Money Mistakes and Too Much Stuff

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Financial planner Carl Richards talks about why people make the same financial mistakes over and over. In The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money, he aims to help people to review those mistakes, identify their personal behavior gaps, and avoid them in the future. He’ll also talk about why he thinks most of us have too much stuff, why it’s bad, and what we can do about it.


Carl Richards

Comments [34]

YVW Lopate Fan! My pleasure!

It's always good to hear about the "stuff problem." Looks like many people are owned by their stuff. Even worse, owned by money. Myself, I'm not into money or stuff but somehow stuff has piled up over the years and I'm dreaming of finding a good home for it via eBay, but I'm apparently busy collecting links to interesting web pages these days. Of course I never go back to them. But the great thing is that they don't consume any physical space.

I am also still planning and dreaming of ridding myself of all papers with a huge scanning project. They have sentimental value. I just gave away a few hundred books/textbooks that I should have sold back to the college bookstore but the money never attracted me enough to part with them although I never looked at them again. I kept a few books but I don't see when I will ever have the time to look at them.

I found it helped me a lot to take photos of all the book covers before I gave them away. I also find it sometimes helps to take photos of some things I throw out so I could see what I had one day.

Life is too short for these highly interesting times. Some serious life extension is urgently needed.

Aug. 29 2012 07:28 AM
Lopate Fan

Thanks, TekWiz from Teaneck!

Aug. 28 2012 11:09 PM

Somewhat disappointing segment - only becuase it was billed heavily as a segment on clutter (a topic of great interest to me) but in fact was a segment on bucket lists and personal financial planning (not of so much interest). I may have to buy the book now to see what he says about clutter!

Aug. 28 2012 10:19 PM
TekWiz from Teaneck, NJ

Yeah the link is messed up but if you want to listen this is it:

See, the links go lopate082812apod.mp3, then bpod, cpod, dpod, and epod. So the file is there but the link is wrong. I simply extrapolated the correct link.


Aug. 28 2012 09:20 PM
lk in Chatham

I'd like to listen to the segment on clutter. Please set up the appropriate link.

Aug. 28 2012 09:10 PM
Dora from Long Island

Hello? WNYC Webmaster? This link is still messed up!

Aug. 28 2012 07:39 PM
CAG from Bronx

Please fix this soon. Replay is of a interview with a novelist.

Aug. 28 2012 06:58 PM
N. Bizness from NYC

Wrong segment! It is not the "clutter" segment, but a repeat of another segment about a novel.

Aug. 28 2012 06:43 PM

The misfeed still has not been corrected. Is no one reading these comments anymore? I caught the last 5 minutes and want to hear the whole segment, please.

Aug. 28 2012 05:20 PM
Frank DeGregorie from New York

Dear Leonard,

Leonard, Leonard, Leonard -----I want to listen to Carl Richards but when I go to play it Billy Lin's long Halftime Walk plays.

Somebody screwed up. Not you but somebody did.

Can you help us Leonard?

Best, Frank

Aug. 28 2012 04:17 PM
Eileen from NYC

Yeah, you've got things linked up wrong. Please fix it: I just sent this wrong segment to someone!

Aug. 28 2012 03:15 PM
Ralph Zaionz from Long Island, NY

The content on the playback is not about money by Carl Richards. Please investigate and fix the playback. I was hooked on the radio before and want to listen to the whole segment.

Aug. 28 2012 02:52 PM
Monica Schroeder from NYC

This podcast is all about veterans and football. How can I hear the Carl Richards interview?

Aug. 28 2012 02:48 PM
N from midtown

i think this section of the show is mislabeled....

Aug. 28 2012 02:46 PM
Amy from Manhattan

On socially responsible investing, you do get a choice of what criteria the investment firm uses to choose the stocks in your funds. When I first went to an SRI co., they gave me a checklist of issues to base my investments on.

And SRI funds suffered less than regular investments in various busts, like tech & mortgages. The co. I used sold off their shares in Enron 2 or 3 years before it went under, because they saw the unethical way they were doing their energy business before the financial shenanigans came to light. However, when the financial collapse came in 2008, it was so systemwide that we weren't any more protected than non-SRI investors. That one was just too big.

Aug. 28 2012 02:25 PM
cristina from Brooklyn

Thank you so much for this informative and helpful segment. For days I've been sitting in a sea of boxes (still flat, waiting for me to tape them and fill them) and piles of stuff. I love the test: 1) If you saw this item in a store, would you buy it again for just a dollar? Totally speaks to me, the queen of bargain shopping... another test could be: Would I barter something in exchange for it? If so, what? Get rid of that, and if not, then the item in question must also go :)

Purging and moving is daunting and this program couldn't have aired at a better time.... my moving week, but I've been paralyzed. What Carl said to empty one room at a time and move back items one at a time and only that which I'd truly want back in the room is awesome advice too. I've been trying to figure out where to start or what to do next. I'll resume now by emptying my bedroom (into the adjacent kitchen/foyer)... and that which I would move back in will go instead into a box, whereas the things that don't pass the tests will go into a donate &/or sell pile. Thank you! THANK YOU! I LOVE THE LEONARD LOPATE SHOW & WNYC!!!
(...well the station in general, except when NPR news correspondents refer to President Obama as Mr. Obama. That always makes me cringe.)

Aug. 28 2012 02:12 PM
gene from NYC

College gets you more than just a leg up on a job search. There are also emotional, mental and social benefits.

College, we'd hope, _educates_ you, broadens your horizons, exposes you to a raft of ideas from around the world. Having even just a basic liberal education helps in many social/business situations. It's often painfully obvious when you lack it.

Also, college can bring you into contact with people whose intelligence, ambition and social connections can be VERY important in your life.

These are benefits that can't be plugged into Mr. Richards' spreadsheets.

Not to mention just plain being educated, which is often its own reward.

And learning to think. We'd hope.

Aug. 28 2012 02:07 PM
Candace Appleton from Brooklyn, NY

How to deal with clutter: take a picture of the item . . . then throw it away! I've done this with old t-shirts, my children's trophies,cub scout patches and pins, you name it. It works. PS The next step is to throw away the picture.

Aug. 28 2012 01:56 PM
oscar from ny

God im so scared, i lost everything in my life, i live a disposable life, i have no bank, no girl, no house, im 35 i wasted all my monet in drugs, woman and partying, the only thing that keeps me afloat is that im an artist painter and it conforts me bwcause i know im a much for life:p

Aug. 28 2012 01:55 PM

Having gone through water damage --and the ensuing "reclamation" which resulted in valuable papers being thrown out by the reclamation team-- I can attest to how expensive and difficult it is to replace important documents -- if one even can.

I deeply regret not having some of those records in a safer locations or container.

Also, hard drives do die and some of us --ahem, me for one-- don't always have things adequatelyy backed up. Paper in a safe place/container actually withstands power surges and even fires or floods.

Aug. 28 2012 01:55 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

excellent advice to the woman with the poconos house. this did sound purely emotional. when one has to pull money out of retirement funds in order to repair something from which she's only realizing moderate monthly income--and not either living in or enjoying on her own--the answer is clear.

Aug. 28 2012 01:51 PM

I am a Feng Shui consultant and love this segment! I will be using both the "overnight test" and the "fleamarket" test with my clients, clutter and the accumulation of "stuff" is insidious...

Aug. 28 2012 01:49 PM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

So, what are you saying? Buy this book or forgo the need to access more stuff, like this book? :-//

Aug. 28 2012 01:49 PM
Matt from New York

Solutions designed for everybody, rarely work for anybody.

"Find a low cost, diversified mutual fund" is not really advice, is it? What about taxes? What about fees? What happens if when the market goes down, you happen to need your money? What if you wanted to retire in 2008? These questions are left unanswered.

Aug. 28 2012 01:48 PM
Betty Lynd from NYC

from "Status Anxiety" by Alain de Botton:
"Rather than a tale of greed, the history of luxury could be more accurrently read as a record of emotional trauma. Ist is the legaacy of those who have felt pressured by the disdain of others to add an extra ordinary amount to their bare selves in order to signal they they too may lay a claim to love."

Aug. 28 2012 01:47 PM
Henry from Manhattan

That “would I use the cash to by the object back” thought exercise is pretty sweet.

Aug. 28 2012 01:47 PM
emmanuel j

I was wondering if your guest might tackle higher education is a future blog. I am a young recent college grad with some hiccups in my career, but in my opinion the attitudes and unconscious conflicts which you talk about in the marketplace need to be brutally addressed in education FIRST if you ever want to see some real change. Thanks

Aug. 28 2012 01:46 PM
cee cee from nj

A guess with brilliant common sense. And, Nicole, you obviously haven't been in many Manhattan apartments!!

Aug. 28 2012 01:39 PM
John A

Carl's plan is to save $250 by blathering on-air rather than to a psychiatrist.

Aug. 28 2012 01:38 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

There are only three things you can do with money: spend it, invest (risk) it, or give it away. You can also bury it or hide it in mattresses, but inflation will eat away at it.

Aug. 28 2012 01:24 PM
Lenore from Manhattan

"Emotionally significant"--that's one of my traps. You have to get beyond that emotional connection, which takes some time. I find that getting rid of things is a process requiring time and also going through things several times before I can bring myself to actually toss something. And as others have said, you actually have to SEE what's there before you can do something about it.

I can't see a link to the Cathy cartoon. Is there a URL?

Aug. 28 2012 12:28 PM
Nicole from Washington Heights

There is a kind of morality to apartment living. If you live in a small apartment, you are forced to truly evaluate every possession that comes into your place. Each item must either have AT LEAST one important function or be very aesthetically or emotionally significant in order stay.

I recently helped my parents clean out their garage and was horrified by the many boxes full of disposable stuff--fake branches, meaningless tchotckes from Pottery Barn. So much money was spent on junk!

Aug. 28 2012 12:02 PM
Sher from lower Manhattan

Pls see the Perfect (Cathy) cartoon for Leonard's show topic today on TOO MUCH STUFF! just sent via e-mail attachment to your show. It illustrates exactly how we come to acquire too much stuff (and is very funny as we recognize ourselves)!

Aug. 28 2012 11:36 AM
John A

"Put all my money in CD's"
always for me brings an image of racks full of music disks.

Aug. 28 2012 11:02 AM

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