Yesterday’s blog entry contained the text of an e-mail that I sent to academic researcher Wade Pfau on Dec. 16, 2010.
Wade sent me an e-mail in response saying that: “I’m sorry for offending you. I’ve removed that post from Bogleheads. I will think about adding a new post to start over later and to express your accomplishments differently.”
Wade told me that he did not view his post as defamatory. He said that he had read enough material at the Bogleheads board to know that I was not well liked “by them” and noted that I had been referred to at the board as a person who could not be named. He added that he tried to be respectful to me in his post. He argued that most of his comments about me were positive and explained that “I was just trying to give you credit for your contributions in the context of knowing that this will not be well received at Bogleheads.”
Wade maintained that the negatives he used in reference to me “I don’t think are so negative” because “I think you were really on to something.” However, he added that “the thing that troubled me was how sure you were about your predictions, and how you asserted the correctness of those predictions in the face of criticism.”
At that point, the e-mail turned to a specific point. John Walter Russell’s research showed that, at the top of the bull market, the safe withdrawal rate for a retirement portfolio with an 80 percent stock allocation was 1.6 percent real. Wade observed that: “That 1.6 is not a point estimate from the regression, but the lower bound of a confidence interval that has to be defined in a fuzzy way because correct confidence intervals cannot be estimated due to the overlapping observations problem. That means there has to be some doubt about the correct number. ”
Wade concluded his e-mail by apologizing for offending me but suggested that I had overreacted. Overall, “I was trying to pay tribute to your accomplishments in what I knew would be a hostile environment.”
Finally, the e-mail states that “I think we are basically on the same side.” Wade said that he had not looked at the links set forth in my e-mail to him but that he hoped to do so soon.