Meet John Munson, a Man Behind the Man Behind @GSElevator

Those who watch Twitter from a certain, occasionally perplexed vantage point took note recently as a long-running mystery was solved. John LeFevre, a former bond trader living in Texas, “was exposed” as the creator of @GSElevator (Goldman Sachs Elevator Gossip). The account passed along supposedly overheard sour nothings (more braggadocio and bon mots than actual gossip) straight from the black heart of America’s favorite financial institution to 647,000 followers. According to Dealbook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, the identity of the gossip monger became the subject of a Wall Street “parlor game”: just who was GSElevator, and why would he risk his no-doubt lucrative career by sharing co-workers’s private (if insensitive) musings?


Nothing Leprechaun Gold Can Stay: Financial Lessons From “Harry Potter”

• Witches and wizards apparently operate in a cash only society. Maybe you too can get by without a credit card!

• “One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” –Dumbledore, who should start celebrating Hannukah

• The wizarding world does not seem capitalist; in fact, it seems barely post-industrial, perhaps in line with JRR Tolkien’s shire. Everyone is pretty happy even though no one makes it onto Forbes’ Fictional 15. More leaning back, drinking butterbeer, and watching Quidditch for us all.

• 1 Galleon = 17 Sickles = 493 Knuts. This must be mocking the pre-1971 British currency system, where 2 farthings = 1 half-penny, 12 pence = 1 shilling, 5 shillings = 1 Crown, and so on. Decimalization FTW.

• Keep your money safe by hiding it in a locked vault at the bottom of a goblin bank protected by blind dragons. Or the modern equivalent: a CD.


Silicon Valley Ladies Are Doing It For Themselves

Do you know what “venture capital” is? I do now, but once I did not, and I met a venture capitalist at a party, and she was like, “What do you do?” and I was like, “I work at a start up” (about which more here) and she was like, “Oh, great! I’m in VC!” and I had to nod and laugh and pretend I knew what she was talking about because I am scared to look stupid, lest someone force me to take the SATs again.*


I Made $25.24 From the Bank of America Overdraft Settlement

Vengeance is mine! Okay, not really. But I got a check in the mail for $25.24 the other day as settlement for a class action lawsuit against Bank of America for their cockamamie overdraft policies. $25.24 may not be much, but it represents a tiny, beautiful piece of the $410M pie of justice that the court ordered B of A to pay out this year.


Credit Reporting Agency Says Woman Is Deceased, Woman Says Hey I’m Alive

Kimberly Haman was applying for a new mortgage when her application was put on hold. The reason? Equifax, one of the U.S. consumer credit reporting agencies, thought she was dead.


And When I Did 1 Thing My Fingers Ran With Blood

1 thing 2 do.


In Time of Great Upheaval, the Dollar Bill Remains Stalwart

Fun fact for your Wednesday afternoon, courtesy of Quartz! The $1 bill has not been changed since 1929, and will not be changing anytime soon. As has been the case for the past several years, the 2014 budget specifically said that the Treasury Department isn’t allowed to spend any money redesigning it, either. So don’t even try!


Computer Predicts the Balance of Your Bank Account

I have spent far too much of the past hour taking this quiz from the University of Vermont that I found on Reddit (sssh, don’t judge me):

We are computer science researchers at the University of Vermont and have created a website that can predict the amount of money you have in your bank account. The website consists of a simple survey with questions posted by other users. The computer has been programmed to predict your personal savings based on your survey answers and statistical data of each question.

Well, I do love quizzes! Okay and now I am 91 questions in, with 61 to go. A half hour of my life is now missing and and I have answered such questions as:

- How many hamburgers do you eat in the average week? – Do you keep a journal? – Do you have an IRA? – Do you own a car? – How many inches is your TV? – Do you prefer to write with a pencil or pen? – Are you gay? – How much student loan debt do you have?


How Can I Prevent Myself From Overdrawing My Account?

I forgot about an automatic payment which wiped out my checking account two days before my paycheck came in, and in that void I swiped my debit card five times which resulted in five overdraft fees of $35 each. Of course I had plenty of money in my savings account, but since I don’t sign into my bank account every day (should I be doing this?), I didn’t realize in time to transfer the money.


Questionable Mailer Sent By Bank

I’ve received this letter in the mail a few times already, and sorry, but the question of “Can you afford a new home?” is kind of an important one. Plus: “You can now buy a new home with as little as 3.5% down”—hah!