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How To Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio


Praise for How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio

"A wise man once said, 'All I want to know is where I'm going to die so I'll never go there.' Ben Stein has applied this instruction to the investment world with his special brand of humor and insights. Pay attention!"
Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

"I've always thought before you can learn how to become rich, you first have to stop doing the things that keep you poor. Leave it to my friend Ben Stein to smack us all across the face and, just like Cher in Moonstruck, get us to 'snap out of it.' It's an amazing wake-up call from an amazing guy, who gets it, and gets us, and now, is trying to help us. Financial advisors charge thousands of dollars for this kind of insight. Talk about how to ruin your financial life! Ben's much, much cheaper, and much, much better."
Anchor and Sr. Vice President, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network

"These are perilous times. Many face ruin and catastrophe. You must read this book to protect your portfolio and to make money."
—Jim Rogers
author of A Gift to My Children

Ben Stein is a respected economist known to many as a movie and television personality, but he has worked in personal and corporate finance more than anywhere else. He has written about finance for Barron's, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Fortune, was one of the chief busters of the junk-bond frauds of the 1980s, has been a longtime critic of corporate executives' self-dealing, and has co-written numerous finance books. Stein travels the country speaking about finance in both serious and humorous ways, and is a regular contributor to CBS's Sunday Morning, CNN, and Fox News. He was the winner of the 2009 Malcolm Forbes Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism.

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xvii

1 Trade Frequently 1

2 Trade Foreign Exchange 11

3 Believe in Your Heart That You Can Pick Stocks 19

4 Assume That Recent Trends Will Continue Indefinitely 29

5 Pour Continuer . . . Sell When Things Look Bleak . . . and Stay the Heck Out of the Market 35

6 Know in Your Heart That This Time It’s Different . . . and Act on It 41

7 Dividends Are for Spending--Not Investing--Just Ignore Them or Use Them to Buy Baubles 49

8 Cash Is Garbage--Except When It’s Not 57

9 Put Your Money into a Hedge Fund 69

10 Try Strategies That No One Else Has Ever Thought of . . . You Can Out-Think the Market 77

11 Use the Strategies That University Endowments and the Giant Players Use 81

12 Commodities Are Calling . . . Will You Answer the Phone?: Everything That Happens in Your Life Involves Commodities 87

13 Go on Margin for Everything 93

14 Sell Short 97

15 Do Not Have a Plan for Your Investing or for Your Financial Life Generally 103

16 Do It All Yourself 109

17 Pay No Attention at All to Taxes 111

18 Believe That Those People You See on TV Can Actually Tell the Future 113

19 Do Not Start Even Thinking about Any of This until the Absolutely Last Moment 117

20 Don’t Believe That Any of This Matters Very Much, This Money Stuff 119

2149: How to Ruin Your Greatest Asset--You 123

Choose a Career with No Possibility of Advancement 124

Choose a Career with Little Chance for a Good Income 124

Choose Lots of Education over Lots of Pay 125

Show No Respect for Your Boss or Fellow Workers 125

Don’t Learn Much about Your Job, Industry, or Employers . . . Just Wing It 126

Do the Minimum Just to Get By 126

Show Up in Torn Jeans, Unshaven, Unwashed, Any Old Way You Feel Like Showing Up 126

Show No Regard for the Truth 127

Display Open Contempt for Your Job, Your Fellow Workers, Your Boss, and Your Clients/Customers 127

Act Like You Are Morally Superior to Your Job and Your Colleagues 128

Do Not Be Punctual 128

Don’t Hesitate to Have a Cocktail or Two at Lunch 128

Gossip and Sow Divisiveness at Work 129

Second-Guess Everyone around You at Work, Especially Your Boss 129

Threaten Your Boss and Employer with Litigation 129

Look for Grievances at Work 130

Make Sexual Advances to Anyone You Find Attractive 130

Make Excessive Phone Calls, Texts, and E-Mails on Company Time 131

Play Video Games at Work and Make Loud Noises as You Do 131

Make and Keep Lots of Personal Appointments on Company Time 132

Listen to Your Colleagues’ Conversations and Snoop on Their E-Mails 132

Talk about How Much Better Earlier Employers Were Than Your Current Employer 133

Brag about Your Great Family Connections 133

Pad Your Expense Account 134

Borrow Money from Your Fellow Employees and Don’t Pay It Back 134

Question, Mock, and Belittle Your Tasks 135

Flirt with Your Colleagues’ Significant Others 135

Proselytize at Work and Belittle Anyone Who Doesn’t Share Your Political or Religious Beliefs 135

Say Anything You Want That Comes into Your Head 136

About the Author 137