Skip to main content

Take The Money, You Won't Regret It

You probably felt pretty good about yourself after choosing to ignore that insider tip that could've made you some fast but illegal cash. And maybe you gave yourself a pat on the back for not risking your job by sleeping with an intern. But while you're smug and self-satisfied now, you're going to regret these decisions down the road:

Hedonists, rejoice! A couple of Columbia University researchers have found that in the long run, people tend to regret having missed out on opportunities for pleasure -- and they wish they hadn't been so diligent about working. What's more, our attitudes reverse over time. In the short run, we're proud of our ability to work hard and delay gratification. But years later, we regret that choice.
For example, in one of the Columbia experiments, subjects were asked recall two points in time -- one week ago, and five years ago. They were asked whether they were working or relaxing at that point in time, and whether they regretted it. When the point in time was a week ago, the workers were happy they were toiling, and the relaxers regretted their lassitude. When the point in time was five years ago, though, the opposite was true: People regretted being in the office, and wished they'd been slacking.

We like to tell ourselves that in the end, those who make prudent decisions are vindicated. But we always knew in our gut that the good guys simply end up regretting that they never had more fun. And in 10 years will Warren Buffett regret having given $30 billion to charity as opposed to blowing it on free shots for everyone?
Study: In the long run, we regret virtue more than vice [Collission Detection]


Facebook Will Take Free Money From Banks But Don't Expect It To Show Any Gratitude

The Wall Street Journal today discovered that universal banks that lend money to companies for cheap tend to want investment banking business in return for that lending and I guess that's a scandal: As the market for technology IPOs revs up and the biggest banks seek to capitalize on the size of their balance sheets, the practice of selecting underwriters that also provided loans is coming under focus, spurred by Facebook's IPO process. Critics of the practice say the choices aren't accidental and reflect the "you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours" way that Wall Street works. Bankers, for their part, say they aren't allowed to make loans on the condition that they receive other business, but borrowers can use the loans as a factor in choosing underwriters. Some bankers say that lending is just one of the many services they offer companies. At Facebook, the credit line played a role in the batting order for underwriters, said a banker who worked on an underwriting pitch to the company. When I was young and naive and pitching for underwriting business against banks that did lots of lending, I always thought that banks "aren't allowed to make loans on the condition that they receive other business, but borrowers can use the loans as a factor in choosing underwriters" thing was ripe for a scandal. I still sort of think that: I just do not believe that no client coverage banker has ever said "we'll be in your credit facility but only if you promise us underwriting or M&A business." (Some people agree with me!) And, as the Journal notes, that would be a criminal violation of the antitrust laws, which is unspeakably weird but there you go. But if you ask a banker who has been carefully and recently briefed on anti-tying regulations, he will probably tell you something like "we don't demand underwriting business to provide a loan. Companies demand loans to get underwriting business." And, as the Journal says, that's not illegal.


Citi Traders Might Regret Taking A ‘Let Them Come Sue Us’ Approach To Lehman Derivatives

What remains of the failed investment bank wants some of its $2 billion collateral back from Citi.