Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ben Stein buries a pearl deep inside a yucky oyster

There's a nice simple little pearl of valuable wisdom buried inside of Ben Stein's July 16th How Not to Ruin Your Life column. No, I'm not talking about a public service announcement warning you of the dangers of smoking too much weed or the appropriate jab at "funemployment".

I'm talking about this bit of wisdom Stein attributes to his father, economist Herb Stein:

"You are there to take care of you," he once said. "The younger you is there to take care of the older you by virtue of the assets you accumulated when you were young."

I like it. It's Herb Stein's spin on the old tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper (like Frugalson household favorite A Bug's Life), where the importance of working hard and saving for a future rainy day is the lesson du jour. For my family, that means saving, investing, and living within our means.

Of course, I'm a bit down on Ben Stein since he became spokesman for freescore.com, which promises all three credit scores for free, but doesn't mention in non-mouseprint that you get those free scores when you sign up for whatever variant of credit protection service they are offering for about $30 per month. Thanks for the interesting article Mr. Stein, but I'll stick with the truly free AnnualCreditReport.com to keep an eye on my credit reports thankyouverymuch.


  • Its funny the day I saw that article I printed out for my daughter to read. After printing it I realized how much he blathered on about his schooling and his professors and theories learned etc. The only thing to take away from that whole article was the one line that you posted. That indeed is the pearl buried deep in the muck.

    By Blogger billtmore, at 7/25/09, 8:48 AM  

  • I think "blathered" is perfect. :) It is a pretty appropriate way to describe the bulk of Stein's articles at Yahoo. Just add a pinch of name-dropping and a half teaspoon of smugness and you've pretty much got the recipe down pat.

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 7/26/09, 9:10 AM  

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