Carnival of Wealth, Alyssa Lommel Edition


Alyssa Lommel, no longer a double-fister

Alyssa Lommel, no longer a double-fister


Dumbest college student on the planet? Find us a dumber one.

We’ve been following this story since its early December debut. The comfortable girl on the left went out drinking. Or as she tweeted (since deleted), “tequila shots tonight #Yuuuuuup”.

tequila shots!


If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s worth a Google. She drank herself to the verge of unconsciousness, at which her point her friends drove her home to a house she shared with some other students. One was asleep, one was watching a movie while wearing headphones, and Ms. Lommel passed out on the porch and ended up with all 20 digits frostbitten by the time a passerby saw her the next morning.

The moral to the story is pretty evident, at least to us: don’t drink. Not “don’t binge drink”, just “don’t drink.” If you think that’s overreacting, a) think of all the people whose solution to peanut allergy reactions in schools is the absolute prohibition of peanuts, and 2) may we refer you to the amputated fingers and toes again?

Point: Alyssa Lommel is old enough to drive and vote, which would imply some level of adulthood and responsibility. Counterpoint: tequila shots tonight #Yuuuuuup.

By the way, the tweet was deleted the day the story hit the wires. How did she pull that off? She was comatose, hospitalized, and/or thumbless at the time, and couldn’t have had ready access to her Twitter account. No joke here – she must have had a pact with one of her sorority sisters. “Here’s my password. Use only if I ever do something colossally stupid that makes national headlines.”

Amazingly, wags have blamed Ms. Lommel’s friends who drove her home instead of blaming Ms. Lommel herself. One observer after another has said that the friends shouldn’t merely have driven her home (to a house with roommates, in a low-crime area), but should’ve waited in the subzero temperatures until she signaled her presence inside the house via a light or a semaphore flag of some sort. If they’d done all that, but then failed to tuck her in and give her a goodnight kiss, that would have been yet another level of negligence. The stupid broad should be happy that the friends didn’t make her find her own way home. That she never thought to kick in a window nor knock on a neighbor’s door is apparently society’s problem.

It’s the blaming of the friends that gets us the most. Hey sanctimonious observers, quick to point fingers at anyone but the most obvious transgressor – did you ever think that maybe the friends had each had a couple of pops, and weren’t in the best frame of mind for making decisions themselves? Cut them a little slack. (That point is 47% sarcastic, 53% sincere.) A secondary Monday-morning quarterbacking observation is that “this could happen to anyone.” No, it could happen only to someone who gets blackout drunk.

So now, two months later, the amputations have progressed slowly. The feet are mostly gone, and even though they might look big under all those bandages, the hands are next. From now on, Alyssa will have to drink her tequila through a straw. In moderation, of course.

Alright, let’s get started in earnest. Too frequently, we bury Jason at Hull Financial Planning deep in the CoW. Research shows that even the most intrepid Control Your Cash readers have trouble making it to the end of a post, which is probably our fault, so here’s Jason’s explanation of how an S&P 500 stock chosen at random will likely underperform the index. On Wall Street as in life as a whole, the losers outnumber the winners.

A few weeks ago we put Critical Financial on notice for running a post from a woeful guest blogger. Site founder Jim returns this week with a piece on how awesome he thinks Donald Trump is. Jim thinks the Donald gets a “bad wrap.” Maybe Jim is thinking of the job that the hospital did on Alyssa Lommel’s hands. Then again, if she’d worn 8 lbs. of tensor bandage on that fateful night, she’d still have fingers. “Bad wrap” is only our 2nd-favorite misspelling in this post, a very distant 2nd to the magnificent “hob-knobbing”.

On first glance, and repeated viewings, Pauline Paquin at Reach Financial Independence would seem to have it all figured out. A budding real estate empire along with other entrepreneurial endeavors, the freedom to travel, a fantastic climate, no kids cramping her style. Unfortunately, not everyone in the 9-to-5 world that Pauline escaped from can comprehend this:

My mum always asks me if I am going to look for a job soon, or if I need money (I make more than she does)


My friends…conclude I am on a perpetual holiday, probably funded by my mum.

You know how as kids we’re told not to care what people think, just to be ourselves? That advice is of little use then, but can come in handy when you’ve reached financial independence at an early age. Otherwise you’d go insane:

Then, there are new friends. The ones who think I was probably a drug dealer or an escort to be able to retire so early.

Pauline refers to that subgroup of people who’ve excused themselves from the traditional track as a “tribe”, and she’s right. Non-members who don’t understand never will, and there isn’t much you can do about it. The price of freedom isn’t just eternal vigilance, it’s understanding that few others want to be along for the ride.

Joshua Rodriguez at CNA Finance looks at unsecured credit cards and possible alternatives to them.

Time is money, so Harry Campbell at Your PF Pro hired a “cleaning lady.” (Ours would break a mop handle over your head if you called her anything other than a housekeeper.)

No, hiring a housekeeper is not an undeniable waste of money. Some of us would rather spend time taking advantage of Ricardo’s Law of Comparative same than cleaning. Furthermore, a trustable housekeeper is invaluable during out-of-town emergencies. Heck, ours is technically a cat feeder first and a housekeeper second. That being said, we didn’t get her from an agency. Find someone you trust, or someone whom someone you trust trusts.

Good Lord, is that it? It seems so. While CoW stalwart Dividend Growth Investor remains on hiatus, Justin at Root of Good explains how much he earned in dividends last year and how he did it. In retirement, Justin has a lot of time to make aesthetically pleasing charts.

And we’re done. New post Wednesday, new Stacking Benjamins podcast later this week, and of course we’re on Investopedia. Thanks for coming. runs on the Genesis Framework

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