Wade Pfau: “I Was a Little Nervous About Contacting You, In Case You Thought I Was Trying to Steal Your Thunder”

Yesterday’s blog entry reported on an e-mail that I sent to academic researcher Wade Pfau on December 21, 2010. Wade was visiting family for the holidays at that time. So that series of e-mails came to an end. The topics discussed in it were picked up in subsequent e-mail discussions.

One separate discussion grew out of some matters brought up in the discussion thread referred to above. The focus of this discussion was a research paper that Wade prepared on safe withdrawal rates. Set forth below is the text of an e-mail that I sent to Wade on December 16, 2010, relating to his safe withdrawal rate research.

Wade:

That’s super! Thanks so much for letting me know.
I skimmed the paper before writing to you. I will read it more carefully perhaps tomorrow (I have a few deadlines facing me today). I’m excited to see this. I am so glad that you let me know about it.
I am going to post your comment as today’s post to my “A Rich Life” blog. I’d love to see more people doing this sort of thing.
I’d be grateful if you would let me know when the article is published. It’s of course my belief that this is important stuff and we need to see lots more good and smart people advancing the ball in the way in which you have with this work.
Rob
Wade responded the same day. He said: “I was a little nervous about contacting you, in case you thought I was trying to steal your thunder.  I did try to properly cite your contributions.  I’m glad to see your positive response.”
Wade asked how he should cite the work John and I did together during the time we were developing The Retirement Risk Evaluator, in particular a post by John in which he described his approach on confidence limits. He observed that: “You’ve written so much that I’m afraid I’ve only read a small sample of it all” and urged me to identify some of my writings that would be of particular benefit to him.
He provided me links to two research articles he had written on safe withdrawal rates.

Comments

  1. what says

    Haha, Wade was so gullible. I bet he won’t get taken in by any other crazies for a while.

  2. Rob says

    I don’t think that the problem is that Wade and other good and smart people are especially gullible, What.

    I think the problem is that Goons like you are so ashamed of having been taken by the Wall Street Con Men that you have become insanely vicious in your efforts to block discussion of what the academic research of the past 30 years really says about all this smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage.

    We’re making progress. I still believe that we will all make it to the other side of the Big Black Mountain in one piece. I certainly pray that this will prove to be the case.

    My best wishes to you in any event, my long-time abusive-posting friend.

    Rob

  3. what says

    Haha, Wade being gullible was definitely his problem while he was dealing with your nonsense.

  4. Rob says

    I’m thinking that this may be one of those ones re which we are going to need to agree to disagree, What.

    I wish you all the best.

    Rob

  5. Diversified Investor says

    It’s pretty clear that Wade regrets the day he ever made contact with you. I wonder how he feels about you accusing him of making a deal with the goons. Is it at all possible that he simply doing what he thinks is right in terms of his research?

  6. Rob says

    It’s pretty clear that Wade regrets the day he ever made contact with you.

    Some of the things that are coming out reflect poorly on his level of personal integrity, Diversity. He is indeed upset about that.

    You know what? He’s in good company. John Bogle is one of the biggest names in this field. He has permitted his name to be used at a board (the Bogleheads Forum) that banned honest posting on safe withdrawal rates as its foundational act. How do you think Bogle feels about how his behavior in recent years has reflected on his level of personal integrity? Wade is far from alone with this particular concern.

    Read the e-mails. Wade learned lots of important things about our findings from the first 10 years of our discussions. The things he learned permitted him to take his career in new and exciting directions. I don’t get the sense that Wade regrets any of that.

    The full truth is, we ALL regret how we contributed to the economic crisis by going along with promotion of the Buy-and-Hold garbage, either by following Buy-and-Hold strategies or by telling our friends to do so or by failing to speak up when we heard others promoting such garbage. We’re ALL guilty to some extent. It’s not one or two or three people who destroy an entire economic system.

    Wade will get over any feelings of regret he is experiencing today. How do you think Wade is going to feel when we have opened up the entire internet to honest posting not only on safe withdrawal rates but to honest posting on ALL critically important investment-related topics? My guess is that he is going to feel pretty darn good. How do you think he is going to feel when his research is being featured on the front page of the New York Times? How do you think he is going to feel when he wins the Nobel prize?

    Wade is hurting today. That much is so. He’s not alone. Everyone who lives in the free-market economy being brought down by the relentless promotion of the Buy-and-Hold garbage is hurting today. But there is no law of the universe that says that, once we ban honest posting on stock investing on the internet, we may never open the internet to honest posting again.

    Wade’s bad feelings are bad feelings that Wade has elected to cause himself. Yes, it is “unfair” that he lives at a time when to be honest in this field is to make yourself the target of the wrath of the Buy-and-Holders. He needs to look at things from the other direction. If it were not for the vicious behavior of the Buy-and-Holders, someone would have done the research Wade did years before he came along and he wouldn’t be in line for that Nobel prize. This stuff cuts in two directions.

    We will see a big smile on Wade’s face when we all make it to the other side of The Big Black Mountain. I am sure of it.

    Courage, man! It gets better. A lot better!

    Rob

  7. Rob says

    Is it at all possible that he simply doing what he thinks is right in terms of his research?

    No, it is not even a tiny bit possible.

    Wade has said two entirely opposite things. First, he said that the Trinity authors should correct their study now that there is a consensus in the field that they got the numbers people use to plan their retirements wildly wrong. Then the Goons made clear their intentions. Then he said in a comment to this blog that there is no need for Bill Bengen to correct his study even though he now knows that it gets the numbers that people use to plan their retirements wildly wrong.

    It can’t be both, Diversified.

    Wade believes that retirement studies that get the numbers wildly wrong should be corrected. He also believes that the Lindauerheads and Greaney Goons will follow through on their threats to destroy his career if he posts his honest views. He has seen them follow through with the threats that they have made against others who dared to post honestly on the last three decades of research. He knows that I have contacted Bogle and asked for his help and that Bogle has elected not to respond to those requests. Wade is today acting in what he sees as the best interests of Wade rather than in the best interests of the people who use Wade’s research to learn how stock investing works.

    Buy-and-Hold is in the process of collapsing. It is a dead idea. It died in 1981, when Shiller discredited the Efficient Market Hypothesis. The effort to keep the gravy train rolling reached the desperation state when Greaney threatened to kill anyone who posted honestly on safe withdrawal rates on the internet. Once that was done and other Buy-and-Holders did not object but in fact applauded, there was nothing that anyone could do to restore the respect that people of intelligence and integrity once felt toward the Buy-and-Hold concept.

    It is over, Diversified. It was over on the evening of August 27, 2002.

    Once Wade accepts that it is over, he has a great career ahead of him. He cannot keep playing it both ways. One path leads to the destruction of the free market economic system. The other path leads to an 80 percent reduction in the risk of stock investing and an end to the economic crisis.

    We all live in the same economic system. We all enjoy the benefits of doing so. We all have a responsibility to stand up to the Buy-and-Holders when they threaten to destroy our economic system rather than acknowledge the errors they made in the 1970s that were brought to light 30 years ago. Wade has that responsibility. I have that responsibility. You have that responsibility. We all have that responsibility.

    I will continue to post honestly re safe withdrawal rates.

    I wish you the best in all your future life endeavors.

    Rob

  8. ? says

    great job by mr bennett. he made it less likely that any other academic type will ever even respond to his emails.

    mental illness is a terrible thing. mr bennett just keeps driving people away and making enemies. self destructive. delusional. crazy.

  9. Rob says

    mental illness is a terrible thing. mr bennett just keeps driving people away and making enemies. self destructive. delusional. crazy.

    There was a day when Buy-and-Hold was about making use of academic research to guide people to better-informed investing choices.

    Please take care, ?

    Rob

  10. Evidence Based Investing says

    First, he said that the Trinity authors should correct their study now that there is a consensus in the field that they got the numbers people use to plan their retirements wildly wrong.

    No he didn’t.

    You won’t get anywhere with your silly campaign until you stop making stuff up.

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