I have in recent weeks been reporting on my e-mail correspondence with Academic Researcher Wade Pfau. Wade posted a comment to the blog entry that I posted early this morning. The text is set forth below:
I forgot that I was still saying things like this even 2 weeks after the initial incident.
This was more than a year ago now, but I am thinking that I was just trying to explain politely to you that I’d rather have you quit writing about me, or at least stop using my name. I suppose that I figured the only way you might understand why is if I explained it in terms of your favorite conspiracy theories.
I will make one more attempt at a reality check for you. You go on and on about how I allegedly lack personal integrity because I allowed the Goons to threaten me into silence.
The reality is that though I may have for a brief moment got a bit too caught up in YOUR drama, I do not have any fears about the Goons.
The reality is that you are causing me 1000x more career damage than the Goons ever could have by filling Google with so much nonsense about me, and sharing embarrassing private details such as my overly ambitious journal submission strategies, etc. Those in particular are highly private. People don’t publicly share where they submit articles to unless those articles are accepted. You’ve violated my trust in so many countless ways and yet you still proclaim to be my friend.
And the further reality is that if I *did* lack personal integrity, I could have made this all stop just by saying the meaningless sentence you want so desperately to hear: “I think the errors in the traditional safe withdrawal rate studies must be corrected by using Rob’s analytically valid method.”
But I don’t believe that. I do not believe you have offered a valid correction to the safe withdrawal rate question. And I believe that retirement income strategies go much further than the question of a safe withdrawal rate. And so that is why I’ve had to endure your ongoing harassment for months on end now.
Usually I can figure out the Rob-logic behind what you are thinking, but I really don’t know how you think you come out of this whole episode looking like the good guy. I guess it is because you think you are saving my soul and putting me back on the path of righteousness, or something, huh? If only you had the power to do a little bit of self reflection…
Now that the whole email history is on display, we have the reminder of how angry you got at the very beginning when I referred to you as dogmatic. Yet, look at the way you’ve treated me for disagreeing with you on something which you don’t even understand. You quote numbers from JWR’s statistical work, but I’m not sure if you can even distinguish a mean from a median. So how can you be sure his work is right? I don’t know either, as I never did get around to digging into it, and I doubt I ever will now. But I’m not sure how a properly calculated lower confidence bound for a 2000 retiree could have been higher than zero.
Rob, suppose the stock market does drop 65% as you are expecting. It might happen, who knows.
Step 1: Stock Market Drops 65%
Step 2: ??
Step 3: Rob wins $500 million settlement from the Goons, the Goons are sent to prison, the investing public learns about and adopts VII.
What is Step 2? There isn’t one. You will still be in the same position as you’ve been in for the last 10 years. Why didn’t something happen for you after the 2008 financial crisis? You are like the guy who keeps predicting new ends for the world as each previous prediction date passes by.
That is why I’m telling you, from one human being to another, that it is time to move on. You are a smart guy, and you could use your talents for something productive. While warning people about the 4% rule is helpful, the way that you go about doing it is rather “catastrophically unproductive” as one wise fellow said to you years ago. I provide a loud voice that is critical of the 4% rule, and so spending your days assassinating my character is counterproductive to your underlying cause. So perhaps you can start fresh with a new issue of social import that carries less baggage for you. What happened in the past is a sunk cost, but you still have a chance to turn things around and start afresh today. And you can do all of this while still being honest and true to yourself.