By keeping his program very simple and very very strict, he is able to provide a lot of moral support to folks who have trouble sticking to a plan. But at the same time this rigidity gives him very limited ability to fine-tune the plan for specific circumstances (although occasionally on the show he bends a wee bit) and he seems to be unable to ever admit that he’s wrong, at least not in the last two decades. And I agree that sometimes he is harsh with callers, to the point that I sometimes think he’s missed the point of the caller’s question.
The Motley Fool folks are completely right that planning for 12% growth is unrealistic. Warren Buffet puts the figure closer to 7%, and the closer you are to retirement the less likely you are to see double-digit growth. And of course there’s an element of luck – in hindsight it’s easy to pick the highest-growth mutual funds but looking forward, all you can do is pick funds with a good track record. I would definitely not stop saving as soon as a 12% growth rate would cover my retirement! (not that I’m getting even there, yet)
On the plus side, *nobody* says to *stop* saving for retirement, so that’s where all the plans come together.