The 4 Percent Rule Points Us to the Average Safe Withdrawal Rate

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Valuation-Informed Indexing #351

by Rob Bennett

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The Buy-and-Hold retirement studies get the numbers wrong.

I have been saying that since the morning of May 13, 2002, when I advanced the remarkable claim to the Retire Early discussion board at the Motley Fool site. Thousands of my fellow community members at the board used the infamous “4 percent rule” to determine when to hand in resignations to high-paying corporate jobs and begin their early retirements. Because of the importance of the issue to aspiring early retirees, threads about how to use the rule appeared at that board on a daily basis. I had known about the errors in the studies for several years before I worked up the courage to point them out to the thousands of people staking their futures on their accuracy. I knew that I was going to get some flak. And it turned out that I saw about 500 times the amount of flak that I expected. That turned out to be one highly controversial post!

As the years have passed I have gradually come to a fuller understanding of why.

People still use those studies to this day. They have not been corrected. But numerous experts have come out with public statements either suggesting or outright stating that aspiring retirees should not make use of the 4 percent rule when planning their retirements. The 4 percent rule posited that a retiree can withdraw 4 percent of an 80 percent stock portfolio each year to cover living expenses with virtual certainty that the portfolio will survive 30 years of retirement (permitting a retirement that commenced on a retiree’s 65th birthday to extend to his 95th birthday). We are in a twilight zone today. Buy-and-Holders no longer feel comfortable pushing the 4 percent rule. But they don’t feel comfortable disowning it either.

To openly declare the dangers of the rule would be to set off inquiries that would likely prove far-reaching indeed. The reason why the 4 percent rule does not work is that no one withdrawal rate can be safe at all times. Shiller showed in 1981 that valuations affect long-term returns. If that is so, then stock investing risk is not stable but variable. So there can no more be a single return expectation that always applies than there can be a single safe withdrawal rate that always applies. If increases in valuations cause the long-term return from that point forward to drop, returns in excess of the long-term average return (6.5 percent real) are not even good news. All that we are doing when we push valuation levels above the fair-price level is shifting the returns on our invested money from the future into the current day; we pay a heavy price for all bull markets that we create.

So getting the safe withdrawal rate right is a big deal. Over the years I have worked with some smart people who did the math and reported that the safe withdrawal rate is a number that ranges from 1.6 percent when stock valuations are at shy-high highs to 9.0 percent when stock valuations are at rock-bottom lows. It of course follows that our realistic long-term return expectation must change with changes in valuations as well. And, sure enough, the historical return data reveals that the most likely 10-year annualized return on U.S. stocks was 15 percent in 1982 but only a negative 1 percent real in 2000. Valuations matter!

The 4 percent rule is dangerously misleading. But the mistake behind the development of the rule was not at all a random one. It was a mistake rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of how stock investing works. The 4 percent rule follows from the belief that the market is efficient, that stock prices play out in the form of  a random walk. If those things were so, the 4 percent rule really would work. The significance of the rule is that it reveals how dangerous it is to develop investing strategies rooted in fundamental misunderstandings of how the market works. The reality is that market prices have never once in U.S. history played out in the form of a random walk in the long run. If valuations affect long-term returns, long-term prices must be highly predictable.

The 4 percent rule is not the product of mere foolishness. It is the product of tough logic being applied to a fundamental misunderstanding. So the 4 percent rule possesses a certain significance even if it does not accurately identify the safe withdrawal rate for most retirements. The 4 percent rule points us to the average safe withdrawal rate, the withdrawal rate that is more or less at the mid-point of the safe withdrawal rate that applies at times of super high valuations and the one that applies at times of super low valuations.

The mid-point between 1.6 percent and 9.0 percent is 5.3 percent. So the 4 percent rule does not identify the mid-point precisely. But that’s probably just because the way in which the calculation is done is highly sensitive to a small number of bad outcomes. There is only one return pattern in U.S. history that caused a withdrawal rate of slightly more than 4 percent to fail. The Buy-and-Hold retirement studies are highly conservative studies. A withdrawal rate of 3.3 percent would work if the return on stocks for 30 years running was zero. These studies are stating that a retiree seeking safety can only take a withdrawal of 0.7 percent more than the withdrawal that would work if stocks provided a return of zero. That’s quite a claim!

So my guess is that the mid-point safe withdrawal rate is a number somewhere in the neighborhood of 5.3 percent. While the 4 percent number has in recent years been a number markedly on the high side, in most circumstances it is too low. We should not be letting recent history influence us too much. There has never before in the history of the U.S. market been a time when stock valuations have remained so dangerously high for so long a time.

The thing that is hard to accept is that even the super-conservative 4 percent number has not been low enough for retirements beginning in recent years. The zero-return safe withdrawal rate is 3.3 percent, but the real-world safe withdrawal rate dropped to 1.6 percent in 2000. The safe withdrawal rate for Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, a risk-free asset class, was 5.8 percent when they were first issued and that was the time when the safe withdrawal rate for stocks was only 1.6 percent. Can such things be possible?

It’s because the numbers are so crazy that I think they are so important. All of the claims that I am making here follow from Shiller’s “revolutionary” (his word) discovery that valuations affect long-term returns. The crazy numbers help me appreciate just how revolutionary Shiller’s Nobel-prize-winning research was. Learning that stock investing risk is not static but variable changes everything. Thinking through why we got safe withdrawal rates wrong and why it has taken so long for us to change how we think about stock investing enough to get them right helps make the realities click for me.

Rob’s bio is here.

Updated on

Rob Bennett’s A Rich Life blog aims to put the “personal” back into “personal finance” - he focuses on the role played by emotion in saving and investing decisions. Rob developed the Passion Saving approach to money management; Passion Savers save not to finance their old-age retirements but to enjoy more freedom and opportunity in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s - because they pursue saving goals over which they feel a more intense personal concern, they are more motivated to save effectively. He also developed the Valuation-Informed Indexing investing strategy, a strategy that combines the most powerful insights of Vanguard Founder John Bogle and Yale Professsor Robert Shiller in a simple approach offering higher returns at greatly diminished risk. Tom Gardner, co-founder of the Motley Fool web site, said of Rob’s work: “The elegant simplicty of his ideas warms the heart and startles the brain.”
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49 COMMENTS

  1. What you really need is help for your problems outlined above. Since common sense and factual proof will not pursuade you, it seems only a mental health professional can help you deal with this fantasy world you live in.

  2. That’s why I write the column, Sammy.

    People can read the column and elect to get involved if that seems like a good idea. That would help.

    Or if it turns out that we do not take action until after the next crash, people will be able to refer back to these columns and these discussions to come to a better understanding of why the crash happened and what we need to do to prevent future crashes.

    Anytime we give voice to our concerns we are helping. Anyone we self-censor we are not helping.

    I want to get the word out. Because, I really that I need help. I believe that we all do. I believe that we are all in this thing together and that we all need to put our heads together to learn as much as we all can possibly learn.

    Help!!!

    Rob

  3. As always, your wall of text dodged my question.

    “There were death threats” you say. I didn’t say there weren’t. I said you never posted links to any death threats, as you claimed to have done “scores” of times. That lie casts serious doubt on the existence of death threats, as well as anything else that you assert without evidence (which, let’s face it, is everything you assert.)

    When you are caught in such a foolish, transparent lie, it destroys your credibility. And that was just one example. Your online cred was obliterated years ago. Clearly you are not concerned by that. Or at least, not concerned enough to do anything about it, other than wait for the next crash. As if a crash will turn your 15 years of crap into daisies. Yet you are hanging all your hopes on just that.

  4. I don’t think cognitive dissonance is the problem, nor are goons, made up death threats, or other fantasies made up by you, Rob.

    I think the answer is what is listed on the Mayo Clinic website, that seems to best describe you:

    “Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

    A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.”

    Breaking that down, we note your inflated sense of importance when you list yourself within the context of people like Bogle, Bernstein, Pfau and others. We see problems in your life in that you no longer work and your financial plans have failed. We see your disappointment when not given admiration by the way you can’t handle criticism and tell responders they are going to prison. Despite your wife’s anxiety on your lack of generating an income, you lack empathy for her concerns by casually dismissing such concerns.

  5. Cognitive dissonance certainly plays a big part in it, Dan.

    Shiller published his research showing that valuations affect long-term returns in 1981. That changes everything. Buy-and-Hold is rooted in a belief that the market is efficient, that prices play out in the form of a random walk, that valuations do NOT affect long-term returns. In an ideal world, Bogle would have issued a statement within a few days saying “We once thought that Buy-and-Hold might work but now we see that that’s not the case, let’s all work together to come over time to a fuller and deeper and richer understanding of how stock investing works in the real world, let’s get started today.”

    Bogle was suffering from cognitive dissonance at the time. He had invested his entire life into developing the Buy-and-Hold concept. He believed it was the answer. He didn’t even think it was remotely possible that peer-reviewed research could be published showing that valuations affect long-term returns. He of course was intellectually capable of understanding what Shiller had shown and why it was so important, just as the people in the famous experiment from the 1950s could tell that an 18-inch line was longer than a 12-inch line. But the people in that study said that the 12-inch line was longer because a number of hired participants answered first and said that it was clear to them that the 12-inch line was longer. And Bogle, despite his intellectual capacity to understand Shiller’s research, was governed by his emotional need to continue to believe in Buy-and-Hold and thus continued to promote the idea.

    There were death threats. When I saw them appear at the Motley Fool site, I sent an e-mail the site administrator. He thanked me for my “thoughtful” e-mail. He said that he agreed with me that it would be “ideal” if Greaney permitted honest posting at the board. But he didn’t ban Greaney. Greaney saw that his tactics were working and of course the problem got worse. The site administrator doesn’t think of himself as a bad person. He rationalized his inaction. He told himself that all of the other sites on the internet promote Buy-and-Hold and they make lots of money doing so, so why shouldn’t Motley Fool do the same? Thar’s how the human mind operates. We are the rationalized animal.

    There was a time when people with black skin couldn’t drink out of the same water fountains as people with white skin in many states. Do you think that all the people who failed to speak out against this great injustice believed that it was okay? They didn’t. I am not sure that it would be right to say that they believed in it at all. They saw that this was the sad reality of the day and noticed that few ever said anything about it and so their minds got down to the business of rationalizing their silence. They told themselves “it is somehow better for the black people this way” or “there is no way that this could ever change so there is no sense causing trouble” or “it is someone else’s job to speak up, not mine.” That’s how it works.

    That is what is going on with Buy-and-Hold today. Millions of people truly believe in it, that’s clear. But about 10 percent of the population no longer believes as a result of the 36 years of peer-reviewed research showing that it can never work for a single long-term investor. We need those people speaking up in clear and firm and simple and unapologetic terms. When they start doing that, we will start convincing more people to make the switch to Valuation-Informed Indexing. Eventually, it will be 20 percent Valuation-Informed Indexers and then 40 percent and then 80 percent. The very first step in this wonderful process is for the 10 percent who already have grave doubts about Buy-and-Hold to say so in clear and firm and simple and unapologetic terms. We can’t get to where we all deep in our hearts want to get without that happening first.

    I am in that group. I have grave doubts re Buy-and-Hold. You Goons have set things up so that there is a big price to be paid for speaking up about the dangers of Buy-and-Hold. Your behavior is so over the top that you have silenced many good and smart people who would be happy to speak up if the price for doing so were not so high. I am not willing to fold. I believe that we are never going to make progress until those of us who appreciate the dangers of Buy-and-Hold just refuse to silence ourselves and instead insist on our right to post honestly about the last 36 years of peer-reviewed research.

    That’s where things stand, Dan. You Goons and I are working at cross purposes. You want to keep the cover-up going, I want to bring it to a close and launch a national debate on the far-reaching implications of the last 36 years of peer-reviewed research in this field.

    I hope that helps a small bit.

    Rob

  6. I’m just trying to understand. “I have offered links to the death threats on scores of occasions” is clearly untrue. Not even debatable. It’s total BS. So why would you say it? The only possible conclusion is that you believe it to be true. Otherwise you intended to deceive, which is impossible, because you are the only honest, sincere person in the whole corrupt world of finance. So how can that statement be true, when at the same time it is plainly false?

    Is this a problem of my own cognitive dissonance, as you’ve frequently claimed? Well, that’s not what “cognitive dissonance” means. I suppose the most important person in the world gets to decide what it means. And in fact, maybe the most important person in the world also gets to decide what’s true and what’s false. Except truth is supposed to be objective. I don’t know, I guess these difficult questions are best left to the really important people. It’s unfortunate that you decline to explain, but I know you’re super busy doing your thing, whatever it is.

  7. I am grateful to you for taking time out of your day to share your thoughts with us, Dan.

    My best and warmest wishes to you and yours.

    Rob

  8. You see yourself as very important. Probably the most important person in the world. Maybe the most important person who ever lived. This is why your failure to provide for your family doesn’t cause you the slightest remorse. You are much too important to be burdened by such mundane concerns. I won’t try to adjust your thinking on that, because obviously that is impossible. Bad break for your family though.

    I am more curious as to your lying. Consider this one you made earlier: “I have offered links to the death threats on scores of occasions.” You have never offered such a link. Are you aware that this is a lie? Or do you believe it to be true? Do you want it to be true so much that you’ll just go with calling it true, because it really ought to be true? Just wondering how things like that rattle around in that head of yours.

  9. If Shiller had published his Nobel-prize-winning research in 1921 rather than in 1981, we could have avoided all the human misery that we saw play out during the first Great Depression, Sammy.

    I think we are a blessed people that we now have access to that research as well as to be living in a time of a communications revolution that permits us to spread the word far and wide in a very short amount of time (once we give ourselves permission to talk about these critically important issues!) It may be that we will not be able to avoid falling into the second Great Depression for all of the emotional reasons that see on display in the tone employed in many of the comments to this discussion thread. But what happens after that? After prices fall, we will all be working together to bring the economic crisis to an end. What happens then?

    At that time, we are going to have to as a society come to terms with what we have done to ourselves by putting off this critically important national debate for 36 years. I won’t consider it a failure that the materials that I have gathered at my web site will be a huge aid in helping us all come to terms with what has happened. I think this is hugely important work. So I am going to continue putting forward my best efforts to get this critically important national debate launched at every web site on the internet.

    None of this is personal from my end of the table in any way, shape or form. I consider you and all of your Goon pals as friends. I was once a Buy-and-Holder myself. But I strongly believe that as a nation we need to be talking these matters over and I see it as my job to make that happen. The more emotional you get in your opposition to the debate, the more convinced I become that a national debate is very, very, very much needed. Discussions of stock investing just shouldn’t be this emotional, not in a day in which a mountain of peer-reviewed research is available for us all to review.

    My sincere take.

    Rob

  10. “Everything that you are describing is the sort of thing that you would expect to see when the P/E10 level is where it is today in the event that Shiller is right and stock investing really is a highly emotional endeavor.”

    Everything I described shows that you made wrong decisions that resulted in failure. You continue to blame everything and everyone else for your problems. As the saying goes : ” When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”.

  11. Everything that you are describing is the sort of thing that you would expect to see when the P/E10 level is where it is today in the event that Shiller is right and stock investing really is a highly emotional endeavor.

    For me to be persuaded that Shiller is wrong, I would need to see evidence that stock investing is NOT a highly emotional endeavor, that there are Buy-and-Holders who are able to engage in civil and reasoned debate re the last 36 years of peer-reviewed research. I have seen some of that. There were a number of professors with whom I engaged in extended e-mail conversations which were always warm and edifying on both sides of the table. I was grateful for the time and effort those professors put into making the case for the stock investing strategy that they believe in.

    But even those professors ducked the questionn of why we see so much abusiveness from you Goons. If the table were turned and there were Valuation-Informed Indexing Goons behaving as you do, I would be horrified and would want to separate myself from them in every possible way. Those professors never mentioned any of the Goon stuff although I detailed it in the e-mail that I sent to them that kicked off our discussions. Why? We see the same thing on the boards. I have had site owners tell me that they believe that my site is the most valuable investing site on the internet and then ban me because they say that being exposed to discussions of the last 36 years of peer-reviewed research upsets their readers too much.

    Why do challenges to Buy-and-Hold upset Buy-and-Holders so much? The non-Goon Buy-and-Hold defenders should be thinking this one over. I think it is because these questions are so important that even people who possess a strong and serious belief in Buy-and-Hold cannot justify the fact that there has not been a national debate re these matters for 36 years now. They like the strategy but they cannot even begin to formulate a defense of what we have seen from the Buy-and-Hold Goons. And of course the fact that a good percentage of Buy-and-Holders become goonish is part of the story. It is not a coincidence that the abusive behavior always comes from the same side of the table.

    The longer we hold off launching the national debate that we should have launched 36 years ago, the harder it becomes for good people to make the case for Buy-and-Hold. Things just get worse and worse because it is such an unnatural state of affairs for debate on so important a matter to be silenced in our society. I am not able to think of any other field of endeavor in which something like this has happened in the United States. The closest parallel that I can come up with is the situation that we had re race relations in the days before the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. Lots of good people saw stuff going on that was very wrong but were afraid to speak up solely because no one else had the courage to speak up at the time.

    I don’t believe in Buy-and-Hold, Sammy. I cannot put my name to endorsements of it. I acknowledge that you Goons have enjoyed some temporary victories. But the tactics that you have had to employ to achieve those victories have caused me to feel less confidence in the Buy-and-Hold project, not more. If I am right that the only reason why Buy-and-Hold survives today is that Shiller was 100 right when he put forward his revolutionary (and Nobel-prize-winning!) claim that stock investing is not 100 percent rational at all but in fact a highly emotional endeavor, then we will see the emotion-filled “defenses” of the idea that you Goons have advanced collapse once price collapse and the emotions turn in a different direction. So I am going to have to see how things play out following the next crash before I count any of your victories as real.

    That’s my sincere take, my good friend. I do wish you all good things in any event.

    Rob

  12. We have already seen it played out. You posted a retirement plan and it failed.

    You pulled out of the stock market because of your lucky VII vesting scheme and you missed out on one of the biggest bull markets we have seen in our life time.

    You thought you could get Wade Pfau to be your patsy and now he won’t speak with you.

    You have predicted time and again that the market would crash, with each prediction failing.

    You thought you could threaten people with made up prison sentences, but it just added to people treating you as a nut case.

    You have been banned from every major financial investment community.

    You can’t get anyone to respond favorably on your website.

    An internet board was created to catalogue your lies.

    Rob, I dont think we need to wait anymore as to how things will turn out.

  13. What is funny is that if you use the search function on your website, you can see that there are no links there as well. Further, we can see your reference to a police report you made in which a poster discussed firearms for personal protection, along with advice on safety precautions.

    Don’t you consider the fact that people will actually take them time to do a bit of homework and, in doing so, will catch you in a lie?

  14. “You should post any links that you feel pleased to post, Sammy.”

    I am just responding to your request. Unfortunately, you lack the respect to have a normal conversation. You also lack the respect to answer questions even though many of us hav answered thousands for you.

    “It’s one thing to know intellectually that there is zero chance that an investing strategy could ever work for a single long-term investor”

    There has yet to be even one single person successful with VII, yet you peddle your nonsense every day. Even more ironic that you, as the leader of VII, have experienced failure with this scheme of yours.

    “If Greaney truly believed that his study contained a valuations adjustment, we never would have seen a single death threat.”

    You would provide the actual proof of a death threat if it ever occurred. Your attack on Greaney stems from your embarrassment when he made you look foolish in gront of the entire investing community.

    “And if you believed that you could post a link to a valuations adjustment in his study, you would have taken a very different tone in every single comment you have put to this thread”

    We have already addressed how you are wrong with this by giving you the facts and links repeated. I have even asked you again as to which of the links you lack. Always happy to post them yet again.

  15. You should post any links that you feel pleased to post, Sammy.

    Anyone who cares to can find a link to the Greaney study and determine for himself or herself whether it contains a valuations adjustment.

    It’s one thing to know intellectually that there is zero chance that an investing strategy could ever work for a single long-term investor. It’s something very different to be reading in the newspapers every day about the human misery that that strategy has caused millions of middle-class people. I think it would be fair to say that Wade Pfau will in the days following the next price crash return to saying all the things about the Buy-and-Hold retirement studies that he was saying about them for months before Bogle’s Goons came after him. And lots and lots of other people in this field will be telling the straight story in those days as well.

    If Greaney truly believes that his study contained a valuations adjustment, we never would have seen a single death threat. Nothing could be more clear. And if you believed that you could post a link to a valuations adjustment in his study, you would have taken a very different tone in every single comment you have put to this thread.

    All that said, I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors.

    Rob

  16. Go back to the thread in which you made your uniformed post in May 2002. John answered your question in less than 2 hours. Wade Pfau wrote a column about it as well on his website confirming this, which you have seen. Would you like me to post those links yet again?

    Now, where are your links?

  17. Rob,

    You have not offered links to any threats. Instead, you have only given links to your own website commenting that threats were made. You don’t have to wait for a crash to show actual links to threats. If those threats actually existed, you would link to them right now.

  18. We will have to wait to see how things play out in the days following the next price crash, Dan.

    I naturally wish you all the best that this life has to offer a person.

    Rob

  19. Let’s parse out that first paragraph.

    “I have offered links to the death threats on scores of occasions, Sammy.”

    Lie.

    “Just as I have offered links to the threats made to silence Wade Pfau.”

    Lie.

    “Just as I have offered links to thousands of other acts of intimidation since I put up my post on the morning of May 13, 2002”

    Lie.

    “pointing out that the retirement study posted at John Greaney’s web site lacks a valuations adjustment.”

    Irrelevant, stupid, lame excuse for wasting the last 15 years sitting on your butt.

    “I think you are angry at the wrong guy.”

    No, you’re the right guy. People get angry with pathological liars. It’s human nature. And you tell the same lies over and over and over. That is tedious as well as irritating. At least come up with some new lies once in awhile.

  20. I have offered links to the death threats on scores of occasions, Sammy., Just as I have offered links to the threats made to silence Wade Pfau. Just as I have offered links to thousands of other acts of intimidation since I put up my post on the morning of May 13, 2002, pointing out that the retirement study posted at John Graney’s web site lacks a valuations adjustment.

    Those who understand what the last 36 years of peer-reviewed research is telling us about how stock investing works in the real world were persuaded on the morning of May 13, 2002. Those who don’t today understand the implications of Shiller’s Nobel-prize-winning research won’t come to understand no matter how many links I offer. The bottom-line reality here is that the Valuation-Informed Indexers are outnumbered by the Buy-and-Holders by a factor of 10 to 1 and the Buy-and-Holders are suffering from cognitive dissonance — they cannot bear to acknowledge the mistake they made in 1965 and that they have been covering up for 36 years now.

    I can help with the cognitive dissonance by posting honestly re these matters. Over time, we see things finally clicking with more people as they hear the words that they have needed to hear to make sense of stock investing for the first time. I sure would not be helping by becoming one more person who does not dare to post my honest views because I know how a good number of Buy-and-Holders will react to them.

    I am going to continue to do honest works based on a belief in the legitimacy of the last 36 years of peer-reviewed research in this field. Those who want to know more about the death threats and the silencing of Wade Pfau and all the rest can go to my web site, where there is 15 years of documentation of the entire 15-year saga laid out for pubic inspection. If Shiller is right, we will see another crash. And we will then all pull together because we will then see that we all have no other realistic choice before us. I will then make my case that we all be as forgiving as we possibly can be toward our Buy-and-Hold friends. And we will see what the juries decide re these matters.

    I did not create the system of laws that we all live under, Sammy. I think you are angry at the wrong guy.

    I wish you all the best that this life has to offer a person in any event.

    Rob

  21. You don’t have to wait for a crash, Rob. You can just give us the links to the actual death threats and prove me and everyone else wrong. It is simply a black and white issue. The threats either exist or they don’t.

  22. We’ll see what people say after the next crash, Sammy.

    Shiller published his Nobel-prize-winning research in 1981 and Bogle hasn’t made one change in Buy-and-Hold in the 36 years since. I have been trying to help by imploring him to do so. But there’s obviously only so much that I can do. After the crash, I will explain to people why they have lost their money. I will put the Buy-and-Holders in the most positive light in which I am able to put them without crossing over to the wrong side of the felony line. But I am not going to say that the Buy-and-Hold retirement studies were corrected within 24 hours of the posting of my famous post from the morning of May 13, 2002.

    It will be millions of middle-class investors who will decide whether there really were death threats or not, not you and not me. And then a jury will be appointed to determine the length of your prison sentence. Again, not my call. That’s how our system works. I think it is a great system. But that’s as far as it goes. I didn’t design the system. You have no legitimate gripe with me, my long-time abusive posting friend.

    Rob

  23. Telling the truth can be warm, polite, harsh…you name it, based on what the topic is. In the end, truth is what matters.

    Look at your website. Once again, you repeat your lies about death threats that have long been discredited. Do you expect someone to respond to that in a warm and polite manner? Making false allegations about these people should not be tolerated. You should be ashamed.

  24. You’ve always been 100 percent polite and warm in your interactions with your fellow community members, Sammy. Keep up the good work!

    Buy-and-Hold rules!

    Rob

  25. What a coincidence. You repeated your story about death threats again today over at your website, even though we know that was all made up as well.

  26. As Wade pointed out, you don’t understand the issue. He also pointed out how John G corrected you on the same day you made your first post, yet here you are repeating the same stuff yet again. Thus, your supposed answer is not really answer and my question is directed towards the root of why you feel the need to repeat the same content.

  27. Have you heard that people who smoke should try to cut back? Have you heard it more than once?

    Have you heard that it is important to eat a balanced diet? Have you heard it more than once?

    Have you heard that you should take a minute now and again to stop and smell the roses? Have you heard it more than once?

    Have you heard that the Beatles were a great band? Have you heard it more than once?

    Valuations affect long-term returns. It was an important truth when I said it in my famous post of the morning of May 13, 2002, and it remains an important truth today and it will in all likelihood remain an important truth 15 billion years from now. I wish that people would give voice to this important truth more often.

    I hope that helps a small bit, my good friend.

    Rob

  28. Yes, I have read it. It is the same stuff you have been posting for years. Do you need links? it would be nice if you would extend the same courtesy. Now…….focus really hard and do something you don’t really do, which is answer the question. Read line one of my first post and answer the question.

  29. Did you read the column, Sammy?

    If you read the column, you know what I believe re these matters.

    Just as I know what you believe (or pretend to believe) by reading your comment.

    Is that not how this sort of thing works?

    Rob

  30. You must not have read my 1st comment. Is that because you only want to be heard?

    Read the first line of my first post and then try again.

  31. You can take time to read the column if that seems like a good idea to you. Or you can elect not to do so. It’s up to you, Sammy.

    I thanked you for taking time to offer a comment offering your point of view. I offered my point of view in the column and you offered yours in the comment. Now people can look at the expressions of both points of view and decide what they think.

    That’s how this process works. it’s all part of the wonderful game.

    I hope that works for you, ,my good friend.

    I certainly wish you all good things in any event.

    Rob

  32. Thanks for taking time out of your day to share your thoughts with us, Sammy.

    My best and warmest wishes to you and yours.

    Rob

  33. Why do you feel the need to repeat the same thing over and over again? You have brought up this topic and people have addressed it thousands of times. Is it because people saw your errors in your conclusions? Is it because Wade Pfau embarrassed you when he said this to you:

    “And the further reality is that if I *did* lack personal integrity, I could have made this all stop just by saying the meaningless sentence you want so desperately to hear: “I think the errors in the traditional safe withdrawal rate studies must be corrected by using Rob’s analytically valid method.”

    But I don’t believe that. I do not believe you have offered a valid correction to the safe withdrawal rate question. And I believe that retirement income strategies go much further than the question of a safe withdrawal rate. And so that is why I’ve had to endure your ongoing harassment for months on end now.”

    If your position was correct and well supported, I suspect you wouldn’t need to keep trying to change the record. You made comments, you have been answered and corrected and now it is time to move on with your life.

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