Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Thousands of posts with many strongly differing opinions on the topic suggest they most certainly do. Assuming you behave like an adult and post respectfully. In fact, I could post your comments about 15% vs 1% expected return rates right now, and I would hardly be banned.
Of course, I’d post respectfully, not boorishly, being open to differing opinions on the matter, and realizing that the future is so random and uncertain that many outcomes are possible.
You’d be banned in two seconds flat if you posted a link to The Stock-Return Predictor, which gives people all the numbers they need in any easy-to-access form. Why?
My friend Brian put up a post there when the Wall Street Journal ran an article saying that I was right about safe withdrawal rates and he was banned in two seconds flat.
I think you are probably right that if someone posted on a single occasion the 15 percent and 1 percent numbers, they would not be banned. But if someone made it a consistent practice to provide people the information they need and to answer questions and all that sort of thing, they would certainly be threatened with a banning. If they continued to post honestly in the face of the intimidation tactics, they would be banned. Again — Why?
The test for the Lindauerheards is — Are you helping people to appreciate the dangers of Buy-and-Hold investing strategies? If you say that you personally are using a low withdrawal rate, no one cares. If you point out that the Old School SWR studies get the numbers wildly wrong, you are putting the Buy-and-Holders at risk of being sued for financial fraud and they will take action to stop you from giving people the information they need to protect themselves.
Is it “respectful” to point out that the 12-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School studies is the biggest act of financial fraud in the history of the United States? Is it “adult” to do so? I ask because in other fields of human endeavor it is considered 100 percent adult and respectful to post honestly. I would like to see honest posting permitted in the investing field as well. In fact, I insist on it. I refuse to have my name associated with boards and blogs that demand dishonesty on the SWR matter as the price of admission.
I am 100 percent open to differing opinions on issues that don’t involve numerical calculations. Numerical calculations must be reported honestly and accurately. There is no room for differing opinions on whether a valuation adjustment is included in the Old School studies or not. The Wall Street Journal found no valuation adjustment. The Economist magazine found no valuation adjustment. Wade Pfau found no valuation adjustment. Are we to believe that there is some massive conspiracy here to pretend that there is no valuation adjustment in those studies even though there really is one?
Differing opinions on questions re which there can be reasonable differences of opinion are wonderful. It’s differing opinions that make a board work and that keep everybody honest. So differing opinions on non-calculation issues are a huge plus.
I agree that a variety of future outcomes are possible. My calculators show that as plain as day. All of the research shows that and all of the data shows that.
It’s a mistake to overstate that reality, however. The future is somewhat random but not entirelyrandom. It’s debatable as to whether it is more random than predictable (in the long run) or more predictable than random. I would say that it is more predictable than random. There are reasonable people who would say otherwise. Investors need to hear both sides of the debate to be able to make informed decisions for themselves.
Buy-and-Holders and Valuation-Informed Indexers hold different views as to the extent to which long-term returns are predictable. If I say that long-term returns are predictable with a great deal of precision, I am speaking falsely. But if I say that I believe that returns are no more predictable than the Buy-and-Holders say they are, I am speaking dishonestly.
Shiller showed that returns are MORE predictable than most people believed back in the day when the Buy-and-Hold strategy was developed. It would be a lie for me to say that I do not believe that I learned something from Shiller’s research and from the follow-up research that has been done relating to the same themes that he explored in his research.
ALL posters should be permitted to post their sincerely held views. There should not be even the slightest amount of controversy re this point.