While I was on the treadmill at the gym this morning, I eavesdropped on the two old men behind me. They were talking about the current market meltdown. “It’s all because of greed,” one of the guys said. “Oh yeah,” the other nodded in agreement.

“Those damn fools weren’t satisfied with what they had. They wanted more, and they wanted it for nothing,” said the first guy. “Oh yeah,” the other nodded in agreement.

As I listened, I watched the television in front of me. AMC was playing Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” speech from the 1987 film Wall Street. I listened to the old guys moan about greed, and watched the subtitles as Gekko praised it. It was surreal.

I plugged in my iPod and took refuge in a magazine article about index funds.

Speaking of the gym, a reporter from the Associated Press recently found my article about low-cost fitness. She called to chat, but was disappointed to learn that, in the end, I had actually joined a fitness club. “You’ve got to do what works for you,” I said, repeating my mantra. “And exercising at home wasn’t working for me.” She was unimpressed.

She perked up, however, when she learned that Kris has been exercising all summer to an $8 yoga video. “Can I talk to your wife?” the reporter asked. And so my wife ended up being featured in an article on frugal exercise, while I was only included in a photo (as “J.D. Gates”). We think this is hilarious, but we don’t mind.

“Kris Gates, left, and husband J.D. Gates follow yoga instructions together from a DVD at their home in Portland, Ore., Friday, Sept. 12, 2008. Kris Gates does yoga every morning before going to work. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)”

Here are a few other financial stories from around the web:

  • Marc at Wheaties for Your Wallet explains what happens if your bank closes. Top advice: always keep your money in FDIC-insured accounts (or an equivalent), and never keep more than is protected by law.
  • Gather Little by Little suggests that you should buy things brand-spankin’ used. “If you get a used product that was well taken care of and in good shape, it can serve you well for a long time and save you a tremendous amount of money upfront.” Amen!
  • Five Cent Nickel wonders, “Is it Un-American to ask for a discount?” We’ve covered this before at GRS: some people do it, some people don’t. I want to ask for discounts, but most of the time I’m too shy.

Finally, I plan to update my list of personal finance sites from around the world soon. If you know of a non-U.S. site worth including, please let me know.

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