It took awhile to get this Financial Guru Review done, as I wasn’t too familiar with Ben Stein’s thoughts on personal finance. It was a lot of fun to read some of his columns and interviews.

Ben Stein on Getting Out of Debt and Credit Cards

Mr. Stein does use credit cards out of convenience and pays off the balance each month. Here’s a transcript from Frontline’s special on credit cards:

NARRATOR: Stein says he charges thousands of dollars a month in business expenses on his credit cards.

BEN STEIN: I use all their good services, and they don’t make any money from me. I mean, none to speak of.

NARRATOR: The credit card companies do make a percentage on each transaction, but Stein is not their ideal customer because, like 55 million Americans, he pays his bills off every month and doesn’t pay any interest.

BEN STEIN: The credit card companies hate people like me, who pay off our bills every month. And I know that because I ran into a fellow I went to high school with on the street, and he told me he worked for a credit card company. And I told him about how much I use credit cards and how I pay them off every month, and he said, “Oh, we hate you. We hate you guys. We call you deadbeats.”


Ben Stein and Building Wealth

In an interview with Nickel, Ben Stein commented he saves around 20% of his income for retirement. He also talks about how having specific financial goals can help you avoid ‘indulgences’.

I agree that sometimes you have to make big sacrifices to reap the benefits later. We tend to justify our luxuries. While it’s a common phrase, spending less than you earn is the foundation of fixing your finances. Either cut your expenses or find a way to earn more money. 

Ben Stein on Paying Off Mortgage or Investing

A question some people have is whether to pay off their mortgage faster or invest that money. 

While making no hard and fast rules, Ben Stein offered the following advice:

 Generally speaking, if you have a very low mortgage rate, it is better to invest the money than to pay off your mortgage. It’s an interesting fact – the rate of return on your mortgage is the interest you’re paying on it.

If you have a 6 percent mortgage and you’re paying it off, you’re earning 6 percent. If you can earn more than 6 percent in the stock market, you should probably put it in the stock market.

But, on the other hand, pay it off in an expeditious way. It’s good to have it paid off, or at least mostly paid off, by retirement time.

My Thoughts On Ben Stein

I wasn’t as familiar with his books as I was with the other financial gurus, so I had to dig a round a bit. If you’d like to learn more, here a link to his NY Times columns.

I agree with how he uses credit cards without going into debt. I found some bloggers have wrote some good posts about him. 


What are Your Thoughts?

With everything, find out if this advice is useful for you. No one is going to care about your finances like you do. Following the guidelines of a financial guru doesn’t get you off the hook for personal responsibility.

Do you listen to financial gurus’ money advice? If so, which one? Is there a financial guru you’d like me to review?