PENFED MORTGAGE REFI: Starting on a personal note, we just did a mortgage refi with PenFed–specifically, their 5/5 ARM deal wherein they pick up all the closing costs. It was a little on the slow side, but they were true to their marketing pitch: they indeed picked up all of the closing costs, they didn’t hit us with any funny fees, the documentation process wasn’t too bad, and we’re now paying 2.75% on our mortgage.
OFFICE MAX 20% OFF / STAPLES PAPER TOWEL SALE: Via Slickdeals, a couple of office supply deals. First, Staples is having a very good sale on paper towels, so it’s a good opportunity to stock up. Second, here’s a coupon for 20% off your OfficeMax purchases, or you can use the code ‘SAVE20’ when ordering online.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO SAUDI ARABIA: Via Rapid Travel Chai, who’s got an upcoming trip there, we were referred to an interesting account from Matthew at Upgrd on his experience getting a Saudi Arabia transit visa. Saudi Arabia is pretty restrictive about letting Westerners into the country, but Matthew persevered and made it. Here are a bunch of pictures he took in Jeddah–we had no idea Krispy Kreme had a presence there.
Investment banking was a default career of sorts in 2007, something for the kids who didn’t quite know what they hell they wanted to do, and there were plenty of jobs being given out back then.
Investment banking a default career! How screwed up is that? The fact that it’s a default career tells us this individual went to either Harvard or Yale. Or maybe Columbia, who knows.
I was later told that of my class of 1400 graduates from Yale, forty percent took jobs in finance. No joke.
Yale it is… but enough about that. The crux of the article:
Unfortunately, what I eventually came to learn, and this took time, was that what was really happening was a simple transfer of wealth, more often than not from the less intelligent and informed to the more so… these traders (or salespeople) could buy bonds at the “market” price from intelligent hedge fund managers in NYC and sell this same crap at much higher levels to unsophisticated (but legally considered “sophisticated”) pension funds and insurance companies in middle America. What I discovered, quite starkly, is that the part of Wall Street that I worked in was simply transferring wealth from the less sophisticated investors, often teachers’ pension funds and factory workers’ retirement accounts, to the more sophisticated investors that call themselves proprietary trading desks and hedge funds. Of course, the traders had all sorts of excuses and jargon to deal with this truth. “Oh no,” they would say, “We are important providers of liquidity that create stable financial markets. We’re a crucial part of a system. And besides, if we don’t do it, someone else will.” These are the lies that people tell themselves so that they can buy larger homes.
Damning stuff, but it’s pretty much how we understand the game works. And kudos to Chirls, both for getting out of that industry as well as for writing honestly about it.