Friday, December 22, 2006

Who Do You Admire? Who Do You Listen To? First In a Series

One of the people I admire and listen to is Ben Stein. I don't know him, and he doesn't know me. But his columns for Yahoo Finance are not to be missed. Can you have relatively small points of disagreement with the people you admire and listen to? Surely. I am genuinely impressed with so much of the thinking he shares in his writing, as well as the wholesome and lively attitude he brings. Perhaps he would not be too annoyed with me for mentioning one thing.

Mr. Stein sometimes suggests the purchase of variable annuities, I guess for the lifetime stream of payments. But oh my, what a price you pay for that security. My take on most of the variable annuity products: You might as well just give the insurance company and its salesman a third or fourth of your money as a gift (commissions, fees, misc. poorly-disclosed charges, etc.), and invest the rest in some randomly-chosen average-to-poor mutual funds. Serious performance issues exist. I will admit that a few exceptions also exist.

Oh well, even outstanding people are entitled to a few clinkers. The latest column: (And incidentally, Mr. Stein has no problem saying "Merry Christmas, everybody and Happy New Year.") is at:

Success Is All in a Day’s Work: How Not to Ruin Your Life - Yahoo! Finance

I'll say it too: Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

And since it's not over yet, I trust it's not too late to say Happy Hanukkah! Whatever your holiday, may the lights of this season be beautiful for you.

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