Last week, I interviewed Donald Trump, and the week before I interviewed Kevin O’Leary. In the finale of the interview series, I sat down with Generic Debt Blogger, who has a (mostly) neglected Twitter account, and once did a guest post here at Financial Uproar.
Nelson: Generic Debt Blogger, thanks for joining us on the interview series. Do you have an actual name, or should I call you GDB?
GDB: My name is Madison. Or Piper. Or Lena. Think of the most derivative name you remember from college, and I have it. You know, that stupid overachiever who thought that college had to be AMAZING, even though regular people think it’s just a pit stop to get to where you want to be? Well, I have a secret. That girl was me, and I started a blog. We’re very interchangeable.
N: Well. That was very…self-aware. Maybe I’ll just call you GDB.
GDB: No, silly! Tee-hee! Call me by my very clever pen name, Centsible Sense. I am literally the first person to make that joke. We like to have fun over at my blog.
N: Okay, Centsible. How’s your quest to pay down those student loans going? Because lord knows, you have debt. You always do.
GDB: It’s hard paying down debt! Instead of spending $500 per month on clothes, I’ve had to cut it back to $300. A girl can barely clothe herself for $300! And then I had to cut back my wine consumption! And Starbucks! And manis and pedis! And dates! And 4 GB of data per month on my new phone! I still spend on those, but still. I had to slightly cut back. I’m all about balance.
N: What else are you doing to pay down your debt faster? Maybe you have some tips for my readers.
GDB: Two words Nelson…SHOPPING BAN. OH MY GOD, have you even done a shopping ban? It’s so INSPIRING!! My life was just filled with disposable garbage before. Now I’m spending so intelligently! I’ve cut $5,000 per year from my spending! And it felt great! I’m so blessed to have discovered shopping bans!
N: So, I’m confused. You still buy things like Starbucks, meals out, and other stuff that could be easily cut, yet still call it a shopping ban? How do you decide whether something is included in the ban or not?
GDB: (pained look) Oh look girls, we have a non-believer here! Tee-hee! Nelson, it’s really simple. You decide beforehand what’s included and what isn’t, and then change the rules once it gets hard! I’m allowed to buy all necessities, 3 meals out per week, Starbucks, the *occasional* mani and pedi (once every two weeks, because only hobos have rough cuticles), and $5,000 per year worth of travel.
N: Wait. You just said you saved $5,000 in spending, but then you spent it on travel. So what exactly have you accomplished?
GDB: God, you’re just a hater. Why do you have to look at everything negatively?
N: I prefer to call it the truth.
GDB: The truth is you’re a meanie.
N: So what are your plans now? Are you going back to school?
GDB: How’d you know?!?!
N: Lucky guess. What are you going to study?
GDB: I’m getting my masters! In psychology! No, wait. It’s women’s studies! Or maybe it’s in social work! I definitely think more education will make me more employable in the future. Way more more than real world job experience. No boss looks for that, and I would know. I’ve held down a full-time job for months now.
N: That seems to be a pretty common refrain from new grads. Why wouldn’t you be a little more patient and wait a while longer? It seems like you’re rushing life a bit.
GDB: Nelson, I can’t stay. Did you know the boss asked me to make coffee once? Can you imagine? The patriarchy is conspiring to keep me down, and it’s not going to change unless me and my sisters stand up for ourselves!
N: I’m not even going to justify that with a response. So, how much do you have in your emergency fund?
N: And how much do you owe in student loans?
GDB: $52,583.94. Not that I’m counting or anything! Tee-hee! 😉
N: Why wouldn’t you put that money towards your debt?
GDB: You NEED an emergency fund, silly.
N: No, actually you don’t, especially if you have a job that’s pretty secure. And even if you do happen to get laid off, you could use credit temporarily. Or you could at least invest your emergency fund.
GDB: It IS invested, thank you very much! Tangerine and 1.1% FOR THE WIN. I’m pretty good at investing. It’s *almost* as much as the 4.25% that my loans are charging.
N: I don’t think that’s actual investing.
GDB: I have an investing e-course. Want to hear about it?
N: You seem woefully unqualified to have an investing e-course.
GDB: I’ve made money over the last TWO years.
N: Don’t you think that money would be better put to use paying down your debt?
GDB: No. You know what? You don’t get to judge how I live my life. PERSONAL FINANCE IS PERSONAL PERSONAL FINANCE IS PERSONAL PERSONAL FINANCE IS PERSONAL PERSONAL FINANCE IS PERSONAL PERSONAL FINANCE IS PERSONAL.
N: That was very necessary.
GDB: It’s okay. I’m getting married next summer, and together my fiancé and I will tackle that debt! But first, nine months of wedding talk! Want to hear about my budget? It’s ONLY $26,000, which means I’ll have to make a lot of sacrifices on things like the rings, my dress, how many guests we invite, the catering budget-
N: Sorry, we’re out of time.
Last week, I treated y’all to an interview with one of the most polarizing figures in the finance community, Kevin O’Leary. And before that, I interviewed the most legendary investor of all time, Warren Buffett. Continuing the interview series is Donald Trump, infamous real estate developer, star of The Apprentice on NBC, and current Republican presidential candidate.
Nelson: Donald, thanks for taking the time today. How’s life on the campaign trail?
Donald: Nelson, do you know how exhausting it is to blame the Mexicans for absolutely everything? It’s so tiring it’s almost like I know what it’s like to be an undocumented worker hanging out in a Home Depot parking lot. I’m very much documented, thank you very much. But still, it makes me 0.00000003% more sympathetic to their plight.
(Donald starts looking around, focusing on the area behind me)
N: Umm… what are you looking for?
D: Are there any Mexicans back there? Because if there are, I swear to God…
N: Nah. Just a French-Canadian girl.
D: Better kick her out of the country too. Just to be safe.
N: I spent a little time on your website, and I’m not seeing much in the way of details about your policies. Could you explain a little more about what exactly you plan to do if you’re elected.
D: Well Nelson, it’s simple. America has lost its way. Obama has literally ran this country into the ground. Did you know that we’re losing people to CANADA for God’s sake? In Canada, you have to wait 5 years to see a doctor. In Canada, 96% of the population is on welfare. In Canada, you don’t even get to exercise your GOD GIVEN right to wave your gun in the face of anyone that pisses you off. If Obama has his way, America will turn into Canada. I WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN.
N: I don’t think you’ve done your research on Canada. It’s really a nice place.
D: Research? RESEARCH!? I don’t need no goddamn research. You bookworm nerd people can say whatever you want, but I don’t need books and figures to make decisions. I trust what’s in my guts, dammit! My spleen can make better decisions than a dozen eggheads looking at all the facts and figures they want. And you know what? My spleen is telling me that living in Canada is like simultaneously getting punched in the face and the balls.
N: So, are you going to tell us what you’d do as president, or not?
D: Simple. Whatever Canada does, we’ll do the opposite.
N: Fair enough. Let’s talk a little more about your real estate career. Want to talk about how your companies have gone bankrupt several times?
D: Sure, I’ll talk about it. Nelson, here’s the deal. I was an aggressive real estate developer. Why wouldn’t I be? I went bankrupt and then started back up again pretty much the next day, all without losing very much personally, since I’ve diversified away from owning 100% of my own companies. Why would I be conservative? That’s like telling a lion not to KILL, EVEN THOUGH IT LOVES TO KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL I’M GONNA LITERALLY KILL HILARY I SWEAR TO GOD.
N: Yikes. Better not let the Secret Service hear that.
D: Hear what?
D: Nelson, we have to talk about something. I understand you have a bit of an infatuation with my daughter, Ivanka.
N: What? Oh, geez. Uh, I just find her attractive, that’s all.
D: Stay away from my daughter. Just because she dated Topher Grace doesn’t mean she’ll just date *anyone* you sick monster.
N: Wait. Topher Grace dated your daughter? I’m impressed
D: It ended when she beat him in an arm wrestling match.
N: Did he cry after?
D: We both know the answer to that
N: How did that go when she brought him home to meet you?
D: You know how you haven’t seen Topher Grace in anything since 2008? That’s because I broke his spirit.
N: Hey Donald, we’re almost out of time, I was just wondering if you’d say it for me.
D: Say what?
N: You know…
D: No, I don’t.
N: Oh come on. It’s the phrase you’re known for.
D: You mean “make America great again?”
N: No, that’s not it. You’d say it at the end of each episode.
D: Oh! No, I can’t.
N: Come on! It’s only two words. Just say it.
N: SAY IT! SAY IT! SAY IT! SAY IT! SAY IT!
D: Fine, I’ll say it. Nelson?
D: Fuck you.
Approximately 18 months ago, Warren Buffett was kind enough to sit down with an interview with me. It did not end well. Undaunted, I decided to re-open this series. Today’s guest is Kevin O’Leary.
Nelson: Today’s guest is Kevin O’Leary, former software mogul, current BNN commentator and one of the sharks on the hit ABC series Shark Tank. Kevin is also a regular guest on CNBC, and loves wine so much that he’s recently started his own wine label. He’s also kind enough to include a stock pick for each Sunday Morning Dump. Kevin, thanks for joining us today.
Kevin: You forgot to mention how handsome I am. Both Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner can’t resist me. Did you see them throw themselves at me that time you visited us on the Shark Tank set?
N: Umm… I’m not exactly sure that’s how it happened.
K: Are you questioning the story of The Merchant of Truth?
N: Hey, let’s talk about that for a minute. Why do you have so many cutesy names for yourself, Mr. Wonderful?
K: Nelson, here’s the deal. I might seem like an asshole who legitimately wants to murder your puppy, but in reality, I’m the nicest guy you could ever meet. It takes a special kind of niceness to be able to not only tell the truth, but to make people feel really crummy about it in the process. And I have that gift.
N: I see. Okay Kevin, can you talk a little about the differences between Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank
K: Well, they’re the same in a lot of ways, just with subtle differences. On Dragons’ Den the producers would let a few more joke entries in, which was fun for me. You should see how many people I made cry. It got to the point where the producers of the show would have pools to see how long until I made someone cry. Unfortunately I don’t get many chances to make people cry on Shark Tank.
N: Do you like making people cry?
K: LOVE IT. It is my Kryptonite.
N: Okay then. Can you talk a little about why you decided to become an entrepreneur at such a young age?
K: Well, it all started when I got fired from my job at McGoo’s ice cream parlor. I never wanted to give anyone that kind of power over me again, so from that point forward I… I never wanted to work for anyone… (sniffs) anyone else ever again.
Sorry, I get a little emotional when thinking back then.
N: Wait. You’re crying?
K: I’d appreciate it if you didn’t put this part in.
N: Do you not see the irony here?
K: No, but I can see your skull coming into contact with a bottle of O’Leary’s finest.
N: Uhhh…. moving on. Let’s talk a little about your love for wine. I have to admit I don’t care for it.
K: WHAT? THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! YOU ARE A NUTBAR FACTOR 6. HOW CAN SOMEBODY NOT LIKE WINE? It’s the nectar of the gods. I look like such a badass when I drink it, especially when I wear my sunglasses. It just makes all my rich guy problems melt away, y’know.
N: What’s an example of one of Kevin’s rich guy problems?
K: Steve Jobs yelled at me once.
N: Did you cry?
K: No. Only Brett Wilson cries when people yell at him. I made him cry 6 times during season 3 of Dragon’s Den.
N: What’s it like being the only value investor on both Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank, especially when your colleagues feel free to pay up for growth?
K: My fellow Sharks know nothing about value. Cuban wouldn’t know a value investment if it came and played center for his stupid basketball team. Herjavec spends half of every episode giggling like a dumbass, while spending the other half intently staring at you. It’s the creepiest thing ever. All Grenier cares about is whether she can put something on QVC and getting into my pants. I might not get all the deals, but at least I know the ones I get are good.
N: Your relationship on set with Arlene Dickenson can be described as love-hate, like I saw when I visited the Dragons’ Den set. Do you and her stay in contact?
K: Oh, yes. She wants my bald head, if you know what I’m saying.
N: Is that… is that a double entendre?
N: But she seems like she wants to murder you in your sleep.
K: Hate sex is a powerful thing, Nelson. You ought to try it, I hear you’ve made some enemies in the personal finance space over the years.
N: Wait, what? How did you hear that?
K: Oh, you don’t like it when the HEAT GETS TURNED ONTO YOU, DO YA?
N: This interview is over.
All the other PF bloggers out there have podcasts and whatnot, interviewing each other over and over again, which is kinda like the internet equivalent of everyone in the Big Brother house sleeping with all the other house guests. Because I am a deeply insecure person, I knew I needed to get in on this interviewing action too, lest I be left out and forced to sit at the proverbial nerd table. So I reached out to a few people, seeing if they’d be willing to appear on this very blog.
Because I’m kind of a big deal, I decided to start at the top, interviewing Warren Buffett. It turns out the Oracle of Omaha read my story about him last week, since he constantly cruises the internet for news. He’s a fan, so he was happy to answer a few questions, probably while sipping a Cherry Coke and eating a Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen. Because if Buffett is anything, he’s predictable.
Nelson: Hey Warren, thanks for taking the time. You’re the best.
Warren: No problem Nelson, no problem. I sure do love to do media. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I HAVE TO SAY, DAMMIT… Sorry, that just slipped out. Happy to be here.
Nelson: Warren, you recently bought shares in Exxon Mobil. Can you talk a little about what motivated you to make that buy?
Warren: Sure, sure. Well, you see, we have a whole bunch of money. Like, a crapload. I needed to put some of it somewhere, and Exxon Mobil is liquid enough that I can do it and not buy the whole damn company. I have rich guy problems, Nelson.
Nelson: I see. Warren, you mentioned earlier that you spend a lot of time doing media. I see you on CNBC and Fox Business a lot, and even on Bloomberg and Charlie Rose. What’s up with that?
Warren: Well, Nelson, I’m naturally a teacher, so I view my media appearances as an opportunity to pass down my wisdom to a very large audience. Maybe I’m not right all the time, but I think my record speaks for itself. (Laughs) Also, have you seen who they have interviewing me? Becky Quick handles the CNBC interviews. Liz Claman interviews me for Fox. Trish Reagan interviews me for Bloomberg. I’m lucky to get anything out that isn’t panting.
Nelson: Atta boy, Warren! You seem to like the ladies. Care to comment on the whole two wives thing you had going on for a while there?
Warren: I’d rather not.
Nelson: Aww, come on dawg! That’s some good hustle. (Goes for high five, gets left hanging)
Warren: No, Nelson.
Nelson: Whoa dude! What happened? You grew a beard.
Warren: That happens when you piss me off.
Nelson: Okay, let’s move on. Let’s talk a little about your philanthropic endeavors, and how you’re giving most of your money to charity. What exactly made you decide that you’d like to donate all your money?
Warren: Well, what was I supposed to do, give it to my kids? My goddamn kids are worthless. They’re not even billionaires yet, and they’re all over 40. It’s every father’s worst nightmare. If you aren’t a billionaire, you might as well be shooting up heroin under a bridge somewhere. You can quote me on that.
Nelson: Whoa. Heavy stuff there. Warren, what is your opinion on the market in general? I’ve been hearing a lot about how things are overvalued, especially technology stocks like Twitter, or Facebook, or Pandora.
Warren: Look, I don’t know anything about technology. Literally, I know nothing. The salesguy at the mall convinced me that a Razr from Motorola was the cool new phone. It works for me. Look, it flips. (Demonstrates with glee) As for the market, just go ahead and buy Berkshire stock. Like you can do a better job picking stocks than I can. Do they call you the oracle of anything, Nelson?
Nelson: My mom thinks I’m pretty awesome.
Warren: My point exactly.
Nelson: Uh, let’s move on. What would you say was your best decision of your distinguished career?
Warren: Oh, there’s so many. Buying a whole bunch of GEICO back in the 50s, buying American Express or Coca-Cola or The Washington Post stock when they were all beaten up. Plus all the people I met over the years, like Charlie Munger or Kay Graham and a million more people who all are terrific.
Nelson: That’s great. And what would you say was the worst decision of your career?
Warren: This interview.
Warren: (Farts on a Dilly Bar) Hey, you want some ice cream?
Nelson: I saw you do that.
Warren: Do what?
Warren: Look, I’m 83 years old. I don’t have the patience for this (crap). Are you going to ask any good questions?
Nelson: Well, uh, I… Geez, Warren, you seem like such a nice old man. What’s up?
Warren: I was told there would be hot chicks. Where are the hot chicks?
Nelson: How’s this?
Warren: Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?
Warren: Nobody wants to see that. You put some hot chick on here every week. How can you screw this up so bad?
Nelson: You’re old, I thought you’d like a more… mature woman.
Warren: This interview is over.
Hey, I think I should make this a weekly feature. It went well. Any requests for any different finance celebrities? I can get just about anyone. I, uh, have a lot of blackmailable pictures.