Ask the grumpies: Why are firms so short-sighted?

Leah asks:

Why do so many companies make decisions based primarily on short term economics and not long-term health of the company? Is it just the stock market, or is there more going on than that?

I am sure that people really do know the answer to this one in terms of how systems and laws and so on have changed to favor short-term over long-term… and I do know that a lot of that has to do with how bonuses and CEO compensation has radically increased over time, meaning short term gambles pay off a ton more than they used to.  So some of it is the stock market, but some of it is also how compensation and tax structures have changed.  This is really outside of my knowledge area though– my knowledge basically comes from skimming paper abstracts of general interest journals and working papers.

My short answer is that even though companies are supposed to be risk neutral, and are supposed to be trying for immortality, they are run by people.  And people are short-sighted.  If the rewards are for the short term and not for the long term, then that’s the direction they’ll go.

Ask the grumpies: How does a Gay woman in her mid forties date?

Anoninmass asks:

How does a Gay woman in her mid forties date….when only a small part of her wants to date in the first place?

Great question.  We’re both introverted, and near our mid-forties.  But neither one of us is gay and neither one of us has dated for a long, looonnnnnng time.  None of our lesbian friends have dated in a loooong time either (and yay marriage for those who want it!).  Hetero people we know seem to mostly be using dating apps and going on lots of dates of various levels of fun vs. terrible (or have decided that they don’t want to date at all).

You might find some wisdom over at Captain Awkward.

Here’s a blog post that we did not write.  Everything else google is giving me is either about people realizing they’re gay in their 40s or webpages for dating apps.

Do any grumpy readers have better advice for Anoninmass?

Ask the grumpies: Feelings about decluttering

Leah asks:

How do you feel about decluttering? Is it easy or challenging for you?

Is it easy or challenging?  Who knows?  We haven’t tried!  I mean, we’re already hitting where our budget constraint hits our utility curves, so why would we want to mess with that?

More seriously:  I try to not let stuff in the house to begin with.  So when we get gifts we don’t want, they go in our goodwill cabinet (or gift closet for unopened children’s gifts) straight away.  The only actual “decluttering” I do is when DC2 outgrows clothing and I hand them down to a colleague which was something people did before it got called decluttering.  Most of the stuff that leaves our house leaves it because it is broken or worn out or used up or outgrown at the point it is no longer useful.  We don’t systematically clean things out or have any sort of targeted decluttering.

Update:  DC2 recently went through hir room and closet and got rid of a lot of stuff zie had outgrown.  I guess that’s technically decluttering, though the questions were more “have you grown out of this/do you want this” than “does this spark joy.”  When zie did that, the goodwill cabinet (where we put things we don’t want until we decide to deal with them) got full, so we took multiple loads to goodwill, three of my colleagues with younger kids got bags full of clothing and toys, and we have a bag of new with tags stuff (gifts that never got worn) ready to go to a refugee center in the city.  So I guess we declutter but don’t think of it as decluttering.

What about the rest of Grumpy Nation?  Do you declutter?

Ask the grumpies: Blog of a female asphalt engineer?

Bonnie asks:

 I’ve been trying to find the link on your blog to another blog written by a female asphalt engineer. I’ve searched your site, as well as Google, and I can’t find it.

We have no idea.

Here’s a civil engineer:  https://www.engineerbecomesamom.com/ .

Does anybody have any ideas that would help Bonnie?

Ask the grumpies: How do I find a good bank?

Susan asks:

We’ll be leaving BofA. What recommendations do you have?

I’ve been googling and what is defined as “ethical” seems confusing (mostly synonymous with green?). I think we need: direct deposit, online/picture deposit, billpay, and ATMs, though we don’t use cash much. We’ll need to link to Vanguard. So, pretty simple, and online only is going to be fine I think, it’s been years since I’ve been to the B&M. We keep ~$10k in checking. We have a Capital One account already (from when it was ING).

I don’t know that I have good recommendations, and #2 and I have very different feelings about credit unions. (I think it’s a good idea to have both a local CU and a national bank, she is very against CU for reasons.) I will say I’m enjoying the interest on our capital one online-only account (that we opened because of a special extra cash offer), but I think people generally prefer Ally.

In terms of ethics, I have no idea, though obviously Bank of America and Wells Fargo have many strikes against them on that front.

There’s some online people who have looked at the question of ethics, as you note, but I’m not sure how trustworthy the sites are.  Here’s the ethical consumer for UK banks and here’s nerdwallet with US banks.

Mr. Millionaire says:

I love Ally (not sponsored). The only drawback is that if I want to deposit cash (side hustle), I have to buy a money order and mail it in.

gasstationwithout pumps says:

When my son and I were both looking for interest-bearing accounts, we ended up with Alliant Credit Union. For us, it is online only, except that we can use any credit-union ATM for deposits and withdrawals. The interest rate is a bit better than Ally or Capital One. It’s early days yet, but the only problem I’ve had was depositing the check for closing out the Wells Fargo account—it exceeded the maximum for ATM transactions, and I had to do a 2-step transfer (first in-person at my local credit union, then electronically from there). It is a good idea to retain one local brick-and-mortar institution in your portfolio.

Maybe the readers will have more suggestions?

Ask the grumpies: How to grow jobs in an area and general entrepreneurship

First Gen American asks:

My latest interest is around how to grow jobs in an area and general entrepreneurship. Anything around that topic would be interesting.

How to identify unmet needs
How to make a business plan
How to decide what to do
How to do the quick back of the envelope calculation on roi. (I’d have to sell how many ice cream cones to just cover rent!?)
How to take a risk without putting it all on the line and if that is even possible. (Many of my customers emptied their retirement savings to start their businesses. It was rough going for a while for many of them and I am only talking to the ones who made it.)
How to determine if a market is saturated. (I.e. Microbreweries)
Where to find businesses for sale.
How to assess the numbers and make sure they are real and not just lipstick on a pig.
Places to find resources for research. Like tax incentives for a region or female owned businesses, grants, etc.

Since my company, one of the major employers, is leaving the area, I also would like to focus on non service type ventures. (I.e. Jobs that don’t rely on the health of the local economy….a product that can be shipped outside of the region.)

Unfortunately this is all completely out of our wheelhouse.  We’re not even sure where we’d start asking to find out the answers to these questions (maybe Paula at Afford Anything, but she’s pretty focused on real estate, still, she might be able to 6 degrees of separation you to a good answer).

Grumpy Nation, any ideas?