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On the money

The freshmen are revolting at Goldman

Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

👶🏻 💰 A bust-up at Goldman Sachs after the firm “conspicuously declined” to increase the pay of junior bankers is “not really about money”, says the Financial Times’s Lex column. Since an anonymous memo was circulated by disgruntled first-year Goldmanites in March, detailing the “indignities” of toiling away 24/7 from home amid the pandemic, banks across Wall Street have been bending over backwards to make a better offer to their “bantam bankers”. Some are trying new perks: Jeffries offered junior analysts a free Peloton exercise bike, Citigroup promised “Zoom-free Fridays”. But mostly, they’ve boosted pay. The typical salary for juniors has risen from $85,000 to $100,000. Goldman, run by “tough” chief exec (and occasional electronic dance music DJ) David Solomon, is a notable holdout.

The reason is that Goldman has always paid staff “partly in prestige”. It’s the same model that operates at other famous brands, from Vogue to the UK Treasury. The bet is that junior workers can cash in that prestige later on for a better-paid job at a lesser-known firm. Keeping junior salaries down sends the message that the firm is more important than the individual, and many older bankers see working intensely for low pay as a “rite of passage”. The question is whether the current generation think differently enough for other, cuddlier banks to steal an advantage.

Keep flashing the cash

💷 🦠 Paying in cash is still crucial for millions, says Will Dunn in the New Statesman. But many retailers, including Ikea and the Young’s pub chain, stopped accepting it during the pandemic for health reasons. It’s nonsense: one study has found that cards harbour about twice as many germs as coins and notes do. Our phones, meanwhile, are about 10 times dirtier than a loo seat.

Banks and retailers do well when we ditch physical money. Banks don’t have to maintain cashpoints and they can make more money from credit card fees. Shops don’t have the admin of a physical till and a lot of research shows we spend more with cards – there’s less “pain of paying” when you’re not handing something physical over. And the anonymous data recorded through card payments is worth more than $5bn a year, according to McKinsey. All good reasons for fighting the closure of cashpoints.

It’s a me! Mario is still collecting gold coins

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

🎮 🤑 An unopened 1996 copy of the classic video game Super Mario 64 has sold at auction in Dallas, Texas, for more than $1.56 million (about £1.1 million). Heritage Auctions, the firm responsible for the sale, said there were “fewer than five” copies of the 1996 game in existence that were in such good condition. Earlier this year, the same auction house sold an unopened copy of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros that had been bought in 1986 and left in a drawer for the next 35 years, for $660,000.