How Wizards Do Money: Parvati Patil

The best thing about going to Hogwarts was that her mother could no longer worry at her to stop slouching.

“You are so beautiful,” Parvati could hear, the over-emphasis disproving its own words. “Why are you hiding your own beauty?”

The truth was Parvati didn’t care. She was never into shoes, or dresses, or cosmetics. She loved the Gryffindor uniform because she didn’t have to make choices about all of that anymore. She could get up, plait her hair, and be ready to go.

When Dean Thomas whispered that Parvati was one of the best-looking girls in her year, Parvati glared at him and slouched harder. She went off to Hogsmeade with the Beauxbatons student later that night because he hadn’t said that to her; he’d actually said something that was interesting. Parvati found him to be less interesting as the night went on, so she checked off “dating” from her list of curiosities and stopped worrying about brushing her hair.

Later her mother would ask “but aren’t you meeting any nice boys?” and Parvati would reply “I’m learning advanced defensive fighting skills so I can be in a wizard army, I don’t have time to meet boys.”

Because of this, Parvati was spared the crush of weddings that all seemed to take place immediately after the Second Wizarding War. Hermione and Ron, Neville and Hannah, Harry and Ginny—that boy could lead an army, maybe, but he was a right git—her classmates paired off and she and Padma were left standing alone.

Then Padma immediately got hired by the Ministry, and Parvati was left alone. Her mother and father both began asking “don’t you want to get a job?”

The answer was no, but Parvati knew that wasn’t a good answer.

How Wizards Do Money: Angelina Johnson

Angelina is going to be with her father until he dies.

She got the owl while her family was in the Patagonia Desert watching the Quidditch World Cup. She got several owls, and sent a few in return, stepping outside of the arena and flicking away a beetle that kept trying to crawl onto the letter she was writing.

Of course she would be there. She’d apparate immediately. And she would stay.

When Angelina’s father first became ill, she felt that uncomfortable pull of responsibilities: her children, her husband, the business she and George shared, her father.

All right, let the business go, George and Ron can manage it for a while. So: her children, her husband, her father.

How Wizards Do Money: Sybill Trelawney

Sybill Trelawney knew she was going to retire before she did.

Most people know they’re going to retire before they do, but Sybill felt like she knew it, like it had been written in air and sent around the world via radio wave. She would retire in the early 2010s, and so she bid her farewell at the end of term in Spring 2014, the last possible date she could choose and make the prediction still accurate.

(Sybill preferred her predictions to be accurate.)

Sybill realized, once she left teaching, that she did not know where her money would come from. So she drank a cup of tea. She still didn’t know where her money would come from.

Books That Are Worth The Money

1) Books you have read already, perhaps via the library, that you know that you will want to reread

2) Books that activate the release of serotonin in your brain simply by the sight of their spines because you love them so much

3) Books with pretty spines

4) Books with pretty titles

5) Books that help define your tastes, opinions, and proclivities to strangers who might be in your apartment and looking at your shelves

6) Children’s books, because you will read each of them ten zillion times until you have them memorized and can rattle them off while walking down the street. “Up! Up! The sun is getting up! The sun gets up, so up with you! Up ear #1, ear #2!”

7) Reference-y books that you can reach out for in times of need, like Bird by Bird

8) Anything by Anne Lamott, really

Talking to Chris Guillebeau About His New Book, ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’

I have been a fan of Chris Guillebeau’s work for years. I took his Empire Building Kit course when I was starting my first ventures into entrepreneurship, and continued my education with his book The $100 Startup.

Chris’s newest book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose To Your Life, released last week. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy, and as soon as I finished reading the book I asked Chris if he’d be willing to answer two questions about his book for Billfold readers.

Nicole: I really liked that you were realistic about how much the various quests you profiled cost to complete, and that you offered low-cost or free alternative suggestions to readers who might want to do something like “walk across the United States” but not want to quit their jobs or not have the available funds. If people are worried about the monetary cost—or opportunity cost—of going on a quest, what advice do you have to help them in their decision-making?

Chris: Make no mistake: a quest should involve some kind of cost. If you believe in something and want to pursue it, it will inevitably involve some degree of tradeoff with something else. And that’s okay! It’s not a quest without cost, and it shouldn’t necessarily be easy.

Help Choose the Next Installment of the Billfold Book (or Maybe Miniseries) Club

During our last Billfold Book Club session, it was proposed that we choose a fiction book this time and discuss how the characters handle money.

I am all for this.

My first suggestion was, of course, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, because oh-my-goodness does that book deal with a bunch of characters who don’t know how to handle money, and then y’all upped me by suggesting the BBC Bleak House miniseries, which has the advantage of featuring Gillian Anderson and Charles Dance (aka Tywin Lannister) in lead roles and also has the advantage of not being an occasionally interminable Dickens novel. (For every mention of a megalosaurus marching down the streets of London, Dickens has to throw in an interminable passage, just to keep us off our toes.)

So I am 100% all for watching a miniseries.

Mike Dang suggested Emily Gould’s Friendship, which features the description “As Bev and Amy are dragged, kicking and screaming, into real adulthood, they have to face the possibility that growing up might mean growing apart.” (This is no fresh-outta-college story; they’re in their 30s.)

I am also 100% ready to read Friendship.

But I’m turning the remainder of the suggestions over to you: what work of fiction would you like to discuss?

To Refund or Not to Refund, A Tumblr Message Exegesis

Tumblr user stephanieshift -- O Stephanie, I don't want to haunt your Google results forever and I'm sorry, hopefully this is not your real name, though I suspect it is and you are just that foolish -- sent Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay a little message in her Ask Box yesterday.

How Wizards Do Money: Fay Dunbar

It was strange how they hadn’t known it until after his death, and then how quickly it spread, the whispers traveling like creeper vine up into the dormitories: Dumbledore. Is. Gay.

“I mean, was gay,” Lavender said. “But it’s not like he dated anyone so it doesn’t matter.”

Parvati snorted. “Dumbledore wouldn’t date,” she said.

Fay sat on her bed, hugging her knees. Hermione looked up from her book. “They shouldn’t talk that way,” she said, and Fay nodded, and said nothing.

Ten years later, it was Padma next to her on the bed, reading a book. Padma read much more than Fay did; she’d go through a book a night, sometimes, neatly moving the finished volumes to their stacks by the door, to be taken back to the library. Fay held a book, sometimes, but mostly what she liked was to sit next to Padma in their bed, their ankles touching under the sheets, until she was ready to fall asleep.

Fay and Padma live together in an apartment near the Ministry. Both of them work there; Fay as an auror, and Padma in the research department. The Ministry is in fact where they found each other, both of them turning up at an event designed to welcome LGBT members, Fay feeling a little embarrassed to see Padma there and then wondering why she felt that way.

How Wizards Do Money: Teddy Lupin

Teddy Lupin turns his ginger hair black and pulls his apron and rubber-soled shoes out of his expandable wallet. He swaps his shoes before he boards the Tube, but keeps the apron under his arm.

Four days a week, from 6 a.m. to noon, Teddy serves coffee. His grandmother is delighted that he wakes up as early as she does; she has no idea that when he says he’s going out running, he actually means that he’s running an espresso machine.

Teddy is exhausted. Some days it takes all his effort just to change his hair. However, it’s worth it, not only because the occasional wizards who pass through the coffee shop never recognize him, but also because every tourist who comes into the place asks him if he knows how much he looks like Benedict Cumberbatch.

How Wizards Do Money: Draco Malfoy

Draco knows that people with as much money as the Malfoy family generally don’t think about it too much; instead, they hire people to think about their money for them.

But Draco does a lot of thinking.

The Malfoy family fortune is not properly his, in that if he truly wanted to take the majority of the funds and rebuild Hogwarts—which was on his mind, a decade ago—he would have to go through nests of executors and conclaves of relatives.

And Hogwarts got rebuilt anyway.