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Joined: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 752

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 3:51 am    Post subject: "An Online Community of Unknown But Growing Size" Reply with quote

Syke put up an entry for "Hocomania" in the Wikipedia dictionary (I don't know much about it, but, as I understand things, the definitions are supplied by users on an ongoing basis) a day or two ago. The item was initially deleted, for obvious reasons. But now a case has been put forward that the term itself is a meaningful one, even if the definition initially put foward is not fairly worded. Here's the text of the post:

"Background info from one observer's point of view: Hocomania was coined by message board posters at various early retirement discussion boards. A user named "hocus" or "hocus2004" who has been a participant in these communities for years has been railing since 2002 about an alternative plan for withdrawing funds during early retirement. He has one or two books written, but as far as I know not published except perhaps one by a vanity publisher. Forums linked from refer to hocomania, and the one that requires registration to view now has a forum dedicated to hocomania. hocus describes his involvement in an early retirement "movement" and his alternate plan in grandiose and verbose fashion, accuses those who argue the merits of his plan of trying to silence him. Some accuse him of creating alternate message board IDs to bring up the subject and/or support his ideas. The term is well understood across at least 4 message boards including the two linked in the above reference, The Motley Fool ( ) Retire Early Home Page board (paid registration required) and at where hocus runs and moderates the "SWR Research Group" discussion. The term may be known a little beyond that in the online early retirement discussion community, but I'm not sure. hocus is quite persistent, and his detractors have become very amusing in their attempts to deal with his presence. I'm not sure Hocomania is worthy of a Wikipedia entry, but it is a real term in an online community of unknown but growing size. Additional note: the given definition is not an objective description but more of a jab at hocus' life events.

An earlier post argued that: "The term is a scathing reference to a poster on several early retirement forums. The definition is not from a neutral point of view."

Another "no" vote was set forth in this post: "Has been speedy deleted at least twice now. This is nothing more than an attack article."

Here's the definition of the term "HocoMania" that is being discussed: "An early retirement plan that features quitting a high-paying job before you've saved enough money to be financially-independent only to accept sub-minimum wage work to make ends meet and feed your family."

Here's the link:

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Joined: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 752

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put forward an argument in favor of "Cleanup" re the definition of "hocomania" being debated at the Wikipedia site.

Set forth below is the full text of my comments:

"Cleanup"--My name is Rob Bennett. I post at a number of discussion boards under the screen-name "hocus." The term "hocomania" was developed to make reference to an internet discussion board debate that was prompted by a post that I put to a Motley Fool board in May 2002. I am the author of a book titled "Passion Saving: The Path to Plentiful Free Time and Soul-Satisfying Work," which will be self-published at my web site ( in May 2005.

I believe that "hocomania" would make a good entry in the encyclopedia, but that it would be better placed in the dictionary (the underlying issue of what is valid in SWR research in of sufficient long-term concern to justify placement in the encyclopedia, but I do not expect the "hocomania" phenomenon to continue idenfinitely (in fairness, it has already lasted for 34 months).

The suggestion to include "hocomania" in the encyclopedia was obviously put forward as a means of ridiculing my views on safe withdrawal rates (SWRs). The definition currently being considered is completely unfair and even defamatory. That said, however, the "hocomania" phenomenon is a real one. The term refers to an intense debate that has dominated six discussion boards (three of which were formed solely as a result of the hocomania phenomenon) for 34 months now. The root issues in the hocomania debate stir up intense emotions in a large number of people.

In short, the phenomenon is real and should be referenced in either the encyclopedia or the dictionary, in my view. But the definition now being considered is entirely inadequate. I have set forth my own proposed definition of the term "hocomania" below. I have read some of the rules of this site's project, but there is a lot that I do not understand. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail ( if there is further help that I can provide or if I have done something wrong in the way that I have posted my comments here and if you can tell me how to do things more effectively.

Here is my proposed definition of the term "hocomania:"

"A reference to an intense debate that has been ongoing since May 13, 2002, at an internet discussion board community that examines how to win financial freedom early in life. "Hocus" is the screen-name of the poster who initiated the debate. His real name is Rob Bennett. He is the author of a soon-to-be self-published book titled "Passion Saving: The Path to Plentiful Free Time and Soul-Satisfying Work" and publisher of the web site.

Hocus argues that a safe withdrawal rate (SWR) study published by John Greaney at his web site ( is "analytically invalid" for purposes of determining SWRs (SWR analysis looks to historical stock-return data to indicate how much a retiree can withdrawal from his or her portfoolio each year with little risk of seing his or her retirement go bust).

The debate has generated tens of thousands of posts and has dominated discussion at six boards for almost three years now. Greaney notes that his SWR methodlogy is similar to the methodology used in the well-regarded "Trinity Study." Bennett acknowledges that this is so, but asserts that a new approach to determining SWRs that he developed in the mid-90s discredits all conventional methodology studies. William Bernstein, author of "The Four Pillars of Investing," describes the Trinity Study as "breakthrough research," but agrees with Bennett that consideration of the retirement starting-date valuation level is critical to an accurate assessment of what withdrawal rate is safe.

Research on Bennett's approach to SWR research (he refers to his approach as "The Data-Based SWR Tool") is published on an ongoing basis at the SWR Research Group board, located at John Walter Russell, who is the primary researcher today developing insights from use of the Data-Based SWR Tool, posts at that board on an almost daily basis.

I posted these comments on Friday, March 18, 2005.

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