Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
The difference is that Todd states his opinions and they are just that. The rest of us have opinions as well.
This is an excellent post, Pink. It gets right to the heart of what the troubles are. Thanks for posting these words.
Todd agrees with me on safe withdrawal rates. We have had several long conversations about the topic at the Financial Bloggers Conferences. Todd has a hugely successful site. He is well liked by everyone. He has been asked to speak at many of the FinCon sessions. He is a successful guy and a smart guy and a nice guy.
I am OBVIOUSLY doing something very different from what Todd is doing while agreeing with him on safe withdrawal rates.
When Todd ran his long article on safe withdrawal rates at his site, he credited my earlier work on the topic. I went to the article and posted come comments describing the history of the controversy, how I had been banned at numerous sites and how you Goons had threatened to kill my wife and children and how some of the biggest names in the field were committing financial fraud by aiding the cover-up of the errors in the Old School SWR studies and so on. Todd called me up on the phone and asked that I tone it down. I told him why I didn’t think that was the right way to handle things. He strongly hinted that he would ban me from his site if I did not shorten my comments. I shortened the comments but I also told him that I thought that was the wrong way to handle things. I haven’t posted to Todd’s site since then.
I am doing something different from Todd and lots of others. And you hit it on the head as to what that something is with what you say in the words quoted above. We can use your words to make progress re this matter if you will take what I say below seriously.
Todd treats the safe withdrawal matter as if it were a matter of opinion. I do not. I treat the matter as if there are right and wrong answers. That’s why I make references to financial fraud and prison sentences. This is what makes me different. This is the sticking point.
If Greaney and all the others are willing to say that their safe withdrawal rate claims are merely expressions of their personal opinion, I am happy to take back every word in which I have argued that Greaney “got the numbers wrong.” Is that fair enough?
If Greaney was stating his personal opinion, it is not possible for him to get the numbers wrong. Yes, you are right that “the rest of us have opinions as well.” You have as much right to your opinion as Todd Tresidder has to his, Pink. I am with you 100 percent re that one.
I also say that I have as much right to my opinion as Greaney has to his.
Greaney did not act as if his SWR claim was merely his opinion when I put up my famous post asking if we should be considering valuations when we calculated the number. That’s the problem.
If all SWR claims are the product of opinion, we have no problem.
If Greaney’s SWR claim is the product of peer-reviewed research (the methodology used in the Greaney study was taken from the Trinity study, which is peer-reviewed research), then I need to make the point that my Retirement Risk Evaluator is based on the peer-reviewed research of Robert Shiller, who won a Nobel prize for the work he did in this field.
If you stop saying that the Old School studies and calculators are rooted in peer-reviewed research and instead say that they are merely the product of opinion, there is no dispute. I can then state my own opinion and each community member can decide for himself or herself what he or she wants to go with. That is a 100 percent fine way to proceed, in my assessment.
But if you are going to say that there is peer-reviewed research supporting the Old School SWR claims, then I have no choice but to note that there is 33 years of peer-reviewed research supporting the New School claims and that that research DISCREDITED the research that has been cited in support of the Old School claims. And that the 12-year cover-up is the most massive act of financial fraud yet seen in U.S. history.
You have the solution to our problems being presented to you on a plate.
Are you willing to give up the claim that Greaney’s SWR numbers are the product of research and are properly understood as merely the product of one person’s opinion?
If you are, then let’s get about the business of making the world a better place.
If you are not, then I obviously have no choice but to continue to let anyone in the world who will listen know about this massive and ongoing (for 12 years now!) act of financial fraud.
I hope that helps a bit, Pink.