Robert Savickas, GWU Associate Finance Professor: “I Can See How Many Readers Would Be Put Off by the Somewhat Sensational/Scandalist Tone and Would Not Persevere to Read, Thinking You Are Losing Your Mind.”

I’ve been contacting numerous people to let them know about my article reporting on The Silencing of Academic Researcher Wade Pfau by The Buy-and-Hold Mafia. 

Yesterday’s blog entry reported on my correspondence with Robert Savickas, Associate Finance Professor at George Washington University Business School. Set forth below is the text of the e-mail I sent to him in response to the e-mail of his described in the earlier blog entry:

Thanks for that encouraging thought, my new friend!
I’m afraid that, from a marketing perspective, I am a bit of a man without a country. I am a big-time critic of Buy-and-Hold as it is currently practiced. But the other side of the story is that I LOVE everything about the Buy-and-Hold approach other than the failure to encourage investors to practice long-term timing (that is, to take price into consideration when setting their stock allocations). I believe that the idea that long-term terming is not required was just a mistake that the Buy-and-Holders made because Shiller’s research was not available at the time they were developing their strategy. Now we know that long-term timing is essential but the big shots in this field are too proud to acknowledge having gotten this aspect of the thing wrong (it may also be that they are worried about lawsuits). So they won’t correct the error. This drives me crazy because it means that the entire strategy fails when it could do a lot of good for a lot of people if it were brought up to date with what we have learned from the last 30 years of academic research.
Do you know how there are people who objected when we learned that the earth is round and that the earth revolves around the sun rather than the other way around because it messed with their minds to realize that they had once believed something that was not so? That’s where I believe we are in the investing advice field today. The next crash will melt people’s hearts and then we will fix the mistakes and see an economic boom. But it is a horrible thing to see this economic crisis play out knowing that it was all perfectly avoidable.
Robert wrote back:

I preach in my classes that none of the strategies should be religiously believed in or dismissed. They all have their vale-added and we need to know how to combine them.  The strategies I talk about are: fundamental analysis, technical analysis, and the portfolio theory.  Actually they are better together and work well together to enhance buy and hold.  I  show it in class. I am lucky to have a constant supply of eager audience, thus hoping to make the world in general and the financial markets in particular a better place.  The classroom is my battleground for a better world.
In your case, you don’t have that, so you need to rely on blogs.  I suggest that you really try to moderate your tone; you could get much further that way.  I read your article, and I can see how many readers would be put off by the somewhat sensational/scandalist tone and would not persevere to read, thinking you are losing your mind.  I knew to look past the tone.
Try to write in dry and concise tone but overwhelm the reader with the amount of objective facts and impeccable logic.  Neutrally bring in arguments from both sides, and equally neutrally, but logically, kill all the arguments of the other side.  You will get a lot more audience and followership that way.

Also, most of the top dawgs that are opposed to your thoughts are probably old enough to retire, so have patience to wait till they get out of the picture.   Till then, do the groundwork carefully. If you wanna make the world a better place, be smart about it and careful; you can get much further that way.

Related Posts


  1. The Pink Unicorn says

    “I read your article, and I can see how many readers would be put off by the somewhat sensational/scandalist tone and would not persevere to read, thinking you are losing your mind.”

    If the professor was put off with just that particular article, just think how he would react if he saw the extent of the psychotic ramblings on this website.

  2. Trebor Martin says

    “sensational/scandalist tone”

    So Rob is there any chance you are going to take his advice and start behaving and communicating like an adult? It seems he is about the 100th person to tell you that you need to modulate your behavior.

  3. Rob says

    You are correct that many people have offered me similar advice, Trebor.

    No, there is zero chance that I am going to change the tone I use.

    Please read carefully what Robert says. He refers to my “Sensational/scandalist” tone. He says that does not win people over.

    He is right.

    So why do I stick with that tone?

    To understand the answer, you have to ask yourself WHY such a tone does not win people over.

    It doesn’t win people over because most people know from experience that those using a sensational/scandalist tone are not shooting straight.

    I am shooting straight.

    The problem here is not my tone, which suggests a massive cover-up. The problem here is the massive cover-up.

    We are looking at criminal acts of financial fraud.

    We are looking at the most massive case of financial fraud ever experienced in our nation’s history.

    I am speaking out AGAINST it. I am saying that responsible people should have begun taking steps back on May 13, 2002, or, at the very latest, on August 27, 2002, when Greaney made his first death threats.

    I will continue posting honestly.

    I will also of course continue incorporating charity and compassion and kindness in all my posts.

    The rule that I follow is to be as honest as possible without crossing the line and becoming uncharitable while also being as charitable as possible without crossing the line and becoming dishonest.

    I hope that helps a bit, my old friend.

    Rob the Charitable (And Honest!)

  4. Rob says

    There’s a difference between being wrong and being dishonest, Pink.

    It is at least theoretically possible that I am wrong about safe withdrawal rates. I don’t think so. But there have been times in the past when I have been proven wrong about matters re which I believed strongly for a time that I was right. It could be that it is happening again.

    It’s not even theoretically possible that I should agree to post dishonestly.

    For so long as I believe that it is not possible to calculate the safe withdrawal rate accurately without considering the effect of valuations, I need to say that that is what I believe.

    It would be dishonest to say otherwise.

    If I agree to post dishonestly because I want to appease you Goons and help you in your 11-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School SWR studies, that’s an act of financial fraud.

    That’s a felony.

    That means prison time.

    Um —

    Please try to find someone else.


    Call me madcap.

    My best wishes to you and yours.

    Rob, the Madcap One

  5. bannwd plop contributor says

    “most people know from experience that those using a sensational/scandalist tone are not shooting straight.”


    Everything else you said id the usual Bennett BS.

  6. Rob says

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Banned.

    Please take good care.

    Rob the Known BS Artist

  7. Rob says

    The way I say it is that it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.

    The job of an investment advisor is not to flatter you by encouraging your belief that your bull market gains are real.

    The job is to provide you tools to identify what gains are real and what gains are fake so that you can plan effectively.

    Rob Perdue

  8. Rob says

    An important thing to keep in mind is that the hostility we see today to those who tell the truth about stock investing is a temporary phenomena.

    Once all investment advisors are telling the truth, there will be no shock in hearing it.

    And there will be no further bull markets either.

    We’re going through a rough patch of time, that’s all.

    The long-term future looks very good indeed.

    Rob the Ass

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Comments links could be nofollow free.