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Anybody have a copy of Terhorst's "cashing in"?
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ataloss
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:59 am    Post subject: Anybody have a copy of Terhorst's "cashing in"? Reply with quote

I am particularly interested in page 157 due to some discussion at tmf.

Maybe I'll see if I can get it by inter library loan



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:22 am    Post subject: Re: Anybody have a copy of Terhorst's "cashing in" Reply with quote

ataloss wrote:
I am particularly interested in page 157 due to some discussion at tmf.

Maybe I'll see if I can get it by inter library loan



I've got it. What do you need to know?



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hocus
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am particularly interested in page 157 due to some discussion at tmf.

This is shaping up to be the next Trial of the Century, Ataloss. So I sent a quick e-mail to Johnny Cockran to see if he is available to help out.

Here's his response:

If the number is really four
You'll end up in the slammer for evermore
But if the number is really two
There's not a thing that they can do

I know that you have already said that "the Great SWR Debate is over and hocus has won" and that "the technical support for this assertion is rock solid," JWR1945. But Johnny's legal analysis suggests that it is more important than ever that we dot every "i" and cross every "t" re this thing. Could you comb through that historical data just one more time and make absolutely sure that our case is completely rock solid?

I don't want to pay Johnny's retainer fee if it's not really necessary. One the other hand, I'm not looking forward to a one-way ticket to the Big House either. Don't say you are sure unless you really are sure. JWR1945. I'm putting it all on the line in my confidence in your abilities as a numbers guy, my good man.


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FMO
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 9:05 am    Post subject: Re: Anybody have a copy of Terhorst's "cashing in" Reply with quote

ataloss wrote:
I am particularly interested in page 157 due to some discussion at tmf.

Maybe I'll see if I can get it by inter library loan


It appears you are interested in Terhorst's "Coin Toss Law" (Theory of Diminishing Marginal Utility)



From Terhorst's "Cashing in on the American Dream"

"LESS IS MORE

Perhaps more than anything else, retiring on $50 a day requires a new state of mind. Simplify your life by having only the things you need or want. Consume less to enjoy life more. Living with this new state of mind works because of what economists call the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. I call it the Coin Toss Law.

I offer to toss a fair coin. If it comes up tails, I pay you a dollar. If it comes up heads, you pay me a dollar. Sure, you say. Why not? We play a couple of times. Then I ask if you want to play for $10. Of course. We continue to play. Then I offer to play for, say, $500,000, your entire net worth. You laugh. It's ridiculous. Yet, the game hasn't changed at all. The coin is still fair and the odds are the same. What's happened?

What's happened is that you've moved down your "utility" curve. Lose the $500,000 coin toss and you're wiped out. You're without a house, car, furniture, savings, everything. If you're retired, you'll have to go back to work. If you have one. job, you'll have to work at two. You're in worse shape than a chow-mein joint without a reliable noodle supply. You'll probably have a nervous breakdown. It's a disaster.

Winning half a million dollars, on the other hand, wouldn't do that much for you. You could buy a shiny car and a house a couple of blocks farther up the bill. You could stick the kids into a more expensive private school. You'd like to have an extra half-million dollars. But your day-to-day life would change hardly at all. To the extent that you become a victim of upscale marketing, your life could even deteriorate. Status cars upset us when something scratches them. Home computers that do our banking and lock our house can make us feel helpless and frustrated when something goes wrong. Fine furniture and paintings demand that our fire insurance become. a part of our life rather than an annual bill. Modern insurance ads show smiling, wealthy couples surrounded by their possessions. In the next sequence we see the possessions destroyed by fire, flood, or theft. At best the couple recuperates, but only after hours of paperwork, phone calls, and tense talks.

Result: winning the toss offers little or nothing. Losing is a mess. You don't want to play the game.

The Coin Toss Law means that the upside, past a certain point, isn't all that great. If you already have forty pairs of shoes, adding ten more isn't a big deal. If you already have a Mercedes with a small engine, getting one with a bigger engine is a cheap thrill that costs a fortune. Buying a new car makes you feel good, but it doesn't excite like that first clunker when you were sixteen. A bigger house can be pleasant, but it brings bigger problems as well. Compact discs are cute but you have to strain to hear the improved sound.

Millions of Americans in their 30s and 40s already have much of the American dream along with some fun little extras. You're a candidate for retirement at this point if you feel you want more out of life than a new car. You're a candidate for retirement if you suspect that time isn't money. - it's better than money. If you live in a four-thousand-square-foot house with two extra rooms, would adding on make you that much happier? How many fur coats are enough? If you already have $40,000 dollars' worth of jewelry you never wear, would a new necklace make a big difference?

It's ironic, but the only way to change this state of affairs is to have less, not more. If it's been four years since you bought a new tie, choosing a tie might be fun. If you've lived ten years in a small apartment, having a place with a yard might be very pleasant. In every case the marginal whoopee is greater, the less you have to begin with."



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ben
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, I would really love to read that book - if someone will send it to me I guarentee to send it back w. courier within 2 days of receipt with a gift from Asia. Send me a private message should anyone have it.



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FMO
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ben wrote:
Man, I would really love to read that book - if someone will send it to me I guarentee to send it back w. courier within 2 days of receipt with a gift from Asia. Send me a private message should anyone have it.



Why not get your own? They are available used from about $10 or so:
http://tinyurl.com/scdb



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ataloss
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks FMO, there is talk about a hocus post on TMF and Terhorst's coin toss passage being suspiciously similar. I don't see it from what you have posted. I can't post hocus' words. (He is concerned about copyright issues)

For those who have tmf access and care to look into this:

hocus on coin tossing:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17389587&sort=whole

rehp tmf thread on this:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=19754077

For those who don't- at least FMO was kind enough to let us read a bit of Cashing in on the American Dream



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JWR1945
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hocus and I exchanged emails while he was developing the Coin Toss post. He sent me drafts for comments (not for editing, not for rewrites).

I know this as a fact: hocus put a lot of time and effort into that post.

It is an outstanding post because he did an outstanding job.

Let's not import any more garbage from the Motley Fool. It has been going downhill not only because it charges fees but also because it does not enforce its own posting rules. Misrepresentations have become commonplace at the Fool. Keep them there. Keep them off of our boards.

Have fun.

John R.


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ElSupremo
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings John Smile
Quote:
Let's not import any more garbage from the Motley Fool.

I agree. Perhaps we should limit those type of posts to old classics by our current members. Just the good stuff. Wink



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3500 word post intended as "amplification" of one by mhtyler 24 hours earlier- you guys were busy. Although I don't personally see a lot of merit in the post it got 90 recommendations which is outstanding. I understand (having been told before) that this isn't the time or place to discuss the issues raised (ie that is a topic limited to hocus' board.) If some issues were similar to Terhorst, so what. The words are different



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JWR1945: Let's not import any more garbage from the Motley Fool.

ES: I agree. Perhaps we should limit those type of posts to old classics by our current members. Just the good stuff.

The "garbage" that JWR1945 refers to is not a side issue in the Great SWR Debate It is a key part of the phenomenon we are exploring. It is unpleasant to watch it play out, to be sure.. But it is important, arguably as important as the question of what the data says about what is safe.

I have described the SWR debate as a "phenomenon." That is what it is. There has never been any issue in the history of the FIRE movement, probably in the history of the internet, that has generated as many posts as this one has. There is a reason for that, and coming to terms with what we have experienced--both on the content side and on the process side--is how we learn about how to achieve FIRE early in life. This debate matters. All of it matters. A lot.

I don't find fault with JWR1945 for referring to many of the posts posted to the REHP board as "garbage." When he calls these posts "garbage," he means that they lack intellectual content and moral integrity. In that sense, they are garbage. But these posts are nuggets of gold in another sense, and those seeking to use this board to learn about FIRE need to come to terms with the significance of the phenomenon we have watched play out out before us.

How are these posts gold? They are gold because they reveal to us how human beings deal with change. That is the core issue in this debate, the community's response to change. The May 13, 2002, changed the FIRE community forever. People will always think of that data as a dividing line. Things were one way prior to May 13, 2002, and they are another way now. Things can never go back to the way they were. The FIRE movement changed on that date, and the things we see play out before us are scenes in which a variety of different types of posters struggle to deal with change in a variety of different sorts of ways. Change is happening amongst us, and it is being recorded and preserved in Post Archives for our future edification (and the edification of future members of our community).

What ES means when he suggests that these posts are not "good stuff" is that they are unpleasant to read. He's right about that, of course. But one of the primary values of the new message board communications medium is that it helps people learn together. That's what this board should be about, learning together. Does learning mean taking in knowledge only of pleasant things? It does not. Sometimes learning requires taking in knowledge of things that are not so pleasant, and I believe that this is one such time.

These garbage posts are not pleasant reading, I acknowledge that. But I will speak in defense of garbage posts for a moment. You know what those posts are? They are real. These garbage claims that you see on the REHP board, and on this board too of late, are not being prepared by intercst and then posted by him under scores of other names. They are being prepared by real live human beings given the opportunity to speak their minds on public message boards. These people are trying to communicate something, and it would do us well to pay attention to what it is they are trying to communicate and why it is they are going to the trouble to do so.

Here's an interesting fact to ponder. I lost posting privledges at the REHP board over five months ago and today my ideas re SWRs remain the primary topic of on-topic posting at the board. What does that tell you?

What it tells me is that this debate matters to people, it matters an awful lot, it matters more than any other topic that has ever been debated at any FIRE board in the history of the movement. Many of the things that people are saying are mean-spirited and untrue, that is why JWR1945 refers to REHP board posts as "garbage." But mean-spirited or not, true or not, these posts exist. People took the time to craft them and to post them. Why? It's a question we need to resolve if we are to make sense of this matter.

There is a reason for the garbage. By coming to appreciate the reason, we gain something from our experience of the garbage--a learning experience. By turning our eyes away from the garbage we learn nothing, and we increase the chances that we will be harmed again by garbage in the future as we were harmed by garbage this go around. If you really dislike garbage, you don't deal with it by ignoring it and allowing it to pile up in larger and larger mounds. You learn how to solve the garbage problem, how to take out the garbage. That is one of the most important lessons we need to learn from this experience.

At some point we need to determine as a community whether I am in fact an informed and honest community member, as I say I am, or an ant at a picnic, as Ataloss says I am. We don't need to reach a consensus on that today. But we do need to reach a consensus on it somewhere down the line. If I am an ant, community members should be taking that into account in assessing the merit of any posts I put to the board. If I am an honest and informed poster and Ataloss has elected to refer to me as an ant for purposes of scoring points in the SWR debate, community members should be taking that into account in determining the merit of his future posts.

We should not take things said at the REHP board at face value, that is certainly true. The board's integretity has been damaged in a serious way. But this board's integrity has been damaged of late as well. There have been many word game posts posted here and many ridicule posts posted here, and few community leaders have spoken out against the tactics that have been employed. That has done damage to the board's efforts to debate the SWR issue in a reasoned manner.

This community is not the same as the REHP community. But we are not immune from the problems they are struggling with. At bottom, both boards are struggling with the same thing--change. Accepting change is hard, and human beings do not always respond well when asked to do hard things. As we continue to struggle with the far-reaching implications of the May 13, 2002, post, there will be times when we will benefit from looking at how the REHP board has struggled with the same questions.

To fail to learn from all the ugliness we have experienced would be to make that ugliness a total negative for everyone concerned. I would rather tuirn it into something good by using it to learn how human beings struggle with change and how to help them struggle in different and more profitable ways in the future. I will never make use of garbage posts from the REHP board or from this board for purposes of winning cheap debating points. But I will refer to such posts at times for purposes of revealing to commmunity members the tactics that human beings use to resist change and the damage that those tactics can cause to board communtiies when community leaders fail to respond to them in appropriate and effective ways.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like we have another 10+ paragraph post from hocus talking about discussions rather than discussing FIRE issues once again.

Ignored as per usual.

Petey
ataloss wrote:
3500 word post intended as "amplification" of one by mhtyler 24 hours earlier- you guys were busy. Although I don't personally see a lot of merit in the post it got 90 recommendations which is outstanding. I understand (having been told before) that this isn't the time or place to discuss the issues raised (ie that is a topic limited to hocus' board.) If some issues were similar to Terhorst, so what. The words are different


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hocus:
Quote:
But mean-spirited or not, true or not, these posts exist. People took the time to craft them and to post them. Why? It's a question we need to resolve if we are to make sense of this matter.

I strongly disagree with the need to observe this further. I know enough that I want it to end.

Such posts are far too time-consuming.

ES has the right idea. Agree to disagree.

It is not necessary for someone to defend an opinion. Just because someone does not know the correct answer to a question does not necessarily mean that it does not exist. A person can be right about an issue without knowing the exact reasons.

It is OK not to agree. It is not OK to make personal attacks on those who disagree. That is the key. We are seeing personal attacks, not discussions or debates about ideas.

ataloss indirectly called me a liar, which I do not appreciate. I will not waste my time responding since the truth is obvious. And, yes, I stand by my previous words.

hocus:
Quote:
But this board's integrity has been damaged of late as well. There have been many word game posts posted here and many ridicule posts posted here, and few community leaders have spoken out against the tactics that have been employed.

I agree. It bothers me greatly.

hocus:
Quote:
I would rather turn it into something good by using it to learn how human beings struggle with change and how to help them struggle in different and more profitable ways in the future.

I agree with your intent, but I think that we can work on the solution. Again, I think that ES has the right idea. And I think that any kind of personally directed attack should be prohibited. I think that it is already prohibited by the rules. But that interpretation is arguable.

To peteyperson: Your response is uncalled for. It is irresponsible. It bothers me greatly.

Have fun.

John R.


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hocus
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ataloss indirectly called me a liar, which I do not appreciate.

Everyone knows that you are not a liar, JWR1945, just as everyone knows that I am an honest and informed poster and not an ant. The driving force behind this thing, the reason why we talk about it and talk about it and never come to a resolution, is that too many of us feel uncomfortable giving voice on the board to the things we know to be true. We have to speak in code because to tell the truth about SWRs or about the Great Debate makes defenders of the conventional methodology hostile. What I am saying is that when you find that the truth makes you feel uncomfortable about a position you hold, it is not the right way to go to abandon the truth. The right way to go is to abandon the position you hold that makes you so alarmed about hearing anyone speak the truth. The solution lies in opening ourselves to more truth, not less.

Ataloss is not the only poster who has smeared you, JWR1945. And this is not the only board at which you have been smeared. You and me are not the only fine posters who have been smeared in the course of this. BenSolar and FoolMeOnce were the other two Dimwits, remember? And lots of other fine posters have been smeared on a less regular basis throughout the course of the discussions.

Look for the common thread, and you will see that it is only posters who tell the truth about SWRs who are smeared. You put up a post the other day at the Motley Fool board where you noted that intercst made mistakes in his examination of the switching question. His response was not the response you would expect from an honest researcher. He did not say "thank you for bringing that to my attention." No. He attacked you. Why? What is it you did to bring on that smear? You told the truth. That was your crime. And that was the crime that caused Ataloss and others at this board to smear you as well.

Why is it such a crime to tell the truth about SWRs? It's because it is not easy for defenders of the conventional methodology to do what ES has advised in this matter. People should agree to disagree, you say. ES thinks so too, and so do I. So why don't defenders of the conventional methodology just do that?

Have you ever thought what it would mean for them to do that, JWR1945? The SWR is a data-based construct. If they allow others to discuss what the data says without poisoning the threads with attack and ridicule, how long do you think that the majroity of this board community is going to continue to believe that the conventional methodoloy is valid for purposes of determining SWRs? "Not long" is the answer. This is not a question on which there is a range of reasonable views. This is a math problem. The math says that intercst got the number wrong by a country mile, that I got it right, and that the conventional methodology is invalid for purposes of determining SWRs. If you were a defender of the conventional methodology, would you want to agree to disagree and permit the data to be revealed in reasoned threads for all to appreciate its message?

This issue is at the core a math problem. There are lots of SWR questions on which we could have wonderful discussions in which there is lots of room for reasonable disagreement. That's the good stuff that I refer to from time to time. You put up several posts a week at the SWR board hinting at all that wonderful stuff. What sort of reaction have you been getting to that fine work, JWR1945? Lots of Learning Together experiences for the community?

You are not getting that. You are not getting that because the premise of all the work you have done in this area is a respect for the mathematical truths at the core of it. If people so much as respond to your posts, they are lending credibility to my idea that the SWR should be determined by making reference to the historical data, all of it. They do that, and they are undermining support for the conventional methodology.

Learning happens in building blocks. You start with the ABCs, and you work from there. The change that we are dealing with here is that I changed the building blocks. People for a long time thought that intercst was the most knowledgeable person in the FIRE community on SWRs. It turned out that he was not, that I was. People thought for a long time that the conventional methodology was a reasonable way to assess the safety of a retirement plan. It turned out that it is not, that that methodology always produces the wrong number. I put something very important on the table, a change in our basic thinking about the most important question we grapple with here. It's a change so big that some have a hard time accepting it. That's why we have seen the reactions we have seen, where the normal rules are turned upside down and the best posters are termed the worst and others sit on their hands while it happens.

You can talk data until you turn blue in the face, JWR1945 and it won't change a thing until the community decides for itself that it wants to hear the truth about this matter. We need to have consensus at least on the ABCs or little learning can take place. It is an ABC that intercst got the number wrong by a country mile and it is an ABC that the conventional methodology is invalid for purposes of determining SWRs. The breakthrough will be when people are willing to speak honestly on those two questions.

It will happen. But it will not happen by us burying our heads in the sand and pretending that the smears are not taking place. The purpose of the smears is to slow down the day at which the community will be free to tell the truth on this matter, and they have achieved that purpose. Say that there are three posters at this community today who are interested in the work you are doing at the SWR board, but who have never posted before. If you were one of those three, would you take a chance at putting up a post there, given what you have seen happen to JWR1945 and hocus, two posters with long records of outstanding service to the community? It is asking an awful lot of people to expect them to take that kind of chance, JWR1945. What is said of one poster affects all other posters. The things that are said are said for a purpose and the purpose is intimidation. Learning Together and Intimidation don't mix.

Agreeing to disagree is a big part of the answer, you and me and ES agree on that. But another part of the answer is regaining our capacity to tell the truth. We all need to develop more courage. Anyone who posts here has an investment in the future of the place, and any poster who posts in destructive ways harms not just the poster at whom the attacks are aimed but the entire community. When Ataloss calls you a liar, he hurts not just you, JWR1945. He hurts me too. And Petey. And ES. And Wanderer. And BenSolar. And FoolMeOnce. And all the rest.

We need all those named posters and all the rest too speaking up to Ataloss a whole lot more in the future than we have heard them speak up to him in the past. That's the road to the good stuff. It's agreeing to disagree. And it's also working up the courage to take steps when there are posters who reveal themselves unwilling to agree to disagree.


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ataloss
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was, as usual, just interested in the facts. I didn't initially mention the charge of plagarism. After hocus' bizarre Johnny Cochrane post I thought I should provide some context. A mistake as I now see. Although I don't see any plagarism I am not sure what to make of hocus and jwr's posts. How hard hocus worked on the post and who collaborated isn't particularly relevant to the plagarism issue. Since hocus doesn't want to move the post here, people don't know the context. The post was put up 24 hours after the mhtyler post it cites. Maybe hocus and jwr worked hard on it during that time period maybe they didn't. I don't know, I wasn't there. Although jwr makes a lot of sense when he isn't defending hocus, I think he has been a bit incredible at times in his defensive posts. I won't go into those instances at present.



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings hocus Smile
Quote:
What ES means when he suggests that these posts are not "good stuff"

Medium confusion alert!!! :!:That's not what I meant. The bad stuff would be anything with negatives aimed at other folks. Like, "Your an idiot! Wink" The good stuff would be anything else of an informative or educational nature that others thought worthy of re-posting.

I realize there is somewhat of a gray area there but hey, it's not a perfect world. Rolling Eyes



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings all Smile

Rather than respond to each individual I'll just point out that ataloss has not called anyone a liar that I know of. And no one needs to speak up to him in any way. What they need to do is agree to disagree and move on. He has issues on several points and for the most part has backed up every one of his points with examples. I would prefer he tone things down a bit sometimes but he plays within the rules. I'll agree he gets close to the edge every now and then. Laughing As others have done. Ataloss has just as much a right to his opinion as anyone else does. I'll defend that for him as I would any other member. Also we know that much of the time confusion reins because of this medium and it might be best if everyone could keep that in mind. It just happened to me today! So let's be sure we understand meaning before jumping to any conclusions.

I've known most of the regular posters here for a very long time. None of them are the type of folks who go in for personal attacks. They will defend themselves as they have a right to do and things can get a little heated. But even though we don't agree on many things we are still all friends here.

If someone doesn't feel that way then for a fee they can vent over on TMF or some other site. Laughing The rest of us will go on just fine here at NFB.



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my 2 cents worth:
1. Intercst+other historically based SWR studies are fully valid with the limitations they included/in the historical period (with the respective valuations Etc.) they covered. This is a historical fact.

2. I/Hocus/JWR/Ataloss and practically everybody on this board DO agree that current/future record valuations DOES matter, as does a bunch of other factors (wars/inflation/interest rates/meteor strikes/corrupted board members Etc.) if trying to PREDICT/guestimate what the future SWR rate will be.

3. JWR have done some great calculations giving indications as to how starting at high valuations historically have affected the SWR. Still 4% was OK historically though - which naturally corresponds fine with Intercst/other historically based SWR studies.

4. With no mathematical certitude can the future SWR be predicted but one can decide to use JWRs fine historical nos to make his/her own guestimates/adjustments due to valuations (leaving wars/inflation/interest rates/meteor strikes/corrupted board members Etc. for another study) of the future SWR.

Ps. Hocus you offered free Fool memberships to people who was not willing to cough up, but wanted to partake on the Fool boards. I would like one, so please tell me how to proceed.



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hocus
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Joined: 02 Dec 2002
Posts: 435

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ps. Hocus you offered free Fool memberships to people who was not willing to cough up, but wanted to partake on the Fool boards. I would like one, so please tell me how to proceed.

Ben:

You need to send me your real name and your e-mail address. Motley Fool requires this information for me to set up an account for you using my credit card.


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raddr
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Joined: 25 Nov 2002
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hocus:
Quote:
Here's an interesting fact to ponder. I lost posting privledges at the REHP board over five months ago and today my ideas re SWRs remain the primary topic of on-topic posting at the board. What does that tell you?


It tells me that they think you are crazy and that they love to ridicule you and make fun of you. To me this is sad and I think that intercst and his buddies are childish and have no class for those posts. That you are still an occaisional topic of conversation over there is true but not for the self-important reasons that you are imagining. Confused


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