurday’s blog entry.
Here is the text of the deleted comment:
I’m going to say some good stuff about the book because that’s the charitable and proper way to proceed. And then I am going to say some bad stuff because I believe we are all obligated to speak honestly re matters that affect people’s retirement planning.
The authors were given a book contract not because they personally possess skills as retirement planners. They were given the contract because of the wonderful communities that they played a big role in building at Morningstar.com (the Vanguard Diehards community) and at Bogleheads.org. The communities truly are wonderful. I actively participated at Vanguard Diehards until I was banned (I was banned at Bogleheads.org before putting forward a post — the board was formed to escape me). And I link to discussions held at these communities frequently at the “Today’s Passion” feature of my site.
Taylor and Mel obviously deserve credit for the work they did building learning resources that benefit us all. There are thousands of people who love them for having done this and not entirely without reason. John Bogle is today’s leading investment authority and he has endorsed the work done by Taylor and Mel. I have not read the book but I am certain that there is a lot of good stuff in it.
People also need to know about the bad stuff. I am the person who discovered the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate (SWR) studies. It is because I reported the accurate numbers at the Vanguard Diehards board that I was banned both there and at Bogleheads.org. This is wrong. It is not a wrong done only to me. It is a wrong done to all of the thousands of community members who expressed a desire that honest posting be permitted there. It is a black mark on all who participate in that community (including John Bogle) that this wrong has not been rectified for over two years now.
This failure to address the SWR topic and resolve it successfully affects the integrity of the book. I don’t know precisely what is said in the book re SWRs. But I know with 100 percent certainty that the book does not say the same things about retirement that it would say if Taylor and Mel had permitted honest discussions of the flaws in the Old School studies and had learned from those discussions. The book as it exists today is not the book that would exist had board “leaders” acted with integrity in their board administration actions.
That’s the right word — integrity. The reason why discussions of the errors made in the Old School studies have been so contentious is that there are integrity issues involved in the failure of the community of Passive Investing advocates to address these issues for over seven years now. We are not going to be able to duck these issues indefinitely. Our integrity is part of what makes us human. We cannot continue to function as humans if we do not address challenges to our ability to act with integrity. None of us should be recommending without reservation Investing guides that lack integrity in their discussion of important topics (it is of course possible that guides that lack integrity on some issues may do good service on other issues).
These words are going to upset some people. That’s proper and right. The realities here are unpsetting. We all have a role to play in getting things back on the right track.