For the Love of Money by Sam PolkFor The Love of Money: A Memoir” by Sam Polk is a brand new book telling the behind the scenes story of a Wall Street trader, focusing on credit default swaps, distressed assets, and all of the shenanigans that captured America’s attention during the 2008 financial crisis.

How much money is too much? How large of a salary are you willing to walk away from because of your core beliefs? Sam Polk was put to the test on Wall Street, and his book paints an incredible picture of what it takes to be a stock and bond trader.

“For The Love Of Money” by Sam Polk

In 2014, a former hedge fund trader’s New York Times Sunday Review front page article about wealth addiction instantly went viral. This is his unflinching memoir a coming of age story about Sam Polk’s life on Wall Street. The memoir is telling and focuses on his fight to overcome his addictions (drugs, alcohol, women, etc.) and find a new way to define success based on his deep core values and beliefs.

At just thirty years old, Sam Polk was a senior trader for one of the biggest hedge funds on Wall Street. He was on the verge of making it to the very top of the Wall Street ladder and earning hundreds of millions of dollars.

When he was offered an annual bonus of $3.75 million, he grew angry because it was not enough. In that moment he knew he had lost himself in his obsessive pursuit of money.  He came to despise the Wall Street culture that he had grown up in with its shallowness, sexism, crude machismo, and the use of wealth as the sole measure of a person’s worth.

Despite making millions each year as a young man and the very real possibility of earning much more, Sam Polk decided to walk away from Wall Street and his life. 

For Sam Polk, becoming a Wall Street trader was the fulfillment of his life-long dream. But, in reality, it was just the culmination of a life of addictive and self-destructive behaviors, overeating, bulimia, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

Like “Liar’s Poker” by Michael Lewis and “Barbarians at the Gate” by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar (both books are also Honorable Mentions in my Top 10 Personal Finance Books list that you should read),  Sam Polk brings readers into the rarefied world of Wall Street trading floors in “For The Love of Money: A Memoir“. 

Sam Polk captures the frustrations of young college graduates who are drawn to Wall Street in the lure of fast riches. The book explores the creation of a young hedge fund trader, his disillusionment with life on Wall Street, and the radical new way he has come to define success.

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Immediate Steps To Take When You Need Help Paying BillsWhat would you do if a $1,000 expense that you weren’t anticipating suddenly arose? For instance, your dog tears their ACL playing fetch and needs surgery right away, or your kid’s permanent tooth gets knocked out in dodgeball and they need cosmetic treatment, or your formerly reliable car now needs a thousand dollar repair – how would you manage the unexpected bill? Many people need help paying bills especially when they are unexpected.

According to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in May 2016, 66% of Americans would struggle to pay for a surprise $1,000 bill. Even more shocking was that 38% of families making $100,000 or more per year (the wealthiest 20% in America) reported that, they too, would have difficulty finding a spare $1,000 for an unexpected expense.

Steps To Take When You Need Help Paying Bills

If you don’t currently have an emergency fund and you’re a part of the two-thirds of Americans who would see an unforeseen $1,000 bill as a crisis instead of a mere inconvenience, there are several steps you can take to tackle the problem without racking up a ridiculous amount of debt:

Keep Calm and Negotiate Your Options

First things first: negotiate with your creditors. Call them up (email or website forms may take too long if you have a looming payment due date) and find out if the person, company, or organization that you owe money to is willing to negotiate the amount they billed you. If you feel you were unfairly overcharged for something, you can bring this up as a key argument but be sure to gather evidence before you make your pitch.

If they weren’t willing to reduce the amount you owe after a series of negotiation attempts (you may have to contact more than one customer service representative to see if you can get farther with someone else), then your next step would be to ask if they’ll give you an extension on the payment deadline.

For example, the IRS offers some extensions and alternative payment options for tax bills that would cause “undue hardship;” you just have to fill out Form 1127 to see if you qualify. Credit card companies and other creditors may offer similar extensions depending on your circumstances, so it doesn’t hurt to ask!

66% of Americans would struggle to pay for a surprise $1,000 bill. Click To Tweet

Temporarily Slash Your Spending

While you’re in the negotiating phase of dealing with your $1,000+ bill, you can also slash your spending to save money for when the bill is inevitably due. You can’t simply cancel all your subscriptions and eat ramen in the dark without air conditioning for a few months, but you can take reasonable steps to curtail your spending for a while until you pay off the bill.
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