Sponsored Video: The State Of The Global Economy

Whenever I travel on a long business trip overseas, I always ask the flight attendant for three papers: The FT, The Wall Street Journal, and a copy of the destination city’s newspaper. This way, I can get a blend of global + local news in order to converse more easily with the clients I’m visiting.

If you ever wonder how some people can make cocktail party conversations look so easy, it’s simply because they are voracious consumers of media. If you can seamlessly switch from sharing your views on the new French Socialist President Hollande’s policies to April’s US existing housing sales rebound to whether OKC will take out San Antonio in 6 or 7 games, you will be a master of conversation.

Financial Samurai’s editorial will continue to contain a combination of topical posts along with personal stories to keep things interesting.  In fact, I dare say that if you become a regular reader of this site, your cocktail party conversational skills will shoot through the roof!

In the below 3 minute 29 second video, you’ll gain a quick snapshot of the global economy and where specific countries stand in terms of size, GDP per capita, growth, education, and happiness.  Remember, everything is relative and making tons of money isn’t necessarily better if it takes many more hours in the process.  Have a look at the video and let me know your thoughts on what stood out.

Some points that stood out:

* New Zealand has 1 ranked education system vs. #5 for the US

* Netherlands is #1 in pay per hour.

* Brazil legally gets 30 days off vs. 5 in China and 0 in US.

* Brazil is considered the happiest country in the world.  Although, based on a latest OECD happiness report, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands are even happier.

This video was sponsored by The Financial Times.

Are You A Financial Dumb Ass?

Financial DumbassEvery now and again, I stumble across something that makes me wonder, “Are you a dumb ass?”  Someone forwarded me a post from a year ago where a PF blogger spent $60,000 on a luxury car right after revealing his net worth was only $55,000!  I mean seriously, is that not a little messed up or what?  It’s almost as dumb as a minimalist owning multiple Apple products, a health nut who smokes and drinks soda, a vegan who wears leather shoes, and an evangelist who embezzles millions from you.

When I innocently asked why he spent more on his car than his entire family’s net worth, another commenter responded that it was because the blogger wanted to save money by spending money so he wouldn’t have money left over every month to spend.  Huh?  What?  Hmmmmm.  That’s just dumb.


The Yakezie Writing Contest And Micro-Giving

One of my favorite business school classes focused on Emerging Market Economies.  We read C.K. Prahalad’s book called, “Fortune At The Bottom Of The Pyramid“, which basically described how entrepreneurs were finding cost effective ways to serve the poorest people in the world and also be profitable.

Conventional business wisdom states that one must go after those consumers with the deepest pockets and the highest propensity to spend.  Prahalad argues that we have a social responsibility to help the other end of the spectrum improve their living standards and not be afraid of going bust in the process.

One of the keys that came out of helping the poor in emerging markets is the concept of micro-lending.  Micro-lending is a fascinating concept which essentially pools together the funds of people in usually small communities, and lends out those funds to a select few.  Together, a community is able to help each other more impactfully than if they were separate.  What’s also very interesting is that the tighter the community, the lower the default rates compared to conventional banks because everybody feels a deep sense of responsibility.


Grades Don’t Matter!

For all those who didn’t perform well in college, don’t want to perform well in college, aren’t willing to go back to grad school to give yourself a second chance, and like to make excuses for not trying harder, you’re in for a real treat!  It’s clear from the comments in my article “Examples of Good Resumes That Get Jobs,” that your GPA doesn’t matter.  As someone who has participated in the hiring of dozens of individuals all these years, I’ve got it all wrong and I’m glad you called me out on it.

I’d like to think of myself as a very flexible person who sees both sides of the equation.  Hence, in this post, I want to highlight why your GPA doesn’t matter at all, and why you should feel confident in never putting your GPA on your resume.  Working hard is overrated and employers are certainly looking for as many C and B students out there as they are A students.


Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs

Climb The Corporate Ladder

Climbing The Corporate Ladder

With cashed up corporate balance sheets and strong earnings growth, employment levels continue to improve across America in 2015. The latest unemployment rate has declined to 5.6% as of June 27, 2015. Meanwhile, the number of long-term unemployed fell 300,000, the sharpest drop in 2½ years, to 3.5 million.

It’s in the first half where ideally all hiring shall be done because: 1) The best available people are still available. There is a bias against people looking in the 3rd and 4th quarter because rightly or wrongly, companies will be wondering what’s wrong with you for not having found something earlier; 2) Companies need to spend their budgets while they are still available. There’s no time like the present; 3) Hiring an employee at the start of the year gets the most out of the employee, especially if there is a guaranteed compensation package.

If you find yourself looking for a job in the second half of the year, it’s important to hustle a little more or prepare for activity to pick up in the spring. Don’t give up home. Use this time to plan more thoroughly.

I’ve seen over 7,000 resumes in my career and hopefully this article and subsequent articles linked within can help you out. An excellent resume should be standard.


Nature vs. Nurture: How Important Are Parents To Our Success?

Yale law professor and mother of two Amy Chua penned an incredibly fascinating article entitled, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” on the WSJ.  Professor Chua is a first generation American who went to Harvard undergrad and then to Harvard Law School.  As a tenured professor teaching at the most prestigious law school in the world, I feel for her kids first and foremost!  Think about all the expectations that are put on them since her husband, Jeb, is also a tenured law professor at Yale.

Let’s say you had parents who walked 10 miles to school every day.  Do you think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that you will have a car in high school?  You might, but you’d feel guilty every time you get behind the wheel and your parents will likely remind you as well.  In the end, you’d probably compromise and either bike to work, have your parents drop you off, or walk yourself.

Here’s a non-offensive excerpt from her article where she justifies calling kids names such as “lazy”, “fatty”, “worthless”, “stupid”, and “disgraces” when they aren’t performing up to par:

“As a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child’s self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there’s nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn’t.”  Amy Chua

I agree with her quote, but I definitely don’t agree with calling one’s kids names to shame them into conforming.  The main issue I have with Amy’s view is that she pits Asian mothers against “Western Mothers” who are by default deemed inferior.  I would be incredibly insulted if I was a Western Mother because who is Amy to impose her dictator-like ways on me.  Amy talks in stereotypes all article long about how Asian children always seem to be gifted in math & sciences and music.  Amy argues that it is in fact no coincidence since Asian mothers are such master motivators and disciplinarians.


Let’s Just Be Regular People

For all you whipper snappers out there who think school is a waste of time, good grades are a waste of effort, and working towards a great career is for losers, you might be right!  It’s all about being a nonconformist right here, right now.  You can live the life of your dreams on your own terms, or at least that’s what everyone is saying nowadays.

Watch one of the all time classic scenes from The Cosby Show where Dr. Huxtable asks his son, Theo how he expects to get into college and earn a living with poor grades.  What transpires is one of the most hilarious interactions ever!  In this 4 minute clip, you’ll learn everything you need to know about minimalism, relationships, budgeting, work, taxes, career, love, and happiness.

It’s absolutely perfect to be a regular person so long as you are happy.  There’s no need to be successful in anything you do frankly.  So long as you are satisfied with what you have and the direction you’re heading, that’s all that matters.

There are too many people telling you what you should and should not do.  Forget about it!  Do as you damn please, because regular people rock.  Just don’t let the Dr. Huxtables of the world slap any sense into you. They don’t know what they’re talking about because you’ve got it all figured out.

Readers, are you afraid to try because you’re afraid your brain is going to explode and ooze out of your ears? Is what Theo says in the end really “the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard!”?

Updated: 6/4/2014