Fellow WSO Monkeys,
I have a treat for you this thanksgiving. I was able to score an exclusive interview with the notorious Edmundo Braverman a.k.a Eddie Braverman a.k.a Uncle Eddie.
Q. You mention several times in your article after achieving your walkaway number you left Wall Street. Doesn't a part of you miss the adrenal rush, the thrill of making money and re-living the crazy lifestyle or did you burn out?
Eddie: The only answer I have to this question is yes. Yes, I did burn out. And yes, I do (very) occasionally miss it.
Q. The WSO and Playboy article created a lot of buzz and we saw some monkeys shit tossed around. Did you get any interview offers from TV channels, major newspapers, journalists etc.? Also did you receive any heat from any government official?
Eddie: The response was surprisingly gracious. Yves Smith flogged the story quite a bit, and she's got a really informed readership. I actually spent a whole day responding to her readers' questions one on one.
Playboy was working on setting up interviews and even mentioned Real Time with Bill Maher (because of Bill's early support for Move Your Money), but my living in Paris was problematic. If I were in New York or L.A. I probably would've gotten around the circuit a bit more. I don't think anyone in the government even noticed the article, which isn't that surprising.
Q. Okay so a lot of monkeys post regular questions on dating girls or settling down. You have also posted some articles Did you date any non-finance girls? How did the non-finance compare with the career oriented types (finance and/or other professional fields)
Eddie: I never actually dated any women in finance. There weren't as many in my day. The few women I worked with in equities were really together, but only one of them was hot enough to consider dating. Unfortunately, she was such a slut that I couldn't bring myself to follow half the trading floor, so I never took a run at her.
The women I worked with in commodities were utter train wrecks, so there was no way I was taking a chance on any of them. When you bang a sketchy meth addict and she steals your wallet, having to face her the next day at the morning meeting is just awkward.
Q. Everyone talks about how MD's in IB eventually marry their secretaries or get trophy wives. Is the same true in S&T?
Eddie: It's probably true of every successful white collar guy with no balance in his life. When you put your career before everything else, you have no choice but to take shortcuts in your personal relationships. It really never ends well (see my 2nd marriage), but that doesn't stop a lot of us from trying it.
I think the urge stems from our desire to be in control. Work is easy to control; women are not.
Q. Everyone knows the 1 in 2 marriages fail in the U.S. How can a person avoid marrying a gold-digger and find the right woman?
Eddie: In my experience, it's more or less a total crapshoot. I think a good hedge is to marry a woman with a family background similar to your own. I'm celebrating my 9th anniversary this week, and my wife and I could've been next door neighbors growing up even though we grew up on opposite ends of the country.
Another strategy is to get your starter marriage out of the way early. I first got married at 20 years old, and we were done before I hit 25. It's good to have a couple amateur bouts under your belt before you go pro.
Q. Did you date any non-Caucasian girls? Care to share your observations on the colored honies?
Eddie: I've dated all kinds. There's no discernible differences along racial lines that I've found. They're all batshit crazy.
Q. You have mentioned on WSO that you have been in 3 marriages. How ugly is divorce and what are the financial/emotional consequences of it?
Eddie: Divorce gets a bad rep, and it's certainly no fun, but never forget that marriage is the problem - not divorce. Think of marriage as a cancer, and divorce as chemotherapy. Neither is pleasant, but one of them kills you and the other makes you well.
I can think of nothing worse than a bad marriage. It saps your motivation and productivity, and makes you question your self-worth. I think a bad marriage does more damage to you than almost anything else, and for that (and many other reasons) you should probably avoid marriage altogether.
If you must get married, accept that statistically you will end up divorced and plan accordingly. Always keep cash stashed somewhere untraceable (safe deposit boxes at banks are no good - forensic accountants are hip to that scam) so you've got an emergency cushion she doesn't know about if/when the shit hits the fan.
Also, and this is of utmost importance, NEVER enter into an alimony agreement. The purpose of divorce is to be rid of her FOREVER. Negotiate a lump sum cash settlement to make her go away, even if it bankrupts you. You'll thank me later. If you have kids, you're screwed. But then you already knew that.
Q. Okay, so Man Week was my favorite week on WSO. Your article sparked a debate on what is it like being and becoming a man in today's world. How do you compare today's men to the previous generations?
Eddie: Growing up in the 70's and 80's, we had to work a lot harder for our distractions. If you wanted to play war back then, you had to pick up a stick and hit the kid from down the street. Today kids just fire up Modern Warfare 3 and they've got rocket launchers and shit.
On balance I think most of the changes are for the better. Where it gets problematic is when young men forgo actual experiences in favor of virtual experiences. There's also a social cost to everyone living online these days, and that's the increasingly common lack of interpersonal skills. Incivility had consequences at one time (which is probably how I ended up a boxer), but incivility is now the rule of the day.
That's part of what I love about France. Despite their reputation for rudeness, the French are polite to a fault. They even still refer to each other as "my lord" and "my lady" (monsieur & madame). They also eschew a life lived online in favor of actual social interaction.
Q. We have seen you countless times downing rum on NSFW. Is that your usual drink? Any funny or memorable stories with alcohol?
Eddie: I'm a horrendous rummy and have been for decades. If you have memorable drinking stories you're doing it wrong.
Q. You were on the 4 hour body diet. Any other diets you recommend for the cubicle monkeys?
Eddie: You'd be hard pressed to find anyone less qualified than I to give diet advice. I'm basically a fat tub of shit without an ounce of discipline, so if I'm of any use in this regard it's only to serve as a bad example. I lost 30 pounds on the Slow Carb Diet and then had a ball packing them back on. I eagerly await the day when the pharmaceutical companies move away from boner pills and make a pill you can take that gives you 6-pack abs while you crush Big Macs. Trust me - that day is coming. And when it does, all you fuckers who've spent your whole life in the gym can suck it.
Q. You posted a video on YouTube how many fights have you been into and any particular reasons behind them?
Eddie: I boxed for many years, so I guess you could say a lot. I've been in my share of street fights as well, but none recently. I'm such a smart ass that I had a knack for goading guys into it. I remember one time I just smirked at a guy inside a Del Taco and it was enough to make him beat my ass outside in the drive-thru.
Q. A lot of monkeys are constantly asking for an autobiographical book, any progress on it?
Eddie: Yes, it's in the works as we speak. It's called Becoming Braverman, and the first chapter is included at the end of The Best of Braverman, which I'm hoping will be out before Christmas.
Q. It seems you have a knack of cranking good articles, any offers for writing columns or op-eds for any magazine, newspaper or blog?
Eddie: I've been a writer my whole life, and it's pretty much all I do these days. I'm a contributing editor to a quarterly economics journal, I write for newspapers and magazines, and I write ad copy and corporate communications for a few companies. WSO is what I enjoy most, though, because the feedback is instantaneous and (usually) thought provoking. It's been great to watch the site evolve and grow and to know that I've been a part of that.
Part 2 of 2 can be found here
Mod note: "Blast from the past - Best of Eddie" - This one is originally from November 2011