Feeling Down And Out In This Perfect World

Frowning French Bulldog On A LeashYou can’t deny how someone feels. They just do and you’ve got to accept it. Maybe the color blue looks different between two people. We’ll never know because we can only know ourselves.

I started this site as a way to deal with the agony of the financial meltdown in 2008-2009. I needed to find a way to let the pain escape in a healthy way. Drugs and booze were not an option although tempting they were.

This site has always been about introspection. To understand why we think the way we think. To understand our inconsistencies. To talk about issues that are on so many people’s minds but cannot be publicly discussed due to fear of persecution.

Since my very first post over four years ago I’ve been able to reconcile the stupidity of my multitude of financial mistakes. I’ve met many friends online who are also on uncertain paths to financial independence. We’ve shared victories and defeats, but I thought there would be more people like me who fear being alone, going broke, or being a failure to our family. Lately, I feel like I’m the only loser around.


My Fear Of Becoming A Father

The Kiss At Bay 2 Breakers SF

“The Kiss” At Bay 2 Breakers SF

Some of you have privately inquired what’s gotten into me lately, writing so many relationship type posts. The simple answer is that I’m petrified about being a father. More specifically, I’m worried that I am going to be a horrible father to a daughter.¬†Women are complicated enough. To add a daughter into the mix is absolutely terrifying.

I can imagine my teenage daughter coming home one day crying because her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. I turn to her mother, “Honey, I’ll be right back. I need to go break some bones.”

No matter what I say, she won’t come out of her room so I begin to wonder whether she’s OK. Her heartbreak is my heartbreak. And as a father, I know she will tell me that I just don’t understand what she’s going through.

All I can do is be patient and be there for her when she finally opens up. In the meantime, I pray to God she’s doing nothing to hurt herself. I also pray these are the times when her mother will be able to calm her soul and ease her pain. Feeling helpless to help someone you love is horrible.

I want my daughter to find the love of her life early on and never break up. I want her to be brilliant, beautiful, and happy. By the time she graduates from college, I hope society treats men and women perfectly the same. Let there not be arcane tax laws, pay differentials, and old boys clubs with glass ceilings. I hope she never experiences tremendous loss.

Perhaps I overanalyze things too much. There are millions of fathers who manage just fine. But I’m the student who never believes he’s smart enough to finish an exam with 30 minutes to spare so I check every single answer twice over. My friends say that nobody will ever truly be ready for fatherhood. I know they are right so I continue to write and hope that one day I will better understand.

For those of you who are fathers of daughters, or parents in general, how did you prepare? Where were expectations about parenthood different from reality? What were some things that really came out of left field which left you completely dumbfounded? For those of you with multiple kids, how do you do it?



In Defense Of Resourceful Women – Let’s Fix The Double Standard

"He said he'd love me tenderly"

“He said he’d love me tenderly”

In “If You Were Broke Would You Settle For Someone Less Than Ideal,” poor Amanda was destined to fail in comparison to six figure earning Victoria the way I wrote the comparison. I didn’t do a good enough job painting Amanda’s situation as a woman who was just getting over heart break and not looking for anything serious. It was easy for readers to paint Amanda as the villain for accepting financial assistance from a potential suitor.

Despite my own admission that I, too, would settle for someone in exchange for financial assistance, it was interesting to see 100% of the assault go to Amanda and not myself. Spend some time reading the comments. Perhaps it’s easier to look down upon a stranger rather than a familiar host. But what I hypothesize is that there is a HUGE double standard between men and women that cannot easily be eradicated.

It’s easy for those of us in good relationships or those who have money to dismiss settling for money and someone when we really can’t say! It’s like a billionaire telling us we should all pay more taxes while he continues to pay a 15% effective tax rate due to most of her income coming from long term dividends. Please don’t judge others if you aren’t in their shoes.

Now that you know the true goal of the “If You Were Broke” post to highlight double standard attitudes between men and women, I’d like to craft an argument as to why it’s OK to be a resourceful person. In the future, I’d like for all of you who love to criticize people about their choices to consistently criticize everybody all the time. Equality for all!


How To Get A Rich Man To Be Your Boyfriend Or Husband

"She said she'd never let me go."

“She said she’d never let me go.”

Out of the 140 million tax returns filed in the United States every year, about 1.4 million make an adjusted gross income of over $380,000 a year. Now imagine if there were 1.4 million undead zombies roaming the country. They’d be everywhere!

Most would agree that a top 1% income is rich wherever you live. However, some will say you’re just middle class if you’ve got to pay for private school tuition in cities such as San Francisco, New York, Paris, and London! Given it is one of our mantras to always describe ourselves as middle class, being called financially average is a blessing.

Regardless of what your true financial definition of rich is, your mission if you choose to accept is to lock down one of the 1.4 million+ rich people the IRS knows about to marry you. The one tautology about money is that once you have money, you don’t worry as much about not having money. And when you worry less about money, you get to fight more about all the other joys in a relationship.

This article will provide some insights into how single men with over $380,000 a year in income or net worths of over $1 million dollars think about women and marriage. Once you understand such a man’s fears and hopes, you are well on your way to living the good life!


How Amazing Is Your Fabulous Life? Understanding What Is FOMO

FOMO With FriendsA news reporter chased me down on the Upper West Side the other day asking whether I could share my thoughts on FOMO. I had no idea what he was talking about.

FOMO, you know, the fear of missing out! Doctors are diagnosing kids with FOMO more frequently nowadays because schools aren’t allowing kids to have their smartphones in class all day. They start to suffer from anxiety and lack of concentration for not being able to keep up with what their friends are doing,” the reporter explained.

My initial reaction was, “Oh, the cruelty!” for not allowing a smartphone in class. When I was in business school, the only way I could get through the torture of Operations Management class was to play online poker tournaments online! My phone and laptop allowed me to feign supreme concentration as I practiced my poker face. Shhh, don’t tell my professor.

The skeptic in me kicked in as I asked the reported, “C’mon, FOMO. Really? Just another new catchy term for an age old affliction coined by therapists to make some extra bucks. How can there really be FOMO when everybody on Facebook is always on permanent vacation? Friends are always checking into wonderful restaurants and clubs on Foursquare, which of course is connected to Twitter and then back to Facebook just to make sure everybody knows what they’re up to. Our amazing lives are fabulous!”


If You Were Broke, In Debt, Or Unemployed Would You Settle For A Less Than Ideal Partner To Save You?

Stripped down bike with nothing leftGiven older women refuse to talk to me, I decided to have a couple conversations with two lovely, younger women about personal finances one night out of town. Nothing gets a woman going like a man who can talk about derivative investments!

Woman one – let’s call her Amanda – is in her mid 20s and is currently going through a quarter life crisis. She recently broke up with her boyfriend in Los Angeles and moved back to Miami to be closer to family and childhood friends. Amanda is currently unemployed, has less than $2,000 in savings, and has roughly $50,000 in credit card debt thanks to a lavish lifestyle she and her ex led for two years. She has a marketing job offer in Chicago from one of her male suitors, but she’s putting it on hold as she really wants to find something in Miami. Amanda comes from an upper middle class family who own multiple properties around the world. Despite her parent’s ability to financially support her, Amanda says she doesn’t want to rely on her parents for anything except for moral support.

Woman two – let’s call her Victoria – is in her early 30s. She’s a manager at a large consumer products company and pulls in a low six figure salary in San Francisco. Victoria can financially support herself and is currently dating a wealthy boyfriend. She has always been the studious type, graduating in just 3.5 years from a prestigious university. Her parents never spoiled her with much of anything because they come from a lower middle class background. In fact, Victoria regularly sends her parents money to help them instead. Victoria believes she’s found the one, although she’s frustrated her boyfriend has to travel so much for work. Her boyfriend is also relatively good looking with the ability to make anyone feel at ease, so she’s worried she won’t be able to hang on to him.

Amanda and Victoria are as different as can be. Amanda loves to dress in expensive clothes, drink, and party it up until 3am several days a week no problem. Victoria, on the other hand, is Target’s biggest fan and would much rather stay home and watch a good DVD while curled up on the sofa. Where Amanda enjoys being the center of attention where men buy her drinks, Victoria does not. Victoria would rather have a glass of wine and get into deeper conversation at a lounge with her friends. Both have no trouble attracting men thanks to their good looks and vibrant personalities. But both of them deep down would prefer to be done with the game of dating and find their rock.

So it was with great interest to hear how each would respond to the question:

If you were broke, deep in debt, or unemployed, would you settle for a less than ideal partner you were not physically attracted to if they promised to take care of all your money problems?” I went on to describe, “The partner is a gentleman who you get along with just fine. You won’t have gut busting conversations where you cry for joy, but you’re able to sit in silence for half an hour to enjoy the scenery and also be able to talk to him for an hour non stop about life.


Dealing With The Fear Of Being Alone Forever

Old Fort MallorcaWhen I went to Switzerland this summer I had plenty of time to contemplate living life alone. There was nobody to call in Zurich to hang out with until the wee hours of the morning. I couldn’t share a walk along the romantic Chapel Bridge at sunset in Lucerne. Nor could I experience with someone the amazingly steep Mt. Pilatus Railway that arrives at the top of Obwalden. Every experience is locked up in my memory. What a shame words nor pictures can do them justice.

Although a week of traveling alone isn’t a long time period at all, I’ve realized I fear being alone as much as I fear being broke. I did everything I could after high school to make sure I wouldn’t have to depend on anybody to survive. I’m not sure I can say the same for finding companionship since my family has always been there. It’s like I’ve taken them for granted. I’ve also never not been in a relationship since college as luck would have it.

If I didn’t take companionship for granted, I’d probably be a nicer, more patient person. I’d probably exercise more and eat less lemon meringue pie. I might even try and learn some jokes. Alas, I’ve got a ways to go.

Popping over to Mallorca after Switzerland with nine other people in a villa only buttressed such fears of loneliness. We literally went out every single night to unspoken amounts of fun. We’d sleep in the next morning, make us some jamon with slices of honeydew by the pool for brunch, hit the clay courts after and then relax on a nearby beach before going out all night again. It was one extreme to another, neither of which I could handle for an extended duration of time. But if I were to choose, I would select being surrounded by interesting people any day.