[VOID] Who is the poorest person on FoRK?

I Find Karma (adam@cs.caltech.edu)
Wed, 10 Jun 1998 22:59:35 -0700

I just paid my bills for June, and I'm staring at my checking account
and savings account balances, and I realize that as far as liquidity
goes, I have about $200 to my name.

True, I also own 200 shares of Microsoft stock that I bought in
September 1996 with the money I made working for HP that summer.

So those shares are worth around $16000 or so right now; coincidentally,
I am staring down the barrel of an $18-grand shotgun, my marriage in
September. So those shares just about even out with the wedding.

Also true, I am making an intern's salary at MS this summer, although I
don't know if I'm allowed to post how much that's worth on a public
mailing list. Suffice it to say, I have almost exactly that amount
incurred as long-term debt, so I'll probably use the money I make this
summer to pay that off.

Which puts me and my estate dead squat flat even at approximately zero
bucks. (Shut up, Rohit. :)

So I was wondering, am I the most broke person on FoRK? That is to say,
is everyone on FoRK operating with at least some assets, thereby putting
them above zero? Or are there some FoRKers less than zero?

I guess we'd have to make the rule that mortgages don't count for debt
since those were borrowed against the equity of a house. Of course, we
could make the same argument about a student loan or a business loan...
okay, so maybe mortgages do count, in which case there are certainly
FoRKers who owe more money than they currently have. I suppose we could
incorporate a "future value of earnings" ticker into the equation, but
that seems like too much work.

Besides, I can probably find someone here poorer than me simply through
credit card debt. USA Today a few months ago told us that around 30% of
Americans with credit cards are rolling over debt by carrying a balance
from month to month. Presumably those people have less than zero or
they'd pay off their credit cards. Looking at


we discover yet-another-essay on how credit cards are such a nasty way
to carry debt...

> A typical household now carries more than $4,000 in credit card
> debt. The interest rate on most cards is still around 18 percent, which
> means that a typical card will cost about $60 a month in interest.
> If you pay off that balance and invest that $60 a month and earn
> 10 percent on it, it will accumulate to $4,646 in five years, $45,562 in
> 20 years, $135,629 in 30 years, and a whopping $1,039,463 in 50 years.
> Basically, the payoff for eliminating a credit card balance is
> somewhere between 20 and 95 times the balance - 20 times if a lifetime
> of credit card use is 25 years, 95 times if a lifetime of credit card
> use is 40 years.

So why do people incur such high credit card debts? Like having
unprotected sex with multiple promiscuous partners and driving a
motorcycle without a helmet, aren't these things people *know* they
shouldn't do in the America of 1998?

Or is running credit necessary to drive the consumption that keeps our
economy expanding? Looking at


we discover that

> Despite periodic concern about the effects of Asia's woes and the
> longevity of the current economic expansion, recent data confirm that
> the economy is showing few signs of fatigue. Therefore, I continue to
> believe that the economy, while it may well be slowing down somewhat in
> the second quarter, is on track to register another year of solid growth
> in the 3% range.

I wonder how sustainable 3% GDP growth is without the manic consumption
associated with incurring credit card debt? Maybe the credit card debt
people are doing an invaluable service to our country by
overconsuming... [If that isn't the very definition of post-hoc
rationalization, then I don't know what is. :]

> As usual, the consumer continues to drive the growth. And given a
> surge in disposable income thus far in 1998 along with low long-term
> interest rates, further gains in consumer spending are likely in the
> months ahead.

Good news for anyone with more money than me. Put it in the stock
market, because the Dow is revving up to knock on 10,000's door...

So my original point in this post was that I was the poorest person
here, but now that I've thought about debt some I guess this couldn't
possibly be true. I don't have a mortgage, I don't make monthly car
payments, and I don't carry over any credit card balances. So I suppose
I should just count my blessings and shut up...


Baby, you are so money and you don't even know it.
-- Swingers