On Ready? Let's Talk Reparations

I don't agree with everything Mr. Coates wrote, but 80-95% we're on the same page, but..... .....I think the reparations discussion is a completely and utter waste of time. It's never going to happen. You're never going to get a nation of people whose ancestors largely arrived post slavery, whose benefits were largely indirect at best to agree to pay reparations. Plus black people are as part of America as anyone else, how do you do something like that without having black people pay their own reparations too? It makes more sense to think about public policy and individual actions that can make things better. Black people with good credit and assets getting pushed into subprime loans = a buyer education problem. An education problem I can fix with a 30-60 minute conversation. I can guarantee that I'll never get taken advantage of like that for the simple fact that I'm an educated buyer. All you really need to do know is what's a typical APR for your FICO and assets and say no until you get it, hell, just apply online and they'll never know your race. We should talk about fixing school funding so that kids aren't doomed by accident of where they were born. We should note that houses aren't investments anyway, and high income living in a low income neighborhood should = more disposable income and greater ability to build wealth. I.e. if you make $100k and live in a $150k house, you should turn out richer than someone making $100k and living in a $400-$500k house. List goes on and on. We should also talk about how many upper income black people CHOOSE to live in predominantly black neighborhoods with lesser schools. I've always lived-in nice white neighborhoods and have always gotten s*** from other black people because of it. Coates did a good analysis, but there are parts I disagree with and there are things people can do RIGHT NOW to help themselves that we should be talking about instead of the reparation pipe dream that's never.going.to.happen. Ever.

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 8:35 pm 0

On It's Time to Discuss 'Rich Dad Poor Dad'

My thoughts on Kiyosaki: 1) He encouraged people to invest heavily in real estate during the housing boom because they "the dollar was falling" and it would protect them. How did that work out? 2) He doesn't make money from using his advice, he makes money from selling books. 3) He filed for bankruptcy: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/rich-dad-poor-dad-author-files-bankruptcy/story?id=17463158 He sells mediocre advice to people who don't know any better, just like all financial gurus.

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 7:08 pm 1

On Today in Terrible Bosses: Dave Ramses II

The problem with gurus like Dave is that they operate from a place of extremes for people who have extremely bad habits, it's not that you can't follow his advice and save money, it's that you can ignore it and SAVE MORE. The super-fear of debt is fatuous though. You can use credit cards and pay them off every month, you can buy a house with a mortgage do better than paying rent while trying to save for one (where, in Iowa where houses cost $30k?!) - you can even not pay it off early, invest the cash and make more than you save by paying your 4% mortgage off early. Either way, Dave's advice is for a narrow set of the population who aren't financially astute, very religious and will eat up a very simple message. A message that a millionaire like Dave doesn't have to worry about. A message that comes from Dave not wanting to admit the mistakes he made before he became a guru, that fact that he over-leveraged himself and charmed the bank into allowing it until it changed hands doesn't mean debt is bad all up, it just means he was dumb.

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 7:03 pm 1

On Economic Theory of Dating Websites

Even though I met my future wife on OkCupid, I think that if you want to date be it seriously or not, you should go with a pay site. People who paid to use a site are just more invested in meeting people, and (IMO) are probably going to be more interesting in general. Pretty much everyone I met on Match was cool, regardless of how long we dated, nearly everyone I met on OkCupid was terrible(save my gf).

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm 1

On WWYD With a Five Figure Check?

I'd probably put 1/3 in our joint savings and invest the rest. I think it's best to save 100% of "found" money like that, and restrict your fun to your disposable income.

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 6:52 pm 1

On Homes Are Still Where Our Financial Hearts Are

The problem with this poll is that they need to differentiate income better, the results would likely be much different if they did $75k-$100k and then say $100k+ or say above $125k. My thinking is that two teachers who make $75k probably think Real Estate is the best, while people who make above $100-$125k are more investor class folks who are probably buying stocks. In the end though, a house you live in can't be an investment, as well, you live in it. For something to be an investment it's sole purpose needs to be generating returns, and selling it can't create a situation where you need to find another place to live and/or use any returns for same.

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm 0

On A Case Against Telling Your Coworkers What You Earn

@garli @meaghano @Allison - in all fairness: if our nearly all female recruiting staff and the one woman on that team (who screened people, coordinated with the recruiters and did a lot of the interviewing) weren't able to find many woman candidates, was my team's problem our a function of a our society that doesn't encourage women to pursue STEM careers? In my engineering classes in college there were often only 3-5 women.... Just saying... -M P.S. I also gleefully fired about ten sexist nerd bros 30 days into my tenure, so, again.....

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 5:31 am 0

On A Case Against Telling Your Coworkers What You Earn

@peutetre But ultimately you have to make a case for salary based on the value YOU'RE delivering, you can't necessarily replicate what someone else is doing. If I'm evaluating you for a bonus, raise, etc., the argument of "I've been here longer than sally, or I have more education than John" are "okay" arguments, but they're not really what I'm looking for. You need to tell me what YOU did that's especially value and equate that to a higher salary. For instance I can recall one time when one of my directs pretty much waltzed through his bonus review with ease, and had a great case for me giving him a raise. Why? He came to me with a proposal that tacked on about 20% to the profit margins of his group, and he stepped up to work on a bunch of cross organization projects (some of which were his idea). It was a no brainer. Another of his co-workers did something similar by bringing in a bunch of new business and really improving the quality of her operations. If you look at the list of people and see someone making more, knowing that John did X and he makes more is only "kind of" valuable. Ultimately you need to show initiative and articulate a case for the value that you bring to the table that JOHN DOESN'T - that's how you distinguish yourself. You don't need to know who makes what. You just need to know the range management is willing to pay, then you work on your case and engage with leadership to learn what else you can do. Especially since performance trumps education, tenure, etc., (in most private sector white collar roles at least) - and honestly, if your management isn't willing to engage with you to give you feedback on the things you want to do to earn pay bumps the org sucks and you should look for another job. -M

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 5:13 am 0

On A Case Against Telling Your Coworkers What You Earn

@Jake Reinhardt that's a fair point to a degree, but if we say no one's experience should decide support for/against an issue, then we can't use anyone's opinion, period. That being said: having been in the consulting business for over ten years and with a variety of companies + the above is largely based on a time where I spent six weeks arguing with c-level executives of a publicly traded company to get the women in my group paid fairly, had an eight figure payroll, operated in five countries, had over ten different teams under me, and was tasked with solving the primary issue of wage fairness, morale, etc., I think my opinion is a bit more informed than most, no?

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 5:01 am 0

On A Case Against Telling Your Coworkers What You Earn

@Josh Michtom@facebook before I took over that division salaries were all over the place as there weren't any guidelines, I think guidelines keep people in check. If you know you HAVE to pay within a certain range for a certain role, and you do a good job of setting a fair floor for salaries, you avoid a lot of BS. But ultimately it comes down to fair and honest management. As I said - everyone know what everyone made before I got there and it didn't do anything to advance the cause of fair pay, especially for the women in the group (at HQ especially). Side note: the guy I took over for went to another company and was promptly fired for sexual harassment.

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 4:55 am 0