Edition #8: Pearl Necklace, Going Dutch, Financial Populism, Cryptosheet, Host Ideologies

Edition #8: Pearl Necklace, Going Dutch, Financial Populism, Cryptosheet, Host Ideologies

written by oz chen

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I want to solve your money problems

There’s a parable about a woman who was crushed by debt. I want to say it’s called “The Pearl Necklace” but my Google searches return the wrong fables. I’ll recount what I know…

A woman was invited to a fancy ball. Being of humble means, she didn’t think she could go without some expensive jewelry. A wealthy friend, upon hearing her worries, offered to lend her a beautiful pearl necklace to wear. “Are you sure?” “Oh, it’s nothing. And it looks better on you anyway.” She never got a chance to wear a pearl necklace before, and was enthralled with how it looked on her.

She wore the pearl necklace to the ball and caught everyone’s attention. She glowed. At the end of the night, as she was hailing a ride, she took off the necklace so that it doesn’t draw unnecessary attention. She went to bed feeling like a million bucks.

In the morning, her heart dropped like a stone. The pearl necklace was nowhere to be found. She called the cab company and retraced her steps to the ball. Nothing. It seemed like the only right thing to do was to buy a pearl necklace to repay her friend. Sticker shock was an understatement—a genuine pearl necklace would cost a few years’ salary. Deeply ashamed, she lied to her friend and asked if she could keep the pearl necklace on loan for future balls. “Sure, no problem” replied the wealthy friend.

Fast forward, and our heroine has toiled for years. She shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make enough money to buy a pearl necklace. Alas, the day has come to repay her debt.

“Sorry it took so long. Here’s your pearl necklace back.”

The wealthy friend gave her a puzzled look.

“My necklace was just a cheap replica, why are you giving me a real pearl necklace?”

Of the many morals to the story, the one that stands out to me is the simple power of being in open, honest conversation—and the danger of hiding. If our heroine in the story just told her friend the truth, she would’ve saved herself years of shame and imaginary debt.

My girlfriend told me about someone who took his own life because he owed his friends some money. To the friends, the debt was inconsequential and absolutely not worth losing a life over. Shame is the most dangerous hiding place. (Note: the National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255.)

I don’t want anyone, especially those in my community (that includes you), ever feeling like they have no one to talk to about money, debt, shame, or on the brighter side—ways to growth your wealth.

Consider this an invitation:

For the first 5 people who respond to me, I’ll set up a call with you. If there’s more people, we can chat over email (just reply to any of the newsletters I send out).

We can talk about anything, but this will be most useful if you’d like a sounding board on your personal finances.

To be clear, I’m not a financial advisor nor looking to be one. What I’m offering is just a virtual space to share and chitchat.

As someone who’s writing about psychology and money, I can point to mental models and see how they might be used to think through personal finances. As a career coach for design students, I’m good at helping people reframe problems and get clarity on a plan of action.

What’s in it for me?

As my newsletter grows, I have a desire to get to know some of the faces behind the 426 subscribers. Having conversations with real people will also give me a signal if I’m covering topics that people care about.

If this sounds interesting to you, comment on my blog, reply to my newsletter, or Tweet at me.

☮️ Asking my Tinder dates to split the bill

I had a lot of fun digging up my texts from my Tinder dates, and forgot about this gem.

Hey, I’m looking forward to meeting you. I have a request and hope it’s not too awkward to bring up – can we pay for our own dates? It’s less about money and more about meeting up as equals. How does that sound to you?

If you’re curious why I sent that text before I went on dates, read the article:

Asking my Tinder dates to split the bill

This was a fun one to write, and shout out to editing help from fellow OnDeck writers.

🔠  Financial populism

Last week, I and just about everybody’s mother talked about the GameStop short-selling phenomenon.

I see a similar ethos behind the crypto movement. People want a real shot at creating wealth, which is generally reserved for the rich and privileged. Decentralized finance and alternative investments help democratize access to wealth.

Trump won in 2016 because of his populist appeal. Middle America felt they were left behind compared to the coastal elites.

Populism is defined as:

A political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.

Financial populism is only going to grow along with wealth inequality. It’s a theme that I want to explore the edges of. How can ordinary investors “punch up” a weight class? What new technologies and platforms can we use to make more money? And yes, more stories of individual investors winning.

Stay tuned for more.

💸 Money tip of the week: check out the updated Cryptosheet

I updated my Cryptosheet, a resource with links to a crypto exchanges, dictionary, and more.

Some new additions and removals:

  • Celsius Network has a great promotion to get $40 in free Bitcoin right now.
  • Removed Earn.com, which Coinbase acquired. Now you can not only get $10 for free on Coinbase, but get paid even more to watch educational videos about crypto.
  • X’d out most of the cryptos in the “Coin picks” tab. I’ve sold off most of my altcoins and consolidated towards Bitcoin and Ethereum, because they are the category winners.

📚 [Book highlight] Populism: A Very Short Introduction

One of my key takeaways from Populism: A Very Short Introduction is that there are different flavors of populism based on “host” ideologies. For example, there were two populist movements coming out of the 2008 financial crisis: Occupy Wall Street on the left, and Tea Party movements on the right.

“At first glance, the two groups have much in common – they both railed against the government bailouts resulting from the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and sought to defend the American people, often labeled “Main Street,” against the corrupt elite represented by “Wall Street.” In the case of Occupy and the Tea Party, though, this is where their similarities end – and where the importance of host ideologies comes in.

Occupy, for example, promoted an inclusive, left-wing populism with a focus on defending all disenfranchised Americans – the “99 percent” – against what they saw as a corrupt financial system propped up by Washington elites and Wall Street financiers, or “the 1 percent.”

On the other hand, the populist Tea Party movement relied on an exclusionary and conservative host ideology. While they were also against the government bailouts, they had a completely different idea of who constituted the elite. According to the Tea Party, Wall Street alone was not to blame for the people’s misfortunes. They also took issue with the cultural elite symbolized by Hollywood, liberal academia and Democrats. These groups were all to blame for the propagation of un-American ideas that led to big government policies like bailouts.”

End Note

If you’re enjoying the newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up. I try to make it a bright spot in your inbox each week, and hope you’re enjoying it.

Should you find anything interesting this week, slide into my DMs. I love finding new things to read through my online community. Also, if you have any question (within reason), hit me up on the Ask Me Anything page.

Until next time,

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