With a swirl of smoke floating around him, Paul Volcker was no stranger to the cigar lifestyle. Although he limited his smoking in public, he didn’t shy away from lighting up during congressional meetings. He tucked his long brown stick into his pocket, between his fingers, or in the corner of his mouth. You’d be hard-pressed to separate Volcker from his cheap cigars. Why cheap cigars? Volcker was as economical with his sticks as he was with the country’s finances.
Paul Volcker and Money
Paul Volcker Jr. was born in Cape May, New Jersey in 1927. He was an American economist who served as chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System during the Carter and Reagan administrations. The Obama Administration later consulted with him as well when it sought to overhaul the nation’s financial regulatory system.
Volcker was the guy who received credit for wrangling inflation back under control. Inflation was at 14% in 1980 and fell to 3% by 1983, thanks to Volcker’s tactics.
Politics aside, though, there’s one thing that always stood out about Volcker and that was his love of cheap cigars and cigar lifestyle. Volcker was a man of six-foot-seven-inch stature and while he limited smoking in public, he often smoked his sticks in Congress during committee meetings, and no one stopped him. This was significant considering congress held several smoking bans since 1871, yet Volcker could continue enjoying his stick despite this.
Paul Volcker’s Love for Cheap Cigars
Unlike many cigar aficionados who love a good premium stick, Volcker preferred more affordable cigars. In fact, his personal favorites were AC Grenadiers, known today as Antonio y Cleopatra Grenadiers. During Volcker’s time, these sticks cost him a mere 25 cents per cigar. Volcker liked them because they were economical. They also helped him through a time of inflation, and he trained himself to smoke only what he could afford.
That might sound odd, considering the guy spent many years in prominent financial roles and on Wall Street. The discipline of smoking cheap cigars continued throughout Volcker’s life well after he was earning $1 million a year on Wall Street. Yet, he was a firm believer and practitioner in frugality and discipline, even with his choice of cigars.
Inflation’s Impact on the Cigar Industry
Volcker was as passionate about smoking affordable cigars as he was about fighting inflation. In fact, he once was quoted in a book written about the Insider Trading Sanctions Act of 1983 hearing as saying, “I am going to stop smoking cigars when the deficit goes away.” Volcker opted for more economical cigars to maintain his cigar lifestyle while fighting his battle against inflationary prices and sticking to a budget. That’s besides his staunch discipline for frugality.
Considering Volcker’s rule on smoking affordable cigars remains relevant even today considering the rising cost of cigars and other markets we’re facing.
Inflation is here once again, but that doesn’t mean you must go searching for something comparable today to Volcker’s 25-cent cigar of yesteryear. A better idea is to focus on finding good sticks you can afford and savoring them.
Should You Choose Cheap Cigars?
Like Paul Volcker, you can stick to your budget and beat inflation with more affordable cigar choices. That doesn’t mean you need to, or should, buy cheap cigars, though. Rather, focus on getting the best quality cigar that fits your budget. Reserve your premium sticks for those special occasions.
What’s the point of cigar lifestyle if you can’t enjoy the flavor and experience of your cigar? Familiarize yourself with how your cigars brand reputation, quality and the flavor profile.
If you’re new to cigar lifestyle or looking for a way to enjoy an affordable cigar without spending a small fortune, the prices on some of the premium cigars might seem daunting. Remember, there are ways to enjoy a good stick without kicking in $20 or more for each premium cigar.
The Final Word on Volcker and Cheap Cigars
Although Volcker often chose cheap cigars as his go-to, they weren’t the only cigars he smoked. He knew when to reach for a premium Havana as well. The key lies in knowing when to choose an affordable cigar and when the moment calls for something special.
When selecting affordable cigars, be selective, but also don’t be afraid to try new cigars. There are plenty of affordable sticks to choose from that won’t break your budget.
As with any cigar, to maximize flavor and your overall cigar experience, cleanse your palate before you smoke. Finally, a big part of cigar lifestyle is also about the fellowship afforded by a community of cigar aficionados. So, kick back, light up and enjoy the experience.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/cigar-tobacco-havana-to-smoke-case-1293684/