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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 03:35 PM   #41
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

I liked this quote of Ben's...

"Work is the sovereign cure for low self-esteem. Work is the best thing for mental health that has ever been invented. If [someone] doesn't work, he will pay the price for it in a big way. [He'll have] no self-esteem, no feeling that he's capable of doing anything, and it's all because [he will have] no experience working."
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 03:44 PM   #42
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Good article. Ever since I watched Win Ben Stein's Money I decided he was worth listening to. Another recommendation in his favor is that he is not boring.

Ha
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 04:16 PM   #43
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Cybrmike, it's such a weird story.

When I met Stein, I'd never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and had no idea who he was. My father had just died and he reminded me so much of Dad. I think that's why I liked him initially. Kind of sad on my part, but I'm offering it as a mitigating circumstance.

Gosh, I want to say some good things about him first. He is utterly brilliant, and one of the funniest guys I've ever spent time with. He's a very good writer. His personal, witty and quirky American Spectator column is the kind of thing he does best--his personal essays are much better than his journalism if you ask me. But he's a true Renaissance man. He's a hilarious character actor. He's a lawyer. The guy can do anything. And he turned my head.

Stein can be charming as all get out when he feels like it. But my newnewss wore off soon, I guess. Finally he was just utterly contemptuous of me. Long story short, he's a classic narcissist with every personality disorder in the book. We lived in separate cities, and he never wanted to come up here. I always had to go see him, but he felt free to constantly change our plans at the last minute. I think he just enjoyed jerking me around. One example of many: I was trying to arrange a visit once (he lives in LA), and he changed my plans eight times. If I complained that his shenanigans were making it difficult for me to get time off of work, to arrange my flight, or whatever, he just kept doing it. Sometimes it would work to tell him that someone else in my life was affected. When I told him I thought he should make a decision, already, because my cat sitter was a nice lady and I didn't want to keep jerking her around, a light went on. But he didn't mind jerking me around for some reason. (Can you say passive-aggressive?)

It all became too much when I was expected to be part of a posse of his many other girlfriends and not complain about it. And it was clear he would never stop yakking about how wonderful and beautiful his ex-wife was, and that I would never measure up. One of the most hurtful things he did was to call up a friend once when I was within hearshot, and complain loudly about my childishness. He would also say warm, supportive things to me like, "I wish you were famous."

Stein's financial writing is full of contradictions, as you all have noted, but I want to say it's possible he's actually not a spendthrift. I really don't know. For all I know he's got a huge net worth. Maybe when he said he was worried about money, it meant that he had so much money he was afraid of losing it. It was a long time ago. But it seems to me that his financial advice has more than a hint of "I'm writing this so I'll remember what I need to do myself." I believe writing is therapeutic for him, that his books are mostly for himself. If I find it hard to accept him as an authority, it's because I see him as a person who is struggling to learn lessons which he's pretended to master. I'd be more comfortable if he'd written a confessional account of his money struggles, without purporting to tell anyone else what they ought to do.

He's not a crackpot. He's got some good ideas. I just think he could present them with a little more humility and honesty.
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 04:18 PM   #44
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tikitoast
He's not a crackpot. He's got some good ideas. I just think he could present them with a little more humility and honesty.
Bummer, another media/entertainment hero leaving clay tracks...
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 04:24 PM   #45
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Wow Tiki, I understand why you were so hurt. There is nothing to quite compare with being treated with open contempt by someone we care about.

Ha
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 05:53 PM   #46
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Thanks guys. Sometimes I think all I do is whine on here. Don't want to be a downer! Just had to respond to the thread though.

Things happen for a reason. (What reason, I'm never quite sure.) But things have been much better in general for me in recent years. I'm happily married, enjoy my work, and have enough money that I've been able to start worrying, in true Ben Stein fashion, about what to do with it
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 07:06 PM   #47
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tikitoast

Things happen for a reason. (What reason, I'm never quite sure.) But things have been much better in general for me in recent years. I'm happily married, enjoy my work, and have enough money that I've been able to start worrying, in true Ben Stein fashion, about what to do with it
Sounds like you traded up to me. :-)
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 07:08 PM   #48
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Well if you bought a second home ten yrs ago you would be laughing your way to the bank. Most cars are depreciating assets. Not sure if a bentley would be any different.
Its sorta along the lines that many people preach. Buy the most expensive home you can afford. Of course the word afford tends to mean different things you different peoples.
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 07:27 PM   #49
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

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Originally Posted by spideyrdpd
Well if you bought a second home ten yrs ago you would be laughing your way to the bank. Most cars are depreciating assets. Not sure if a bentley would be any different.
Well yeah, if you bought a Skyscraper in Manhattan 10 years ago you could laugh at the guy that bought a second home.

The problem is that he is not comparing apples to apples. The Handyman vs. the MIT guy - the handyman's Bentley was probably pretty cheap compared to the MIT guys 1st or 2nd home! -

I take it back Ben Stein is not an idiot, he's a dipsh!t
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 07:33 PM   #50
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

I would think you guys would appreciate the fact that the mit guys homes were paid off. Of course maintaining a house is still more than a car. Even without debt.
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-03-2007, 07:47 PM   #51
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

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Originally Posted by spideyrdpd
I would think you guys would appreciate the fact that the mit guys homes were paid off. Of course maintaining a house is still more than a car. Even without debt.
I appreciate his home was paid off. I wonder where he got the money?

Let's compare a Harvard Law Graduate with a Garbage truck driver in Mississippi. - Most any choice the garbage truck driver makes he will come out behind the Harvard Law graduate. Do you see the problem?
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 07:14 AM   #52
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tikitoast
[I]t seems to me that his financial advice has more than a hint of "I'm writing this so I'll remember what I need to do myself." I believe writing is therapeutic for him, that his books are mostly for himself. If I find it hard to accept him as an authority, it's because I see him as a person who is struggling to learn lessons which he's pretended to master... He's not a crackpot. He's got some good ideas. I just think he could present them with a little more humility and honesty.
We should all consider the above whenever we post. I see some of myself in this, and believe that it applies to pretty much everyone else on the forum, too.
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 08:04 AM   #53
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Let's compare a Harvard Law Graduate with a Garbage truck driver in Mississippi. - Most any choice the garbage truck driver makes he will come out behind the Harvard Law graduate. Do you see the problem?
CT,

Are you saying that if the GT driver chooses to

1) save 10% of his income for his entire life,
2) stay in his original life and pay off his mortgage,
3) never carry consumer debt, and
4) stay married to his orginal wife.

he will normally come out behind a college graduate who

1) moves to a more expensive home every five years,
2) used a home equity load to keep his home equity near zero,
3) carries a years salary of consumer debt,
4) never saves a penny, and
5) is married and divorced three times?

I always thought it matters the choices you make, and what you save, not if you go to college and what you earn. Do you disagree?

My point being, the choices that BS is advocating will allow the GT driver to come out ahead of the MIT grad, if the MIT grad makes the typical American lifestyle choices. I agree (generally) with BS's point.

edit -> add last paragraph
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 08:54 AM   #54
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Culture
CT,

Are you saying that if the GT driver chooses to

1) save 10% of his income for his entire life,
2) stay in his original life and pay off his mortgage,
3) never carry consumer debt, and
4) stay married to his orginal wife.

he will normally come out behind a college graduate who

1) moves to a more expensive home every five years,
2) used a home equity load to keep his home equity near zero,
3) carries a years salary of consumer debt,
4) never saves a penny, and
5) is married and divorced three times?

I always thought it matters the choices you make, and what you save, not if you go to college and what you earn. Do you disagree?

My point being, the choices that BS is advocating will allow the GT driver to come out ahead of the MIT grad, if the MIT grad makes the typical American lifestyle choices. I agree (generally) with BS's point.

edit -> add last paragraph
There are always exceptions to every example.

What I'm saying is; why didn't Ben compare 2 handymen? instead of 2 people that had been dealt entirely different cards?
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 09:23 AM   #55
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Culture
I always thought it matters the choices you make, and what you save, not if you go to college and what you earn. Do you disagree?
edit -> add last paragraph
I totally disagree! - Kids raised in great homes, where they are encouraged to go to college and the parents are not bums will out pace the ghetteo kids by a huge margin.

They also make better choices too - Do you see the relationship?
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 09:26 AM   #56
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

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Originally Posted by HaHa
Wow Tiki, I understand why you were so hurt. There is nothing to quite compare with being treated with open contempt by someone we care about.

Ha
Ben Stein sounds like a fairly regular guy to me, full of himself, insensitive and looking to get as many women as he can.
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 09:54 AM   #57
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
I totally disagree! - Kids raised in great homes, where they are encouraged to go to college and the parents are not bums will out pace the ghetteo kids by a huge margin.

They also make better choices too - Do you see the relationship?
Are you suggesting that everyone who drives a garbage truck had bums for parents and grew up in the ghetto? Or are you suggesting that eveyone who grown up in the ghetto is doomed to make poor choices (no free will, I guess)? I have some employees you really need to meet. They will conclusively demonstrate that growing up in the ghetto, you can still out pace those who grew up in middle class suburbia.

BTW, I thought that we were talking about whether or not the same set of financial advice regarding spending is applicable to both high and low wage earners. Did I miss something?

edit -> Opps, i missed your "There are always exceptions to every example" statement. Ignore my comments as needed. think we are talking past each other. My point is simply that LBYM applied to everyone, regardless of income or education. Could BT have provided a better example by comparing people of similiar means? Yes. However, that does not invalidate his message.
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 09:56 AM   #58
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

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Originally Posted by none
Ben Stein sounds like a fairly regular guy to me, full of himself, insensitive and looking to get as many women as he can.
Well that is the stereotype, but I don't know men like this. Although I suppose thata woman might be more apt to meet this type of person.

Ha
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...
Old 05-04-2007, 12:42 PM   #59
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Re: Keeping it Simple...Ben Stein...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
What I'm saying is; why didn't Ben compare 2 handymen? instead of 2 people that had been dealt entirely different cards?
CT,

I agree this would have been a better, but not required, example.
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