An NFL Hall-of-Famer Who Pays His Own Bills

I like this guy. Heidi Moore has a nice interview with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, who quickly taught himself about money when he started making it, though he had to learn the hard way at first. Now he teaches financial literacy classes in his free time and is passionate about teaching kids financial discipline early on.

What was your reaction when you got your first NFL paycheck?

I was grateful to receive it – and I knew this time to put it in the bank. I did not spend money outside of basic needs, because I wanted to be an educated person spending that dollar. After my first signing bonus, I got a ton of advice: you should invest in this, you should invest in that. It was the mid-90s and the market was soaring. I didn’t invest in anything. Some people said I lost out. I tell them: if I invest and I’m uneducated, then I’m losing.

One thing I tell other athletes is that I paid my own bills. I didn’t depend on a wealth advisers to pay my bills. If you are using your time, your workouts, your resources to get this money, and you’re blessed to be in this league, how can you not take an hour and sit down and pay those bills? When you see that number go down every month, you’re going to see the effect of your own spending habits. Everything we do in our lives, from workouts to coaching, it takes discipline – so why not do that with your earning power? Some people say it’s easy to talk about and hard to do. It’s not hard to do. How can you not spare an hour?

Do I Need to Be Worried About The Default? Y/N

I've decided that we don't need to be worried because it just feels better, not to be worried. Also, there is nothing we can do about it (besides yell at our elected officials to get it together). Just stay on our toes. Be agile. Retain flexibility.

Some Things About Those Jobs Numbers Today

On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics release their monthly jobs reports. Media organizations who cover business and economics love to talk about the numbers, and since everyone else covers it, I tend to stay out of it and for other reasons too. Here's the report for today...

Explaining the Sequester

Multiple attempts to explain the sequester.

Economists, Reporters Discuss the Most Important Economic Stories of 2013

The Atlantic asked 41 reporters and economists from across the U.S. what the most important economic story of 2013 was according to data and graphs. Here’s Heidi Moore:

Here’s why I love this chart: it nails the issue with the inequality at the center of our economy right now. Corporate profits are our only consistently rising metric of economic success. Everything else that matters is bumping along the bottom. Job openings have only modest gains, and nowhere near what we had before the crash. Personal income is stagnant. Unemployment is still absurdly high. That leads to the policy question: is it our goal as a country to fuel only corporate profits? Or do we have some other responsibility to the citizenry?

And here’s Eddy Elfenbein from Crossing Wall Street:

Here’s the Medicals Costs portion of the CPI divided by the Core CPI. This trend has been rising for decades, but it’s slowed down recently. It’s still too early to call is a trend. But obviously, if healthcare inflation soon becomes like regular inflation, then it’s a game changer.

There’s a lot more and a lot of interesting data to think about here, but basically, the labor market has not been great, but the stock market and corporate profits did well in 2013.

Heidi Moore Says Wall Street Getting Its Reckoning, Let’s Believe Her, Feels Good

Heidi’s articles about The Banks are the only articles about The Banks: “The reaper has come for America’s strongest bank. JP Morgan, the bank that sailed elegantly through the financial crisis with no scratches, just announced its first quarterly loss since 2004 … Consequences, long delayed, are being visited on the financial sector for its abuses, and JP Morgan’s bad quarter is the first really tangible evidence of that.”

Heidi Moore Continues to Be Great at Analogy, Everything

"Wall Street is not so much like a haunted Victorian mansion as a quiet, creeping fungus right where you live: it grows fast and takes root everywhere, silently."

Increasing the Minimum Wage (Part II)

Our pal Heidi Moore tackled the issue in The Guardian today.

Some People Might Make A Lot Of Twitter Money Today

Twitter IPO'd! Which means that early Twitter employees and investors are probably going to make mad bank, and the rest of us get to speculate about What It All Means without really knowing what we're talking about -- my favorite pastime!

The Housing Recovery Is an ~Illusion~

Heidi Moore explains! (“Affordability and home ownership are far more closely correlated than interest rates and home ownership. Interest rates may make mortgages more expensive, but they don’t affect the underlying price. That price is what drives people away.”)

Thanks to Heidi Moore Markets Are Now Totally Understandable, I ‘Get’ Them, Piece of Cake

Heidi Moore explains how markets work.

Read This Libor Story

With a tweet like that, how could you not pay attention to this Bloomberg feature on the Libor scandal?

For years, traders at Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, Barclays, RBS and other banks colluded with colleagues responsible for setting the benchmark and their counterparts at other firms to rig the price of money, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg and interviews with two dozen current and former traders, lawyers and regulators. UBS traders went as far as offering bribes to brokers to persuade others to make favorable submissions on their behalf, regulatory filings show.

Members of the close-knit group of traders knew each other from working at the same firms or going on trips organized by interdealer brokers, which line up buyers and sellers of securities, to French ski resort Chamonix and the Monaco Grand Prix. The manipulation flourished for years, even after bank supervisors were made aware of the system’s flaws.

“We will never know the amounts of money involved, but it has to be the biggest financial fraud of all time,” says Adrian Blundell-Wignall, a special adviser to the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. “Libor is the basis for calculating practically every derivative known to man.”

It’s the biggest financial fraud of all time, yet the general public finds it it too boring? complex? to really give it the attention it deserves. So let’s put this story on our reading lists today.

Update: Heidi’s newest column is about how nobody cares about Libor:

…there is literally no one in the United States who has ever pounded a dinner table in outrage over government complacency, yelling, “But if we’re so tough on financial crime, why haven’t we thrown those obscure Asian bureaucrats of a foreign bank into the slammer for fixing a London-based interest rate?!”

No. What US consumers wanted was the prosecution of American banks, for American crimes. Insider trading. Mortgage fraud. Foreclosure abuses. Unjust, overdone compensation for executives and managers who failed to uphold ethical business standards.