Sunday, January 19, 2014

Money Money Money

Some people gotta have it, some people really need it.... some people just don't ever reconcile either frankly.

Yesterday I read the article below by the founder of Vanguard and thought it was an interesting perspective by one who is of that greatest generation (not a boomer, as for some reason Boomers are  seen as  synonymous with greed)  and he discusses how he reasons why there are those who seem to never have enough and the new sudden command or rule that Wall Street take a weekend off.  Yes shocking that anyone would in this 7 day a week 24 hour a day culture would encourage sanity, but there are those who recall life outside of work.

And then today I read this bullshit by another grieving stone head ex Wall Streeter who is using the op ed pages to mea culpa their 12 step program. There are way better books and movies about the subject frankly. The Wolf of Wall Street despite three hours is well worth a trip to the cinema and if you want a well written narrative about the era of bust or buy buy buy, Turney Duff's, The Buy Side is by far superior to the above author's tome.

Mind Body connection. The mind makes connections and grows from introspection and evolution. As tomorrow is the day we are to honor the Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, it is ironic that much of his lessons are now being quickly overturned and ignored often by those whom he very much wanted to lead and no longer follow.

We have failed in teaching what is empathy, from that comes sympathy and from sympathy comes compassion and from compassion comes activism. There are pockets of those doing the Moral Mondays in North Carolina, the activists that stood in the Wisconsin cold for weeks to retain the right to organize, to those who still chant si se puede in an attempt for equality and legality.

We are a funny group who seem to need to both rage and grieve publicly and in turn we feel that is sufficient to show our rage or sadness extrinsically but we do nothing to change intrinsically. You would think that all that public declaration or 12 stepping would teach those participating something but alas no.  That is simply a public display and until you do change your external behavior and simply do things differently only then will you be able to internalize those behaviors and actually believe that yes change is possible.

You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. But we have no idea what is the solution and that is the problem.

Having Enough, but Hungry for More

By: Paul Sullivan
Published January 18, 2013

John Bogle, 83, founder of the mutual fund company Vanguard, said his sense of enough came from not wanting very many things in life. “I am not saying in any way that I’ve taken vows of poverty,” he says. “I just don’t need any more.

THREE recent stories got me thinking about a concept that is central to money, wealth and ultimately contentment but that is overlooked this time of year: knowing how much is enough.

First, Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors who is accused of insider trading, used a computer program to change some grades at Harvard Law School from B’s to A’s.

Then Bank of America sent out a memo telling junior investment bankers to take at least four weekend days off a month. Last year, Goldman Sachs proposed that junior staff members take off the entire weekend, while this week Credit Suisse told the same group to take Saturdays off, unless they were working on an imminent deal.

Lastly, there was the story about the efforts of Dominic Barton, the managing director of McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, to change the firm’s culture. He was doing so to make sure the company was not linked to more scandals like the one involving a former executive, Rajat K. Gupta. Mr. Gupta was said to be worth $100 million when, according to authorities, he risked his reputation and freedom to supply insider information to his billionaire friend, Raj Rajaratnam, who ran the Galleon Group, a hedge fund, and had talked of investing in an idea Mr. Gupta had.
While these three events may seem different at first glance, I think there is an underlying link around the notion of what is enough. (Having this discussion at all, of course, presumes someone is not just getting by.) In the cases of Mr. Martoma and Mr. Gupta, it was that desire for more, be it prestige or future wealth. For the senior executives at Bank of America, it seems to have been the realization that the most coveted jobs for college graduates were less about Wall Street and more about Silicon Valley, where working weekends comes with special perquisites that technology jobs have become known for.

Those stories, coupled with the start of a new year — when some people may have debt from the holidays and others have just received big bonuses — seemed to make this a good moment to consider why some people have a sense of enough, while others never do.

Mr. Martoma said he had changed his grades to impress his parents.

“That’s a bit immature to blame it on them,” said Ellen Miley Perry, managing partner at WealthBridge Partners and author of “A Wealth of Possibilities: Navigating, Family, Money and Legacy.” “But I understand where it is coming from.”

Ms. Perry, who advises families, said one of the crucial drivers for people lacking a sense of enough was feeling pressure from families to be better, smarter, richer. Even when it is not stated explicitly, she said, children of high-achieving parents feel it.

“I’m telling my clients to shrink the shadow,” she said. “Talk to them about your failures and struggles. All they see is the neon lights of their parents’ success.”

And when it comes to what the children are doing, parents would do better to instill a sense of enough in their children by taking the celebrations of success down a notch. “Get rid of the headline moments and embrace the small ones,” she said.

What Mr. Martoma did with his grades speaks to an incessant striving that starts in the affluent enclaves of America. This is the time of year when high school seniors who applied for early decision to their top choice of college but were deferred are scrambling to polish essays for all the other schools they hoped not to have to apply to.
John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Mutual Funds and author of “Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life,” said one of his teenage granddaughters spent last summer with him and his wife, working a summer job. At the end, he asked her how she liked it.
“She said, ‘I liked it, but I didn’t learn anything,’ ” said Mr. Bogle, who created the first widely available index mutual fund. “I said, You’ve learned all you needed to know. You learned to get to work on time. You learned to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. You learned that sometimes bosses are unreasonable and sometimes the customer is wrong but you have to pretend they’re right.”
Yet Mr. Bogle, who worked in high school and through Princeton University, said his own sense of enough came from not wanting very many things in life, even after creating the second-largest mutual fund company in the world, next to Fidelity Investments.
“I am not saying in any way that I’ve taken vows of poverty,” he said. “I just don’t need any more.”
What Bank of America has proposed for young bankers tries to tackle the sense of enough from a different perspective: making banking desirable to its candidates who are turning to other options, like working for a technology start-up.
In the memo I saw, which was confirmed by a bank spokesman, the bank’s head of global corporate and investment banking, Christian Meissner, wrote: “While we do not encourage weekend work, effective immediately, we recommend that analysts and associates take a minimum of four weekend days off per month.”
This is something banks have never had to do with their junior bankers, who were expected to work all the time and did. But the brightest ones have plenty of other options that allow for time outside the office.
Eric Dammann, a Manhattan psychologist, said the memo meant well but missed the mark.
“What’s so paradoxical is it’s trying to give them perspective, but it’s giving them perspective from people who have no perspective,” he said. “The problem is not that they’re not taking Sunday off. The problem is that you have to tell them to take Sunday off.”
Those young bankers may be asking themselves questions about what is enough that previous generations did not and still don’t, he said.
“When you ask people what’s your number, they’ll throw one out, say $10 million,” he said. “When they get there, I can’t tell you how many people say, ‘Well, maybe I need to work another couple of years to get to $12 or $15 million.’ When you ask them what changed, they’re baffled. They don’t know.”
This leads to McKinsey, where cultural changes were precipitated by Mr. Gupta and a lower-level consultant who shared nonpublic information. It would be easy to say that Mr. Gupta’s lack of enough came from comparing his wealth to that of Mr. Rajaratnam, who was considered a billionaire before his insider trading conviction.

That could be true. But Mr. Gupta’s story also raises the broader question of how many people continue their quest for more without thinking why they are doing it.
"There are lots of things that drive people down this particular road,” said Robert Skidelsky, the author with his son Edward of “How Much Is Enough? The Love of Money, and the Case for the Good Life.” “But they’re not quite sure why, except that if you spend a lot of time doing things that you like instead of making lots of money, you’re not judged as successful by society.”
And while Mr. Skidelsky, who is best known as John M. Keynes’s biographer, advocates more leisure, he said that persuading people that they have enough when their neighbor has more is an age-old problem that is tough to solve.
“A lot of people want to be successful in what they do — it’s a perfectly noble aspiration,” he said. “If you live in a society where success is measured mainly in money, that means you want more money.”
Dr. Dammann agreed that often people’s sense of not having enough comes from a failure to think about how what they are doing compares with what they want. “If you’re spending 98 percent of your waking time going to the office and you say, ‘I want to be a better father,’ you can show how that doesn’t match up,” he said.
This is a good time of the year to make sure that what you say you want matches up with what you actually want.

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