Purcellville Police Warned of Possible SWAT-ing Attacks by Goon “Defenders” of Mel Lindauer and John Greaney

I have notified the Purcellville police that I may be the target of SWAT-ing attacks by the internet goons who have advanced posts at various investing discussion boards and blogs in “defense” of Mel Lindauer and John Greaney, the two individuals who have led the 10-year-long Campaign of Terror against the Retire Early and Indexing discussion board communities and the Personal Finance Blogosphere.

Wikipedia defines SWAT-ing (or Swatting) as “an attempt to trick an emergency service (such as a 9-1-1 dispatcher) into dispatching an emergency response team. The name is derived from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), one type of such team. Such action places law enforcement and citizens at risk and are criminal actions. In addition, it reduces law enforcement coverage and costs taxpayer money.” The Wikipedia entry explains that: “CNN interviewed Erick Erickson to discuss an incident in which he had been the victim of swatting. The caller to 911 claimed: ‘I just shot my wife, so…. I don’t think I could come down there…. She’s dead, now…. I’m looking at her…. I’m going to shoot someone else, soon.’ —911 caller. That incident prompted Sandy Adams to push for a Justice Department investigation.”

I am the person who discovered the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies (the studies do not contain an adjustment for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins). I shared my discovery with my fellow community members at a Motley Fool discussion board on the morning of May 13, 2002. John Greaney, the author of one of the discredited studies, has for the past 10 years led a brutal Campaign of Terror against all board and blog communities that have shown an interest in discussing the errors in the Old School SWR studies. The effort was led at Indexing communities by Mel Lindauer, co-author of The Bogleheads Guide to Investing, who made a positive reference to the Greaney study in his book and who has posted in “defense” of Greaney and the Old School studies at the Bogleheads Forum discussion board.

When Academic Researcher Wade Pfau contacted the authors of the Trinity study (another discredited Old School SWR study) seeking a correction, the LIndauerheads and Greaney Goons threatened to send defamatory e-mails to his employer in an effort to get him fired. I have in recent months been reporting on my 16 months of e-mail correspondence with Wade, in which he made many references to the “hostile environment” he experienced when posting on the internet about his research findings showing that the Old School retirement studies get the numbers wildly wrong and about his fears that the Lindauerheads and Greaney Goons would be successful in their efforts to destroy his career if he did not agree to play ball with them.

Wade has announced that he will no longer be doing research on Valuation-Informed Indexing, the investing strategy that I developed as a result of the loss of confidence I experienced in Buy-and-Hold after seeing many Buy-and-Holders fail to speak up in strong terms in opposition to the Campaign of Terror (Wade’s research shows that Valuation-Informed Indexing has provided far higher returns than Buy-and-Hold at greatly diminished risk for the entire 140 years for which we have stock return data). He also announced that, while he still believes that the Old School studies get the retirement numbers wildly wrong, there is no need for them to be corrected. He has praised Greaney as the hero of the  10 years of discussions and has characterized me as “unethical” for insisting that the discredited retirement studies be corrected before they cause more failed retirements.

I have contacted the Purcellville Police re this matter previously — much of the history of my efforts to resolve the matter by contacting the appropriate authorities is described here. I have seen an escalation in the threats since I began reporting on Wade’s decision to capitulate to the demands of the Goons. On July 6, 2012, I received an e-mail containing the following text: “Coming.tanks 4 address and phone number.will help me find u.” One of the Goons recently started a thread at the site owned by Greaney setting forth this image in the thread-starter:


Greaney Site Gun Image

John Greaney’s argument for why there is no need to correct the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies


I have made public notice at earlier times that I expect to bring civil lawsuits for the recovery of damages to my internet writing business against the owners of web sites that permit Lindauer and/or Greaney “defenders” to post defamatory comments about me or about those who have posted in support of correction of the Old School studies or Valuation-Informed Indexing or in opposition to the Campaign of Terror against our board communities or who in some other way lend support to the efforts of Lindauer and Greaney to continue the ten-year cover-up of my discovery of the errors in the studies. I also expect to help the millions of middle-class investors who have suffered financial losses as a result of the 10-year cover-up to recover the financial damages they have suffered. And I of course will cooperate in any way I can at congressional hearings and in criminal proceedings against those who have posted in “defense” of Lindauer and Greaney.

I intend for this blog entry to put all concerned parties on notice that I would expect SWAT-ing actions to be considered in the criminal and civil and congressional proceedings that I expect will follow the next crash in the price of stocks.


  1. tori_w says

    This is terrible! You were right to call the police! And publishing an image of a gun is unforgivible!! What will they do next!!!

    Given the size of the conspiracy, don’t you worry that the police might be infiltrated? Did the police do anything, really, or did they just file a report to their masters????

  2. canyon wanderer says

    “I am the person who discovered the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies (the studies do not contain an adjustment for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins).”


    your account is worth what it is worth the day you retire. you use that value to calculate how much 4% is going forward, and adjust as needed.

    is that your pistol?

  3. Rob says

    your account is worth what it is worth the day you retire.


    This statement is false.

    This statement gives voice to the core falsehood of the Buy-and-Hold model.

    Yale Economics Professor Robert Shiller proved that this statement is false in academic research published in 1981 and confirmed many times in the three decades since.

    The nominal value that appears on your portfolio statement is a false indication of your portfolio’s value. Determining your portfolio’s value is a two-step process: (1) Identify nominal value; and (2) adjust for the effect of overvaluation or undervaluation. The entire 140 years of stock market data available to us shows that the second step is mandatory for those seeking to determine their portfolio values accurately.

    The nominal value is always false (except on those rare occasions when stocks are selling at fair-value prices).

    It is because the “experts” in this field do not insist on an adjustment for valuations that we are in an economic crisis today. No one who follows the Buy-and-Hold model has any idea what his stock portfolio is worth. When millions of people have no idea how much wealth they possess, the entire economy becomes dysfunctional. In such circumstances, few are able to plan their financial futures effectively or even to make informed decisions as to what products and services to buy. All market signals become scrambled in such circumstances.

    To understand why it is mandatory to make an adjustment for valuations, all you need to do is to reflect briefly on what the word “overvaluation” means. It means “mispriced.” When stocks are overvalued, the nominal values assigned to our portfolios are wrong.

    There are million of good and serious and smart and hard-working people who believe in the Buy-and-Hold model. But there is 30 years of academic research showing that these people are wrong. Our only hope of helping them come to understand that they are wrong is to open the internet to honest posting on safe withdrawal rates and many other critically important investment-related topics.

    That’s the first step. All sorts of good things follow from taking that first step. But we don’t get to the good stuff without taking that first step. Taking the first step — permitting honest posting — is essential.

    My sincere take.

    I wish you well, Canyon.


  4. Rob says

    is that your pistol?

    This is the sort of comment we frequently see from those trying to “defend” Buy-and-Hold.

    Those who advocate Buy-and-Hold argue that it is “scientific.”


  5. canyon wanderer says

    ok, so let’s say i’m retiring today. what’s the adjustment factor?

    where does one find this info going forward?

  6. Rob says

    And publishing an image of a gun is unforgivible!!

    Yes, that’s right. There is no place for intimidation tactics in discussions of stock investing.

    Mike Piper publishes the “Oblivious Investor” blog. He is a confirmed Buy-and-Holder and he is a smart and good guy (who has banned me from his blog). Mike and I were one time talking over the threats of physical violence frequently employed by the Buy-and-Holders and he said that he did not get in this field to have to deal with death threats. He is the strongest Buy-and-Holder there could be yet he deplores this stuff.

    There are lots of Buy-and-Holders like Mike. They need to speak up. If you believe in Buy-and-Hold, you should not want to see it dragged through the mud by the sorts of individuals who have put up posts in “defense” of Lindauer and Greaney.


  7. Rob says

    Given the size of the conspiracy, don’t you worry that the police might be infiltrated?

    None of us knows how it will end, Tori.

    Greaney once threatened me with the electric chair. I was tempted to dismiss the idea that I could get the electric chair for posting honestly on retirement studies as insane. But I thought his claim that he could get me banned from Motley Fool, where the co-owner of the site wrote a blurb that appeared on the back cover of my book, as insane, and he pulled that one off. So the normal rules don’t apply re this one.

    I know that I would prefer to be sent to the electric chair over posting dishonestly re the numbers that my friends will be using to plan their retirements. So I know what lines I can never cross.

    I have never been offered any “deals” that did not include a requirement that I agree to post dishonestly re SWRs. So I have never had to make any tough calls.

    I will give it my best shot. I can do no more and I can do no less. Where the Wheel of Fortune stops turning none of us down here in the Valley of Tears knows for sure.

    I wish you all good things.


  8. Diversified Investor says


    It is clear you are completely delusional and no useful purpose can be found in continuing to interact with you.

    Please seek help before your life spins completely out of control.

    I will be moving on now.

  9. What says

    So…why are you concerned about it? It just looks like you are trying to play the victim.

  10. Rob says

    I want the Goons to know that there are going to be consequences if they continue to play it the way they have been playing it for 10 years now, What.

    I want those who permit the Goons to post at their sites to know that there are going to be consequences.

    I want those who fail to speak up about the Goon problem to know that there are going to be consequences.

    Many of these people are friends of mine. I owe them that much.



  11. Rob says

    Re the victim matter —

    Yes, I am a victim.

    As are you, What.

    As is Wade.

    As is Bogle.

    As is Shiller.

    How do we all stop being victims?

    We stop being victims by applying the Social Norms that we apply in every other area of life endeavor to our efforts to understand how stock investing works.

    I wish you all good things, Goon friend.


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