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How To Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio Hardcover – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The secret to making money is sticking to the basics, but while they might be your best bet for success, they're not exactly thrilling. For years, Ben Stein has extolled the virtues of keeping things simple, but many people—maybe you among them—are too easily distracted by the lure of frills and fads promising quick and easy riches to pay attention. Now, in How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio, Stein takes a tongue-in-cheek new approach, offering advice on how to succeed spectacularly . . . at losing money!

The ultimate how-NOT-to guide, this book highlights the 49 ways in which investors manage to torpedo their portfolios by ignoring the simple facts of finance, to help you reconsider the way you're treating your money before it's too late.

From believing you can outthink the market to assuming that current trends will last forever, and from ignoring your tax returns to shunning financial advisors, this is the advice you absolutely don't need. In his own inimitable style, Stein dispenses the invaluable information that any intelligent investor should avoid at all cost, to help you identify the problems with your own portfolio-building efforts so that you can take countermeasures to get your money working for you.

A laugh-out-loud approach to personal finance, Economist and comic Ben Stein brings you the tips you need to know . . . if you want to go broke. Explaining the rules for failure so that you can run, screaming, in the opposite direction, How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio explains the missteps that can destroy any portfolio to help you keep yours safe.

From the Back Cover

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!"
—WARREN E. BUFFETT
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."
—NEIL CAVUTO
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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118338731
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118338735
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Stein (Los Angeles, CA) is a respected economist who is known to many as a movie and television personality, but has worked more in personal and corporate finance 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 cowritten eight 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 2009 winner of the Malcolm Forbes Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ben Stein uses reverse psychology to share the benefit of his experience with novice investors. He conveys the message that prudence may not be exciting, but it helps keeps us solvent. In "How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio," Stein, an economist, actor, journalist, and comedian, provides handy tips to help the reckless and impulsive empty out their retirement accounts, enrich brokers, and shrink their beneficiaries' future inheritance. If you follow Stein's advice to the letter, you can have fun riding a financial roller coaster to disaster.

This slim, informative, and sarcastic volume has brief chapters outlining paths to self-destruction. A few examples: Use your gut instinct/and or clairvoyance to pick stocks; get into hedge funds, currency trading, and commodities in a big way; buy on margin and sell short; and follow the celebrity financial gurus' advice slavishly. What could go wrong? In addition to his monetary advice, Stein includes useful recommendations for destroying your career, sometimes before it even gets started.

Stein's father, Herbert, was "a famous economist," his mother was a savvy investor who left behind a solid portfolio, and he has friends (including Warren Buffett) who are knowledgeable and wealthy. So why has Stein made so many stupid mistakes over the years? It must be that he is human; when the siren song of speculation called to him, he was powerless to resist. Investing, like gambling, can be addictive, and we all know how successful most gamblers and addicts are over time.

"How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life" is a light and fast-paced primer about the basic principles we need to follow to keep us from making ill-advised and poorly timed decisions.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Power TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is both informational and entertaining. It provides sound advice with the dry humor that Ben Stein is known for. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to you. It is especially good for folks who have just enough knowledge of finance and economics to get themselves into trouble.

I especially liked the section on investing for retirement. When most people calculate their net worth, they fail to include that massive unfunded liability that is retirement. This book is worth every bit of its price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alan on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're new to investing, not sure where to start and / or don't have the time or desire to read investment books by 'experts', this is meant for you.

The content is largely common sense, but many people who think they can 'win' against the system seem to suppress their common sense. Ben Stein speaks not just as an economist but as someone who has invested his own money in various markets for decades. It also provides a good introduction to the various ways money is made in finance - and also why they probably won't work for you.

The content is good and edited well; however, it should be sold for a few dollars less.
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By JS on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is late 2012 copyright I believe and is even better than the 2010 edition. I believe I said 2011in a review of his first "How To Ruin, book.
This one takes on your portfolio along with the common sense and easy to understand advice.
I Highly recommend this one for your kids. Ahhh heck I'll tell the truth, Not only your ked but Yourself and any Friend that sees it on your coffee table. Because as Ben says, "You don't know Anything!" Believe me it's not an insult or put down. He's right. Something for everyone in this one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...but you should have included a chapter about SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY
on Amazon purchases! Just kidding, Amazon, glad you're here-we all know that Books
and Music take precedence over Food and Clothing.
I wanted to give Ben five stars for this book, but really, most of the advice he's giving here
is just common sense-most importantly, not trying to be your own financial advisor by
'picking' individual stocks, etc. A good read, worth a few laughs maybe, but not great.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Hilarious. Ben Stein is the Adam Carolla of wise investing. I felt he was in my living room giving me the sarcastic grin he is known for. Recommended to anyone who wants to ruin their financial life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Funny, amusing and good advice.

My one criticism : for real beginners in financial planning and investment advice like me: it would be good to know when you are being facetious and when you are being serious. a change in font for say /expect sly humor,.... /another kind of font for clues to real straight investment principles.

If you have ever herd Ben Stein talk, you know what I mean.
But this book just fails to deliver his wit and wisdom. Too bad.
Ben Stein had a good idea but the publishers failed to deliver.

Ben, get another publisher!
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Format: Kindle Edition
An entertaining way to think of investing; recommended for those who are interested in learning about investing and are tired of reading dry books about it.
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