Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
Don’t know if you saw this profile of Mr Money Moustache in The New Yorker, Rob. As I read it I couldn’t help thinking about your own near-two-decade pilgrimage. “Of all sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these, it might have been.” When you hit rock bottom, quit digging.
Thanks for the link, Friend.
I don’t have time to read the article at the moment but I will read it over the next day or two. I think the Mr. Money Mustache phenomenon is very cool. He is a product of this new internet communications medium. He never would have achieved his success without it. And he offers something compelling. I really like it when things work in this way. So I am glad to see that he is being recognized in so widely respected a publication. It’s a very cool story.
I of course get the sub-text of your post. You are suggesting that it could have been me being written up in the New Yorker. I “blew it” by insisting on my right to post honestly and hurt myself by doing so. I continue to hurt myself by continuing to insist on my right (and the right of all other community members) to post honestly.
I don’t buy it, Friend.
I really do have a right to post honestly. The entire discussion board phenomenon breaks down if that right is not recognized. A board at which community members do not feel free to post honestly is a corrupt enterprise. I built that Motley Fool board to help people, not to destroy their lives. If I destroy people’s lives by telling lies about safe withdrawal rates, I am doing the opposite of what I set out to do. So that cannot be.
I will do anything in my power to help Greaney or Linduaer or Bogle or any other Buy-and-Holder short of agreeing to commit financial fraud. I will never agree to commit financial fraud. You Goons overplayed your hand and you are in a fix because of it. I will do whatever I can to help you save face. But I won’t place myself in the same fix to do so. For obvious reasons. If you want to work together to make things better for every person on the planet, I’m here. If you want to continue to play games, you want to continue to play games and there’s nothing that I can do about it.
I think that I will be featured in the New Yorker someday. I wish that it would have happened ten years ago. My life would have gone a lot easier over the past ten years had things played out that way. I get that part of your suggestion loud and clear.
You know what? If I were willing to sell out my friends in the way that I would need to be willing to sell out my friends to do what you suggest I do, I wouldn’t have the power to produce the kind of work I need to produce to get featured in the New Yorker in the first place. You are asking me to destroy what’s good about me to get the good in me widely recognized. No. If I destroy it, it doesn’t merit recognition. I would rather possess the good thing and suffer the pains of it not being recognized for a time than not have it at all. I want to be recognized properly. Today, I deserve recognition. If I sold out my friends, I wouldn’t deserve recognition even in my own mind. No thanks.
I presume that Mr. Money Mustache was able to achieve recognition without having to sell out his friends. Good for him. I of course would like to have had it work that way for me too. Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes you don’t. I have gotten plenty of breaks in this life. I have a legitimate complaint re the 13-year Campaign of Terror led by you Goons. But on an overall basis I have no legitimate complaints re how my life has gone. I think I need to accept that this is one of those things that sometimes happens to each and every one of us. It’s a drag. But I would only make things worse by playing it the way you suggest.
It’s not in me, Friend. I cannot lie to my friends about the numbers they use to plan their retirements. It is not in me.
I spent years planning my early retirement. I read everything, I thought through everything. I collected a mountain of materials in the 40 binders that I kept in my basement. If I knew at the time that someone was lying to me about the numbers that I was using to plan my retirement, I would have been very upset. That’s how I think millions of people are going to feel about the Buy-and-Holders when they realize the extent of the trickery that has been worked on them. I don’t want to have any involvement whatsoever in the scam when the truth comes out. I want to be 500 miles away from that explosion.
Do I want to help my Buy-and-Hold friends? I do. I think they got caught up in something bigger than they realized. I was a Buy-and-Holder myself for a good amount of time. So I think that I have more of an appreciation than I otherwise might of how people can come to believe things that really make no sense when they are examined closely. I think the Buy-and-Holders are good and smart people who made a mistake and then got caught up in something that it became very hard for them to escape. My heart goes out to them. I have the power to help and I want to help.
But not in the way that you suggest. Nothing about what you suggest has any appeal to me whatsoever. I cannot go there.
Do your thing. I will do my thing. If there ever comes a time when I can help without selling out my friends, I am in. Short of that, you should just let it go. I will not budge re that one because I cannot budge re that one. Believe what you want. I am telling you the way it is. I told you on May 13. 2002, that I would not budge re that one and you did not believe me. Thirteen years down the road, here we are. I told you straight. You can count on me for that. I am telling you straight again. There are things that I can do and there are things that I cannot do. Greaney’s retirement study does not contain an adjustment for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement beings. I won’t lie re that one. No give. None whatsoever. No negotiations re that one. It will never happen. He is going to need to come clean re that one. The Goons lose re that one in the end.
I hope that helps a bit.
I naturally wish you all the best that this life has to offer a person.