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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Green Bills and Ham

Well, it's a play on green eggs and ham...think scrambled eggs and crisp dollar bills, bringing home the bacon and stashing some away.

Just attended 8 A.M. press breakfast at Charlie Palmer's Aureole, on 42nd Street. It was hosted by Ric Edelman, financial advisor, radio show host and author of several money books, including The Truth about Money. He was announcing the launch, earlier this month, of Edelman Online, where you can open an investment account starting with a nut of at least $5,000--and have access to financial advisors every business day. The annual management fee is 2 percent [so $100 for $5,000 in].

Want to report on it while it's still fresh in my mind...some of Edelman's advice seems radical...but I didn't drag my laptop on the bus in this sleet and snow, so am at the New York Public Library in room 315, where my time allotment on the internet* [no charge, good deal] is 45 minutes and the ticker on the screen tells me I have 25 minutes left. [I can't stop thinking about my Mom and her friend Alice, who worked at this library in the 1940s. I wonder if they ever used the payphones....the floors in the old phone booths are well-worn.]

I'll pitch some consumer story ideas to my editor--sparked by today's press briefing. But in the meanwhile, I enjoyed my first and only meal @ Aureole so far--good cup of coffee with sugar cubes, nicely scrambled eggs, excellent browned and seasoned potatoes, bacon, lox. The restaurant proper doesn't serve breakfast or brunch; this was a special event.

Money morsels:

1. Start young. "Twenty is the ideal age to start saving," says Edelman. He tells kids to put away $3 a day and have about $100,000 saved by age 65. [He notes that the figures assume a 10 percent return, which is the average annual return of the S&P 500 Stock Index since 1926, according to Ibbotson Associates.]
2. Don't change your lifestyle. He advises the twenty-somethings in his seminars: "If you save, then spend however you want. If you eat out, keep eating out. But maybe skip the shrimp cocktail or skip the salad. And look, a pack of cigarettes costs about eleven dollars in New York City. Just put away $3 a day." If we wait till age 50 to start this daily savings plan, the figure will jump to $8 per day, or $240 per month, he says.
3. Pay in paper. Edelman advises paying for everything with dollar bills, then pocketing the coins. At the end of the month, put them all into your savings account.
4. Talk about money. He says money is still taboo, but we talk more freely--especially to our kids--about sex, drugs, cancer [which used to be secretive] and religion. The point is, we have to talk to kids about money openly and honestly--about where our will is, beneficiaries, etc.
5. It's all in your head. "Financial advisors are psychologists. There is a lot of emotion tied up in the subject of money," he notes. It is emotional....people use it as a weapon, or power tool. It doesn't have to be that way.
6. And this one spoke directly to me. "Compulsive spending is one of the signs of clinical depression," he says. I took that to heart, because as you know if you read my blog, I do enjoy shopping and I have battled depression. I don't think I spend compulsively but it's something--like compulsive eating--that I have to be very aware of, and keep in check.

Okay, the library angel somehow gave me an extra 15 minutes at computer #14 but the end is approaching. It was fun to file this here, tapping away on the old wood table, sitting in a real wood chair, under majestic high ceilings. As I've said before, I think I should probably bring my laptop in and work in this library once a week. It's just so inspiring.

Have a great day. And may I personally put Ric Edelman's money advice in my pocket and take it out often. 

*If you live in New York City, you need to present your library card. If you are visiting, like me from NJ, you show your driver's license/ID.

1. Will walk in the city a fair amount today. Trying to meet my first boss from Good Housekeeping, Ruth Arnstein, later...she lives here. It has been years, and I miss her so. It was one of my New Year's resolutions.
2. Checked out the free "Lunch Hour NYC" exhibit here at the library. Sis told me about it months ago. Really cool look at old restaurants, lunchboxes, cookbooks, menus--everything from Sardi's to Algonquin Roundtable, automat to push carts. And Schrafft's, which my mother talked about a lot [hot fudge sundaes]. Open through February 17. They even have actual old automat windows--my parents took us to the automat once....


  1. Good post, Alice. I always enjoy your NYC posts; they make me miss the city!

    I think all that guy's advice is pretty good. I am not great with money, and it is definitely a dodgy issue. I remember Ruth ... hope you were able to meet up!

  2. Hi Eileen....glad you liked it...i know, the city is in our blood, right? I am disappointed to report that Ruth couldn't meet me....i really miss seeing her...happy new alice