Some interesting stuff in the NY Times this weekend:
In the Styles section, an article about a new website: zebo.com. It's sort of like MySpace, except it's more like "MyStuff." You create a profile, which basically consists of a list of the things that you own. You can also list things you want, and link to your friends' lists. It's also "designed to be a shopping community and e-commerce site."
The article was accompanied by screenshots of 3 zebo profiles. Though there is a column for price, none of these profiles listed prices for any of the items.
This is an interesting concept. When I was packing for my move, I wrote about my desire to streamline my stuff, once I was confronted with handling all of it, and mentioned some photos I'd once seen of different families around the world, each surrounded by all their belongings. It's interesting to see what people own, what they care about, and what their standards of living are. But Zebo seems to be focused on young people, mostly women aged 16-25, who want to make connections with each other, and compete with each other, via their belongings. As the article points out, "it is almost a declaration of the maxim 'He who has the most toys wins.'"
I'm tempted to go on the site and create a profile, just to go against the grain by being older and admitting that I own things like "books" and "art" instead of "Aeropostale Clothes. Abercrombie Clothes. American Eagle Clothes." (Summer V, age 14) Or "257 empty liquor bottles. A giant vanity mirror. 97 pairs of earrings." (Laurie H, age 16)
Another article of note, in the Business section:
Fortune's Fools: Why the Rich Go Broke
Whaaat, rich people go broke? Well anyone who has been writing or reading any personal finance blogs for any length of time won't find this all that surprising. It's the old story-- spend more than you earn and you'll be in trouble sooner or later, no matter how large those earnings are. And extremely wealthy people may have a false sense of security about being able to have whatever they want. But I still think bankruptcy is very different for the likes of Mike Tyson and John DeLorean and "regular folks." At a certain point, extremely wealthy people always have enough advice and help managing their finances that they've probably managed to set up corporations and somehow stash away some of their wealth, don't you think? They never really end up in the gutter. In any case, read the article-- George Foreman is the poster boy. Though he returned to boxing past his prime because he was close to broke, and seems to have a good sense of responsibility about his finances, he still claims not to know what his net worth is:
“When you start knowing, you’re scared,” he says. “I have lots of money, you know what I mean? But I haven’t found confidence like that longshoreman I told you about.” Nearly going bankrupt, he asserts, has permanently scarred him. “I will never feel secure again,” he says. “I’ve got to earn, earn, earn, earn.”
Respect every dollar, Mr. Foreman reiterated, respect every dollar.
“You can become complacent,” he says. “You can say, ‘I’m successful,’ which is the kiss of death. In America it’s hard to wake up hungry. It’s frightening. You can become complacent and wake up tomorrow totally homeless.”