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Makin' Money

Another reason to save

Chris Farrell Jun 21, 2011

A theme of these posts is the importance of savings and not just for retirement. You should save to fund a series of transitions throughout a lifetime, to have the freedom to do the kind of work you want.

Well, in catching up on my reading I came across a recent article by Barry Ritholtz. He’s the chief executive of FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm, and a well-known blogger. He has a column in the Washington Post, “7 life lessons from the very wealthy.”

I really liked **Lesson No. 4:: Watch your “lifestyle leverage,” especially early in your career. **

Those partnership-track careers? The dirty little secret: Those firms love to get their young employees leveraged up. They will even help you get that way, co-signing mortgages for big houses or even directly lending you the cash on favorable terms.

They encourage up-and-comers to spend extravagantly; they extend lines of credit to their rising stars. You need a big house with a jumbo mortgage; you cannot pull up to a business meeting in anything less than the best luxury car. It is part of their corporate culture.
Isn’t that nice of them?
Not really. The big banks, investment shops, law firms and accountants have learned how profitable it is to have “golden handcuffs” on their best employees. These highly-leveraged, debt-laden wage slaves will work harder, put in longer hours and stay with the firm longer than those debt-free workers.

He’s right. Watch that leverage. Spend less, save more, and live better.

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