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Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Money Wealth Millionaires and Billionaires and the Rich



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Money Words

Dough, wonga, greenbacks, cash. Just words, you might say, but they carry an eerie psychological force. Chew them over for a few moments, and you will become a different person. Simply thinking about words associated with money seems to makes us more self-reliant and less inclined to help others. And it gets weirder: just handling cash can take the sting out of social rejection and even diminish physical pain.

'HOT WAITRESS ECONOMIC INDEX'

An index that indicates the state of the economy by measuring the number of attractive people working as waiters/waitresses. According to the hot waitress index, the higher the number of good looking servers, the weaker the current state of the economy. It is assumed that attractive individuals do not tend to have trouble finding high-paying jobs during good economics times. During poor economic times, these jobs will be more difficult to find and therefore more attractive people will be forced to work in lower paying jobs such as being waiters/waitresses.

Borrowing Money

Basking in its "record high" in venture-capital funding, the Chinese Jiedaibao website put its business model into practice recently: facilitating offerers of "jumbo" personal loans (two to five times the normal limit) to female students who submit nude photos. The student agrees that if the loan is not repaid on time (at exorbitant interest rates), the lender can release the photos online. (The business has been heavily criticized, but the company's headquarters said the privately-negotiated contracts are beyond its control.)

Unequal Wealth

Credit Suisse is out with its Global Wealth Report for 2013, looking at the distribution of household wealth around the world. Eye-popping stat that 35 percent of Russia’s wealth is now concentrated in the hands of just 110 people.

Unequal Wealth

There are currently 98,700 “ultra high net worth individuals,” those whose net worth exceeds $50 million. 45 percent of them live in the United States.

Unequal Wealth

Your “average” billionaire is in his — yeah, he’s most likely a dude — mid sixties. He’s got about $3 billion in the bank and about $600 million more floating around in cash because you just never know when you’ll spot a small tropical island you just absolutely must own. Chances are he went to a prestigious American university, made his money on Wall Street and considers himself a citizen of several major international cities rather than just one country. You’ll probably never meet him, because he mostly hangs around with other billionaires. There are 2,325 of them scattered around the globe and together they control 4% of the world’s wealth.

Tax Shelters

What is it that attracts so many shady people to shelter their money in the British Virgin Islands? Suzie Marwood, a TMS reader, has the answer. She’s been looking at the map and it shows such landmarks as Shark Bay, Rogues Bay, Fat Hogs Bay and even Throw Away Wife Bay. Lest they get cocky, though, there’s also Rough Point and the Bitter End.

Money and Bribes

In India you have to pay bribes for everything so now there's a big market for counterfeit money

Donations

The rebellion against the absurdities of "Black Friday" this year by the organization Cards Against Humanity came in the form of raising money to dig a pointless hole in the ground. During the last week of November, people "contributed" $100,573, sending Cards digging initially for 5.5 seconds per donated dollar. In 2015, according to an NPR report, Cards raised $71,145 by promising to "do absolutely nothing" with it, and the year before, $180,000 by selling bits of bull feces. (Asked why Cards doesn't just give the money to charity, a spokesperson asked why donors themselves don't give it to charity. "It's [their] money.")

Money and the Ultimatum Game

Ultimatum game: 2 players, one is given a sum of money which he has to share with other player. If other player agrees with the split, they both get to keep the money as per the agreement. Rationally the second player should take whatever he's offered, since he's at least better off than he was before. But, almost everyone refuses a share that they think is 'unfair' (threshold is usually around 30%), even though they're punishing themselves as well as the other player. Clearly emotions, rather than rational thinking, play large part in how we see money.

Talking About Money and Misers

English miser who faked death in hope that his servants would go on a mourning fast - instead they threw open the pantries and wine cellar to celebrate his demise - when he arose from his 'deathbed' to protest, they clubbed the 'ghost' to death

Money and Happiness

Who wants to be a millionaire? Not me after reading a report from UBS which makes being a millionaire sound like the tenth circle of hell. Many feel stuck on a treadmill, it found, without a real sense of how much wealth would make them satisfied enough to get off. They are haunted by an ever-present fear of losing it all. With increased wealth comes increased expectations for their standards of living and with it the fear of how to maintain the life they’ve built. Millionaire parents worry about spoiling their children, that their offspring take things for granted and act entitled. They are just as obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses as everyone else: it’s just these Joneses have homes in London, New York and Hong Kong, a private yacht and walk-in wardrobes bigger than the average home. Even worse, the millionaires interviewed were American, living in a land where, so we are told, success and wealth are celebrated. Your average UK millionaire must be a nervous wreck.

Billionaires Money

Greg Norman played a round of golf with Sultan of Brunei who enjoyed game so much he took GN to his 'garage' and said "Take your pick" "Thanks, I'll have that nice little Testarossa over there"

Billionaires Money

In 1917 John D Rockefeller could have paid off the entire US Govt debt. Today Bill gates entire fortune would just about cover the cost of two month's interest.

Billionaires Tax

In 2005 the 54 billionaires in Britain paid just £14.7 million. Of this, £9 million came from James Dyson.

Film Stars Money

The actor Matt LeBlanc has revealed he earned $100m starring in Friends, arguably the most successful sitcom of all time. LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, said that each of the main cast members - Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer - had earned a similar figure. According to LeBlanc in an interview in today's News Review, the actors were earning $100,000 an episode by the beginning of the third season. For the final two seasons - 42 episodes - they broke $1m a show. The series, which ended in 2004, drew 52m viewers for its final episode.

Talking About Money and Comparative Wealth

Comparative wealth important people are happier earning $50K when mates getting $40K, than they are earning $60K when mates $70K

Money to burn

Hungary's central bank has devised an ingenious plan to help the country's poor and needy this winter: they can burn money. The bank is creating fuel briquettes from old notes. Barnabas Ferenczi, a bank official, said: We destroy approximately 40 or 50 tons of currency every year. Our examination showed that the heating properties of these shredded currency briquettes are similar to brown coal, so they are pretty useful for heating.

Bits of Money

For $45, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing will sell you a 5-lb bag with $10,000 worth of shredded U.S. currency.

Tax and the Superrich

What's abundantly clear, both from Mr. Romney's 2010 returns and from the returns of the top 400, is that at the very pinnacle of taxpayers, the United States has a regressive tax system. The top 400 earn more than 1 percent of all income in the United States, more than double their share in 1992. These 400 earned a total of $81 billion in 2009 - but paid an average tax rate of just 19.9 percent.

Wall Street Miracle:

Two March instances of gleaning insight and using it to buy stock "options" were executed so quickly (1 to 3 seconds each) that experts consulted for a Slate.com analysis said they couldn't possibly have been made by human securities traders. Their conclusion: A robot so intelligent exists that it can "read" a news wire report, "analyze" it for hints whether to place bets on a company's future price, and execute the order--before human traders even finish reading the news report. Profits on the seconds-long trades: $2.4 million on one and "between $1 million and $2 million" on the other. [Slate.com, 4-26-2015]

Shopping and Money

Shopping bulemia - indulge yourself then return items

Old Money

Sir George Sitwell (late 1800's in England, at a time when there was virtually no income tax) - serious landscape gardener in both senses of the word - once hired 4000 men to dig a huge ornamental lake, and, to improve his view, had all his cows painted in a Chinese willow pattern

Money for Writing Books

Clinton got $12m for memoirs; Pope got $8m - Pope spent his life trying to get people to keep 10 Commandments, Clinton .....

Spending Money

Spending habits are fixed at early age - don't try new things - won't usually try new food after 35 (sushi etc) and after 40 stop buying new CD's and start buying compilations

Big Noters

The Bank of England issues £1 million (Giants) and £100 million (Titans) notes.

The Invisible Beggar

A beggar has seen a boom in business after declaring himself invisible. Nemanja Petrovic was so fed up after being shunned by passers-by in Subotica, Serbia, that he gave up his spot, leaving just his cap, shoes and a sign reading: "Invisible Beggar". "When I returned I was astonished to find a crowd and my cap full of money," said Petrovic, 42. "Now I just put down the sign, and a pair of shoes as a prop, and wait for the donations to roll in while I have a coffee over the road."

Educating About Money

Shouldn't we be teaching more of this in high school and college? Shouldn't every high school graduate at least know what compound interest can do for you as a saver and what it does to you as a borrower? Any college kid at some point gets lectures and required readings on the importance of diversity, academia's favorite subject. Shouldn't they graduate with a modicum of financial literacy as well? We're taught that money is the root of all evil and that money can't buy you love, but the nature of compound interest, that you have to have more money coming in than going out, is almost never taught, Mr. Rowe said. Students have to take math and foreign language and history, but you can graduate from every good school in the country without any exposure at all to how money works.

How We Think About Money

People were generally likely to save more if asked to 'precommit' to doing so in the future. Their findings have been incorporated in many 401(k) plans. By agreeing to deduct a certain amount of money from your paycheck starting next Jan. 1 and to increase the deduction every New Year's Day thereafter, you can procrastinate - you don't have to do anything now - yet increase your savings substantially. And if those increases coincide with raises, your take-home pay won't decline, avoiding 'the mind's hypersensitivity to loss,' the paper says.You can also opt out freely - which may make you more comfortable with the plan in the first place.

Investing

Fidelity did a study of all their accounts to see what types of investors performed the best. They found that the best investors were the people who had either forgotten they had an account in the first place — or were dead! In other words, most investors succeed in doing the exact opposite of what they set out to do with their money (presumably, make more of it).

Loose Change

The Royal Mint estimates that about 380 million worth of loose change is lying around in British households. That is about 30 per home which could be going to good causes. One company is doing its bit to see that it does. Coinstar operates machines in all four major supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons, which count unsorted coins for exchange into bank notes and vouchers. Customers can also donate their change to a good cause at the machines

Making Money

To maintain our stock of hard currency, the US Treasury creates hundreds of billions of dollars worth of new bills and coins each year. And that ain't money for nothing: The cost to taxpayers in 2008 alone was $848 million, more than two-thirds of which was spent minting coins that many people regard as a nuisance. (The process also used up more than 14,823 tons of zinc, 23,879 tons of copper, and 2,514 tons of nickel.) In an era when books, movies, music, and newsprint are transmuting from atoms to bits, money remains irritatingly analog. Physical currency is a bulky, germ-smeared, carbon-intensive, expensive medium of exchange

Ponzi Schemes

Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme cost 16,500 investors a total of as much as $18 billion, according to the court-appointed trustee, but at least Madoff is not on death row. In Hangzhou, China, in November, Ji Wenhua and his brother and their father (who were managers of the Yintai Real Estate and Investment Group) were sentenced to death after their convictions for cheating 15,000 investors out of the equivalent of $1.1 billion. Prosecutors said the men had continued to collect money by claiming profits while losses mounted.

Talking About Money

Even a multibillionaire like Warren Buffett knows that not everything comes down to money. "Basically, when you get to my age, you'll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to love you actually do love you. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don't care how big your bank balance is, your life is a disaster."

Talking About Money

SIR JAMES DYSON, the inventor who convinced the world that vacuum cleaners could be fun, has given £45m of his fortune to his three children. Each of the Dyson offspring, all in their thirties, have received £15m from a shares deal, according to documents filed at Companies House. The arrangement bucks the trend for well-known entrepreneurs to make ostentatious donations to charity and bequeath little to their children.

Talking About Money

An old saying suggests that if you're a capitalist at 20 you have no heart, and if you're a socialist at 40 you've got no brain.

Teaching About Money

It's because children play little role in wealth creation in the West, they're usually treated equally with their peers and siblings by teachers and parents, and they're protected from many of life's challenges. So they naturally start out seeing things from a socialist perspective. But as they start becoming responsible for their own wealth creation, their views change.

Talking About Money

Disasters are neither fair nor blind. Disasters have a strong prejudice against the poor. "I never fought a fire in a rich person's home," a veteran firefighter once told me. Fires are much more likely to happen in homes with shoddy construction, portable heaters and no working smoke detectors

Talking About Money

Sir John Templeton was a classic contrarian investor. He embodied the dictum : "Buy when others are frantically selling and sell when others are greedily buying". While others were looking for gems in a jewel shop, he would be looking for diamonds in a dustbin. He was quite happy to buy what others were throwing away and believed that the stocks offering the best value would be those that other investors had completely neglected. His most celebrated coup came in 1939, just after war had broken out in Europe. He reasoned, correctly, that although the immediate outlook was bleak, the war would provide a massive boost to US industry. He instructed his broker to buy 100 dollars worth of every single Wall Street stock that was priced at a dollar or less. Within four years he had sold his unusual portfolio of stocks for four times its original value.


Very Old Money

One of the most successful politicians of the first century before the Christian era was Marcus Licinius Crassus, who was reputedly not only the richest man in Rome but also, by one accounting, the eighth-richest man who has ever lived. His fortune was pegged (by Pliny the Elder) at upward of two hundred million sesteres. Most of those millions were in real estate, some of it acquired in a manner strikingly like the operations of health-insurance companies a couple of millennia later. Crassus had his own private fire department, and if your house caught fire his representatives would offer to buy it on the spot, at a one-time-only, fire-sale price that would fall rapidly as the flames climbed. If you said yes, you'd get a few sesteres, after which Crassus' firefighters would do their thing. If you said no, you'd end up with a pile of ashes. (No public option being available, few owners were in a position to quibble.)

Madoff Money

When the story of Madoff's Ponzi scheme first broke in December I wondered, rather superciliously, how could these people have been so stupid? How could they have failed to perform even elementary due diligence? Didn't they know the cardinal rule that if it sounds too good to be true - it is? But as a veteran of the investment business explained to me, this is how most folks perform due diligence. They ask people they know and trust. They network. They collect references. They don't bother with things like prospectuses. You read the fine print of every mutual fund you invest in, don't you? Me neither. A lifetime on Wall Street endowed Madoff with the knowledge that even "sophisticated" investors take short cuts, and that a personal reference will trump painstaking quantitative analysis every time

Old Money

Australian newspaper analysed Kerry Packer's wealth - by far wealthiest Australian worth about $A65 billion - nearly 1% Aust GDP - but only 17th on 'relatively' rich list - a farmer/builder (ex convict) in early 1800's worth $200,000 - then 3.5% GDP

Old Wealth

In fact, according to Forbes mag the richest man ever was Genghis Khan, who controlled wealth equivalent to about $700 billion (2007 US dollars) 2nd and 3rd were Rockefeller and Carnegie with abt $300b each. Bill Gates came in 21st, the wealthiest ever woman was Queen Elizabeth I at number 16.

Too Much Money

THE iPhone is now the official mobile for vainglorious iDiots. Last year owners of the Apple phone could buy a screen saver of a glowing red gem that did little more than signal the owner's addiction to bling. Apple soon yanked the gimmick off its online store, which sells customised software for its various products, but not before eight people each paid $US999.99 ($1450) for the application titled "I Am Rich". The screen saver also included an insightful mantra: 'I am Rich'

NICE and GRIM

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, once defined the 1990s as the nice decade: non-inflationary continuous expansion. If it is true, as Mr Miliband suggests, that the nice decade has given way to the grim decade - growth reduced and inflationary misery - then the task for the Left is both obvious and difficult: to redefine social democracy to make it less dependent on the unbounded generosity of taxpayers.

Lotteries

Last week, following an eight-year battle, the Supreme Court ruled that Martin Horan was not entitled to a fifth of the $2m won by a lottery syndicate in Mayo. Horan's problem was that he had fallen into arrears with his weekly contributions to the syndicate and had not paid anything towards the winning ticket. The Supreme Court held that a person seeking to share in a syndicate when he has not paid up his share travels a hard road. In other words, only those who pay should benefit.

Lotteries

Irish people aren't the only ones to fall out over good fortune. An English mother and daughter have not spoken for more than two years after the daughter refused to share a £94,000 bingo win she secured in the glamorous surroundings of the Mecca Bingo Hall in Liverpool. The mother claimed that there was an agreement whereby they would divide any winnings of more than £20. A judge at Liverpool County Court sided with her, commenting that she may have won the case but she had lost a daughter.

Lotteries

In a more sinister development, three grannies in Liverpool fought it out over bingo winnings of more than £200,000. They had agreed to split any money they made but after hitting the jackpot the eldest of the grannies reneged on the deal with the battle cry: "There is only one winner." Before they came to blows, a court held that in fact there were lots of winners and the prize had to be shared. In an echo of the mother-daughter case, one of the victorious grannies commented that she might have won money but she had lost a friend. There must be an awful lot of lost daughters and lost friends bumping into each other around the streets of Merseyside

Talking About Lotteries

Nearly one-third of multi-million pound lottery winners become bankrupt in just a few short years of their big win, according to research conducted in America.

Talking About Lotteries

A British teenager who won $3.67 million in a lottery has blown her prize in less than seven years - $482,000 of it on cocaine. Callie Rogers hit the jackpot in 2003 at the age of 16, but the now 22-year-old said she spent all but around $38,000 on drugs, holidays, designer clothes....

Lotteries

William "Bud" Post III won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988. Unfortunately, his loved ones turned on him, when a former girlfriend sued him for a share of the winnings, his brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him and his other siblings bullied him into investing in a car business and restaurant, which then failed miserably. Post even spent time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector and within a year, he was $1 million in debt. He eventually declared bankruptcy and lived quietly on $450 a month and food stamps, claiming "I'm tired-Lotteries don't mean [anything] to me". He died on Jan 15 2006 of respiratory failure aged 66.

Lotteries

Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice (in 1985 and 1986). The odds of this happening are 17 trillion to one, yet this American dream was not all it's cracked up to be. Her 'mistakes' included gambling away the $5.4 million fortune. She now lives in a trailer.

Lotteries

Willie Hurt won $3.1 million in Michigan in 1989 but two years later, he had wasted it on divorce and cocaine and was charged with murder. Before his win, he was a happily married family man with an active social life, yet soon lost contact with his wife and custody of his children due to the problems his windfall brought him.

Lotteries

In 2002, Jake Whittacker won a $315 million power jackpot and started out with good intentions by donating money to several church-based charities and setting up a foundation that provided food and clothing to the West Virginian poor. However, his luck soon changed: he was arrested for drink driving, spent more than $100,000 in a strip-club, had $545,000 in cash stolen from his car and then another $200,000 stolen again. He became the subject of many lawsuits (most of which were settled out of court) which include being sued for gambling debts by Atlantic City casino. His granddaughter died of a drug overdose, funded by the $2,100 a week allowance he gave her.

Lotteries

(Stephen King interview in NY Times talking about his time travel book on the Kennedy Assassination): The chain of events seems outrageous, but let me tell you a story. This happened a couple of weeks ago in the Midwest. This guy won the lottery, he won a million dollars or something on the lottery. Maybe it was multimillions. But you know how it is, it's a great human interest story. So the press comes and this film crew from one of the local stations says to him, "We want to recreate you winning the lottery." You know where this is going, right?
Q.I'm not sure.
A.Bear with me. So they went to the store where he had bought the scratch ticket and won the million dollars. And they filmed, and he scratched the ticket and he said, "Holy - I just won another $100,000."

Money and Winning the Lottery

Fred Craggs, a 60-year-old Yorkshireman, won £1 million from William Hill for 50p - landing odds of 2,000,000-1 in the process when selecting eight winners at the races. The first winner was called Isn't That Lucky and the last A Dream Come True. Living up to the dour Yorkshireman image, he commented "A million isn't what it used to be. It's small fry to a footballer's wage"

Money and Winning the Lottery

Jamie, 29, and Abbie Hort, 21, an unemployed couple drawing housing and other government benefits, won a United Kingdom lottery prize in December 2014, worth about US$72,000; promptly spent it all (including "some" on "silly" stuff, Abbie admitted); and according to a January press report, are angry now that the government will not immediately re-institute their benefits. Abbie said, as lottery winners, she and Jamie "deserved to buy some nice stuff" and go on holiday but that now, except for the large-screen TV and Jamie's Ralph Lauren clothes, the winnings are gone. Said Jamie, this past Christmas was just "the worst ever."

Money and Winning the Lottery

Marie Holmes, that 2014 Powerball winner in North Carolina whom News of the Weird had reported in September rapidly running through her winnings by bailing her boyfriend out of jail (alleged drug dealer Lamar "Hot Sauce" McDow), had already tied up $9 million on two arrests. In January, Hot Sauce was arrested again (only for "street racing," but that violated his bail conditions), and Holmes was forced to fork over another $12 million (as bond basically doubles with each violation, but Holmes would get about 90 percent back--if Hot Sauce shows up for court). (Holmes earlier addressed her critics on Facebook: "What Y'all need to be worried about is Y'all money . . ..")

Sudden Wealth

"Affluenza" or Sudden Wealth Syndrome - many families who have achieved material success go looking for happiness but don't know where to find/buy? it

Talking About Money

Baby Boomers have managed to combine heady idealism with rampant materialism - enthusiastically embraced quest for personal growth but famously voracious appetite for consumer goods

Money

Christina Onassis yacht - barstools upholstered in softest leather known - from the foreskin of sperm whale penis

Fuck You Money

US concept of "Fuck You" money - how much cash do you need so never have to work again?

Talking About Money

When they auctioned Jackie Onassis' jewels they had 17 loose diamonds worth a few hundred dollars - arranged them in a 'J' on purple velvet and got over $20,000

Money

Dilbert cartoon - "Money can't buy you happiness - but it can buy expensive possessions that make other people envious, and that feels just as good and you can pay to have other people whacked)"

Church Money

Church minister appealing for donations: "The good news is we have enough money for our building project - the bad news is that it's still in your pockets"



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