XO, Bettie

Please Join Bettie's Fabulous & Frugal Journey to become Financially Literate.


Venmo, the person to person payment app, has turned the age-old tradition of not talking about $$ on its head. The baby boomer’s checkbook ledger has become a millennial social media platform by filling the memo field with emoji inside jokes. Via the newsfeed of payments, we can relive our– and our friends’– weekends, plus prove once and for all who is the most clever by making a funny out of necessity spending. The one thing left to the imagination is the payment amount.

Previously, I was having a love/hate relationship with Venmo.  And then I overshared, which changed my perspective.

Love: Easy, fun, and social.

Hate: Non-FDIC insured, possibly creepy, and rumor has it not secure.

When I foot the bill, there is no excuse to not get reimbursed. Yet, I am weary of keeping money in a non-FDIC insured account, so I cash out with each payment .

Venmo has become my social network du jour. Emojis and inside jokes, what is there not to like?  The exchanges are one-to-one like Snapchat, but the newsfeed is public like Twitter, best of both worlds I say.

I overshared when I charged my bestie $1 for an emergency piece of gum before her “date” with her “friend” that she was hoping to turn into more. Naturally, I was enacting surge pricing and the public memo was two kiss-y faces followed by praying hands…which initiated a paranoid panic attack before the meetup.  I apologized as much as I could… to no avail… and I sent her on her way….

Weeks later, I learned that the date really did turn into a date, and my bestie admitted my minty gum did do the trick.Regardless, I learned my lesson. And I read this Quartz article to cut out my questionable social sharing. Plus, I read this Slate article about security concerns

Now, I’m thinking twice before I share. And I am using Venmo as my social spending account. I have disconnected my bank account to cut down on security risk and I use my Venmo balance towards my social spending. Yet, Venmo is making security improvements. Plus, a little brother app called Facebook Messenger just added payments. FB has the payment surrounded by conversation, instead of a stingy memo. There will be growing pains, but the competition will ensure payments continue to be easy, fun, and social!

One Year Anniversary


One year ago to the day, I started my fabulous & frugal journey to become financially literate. Boy, has it been a doozie! 

I’m excited to continue to share the highlights from my fabulous & frugal journey, but blogging will not continue to be a part of my daily regimen. When something extra goofy happens or I learn a new term, you will be the first to know. 

In the meantime, please reference the topics at the top of the page for my backstory that will help you on your journey. 

And as always, feel free to ask questions. 


Capital: Political Economy


And finally, my favorite moments from Capital in the Twenty-First Century are when Thomas Piketty calls out his fellow economists for being obsessed with math to prove economics is a science and miss the bigger picture.

One of many “Hey, you! Yeah, I’m talking to you economists” moments:

“To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences. Economists are all too often preoccupied with petty mathematical problems of interest only to themselves. This obsession with mathematics is an easy way of acquiring the appearance of scientificity without having to answer the far more complex questions posed by the world we live in.”

Instead, Piketty wants his fellow economists to focus on the bigger picture, “The history of inequality is shaped by the way economic, social, and political actors view what is just and what is not, as well as by the relative power of those actors and the collective choices that result. It is the joint product of all relevant actors combined.”

Lucky for us, Janet Yellen agrees economics is more than just math, it informs policy decisions that help people, as this recent New Yorker article about Janet explains. 

If Piketty’s advice is heeded, the future of the study of the economics will be different, a good different!


Capital: Post- World War II Boom


One of the takeaways from Capital in the Twenty-First Century is that the post- World War II economy was an outlier.  There was major growth because there had been major destruction.

As Picketty proclaimed, “the thirty postwar years were the exceptional period, quite simply because Europe had fallen far behind the United States over the period 1914-1945 but rapidly caught up during the Trente Glorieuses. Once this catch-up was complete, Europe and the United States both stood at the global technological frontier and began to grow at the same relatively slow pace, characteristics of economies at the frontier.”

Millennials, next time our baby boomer parents give us a hard time about our economic prospects, remind them they are exceptional…exceptionally lucky they were born during the post-war boom.


Capital: Golden Rule


Yippee! I finally finished reading Capital in the Twenty First Century, per Birdie’s suggestion.

I’ll be summarizing it today and the next few days; it was a hefty read. Enjoy!

Thomas Piketty tried to answer this question in Capital in the Twenty First Century: “How does an economy make everyone happy?”

The quick answer is to achieve the golden rule,  r=g (Psst… r=interest rate of savings and g=growth rate of the economy).

I’ll let Piketty explain the long answer, “in order for the golden rule to be satisfied, one has to have accumulated so much capital that capital no longer yields anything. Or, more precisely, one has to have accumulated so much capital that merely maintaining the capital stock at the same level (in proportion to national income) requires reinvesting all of the return to capital every year.”

Now it is not easy to reach the golden rule. Why? Because as Piketty explains, “if [a market economy is] left to itself, contains powerful forces of convergence, associated in particular with the diffusion of knowledge and skills; but it also contains powerful forces of divergence, which are potentially threatening to democratic societies and to the values of social justice on which they are based.”

What tool can we use to correct for convergence or divergence? Taxation!

Don’t shoot the messenger! These are Piketty’s words,  “The right solution is a progressive annual tax on capital. This will make it possible to avoid an endless inegalitarian spiral while preserving competition and incentives for new instances of primitive accumulation.”


Sunday Brunch


You’re invited to brunch with me every Sunday!

In this newsletter, I’ll recap the latest and greatest moments of my fabulous & frugal journey to become financially literate and answer my brunch buddies’ questions. 

Here is a taste of last Sunday’s edition.

Click here to RSVP.

Hope you can join me! 


Incorrect Paycheck


Me: “You’ll take the larger # to deposit in my account, right?”

Bank Teller: “No! It is the written #, miss.”

Just my luck the written # was incorrect (and smaller) compared to the numerical # in the box on my most recent handwritten paycheck.

Lesson learned, always review both the written and numerical # when accepting a check to make sure they are the same. At least have the written # be correct.


World Cup: Netherlands

Whew! Last night’s game between Argentina and Netherlands was a doozie!

I’ll be rooting for the Netherlands from a dutch bar during Saturday’s third place game.

Why? I would rather have an EU passport than a Brazillian passport. I am preparing some topics of discussion, so I meet my dutch prince charming.

I’ll try to avoid mentioning their negative GDP growth.

Instead, I’ll talk up how the Netherlands is a hub of international trade and specifically, the port city of Rotterdam.

Oh, while prepping I learned that the financial services corporation ING is dutch!

World Cup: Argentina


If I find myself talking to an Argentina fan this afternoon when watching the Argentina vs. Netherlands game, I think I’ll stay away from financial topics.

While GDP growth was 3% in 2013, inflation was 10%.

Even The Economist has noted how not great their economy is.

Instead, I think I’ll stick to a foolproof topic– Messi.