The term "trophy wife" has taken on a new, more upscale meaning. Men are finding the most attractive and sexually desirable women are not brainless beauties whose sole function is to look good and stay quiet, but women who are making good money and are in positions of power (See: Amal Clooney). The woman who got ahead on her looks by marrying a "sugar daddy" is now being replaced by the woman who is equal to her man in earning power and career position. That's sexy.
It goes further than that. According to anthropologist Dr. Stephen Juan, who recently appeared on The Today Show, we are seeing the demise of the "trophy wife" and welcoming the rise of the "power couple".
Says Dr. Juan:
A really strong man wants a woman who is equal to him, that is the truth of it now. A weak man wants someone that is docile and a servant to him -- it is a real sign of insecurity in a man to want a brainless trophy wife. Wives can be beautiful, intelligent and have careers and opinions just as strong as their partners.
When Mark Zuckerberg married his college sweetheart, Priscilla Chan, he married a woman who isn't only eye candy; she's a medical school graduate with eyes on a career who clearly demonstrates the new parity among married couples. Priscilla is not alone. Sociologist Christine Whelan, in her 2006 book Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, documented that research has found higher-income women are more likely to marry than women with less earning potential and they are marrying partners with equal high-income.
The days of a well-off older man who has a brainless beauty on his arm at social functions seems to be a deal out of Mad Men. Educated, intelligent women are the ones most sought-after by men of the same caliber. Brains are the new beauty.
There may be a historic social change occurring here. Men's attraction to professionally achieving women is one piece of a much larger story as to what people in the 21st century want in a partner. Men in their 20s and 30s in relationships with strong and high-salaried women are relieved that they no longer have to be the sole breadwinner and decision-maker. With her own high-paying career, the new trophy wife is highly educated, self-assured and able to hold her own financially. She's also not afraid to intimidate any male that has antiquated ideas of gender roles.
Call it the rise of the alpha woman or simply the beginning of a new era in relationships, the new trophy wife is a woman who succeeds on her own and can hold her own in the boardroom as well as the bedroom. To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, a powerful man who married Nancy Maginnes, a powerful woman: "Power, success and financial security are the ultimate aphrodisiacs".
Meet B. Virdot, the mysterious Christmas benefactor
B. Virdot's act of kindness
By TED GUP
An act of holiday generosity from a man who knew hardship
It was the week before Christmas 1933 — the depths of the Great Depression. In Canton, Ohio, a town beset by 50% unemployment and numbing despair, an ad appeared in the local newspaper offering modest help to people who had fallen on hard times. Those in need were instructed to write to an anonymous donor who went by the name “B. Virdot,” and he would send the neediest of them a check for $5, about $90 by today's measure. The next day hundreds of letters poured in.
The checks went out within days, 150 of them, timed to arrive before Christmas. They went to Harry Stanley, a blacksmith out of work for two years, hoping to provide his five children a Christmas dinner; to Charles Minor, a jobless steeplejack who was living on bread and coffee; to Howard Sommers, reduced to selling dandelions in summer, sassafras in winter and pencils door-to-door; and to Ruby Blythe, who asked nothing for herself but sought help for a neighbor whose children had no clothes for school and only bread for Christmas dinner.
It was not until 2008 — 75 years later — that anyone discovered the identity of the mysterious B. Virdot. The answer was found in an old suitcase my mother gave me on her 80th birthday. It was filled with letters, all of them dated Dec. 18, 1933, and addressed to B. Virdot. From the contents it was clear: B. Virdot was my grandfather, Samuel J. Stone. Not the wealthy Christian do-gooder the town of Canton had imagined, but the immigrant son of Orthodox Jews who had fled the pogroms of Romania. The name “B. Virdot” was a combination of his three daughters' names — “B” for Barbara, “Vir” for Virginia (my mother) and “Dot” for Dorothy.
The story of B. Virdot might well have ended there, but it did not. Like many such acts of kindness, it proved to have a power that continued to resonate. The suitcase and its letters had found their way to me, a writer, during the Great Recession, and they seemed to be addressed to another generation facing uncertainty and hardship. But as a writer I feared that the monetary amount was too modest — a mere $5 — for any of the recipients' descendants to have heard about the gift and recall what it had meant. How wrong I was.
For the next year, as I researched a book on the secret gifts, I went about tracking down the descendants of the letter writers, some still living in Canton, others dispersed across the country. Nearly all of them wept as I shared the letters with them.
Felice May was 4 years old in 1933. The family struggled, selling milk from their tumbledown farm and trapping for pelts. One Christmas stood out from all the rest. On the Christmas when May was 4, her family went into town to the five-and-dime and her mother bought her a little pony on wheels. “My eyes bugged out,” she recalls. It was her favorite and only store-bought toy and she pulled it with her up and down the lane. In the years that followed, she always wondered how it was that in such dire times, her family could have afforded such a luxury. With my call, the mystery was solved: It was the check from B. Virdot. At 80, May was raising miniature ponies — an unbroken link to that long-ago act of kindness. “I've loved ponies all my life,” she said.
Olive Hillman's prayers were answered when the B. Virdot check arrived a few days before Christmas. Her husband was disabled from a failed suicide attempt and had been out of work for years. The mother of an 8-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, she wrote: “We all need clothes bad. I don't mind myself but am writing this in hopes that my children may have a nice Xmas.” With the check she bought her son a pair of stockings, a new cap and a train; for her daughter, Geraldine, a pair of shoes, stockings and a doll. When I located Geraldine Frye a few years ago, she was living a life of relative abundance, but that had not diminished the memory of the doll she received for Christmas in 1933. In her basement was another doll, already wrapped — a Christmas gift for her great-granddaughter, and a reminder of another time.
In 2010, when my book about B. Virdot's secret gifts was published, only one writer of the letters was still alive: 91-year-old Helen Palm. She was 14 when she wrote to B. Virdot. I wondered if she would have any recollection of the letter or the check. “Oh my God!” she said when I'd finished reading her the letter. Remember? “You better believe it!” she said. “I went right down and bought a pair of shoes.” They replaced a worn-out pair she had lined with a cardboard sole cut from a box of shredded wheat to help absorb the moisture that crept in. With the rest of the money she bought a gift for her siblings and then took her parents out to dinner.
My grandfather knew that his gifts wouldn't bring an end to the town's suffering or alter the course of the letter writers' lives. But he had learned from his own hard life that even the most modest of offerings can provide the gift of hope and the knowledge that someone cares. My grandfather, who never went beyond the third grade, knew that a gift from a stranger might have a special power to confer upon others a sense that they belonged to a larger community, that there were bonds beyond kinship that matter to us all.
After my book was published, Canton businessmen anonymously created a “B. Virdot Fund” and raised some $54,000 for the needy of Canton. In 2010, it was distributed to 500 families the week of Christmas — $100 each. The town's orchestra commissioned a symphony to be based on the story. In Orem, Utah, a family chose to forgo Christmas presents and instead set up a B. Virdot Fund to benefit 150 families.
I once thought of placing a plaque beside my grandfather's grave in Canton, something to remind passersby that this was B. Virdot's final resting place. But bronze would not do him justice. His is a living memorial that has outlasted his century and touched people as far away as Beijing and Riyadh. It is now part of the DNA of the Midwestern town he called home and the people who found in his modest gift not only new shoes, a Christmas dinner or a wooden horse, but also hope itself and a reason to be generous.
Ted Gup is a Boston-based writer and author, most recently, of "A Secret Gift." Email: email@example.com
Here's the hierarchy of luxury brands around the world
MAR. 23, 2015, 11:06 AM
Brands are the best way to show off wealth, and there is a flood of new millionaires around the world who like showing off.
"The brands bought are actually more important than the level of money earned," HSBC managing director Erwan Rambourg writes in his recent book, "The Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun."
Rambourg created a brand pyramid to show how major brands range in accessibility from everyday luxuries like Starbucks to ultra-high-end luxury like Graff diamonds. This is the luxury power ranking:
Brands or products associated with luxury of any kind can benefit from increasing affluence around the world.
Still, brands that become too accessible are less appealing to superrich buyers. Louis Vuitton, for instance, is considered a "brand for secretaries" by many wealthy Chinese.
"Louis Vuitton has become too ordinary," a billionaire woman told China Market Research Group managing director Shaun Rein in 2011. "Everyone has it. You see it in every restaurant in Beijing. I prefer Chanel or Bottega Veneta now. They are more exclusive."
Gucci is similarly suffering from a reputation problem, while bespoke goods and less-well-known European labels like Bottega Veneta are soaring.
High-net-worth consumers are particularly hungry for obscure luxury brands.
"I buy the brand Maison Ullens in Paris — it's a French brand all made in Italy," Sara Jane Ho, the founder of the elite Chinese etiquette school Institute Sarita, told Business Insider. "When I came back to China all my students were wondering where my clothes were from. Very naturally, my school became Maison Ullens point of sale simply because my students really love buying their stuff."
Of course, bespoke items remain the ultimate luxury good.
"Whether it's a bespoke Louis Vuitton trunk for Scotch and cigar fans or an exceptional stone at Graff, the ultra‐high‐end and bespoke category is a no‐limit segment where all the craziest dreams (and prices) come true," Rambourg writes.
Metro Pacific Investments chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan suffered a 15-percent drop in his Hong Kong-based compensation last year, reducing his 2014 package from HK-parent First Pacific to US$8.5 million (about P380 million.)
According to regulatory filings last week, MVP received over $10 million in 2013, the first time the acknowledged highest-compensated Filipino professional in the region reached the eight-figure mark.
First Pacific attributed the drop in its chief executive's 2014 compensation to "performance-based payments" as well as share-based benefits.
Out of the $8.5 million, $1.3 million (over P57 million) came from Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., apparently as MVP's salary at the associated telecom company.
PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno, meanwhile, was reported to have received $6.3 million in 2014 remuneration also from First Pacific.
In addition to the paychecks, MVP has also been awarded First Pacific share options, which as of end-2014 had accumulated to 28.2 million shares.
First Pacific closed Thursday at HK$7.46 a share.
And the highest-paid executives are...
With the major listed companies having completed their 2014 regulatory filings, it is now possible to glean and compare the companies paying top pesos to their senior management team.
And leading the list are:
• First Gen, P425 million in combined compensation for chairman Federico Lopez, president Francis Giles Puno, Richard Tantoco, Jonathan Russell and Victor Santos Jr.
According to First Gen, the Lopez team have been seconded from parent First Philippine Holdings, which is supposed to be shouldering their glowing salaries.
• Ayala Corp., P390 million for chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel and brother, president Fernando Zobel, John Eric Francia, Delfin Gonzalez Jr., Solomon Hermosura and John Philip Orbeta.
• San Miguel Corp., P389.6 million for chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., president Ramon S. Ang, Ferdinand Constantino, Virgilio Jacinto, Joseph Pineda and Casiano Cabalan Jr.
• Unionbank, P257 million for chairman Justo Ortiz, president Vicente Valdepenas, Edwin Bautista, Eugene Acevedo and Jesus Roberto Reyes.
o First Philippine Holdings, P222 million for chairman emeritus Oscar Lopez, chief executive Federico Lopez, president Elpidio Ibanez, Arthur De Guia and Benjamin Lopez.
• Metro Pacific, P205.5 million for chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, president Jose Ma. Lim, David Nicol, Augusto Palisoc Jr. and Robin Michael Velasco.
• Bank of the Philippine Islands, P195.7 million for president Cezar Consing, Natividad Alejo, Joseph Albert Gotuaco, Antonio Paner and Alfonso Salcedo Jr.
• Meralco, P185 million for president Oscar Reyes, Ricardo Buencamino, Alfredo Panlilio, Betty Siy-Yap and Ramon Segismundo.
• ABS-CBN, P176.9 million for president Maria Rosario Santos-Concio, Ma. Lourdes Santos, Ma. Socorro Vidanes, Carlo Joaquin Tadeo Katigbak (who is being tipped off as the next ABS-CBN president) and Rolando Valdueza.
• Globe Telecom, P176 million for president Ernest Cu, Alberto de Larrazabal, Rebecca Eclipse, Gil Genio and Renato Jiao.
• BDO Unibank, P161.2 million for president Nestor Tan, Walter Wassmer, Jaime Yu, Rolando Tanchanco and Lucy Dy.
• ICTSI, $3.5 million (about P155.75 million) for Enrique Razon Jr., Martin O'Neil, Rafael Consing Jr., Christian Gonzalez Jr. and Jose Joel Sebastian.
• PLDT, P152 million for Ernesto Alberto, Annabelle Chua, Isaias Fermin and Ma. Lourdes Rausa-Chan. According to PLDT, president Napoleon Nazareno receives his compensation from Smart Communications.
• GMA Network, P146.7 million for chairman Felipe Gozon, president Gilberto Duavit Jr., Felipe Yalong, Marissa Flores and Jessica Soho.
• Metrobank, P138.9 million for chairman Arthur Ty, president Fabian Dee, Joshua Naing, Fernand Antonio Tansingco and Corazon Ma.Therese Nepomuceno.
• Energy Development Corp., P137.9 million for chairman Federico Lopez, president Richard Tantoco, Nestor Vasay, Ernesto Pantangco and Agnes de Jesus, with the clarification that, except for de Jesus, the management team are seconded and receive their salaries from parent company First Gen.
• Ayala Land, P135.5 million for president Bernard Vincent, Arturo Corpuz, Raul Irlanda, Emilio Tumbocon and Jaime Ysmael.
• Manila Water, P127.3 million for president Gerardo Ablaza Jr., Luis Juan Oreta, Virgilio Rivera Jr., Ferdinand Dela Cruz and Geodino Carpio.
Heard through the grapevine
Asked what was delaying his long-reported 30 percent acquisition of GMA Network, San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang told a journalist who bumped into him during the recent Forbes Philippine magazine launch, "Ewan ko nga ba!" ("I really do not know"), using body English to further convey that he did not wish to discuss the subject.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
I started Docstoc in my 20’s, made the cover of one of those cliché “20 Under 20” lists, and today I employ an amazing group of 20-somethings. Call me a curmudgeon, but at 34, how I came up seems so different from what this millennial generation expects. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I see this generation making their own. In response, here are my 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get.
Time is Not a Limitless Commodity – I so rarely find young professionals that have a heightened sense of urgency to get to the next level. In our 20s we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want. Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance, and can never get back. Make the most of the opportunities you have today, because there will be a time when you have no more of it.
You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated - Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet. As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.” Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential. There’s no prize for talent, just results. Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success.
We’re More Productive in the Morning – During my first 2 years at Docstoc (while I was still in my 20’s) I prided myself on staying at the office until 3am on a regular basis. I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone. But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours. Now I stress an office-wide early start time because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.
Social Media is Not a Career – These job titles won’t exist in 5 years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both. Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue. It’s not an end in itself. I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.
Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person. It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities. And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home. Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.
Be the First In & Last to Leave *– I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career. You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove. There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.
Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do – You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility. You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure. Err on the side of doing too much, not too little.
Responsibility for Your Mistakes – You should be making lots of mistakes when you’re early on in your career. But you shouldn’t be defensive about errors in judgment or execution. Stop trying to justify your F-ups. You’re only going to grow by embracing the lessons learned from your mistakes, and committing to learn from those experiences.
You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked – Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have. This is the most impressionable, malleable and formative stage of your professional career. Working for someone that demands excellence and pushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.
A New Job a Year Isn’t a Good Thing **– 1-year stints don’t tell me that you’re so talented that you keep outgrowing your company. It tells me that you don’t have the discipline to see your own learning curve through to completion. It takes about 2-3 years to master any new critical skill, give yourself at least that much time before you jump ship. Otherwise your resume reads as a series of red flags on why not to be hired.
People Matter More Than Perks – It’s so trendy to pick the company that offers the most flex time, unlimited meals, company massages, game rooms and team outings. Those should all matter, but not as much as the character of your founders and managers. Great leaders will mentor you and will be a loyal source of employment long after you’ve left. Make a conscious bet on the folks you’re going to work for and your commitment to them will pay off much more than those fluffy perks.
Map Effort to Your Professional Gain – You’re going to be asked to do things you don’t like to do. Keep your eye on the prize. Connect what you’re doing today, with where you want to be tomorrow. That should be all the incentive you need. If you can’t map your future success to your current responsibilities, then it’s time to find a new opportunity.
Speak Up, Not Out – We’re raising a generation of sh-t talkers. In your workplace this is a cancer. If you have issues with management, culture or your role & responsibilities, SPEAK UP. Don’t take those complaints and trash-talk the company or co-workers on lunch breaks and anonymous chat boards. If you can effectively communicate what needs to be improved, you have the ability to shape your surroundings and professional destiny.
You HAVE to Build Your Technical Chops – Adding “Proficient in Microsoft Office” at the bottom of your resume under Skills, is not going to cut it anymore. I immediately give preference to candidates who are ninjas in: Photoshop, HTML/CSS, iOS, WordPress, Adwords, MySQL, Balsamiq, advanced Excel, Final Cut Pro – regardless of their job position. If you plan to stay gainfully employed, you better complement that humanities degree with some applicable technical chops.
Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter – It’s who you know more than what you know, that gets you ahead in business. Knowing a small group of folks very well, or a huge smattering of contacts superficially, just won’t cut it. Meet and stay connected to lots of folks, and invest your time developing as many of those relationships as possible.
You Need At Least 3 Professional Mentors – The most guaranteed path to success is to emulate those who’ve achieved what you seek. You should always have at least 3 people you call mentors who are where you want to be. Their free guidance and counsel will be the most priceless gift you can receive.
Pick an Idol & Act “As If” – You may not know what to do, but your professional idol does. I often coach my employees to pick the businessperson they most admire, and act “as if.” If you were (fill in the blank) how would he or she carry themselves, make decisions, organize his/her day, accomplish goals? You’ve got to fake it until you make it, so it’s better to fake it as the most accomplished person you could imagine.
Read More Books, Fewer Tweets/Texts – Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters: all breadth and no depth. Creativity, thoughtfulness and thinking skills are freed when you’re forced to read a full book cover to cover. All the keys to your future success, lay in the past experience of others. Make sure to read a book a month (fiction or non-fiction) and your career will blossom.
Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big. Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment). Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential. You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income. No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life. It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.
Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It – Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business. It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity. Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible, your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure. It’s the one item that, once lost, you can never get back.