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The Top 5 Money Mavens to Consult

Baruch Hashem, our kehillos are replete with financial wizards who can easily advise you

As people are going back to work as the economy opens, many in our communities are looking for financial and tactical advice on navigating the next few months and planning for the future. Yet as we’re struggling to put the pieces back, somehow the next guy always seems to be able to afford what’s way out of our budget. Does he have a wealthy shver? A side business? How does he do it? Baruch Hashem, our kehillos are replete with financial wizards who can easily advise you. Not for nothing are we known as the People of the (Check)Book. So, if you need some guidance, here’s a list of the top five money mavens to consult.

1. The Points Guy

You’ve asked him for advice twice. He’s explained it to you twice. Yet you still can’t seem to grasp it. One more time, he tells you patiently, over the sound of the hold music (La-tus El-Al-l-l…) on his desk speakerphone.

Two wallets. One for normal items. One for the credit cards you need to churn to create points. Wake up before midnight on the 31st and go to seven or eleven 7-Elevens. Buy all the gift cards, making sure to put them on the Chase Freedom unlimited card (1.5 %) then transfer the points to your Chase Sapphire account and redeem them for 2.2 points. Use those for travel and you can take the whole family on a trip to Antarctica.

Okay, so you’re not looking for an exotic vacation location for the family? Then you might want to move on to…

2. The Programs Guy

A hardcore democrat, and usually the most generous with his time, he can help guide you through all the red tape to the finish line, and may even get you on the list for HUD. He’s memorized the guidelines for minimum income for a family of nine, and he urges you to have more kids in order to afford the life you want for your children. “It’s not about making more money,” he explains with a wise and gentle smile. “It’s about making less!” Dream big, he advises. “Why just last month,” he shares, “I paid my son’s whole tuition with donated milk!”

The wisdom may escape you, but the proof is in the pudding. And the pudding is WIC-approved.

3. The Entrepreneur

Masks during COVID. ArtScroll Gemara Brachos for sale outside MetLife. He “anticipates needs” (like the fictitious chassan in your rebbi’s chassan shmuess). His motto: You need to think ahead! Be farsighted! Buy now and buy in bulk! You remember the last time you bought in bulk on a shopping trip, and the look on your wife’s face when she beheld the 30-pound sack of baking soda (just $99.99!) and the pallet of super affordable late-dated chocolate lebens? Next!

4. The Professional Financial Planner

Your oldest child is 11, you say? You’ll need $200,000 when your oldest is 20 and your twins are 19? Not a problem! Paying for two weddings and seminary is easy! Just put $25,000 in an index fund now, and add $10,000 annually! In ten years, at an average rate of 7%, you’ll have $197,014! Wait, not being in a position to put 25K away now, and only having experienced interest when paying it to Visa? Okay, maybe you need to seek guidance elsewhere. How about trying... .

5. The Ma'amin

He shrugs at you and smiles. “All I do is spend less than I earn. I have one credit card, and I check the balance twice a week. If I can pay it off that day, I just transfer the money. Why wait for the due date? I don’t want to fall behind. My policy is simple: Spend what I need, nothing more, and ignore social pressure. I made a kiddush last week with just cake and Jack Daniels and my kids are still in school. The way I see it, Hashem has unlimited funds. If I do the right thing, I can’t lose.”

You close your eyes and really imagine what he’s suggesting. “Only spend what’s needed? No 18-year Macallan scotch for your sons upsherin, no Wagyu steak for your summer block barbecue, only five types of herring for a kiddush? This guy is totally out of touch with reality!”

Having heard enough preposterous ideas for the day, you take the logical approach and pick up a Powerball ticket on the way home.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 815)

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