So Piggy and I went to FinCon 2018 in Orlando last week. It was super fun—but we’re not going to do a full run-down because so many great writers have already done so! It’s hard to pick a favorite, but, come on… It’s totally Josh.
We do have some Cliff Notes, though. Those are like Spark Notes, but for old people!
- We met many incredible finance professionals eager to share their expertise. Obligingly, we drained them of their knowledge and left them as lifeless husks stacked three deep behind the cabana.
- We won two Plutus Awards! Best Blog for Women and Best Blog for Gen Z & Millennials! Unfortunately, this means we must say goodbye to any readers outside those two demographics. <cocks shotgun> START RUNNING, OLDS!
- We failed miserably at obscuring our faces in photographs. If you follow us on social media, you probably noticed a whole lot of our faces going on. So the secret is out: we are actually several toddlers standing on each other’s shoulders inside of two trench coats.
- There is basically a FinCon: Netherworld Edition of the most powerful and creative women in the industry meeting informally in each other’s hotel rooms. And it was unspeakably inspiring, edifying, and encouraging. We traded monetization tips, then flew naked through the night air like the coven at the end of The VVitch. Oh! Sorry, spoiler alert for The VVitch.
Finally, and most importantly:
- All business meetings are automatically improved by virtue of being conducted in line for frozen butter beer after riding a buncha damn roller coasters at Harry Potter World.
The real revelation of this past week was how right things feel for us right now. We really, really, really love what we do. And we’re more committed than ever to doing it. And we’ll probably talk about that more, but… Later.
We have pressing thoughts to share.
On Hogwarts Houses. And money.
It’s been a while since we did a good old fashioned #ranked article. Stick around, because I think you’ll find this one…
Which of the Hogwarts Houses are best with money?
Okay, okay, obligatory disclaimer time. Everyone is unique; every man is an island; every island is riding on the back of a giant elephant; and it’s turtles all the way down. But that’s no fun!
We’re talking Hogwarts Houses here. Come for the sweeping generalizations—stay for the sweeping generalizations!
Also, obviously, we’re going by Sorting Hat Chats rules. They are the most comprehensive, nuanced, and balanced set of interpretations available. If you want to see a grown woman hiss like a cat, tell me again about how Pottermore is better because it’s “the mostest officialest.” An arbitrary preference for left versus right is not a suitable foundation from which to build my extremely comprehensive useless clickbait article! Do better, Pottermore!
Full disclosure: Co-bitch Piggy is a Ravenclaw Primary, Hufflepuff Secondary. Her to-do list is a roiling sea of crossed off things.
Yes, it’s true that Ravenclaws are the ones least likely to need their phone’s calculator app to figure out the tip on the group’s dinner check. That is a towering accomplishment that all other Hogwarts Houses must bow to. Eagles are smart, there’s no arguing that. (And yes, their mascot is the Eagle, not the raven. It seems the diadem enhances wisdom, not branding acumen.)
But being book smart does not make one good with money. In fact, that’s one of the most pervasive misconceptions about money in general.
Ask the average man on the street who pioneered electricity. You probably won’t hear the names George Westinghouse or Nikola Tesla—maniacally focused Ravenclaws with once-in-a-century genius in their craft. Instead, you’ll hear Thomas Edison, a Gryffindor with middling talent in electrical engineering but a fantastic intuition for salesmanship.
Bills paid at leisure is man’s greatest treasure
Many Ravenclaws find themselves in careers that are respected, but notoriously underpaid: academics, teachers, researchers, scientists, pharmacists, journalists, writers, and artists. Certainly Ravenclaws can find themselves in high-paying fields, including finance itself. But even then, their incredible focus is its own detriment. Ravenclaws are so intent on mastering the fascinating details of their chosen subjects that minor considerations like money (and eating, and showering, and going the fuck to sleep) cannot truly capture their attention. They’re surprisingly absentminded about the basics.
Ravenclaws spend a lot of time testing and validating their own belief systems. They’re also careful planners and data-gatherers. These two facts working in concert guarantee that Ravenclaws will experience the dreaded analysis paralysis. There’s a lot of anxiety up in Ravenclaw Tower! That translates to a lot of Ravenclaws with Ravenclaw Liz Lemon’s money problems…
JACK: “So what are you gonna do with your money? Put it into a 401(k)?”
LIZ: “Yeah, I gotta get one of those…”
JACK: “What?! Where do you invest your money, Lemon?”
LIZ: “I’ve got like twelve grand in checking.”
Claws, I love you, my sleep-deprived little perfectionists. Now please go down to the dungeons and pick up a Jack Donaghy for yourself before it’s too late.
Required reading for Ravenclaws:
- How to Save for Retirement When You Make Less Than $30,000 a Year
- Making Decisions Under Stress: The Siren Song of Chocolate Cake
- I Read a Book About Warren Buffett. Here’s What I Learned.
- Everything Is Stressful and I’m Dying: How to Survive a Panic Attack
- Ask the Bitches: How Can I Make Myself Financially Secure Before Age 30?
Full disclosure: Gryffindors felt wounded that they were the only House without a disclosure, so we added one so that they could feel special. There is nothing to disclose.
Ye shall know a Gryffindor by their unmistakable combination of bravery, impulsivity, and raw charisma. These traits combine to make a kind of permanent boost to their luck stats. Risk-taking is often rewarded (as they say, Fortune favors the bold)—and when it isn’t, they’ve got a Hufflepuff stashed somewhere who will pick them up, dust them off, hand them a buffalo chicken sandwich, and tuck them safely into a cab back home.
In other words… Gryffindors are extraordinarily good at making money. They’re also extraordinarily good at losing it.
Gryffindors are natural leaders that thrive in the limelight, which puts them in an odd collection of careers—actors, athletes, salesmen, marketers, law enforcement, lawyers, politicians, surgeons, and artists. Luckily for them, almost all of these happen to be pretty well paying gigs.
Lions also have the virtue of failing fast. They quickly lose interest in things that don’t excite them, and change careers more easily than any other House. Gryffindors will likely wear many hats in their lifetimes. Garish fascinators, I should think.
It’s over, the Fat Lady sung
Because they live in the moment, Gryffindors suck at prioritizing their long-term goals. They cave easily to their own whims, struggle to stay on-task with a budget, and tend to take an “if you love it set it free” attitude with their paychecks. A Gryffindor cornered by money troubles is likely to try to charm their way out of it, or charge headlong away from it. They’ll repeat this financial dodge-roll as many times as it will work. Think of Donald Trump (a sobering example of Gryffindor purity gone hellaciously wrong) and his many, many bankruptcies.
Lions react almost instinctually towards their gut sense of morality. That means that when Gryffindors want something badly enough, they will do whatever it takes to be able to afford it. Lorelai Gilmore is an excellent fictional example of a Gryffindor’s budgeting “skills”—always enough money for pizza, never enough for extensive termite damage. When her wide-eyed Ravenclaw daughter Rory needs private school tuition, she is willing to humiliate herself by asking her Tenth Level Slytherin mother for money.
LORELAI: “Well, actually, I came here for a reason. Dad, would you mind sitting down for a minute?”
RICHARD: “You need money.”
LORELAI: “I have a situation.”
RICHARD: “You need money.”
LORELAI: Dad, will you just please let me get this out, okay? Um, Rory has been accepted to Chilton.
EMILY: “Chilton? Oh, that’s a wonderful school. It’s only five minutes from here.”
LORELAI: “That’s right, it is. She can start as early as Monday. Um, the problem is that they want me to put down an enrollment fee plus the first semester’s tuition, and I have to do that immediately or she loses her spot.”
RICHARD: “So, you need money.”
LORELAI: “Yeah. But it’s not for me, it’s for Rory. And I fully intend to pay you back every cent. I don’t ask for favors, you know that.”
EMILY: “Oh, yes, we know.”
RICHARD: “I’ll get the checkbook.”
LORELAI: “Thank you. You have no idea. Thank you.”
EMILY: “On one condition.”
LORELAI: [mumbles to herself] “So close.”
While not a very responsible strategy, it is a strategy that works. High highs and low lows are the hallmarks of a Gryffindor’s personal finances.
So what sets Gryffindors over Ravenclaws? Besides gravitating toward higher paying jobs, Gryffs are generally more experimental. Even if they’re not as diligent, risk taking often works out well in the Muggle stock market. That, plus their ability to build relationships insulates them from the consequences of chronic mismanagement. Their social safety net is on lock.
But Gryffs, if you don’t have some Slytherins on your speed dial, heed Whoopi’s warning…
Required reading for Gryffindors:
- You Won’t Regret Your Frugal 20s
- It Really Does Add Up: On Saving Your Little Savings
- 7 Totally Reasonable Ways to Save Money on Entertainment
- Understand the Hidden Costs of Travel and Avoid Them Like the Plague
- Dafuq Is Credit and How Do You Bend It to Your Will?
Full disclosure: Hufflepuffs are objectively the best house.
<David Attenborough voice> Hufflepuffs are extraordinary creatures. Their unassuming appearance hides a rich inner life filled with drama, excitement, community, and absolutely staggering levels of basic competence. </David Attenborough voice>
You probably already know what Puffs are good for. They always RSVP to the party in a timely manner. They always come with extra food and booze. They know where the paper plates are kept. They refill the toilet paper when it runs out—and they know the correct direction to thread it. They make sure everybody’s had enough water to stay hydrated. Yet they are the drunkest motherfuckers at the party.
Hufflepuffs are golden gods of getting shit done.
Hufflepuffs are said to lack ambition. I’m gonna flip that around and say “Hufflepuffs lack chronic dissatisfaction.” They know what makes them happy, and it’s usually very little. Even in a sad, messed up world like Westeros, A Song of Ice and Fire’s shining badger queen Brienne of Tarth can endure as long as she still has a duty.
BRIENNE: “I will find her. I will never stop looking. I will give up my life if need be, give up my honor, give up all my dreams, but I will find her.”
Money? Pshh, that’s easy!
Hufflepuffs have all the traits needed to have personal finance on lock: they’re steadfast, patient, disciplined, hardworking, and future-oriented. They can work a mad spreadsheet, stick to a budget, make their own fun, and always squirrel something away for a rainy day.
More like HuffleTOUGH
Only two traits hold Puffs back from the top slot. The first is that they are too giving. That rainy day they’re saving up for is probably not their own, but someone else’s. Hufflepuffs can spend a lot of time and energy solving other people’s problems. They probably sponsor way too many artists on Patreon. Real life celebrity Hufflepuff JD Roth described his decision to become our Patreon donor recently by throwing his hands up and saying “I was drinking wine, and I said yeah, why the hell not!” Can you even absorb the Hufflepuffness of it!?
The second is that they tend to stay in one job for far too long. We’ve done a lot of research on this topic here at Bitches Get Riches, and the overwhelming consensus is that job hopping has higher returns. But a sense of loyalty and community connection make it hard for Hufflepuffs to walk away from a project or team they know well. Badgers tend to gravitate toward pretty stable careers—social workers, psychologists, healthcare professionals, childcare providers, administrators, project managers, educators, and retail professionals. But they are frequently passed over for higher-paying leadership positions, and easily conned into taking on a manager’s workload without a manager’s pay.
Puffs! I know you’re good, but have you considered letting a Slytherin into your life? You need somebody to remind you to be as nice to yourself as you are to others! We can awaken the beast within! I’m just sayin’…
Hold on to your low budget rubber-tube basilisk, because here come fighting words…
Required reading for Hufflepuffs:
- Job Hoppers vs. Career Loyalists: I Want to See Numbers!
- The Fascinating Results of Our Job Hopping vs. Career Loyalty Poll
- A Millennial’s Guide to Growing Your Salary
- The Frugal Introvert’s Guide to the Weekend
- Myers-Briggs Personalities and Income
Full disclosure: I, co-bitch Kitty, am a Slytherin Primary, Gryffindor Secondary. Delete your girlfriend’s number from your phone, because I already stole her.
Stop the Hogwarts Express on the bougie side of Hogsmeade so all the Slytherins can get off.
Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada. Madam Malkin stocks that shit so I don’t even botha.
I asked myself, “Self? Is it possible that it’s egotistical to list your own House as the best with money?” But the text of the original novels confirms that all Slytherins are rich af. I think this has more to do with Rowling’s simplistic representations of Slytherins as ambulating baskets of bad traits. Rich, yes, but also racist, fascist, classist, scornful, deceitful, stupid, cowardly, violent, and obsessive.
Fucking yikes. J K—who hurt you?!
That’s why we politely set cannon aside when it comes to Slytherins. Fannon has crafted a more inclusive definition, and that’s what we’re using here. For purposes of this exercise, we are considering the ambitious/resourceful/self-interested fan brand of Slytherin, not the uniformly fascist book kind. Don’t quibble with me about source material deviation, I will box your fucking ears.
Great ambition is our tradition
From a financial perspective, Slytherins have many of the same strengths as Hufflepuffs. Both of those Hogwarts Houses are patient, resourceful, and fiercely loyal. Think of both Underwoods in House of Cards—all about playing the long game.
FRANK: “Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn’t see the difference.”
But Slytherins lack the Puff’s two critical weaknesses. First, their loyalty isn’t given freely like a Puff’s, but has to be earned on an individual basis. The circle of people a Slytherin cares about is much, much smaller. I donate quite a lot of money to charity, but I stack it all into only one or two organizations I truly care about.
Second, Slytherins can abandon a sinking career without a backward glance. Every day when a Snake gets ready for work, it’s because she’s assessed that she still gets more out of her job than her job gets out of her. They also don’t have a Hufflepuff’s “aw shucks” humbleness. If they’ve accomplished something at the office, you’ll hear about it.
Everything Slytherins do is understandable through the lens of utility. My people are the most important—what resources or traits do I need to nurture in order to preserve them? When Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games volunteers her life to save her sister, but is willing to kill to return home to her, her Slytherin is showing. She’s a resourceful woman who will do whatever it takes to improve her situation.
KATNISS: “In really bad times, the hungriest would gather at his door at nightfall, vying for the chance to earn a few coins to feed their families by selling their bodies. Had I been older when my father died, I might have been among them. Instead I learned to hunt.”
Slytherins keep much more of themselves in reserve, and don’t feel shame in self-promotion. That makes them both great savers and high earners. We’re also highly adaptable, which is more important than ever in our fickle global economy.
Seriously, you need a Slytherin
The beauty of the Hogwarts House sorting system is that teamwork really does make the dream work. My immediate circle of friends is repping every kinda color scarf. My lil’ bro is a total Gryffindor, and he inspires the shit out of me. My co-Bitch business partner is a Ravenclaw, and our skills are incredibly complimentary. My husband is a Hufflepuff and he’s perfect and if you say anything dismissive about Puffs I will break your fingers.
But I’m worried because I think Slytherins are underrepresented in a lot of social groups. Maybe it has something to do with the whole killing tons of people/reign of terror thing. Maybe it’s because women are systemically discouraged from displaying ambition. Maybe it’s Michelle Visage’s whole “I hate green” thing. IDK. So many theories!
Everyone 👏 needs 👏 a 👏 Good 👏 Judy 👏 Snake. We’re down in the dungeons, just wait for us to walk by. Displays of affection startle and disarm us. It’s like turning a shark on its back—we slip into a fugue state and become docile. Take us outside with you, we need the vitamin A.
We probably have some kinda marble-plated palace you can crash at when you’re down and out. We will teach you which parts of your taxes are safe to cheat on. We’ll even slash your ex-boyfriend’s tires and not tell you it was us so that you seem genuinely shocked when the cops come around asking you about it. Don’t worry about us. By the time the staties find us, we’ll be a dust cloud on the open road.
Required reading for Slytherins:
So who’s salty about it?
Okay, okay. There are some drawbacks to being a Slytherin.
People hate you…
Nobody lets you hold their baby…
Platinum blonde is a very expensive color to maintain…
Alumni meetings are like an oasis in the desert, everybody’s thirsty…
Horcruxes aren’t qualified for a tax write-off as a business expense, for some reason…
And it’s very easy to snag knit sweaters on the fangs of your snake-shaped cane-sword-wand…
…But an empty bank account ain’t one of them. I’m laughing all the way to Gringotts, baby! For every comment from an enraged Ravenclaw, I will donate five Sickles to St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Don’t worry about over taxing me, I’ve got the scratch.