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



How To Overcome Poor Grades And Get A Job

A lot of people still don’t believe there’s a high correlation between good grades and work life success.  Could it be that those who poo poo good grades as unnecessary are the ones who didn’t get good grades themselves?  Let’s imagine for the next couple seconds poor grades are poor indicators of success, even though for the first 22 years of your life, they are used in every aspect of progress.  Now that you’ve had your couple seconds, let’s snap back to reality.

Here you are, about to graduate college with a mediocre “B” average and you’re getting shot down during interviews left and right, assuming you are getting any.  From the employer’s perspective, they can interview from any number of schools, each with a plethora of “A” students, so why bother with you?  Your stubborn self still holds on to the belief that grades don’t matter, because you know you’re going to be a star some day.


Kids and Growing Old: Musings Of A Newly Thirty Year Old Woman

 The following is a guest post by a regular reader who just turned 30.  Hope you guys enjoy and help her share in her thoughts!

So often we let society overly influence how we feel and act. I could go on for hours about topics like body image, nutrition, and politics but for now let’s just touch on age and children.

Maybe I’m on my own in this, but it annoys me that society teaches us that couples should raise a family once they’re married. While I have no ill feelings towards you wonderful parents out there, it frustrates me that I still find myself doubting my lack of interest in having kids because it’s abnormal, against the grain.



This is a guest post by Paul Williams from Provident Planning. He’s a fee-only financial planner in Lancaster County, PA, and regularly writes about personal finance from a Christian perspective. If you want to become a CFP®, he’d be happy to talk with you.

I was excited when Sam invited me to write a guest post for Financial Samurai on how to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®). I’ll finally finish the requirements in Novemeber 2010 and be eligible to call myself a CFP® after I fill out the last bit of paperwork.

Sam mentioned he’d like to become a CFP® after he retires from his job, so he’s curious about what he’d have to do. I’m sure some of you might also be interested in becoming a financial planner if you’ve got a strong interest in personal finance.

This post is going to be about the process of becoming a CFP® rather than deciding if you should even become a CFP®. That’s a very different question and one you should have an answer to before you start the process of becoming a CFP®. It’s certainly not a cheap certification to get (in money or time).

Fulfill three requirements to become a CFP®:

The Top Schools In The Nation Are All Party Schools!

What do Penn State, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, Purdue, and Arizona State University have in common?  They are considered the Top 5 best schools in the nation according to recruiters!  Wall Street Journal has this unique ranking system where they essentially ask corporate recruiters to rank their best schools.

I’ve seen a lot of college surveys before, and not once have I ever seen any of these schools in the Top 5, let alone in the top 10.  Let’s be honest, for the same cost, would you go to one of these schools over Harvard, Yale, Penn, MIT, Michigan, or Berkeley?  Most would say “probably not,” so what gives?

Let’s have a look at why recruiters are so excited about these schools.

How To Make Six Figures A Year At Almost Any Age

Making Six Figures Is NiceIf you want to make six figures, know that you can if you want to. Nothing in this world is stopping you with the right money mindset to get rich. I believe $200,000 is the income level that brings maximum happiness, so even if you are already making $150,000 a year, you still have more happiness to go.

Let’s start off with some basic necessities:

* Desire. Your desire needs to be focused. Mr. Miyagi said it best to Daniel-san, “You Karate do “yes” or Karate do “no”, you Karate do “guess so” get squished like grape.”

* Effort. Unfortunately for the lazy, you’re actually going to have to try hard at first. Maybe you’ll wake up earlier than everyone else.  Maybe you’ll network like a mad person. Maybe you’ll stop making excuses? No effort, no results.

* Knowledge. The more you educate yourself, the easier things will be. Lucky for you, you’re reading this post and likely other great financial publications as well. I spent the past 13 years working in finance, received my MBA from Berkeley, and love personal finance so you’re in good hands!

* Optimism. Optimism is what will drive you to keep going when things turn sour. Optimism will make you do great things because you believe things will improve. If you have optimism, you will always find the right direction.

* Personality. At the very minimum, it’s important to be nice. At the maximum, your charisma will make believers out of others.  People will be drawn to you and naturally want to start helping you and doing business with you. Be nice, but also be respectful.  There will be haters everywhere. Embrace them.

Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s explore the many possibilities of making over $100,000 at any age. I truly believe anybody who wants to make more can make more. This post isn’t meant to be controversial at all. But, as always, feel free to share your thoughts below.


The Best Football Conference Also Educates Better

A 6-6 Washington team beat Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday Bowl.  Stanford demolishes ACC Champion Virginia Tech 40-12 in the 2011 Orange Bowl and now we have Oregon playing Auburn in the BCS National Championship game.  Clearly, the PAC 10 is the most dominant athletic/football conference in the country.  In 2010, Stanford also pounded Notre Dame 37 to 14 and UCLA crushed Texas 34 to 12.  Statistics don’t lie, no matter how biased you are living in middle America or on the East Coast.

If you compare academic match ups, the Pac 10 wins as well.  Not only are Stanford, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon academically superior to Notre Dame, Virginia Tech,  Texas, and Auburn based on polls by every single college ranking system available, they also have superior athletic programs to boot.  Furthermore, the campuses of Stanford, UCLA and Oregon are like country clubs, with phenomenal facilities and fantastic weather all year around.

Notre Dame, Texas, Auburn and Virginia Tech are fine schools in their own right.  However, if you compare the four against their Pac 10 match ups, there simply is no comparison.  Hence, why is it that athletic recruits would ever go to a school other than one in the PAC 10 if they had a choice?  Let’s find out.


Understanding Happiness, Taxes, and Net Worth

Good day brilliant minds!  I thought it would be helpful to do a recap of the conclusions from this past week’s posts given we had over 200 comments.  We talked about three important subjects: Happiness, Taxes, and Net Worth.

The purpose of these articles is to get people thinking about issues so we can be more open minded.  If anybody has ever participated in the case study method of learning in graduate school or elsewhere, you’ll know that there isn’t a right answer so much as a right direction.  It’s so easy to get caught up in your belief that your way is the right way.  That’s a dangerous, dangerous path to take!

The Ideal Income For Maximum Happiness

The Ideal Income For Maximum Happiness

HappinessIt hit me the other day that maybe the government is benevolent and not a bunch of self serving, two-faced, power hungry crooks.  For the longest time, I thought the government was sexist because they don’t provide an equal amount of deductions or leeway once a couple gets married.

If I make $250,000 and my wife makes $250,000, why is the government penalizing couples making more than $250,000? $250,000 plus $250,000 is $500,000 in household income numb nuts! Do you expect one spouse to make nothing or a fraction of the other spouse’s income once they get together? That’s kinda silly and totally presumptuous you sexist pigs.

And another thing. What about if one spouse has a $1 million mortgage and the other spouse has a $1million mortgage. $1 million + $1 million is $2 million, so why is the mortgage interest deduction on income capped at $1 million for couples?  Isn’t it logical to conclude that two people living in $1 million mortgaged houses might seek to live in an even more expensive house when they marry? Heck, the couple might even want kids too which warrants a bigger house. Guess not.