Earlier this week we aired a report on the “Stealthy Wealthy” – people who have a lot of money, but don’t necessarily want you to know about it. Reporter Sean Cole's piece raised some good points: like the fact that a lot of these folks didn’t know they were inheriting large sums of money.
In my adventures with the stealthy wealthy, I noticed a few commonalities among the folks I interviewed. For instance, none of them seemed to know the money was coming to them until it did, and all of them were thrown by it, to one degree or another. Probably the most unsettled among them was Burke Stansbury. He’s a political activist living in Seattle with his wife and son. He remembers the day his dad handed him a four-page printout of his investments, and trust fund, etc.
"I laughed," Burke told me, "More than anything it struck me as totally ridiculous that I would have that kind of money. The absurdity of why I, of all people, should have a million dollars coming to me, it struck me. Like I had never done anything to deserve that money."
The story got us thinking: Do the non-rich feel comfortable telling people how much money they have?
On Twitter, the majority of respondents said they prefer not to share their net-worth out of embarrasment. Some said they work hard to earn what they do, and they're happy to share the amount. Others said that sharing income is awkward, whether you're rich or poor.
Here are some of the most interesting responses we received:
@MPWealthPoverty yes, because everyone else in my field makes twice as much!
— Brian Virgil (@SafariBear1107) January 24, 2014
— Apron Boobsface (@1eyedstolenmare) January 24, 2014
@MPWealthPoverty Yes - some people make less than me, some make more. I feel bad when its the former, and awkward when its the latter.
— Laura Lundahl (@LauraLundahl) January 24, 2014
— Jennifer Rand (@therowdyrands) January 24, 2014
@MPWealthPoverty we don't talk salary because prevailing emotions are either guilt, envy, or pride - all negative
— Benjamin Benavidez (@benbenjr80) January 24, 2014
— Justine Fred (@PaisleyFred) January 24, 2014
— Robin Amer (@rsamer) January 24, 2014
@MPWealthPoverty Generally people don't ask, most make assumptions. If it really matters to someone to the point the need to ask (1/2)
— Ingrid R Shepard (@IngridRShepard) January 24, 2014
@MPWealthPoverty most times they get uncomfortable when they get the answer. (2/2)
— Ingrid R Shepard (@IngridRShepard) January 24, 2014
@MPWealthPoverty Sometimes. If I know its similar $ to the person asking or I know them very well I done mind. Otherwise it can get awkward.
— Erik Newcome (@ErikNewcome) January 24, 2014
@MPWealthPoverty I don't like the conversation that comes after. I am not where I wanted to be at my age and people always ask or assume why
— Randi Borys (@RandiB1) January 24, 2014
Dorothy Holm of Minnesota couldn't speak in the weeks before her death in 1996. She spent some of that time writing capital letters on the fronts and backs of 20 index cards. Her family couldn't figure out what she might have been trying to say. Crowdsourcing on the Web led to an answer.
Some people might find it easier to write down the care they want and the kind they prefer not to have in living wills. Others might prefer to talk more generally with their relatives about issues like life support.
It's awards season, and one of the big events will be this Sunday when the 56th annual Grammys air on CBS. Last year 28 million people watched the show on TV. But more and more, some of the action and the ads will be happening on the so-called second screen. Slate tech blogger Will Oremus tells Marketplace Tech about the online ads for the Grammys.
Close to 300 of the nation's mayors have been meeting in Washington this week. They've found networking with their peers to be a lot more productive than trying to lobby Congress.
Both were released on their own recognizance and ordered not to leave the country. The McDonnells are facing corruption charges stemming from gifts they received from a political donor.
As busy, thorough, and of course, highly conscientious journalists, we were concerned. We'd raised the question "Can Butterfinger take on the peanut butter cup?" - but left the investigation incomplete.
To protect the good name of public media, there was only one thing to do. And it wasn't going to be easy.
We took our fake Butterfinger cups to the denizens of the American Public Media/Marketplace offices with the question: What actually happens when Butterfinger meets Reese's?
Rico Gagliano, host of the Dinner Party Download, didn't really care, so long as he got free candy:
Marketplace Sustainability Desk reporters Adriene Hill and David Weinberg decided it was a question of proportions:
Wealth & Poverty Desk reporter Noel King responded with pure disgust to the entire enterprise.
Wealth & Poverty producer John Ketchum had no such scruples:
And editor John Haas may just be the target market:
But engineer Brendan Willard comes out strongest for the candy combo. He prefers "both together to either individually."
The final verdict? It really shouldn't be this difficult to give your coworkers free candy.
Qualcomm, the U.S. mobile chip maker, has bought close to 2,000 patents from Hewlett Packard. Many of the U.S. and foreign patents relate to former smart phone maker Palm. (Remember them?) These days Palm's patents are a bit like hot potatoes -- HP bought Palm in 2010 to get into the mobile device game. The company appears to have lost that game and is now selling. So what does Qualcomm want with Palm? Avi Greengart, research director at Current Analysis, tells Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson.
Several states have legalized marijuana, even though the federal government still considers it an illegal drug. Well, a problem is banks are reluctant -- in most cases unwilling -- to do business with the marijuana industry.
When you think of the 21st century American economy, your mind no doubt flips to things digital and mobile. But corporate earnings out this week were a good reminder that an industry that sounds more 19th century is key to the modern economy as well -- railroads.
Less than five months before Brazil's World Cup kicks off, 6 out of 12 venues are still unfinished -- including a complex in the northern city of Manaus, where construction workers have died and pay for laborers is an issue.