Rob Bennett -- What Kinda Guy?
What kinda guy am I, really who?
I don’t wear pajamas and I don’t sniff glue.
-- Steve Forbert, “What Kinda Guy?”
Clue #1 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- The “You’ve Only Got 20 Seconds in an Elevator to Say It” Version
Rob Bennett is the world’s first stand-up personal finance advisor who offers asset-allocation strategies you can dance to.
Clue #2 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- Background Check
Rob Bennett graduated from Temple University, in Philadelphia. He majored in Political Science.
He holds a law degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America, and a Masters in the Law of Taxation from George Washington University School of Law.
Rob covered the IRS and Capitol Hill beats for The Daily Tax Report, a newsletter published by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. He wrote the Tax Politics column and managed the Tax Notes Today database for Tax Analysts. After two years at Tax Analysts, he was employed at the National Tax Department of the Ernst & Young accounting and consulting firm for nine years. He rose to the level of Director.
Clue #3 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Riddle -- The Financial Freedom Community.
Rob Bennett is the founder of the Financial Freedom Community, a group of ten internet discussion boards at which thousands of middle-class workers have since December 1999 shared strategies for achieving some form of early retirement. He views the internet discussion-board as an important communications medium of the future, especially for the exploration of money matters. Discussion-board conversations “put the personal back into personal finance,” according to Rob.
Clue #4 to Solving the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy” Puzzle -- Community Motto
The words that Rob chose to provide direction and inspiration to the community are taken from the song “Everyday People,” by Sly and the Family Stone:
Different strokes for different folks,
And so on and so on, and scoobie, doobie, doobie.
Clue #5 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- Passion Saving.
Rob is the creator of the Passion Saving approach to money management.
He published the Community Edition of the book Passion Saving: The Path to Plentiful Free Time and Soul-Satisfying Work, in July 2005. Tom Gardner, co-founder of the Motley Fool web site, said of the book: “The elegant simplicity of his ideas warms the heart and startles the brain.” Audrey Owen said: “Passion Saving is the Diets Don’t Work of the financial world.”
The book describes a new approach to money management, an approach in which the goal is to save not to finance an old-age retirement but to advance Life Goals that the saver hopes to achieve in his or her 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Because Passion Saving goals are achieved sooner than the old-age retirement goal pursued by those following the conventional money-management approach, they supply far more motivation to save. Rather than trying to overcome human nature, the Passion Saving approach makes use of the natural human desire to live bigger and bolder and better as the engine of the saver’s money management quest.
Clue #6 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- The Secrets of Retiring Early Report.”
Rob’s Secrets of Retiring Early report was the #1 best-selling report in the history of the Soapbox.com service. John Greaney, owner of the RetireEarlyHomePage.com site, said that his reading of the report convinced him that, if Rob ever were to write a book, it would become “the Bible” of the Retire Early movement. Bill Sholar, founder of the Early Retirement Forum, said that the report “challenges unfounded assumptions.”
Clue #7 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- The PassionSaving.com site.
Rob aims to make his PassionSaving.com web site (founded in July 2005) “the most important resource on Planet Internet for those seeking financial freedom early in life.” The site now contains close to 100 articles on saving, investing, budgeting, career growth and other financial freedom topics. The highlight of the site is the Financial Freedom Blog, which has quickly become the daily meeting place for hundreds of middle-class workers seeking fresh ideas on how to enhance their enjoyment of life through more effective money management.
Clue #8 to the “Rob Bennett -- What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- Valuation-Adjusted SWRs.
Rob was the first investing expert to discover the analytical flaws in the conventional methodology safe-withdrawal rate (SWR) studies and is the leader of “The New School” of Safe Withdrawal Rate analysis (which calls for the inclusion of valuation adjustments in SWR studies).
Aspiring retirees use safe withdrawal rate studies to determine how much they can take out of their portfolios to cover annual living costs. In the course of planning his own early “retirement” (Rob is retired only from the need to work at a corporate job, and continues to work as a freelance writer to cover non-essential spending categories), Rob uncovered grave flaws in the conventional studies. These studies contain errors that cause them to identify withdrawal rates that are wildly risky as “safe.”
Rob went public with his SWR findings in a May 13, 2002, post to a Motley Fool discussion board (“The Post Heard Around the World”), a post that set off the most controversial series of investing discussions in the history of the internet (“The Great Safe Withdrawal Rate Debate”). Rob is leading a “Save the Retirements!” initiative to notify as many of those who made use of the flawed studies of the dangers their retirements face in years to come unless they lower their stock allocations before prices drop.
Clue #9 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- Valuation-Informed Indexing.
Rob expects to publish his second book, Investing for Humans: How to Get What Works on Paper to Work in Real Life, in 2008. The book will advocate use of the Valuation-Informed Indexing approach to investing, an approach that avoids the grave flaws of the conventional investing wisdom of today by encouraging investors to lower their stock allocations when prices reach dangerous levels. This approach permits investors to take advantage of the mouth-watering long-term returns offered by stocks purchased at low and fair valuation levels while avoiding the sickening losses of accumulated wealth suffered by investors who maintain high stock allocations when prices reach the sorts of levels that apply today (this article was written in October 2006).
Clue #10 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- The Return Predictor.
Rob is the co-creator (with John Walter Russell) of The Return Predictor. The Return Predictor is a first-of-its-kind investing calculator that tells investors what long-term returns they can reasonably expect from investing in a broad U.S. index fund, presuming that stocks perform in the future at least somewhat as they always have in the past.
Clue #11 to Solving the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- Personal Jizz-Jazz.
Rob grew up in Philadelphia and now lives in Purcellville, Virginia, in the yellow house across from the post office. His mailing address is: 160 Hatcher Avenue, Purcellville, Va. 20132. He can be reached by telephone at: 540-751-0685. You can send him an e-mail by clicking on the “Contact Rob” button at the left-hand side of this web page.
Rob turned 50 on October 5, 2006. His wife Mary (she goes by “Boo”) is a stay-at-home mom to their two boys, Timothy (age 6) and Robert (age 4).
Clue #12 to the “Rob Bennett, What Kinda Guy?” Puzzle -- His Favorite Things
Rob Bennett’s favorite movie is “The Graduate.” His second favorite movie is “On the Waterfront.” His third favorite movie is “Rear Window.”
Rob Bennett’s favorite novel is Bernadette’s Song. His second favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged. His third favorite novel is 1984.
Rob’s favorite non-fiction book is Your Money or Your Life. His second favorite non-fiction book is Do What You Are. His third favorite non-fiction book is My Life With Thomas Aquinas.
Rob’s favorite song is “Mrs. Robinson.” His second favorite song is “Get Back.” His third favorite song is “Blind Willie McTell.”
I tell you truly that I sometimes lie.
Now, what kinda guy am I, really I?
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