Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
So, is Michael lying in this article?
The words that appear in the article are accurate.
But he is obviously not being 100 percent honest.
He knows that the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies do not contain adjustments for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins and he is not saying anything about it. That issue is 5,000 times more important than the issue he does address. So it is exceedingly odd that he does not address it. And this is of course not an isolated case. Michael does not EVER address the financial fraud matter in clear and firm and simple and bold language.
That’s why the financial fraud problem has remained a problem for 14 years running now. It’s not just Michael who tiptoes around the most important issue in the personal finance realm. Everyone in the field tiptoes around it. Freakin’ Robert Shiller tiptoes around it! No one wants to use the words “financial fraud” or the words “prison sentence” or the words “got the numbers wrong” or the words “caused the economic crisis.”
I use those words.
I will continue to use those words.
Because it is only by using those words that we can bring this madness to an end.
And don’t give me any of the b.s. about me being “mean” to my Buy-and-Hold friends by using those words, Anonymous. You wouldn’t be on your way to spending the remainder of your life in a prison cell if someone who came along before you came on the scene had posted about the mistake that the Buy-and-Holders made that was discovered 35 years ago at any time between 1981 and the day you came on the scene. You are going to prison because thousands of people exhibited the same cowardice that Micheal Kitces showed in that article, thereby leading you to believe that you could “get away” with all of the garbage that you have pumped out over the past 14 years.
I’m not doing it.
It doesn’t matter how many death threats you direct at me. It doesn’t matter how many demands for unjustified board bannings you direct at me. It doesn’t matter how many acts of defamation you direct at me. It doesn’t matter how many threats of career destruction you direct at me.
I enjoy all of that smelly garbage just as much as Michael Kitces and everyone else in this field enjoys that smelly garbage. Not at all. But I cannot bear to think of what we have as a society done to the financial futures of millions of middle-class Americans by continuing to tell these lies about how stock investing works. Many of the people who posted at the Retire Early board were my friends. They matter to me. I don’t go there. No in 14 years. Not in 14 million years. It doesn’t happen.
I believe that I will one day become one of the richest men in the United States as a result of my working up the courage to be the one to take on this massive act of financial fraud. But maybe not, you know? No one can say anything for certain. Maybe we will all go down in flames following the next price crash. Maybe this act of financial fraud has grown so big that it has gone beyond the point at which we can as a society ever make it right. Maybe we will all go down in flames and I will end up with a big fat nothing for my efforts, no better off than you and no worse off than you.
If that happens, then so be it, you know?
I did what I could. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do what I could. This way I can live with myself until the day that it all goes down in flames.
I don’t personally believe that it is going to go down in flames. I think we are going to work up the courage we need to turn things around and to bring this Buy-and-Hold Crisis to a full and complete stop. I believe that we are on the one-yard line. I believe that Michael Kitces is so close to flipping and going with a fully honest approach that he can taste it.
But either way I feel better about playing it the way that I have played it than I would feel if I had played it the way Michael has played it. I don’t say that I am better than him. I was afraid to speak up for three years. And I certainly think it would be fair to say that I am the world’s leading authority on just how brutally abusive the Buy-and-Holders become when challenged by honest reports of what the last 35 years of peer-reviewed research in this field says. So I am fully sympathetic to Michael’s situation. I am grateful that he has offered as much help as he has (he has offered a great deal of help).
But I cannot play it the way that Michael has played it. Not after what I have seen. Too many people have lost their jobs in the economic crisis brought on by the sick promotion of Buy-and-Hold “strategies” for 35 years after they were 100 percent discredited by the peer-reviewed research. Too many people are facing failed retirements as a result of the failure of people in this field to speak up about the mountain of Buy-and-Hold Lies. Too many early retirement dreams have been destroyed. Too many of you Goons are going to prison for long stretches of time. Too many discussion boards and blogs have been burned to the ground. Too many people have seen their faith in their fellow humans undermined by exposure to the poison that you Goons pump out so relentlessly. We have seen too much political unrest surface as a result of the destruction of middle-class lives that inevitably follows any time-period in which the Wall Street Con Men are able to persuade large numbers of people that there might be some merit in their Buy-and-Hold marketing pitch.
It’s not for me, Anonymous.
You go do whatever in your mind seems right for you.
These horrors are not for me. I OPPOSE the 14-year cover up of the errors in the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies.
Please mark it down. Please tell all your friends. Please get the word out all over the internet. Please bring lawsuits against me if you think that would help publicize the matter.
But just please for your own sake stop believing that there is ever going to come a day when I am going to join Michael in tiptoeing around this matter. I love Michael. I admire him. I respect him. I value our friendship. I am grateful for his many fine contributions. But I also love my country. My country is under attack and needs my help urgently. I am not able to tiptoe around the matter causing so much human misery.
It’s not freakin’ in me.
I hope that helps a bit.
I wish you all good things.