Why Are Asians Ignored By The Media, Research Institutes, And Politicians?

Hong Kong SceneryAccording to a new study by the Urban Institute, the wealth gap among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics has continued to increase. Before the recession, White families, on average, were about four times wealthier than non-White families, according to Federal Reserve data. By 2010, White families were about six times as wealthy. The most recent data shows the average White family has about $632,000 in wealth, versus $98,000 for Black families and $110,000 for Hispanic families. But what about Asian families?

Last I checked, there are 4.3 billion Asians in the world, making up 62% of the world’s population. What’s surprising is that only around 5% of the American population is Asian. If there’s only 16 million people to sell to out of a country population of 310 million, no wonder why nobody really cares about Asians. Money talks!

When you grow up attending international schools, living in the Spanish house in college and working in Manhattan and San Francisco, it’s very hard to accept a world where there isn’t much diversity. 33% of San Francisco’s population is Asian for example. This post will attempt to understand why Asians consistently get ignored by researchers, politicians, and the media. I’ll also offer solutions as to how Asian Americans can gain more coverage.


Why Do People Like To Reveal Their Income?

The Grapes of Wrath In NapaIt hit me the other day that none of the people I know in the top 1% have ever revealed their incomes to me. I’ve got a good idea of how much they make and what their assets look like. But beyond some vagaries, details have never been disclosed. Contrast a top income earner’s desire for privacy to those who make less than $380,000 a year and income revelation is much more common.

In the post, “Never Tell Anybody Your Income” I highlight all the downsides of revelation. Most agree, but some don’t because they say it “inspires others” or simply don’t care. There may be some sort of inspiration involved, but what about those who get inspired to rob you for having more? It’s dangerous to hover outside of the middle class in today’s society. During the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, the wealthy Chinese were often flogged and publicly ridiculed.

If you read The Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Stanley, you will see the constant theme of being discreet with one’s wealth – drive old cars, wear discount clothing, live in a modest house and so forth. At the same time, it’s no fun being so parsimonious that you miss out on all the spoils of wealth. The large majority of surveyed participants are also older than the median American age of 35. Such millionaires spent their lifetimes building wealth. They aren’t about to have some stranger or the government try and take it away.

There are two main goals for this post. The first goal is to better understand why some people enjoy talking about their incomes. The second goal is to find a balance on this site for my own income revelations to be used as examples in future posts. It’s much more useful to see actual figures in an example rather than talk in percentages. At the same time, I don’t want to come across sounding like an arrogant bastard.


Is Not Wanting To Be Rich Selfish? Ways To Help Others If You No Longer Seek Or Have Wealth

After working for 10 consecutive years post college, I no longer wanted to be rich. Instead, I wanted to be free and went John Galt in an attempt to unplug from the Matrix. It took three more years of planning but I finally managed to escape, or so I hope.

There’s just one nagging feeling of guilt that is weighing me down ever since I finished my 2012 taxes. The guilt is that I will no longer be able to comfortably afford to donate as much to charitable causes. What do I say to an organization who has come to expect a $2,000 check every winter now that I can no longer afford to do so? Sorry?

Am I supposed to simply block out all the stories of hope such donations provides to foster children? I don’t know. I always think back to 1989 when I went on vacation with my parents to the west shores of Malaysia. We visited a temple famous for its ancient relics. I was warned not to give anything to the begging mothers and children who eyed us as we stepped through the gates. I couldn’t help myself so I gave one child one ringgit. As soon as I did, I was mobbed and had to be rescued.¬†At age 12 I wanted to become rich so I could give everyone enough ringgits so nobody would ever have to fight over money again.

Ever since the financial crisis began at the end of 2008, the world has gleefully bashed the rich for our many financial problems. You couldn’t read a newspaper or watch a TV clip without witnessing blame being assigned to a “greedy 1%er” for someone else’s decision to buy a home, a car, or an expensive education they could not afford.

When things are going swell, it’s OK for rich people to make money so long as we are also making money. When things turn south, it becomes intolerable for the rich to stay rich while we lose our shirts. It’s ironic because during the depths of financial chaos, I was $8.5 billion dollars closer to Warren Buffett’s net worth given that’s how much he lost. Long live the middle class!

Over the past four years I hope many of you have come to the conclusion that most rich people are not evil. Most start off middle class and work very hard to get to where they are. Sure, some are extremely lucky, however, many created their own luck through risk taking. The top 10% of income earners pay 70% of all federal income taxes. Some are so rich that on top of all the taxes they pay, they even start independent foundations or grants in higher education to help everyday people get ahead.


My Poorest Friend Is One Of The Richest People I Know

Tennis Serve At Tiburon ChallengerIt doesn’t matter what time of day I contact Jaabir to play tennis, he’s always available. Jaabir is a certifiable tennis junkie and I love him for it. It’s easy to go a little stir crazy working from home. Over the past eight months since I left corporate America, Jaabir has proven to be a wonderful outlet in the often lonely world of entrepreneurship.

You might think Jaabir has a tremendous amount of wealth to not have to work for the past three years. Skeptics might assume a rich spouse, government assistance, an inheritance, or a lottery win to provide him so much freedom. I can assure you that Jaabir is neither a self-made millionaire nor is he good looking enough to have a sugar plum. Jaabir simply found happiness by not requiring much at all.

Will Marrying Someone With Bad Credit Hurt My Credit Score?

Bitten Chocolate

Love is love. Ever since I was a wily teenager, I’ve had the romantic notion of being with a woman I care about no matter what her financial circumstance. My father used to subtly encourage me to meet some of his friend’s daughters who so happen to come from wealthier backgrounds. They were never my type unfortunately. Only until I reached college did I realize he was trying to play match maker to ensure my financial well-being.

I remember bringing one girl home to “hang out” at the age of 13. When my parents found out she was raised by a single father, I could sense my parent’s lack of enthusiasm. Or maybe they just didn’t like what we were up while they were still at work! My parents didn’t say anything mean, they just weren’t supportive of my latest fling. They encouraged me to stop messing around and start studying instead.

I also recall talking to my parents at the age of 14 about dating a real life princess. Her name was Tengku Zarina and I was smitten. Zarina was of Malaysian royalty and my parents were fascinated by the potential. Unfortunately, my pursuance failed since she was two years my senior. Girls hate younger boys, which is why single men love growing old. If you’ve wondered why men tend to only date younger women, now you know it’s all the woman’s fault!


The SFJAZZ Center Opening Is A Celebration Of Diversity


Josh Redman & Joe Lovano

This place is yours now,” began Bill Cosby, MC of the SFJazz Center’s long-awaited grand opening. I couldn’t agree more Bill as I looked around the 700-seat auditorium to see everyone from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to your everyday jazz lover cheer.

The one thing I cherish about San Francisco is its diversity. According to the 2010 United States Census, the ethnic makeup and population consists of: 48.5% Whites, 33.3% Asians, 15.1% Hispanics, 6.1% African Americans, 0.5% Native Americans, 0.4% Pacific Islanders, 6.6% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. Only New York City and Honolulu can rival such a mix.

With diversity comes acceptance of various cultures. With diversity comes tolerance of religion and sexuality. With diversity comes the strong fight for equality every single day. I wouldn’t have it any other way. In another 118 years, I’m sure all of America will look like San Francisco. If I’m wrong, you’ll just have to let me know.

The SFJazz Center in Hayes Valley is a product of a $64 million fund raising effort led by my friend Robert Mailer Anderson. Without Robert’s leadership and the collective will and generosity from donors, America’s first stand-alone jazz center would not exist today. The 35,000-foot space took over two years to build and is equipped with a digital lab and education center along with its 700 person capacity. There is truly no bad seat in the house.


Dealing With Money Envy: Keeping The Joneses At Bay

Toyota 4Runner 2013 LimitedAs I was taking in the trash bins this morning, I noticed my neighbor pull out of his garage in a brand new, $48,000 Toyota 4Runner Limited Edition SUV. Before now, all I saw was a crappy 1996 Honda Civic with dings everywhere come and go.

The 4Runner has a special place in my heart because it was the car I most longed for in high school. All the rich kids had the Toyota 4Runner, and I had a bike. Shitake fudge mushroom! With a nice 4Runner, it was easier to get the girls, which was frankly my #1 priority in high school besides getting good grades of course!

So instead of relying on an expensive SUV to impress the ladies, I had to work on developing my personality, humor, charisma, leadership and fitness instead. Seriously, what a drag! Having money is so much easier, but it might leave us delusional and depressed when we realize all that we’ve gotten wasn’t because of who we are.