Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good Manners in Bad Times

Weren't we raised to avoid any and all talk of money in social settings? I thought so - but I can't tell you how many times in the past five years I've listened to successful, young people discuss bonuses, salary, cost of homes, cars and vacations. OMG. It makes me uncomfortable to even type it...imagine my discomfort while being regaled of the monetary details.

Don't get me wrong. I'll be the first person to tell you that I scored a Pucci satin clutch at TJ Maxx for $70.00. Don't hunters tell you if their buck had eight or ten points? Same thing, really. Telling me about your $150K bonus - um, well... - different.

The boom which preceded our current financial standings made inappropriate conversation topics acceptable and part of the norm. In the April 2009 issue of Town & Country, Michael Korda has penned a much needed piece on graceful behavior during this period of economic uncertainty.

Back to Mr. Korda's fine piece...he outlined twelve simple rules to remain dignified amidst this mess:
  1. Don't flaunt any wise financial decisions made of late.
  2. There's no crying in investing and especially in public. Save it. We're all in this mess...
  3. Leave the jokes about money to professionals.
  4. Save the "Sun will come out tomorrow" routine. We're in this for a while.
  5. Refrain from asking how work is until you know that person is still employed. Many are not.
  6. Avoid topics such as 401(K)s, IRAs and bonuses. Seriously.
  7. Use caution when telling stories about sensible people being affected by panic. You never know who has stuffed their savings in the coffee grounds can...
  8. Before having a family pow wow about belt tightening make sure you and your spouse are on the same page and sacrificing laterally.
  9. Do not tell scary stories about what had happened to other people. Those stories are always more fiction than fact.
  10. Bear in mind that in economic ups and downs - people rarely tell the truth about money.
  11. Distinguish between what you had on paper and what you really owned.
  12. And last but not least - if you are buying Chanel from the Worth Avenue boutique - have it shipped. Black tie dinner? Go light on the good jewelry. One can achieve chic without being showy.

Mr. Korda recommends reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's, The Great Gatsby as it deals with the consequences of indulging to the point of excess. A good book any time - it is particularly poignant and relevant 80+ years after its original purpose as a social commentary during the Hoover administration.

So, let's take a lesson from Marie-Antoinette...who would have been far better off suggesting Wheat Thins to the starving French masses than cake. If she had possessed the good sense of Mr. Korda, she may have even been able to keep her wig-laden head.

Stay tuned. More at 11.


thepreppyprincess said...

Brilliant idea to do this post Miss News. And his story was so good, listing his suggestions is helpful for everyone who may not receive or read T&C.

Grins & Giggles,

BLC :o said...

I am LOVING this post. If only I could anonymously send it to a few certain someones ... hehe. Xoxo-BLC

Legallyblondemel said...

Wasn't that a great article? Bears repeating here, certainly.

Hope you had a fine weekend.


Toad said...

A most excellant post. I believe I would read the phone book if Mr Korda would write it. Does this mean we should all park our Bentleys for a while?

Ned said...

I sent an email to happy homemaker-get in touch with her!