Some Female Advice

  By Shamus   Feb 17, 2006   6 comments

From Fox News comes this article on personal finance, about how one could better spend an annual $260 that would otherwise go to the lottery, comes a number of suggestions from Eva Rosenberg. This is just beyond satire:

Use the $260 for a one-night stay at a bed-and-breakfast inn with your spouse. Use the short getaway to have a long walk together and a long conversation over dinner and a bottle of wine about your financial plan for the future. Leave the inn with a budget in hand, and return each year to rewrite the plan.

First off, if people are playing the lottery, do you really think they are Bottle of Wine / Bed & Breakfast type people? But more to the point: Here is a woman who’s financial advice is to go out to eat, drink wine, and have a long conversation. This is not going to help women overcome common stereotypes anytime soon. I’m surprised she doesn’t follow up by suggesting you invest in shoes, fur coats and diamond rings. If a man were to suggest taking your spouse hunting and discussing investment plans while perched in the treestand with a case of beer, he would be regarded as a self-interested idiot. I don’t see why the same shouldn’t happen to Rosenberg.

As financial advice, this is preposterous. Note that the only “financial” aspect of this plan is to have a “long conversation”, which you could easly have for free in your own living room. A conversation that would, one expects, be easier to conduct with financial records at hand. Records that will not be around if you go to a Bed & Breakfast. As marital advice, it doesn’t seem very sensible either. If you’re having trouble getting your man to engage you in conversation under normal circumstances, does it make sense to ask him to take you out for a very expensive night and have a long converstion? About money?!?

The rest of the article is just as silly. And remember, at some point along the line, an editor approved this. Amazing.

UPDATE:


Eva Rosenberg has responded in the comments, and her response is quite temperate considering the abrasive nature of my original post. And, while she claims I’m almost right, I’m not sure how. The Bed and Breakfast suggestion came from a man, which sort of pokes holes in just about everything I had to say. In fact, that even makes the title of the post itself incorrect. *wince*

But how would I spend the $260? Well, I guess it depends on if you’re asking “How would you spend $260?”, or “How would you spend $260 responsibly?” Because, if you’re just asking what I’d do with $260, then honestly my top 10 list would just be a bunch of computer games and hardware. For my wife, it would no doubt be art supplies and antiques.

I doubt I’d have 10 different ideas of how to put the $260 to work. My top 10 list is only 3 items long:

  1. Put it in the bank (savings, not checking). Not the best idea. If I was really putting it away for a while, then I would be better off…
  2. Putting it into the mutual fund, which is doing very well. However, my most likely course of action would be to…
  3. Spend it on the house, probably by surfacing the driveway, getting some carpet put in, or some other general improvement. This lets me “invest” the money in the house by raising the resale value, but also lets me enjoy the money by getting to live in a nicer home.

But really: It isn’t very hard coming up with better ways to blow $260 than on the lottery. In fact, it would be better to take the $260, put it in a pile and set it on fire, and then use the fire to cook a toasted cheese sandwich. Sure, it’s a stupid waste of $260, but I managed to cook a tasty sandwich, which is still way more than what the lottery-players got for their $260.

And finally: Thanks to Eva Rosenberg for the polite correction to a not-so-polite post. We don’t get many National Columnists ’round here, and I would like to have made a better first impression.

6Six comments, I think. Maybe half a dozen.


  1. TaxMama says:

    Well, Shamus,

    You’re almost right. Sort of.

    And I just can’t resist responding.

    If you actually read that article, you’d realize a MAN came up with the suggestion to go to the Bed & Breakfast. Apparently, he didn’t have the guts to simply have a straight conversation with his wife about money. I think I’ll gather more stories about people like that. Frankly, it would have taken a stretch of the imagination for me to dream that up.

    But that’s why I solicit input from other people. They perspectives on life fascinate me.

    Now you, for instance. You spent an entire column ranting (as you call it) about what’s wrong with my ideas.

    Did you ever think of coming up with a list of 10 great things to do if you had an extra $260 per year? I’d love to see your list!

    Thanks

    Eva Rosenberg
    Tax Author,
    National Columnist,
    And DEFINITELY – a female

  2. Mom says:

    Well, this is an exciting turn of events. How fun.
    Seeing that the original idea came from a man claifies matters. I thought the idea had the sound of financial advice from a christian marriage ministry. The idea would appeal to men for reasons totally unrelated to finances. Except for the bottle off wine bit it could have come from a guest on Dobson.
    Anyway your reply was funny, your usual take on all matters except for that terrain building thing. You take THAT seriously for sure. I had Dave ( yes, Dave! ) read some of your posts. Since the computer is upstairs, he is warming up to it. Sometimes he reads Fox news or such.
    Mom
    .

  3. Mom says:

    ooo, I forgot

    thought the Idea of the cheese sandwich sounded messy. Can’t imagine how to toast a cheese sandwich over an open fire of any sort. Hotdog would make more sense. Even then, it would be hard to get it cooked before the fire went out. Unless the $260 was just used a kindling for a wood fire, but you didn’t mention anything about adding wood to the conflagration. I guess if you have a grilling basket with a handle( we use one for bacon on our camping trips ) and used the money for kindling as I said and watched so the melted cheese did not run out of the sandwich before the bread was toasted, you could make a cheese sandwich for $260 plus the cost of the bread, cheese, wood and a grilling basket.

    But what about your milk allergy?
    Mom

  4. Heather says:

    Well, being the wife in this business it seems to me that the whole Bed and Breakfast idea was pretty rediculous to begin with but as for what better ways could it be spent, let me see.
    1. the driveway and mailbox
    2. several trees that NEED to come down
    3. paint for several rooms
    4. new flooring in the living room
    5. setting it aside for the next time the car breaks down
    6. some new cupboards for our homeschool supplies
    7. Rosetta Stone Spanish software for two years
    8. piano lessons for the kids
    9. some actual new clothes for the kids instead of all thrift shop buys
    10. put it towards a new computer
    11. books, books, books
    12. paints and canvas
    13. Ice skating lessons
    14. Swim lessons
    15. Jazzercise membership

    Now all of these things are things that we currently cannot afford, so it seems to me that in our situation the idea of going to a bed and breakfast would be rediculous and if you did have the money to do such a thing…I don’t know, seems like a nice quiet dinner at home with someone taking the kids would certainly be more responsible either way.

  5. OddlucK says:

    Yes, this is an old post. Yes, I could be accused of “necro-posting” for just that reason. No, I don’t have anything truly pertinent to add.

    Still, I will note that I enjoy your writings more and more as I read them. Also, I think it’s very, very cool that Ms. Rosenberg, your mother, and your wife have all not only read this particular post, but indeed responded to it (and rather thoughtfully so).

    Just felt that worth a mention.

    –OddlucK

  6. I’ll second OddlucK, and also mention that I didn’t realise “necro-posting” was a social faux pas – if that is the case, I apologise, Mr Young! You are a great writer, and have really inspired me.

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