Tag Archives: wealth

Clintons and Money

I don’t begrudge anyone success, and I don’t begrudge anyone their wealth (unless it was amassed via theft or fraud, and while I think there might be a little of that in any politicians’ past, there’s no real evidence the Clintons are rich because they stole money from someone.)  I also don’t begrudge the children of wealthy people.

Via the New York Daily News, Chelsea Clinton carries on her parents’ tradition of being completely out of touch and incredibly arrogant.

“I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t,” she told Fast Company in an interview that ran in the magazine’s May edition, explaining why she gave up lucrative gigs to join her family’s philanthropic foundation.

Comparing her experience to the average millennial, the 34-year-old former first daughter defended jumping around to different careers — from consulting to a hedge fund to academia to journalism — before finding her true calling working with her parents.

“It is frustrating, because who wants to grow up and follow their parents? I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents … it’s a funny thing to realize I feel called to this work, both as a daughter and also as someone who believes I have contributions to make,” she continued about her reluctant status as a boomerang kid.

The Clinton name likely opened doors for the political heiress, including an eye-popping $600,000 annual salary for an irregular stint as an NBC special correspondent, but Chelsea insists her work speaks for itself.

“I will just always work harder (than anybody else) and hopefully perform better,” said Clinton, who along with former banker husband Marc Mezvinsky, purchased a $10.5-million Gramercy Park apartment in 2013. “And hopefully, over time, I preempt and erase whatever expectations people have of me not having a good work ethic, or not being smart, or not being motivated.”

Again – I don’t begrudge her success, and I don’t doubt she’s talented, hard working, and ambitious.  Frankly, good for her that she can land a big salary at NBC.  What gets me is she seems to think she needs to apologize for being successful, and then try to get us to believe she’s going to live like some pauper…  trust me, it gets a lot easier to not care about the money the more of it you have.

So be proud of your success, Chelsea.  Own it.  And quit pandering.

Hat tip:  Against Crony Capitalism


Pondering Wealth

Don Boudreaux ponders the wealth of the richest American, and what would happen if we took it all and gave it to other people.

And this fact does mean, therefore, that taking money from Gates and giving it to other Americans will – if these Americans spend all or most of this transfer on consumption goods – reduce the productivity of the economy.  It will diminish the economy’s capacity to produce material goods and services over time.  Over time, it will make all of us less able to consume.

Read all of it.  And if you have time, read more posts at Cafe Hayek.

Financial Friday: Budgeting and Debt Repayment

This is part of a weekly series on personal finance and wealth building.  If you care to read them all, please click on the ‘Building Wealth’ category on the right.

Most people giving and taking financial advice focus on the budget as the key to building wealth.  I disagree, but budgeting is a very important tool in the process of paying off debt, and can play a role in building your net worth by helping you live beneath your means and effectively plan and meet your savings goals.  I don’t think having a budget is a requirement if you aren’t in debt; I don’t use one, although I do track some of my spending.

One of the running themes in this series is to keep things as simple as possible to meet the requirements of the process.  My approach to budgeting is no different (and if you’ve known me for a while or remember anything I’ve written on lifting, you’ll see some similarities).

To build your budget, you first need to know how much money is coming in during a period of time.  Most people use a month, and that’s just fine with me.  We discussed how to get a good picture of your income and expenses last week.  We also need a detailed list of every bit of spending for the month.  It’s a bit of a record keeping hassle, but for this one month, it is absolutely critical that you know exactly how much you spend and what you spend it on.  As we get in to budgeting, you’ll find that you spend a lot of money on stuff you don’t need, and you’ll find a lot of waste. Continue reading

The Emergency Fund Fallacy

As a full disclaimer, I am the anti-guru. I saw a post on a blog a couple of days ago from a self proclaimed expert explaining the need for an ‘Emergency Fund’, and I thought a post might be in order.

In plain language: if you have any consumer debt (credit cards, car loans, etc), you should not have an Emergency Fund if your goal is to increase your net worth. There is no reason to pay interest to save money.

Lets say you have $10k in credit card debt, and you are paying 20% interest on that debt. You decide you need 6 months after tax in the bank as an emergency fund, in case you get laid off, or hit by a bus, or mauled by a dog, whatever. You make $60k a year, so you need about $20k in the bank.

Think about that for a minute. How long would it take you to save $20K? And you want to not pay off your credit cards for that long? A significant “EF” is a huge mistake if your goal is to increase your net worth.

If your goal is to increase your net worth, you have to get out of debt. If there is no direct need for the cash (what are the actual odds you’ll need the fund?  If they are high, then it’s not an emergency, it’s something that should be in your budget), pay off your credit cards and your car loan, THEN gather 6 months cash.

My suggestion is to have a 2 week cushion over your budgeted needs so you aren’t literally paycheck to paycheck.  You don’t want the timing of due bills doesn’t create any issues.  But more than that, you are paying interest on money you don’t need to just sit there.

If you do find yourself in a position you need more than a paycheck’s worth of cash for something (the transmission is shot, need to repair that roof leak), use the available credit you’ve created by paying off your debt. You are still better off, because you haven’t been paying interest on that money while it sat doing nothing, you only have to pay interest on it while you need it.

If you are disciplined, it won’t be long before you are out of debt and paying for those emergencies with cash you have saved.  Saving while you are in debt or while you rack up more debt is the main reason people struggle to build wealth.

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