Dear feminists, put a lid on it

Do you want to know the most annoying and overused statistic on the planet? I’ll tell you……

Women are paid about 77 cents for every dollar that men are paid for the same work.

You know how I know that statistic? Because every feminist quotes it and it drives me INSANE.


First off, of course women are discriminated against, and so are men. But discrimination isn’t the real reason why women are paid less than men.

Most women navigate their careers differently than men do: women choose their career path by taking their family, or future family, into consideration while most men don’t.

Studies show that the main reasons women are paid less than men is women choose careers and jobs that are less risky, less stressful, and less demanding, and those jobs pay less. And, women don’t ask to get paid more, so they don’t. Funny how that works.

There’s a trade off between risk and reward so if women are choosing careers and jobs that are less risky, less stressful, less demanding, and they’re not asking for more money, women are putting a self imposed cap on the amount of money they’ll make.


Out of a sample set of MBA’s, 57 percent of the men worked in “higher risk” jobs, like investment banking or trading, compared to 36 percent of women. The women who took these risky and demanding jobs had higher testosterone levels than the rest of the women – their testosterone levels were actually closer to the guys’ testosterone levels (and I thought my arms are hairy because I’m Italian… Ah ha ha ha!)

Both women and men who are willing to take financial and career risk tend to have higher levels of testosterone.

So this link between testosterone and risk taking helps explain why men are more interested in taking the jobs that women don’t want, and it also helps to explain why men are more comfortable sticking their neck out and asking for a raise: testosterone increases risk taking and men have more testosterone than women.

I guess that’s where the term “grow a pair” comes from.

Men are naturally more comfortable taking risk, and risky, demanding, stressful jobs pay more. So why all the complaining about pay, ladies?


Before all you feminists start egging my house, I want to tell you that I’m thankful for all the ground work you’ve laid for my generation. Women have equality in the work place now that was unimaginable even just 20 years ago.

But that was then and this is now.

Feminists who are still running around telling Gen Y women – which sadly I’m not a part of –  that they’re paid 77 cents for every dollar that men are paid, need to explain why they’re paid less: women make different career choices than men, most women prefer low risk low stress jobs, and so women are paid less as a result.

Stop ranting about sexism and inequality. We need to move on, puuuuleeease ENOUGH WITH VICTIMIZATION. We need to encourage accountability for this next generation of women so they can use all the progress that’s been made to help them spring forward in their careers rather than fall back in a victim trap.

-Marilyn Monroe

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of facebook, explained it best at her alma mater, Barnard, during her commencement speech:

“Women almost never make one decision to leave the workforce. It doesn’t happen that way. They make small little decisions along the way that eventually lead them there. Maybe it’s the last year of med school when they say, I’ll take a slightly less interesting specialty because I’m going to want more balance one day. Maybe it’s the fifth year in a commercial law firm when they say, I’m not even sure I should go for partner, because I know I’m going to want kids eventually. These women don’t even have relationships, and already they’re finding balance, balance for responsibilities they don’t yet have. And from that moment, they start quietly leaning back… So, my heartfelt message to all of you is, and start thinking about this now, do not leave before you leave. Do not lean back; lean in. Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision. That’s the only way, when that day comes, you’ll even have a decision to make.”

Do you think Sheryl feels discriminated against? I’m gonna go with, No.

Facebook HQ


But she made a decision that most women aren’t willing to make; she deviated from the comfortable risk averse path.

If women want to get paid more, stop acting like victims, start taking more risk, and lean in!

PS Carnival of Wealth included me in their June 19th edition where I explain how to freeze your credit. You’re a moron if you don’t do this!

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How to freeze your credit – you’re a moron if you don’t do this

For real. This is urgent.

In case you’ve had your head in the sand, we’re being attacked. Yes, all your usernames and passwords are probably sitting in some hackers inbox and they’re tracking your crack Starbucks addiction because they hacked your bank account and can see all your transactions.

First of all, I can’t believe there aren’t more articles circulating right now on how to protect ourselves from identity theft. There are some really practical, but pointless, articles going around telling me to change all my passwords so that none of them match, so the hackers have a harder time piecing my identity together. That would take me longer than it takes me to fill out an eharmony profile; it’s not gonna happen.

Oh, and I love it when people say “just don’t enter your credit card online.” SERIOUSLY, did someone just say that? The people who suggest that are the same people who still use hotmail for email – definitely offending at least 25 percent of my email subscribers right now. It’s true though, hotmail? really?

A nice woman wrote an article on The Consumerist explaining what to do if someone gets all your personal information and then steals your identity. Yes, that’s what happens, they get your usernames and passwords and then steal your life, Talented Mr. Ripley style.

They hack your social security number, credit card numbers, bank info – all of it. They become you. They then basically mess up your life for an extended period of time because they go around and buy all sorts of stupid stuff, like cars and boats…. and a whole lotta stuff from Circle K. All of these charges are on a credit card in your name, that you’re supposedly paying. Merry Christmas to YOU!

And if you’re like most people who never check their credit, you wouldn’t even know that your life is going to hell, until you’re planning to buy something big that would require a lender to check your credit, like a house for your family, a car, or a anything else that costs a lot of money.

This is buried about fourteen paragraphs deep in the article I mentioned above that the woman wrote, and she only loosely addresses it which is surprising to me because if you do this right now, you can avoid being in her situation.

You need to freeze your credit reports, now, and then you need to set up a fraud alert.

You have 3 credit reports: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. Each issue a credit report on you and those three credit reports determine your FICO score. When thieves are buying stuff in your name and nobody is paying the bill, they’re demolishing your credit, which is your “FICO score,” and you’re eff’d, for a really really long time. Don’t plan on getting a new credit card, access to credit, a mortgage, or any sort of loan if your credit is trashed.

If you freeze your credit, no one can take out a new line of credit in your name.  Nobody, like a lender – a car dealership or a bank – can even check your credit until you temporarily lift the freeze, which you can do with the links below. If they can’t check your credit, nobody can get new credit in your name, and that’s what you want.

So for example if the thief wanted to lease a car, the car dealership would try to check their credit. But when they contact Equifax, Transunion, and Experian, they’re S.O.L and can’t get the reports, because you froze them.

This sets off all sorts of bells and whistles: the thief can’t explain why the reports are locked, the car salesman can’t check the credit, and the thief realizes they messed with the WRONG PERSON!

Here are the links to Experian, Transunion, and Equifax so you can freeze your credit. When I did this a few years ago it cost 10 dollars to freeze the report and 10 dollars to lift the freeze, but it varies by state.

Experian Freeze

Transunion Freeze

Equifax Freeze

Services like LifeLock are fine, but they’re just “fraud alert” services. They don’t freeze your credit reports, you have to do that directly with the 3 credit bureaus. LifeLock will alert you if someone is trying to open a new line of credit, they can’t halt the process necessarily.

I actually use LifeLock and have my 3 credit reports frozen because I’m paranoid. One of my family members had his identity stolen a few years ago and that’s all I needed to hear.

The one downside to freezing your credit is you will forget that you froze it, like I did, and then you’ll be trying to buy something that costs a lot of money and someone will be trying to check your credit, and they can’t, so then you can’t buy whatever you wanted to buy.

You’ll be in the Apple store, like I was, trying to figure out why the salesperson is such a moron and can’t even sell you an iPhone. And then, you’ll be even more pissed when they tell you they can’t sell it to you because they need to be able to check your credit if you want to buy the phone. Nobody knows what’s going on.

Then, you’ll scratch your head for about 5 minutes and say “OH, I froze my credit…soooooory, my fault!!”

I had to go home that night and dig out my passwords so I could unfreeze my credit, and then go back to the store a few days later to buy the iPhone.

I did the same moronic thing when I refinanced my apartment. The lender tried to check my credit and my credit reports were frozen, but I forgot. It delayed the process by about 2 days. She was pissed.

It takes 2-3 days usually for the unfreezing process to go through. But you know what, when I was trying to buy the iPhone and refinance, I got a call from the credit bureau within 1 minute of salesperson and the lender trying to access my credit. They asked me if it was OK for them to access it, so I said yes obviously. They couldn’t access it until they reached me, which is what I wanted.

Then 1 minute later I got an email from LifeLock telling me someone was trying to check my credit, which was the fraud alert I’m talking about. So LifeLock did their job too.

This is what you have to do if you want to protect your life: freeze your credit and set up fraud alerts if you want the extra protection. The most important thing is to freeze your credit reports so no one can even access your credit information without talking to you or you entering secret passwords to lift the freeze.

I wanted to get this out to you today so you have a little homework for the weekend, do it.

Leave a comment below telling me you did it or I’m erasing you from my distribution list. I’m serious. I’m weeding out all the dumb readers of my blog today, so if I don’t hear from you, you’re out.

And send this to all your friends.

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How to be better than average

I only hooked our guide a few times when we were fly fishing. You’re not supposed to hook the guide; you’re supposed to hook the fish. Hooking your guide happens when your cast is so shitty that your line gets wrapped around your body, and someone else’s, and it hooks the back of your shirt or your neck.

Fly fishing is different than regular fishing. When you’re fly fishing you’re trying to lasso fish all day, so I thought. If you see a school of fish 50 feet in front of you, you’ve gotta get momentum in the line by doing a few false casts (or lassos), then on your last cast you try to drop the hook right by the school. Then you just wait for them to bite. If they don’t bite, you move on about a minute later and do another lasso. So you’re moving, all day. I like that.

When you’re just doing regular fishing, you just sit there with your rod in the water and drink beer. That sounds fun too, actually.


We got to our hotel in Los Roques at about 8:00 a.m. last Sunday. I chugged a bunch of coffee and scoped out our digs – I like to get the lay of the land whenever I’m somewhere new.

My Dad and his friends are kinda diehard fly fishermen, so the scoping didn’t last long. We put our gear on and headed out at about 9:00 a.m.

The first day we went out, I stood on the bow of our boat all day and the guide did most of the casting from there. He needed show me how it’s done.


He was amazing: we’d be about 100 feet away, he’d cast, then drop the hook in the water about 1 foot from the fish’s mouth. The not so amazing part was that after he’d do a perfect cast, he’d hurl the rod at me and yell: “Set the hook!”

“Huh?” I said

“Set the hook!!”

“I don’t know how to do that, I only know how to cast”

“Set the hooook! MIERDA MIERDA, you let the fish get away, JESUS!”

And that pretty much sums up our first day of fishing. Where’s.My.Cocktail.

My Dad and I spent a lot of time practicing my cast before we went to Los Roques. We’d go down to the beach in Santa Monica or we’d go to the park near his house; he’d smoke a cigar while I’d practice making loops in the air with my cast. I’d even do some practice casts in my car while I was driving, without my rod of course, I’d just practice the motion with my hand to make sure I didn’t forget what it felt like – kinda like people practice their golf swing without a golf club in their hand.

So when I spent my entire first day fishing with the guide doing most of the casting, throwing the rod at me, yelling “set the hook!,” followed by several “MIERDAS!” I was feeling like I failed.

On the first day of fishing the guide could care less about my cast, but he was insistent on me knowing how to set the hook, which I had no idea how to do.

Seriously, why was he so hung up on me setting the EFF ing hook!!!? Over a few mojitos with my Dad and his friends at sunset, I learned why.




Knowing how to cast and drop the fly near the fish is one thing, but knowing how to hook the fly in the fish’s mouth once they bite so they don’t get away, knowing how to let your line out and let the fish run, knowing how to reel the fish in when you feel some slack, knowing how to let more line out when the fish starts to run again, and knowing how to do this over and over again for 5 or 10 minutes is the only way you’re gonna catch fish, regardless of how good your cast is.

By the third day, I learned how to set the hook.


Sometimes the fish are 10 feet in front of you, it’s just hanging out there for you, IT IS YOURS, and you don’t even need to cast.

But if you don’t know how to set the hook, you’ll miss your chance, and you won’t catch the fish.



Instead, most people will spend countless hours trying to get a meeting with someone important but they’ll forget to prepare a list of questions and an objective for the meeting. They’ll fumble around during the meeting and then the important person thinks they’re an idiot, because they are, and all the leg work to get the meeting was pointless.

They don’t know how to set the hook.

Instead, most people think they’re doing the right thing by working with their head down in a 9-5 job their whole life, but they ignore the fact that they’ll be broke at 60 if they’re not saving the right amount, now, so all their hard work didn’t even help them build their future.

They don’t know how to set the hook.

Instead, most people will spend hours making a really slick power point presentation, but during the meeting they’ll forget to engage people, on a human level, because they’re so obsessed with their lame corporate power point presentation. No body listens, and their presentation is a bust.

They don’t know how to set the hook.

Instead, most people brag about saving diligently, but they forget to rebalance, so their money is eventually worth far less than they thought since the didn’t have the right asset allocation for their age. They didn’t maximize all their years of saving.

They don’t know how to set the hook.

Woody Allen says “80 percent of success is showing up.” Most people just show up and have enough success to make them feel like they did something productive, but they forget about the last 20 percent.

So really, they’re just like everybody else: they’re AVERAGE FISHERMEN

Are you an average fisherman or do you know how to set the hook?

Here’s one of me and one of our guides, Jesus, not to be confused with “JESUS!!” I mentioned above. We were friends by the end, even though I hooked him a few times.


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Be Running

I had a lazy Sunday yesterday. I got back from Venezuela and had no interest in writing. I had the post vacation blues all day – you know, when you’re kinda lonely and you think your life at home is SO boring after having such a great vacation, so all you want to do is pout.

So yesterday I pouted, chopped up vegetables, and made a big ol tub of quinoa for the week. I like to chop up vegetables and make quinoa on Sundays so then I don’t come home and graze in my kitchen after work during the week. If I have the healthy stuff washed and chopped up, it’s harder to avoid.

I like to prepare. It’s the same reason why I slept in my bathing suit in the summer when I was little. I like to hit the ground running.


I love that.

After all my chopping, a short run in the eve, and my attitude adjustment, I still couldn’t muster up the energy to write yesterday. So I’ll tell you about my fishing trip and show you some pics later this week.

Oh, in the mean time, check out this article I wrote for Moxy Magazine – “For women with big cojones… And bigger dreams.”  For real, that’s their tag line. I wrote about why my finance career is a joke.

And Sustainable Personal Finance included my post on How Much Money You Should Be Saving in the Best of Money Carnival over Memorial Day. If you’re interested in sustainability (I’m not really, I just have friends who are and I went to Berkeley so I pretend like I am), check out their blog, they have some good tips.

Have a great day today, and remember, if you rolled out of bed today at 7:30, your competitors are already having lunch.


Be Running!


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How to not get screwed by your financial advisor

A lot of my friends are telling me that they’ve recently gone to see a financial advisor. They’ve all followed the same path: they got married, had a kid, bought a house then went to a financial advisor to help them sort out their money.

I’m doing everything in reverse; I’m my own financial advisor and I bought a condo a few years ago, but no kid and no marriage. One of my guy friends told me I’m like a guy.

I’m feeling like I need to be a little more “settled” before I “settle down.”  That probably makes sense to guys, but not girls, who are reading my blog. I’m still traveling a lot for work , and play, and I have ideas in my head about where I want to be with my career within the next few years, so I don’t feel settled with all this going on.

When my guy friends tell me that mumbo jumbo I tell them they’re crazy and it doesn’t work that way – girls don’t care if guys are settled or not; if a girl wants to be with a guy she doesn’t care if he feels settled, she just wants to be with him

I usually dish out all sorts of advice and don’t apply it to my own life. At least I’m self aware about all this.


My girl friends with kids are a lot more settled than I am; some of them felt their clock ticking I’m sure. I hope my clock starts to tick –  I’m waiting, patiently.

Even though I’m not a mom I do love to troll around all the mom blogs, a lot. There’s a whole slew of them and these moms are WILD. I’m still waiting for Joe Francis to make a Moms Gone Wild video of Moms at bachelorette parties of their single friends. I’ve witnessed this, they’re crazy.

I’ve been reading a hilarious mom blog called Mommy Shorts - see, I’m serious about the trolling. I just learned about the the “Fancy Undergarment Trajectory Chart” on Mommy Shorts. Here it is:

I think something happens to your brain when you’re a mom; aside from not wanting to wear fancy undergarments, I’ve noticed they’ve all turned into “Mama Bears.”

Most of the time my friends behave like their usual chill selves, until someone says something weird about their kid, and then they go ape shit. It’s a mother’s instinct to want to punch anyone in the face who says anything remotely derogatory about her kid. I’m pretty sure I’ve almost been punched a few times.

I think this is why they’re all interested in going to see a financial advisor now; they’re now responsible for another grommet person so they’re not messing around when it comes to protecting their family financially.

It’s music to my ears when my friends tell me they’re going to see a financial advisor. I only wish they would pay more attention to the fees they’re paying their advisor because a lot of advisors are charging my friends ridiculous fees and they don’t even realize it.


You have 2 options: A fee -“only” advisor or a fee “based” advisor.

I like fee-only financial advisors because all you do is pay the advisor a flat fee, which could be an annual, quarterly or hourly fee, a project based fee, a retainer fee where you have scheduled meetings throughout the year, or a fee based on the percent of the assets they’re helping you with.

Fee based advisors make more money off of you because they can charge you a percent of the assets they’re managing for you, and then they can also charge you additional fees they get in the form of commissions for recommending certain investments to you. Fee-only advisors don’t get paid commissions.

You absolutely have the right to know how the advisor is paid before you make a commitment to them, so even after they talk about their fees with you, ask them for a copy of their Form ADV or look it up online to make sure you have it in writing.


Here’s a perfect example: there’s always all sorts of snazzy talk in The Wall Street Journal about different funds you can invest in. So yesterday morning when I was reading the paper while sipping my coffee and digesting the news that John Edwards is a slutty crook, I clicked on a link so I could check out the fees on one of the mutual funds they mentioned.

This is what I saw:

The above mutual fund charges a 1.31% annual “expense ratio,” which is basically just the fee to keep the fund up and running, and then an additional one time 5.0% sales fee for you to buy the damn fund!

A  “front-end load,” like 5.0%, is the sales fee, and you should never ever pay front-end or back-end loads. And yes, most of the time you can get access to these types of funds without paying the sales fee, you just have to invest directly without your advisor doing the transaction for you.

By investing in mutual funds, like the one above, you’re already setting a pretty high hurdle rate during the first year of your investment because the fund has gotta deliver a return bigger than 6.3% (1.31 + 5.0%) in order for the investment to even be worth it to you.

I invest in index funds and pay about 0.20% on average for these funds. I purposely invest in cheap funds because they deliver above average performance.

The math is simple: index funds deliver above average performance for me because I’m not getting hammered with a ridiculously high fee out of the gates. Lower cost = more money in my pocket.

I’m really not *opposed* to fee based advisors, I’d just rather strap a donkey to my back and run the San Francisco marathon while wearing shorts that chafe the insides of my legs for five hours than pay unnecessary fees, and fee based advisors tend to charge these extra fees because that’s how they get paid their commissions.

To put it in perspective for you, if you invested $10,000 in the above mutual fund that charges a 6.3% fee in the first year, you’d make a whopping $25.90 in profit if the fund delivered a 7% return. I’m pretty sure you can’t even go to the movies for $25 bucks anymore.

If I invested in an index fund that charges 0.20% in the first year, I’d make $678.60 if the fund delivered a 7% return.

These are the 2 things that will suck money out of your pocket:

1) A high “expense ratio” that’s over 0.75%. This comes with investing in a mutual fund instead of an index fund


2)  Any sort of sales fee, or “load”

So if you’re seeing a fee based advisor don’t be a wuss, ask them how they’re paid an how many of their mutual fund recommendations usually come with loads. Seriously, if someone was making fun of your kid because she’s not crawling yet, you know you’d slap that person silly, so why wouldn’t you protect your money like that? Your money is going to support your kid any way you look at it, so don’t you want to make sure you’re spending it wisely?

When we’re in our 20’s and 30’s and slowly building our wealth for our families, the best way for us to do it is to invest in funds that have a low expense ratio and to stay away from paying front-end or back- end loads, which are just sales fees. If you’re going to see a fee-only advisor or a fee based advisor, make sure you understand all the fees you’re paying.


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