A Valentine’s Day Guest Post – Blood, Bondage, Lust, Money

Editor’s Note: The Banker’s Wife offers up her guest post on “50 Shades of Monetary Inadequacy”

Biting lip 2I have bad news for you, Christian. No, it’s not that your movie will be universally panned, though you should pick up A.O. Scott’s review for your reading pleasure. 1 It goes deeper – I am here to tell you that you will never be as wealthy as the sparkly vampires.

This may come as a shock to you. After all, you share many of the same proclivities, a penchant for cashmere, fast sports cars with hushed leather interiors, obsessively protective behavior, and women who bite their lower lips when nervous.

What is it with the lip biting anyway? It is a truth universally acknowledged that all young women in these novels (by which I mean the chicklit genre that involves vampires, werewolves, or their human stand-ins) appear to have an insatiable appetite for their own facial features.

Perhaps this is our 21st century damsel in distress signal, the equivalent of dropping a handkerchief or blushing in the Elizabethan era? But I digress.

I’m not saying you are in the 99%, Christian. But the Cullens, the De Clermonts, the Akeldamas 2, the Horologists 3, and the rest of their undead kindred all possess, or will possess, more wealth than you can ever accumulate.

Why is that? It’s certainly not because of their lust for women willing to bleed for them – after all, you have that too.

It’s not because they can see into the future, though that certainly gives Alice Cullen several legs up. It’s the immortality thing, it will get you every time.
My spouse is not a vampire, despite rumors to the contrary when he is seen at the beach and his ghostly pallor draws gasps, 4 but he does understand the power of compound interest.

Christian, I know you began to invest early, but how much can even 100 million dollars accumulate over the course of one measly human lifespan? Considering that you have seven more decades, eight if I’m generous and you stop getting yourself overly excited by Ms. Steele on such a routine basis, your wealth can only grow so much.

Compare that to the vampire Matthew Clairmont, who can accumulate wealth over a millennium. As Deborah Harkness describes in her All Souls Trilogy 5 (if you do not wish to have plot points spoiled for you, you’ll have to trust me and skip to the end of the italics):

The little account book had been rebound periodically when more pages were required. The first entries were made on thick sixteenth-century paper and dated from the year 1591. One accounted for the deposit of the dowry that Philippe had provided when I married Matthew: 20,000 Venetian zeccchini and 30,000 silver Reichsthaler. Every subsequent investment of that money – such as the rollover of any interest paid on the funds and the houses and land purchased with the proceeds – were meticulously accounted for in Alain’s neat hand. I flipped through to the final pages of the book… my eyes popped at the amount indicated in the assets column.

So there it is, Christian. If you can invest and compound your interest over 424 years, the end result pops women’s eyeballs. I know it’s frustrating that you can’t cause women that kind of distress, at least until you too become immortal in that long awaited cross-over novel where the Greys meet the Cullens and the blood, sparkles, and expensive body wash fly.

But here’s what you can do to feel powerful, which we know you like. In your cute, domineering way, let your readership know. They should start now.
If a breathless, lip biting young woman of, say 18, begins to put $50 a month away in an IRA (like a 401K), and continues to do so until she turns 75, and earns a 10% return on her investments, she will have $1.77 million.

biting lip

She can retire to her very own Seattle penthouse, and decorate it only in white and stainless steel with splashes of red.

And all of your young readership could do this, Christian, if they can save the cost of just one cup of Twinings English Breakfast tea a day and put it towards retirement. But perhaps you wouldn’t like that, because then they would have the power and wouldn’t really need you. After all, you certainly don’t go for emancipated women, do you?

Say it with me, Christian, compound interest is power.

Good boy.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Or Jezebel’s entertaining reviews.
  2.  At which point the banker’s wife outs herself as someone who has actually read a lot of these books, despite possessing several postgraduate degrees. But the first step is to admit you have a problem, I suppose. *bites lip pensively.
  3.  Also, my deep apologies to David Mitchell for lumping him in here. His heroines absolutely do not bite their lips.
  4.  He thinks it is his physique, please don’t tell. His brother calls him Casper the Friendly Ghost. [Editor’s Note: I may punish you for that comment. *Stares broodingly at Banker’s Wife, itching to commence punishment.
  5.  Which I recommend, by the way. It’s Twilight for women who have finished college.
  6. And to my pale, dark haired, clever, and occasionally brooding husband, who is certainly the only one reading the footnotes at this point, happy Valentine’s Day, my love.

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I founded Bankers Anonymous because, as a recovering banker, I believe that the gap between the financial world as I know it and the public discourse about finance is more than just a problem for a family trying to balance their checkbook, or politicians trying to score points over next year’s budget – it is a weakness of our civil society. For reals. It’s also really fun for me.

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