Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
“The way to do it is to produce the study the way that Greaney did and then to add a note saying: “This study does not contain an adjustment for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins. There is peer-reviewed research indicating that that is an important factor….””
Ok, so if I create a SWR study that ignores valuations, as long as I include this note, I’m OK. If I leave it off, I’m headed for prison. Does that about summarize it?
That’s not the entire story. But, yes, it’s a pretty good summary.
There are millions of good and smart people who believe in and follow Buy-and-Hold strategies today. That’s a well-establied fact. I believed in Buy-and-Hold myself prior to the morning of May 13, 2002. So I am hardly in a position to say that Buy-and-Holders are dumb or evil by nature or anything like that.
What I have learned beginning on May 13, 2000, has amazed and stunned me. It’s a story of huge importance to our entire nation. So I need to tell it. But it helps no one if I am unfair to my many Buy-and-Hold friends. Buy-and-Holders believe in Buy-and-Hold. I must say that. But Buy-and-Holders lack confidence in the strategy they are following. That has been demonstrated in thousands of ways. I must tell that part of the story as well.
I believe in Valuation-Informed Indexing. But I accept that I could be wrong. Any human can be wrong about anything. So I worry that I might be giving people bad advice without meaning to. What do I do about that?
I do just what you point to in the words that you are quoting. I make sure that people reading my stuff are aware of the other side of the story. That way I am covered. If VII fails and people are angry with me, I can point them to the article in which I pointed out why VII might not work. If they followed my advice anyway and suffered financially as a result, then it’s on them. I cannot be sued. I cannot be sent to prison.
That’s how my Buy-and-Hold friends should play it.
You believe in Buy-and-Hold, Anonymous. I am convinced of that. I don’t want you to be sent to prison and, if you must go to prison, I want your sentence to be as short as possible. So, yes, I would like to see you do the sort of thing you refer to in the words quoted above.
If Greaney included language describing the Retirement Risk Evaluator, no one could accuse him of deception, could he? In that case he would be letting people know that there is another way to look at things. He believes in Buy-and-Hold. That’s no crime. By letting people know of the other side of the story, Greaney would be shifting the burden from himself to the person reading his study. The reader can just go by what Greaney says or he can look deeper into the VII stuff, his choice.
It’s very different when Greaney does everything in his power to block people from learning what the last 34 years of peer-reviewed research says. That’s the sort of thing that will sway a jury to vote to put you away. If I were on a jury and I heard that the guy who authored a retirement study that cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars advanced death threats to keep people from learning about peer-reviewed research that produced very different numbers, I would be very strongly inclined to put that person away for a long time. There is no excuse for such behavior. It would be the easiest thing in the world to provide a link to the other kind of study and it would be insanely irresponsible to fail to provide such a link.
That’s my sincere take re this terribly important matter in any event, Anonymous.
I wish you all the best that this life has to offer a person.