Friday, November 3, 2017

Money Diaries Chatter

Smythson Panama Wallet (affiliate link)

I'm realizing that, whenever I have interesting links to share, I'm generally tempted to ramble way too much and overthink what I write, which makes me hold on to the draft entries for weeks, if not months, long past the time when everyone else on the Internet (if it was something that had gone viral) had already gotten tired of the topic. Even when I'm specifically trying not to write so much, in the interests of sharing the links sooner, I still write a ton!

By now, it's old news that I'm quite fond of Refinery29's "Money Diaries", even if I sometimes find, reading between the lines, that the individual diaries can seem a bit incomplete, and are less helpful or educational for that reason. The comments are often aggravating too, as people can be quite mean. It makes a reader feel like women just can't win when it comes to how they manage their money. Lots of people in society at large will always want to accuse them of freeloading off their parents or a significant other, or of being wasteful or frivolous. 

I was, for instance, quite grouchy about the poor reception to this biglaw midlevel's Money Diary. Reading it again now, though, I can see why people may have been confused. The commenters might have reacted better if the author was chattier and explained the context for some of what was likely going on with all the reimbursed food and cars home. The lunches she bought for herself were likely so cheap because they came from the firm's subsidized cafeteria, and would indeed have cost almost twice as much otherwise. Those rather expensive reimbursed lunches or drinks out with "friends" or colleagues were likely part of the summer associate program or business development, things the firm chooses to reimburse as a matter of clearly-defined policy, and not chargeable to a client. The reimbursed delivery food for dinner and car home policies are also perfectly in line with industry standards. (Yes, a $35 Seamless order chargeable to the client is pricey, but so is the attorney's time, which likely costs the client $550 dollars, or more, an hour, billed out in six-minute increments.) Anyway, the author must have worked really hard all her life to get those full-tuition scholarships, and was so good about both savings and charitable giving. 

All this is a rather roundabout way of introducing the links that I actually wanted to share today: the Money Diary of a woman who is part of an extremely high-earning power couple, each making more than $500,000 including bonus, and her follow-up interview, where she shared much more about her life and background. She sounds pretty cool: self-aware, thoughtful, and extremely hardworking. In the interview, she was very real about how, as a woman of color, she had experienced the effects of implicit bias and discrimination in her career.

Do you have any thoughts about  the Money Diaries comments sections? I feel like I've rarely seen even a single one where most of the comments were positive, people are always complaining about something! How about that specific interview? As an aside, I'm thinking of trying to do periodical Money Diaries of my own soon, once my spending stabilizes a bit with my new paycheck, and after I start being eligible for 401K contributions at my new job. 

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