Author Topic: Overheard at Work  (Read 8902801 times)

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4359
  • Age: 10
  • Location: USA
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1350 on: January 09, 2014, 10:56:25 AM »
It's actually quite a common way to think about it among the financially unsophisticated. It's viewed as money they have just like cash in the bank.

An old high school friend of my wife's had a charming habit of paying for things using the overdraft protection on her debit card -- there was nothing in the checking account, but you could still charge with it at some ridiculous interest rate.
This is why cash management checking accounts from brokerage firms kick ass: they figure that if you have a brokerage account you know what you are doing and don't insult your intelligence by trying to sell things like "overdraft protection" and "mortgage protection insurance".

SpinGeek

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1351 on: January 09, 2014, 11:42:52 AM »
Just had this conversation with our Expense Report guy:

Our company generously gifted us with $50 towards anything our heart desired at Amazon for Christmas this year. All we had to do was order something, then submit an expense report to get reimbursed up to $50. Our company pays expense reports quickly, and even does direct deposit.

Evidently several of our employees couldn't afford to order their own Christmas gifts, and had to get their manager to order and pay for them. Some didn't have credit cards or debit cards. Some didn't even bother.

I had to clutch my forehead to keep my brain from exploding. These are people making $30K or more. And it's not like this is costing them anything, other than a few weeks float before they get paid back. What do they do when (inevitably) they get hit with an expense for $50 or more and NOT get paid back?

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8118
  • Registered member
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1352 on: January 09, 2014, 11:53:24 AM »
Just had this conversation with our Expense Report guy:

Our company generously gifted us with $50 towards anything our heart desired at Amazon for Christmas this year. All we had to do was order something, then submit an expense report to get reimbursed up to $50. Our company pays expense reports quickly, and even does direct deposit.

Evidently several of our employees couldn't afford to order their own Christmas gifts, and had to get their manager to order and pay for them. Some didn't have credit cards or debit cards. Some didn't even bother.

I had to clutch my forehead to keep my brain from exploding. These are people making $30K or more. And it's not like this is costing them anything, other than a few weeks float before they get paid back. What do they do when (inevitably) they get hit with an expense for $50 or more and NOT get paid back?

$50?  Who has that kind of space just lying around on their credit card?

ichangedmyname

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 420
    • Luxe Frugality
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1353 on: January 09, 2014, 12:07:52 PM »
I have tried to make subtle suggestions to my co-workers about their spendy ways, but I just get a lot of flack. "You make a lot more money than most of us (which is true) and you don't have kids (which is also true), so you don't know how hard it is!"

I get that all the time. "You don't have a wife and kids, of course you have plenty of money."

I actually feel like that sometimes... I mean I don't make much but because I'm in my 30's and don't go out every Friday/Saturday night to go clubbing or have kids I feel like I have more money than people at the same level as I am at work. I'm kinda thankful that my only vice really is food.

Bruised_Pepper

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 190
  • Age: 30
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1354 on: January 09, 2014, 01:20:35 PM »
[...]I'm in my 30's and don't go out every Friday/Saturday night to go clubbing or have kids[...]

Haha, those are the ONLY two options for people in their 30s.  Ugh, what a crappy decade that's gonna be!

AlmostIndependent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Anchorage, AK
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1355 on: January 09, 2014, 02:10:49 PM »
[...]I'm in my 30's and don't go out every Friday/Saturday night to go clubbing or have kids[...]

Haha, those are the ONLY two options for people in their 30s.  Ugh, what a crappy decade that's gonna be!

It's actually pretty awesome. You just have to be more creative than 98% of your coworkers (don't worry, it's absurdly easy.)

DeepEllumStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3602
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Hiding under my desk
  • Formerly of the Deep Ellum Variety
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1356 on: January 09, 2014, 02:11:14 PM »
Quote
Haha, those are the ONLY two options for people in their 30s.  Ugh, what a crappy decade that's gonna be!

Don't forget the other popular option for singles in their 30s - collecting cats.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3941
  • Location: On my bike
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1357 on: January 09, 2014, 04:15:15 PM »

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1358 on: January 09, 2014, 09:48:39 PM »
Coworker: I'm going to have to change my lotto ticket strategy this year, because I didn't win last year.

Doesn't he know he should keep playing the same numbers, then every time they don't pick his numbers, his odds will get better!

I bet he won't even have to play for 20 more years to win once!

;)

A different colleague explained this to me in the lift yesterday :-( there must have been a megadraw recently, everyone's obsessed with lotto in my workplace.

My wife and I each use $1 of our fun money when the lotto was really high a few weeks back.  She won $2 and I didn't win anything.  I said we can cash it in and keep it in a "lotto" fund for next time.  It's fun think of being instantly retired and being able to help so many people with that money!

For Powerball, the odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510. Since tickets cost $1 each, whenever the payout is more than $175.3M playing actually becomes rational (give or take multiple winners, taxes, annuity vs. cash payout, etc.).

ritchie70

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 268
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1359 on: January 09, 2014, 10:40:05 PM »

...
Not overheard at work, but said directly to me at Christmas by a family member: you should buy a thermomix because I bet you have the space on your credit card now, but after you have kids all your cards will be maxed out and you won't be able to buy one.
that's funny, "space on your credit card" is a new way to think of credit card debt.

It's actually quite a common way to think about it among the financially unsophisticated. It's viewed as money they have just like cash in the bank.

What's that sound? Why it's the boggeling of my miiiinnnndddd.

Have you seriously never encountered this? The goal of paying a credit card isn't to pay it off; it's to make the minimum payment plus a bit more so you can buy something else!

By this same logic, it's reasonable to ask close family to "borrow their credit card" with no real intention of ever paying them for what you buy. After all, they've got money, you need stuff. They're family, they won't mind.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8118
  • Registered member
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1360 on: January 09, 2014, 11:01:18 PM »

...
Not overheard at work, but said directly to me at Christmas by a family member: you should buy a thermomix because I bet you have the space on your credit card now, but after you have kids all your cards will be maxed out and you won't be able to buy one.
that's funny, "space on your credit card" is a new way to think of credit card debt.

It's actually quite a common way to think about it among the financially unsophisticated. It's viewed as money they have just like cash in the bank.

What's that sound? Why it's the boggeling of my miiiinnnndddd.

Have you seriously never encountered this? The goal of paying a credit card isn't to pay it off; it's to make the minimum payment plus a bit more so you can buy something else!

By this same logic, it's reasonable to ask close family to "borrow their credit card" with no real intention of ever paying them for what you buy. After all, they've got money, you need stuff. They're family, they won't mind.

No... maybe it's a class disparity thing

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9161
  • Location: Australia
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1361 on: January 09, 2014, 11:11:50 PM »
"My partner makes enough money that I don't really have to work. And she'd rather I stayed home than went to work, because I'd be cheerful and I'd be able to handle all the home duties. But we both like spending money so I'm going to keep working to pay for our shoes".

I think I made a pain-face before I could stop myself. My brain cells were dying just listening to her.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
  • Location: NZ
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1362 on: January 09, 2014, 11:25:50 PM »
Lolz.

Half-Borg

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1363 on: January 10, 2014, 01:30:19 AM »
For Powerball, the odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510. Since tickets cost $1 each, whenever the payout is more than $175.3M playing actually becomes rational (give or take multiple winners, taxes, annuity vs. cash payout, etc.).
I can't seem to find the source, but just because the payout is high does not mean you should play.
Basic probability, as learned in school, does not apply here, because your sample is small compared to the amount of all lottery ticktes. So even if the probabilty is in your favor, you're still likely to lose money.

martynthewolf

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Hull - UK
    • The Frugal Wolf
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1364 on: January 10, 2014, 03:54:58 AM »
Had a conversation with a Co worker yesterday.

CW: I'm getting a new car, mines falling to bits.
ME: Cool what's wrong with it
CW: Reels off about £600-£700 of repairs
ME: Oh dear that's not good!
CW: Yeah so we're going to get a KIA on (some special agreement where you pay a monthly fee and then in a couple of years you can upgrade to another and continue paying the monthly fee)
ME: Oh cool (died a little inside)

The worst thing is he even admitted it wasn't a good idea and acknowledged that you never actually own the car. At least it'll have a & year warranty though I'm not even sure that matters if you're essentially leasing the car.

mikaty

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Location: South Africa
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1365 on: January 10, 2014, 06:53:14 AM »
This one was my favourite - please forgive our own anti-mustachian behaviour in this - it was before we found MMM

Husband get's a promotion and a huge raise and decides to buy a new car - not being overly fond of debt (even before) we buy something we can pay off in less than 12 months.  As soon as his senior co-worker hears about it he starts encouraging him to buy something which at the same rate of payment will take about 7 years to pay off - that's what the co-worker does and he relies on large company bonusses to pay off residual as well

6 months later we go on vacation to Thailand for 3 weeks and the co-worker (who earns much more than him) complains about how he can't afford to go on vacation overseas; tells my husband he's lucky to have a wife that earns well (he doesn't even realise his spendy car habit is the problem)

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1366 on: January 10, 2014, 09:51:58 AM »
For Powerball, the odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510. Since tickets cost $1 each, whenever the payout is more than $175.3M playing actually becomes rational (give or take multiple winners, taxes, annuity vs. cash payout, etc.).
I can't seem to find the source, but just because the payout is high does not mean you should play.
Basic probability, as learned in school, does not apply here, because your sample is small compared to the amount of all lottery ticktes. So even if the probabilty is in your favor, you're still likely to lose money.

My husband used to quote statistics for why not to ever play, and then was forced to agree with a friend who noted that you increase your chances infinitely by buying one ticket.  (But all understand the math involved is terrible, it only buys a bit of dreaming, and other than a blip aberration, don't actually buy.)

senecando

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Madison, Wi
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1367 on: January 10, 2014, 09:54:31 AM »
My husband used to quote statistics for why not to ever play, and then was forced to agree with a friend who noted that you increase your chances infinitely by buying one ticket.  (But all understand the math involved is terrible, it only buys a bit of dreaming, and other than a blip aberration, don't actually buy.)

The chance of losing the price of the ticket also increases infinitely.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1368 on: January 10, 2014, 09:57:29 AM »
My husband used to quote statistics for why not to ever play, and then was forced to agree with a friend who noted that you increase your chances infinitely by buying one ticket.  (But all understand the math involved is terrible, it only buys a bit of dreaming, and other than a blip aberration, don't actually buy.)

The chance of losing the price of the ticket also increases infinitely.

Indeed.  I'll have to point it out the next time the topic comes up.  (As I said though, neither husband nor friend are out buying tickets.)

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4637
  • Age: 26
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1369 on: January 10, 2014, 10:50:44 AM »
My husband used to quote statistics for why not to ever play, and then was forced to agree with a friend who noted that you increase your chances infinitely by buying one ticket.
No you don't. Infinity is a concept, not a number, and anything divided by zero is undefined and not infinity.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8118
  • Registered member
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1370 on: January 10, 2014, 10:55:48 AM »
My husband used to quote statistics for why not to ever play, and then was forced to agree with a friend who noted that you increase your chances infinitely by buying one ticket.
No you don't. Infinity is a concept, not a number, and anything divided by zero is undefined and not infinity.

Yes it's a concept that accurately describes this situation

amused_bouche

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1371 on: January 10, 2014, 10:59:23 AM »
The worst thing is he even admitted it wasn't a good idea and acknowledged that you never actually own the car.

Overheard from a pal: he recently leased a big, new SUV because "he needed it for the snow" (mind you, we've lived in the northeast forever and each know how to drive in the snow). Then I saw him over Christmas and he was complaining that he needs snow tires because it really doesn't handle well in the snow. What? Wasn't that the "point" of getting this clown car?

Also, a group of us was going to a wedding and trying to figure out who should drive. My pal said he couldn't because the terms of the lease say he can't drive more than x miles per year.

But hey, there's always the option to buy at the end of the lease's term! :/
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 11:02:45 AM by amused_bouche »

ritchie70

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 268
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1372 on: January 10, 2014, 11:06:05 AM »

that's funny, "space on your credit card" is a new way to think of credit card debt.

It's actually quite a common way to think about it among the financially unsophisticated. It's viewed as money they have just like cash in the bank.

What's that sound? Why it's the boggeling of my miiiinnnndddd.

Have you seriously never encountered this? The goal of paying a credit card isn't to pay it off; it's to make the minimum payment plus a bit more so you can buy something else!

By this same logic, it's reasonable to ask close family to "borrow their credit card" with no real intention of ever paying them for what you buy. After all, they've got money, you need stuff. They're family, they won't mind.

No... maybe it's a class disparity thing
Quite possible.

I've seen it in seemingly low income customers back when I owned/ran a couple muffler shops and from my wife's family.

I say "seemingly" because you never know... Sam Walton drove a beat up old truck, after all.


grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4637
  • Age: 26
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1373 on: January 10, 2014, 11:27:57 AM »
Yes it's a concept that accurately describes this situation
No it doesn't. Computing ratios with zero denominators are meaningless, and infinity, which is used only for limits by people who understand what it actually means, brings no insight here, because there's no concept of motion or an asymptote. Saying it has increased infinitely is incorrect technically and still incorrect when used in a fuzzy handwave way.

martynthewolf

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Hull - UK
    • The Frugal Wolf
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1374 on: January 10, 2014, 11:34:38 AM »
The worst thing is he even admitted it wasn't a good idea and acknowledged that you never actually own the car.

<snip>

But hey, there's always the option to buy at the end of the lease's term! :/

It really makes me want to smash my head against a wall.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8118
  • Registered member
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1375 on: January 10, 2014, 12:38:45 PM »
Yes it's a concept that accurately describes this situation
No it doesn't. Computing ratios with zero denominators are meaningless, and infinity, which is used only for limits by people who understand what it actually means, brings no insight here, because there's no concept of motion or an asymptote. Saying it has increased infinitely is incorrect technically and still incorrect when used in a fuzzy handwave way.

Uh, yeah it does (in the fuzzy handwave way).  Technically, we are looking at:

(Odds of winning when buying one ticket) / (odds of winning when buying X tickets) = Ratio

Limit of Ratio as X approaches zero is infinity:

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=limit+of+%28%281%2F175223510%29%2Fx%29+as+x+approaches+0

Quark

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 94
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1376 on: January 10, 2014, 12:38:56 PM »
Let me preface this by saying I work at an oil company in Houston in the engineering dept. Lots of spendy spenders! I love listening to my chatty coworker because it provides me daily entertainment.

49 yr old contract engineer (salary ~180K) with a big house in the suburbs and SAHM boring vanilla wife and three little kids. Actually does not mind working 45-50 hrs/wk and commuting (frugally on a commuter bus!) an hour each way every day. Unlike other coworkers on this thread not in debt but loves to spend!
-owns 1/3 of an airplane he flies up to Bristol races every year with buddies ($100 per hour to fly)
-leaves work early on Friday to treat his wife to a fancy lunch and errands together.
-takes a yearly family vacation with all the frills that probably costs at least 5-10k even with the freq flyer miles and hotel points.
-drives a big truck (and I just found out his wife has one too!)
-pays an accountant to do taxes because he is his own business, so extremely complicated.

Tells me today about how his bank pissed him off. He set up extra automatic withdrawals on his Wife's Truck Loan (GAHH!) and when he was 12 payments ahead the bank suspended the withdrawals last March so that normal interest would accrue, and upon inquiry he found out he's supposed to submit a letter telling them to continue. He was so pissed he payed off the loan immediately, telling the banker, "You've pissed me off so now you're not going to get the interest you wanted." A pretty smart decision IMO considering the situation but several questions spring to mind:

-IF YOU HAVE THAT MONEY LAYING AROUND WHY NOT BUY THE TRUCK IN CASH?
-WHY DO YOU NEED ANOTHER NEW TRUCK? (Because hauling 3 small kids and a giant german shepherd around the suburbs requires this duh i'm so stupid why did I not see that.)

He only found out about the suspended withdrawals when his accountant asked him. The interest on the truck was ~$2.75/day for 9 months!


Elsewhere in our department are some managers who fly in on the company jet Mondays from Louisiana and back to their homes on Wednesdays. Best 1 hour commute ever!

Another coworker talks about how frugal he is compared to the others by only driving a Lexus. My boss was slightly embarrassed as he warned us how old his SUV was when we had to drive somewhere and then I discovered its a 10 yr old BMW. I think every male in my department drives a sports car.

153

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1377 on: January 10, 2014, 12:41:18 PM »
Coworker asked me a while back to help her get set up in the 403b. I said sure, happy to help - let me know when you are ready. Didn't want to be push about it, as I'm her supervisor and all that.

She came to me recently - "Can you help me with the retirement stuff so I have money when I'm an old lady?" 

My first thought was "good! Getting started at 23!". I guess I should have expected the "well how much should I put in?" And "10% is too much! I'll lose so much money". She wanted to do less, I was able to convince her that ten was a good idea for now, and that over time she should increase that. I did not win her over to the annual automatic increase program that they offer, but a start is a start.

We froze for a while when it came to picking investments. She has zero knowledge of investments, and was already pretty overwhelmed by the above conversation, and really started to glaze over when I tried a really basic explanation of investing, so we left her in the default investment, which is the Vanguard TR. (Aside: I enjoy helping people understand financial concepts, but am not comfortable with making investment decisions for them, esp. coworkers I supervise. I told myself it was okay to just tell her to be in that fund, since HR basically does, and I think it's actually a reasonable choice for someone just starting out/not knowledgeable or interested in AA, as well as being one of the choices I actually use in our 403b, since the ER is far lower than many of the other choices).

She then said: "This stuff is hard! How did you possibly learn about it? I just want a man who will do this for me so I can be rich." Luckily our boss overheard this and gave her a serious are-you-kidding-me-I-never-want-to-hear-that-again.

Finally: she saw she had two accounts on the website, and asked about the second one. That is our defined contribution pension plan, and I explained how the annual contribution is calculated (2.5-4 percent of base salary, based on years of service), and that the accounts are vested after three years. She was very keen on the vesting schedule, and kept conflating the DCP account with the 403b. I explained how the 403 is her money always, but the other money isn't hers until she's "earned" it by working 3 years.  And then I was floored: she says "so that's the account that once you've been here 3 years they put in 10% of your salary?" I thought she was confusing her 403 elections again, but no, she tells me that multiple co-workers have told her that once you are vested in the pension, they put in 10% of your salary every year until you retire-even after you stop working there. She pretty much refused to believe me when I told her that it doesn't work that way, because "so many people said it!" 

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4637
  • Age: 26
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1378 on: January 10, 2014, 12:54:14 PM »
Yes it's a concept that accurately describes this situation
No it doesn't. Computing ratios with zero denominators are meaningless, and infinity, which is used only for limits by people who understand what it actually means, brings no insight here, because there's no concept of motion or an asymptote. Saying it has increased infinitely is incorrect technically and still incorrect when used in a fuzzy handwave way.
X isn't approaching anything. X is zero.
Uh, yeah it does (in the fuzzy handwave way).  Technically, we are looking at:

(Odds of winning when buying one ticket) / (odds of winning when buying X tickets) = Ratio

Limit of Ratio as X approaches zero is infinity:

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=limit+of+%28%281%2F175223510%29%2Fx%29+as+x+approaches+0

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1379 on: January 10, 2014, 01:34:07 PM »
We froze for a while when it came to picking investments. She has zero knowledge of investments, and was already pretty overwhelmed by the above conversation, and really started to glaze over when I tried a really basic explanation of investing, so we left her in the default investment, which is the Vanguard TR. (Aside: I enjoy helping people understand financial concepts, but am not comfortable with making investment decisions for them, esp. coworkers I supervise. I told myself it was okay to just tell her to be in that fund, since HR basically does, and I think it's actually a reasonable choice for someone just starting out/not knowledgeable or interested in AA, as well as being one of the choices I actually use in our 403b, since the ER is far lower than many of the other choices).

She then said: "This stuff is hard! How did you possibly learn about it? I just want a man who will do this for me so I can be rich." Luckily our boss overheard this and gave her a serious are-you-kidding-me-I-never-want-to-hear-that-again.

Finally: she saw she had two accounts on the website, and asked about the second one. That is our defined contribution pension plan, and I explained how the annual contribution is calculated (2.5-4 percent of base salary, based on years of service), and that the accounts are vested after three years. She was very keen on the vesting schedule, and kept conflating the DCP account with the 403b. I explained how the 403 is her money always, but the other money isn't hers until she's "earned" it by working 3 years.  And then I was floored: she says "so that's the account that once you've been here 3 years they put in 10% of your salary?" I thought she was confusing her 403 elections again, but no, she tells me that multiple co-workers have told her that once you are vested in the pension, they put in 10% of your salary every year until you retire-even after you stop working there. She pretty much refused to believe me when I told her that it doesn't work that way, because "so many people said it!"

ho. ly. shit.

part of me wants to ask: what's her actual job? is she remotely competent at it? I feel like that's rude, but man... some people just confuse me.

AlmostIndependent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Anchorage, AK
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1380 on: January 10, 2014, 01:53:55 PM »

ho. ly. shit.


If I had a nickel for every time I thought this based on financial "wisdom" I'd overheard at work I'd have retired years ago.

Bruised_Pepper

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 190
  • Age: 30
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1381 on: January 10, 2014, 01:56:41 PM »
Yes it's a concept that accurately describes this situation
No it doesn't. Computing ratios with zero denominators are meaningless, and infinity, which is used only for limits by people who understand what it actually means, brings no insight here, because there's no concept of motion or an asymptote. Saying it has increased infinitely is incorrect technically and still incorrect when used in a fuzzy handwave way.

These sorts of arguments aside, I would still hardly call your odds jumping from 0% to less than a thousandth of a percent an "infinite increase".  Plus, that's not even taking into consideration that your odds of winning without buying a ticket aren't actually zero.  You could find a winning ticket on the ground somewhere. 

I think CommonCents said it best: you're just buying a bit of dreaming. 

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1382 on: January 10, 2014, 02:02:34 PM »
Let me preface this by saying I work at an oil company in Houston in the engineering dept. Lots of spendy spenders! I love listening to my chatty coworker because it provides me daily entertainment.

49 yr old contract engineer (salary ~180K) with a big house in the suburbs and SAHM boring vanilla wife and three little kids. Actually does not mind working 45-50 hrs/wk and commuting (frugally on a commuter bus!) an hour each way every day. Unlike other coworkers on this thread not in debt but loves to spend!
-owns 1/3 of an airplane he flies up to Bristol races every year with buddies ($100 per hour to fly)
-leaves work early on Friday to treat his wife to a fancy lunch and errands together.
-takes a yearly family vacation with all the frills that probably costs at least 5-10k even with the freq flyer miles and hotel points.
-drives a big truck (and I just found out his wife has one too!)
-pays an accountant to do taxes because he is his own business, so extremely complicated.

Tells me today about how his bank pissed him off. He set up extra automatic withdrawals on his Wife's Truck Loan (GAHH!) and when he was 12 payments ahead the bank suspended the withdrawals last March so that normal interest would accrue, and upon inquiry he found out he's supposed to submit a letter telling them to continue. He was so pissed he payed off the loan immediately, telling the banker, "You've pissed me off so now you're not going to get the interest you wanted." A pretty smart decision IMO considering the situation but several questions spring to mind:

-IF YOU HAVE THAT MONEY LAYING AROUND WHY NOT BUY THE TRUCK IN CASH?
-WHY DO YOU NEED ANOTHER NEW TRUCK? (Because hauling 3 small kids and a giant german shepherd around the suburbs requires this duh i'm so stupid why did I not see that.)

He only found out about the suspended withdrawals when his accountant asked him. The interest on the truck was ~$2.75/day for 9 months!


Elsewhere in our department are some managers who fly in on the company jet Mondays from Louisiana and back to their homes on Wednesdays. Best 1 hour commute ever!

Another coworker talks about how frugal he is compared to the others by only driving a Lexus. My boss was slightly embarrassed as he warned us how old his SUV was when we had to drive somewhere and then I discovered its a 10 yr old BMW. I think every male in my department drives a sports car.

Interesting co-workers… Reading your story I started to think more about mine. I work for a large company, but in our particular office we are 12 (10 men and 2 women).

Salaries: 120-160k $
Age: 30-57
Has a car: 5
Commutes with a car: 4
Commutes mostly with public transport: 8
Has more than 1 car in a family: 1
Different nationalities: 9

The biggest spender is probably a woman who drives a new Audi and wears jewellery worth 20k, but with a household income around 350k that's not too unreasonable.

jnik

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1383 on: January 10, 2014, 02:28:54 PM »
49 yr old contract engineer (salary ~180K) with a big house in the suburbs and SAHM boring vanilla wife and three little kids. Actually does not mind working 45-50 hrs/wk and commuting (frugally on a commuter bus!) an hour each way every day. Unlike other coworkers on this thread not in debt but loves to spend!
-owns 1/3 of an airplane he flies up to Bristol races every year with buddies ($100 per hour to fly)
-leaves work early on Friday to treat his wife to a fancy lunch and errands together.
-takes a yearly family vacation with all the frills that probably costs at least 5-10k even with the freq flyer miles and hotel points.
I don't know...this guy sounds pretty badass to me. He's comfortable operating on contract and looks like he spends money and time on stuff that he counts as important (lunch with the wife every Friday, aw). Could be a mustachian in the making. If he could see the value of using that money to buy freedom, I bet he'd disappear in five years.

huadpe

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1384 on: January 10, 2014, 03:39:51 PM »
Quote
Elsewhere in our department are some managers who fly in on the company jet Mondays from Louisiana and back to their homes on Wednesdays. Best 1 hour commute ever!

I've always thought that if I ever became absurdly wealthy, private aviation would be the one thing I'd splurge on in ways that aren't really justifiable.  The quantity of hassle that is avoided by flying private is amazing.  That said, I know it's incredibly expensive and awful for the environment.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1385 on: January 10, 2014, 09:09:06 PM »
I think every male in my department drives a sports car.

Err... There's something wrong with driving sports cars?  Dman near every car I've owned, from the '60s Austin-Healey Sprite that was my first non-junker car up to the Honda CRX I had prior to the Insight, has been a sports car, and I could make a decent argument that the Insight is too.  All of them were bought used for not much money, and on average got better mpg than basic family cars of their period.  So how's that not frugal?

needmyfi

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 213
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1386 on: January 10, 2014, 09:48:02 PM »
I've got one, literally overheard as I was walking past an office: "We got paid two weeks early, so I'll run out of money two weeks early."

We get the same amount every month. It's true, last month we were paid in mid-December, but I can't imagine this coworker was unable to anticipate that there would be ~ four weeks in the month of January...
Argh -reminds me of a coworker who told me she talked her landlord into making her rent $100 a week instead of $400 a month, because it was too hard to get $400 in the bank.  I pointed out that that would end up costing her $400 a year and she looked at me like I had just taken a dump on her parade.

msilenus

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 512
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1387 on: January 11, 2014, 02:03:23 AM »
A contribution to the lottery debate:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2320#comic

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2982
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1388 on: January 11, 2014, 11:33:26 AM »
I've got one, literally overheard as I was walking past an office: "We got paid two weeks early, so I'll run out of money two weeks early."

We get the same amount every month. It's true, last month we were paid in mid-December, but I can't imagine this coworker was unable to anticipate that there would be ~ four weeks in the month of January...
Argh -reminds me of a coworker who told me she talked her landlord into making her rent $100 a week instead of $400 a month, because it was too hard to get $400 in the bank.  I pointed out that that would end up costing her $400 a year and she looked at me like I had just taken a dump on her parade.

This is one of my favorites on this thread.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2982
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1389 on: January 11, 2014, 11:40:23 AM »
A favorite at multiple places where I've worked and over decades  has been this chesnut handed out by those who should know better : We get two "extra" paychecks a year.

Hunh? It took me some years to figure out what they were talking about and apparently it is this: those passing on the folk wisdom have household budgets based on a monthly cycle, so when our workplace issues 26 paychecks a year instead of twice-a-month, that counts as a windfall for them.

Since I don't budget and never have and  I don't think of my finances in terms of months, I could never relate to what they were talking about.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 11:48:48 AM by iris lily »

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2982
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1390 on: January 11, 2014, 11:46:12 AM »
TWO people today "Yipee-d" about payday. One had to buy $100 flights tonight and could only afford it if the pay came through. Another said she had 63c in her account, and she was going to celebrate by going out to dinner tonight.

I know these are students.... But still.

Once I had an employee come into work on her day off, and sit and wait for 2 hours for me to hand out paychecks. She had hoped that I would go to our Business Office and plague them for her check early but I declined to do that. She was in a hurry to fly out that afternoon to Las Vegas. Should I mention that she lived in public housing?

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4306
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1391 on: January 11, 2014, 12:13:15 PM »
Somehow it came up in a convo with coworkers that cars are expensive, but apparently $325 for a car payment (plus the not-calculated gas/maintenance/registration/insurance) means that a car isn't that expensive...

I was also talking the same day with a MMM inclined coworker and we were realizing even as non-married engineers with relatively cheap vehicles our car costs are still a ridiculous when you figure in even something like 30 cents/mile (instead of 55.5).

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8118
  • Registered member
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1392 on: January 11, 2014, 12:54:19 PM »
A favorite at multiple places where I've worked and over decades  has been this chesnut handed out by those who should know better : We get two "extra" paychecks a year.

Hunh? It took me some years to figure out what they were talking about and apparently it is this: those passing on the folk wisdom have household budgets based on a monthly cycle, so when our workplace issues 26 paychecks a year instead of twice-a-month, that counts as a windfall for them.

Since I don't budget and never have and  I don't think of my finances in terms of months, I could never relate to what they were talking about.

I love my extra paychecks! Also in like 2016 I may get three extra paychecks (ie an extra paycheck for the year, although likely each paycheck will be less).

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2982
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1393 on: January 11, 2014, 03:59:42 PM »
I love my extra paychecks! Also in like 2016 I may get three extra paychecks (ie an extra paycheck for the year, although likely each paycheck will be less).

So you are one of them! ok, sir, carry on and enjoy that extra money!


Vitai Slade

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
  • Age: 29
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1394 on: January 11, 2014, 05:58:24 PM »
Yes it's a concept that accurately describes this situation
No it doesn't. Computing ratios with zero denominators are meaningless, and infinity, which is used only for limits by people who understand what it actually means, brings no insight here, because there's no concept of motion or an asymptote. Saying it has increased infinitely is incorrect technically and still incorrect when used in a fuzzy handwave way.
X isn't approaching anything. X is zero.
Uh, yeah it does (in the fuzzy handwave way).  Technically, we are looking at:

(Odds of winning when buying one ticket) / (odds of winning when buying X tickets) = Ratio

Limit of Ratio as X approaches zero is infinity:

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=limit+of+%28%281%2F175223510%29%2Fx%29+as+x+approaches+0

Yeah, I'm gonna have to agree with dragoncar on this one. If we are accounting for averages and chances of hitting, if they pulled numbers an infinite number of times, your chances of hitting are infinitely greater by buying one ticket, whereas if you had 0 tickets and they pulled an infinite number of times, your odds of hitting are still zero. This does not excuse the purchase of one ticket though because the odds of winning vs. the other investment options for that money lean heavily towards other investments as the optimal choice.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2014, 05:59:57 PM by Vitai Slade »

Insanity

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1026
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1395 on: January 11, 2014, 06:20:45 PM »
Yes it's a concept that accurately describes this situation
No it doesn't. Computing ratios with zero denominators are meaningless, and infinity, which is used only for limits by people who understand what it actually means, brings no insight here, because there's no concept of motion or an asymptote. Saying it has increased infinitely is incorrect technically and still incorrect when used in a fuzzy handwave way.
X isn't approaching anything. X is zero.
Uh, yeah it does (in the fuzzy handwave way).  Technically, we are looking at:

(Odds of winning when buying one ticket) / (odds of winning when buying X tickets) = Ratio

Limit of Ratio as X approaches zero is infinity:

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=limit+of+%28%281%2F175223510%29%2Fx%29+as+x+approaches+0

Yeah, I'm gonna have to agree with dragoncar on this one. If we are accounting for averages and chances of hitting, if they pulled numbers an infinite number of times, your chances of hitting are infinitely greater by buying one ticket, whereas if you had 0 tickets and they pulled an infinite number of times, your odds of hitting are still zero. This does not excuse the purchase of one ticket though because the odds of winning vs. the other investment options for that money lean heavily towards other investments as the optimal choice.

are we talking winning the big one or winning anything?  Cause I can hit the power ball/mega ball and still win something and those odds are a lot higher than infinite. Not that it means I come out ahead mind you :)

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4637
  • Age: 26
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1396 on: January 11, 2014, 06:39:18 PM »
Yeah, I'm gonna have to agree with dragoncar on this one. If we are accounting for averages and chances of hitting, if they pulled numbers an infinite number of times, your chances of hitting are infinitely greater by buying one ticket, whereas if you had 0 tickets and they pulled an infinite number of times, your odds of hitting are still zero. This does not excuse the purchase of one ticket though because the odds of winning vs. the other investment options for that money lean heavily towards other investments as the optimal choice.
You cannot divide by zero. Your comparison presupposes that something divided by zero is "infinity", which is not a number. Something divided by zero is undefined.

Le0

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
  • Location: Ontario, Canada
    • My Path to Financial Independence in 2014
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1397 on: January 11, 2014, 08:34:43 PM »
I love my extra paychecks! Also in like 2016 I may get three extra paychecks (ie an extra paycheck for the year, although likely each paycheck will be less).

So you are one of them! ok, sir, carry on and enjoy that extra money!



I makes a difference when you pay monthly bills. I will get 3 pay checks this month. That means I will end up with almost +1000 more by the end of the month. Granted I am saving it all, but it still makes a difference.

Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1398 on: January 11, 2014, 09:49:21 PM »
You cannot divide by zero. Your comparison presupposes that something divided by zero is "infinity", which is not a number. Something divided by zero is undefined.

Perhaps, but the concept is still quite useful.  (And you can have different kinds of infinities, some of which are larger than others: I understand there's a seminar on this being held at Hilbert's Hotel :-))

I think the real problem here is in trying to take a limit as N -> 0, when N is integer.

Vitai Slade

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
  • Age: 29
Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #1399 on: January 12, 2014, 04:29:13 AM »
Yeah, I'm gonna have to agree with dragoncar on this one. If we are accounting for averages and chances of hitting, if they pulled numbers an infinite number of times, your chances of hitting are infinitely greater by buying one ticket, whereas if you had 0 tickets and they pulled an infinite number of times, your odds of hitting are still zero. This does not excuse the purchase of one ticket though because the odds of winning vs. the other investment options for that money lean heavily towards other investments as the optimal choice.
You cannot divide by zero. Your comparison presupposes that something divided by zero is "infinity", which is not a number. Something divided by zero is undefined.

You keep spouting off that anything divided by zero is 'undefined' - yet this is only mathematical theory. The only reason that it is 'undefined' is because mathematicians have not figured out a way to do it yet. But that's fine. Let's play your game. Instead, we'll invert it and MULTIPLY by zero and I'll even give you an example easy enough for a fourth grader to understand.

You have zero lottery tickets. They decide they are going to pull numbers until you hit (This is the multiply by zero part). What is your chance of eventually winning?

Answer: 0%

Now you have one lottery ticket. They decide they are going to pull numbers until you hit. What is you chance of eventually winning?

Answer: 100%

The thing of it is, the difference between zero and one on a number line is infinite. You can divide it up as many times as you want and there is still going to be a number between whichever two numbers you divided. This means that because zero will always stay a constant zero and one is infinitely higher than zero, your chances of hitting are infinitely larger if you have one ticket vs. zero.

[/argument]