Living with credit

Emily’s list: Old-school socialite edition

Emily Crone

Today marks the birthdays of Gloria Vanderbilt and Ivana Trump, two women who were socialites way before Paris Hilton made the word cliche. Trump, a Czechoslovakian Olympic skier and professional model, entered high society upon marrying Donald Trump, the real estate mogul whose hair is just as famous as his fortune (they later had a very public divorce, but she left far from empty-handed). Vanderbilt is an American actress and artist, known for her career as a fashion designer and her multimillion dollar family fortune. She is also the mother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

This week’s roundup from the best of the credit card blogosphere celebrates these old-school socialites. Enjoy!


1. Are you finding yourself tempted to make purchases on your credit card left and right? Trent at The Simple Dollar discusses keeping a gratitude journal, which can help you realize the value of what you already have and discourages you from unnecessary spending. When you’re an heiress and socialite, life is all about unnecessary spending, but for the rest of us, it’s a road to disaster.

2. Ask Mr. Credit Card weighs the various options you have when you can’t make your minimum credit card payments. Should you transfer the balance, haggle with your issuer or declare bankruptcy? Vanderbilt had a similar dilemma when she owed millions in back taxes after a legal problem. To get out of the mess, she chose to sell her homes in Southampton and New York City.

3. My Two Dollars provides a list of some of the best ways to spend your tax refund. On a diamond necklace? A Versace dress? A getaway to St. Barts? Nope. Pay off that debt.

4. Credit Card Assist explains that prepaid cards can be helpful for those who need to build good credit, though you should be sure to read the terms and conditions first. Similarly, you should sign a prenuptial agreement and read it closely before tying the knot so in the case of a divorce, so that you can either keep the money you have earned or so you don’t leave empty-handed. The Donald had a pre-nup, but upon divorce, Ivana claimed that she deserved much more, landing the twosome back in court.

5. Gather Little by Little outlines some of the different online money management tools available. Keeping your finances in check is important whether you are poor or rich. Ivana had plenty of money smarts; she’s rumored to have left her marriage to Donald Trump with $20 million cash, a $5 million housing allowance, all the jewelry she ever received from him, a $14 million home and more.

6. Generation X Finance discusses the tightening of credit in the current recession and wonders if readers have ever experienced this personally. Even opulently rich folks might find their credit limits lowered as the credit card companies cut back. However, many ritzy cards, such as the American Express Centurion (Black Card), require balances to be paid off at the end of each month.

7. Prime Time Money says you should stick it to the man and lists 15 things you should never pay for. This includes credit cards, credit counseling, a credit report and banking services. Also on the list is a pet from a breeder, since there are so many shelter pets who need a home. Socialites like Ivana and Gloria would disagree; these days, designer mutts are all the rage.

8. Bargaineering recently learned his true credit score, and explains how this compares to the scores that two credit score estimators recently gave him. Remember, being rich and famous does not equate to good credit.

9. I’ve Paid for This Twice Already explains how a debt road map can motivate you to crawl out of the hole you dug and gives you steps on how to do it. One way to stay motivated? Just think of life after debt; maybe you can’t afford a yacht and other staples of a socialite’s life, but you will be free to put your money toward other things, such as a fun family vacation.

10. Catherine at Wisebread uses an experience at her local Comcast office to ponder people’s financial priorities, and wonders how we would all react if we looked at our expenses with new eyes. After viewing how people experiencing layoffs in the recession are living, it would be interesting to see how our favorite socialites view their own excessive spending.

See related: Emily’s list: Valentine’s edition

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  • Great list, Emily. Love the commentary, too. 🙂