Tron to Rob: “You Have an Impressive Ability to Write Volumes of Repetitive Nothingness. Your Entire Site Feels as Though I Am Reading the Text Version of an Informercial to the Point I Am Astounded That There Doesn’t Seem to Be Anything for Sale Here. Any Truly Worthwhile Content You Have Is Completely Drowned Out by Ridiculous Hyperbole.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that a community member named “Tron” recently put to another blog entry at this site:

Well based on your response I can’t quite tell if you are being serious or doing a Colbert type act. In any event I’ll bite. Here are a few observations and questions I have.

You have an impressive ability to write volumes of repetitive nothingness.

Your entire site feels as though I am reading the text version of an infomercial to the point I am astounded that there doesn’t appear to be anything for sale here.

Any truely worthwhile content you have is completely drowned out by ridiculous hyperbole. Here are some examples of this. You state buy and hold is broken and does not work feverishly. Now if I have a car that is broken and does not work it will not start and is incapable of getting me from point A to point B. Buy and hold on the other hand has clearly afforded many individuals their desired retirement getting them from point A to point B. Perhaps you feel your VII is superior but in that case shouldn’t buy and hold simply be seen as sub-optimal not broken and never capable of working. If you lead with this notion, that buy and hold is broken and can never work, how can you expect anyone to take you seriously?

>
You state a buy and hold strategy is the biggest personal finance mistake in history. Really? A plan of setting aside a portion of your paycheck each month into a balanced portfolio that slowly becomes more conservative is the worst personal finance decision you can make? It is worse than spending your entire paycheck and maxing out credit cards? Again, statements such as these pretty much destroy your credibility and make it seem that you are trying to sell something.

I understand your premise, that you should scale back equities when they are overvalued and double down when they are undervalued. That could quite possibility be the least revolutionary assertion ever made. The issue is that no real mention is made of how to determine this unless it is literally buried in your fanatical ramblings. I see some mention of P/E10 as an indicator, the only indicator it seems, but no real strategy or plan. You must admit that it is significantly easier to implement a buy and hold approach than a very cryptic VII plan. I have literally scoured your website for clear instruction on how to implement VII but I can find nothing. If you are leaving it up to the individual to determine when stocks are overvalued or undervalued than that is honestly a joke.

Furthermore your blog never seems to indicate what you are actually doing so one can’t even just ape your movements. The P/E10 seems to indicate that you would be largely out of equities. So you have been sitting on the sidelines for a number of years and intend to do so until the P/E10 ratio drops significantly. Meaning you could very well be out of equities for half a decade or more? I could just sell now too and wait but having stayed invested for an additional couple of years would put me in a much better situation than you. Would you agree with this?

If you could please outline how you actually implement your VII and the return you have had so far I think that would be very beneficial. The fact that you don’t very clearly makes it seem that you have something to hide. Based on what I’ve read when asked this directly you try and talk your way out of it used car salesmen style.

Please respond directly to my questions without pulling in unnecessary conspiracy theories etc. Specifically how exactly are you implementing this VII strategy and what has been the track record thus far.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Uh, oh Rob. Someone is on to you. Note the link someone gave to Shillers recent comments about how is still in the market and to not use CAPE for market timing. It seems there is a big whole in your boat and it is taking on water very quickly.

  2. Rob says

    Note the link someone gave to Shillers recent comments about how is still in the market and to not use CAPE for market timing.

    I am not able to respond because I have not seen the link, Anonymous.

    Can you provide it?

    Rob

  3. Rob says

    I haven’t read the Goon Central comments. But I’ve now read the article.

    I disagree strongly with what Shiller is saying here.

    I of course agree that the P/E10 value could go to 35. None of the research of the past 33 years tells us how high P/E10 can go. So he is 100 percent right re that one.

    When he says “it’s not a clear signal yet,” he seems to be trying to use P/E1o to engage in short-term timing. ALL of the peer-reveiwed research (even pre-Shiller) tells us that that cannot possibly work. The idea that P/E10 can be used for short-term timing is just nuts. Shiller is of course right to reject the idea. But he should not need to say this. I know of not a single Valuation-Informed Indexer who has ever suggested in any way, shape or form that P/E10 can be used to engage in successful short-term timing.

    He says “it’s not time to bail out.” It’s never time for the typical investor to bail out. Stock prices can always go higher, just as Shiller indicated in his other comments. So it makes sense for the typical investor to keep 25 to 30 percent of his portfolio in stocks even at times of insanely high valuations. Even if the P/E10 value went to 35, it would make sense for most investors to keep a small percentage of his portfolio in stocks. It could go up to 45. Or it could remain at 35 for a good amount of time.

    There are VII strategies that call for some investors to go to zero stock allocations at specified P/E10 levels. I think those strategies make perfect sense. So I wouldn’t criticize anyone who elected to “bail out” at today’s prices. But I also would not criticize anyone who went with a 20 percent or 30 percent stock allocation at today’s prices. It’s a judgment call as to which way to play it. And of course all investors need to take their personal circumstances into account.

    Shiller says that he is at 50 percent stocks and that younger people might want to go with even higher stock allocations. That is at complete variance with what he said shortly following the 2008 crash. He said then that it would not be safe to get back into stocks until the P/E10 had dropped below 10. Telling people that it is okay to go with a stock allocation of greater than 50 percent given where things stand today is exceedingly dangerous advice, in my assessment. I find this particular comment of Shiller’s shocking and even somewhat shameful.

    The author of the article says that Shiller has said many times that P/E10 is not a good tool for timing the market. I follow these things closely and I am 99.999 percent sure that Shiller has never said that. He has certainly said that P/E10 cannot be used for short-term timing. There is zero evidence that it can be used for short-term timing. The peer-reviewed research that I co-authored with Wade Pfau shows that P/E10 has been an effective tool for long-term timing for 140 years now. If Shiller has ever said that P/E10 cannot be used for long-term timing, then he is wrong (according to the peer-reviewed research in this field). I don’t believe for two seconds that he has ever said this.

    Shiller is saying dangerous stuff here. But nothing he says undermines the findings of the research that Wade and I produced together. The fact that the grandfather of VII would say such things publicly shows once again how imperative it is that the Ban on Honest Posting be lifted and that everyone affected by the economic crisis (and that’s all of us!) participate in a national debate on what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research in this field tells us about how stock investing works.

    Shiller doesn’t get it all. He’s in very good company re that one. He is a leader in this field. We all should be doing all that we can to see that he DOES get it all and that he helps us spread the word to the millions of middle-class investors who very much need to learn the realities.

    Rob

  4. Rob says

    I’ve looked through the Goon Central comments a second time and there is one comment by Dab that I think is worth at least a little bit of comment.

    Dab says:

    as for shiller: strikes me as a fancy way of arguing that the market always returns to some norm or mean….um….what if it doesn’t? what if what we see now is the new mean? how’s that muck up your market timing plan?

    The issue is how stock prices are determined. Buy-and-Hold posits that price changes are the result of unforeseen economic or political developments. That makes intuitive sense to lots of people. If it were so, market timing would obviously be impossible. To time the market effectively, you would need to be able to see into the future.

    Shiller’s 1981 research showed that it is NOT unforeseen economic and political developments that cause stock price changes. It is shifts in investor EMOTIONS. Investor emotions can of course be influenced by economic and political developments. But it is investor emotions that are the driver. This means that the price changes can be partly or entirely irrational. If it is emotion that drives stock prices, there is no reason to believe that the price that applies at any particular point of time is correct. The number on your portfolio statement is the product of investor emotion. It is not something in which you should place any confidence.

    How did Shiller show that it is not economic developments determining stock prices?

    If it were, price changes would be random. That’s why the title of the famous book is “A Random Walk Down Wall Street.” There of course could be streaks of positive changes and streaks of negative changes. A random process can produce streaks in either direction. But a random process cannot produce 140 years of results in which the valuation level ALWAYS plays the major role in determining the long-term return. The odds against seeing the results that Shiller produced in a market in which price changes are determined by unforeseen economic and political developments are probably a million to one or lower. That sort of thing just cannot happen.

    What’s going on is that investor emotions are determining things. But those same investor emotions are causing those of us who follow Buy-and-Hold strategies to feel an intense desire that those citing the academic research of the past 33 years be silenced. The 33 years of research is 100 percent inconsistent with their investing strategy and it causes them intense emotional pain to have this reality brought to their attention.

    You ask — What if everything is stood on its head tomorrow and stocks begin performing in ways in which they have never performed before?

    Anything can happen. It is theoretically possible that I could wake up tomorrow morning and find that by flapping my arms I can fly over traffic jams. Does the chance that that might happen make it a good idea for me to sell my car?

    I say “no.” When it comes to your retirement money, you should at least take into consideration the 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research (based on 140 years of historical returns) showing us how stock investing really works.

    My take.

    Rob

  5. Anonymous says

    Rob,

    Your head must be exploding. First, Wade went against you and now Shiller is not only invested in the market, but says you shouldn’t use CAPE for market timing. Funny how all the experts are wrong when it doesn’t line up with your story. I guess Shiller is now a goon that is following the buy and hold mafia and will be headed to prison according to your talking points.

  6. Anonymous says

    Looks like you just lost your last, best, supposed guru, Rob. What now? Time to hit he old folks home to troll for another slightly dodgey and dizzy retired civil servant?

  7. Rob says

    Is Shiller now a Goon too, Rob?

    Shiller is not a Goon, Anonymous.

    But he is certainly a human.

    Goonishness is ignorance or sin. All of us humans are subject to some degree of Goonishness from time to time. Shiller is no exception.

    Nor is Bogle.

    Nor am I.

    I held back from posting about the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies from May 1999 to May 2002. I made excuses. I lived in fear. I rationalized bad behavior. That’s Goonishness, Anonymous.

    Shiller is a flawed human who has done more to help millions of middle-class investors escape goonishness than anyone else alive.

    But, yes, his suggestion that it would be okay for some young investors to go today with stock allocations of greater than 50 percent is bad stuff, in my assessment. He’s allowed to say it. I presume that he really believes it. But I am not able to square that particular statement with the 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research that began with the publication of Shiller’s “revolutionary” 1981 finding that valuations affect long-term returns.

    Maybe he’ll do better next time, you know?

    Maybe we all will.

    Maybe I am messing up today in ways that I cannot see but that Shiller could spot in two seconds if he read the words I am putting forward here.

    None of us get it all right all the time. My sincere take is that Shiller was having an off day on the day he did the interview cited in that article.

    But I wouldn’t call him a Goon. I would call him a Goon Slayer.

    Rob

  8. Rob says

    Looks like you just lost your last, best, supposed guru, Rob. What now? Time to hit he old folks home to troll for another slightly dodgey and dizzy retired civil servant?

    Emotion piled on top of emotion piled on top of emotion.

    Not my particular cup of tea, Anonymous.

    Rob

  9. Rob says

    Your head must be exploding.

    My head has been in a constant state of explosion since the morning of May 13, 2002.

    We are the luckiest generation of investors ever to walk Planet Earth. We now know how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent while increasing returns by enough to permit us to retire five to ten years earlier than we ever before imagined possible. And our response as a society has been to spend 12 years arguing over whether honest posting on the last 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research should be permitted on the internet or not. That makes sense!

    I somehow think that my head will survive this huge “explosion” given all that it has survived up until today.

    Take good care, man.

    Rob

  10. Rob says

    Shiller is not only invested in the market, but says you shouldn’t use CAPE for market timing

    Except he didn’t say that, as I noted above.

    The fact that you feel a need to post dishonestly re this point shows that you lack confidence in your strategy.

    That’s the emotional reality here.

    Rob

  11. Rob says

    Funny how all the experts are wrong when it doesn’t line up with your story.

    Every word that I have put forward for 12 years now is rooted in the findings of the last 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research in this field, Anonymous.

    There was a time when the Buy-and-Holders thought it was a good idea to consult the peer-reviewed academic research when forming their investing strategies. That’s the kind of Buy-and-Hold that I can get behind. That’s the kind of Buy-and-Hold that now goes under the name “Valuation-Informed Indexing.”

    Yes, I say that the “experts” show themselves to be something less than that when they ignore 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research. I don’t claim any personal expertise. I say that we all should be posting honestly re the academic research.

    If we had opened the internet up to honest posting on the morning of May 13, 2002, Shiller would learned too much in the intervening time to say some of the words he put forward in that article. And we all would be better off as a result. We all benefit from knowing how stock investing really works, not just Rob Bennett and not just the Valuation-Informed Indexers. If the Buy-and-Holders were thinking clearly, they would be as strongly in favor of the idea of permitting honest posting as I am.

    That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter, in any event.

    Rob

  12. Rob says

    First, Wade went against you

    The breakthrough research that Wade and I co-authored has disappeared from the peer-reviewed journal in which we published it.

    Good point, Anonymous.

    I forgot.

    Rob

  13. Anonymous says

    He’s allowed to say it.

    How come *he* can say it, but you tell everyone else they are getting prison, Rob?

    Double standard?

  14. Anonymous says

    “Except he didn’t say that, as I noted above.”

    It’s what the article says in plain English, Rob. Are you calling the reporter a liar? Have you drafted a response to the author and/or his publisher? If not, why not?

  15. Rob says

    Shiller did not put forward a death threat.

    Shiller did not demand an unjustified board banning.

    Shiller did not advance tens of thousands of acts of defamation.

    Shiller did not threaten to get an academic researcher fired from his job.

    But you of course knew that, Anonymous.

    I have offered to help you in any way I can.

    If I agree to post dishonestly re safe withdrawal rates, I am participating in the cover-up myself. If I do that, I am committing financial fraud myself and ensuring a prison sentence for myself.

    Do you really think that is ever going to happen? For what freakin’ purpose would I do such a thing? It’s one thing to work to get your prison sentence reduced. That’s an act of charity. To get myself assigned a prison sentence is an act of INSANITY.

    You need to start making an effort to think more realistically.

    I am the best friend you have in the world and I am the person best situated to help you out.

    When you put up abusive posts aimed at me, you hurt me. But you also hurt yourself more. Does hurting me give you such a kick that you are willing to hurt yourself far more as the price of doing so?

    Not this boy. Find someone else when it comes to that sort of weirdo stuff.

    Too, too strange, my old friend.

    Rob

  16. Rob says

    It’s what the article says in plain English, Rob.

    I have been arguing that we should permit honest posting for 12 years now, Anonymous.

    If we had been having a national debate on the relative merits of Buy-and-Hold vs. Valuation-Informed Indexing for the past 12 years, the reporter obviously would understand the importance of the distinction between short-term timing and long-term timing.

    It is you Goons who have been blocking the debate, not me and not that reporter.

    You are the one who is responsible for the financial losses that have followed from your acts of financial fraud, not me and not that reporter.

    I have posted honestly about what you have done and I have posted honestly about what Shiller has done and I have posted honestly re what the reporter has done.

    I think it would be fair to say that I am 100 percent clean re all this.

    I intend to keep it that way.

    Rob

  17. Anonymous says

    “If I agree to post dishonestly re safe withdrawal rates, I am participating in the cover-up myself. If I do that, I am committing financial fraud myself and ensuring a prison sentence for myself.”

    But, isn’t that what Shiller just did (but for PE10 instead of SWR)? If not, please explain the distinction that YOU think you see, but others don’t.

  18. Rob says

    I know for certain that the Old School SWR studies get the numbers wrong. It is an obvious case of financial fraud for me to say that I think those studies are analytically valid.

    There are other good and smart people who believe that the studies are analytically valid. They are doing nothing wrong by saying so. The reality is quite to the contrary. They are helping us all out by sharing their sincere views with us.

    There is zero reason to believe that Shiller did not express his sincere views in that interview.

    I don’t agree with everything he said. But it could be that he is right and I am wrong. If that’s the case, he is doing me a favor by stating his sincere views. It might be that I will re-read the interview at some later date and that his words will bring me around to something that I need to discover.

    There is no positive value in a death threat. There is no positive value in a demand for an unjustified board banning. There is no positive value in putting forward tens of thousands of acts of defamation. There is no positive value in threatening to get an academic researcher fired from his job.

    That’s why we have as a nation adopted laws making those acts felonies when they are taken in support of a massive act of financial fraud.

    That’s why you are going to prison and Shiller is not and I am not.

    But you of course have known all that for a long, long. long, long time now.

    Rob

  19. Anonymous says

    Rob, did a Goon write this, blithely (and criminally?) ignoring 33 years of Peer Reviewed Scientific Research, along with your Peer Reviewed Co-authored Paper published in a Prestigious Journal?

    “…we have professional economists who could defend any viewpoint with statistics, and they do that. Economics is not an exact science. I wanted to be a scientist when I was a child. And I’ve been lamenting ever since that I go into a field where I just can’t be exact, and I don’t think anybody can. What is the economy going to do next? I mean, are we going back into another bubble economy? I don’t know. I don’t see how anybody knows that.”

  20. Anonymous says

    Rob,

    When can we expect your new You tube video where you say you know more than Shiller?

  21. Anonymous says

    “(a tip of the hate to Drip Guy, who posted it at Goon Central)”

    intentional or unintentional, Rob, it still gave me a chuckle!

    LOL

    Seriously though, you have to be deeply disappointed either in Shiller or in some VERY faulty reportage, no?

  22. Rob says

    Rob, did a Goon write this, blithely (and criminally?) ignoring 33 years of Peer Reviewed Scientific Research, along with your Peer Reviewed Co-authored Paper published in a Prestigious Journal?

    “…we have professional economists who could defend any viewpoint with statistics, and they do that. Economics is not an exact science. I wanted to be a scientist when I was a child. And I’ve been lamenting ever since that I go into a field where I just can’t be exact, and I don’t think anybody can. What is the economy going to do next? I mean, are we going back into another bubble economy? I don’t know. I don’t see how anybody knows that.”

    I don’t agree with all of those words, Anonymous.

    But they all sound sincere to me.

    I think you are bringing up another reason why we need to have the national debate. Shiller’s research (combined with the 33 years of peer-reviewed research that was built on top of it) DOES tell us important things about what the economy is going to do down the road (not in the next year, but in the next ten years). That’s hugely important stuff.

    We ALL should be talking about the far-reaching implications of Shiller’s findings on a daily basis. That obviously includes Shiller himself. He has not been able to see all of the implications of his findings. No one can appreciate all the implications of his own work. We all learn by talking things over with others and gaining the benefit of their feedback.

    I hope we are in agreement that we need to bring the Ban on Honest Posting to a full and complete stop by the close of business today, Anonymous. This is exciting!

    Rob

  23. Anonymous says

    “I hope we are in agreement that we need to bring the Ban on Honest Posting to a full and complete stop by the close of business today, Anonymous. This is exciting!”

    Word just came in from Goon Central that the Honest Posting Restoration Project all got completed just this afternoon, Rob! So now, only trolls, idiots, and liars will be banned from here on out. Why not test out your old log-ons on the dozen or so boards you were previously banned from, to see if your accounts have been reactivated! Good luck!

  24. Rob says

    When can we expect your new You tube video where you say you know more than Shiller?

    The reference here is to a podcast I did with the title “I Know More About Stock Investing Than John Bogle — and You Can Too!”

    I can envision doing one like that re Shiller, Anonymous. I DID do a podcast with the title “Shiller Pulls His Punches” and I have written a number of columns in which I cast a critical eye at some comments he had made along the lines of those he made in the interview we are discussing here.

    There has been a theme in the discussions going back to the first day in which some seem to view it as a horrible thing that I would know more about certain aspects of stock investing than recognized experts in the field. I come at that sort of thing from a 100 percent opposite perspective. I see it as my job to generate the best insights of which I am capable. If I am able to do work of which Bogle and Shiller are not yet capable, I see that as a wonderful, wonderful thing. It’s what I am always TRYING to do. The idea that I should apologize for going past Bogle or Shiller or anyone else is just nuts to me.

    And the idea that Bogle or Shiller or anyone else should be troubled by me going past them ALSO seems nuts to me. Bogle is a giant. Shiller is a giant. Are they really so insecure that they are upset to see some guy whose only claim to expertise in this field is that he has figured out how to get stuff posted to the internet has raised some challenges to their ideas? Really?

    If what I am saying is right, Bogle and Shiller should be thrilled. They can add my insights to their arsenal and thereby make their stuff that much more powerful.

    If what I am saying is wrong, I think it would be fair to say that that is going to be exposed if honest debate is permitted.

    So I sure don’t see any problem here.

    I believe that I have taken Valuation-Informed Indexing to places that Shiller has never taken it, just as I have taken Buy-and-Hold to places that Bogle has never taken. I am proud of that. I have never given the idea of apologizing for it two seconds of consideration.

    I am 100 percent happy to work with Bogle and Shiller. I would be thrilled. I respect both of them, I like both of them and I owe a huge intellectual debt to both of them.

    What’s the bad part of all this? I see it as good stuff piled on top of good stuff piled on top if good stuff. If I were in Bogle’s shoes or Shiller’s shows I would be THRILLED if there were some fellow out on the internet keeping me honest and pointing out mistakes when I made them.

    Your suggestion is that Bogle and Shiller are not thrilled. Perhaps. There certainly is evidence of that re Bogle and perhaps a tiny bit re Shiller. But I would have to hear direct language coming fro their own mouths to adopt your view of their reaction to my insights. It’s an uncharitable interpretation of their behavior. I need to see very clear evidence that that’s the problem before I am willing to conclude that that really is the case.

    There is some sort of funny business going on. Of that I have no doubt whatsoever. And wounded personal pride has indeed been an issue over the 12 years. I hope that that is not the driver with either of my friends Jack or Robert. In any event, I would be letting them down if I didn’t continue to share with them the important stuff I continue to learn on an almost daily basis.

    So I certainly intend to continue to share and to do everything that I possibly can do to help them both feel comfortable that nothing that I will ever do will detract from the very, very. very important work that both of them have done. That is already written in the book and cannot be changed at this point.

    I hope that helps a bit.

    Rob

  25. Rob says

    you have to be deeply disappointed either in Shiller or in some VERY faulty reportage, no?

    Disappointed. Not deeply disappointed.

    There are some WONDERFUL Shiller comment at the link that provides the full text of the interview.

    Shiller: The whole idea that the stock market reflects fundamentals is, I think, wrong. It really reflects psychology. The aggregate stock market reflects psychology more than fundamentals. This is where maybe I really do differ from Gene Fama. I don’t think he would say that.

    That’s precisely right. That’s the revolutionary change with which as a society we are only today beginning to come to terms. There’s some super stuff in the interview and some average stuff and some weak stuff.

    The only thing that really sets me off is where he says that some young investors might today be okay going with a stock allocation of greater than 50 percent. I’d sure like to know how he came up that one, you know? That one doesn’t fit what we know from the research and the data.

    If he said that Warren Buffett could go with a stock allocation of more than 50 percent, I’d be fine with that. Buffett buys individual stocks. There are always individual stocks selling at good prices. So Buffett could do it. And I presume that Shiller could do it. But the suggestion here is that ordinary investors could do it. That I do not buy.

    There is some room for individual judgment with all this stuff, to be sure. I could be wrong. If I am wrong, it’s a good thing that we have people like Shiller saying something different. My definition of hell (and probably yours too!) would be a world in which people were exposed to only Rob Bennett’s opinions on investing 24./7. So there’s a way to look at this as a possible good thing.

    I cannot say that I personally buy into the “more than 50 percent stocks” thing for investors other than experts like Buffett and Shiller, however. I have no problem with 30 percent. Perhaps it is possible to make a case for pushing it to 35 percent or 40 percent. Saying “more than 50 percent” for an ordinary investor is a bridge too far for this guy.

    But I have been wrong before, you know? There’s always that possibility that it is happening once again.

    I would in all likelihood be the last to know if that were the case.

    Rob

  26. Anonymous says

    The idea that I should apologize for going past Bogle or Shiller or anyone else is just nuts to me.

    Oh, it’s nuts to me too. But for a far different reason than you perceive.

  27. Rob says

    Why not test out your old log-ons on the dozen or so boards you were previously banned from, to see if your accounts have been reactivated! Good luck!

    I’ll start with Goon Central and see how things work out there, Anonymous.

    You know the old saying — As Goes Goon Central Goes the World!

    Rob

  28. Rob says

    Drats!

    It appears that there still might be a tiny glitch or two that needs to be worked out of the system!

    Just my luck!

    Rob

  29. Rob says

    Oh, it’s nuts to me too. But for a far different reason than you perceive.

    Bogle and Shiller are perfect beings, Anonymous.

    I see that now.

    I take it all back.

    Rob

  30. X Files says

    Bogle and Shiller are perfect beings

    They’re not perfect. They’re just vastly smarter, wealthier, stronger, faster, happier, more productive, and better looking than you are.

  31. Rob says

    That’s emotion talking, X.

    If you were confident in your investing strategy, you wouldn’t say such things.

    That’s what Buy-and-Hold does to people. It’s bad stuff.

    A true research-based strategy just doesn’t make you feel that way.

    Rob

  32. Rob says

    Were either Bogle or Shiller aware of the errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies in May 2002?

    If they were, why didn’t they say anything?

    I put up my famous post pointing out the errors in those studies on the morning of May 13, 2002.

    If I was ahead of Bogle and Shiller re that issue, what is to say that I could not be ahead of them re other issues?

    No one person knows everything, X. It just doesn’t work that way.

    Bogle said in his book that, when people discovered mistakes in his work, he WANTED them to tell him about them.

    That’s the Bogle I love, not the one who is too afraid of Mel Linduaer to speak up in support of the hundreds of community members at the Bogleheads Forum who have expressed a desire that honest posting be permitted there.

    Bogle has hurt those people in a very serious way. He should be ashamed of that.

    It doesn’t mean that all the wonderful stuff he has done didn’t happen. That stuff is real.

    But so is the failure to speak up about Lindauer. And that is very, very serious stuff that hurts lots of good people every day.

    I had the courage to stand up to Lindauer and Greaney. Bogle did not. That’s the bottom line here.

    And personal integrity is a big part of what it takes to offer good investing advice. My take is that it is the single most important thing, far more important than intellect or experience.

    In that department, we know that Jack Bogle is at least somewhat lacking. We also know who has demonstrated his true caring for the man by speaking up about it and who has failed to do so.

    My take.

    Rob

  33. Anonymous says

    “That’s emotion talking, X.

    If you were confident in your investing strategy, you wouldn’t say such things.”

    I think you are talking about yourself, Rob.

  34. Rob says

    I don’t see it that way, Anonymous.

    But if you are right, I probably wouldn’t.

    So who the heck knows?

    I wish you well.

    Rob

  35. Anonymous says

    It is funny how Wade is either wrong or a liar if it doesn’t line up with what Rob says. Now that Shiller also says stuff that doesn’t fit with Rob’s story, he is also labelled by Rob as being wrong. Of course, in Rob’s fantasy world, Jack, Larry, Bill, etc. are all wrong on the things that Rob thinks is wrong.

    I guess we are left with only one real expert in Rob’s fantasy world and that is Rob himself. I guess that is why Rob has had more personal success and has built a vast wealth beyond all of those mentioned.

  36. Rob says

    All you are stating here is a tautology, Anonymous. If Person A believes something different from what Person B believes, Person A believes that Person B is wrong about that thing. So what?

    We all learn together by creating an environment in which we all feel free to state our sincere views. There’s no room in investing discussions for death threats and demands for unjustified board bannings and tens of thousands of acts of defamation and threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs.

    Had Greaney acknowledged the errors he made in his retirement study within 24 hours of the time he learned of them, there never would have been one moment of nastiness. Because Greaney tried instead to cover up his error and because you Goons engaged in wildly improper behavior to help him in that effort, you are now stuck years later covering up the cover-up of a cover-up of a cover-up. Yuck!

    It’s a positive that people coming from different sets of life experiences have different views on investing. Hearing the full mix of legitimate views helps us all. It is a loving thing for someone to share his sincere views with us. It is a hateful thing for you Goons to intimidate us into pretending that it doesn’t make any difference whether retirement studies get the numbers right or not.

    Getting the numbers right matters. And maintaining one’s personal integrity matters. I will continue posting honestly on SWRs and on many other critically important investment-related topics.

    Wade wants to be able to post honestly too. So does Jack. So does Larry. So does Bill. So do all the others.

    To make that happen, we need to as a society acknowledge that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage, a mistake (however well-intentioned). We are obviously not there today. But there have been lots of signs over the past 12 years that we are in the process of working up the courage to move from the horrible place we are today to the wonderful place that the Buy-and-Hold Pioneers intended to lead us too all along. Once we work our way to the other side of The Big Black Mountain, I think it is fair to say there there will not be one person (including my good friend Jack Bogle) who will ever be urging us to return to the investing strategy that brought on the biggest economic crisis in U.S. history.

    I naturally wish you the best of luck with whatever investing strategies you elect to pursue.

    Rob

  37. Rob says

    I guess we are left with only one real expert in Rob’s fantasy world and that is Rob himself.

    It’s not that all of today’s experts are not capable of great insights. They are. It’s that they must acknowledge openly that Buy-and-Hold was a mistake to be able to engage in new learning experiences. Anyone who thinks he already knows everything there is to know about a subject has thereby made himself incapable of learning anything new about that subject.

    I say that I know more about stock investing today than my good friend Jack Bogle. I certainly don’t say that I am smarter than Jack or that I have more experience in the field than Jack. I have learned hugely important things from Jack in the past and I have hopes of learning hugely important things from Jack in the future.

    My huge learning experience began on the day I worked up the courage to post about the errors in Greaney’s study. I was a Buy-and-Hold myself until then. Jack has not yet publicly acknowledged the errors in the Old School studies nor has he publicly demanded the immediate correction of those studies. That is why he has fallen so far behind. It is certainly not that he is dumb or incapable.

    I am the one trying to get Jack back on track by asking him to deal with the Lindauer matter. Once we open the internet to honest posting on SWRs and lots of other critically important investment-related topics, Jack will be learning new things on a daily basis and will be offering us fresh and powerful investing insights on a daily basis as well. It’s you Goons who are holding him back with your threats and intimidation and general ugliness.

    There’s a reason why the published rules of every board and blog permit honest posting, Anonynous. There’s a reason why the people of the United States elected to make the tactics employed by you Goon felonies under the laws of the United States. People who came before us learned how dangerous this stuff is and took steps to insure that no one would ever engage in those sorts of tactics.

    We are in the process of relearning a very important lesson — We are all flawed humans, not one of us knows it all, and we all need to let the other guy have his say even if we disagree strongly with what he is saying.

    That’s my sincere take re these terribly important matters, in any event.

    Rob

  38. Rob says

    It is funny how Wade is either wrong or a liar if it doesn’t line up with what Rob says.

    There’s nothing funny about the threats that you Goons made to get Wade fired from his job, Anonymous.

    You were likely going to prison before those threats were made. Those threats sealed the deal.

    Wade has every right in the world to post honestly and to do honest research. So does every other academic researcher.

    And every one of the millions of middle-class investors whose lives are in the process of being destroyed by your 12-year Campaign of Terror against our board and blog communities has the right to learn from people like Wade what the historical return data of the past 140 years really teaches us all about how stock investing works in the real world.

    Wade’s behavior in submitting to you Goons was shameful. Your behavior in threatening him (and lots and lots of others) was worse. And Jack Bogle’s failure to take action when he learned of the threats is the most shameful thing of all, given Bogle’s stature in this field. When a person achieves the level of popularity that Jack has achieved, there are responsibilities that follow from that.

    I have spoken out in opposition to you Goons in clear and firm and certain and uncompromising language. Has Jack Bogle done the same? Does Jack’s failure to speak out not reflect on his personal integrity and on his competence to offer helpful investing advice? Is personal integrity not a big part of what it takes to do a good job of advising people how to invest their retirement money?

    The question answers itself.

    Rob

  39. Anonymous says

    The Internet is open to honest posting, but sites are free to ban trolls like you. The only defamation I see is from you when you say I threatened Wade. I have never done so and you have yet to prove anyone else has as well. All you do is post silly links to your own posts and that is not proof. Jack, Bill, Larry, etc. could probably careless about what you think as you aren’t anywhere near their level of investing knowledge. Your posts about how the want to post honestly is a bunch of hogwash. The only one around here having an honesty problem is you. As for prison, I think you have already put your family in a mental and financial prison. The rest is just your fantasy.

    I am sure you will either delete this post or try to come back with your silly canned and repetitive comments. It will just prove the points made by Tron.

  40. Rob says

    We obviously disagree on a number of points.

    Please know that you have my best and warmest wishes for a healthy and happy and prosperous New Year in any event.

    Rob

  41. Anonymous says

    ” the published rules of every board and blog permit honest posting”

    Another Bennett fantasy/lie, often on re-display in his now familiar series of bogus claims, even though it has been many times disproved/discredited/dismissed.

    In Rob’s warped mind, perhaps he believes that this is how it should be; how it MUST be once he is anointed Grand PooBah to Lord over the unwashed masses, gathered to hear and obey his pronouncements.

    But it simply is not so. It is just not true. It is obviously, provably, laughably false. Always has been always will be. Any person can go to pretty much any random, privately owned blog, site, chatboard, etc and satisfy themselves that TOS are not only highly variable, but they are almost never insisting on honesty or accuracy, or even saying it is specifically permitted! What many of them do say is that the owners and admins (and even editors if there are any) actually disavow any claim for accuracy of contributions, and furthermore, many-to-most sites operate without any formal TOS being posted at all, period! In fact, this very site we are on, has no such clause demanding, allowing, or speaking to “honest posting”. Rob doesn’t eat his own cooking, whether it relates to personal finance, investing, truthfulness, or blogging. He, like most would-be-despots thinks rules are for those OTHER people, not for him.

    He would probably be willing to change the TOS to include such a phrase, then backdate it, but I doubt he has the technical skills to even append or modify his own TOS on his own site. Such is the state of affairs with the “leader” of Lucky Seven, ready to take over the world of investing.

  42. Rob says

    Most sites encourage death threats and demands for unjustified board bannings and tens of thousands of acts of defamation and threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs.

    I forgot.

    Rob

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