“I Believe That Jack Bogle Is a Good Man Deep Inside. I Believe That I Will Not Even Need to File Papers to Collect the $500 Million. I Believe That My Good Friend Jack Is Going to Take Care of Things Once He Sees What He Has Done.”

Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:

So, what is your backup plan to cover college expenses for the children and what will you do to address any long term care issues? Are you counting on that $500 million legal settlement to cover these items?

There are two possible paths forward, Anonymous.

Path One is that we open the internet up to honest posting on all investing issues following the next price crash. If we elect Path One, I think it would be fair to say that I will be one of the richest men alive in the United States.

Buy-and-Hold is the past, Valuation-Informed Indexing is the future. I have spent 12 years developing the VII concept and my site has a wealth of materials relating to it. There is no other site that has anything even remotely close to what mine has. The brutally abusive tactics of the Buy-and-Hold Con Men and you Goons has kept away all competition.

Then, yes, there is the $500 million settlement on top of that. That’s a big, big, big bunch of money.

I think it would be more than fair to say that money is not going to be an issue for me or any of the Bennett clan for many generations to come in the event that as a society we elect to follow Path One.

Path Two is that we keep the Ban on Honest Posting in effect following the next crash and we all go down together. That would make me very, very, very sad. I suppose that you Goons will say that you “won” if that happens. What the heck will you have won? Our economic system will collapse. If our economic system collapses, there’s a darn good chance that our political system will collapse not long after. So you Goons will be in no better shape than me. At least I will enjoy the small consolation of knowing that I gave this thing the very best effort I could give it.

You believe in Buy-and-Hold. So you don’t think that there is even going to be another price crash. Or at least you think there is a good chance that there will not be another price crash and you are hoping that there will not be one. I get that. What do you want me to do about it? There’s not a thing in the world that I can do!

I have to go by what I believe is going to happen. I have spent 12 years developing the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept and I firmly believe that the two possibilities that I have described above are the only two realistic possibilities. I could be wrong, of course. Anybody can be wrong about anything. If it turns out that I am wrong, I guess I will wish that I played it some other way.

But I don’t exactly have a big bunch of pleasant alternatives, do I? The one deal you Goons have ever offered is that I be permitted to post at all of the boards and blogs in exchange for agreeing never to post honestly about safe withdrawal rates again. Do you not get it that, if I do that, I am participating in the 12-year cover-up myself? Which is the very act of financial fraud that I am always saying that you are going to go to prison for following the next crash. Do you really think that there is even a one-in-a-billion chance that I am going to agree to commit a felony at this point? That would be insane. That is obviously not going to happen.

So I don’t have any choices here. If things go as I expect, I will end up as one of the richest men in the United States and get to do a whole big bunch of good for millions of middle-class Americans in the bargain. If things go in the way I hope they do not go, I will not be super-rich but no one else will be either because our economic system will collapse. And in neither event will I land in prison, which is where I would land if I agreed to your “deal.”

What do you seriously expect I would do other than precisely what I have done?

I am going to do the best I can given the cards that I was dealt. If I end up being one of the richest men in the United States, good for me. I earned it, you know? I sure don’t plan on offering up any apologies. I have done amazing work. I will be happy to accept amazing amounts of money for it. And I do intend to use 5 percent of the settlement money to finance a number of top-notch start-up blogs that will help to spread the word on VII. I also plan to use another 5 percent to promote this site all over the internet, which should make PassionSaving.com one of the biggest personal finance sites on the internet.

The “backup plan” is that we all go down together. I hate that idea. But I suppose it is a possibility, given some of the stuff that I have seen happen over the past 12 years. What’s YOUR backup plan in that event? In the event that the entire economy collapses, you are no better off than me, Anonymous.

Your backup plan is a fantasy. You have elected to just pretend that the last 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research doesn’t exist and to believe that this is going to be the first time in history that a Buy-and-Hold strategy works for one or two long-term investors and that you will be one of the one or two. Well, good luck with that, you know? If you believe it, you believe it. I cannot stop you from believing it. But I sure am not able to believe such a thing. So I obviously am not going to choose anything like that path for myself and my family.

The plan is to continue posting honestly. I love my country. I love what the Buy-and-Hold Pioneers set out to do. I believe that the economic wreckage we are going to see following the next price crash is going to melt Jack Bogle’s heart. I believe he is a good man deep inside. He is one of my heroes. I believe he is going to come through for all of us in a big way. I believe that I will not even need to file papers to collect the $500 million. I believe that my good friend Jack is going to take care of things once he sees what he has done and remembers that I was there trying to steer him in the right direction for years before it happened (when no one else was willing to stick his or her neck out for him).

We have each chosen our paths. Now we will need to wait a bit and see how things play out. Does that answer your question?

There is no amount of money you or anyone else could ever pay me to get me to agree to post dishonestly on the numbers that my friends use to plan their retirements. It’s not just that I decided against that. I never gave the idea two seconds of consideration. Not in 12 years. I wouldn’t give the idea two seconds of consideration in 12 billion years. Asking me to post dishonestly re the numbers that my friends use to plan their retirements is like asking a dog to meow or asking a cat to bark. It doesn’t happen in this world, okay? That one is never going to happen.

And there has never been any other option presented to me. So the plan is to post honestly and to make the best of it. That was the plan on the morning of May 13, 2002, and that is the plan today and that will be the plan 12 billions years from today if it comes to that.

I wish you well with your choices, crazy though I may and do think them to be, Anonymous. I bear you no ill will. I intend to sue you. But that’s to collect money that is mine, not to seek some sort of retribution.

Anyway, I hope that helps you to understand the “plan” a little better. The plan is not really about money. Money is secondary here. The primary thing is protecting my personal integrity, and , most of all, preventing myself from landing in a prison cell by going along with your stupid demand that I join you Goons in your massive act of financial fraud. Find someone else, you know? No can do.

If I end up being one of the richest men in the United States, that will be happy news for me, even if that was not the primary goal at any point of this saga. I’ll take it. I definitely believe I have earned every penny of the $500 million. But my wife doesn’t like to count it until it is cash in hand. So be it. But even if I were to collect only $400 million or $100 million, that’s better than a long prison sentence, in my assessment. Call me madcap.

My best and warmest wishes to you and yours.

Rob

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    So what you are saying is that our economy will crash unless everyone listens to you. Have I got that right?

  2. Rob says

    You have it right except for the Goon tone you add to it, Anonymous.

    It’s not just me saying that valuations affect long-term returns. Robert Shiller was awarded a Nobel prize for the research he published in 1981 showing that. That “revolutionary” (Shiller’s word) finding changed investing analysis in a fundamental way. We’ve virtually eliminated the risks of stock investing. We’ve discovered what causes economic crises and how to prevent them. We’ve learned what we need to know to be able to retire five to ten years sooner than we ever before thought possible.

    Except we haven’t quite yet carried the ball over the goal line. We remain stuck on that darn one-yard line. Humans!

    I will continue to argue that we should complete that final short pass and move on to better lives.

    And you’ll continue to burn with hate over the idea because millions of people will be living better lives after we do so and it wasn’t your idea.

    That’s your call, Anonymous. But I cannot help saying that I’m sure surely glad that I’m not you.

    My best and warmest wishes to you and yours, old friend.

    Rob

  3. Anonymous says

    What about path 3 in which you do not get your expected $500million and the economy does not collapse. What happens to your retirement plan then?

  4. Rob says

    In that event, I’ll have to make do the best I can, Anonymous.

    What happens if we get in a nuclear war and we all get blown up, you know? I cannot cover every eventuality. I love my country and I am doing the best I can to protect it from the worst financial setback it has experienced since the Great Depression. I am going to keep doing that. It would be insane to follow any other course.

    What you are describing is a situation we have never seen. You are asking me what happens if starting today the market behaves in a manner in which it has never behaved in 140 years.

    Could it happen? Sure, anything can happen.

    Am I going to stake my life on something that has never before happened happening this time? I am not.

    You have bet your life on something happening that has never before in history happened. I have staked my life on the market continuing to perform in the future at least somewhat as it has always performed in the past.

    Time will tell the tale.

    I don’t say that there’s zero chance that I will come up losers. I say that I feel a whole big bunch better betting my life on what 33 years of peer-reviewed research shows is so rather than on the phony promises of a bunch of Wall Street Con Men out to turn a quick, smelly buck.

    But to each his own, you know? I certainly wish you the best of luck with all your future endeavors regardless of what investing strategies you elect to pursue.

    Rob

  5. Anonymous says

    Rob,

    Are you not at a point in life where time has nearly run out on option 1 and 2 and that you are near a timeframe that option 3 has to be put in place.

  6. Rob says

    Have you noticed how I often remark that “I haven’t been willing to post dishonestly on the numbers that my friends use to plan their retirements for 12 years and I won’t be willing to do so for 12 billion years”? I didn’t choose that number carelessly, Anonymous. I have calculated that, at the end of 12 billion years, I will be running out of the funds needed to continue my campaign to open the internet to honest posting re SWRs and many other critically important investment-related topics.

    At that point, I think that I may need to be a bit more responsive to your intimidation tactics. We all need to make a living. We all must make an effort to be realistic re these sorts of matters. Is that not so?

    Rob

  7. Rob says

    Our society’s understanding of what is “realistic” in the investing advice realm is in the process of changing, Anonymous. That’s the entire point of the 12-year debate about whether honest posting on what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research says should be permitted or not.

    There was a day when it was not viewed as “realistic” for man to walk on the moon.

    There was a day when it was not viewed as “realistic” to think that people with black skin would ever be able to drink out of the same water fountains as people with white skin.

    There was a day when it was not viewed as “realistic” for people to be cured of all kinds of diseases from which people are cured on a daily basis today.

    Our views of what is “realistic” changes as time passes and as humankind makes big advances.

    There is no other field in which we have made the sorts of intellectual advances that we have made in the investing realm over the past three decades. Unfortunately, those advances have been so wonderful that the Buy-and-Holders feel that it makes them look bad for people to learn about them. We cannot let that hold us back any longer. The hurt feelings of the Buy-and-Holders have caused millions of people to lose their jobs and have put millions of people on a path leading to failed retirements. The Buy-and-Holders are going to have to get over their hurt feelings and let the rest of us take advantage of the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research.

    It is not great advances that are unrealistic in an ultimate sense. It is the massive case of financial fraud that we have seen with the 12-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School SWR studies that is truly unrealistic. This massive act of financial fraud will soon be coming to an end. I have said it and so it will be.

    It is you who are being unrealistic, Anonymous. There are reasons why as a society we have adopted laws making financial fraud a felony. It is because we don’t like it. Exploiting our emotional weakness for Get Rich Quick schemes has worked for you for a time. But that is a short-term strategy. If people did not have strong feelings about financial fraud, we never would have made it a felony in the first place.

    We will move forward in time. I am sure.

    My best and warmest wishes to you.

    Rob

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