Marie Stein: Adventures in Finance

Marie Stein

Marie Stein has worked as a risk manager, banking executive, attorney, mediator, securities analyst, and ice-cream scooper. She came onto The Quoracast to talk about her life and career.

Most recently she has been working with Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

“They leverage the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions to let individuals lend money to other individuals throughout the world. They lend from everything to retail shops in Colombia to pig farms in Kyrgyzstan.”

“Kiva has built this online platform where you as a lender can go online and select a country, or type of initiative that you want to be involved in, and give money to support that. And the borrowers receive the funds and apply it to build their business.”

As a Kiva Microfinance Fellow, she was “Kiva’s eyes and boots on the ground.”

Marie has a varietal background in corporate finance. She says this experience was relevant to her work at Kiva, but not directly applicable.¬†“In a sense this microfinance experience was narrowing it down, and bringing it to the most granular level.”

After spending many years in finance, she has a catalog of experiences and memories to draw on. “There are a lot of characters in finance, especially when you are dealing with a lot of money.”

How does someone who has spent so much time studying financial instruments assess the personal tradeoff of time versus money?

“There is a real risk that we think of having enough cash as the primary unit of measure for everything else in life. You can’t really balance time and money because they are not at all the same thing. It’s not OK to say your time is worth this and my time is worth that–you can use money as a proxy for time only in very limited ways. But the primary element of our life is not time or money, but our relationships.”

But what is the action to take in response to that philosophy? Does that mean that we should not focus as much on our career, and specifically focus on relationships?

“You make relationships in the context of your career too. It’s relationship-building, with any career. To be successful in the financial world, it’s ¬†about building relationships.”

Her time on Quora is spent writing about a wide range of topics, including many outside of finance–life, movies, human behavior, and relationships.

“I’ve learned a lot from Quora. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer to any question. Everyone has a unique spin to the story, which is where the value is.”

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