Recently, I wrote a post about “crazy” Rob Bennett. I figured it was only fair to give him a platform to better explain his ideas. Without further adieu, I present his guest post.
Financial Uproar (I’ll use that name to refer to the author of this blog) recently wrote a nicely balanced piece (“Rob Bennett: Crazy? Or Crazy Like a Fox?“) on me and my little internet cause. I am trying to get retirement studies that get the numbers wildly wrong corrected. There is no dispute about the studies being in error. But there is a huge “controversy” as to whether Rob Bennett should be permitted to say so on internet discussion boards and blogs. I have been banned at about 15 different places (including Motley Fool, Morningstar.com and Bogleheads.org) for the terrible, terrible “crime” of spilling the beans.
Many of the people who are going to suffer failed retirements do not want to know about the errors in the studies. It causes them pain to hear the realities. So I have focused in recent years on a different angle to the story.
The people who authored the retirement studies are not dumb or evil people. Nor are the investing “experts” who have continued to cite them for years after the errors were discovered. I have interacted with a good number of the experts and have found them to be friendly, hard-working, exceptionally smart people. So what gives? How could such people make such basic mistakes? And why did they not correct them as soon as they found out about them?
This is the question that really matters, not only for all retirees but for all stock investors. It is as a result of my dogged pursuit of the retirement study matter that I have solved (I think!) the more important riddle as well.
We are up against something very big here.
When we discovered that it is not the sun that revolves around the earth but the earth that revolves around the sun we started a revolution in science. We tapped into many powerful insights in the years since as a result of that one, simple, fundamental change in our understanding of how the world works.
We are on today on the threshold of starting a similar revolution in our understanding of how stock investing works. In the 1960s and 1970s, most academics believed in something called “The Efficient Market Theory”. The Buy-and-Hold Model is rooted in a belief in this theory. The theory has been entirely discredited. When it becomes widespread knowledge that the Efficient Market Theory (and the Buy-and-Hold model too) has failed, we are all going to be able to work together to learn amazing things about how stock investing works. We are going to be able to invest at far less risk, to earn far higher returns, to retire many years sooner, and to avoid economic crises like the one we are living through today.
I want to see that day come as soon as possible. That’s why I soldier on, despite all the bricks that have been thrown at me. I am certain that the “experts” would like to see these good things happen too. But they very, very, very much do not want to suffer the embarrassment that will come with them saying aloud the Three Magic Words (“I” and “Was” and “Wrong”). And the more the economic crisis caused by the reckless promotion of Buy-and-Hold deepens, the more shame they feel.
We would be doing the experts a favor to start talking openly about these subjects on hundreds of personal finance blogs and political blogs. It is not an overstatement to say that the future of our free market economy (and possibly even of our political system) is at stake. If Financial Uproar will have me, I will post additional Guest Blog Entries telling the story that you need to hear to help both yourself, the investing experts, and our entire nation out of the corner into which we all painted ourselves when we gave our too easy acceptance to the Efficient Market Theory and the Buy-and-Hold Model before we were truly sure. We need to turn this around and the only way we can do so is through frank talk.
Or at least so Crazy Man Rob Bennett believes!
Rob Bennett recently authored a Google Knol entitled “The First Retirement Calculator to Get the Numbers Right.” His bio is here.