This Week In Your Wallet: Rainbows & Rays Of Hope
Happy Pride Month! As I kick off what really feels like the start of summer (although I know by the calendar it’s still a few weeks away) we have a couple of important milestones to note… And yes, they both have financial implications.
There’s the 100th marking of the Tulsa Massacre, where, as the Wall Street Journal notes in a moving graphic representation, “35 blocks were leveled, hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed and 300 people killed.” Four generations later, the descendants of these home and business owners are still struggling to gain an economic foothold — an important lesson in how and why the racial wealth gap persists to this day. Today, President Biden will be in Tulsa where he is expected to announce a plan to help grow minority-owned small businesses and curb discrimination in the housing market. In case you’d like to dig further into some of the numbers, here’s our look at how Black Women are faring financially.
Today we also kick off Pride month. As we detail here, creating a life of financial comfort is still considerably more challenging for the LGBTQ+ community. As our Dayana Yochim wrote, “Federal law did not explicitly bar employers from firing or discriminating against a worker for their sexual orientation until just last year. On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that protects sex discrimination in the workplace applies to gay, lesbian and transgender workers.” There is still considerable work to do. For every dollar a man in a married opposite-sex couple earns, a woman in a same-sex couple earns $0.79, whereas a man in a same-sex couple earns $0.98. One in five LGBT women living alone lives in poverty. These are just a few of the stats we break down at HerMoney this week, and as we look to celebrate Pride this month (and always) we also take a look at 8 Lesbian, Trans & Queer-Owned Brands To Support. The next time you’re looking for a gift or a treat for yourself, drive change with your wallet, and keep spreading those messages of equality and inclusivity all year long.
The kids next door are cleaning up — financially. Since they’ve been home from college, both have been working hard + consistently, socking the proceeds into their savings accounts. Emma, always impressive, has turned on the customer service charm at her job at a local golf course and is racking up tips. Meanwhile Brett is working three jobs. Lifeguarding in the early mornings (he may be the only teenager going who doesn’t mind the shift that starts at 6:30 a.m.), working at a local animal shelter during the day and driving for DoorDash at night. I’d been thinking that I couldn’t remember a summer when jobs had been more available to teens, and then, as if The New York Times was reading my mind, this headline appeared: “The Luckiest Workers In The World? Teenagers.”
At Kennywood outside Pittsburgh (a favorite of this Wheeling, WV gal – if you’ve never been there, watch Adventureland) the salary has jumped from $9 to $13 an hour, plus a free season pass for up to three family members. In Henderson, KY, the city raised wages and dropped the minimum age in order to recruit enough lifeguards for the season. All in, the number of 16-to-19 year-olds working hasn’t been this high since 2008.
Notably, it’s white teens who are gaining jobs, Black and Hispanic teens less so. The story cites lack of transportation and the fact that urban centers aren’t hiring as much as suburban ones as reasons — and that gap could grow. Some experts are worrying that too much working could distract from schoolwork that has already taken a beating during the pandemic. (There’s evidence to support that working more than 20 hours a week does take a toll. But, in the study I conducted of factors that attributed to success in life for my book The Difference, we found that those who worked as teens were more likely to be financially comfortable down the road.)
To be sure, this isn’t happening across the board. In other words, if your teen is having trouble finding work, it may not be on them. As the Wall Street Journal reported, there are parts of the country — northern New England (New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine), the Plains states (Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and both Dakotas), the Mountain West (Montana, Idaho and Utah) — where there are three open positions for every job seeker. In others, though, where the reopening from the pandemic has proceeded more slowly — including New York — the picture is much different.
PS: If you’re starting a new job and looking to negotiate your way to the best salary, here are the rules for 2021.
Ready, Set, Financial Re-Set
All around us, we’re seeing the signs that things are getting “back to normal.” Some are great. Some — airfares at or above pre-pandemic levels, the last edition of the NYTimes At Home section (please tell me Emily Weinstein’s What To Cook This Week will appear elsewhere in the paper) — are not.
But who could blame you if you find yourself inclined to do something. So why not channel that energy into your finances? The start of a new month, a new week, a birthday, the end of a pandemic, they’re all great times to make a fresh start, says Katy Milkman, author of the new bestseller How To Change, who joined me for the podcast we’ll publish next week. You’ll hear more soon, but for now, take advantage…
Here’s HerMoney’s guide to getting your financial act together in a scant 30 days. You want a newer, better credit card to start earning miles toward that long overdue vacay? Yup. You’re finally ready to jump on those low mortgage rates and refi? Here you go. You improved your house and have yet to update your homeowner’s insurance? We got you. And if you haven’t improved your house yet, but that’s on your list? Here’s how to get that Farrow and Ball look on a budget.
I was ready to be done with beans. At least for a little while. At least until winter. Even the cheesy black bean mélange that was among our favorite pandemic comfort foods needed a respite. And maybe you were, too… until you got a load of the meat prices in your supermarket or even the local Costco (where my mother complained that they were so high they didn’t seem worth the trip.) You’re not imagining things. Pork prices are up 4.8% from a year ago, and 2.6% in the last month, The Washington Post reports. Beef and veal prices are up 3.3% from this time last year. Blame: Restaurant re-openings, labor shortages (see above), demand from consumers feeling flush. In the meantime… veggies on the grill, y’all?
Inflation Fears – And A Fix
And if inflation overall has you worried? As USA Today lays out in this nice primer, some inflation is basically inevitable with the amount of money the government is spending. But there are things you can do to protect yourself and your spending power. Among them? Look to real estate, commodities, value stocks and – as the WSJ’s Jason Zweig wrote last week: Ibonds. What are they? Inflation-protected US Savings Bonds. And right now they’re yielding 3.54 percent — almost risk free (the yield can drop if inflation does, but it can’t fall below 0) — which is a huge improvement over what you’re getting in savings. They’re also not subject to state and local income taxes. Is there a downside? They’re not as liquid as bank savings. You can’t get your funds out for a year, and if you take them before 5 you’ll have to give back the last 3 months of interest. And, each person can only put $10,000 in them per year. To buy them go to treasurydirect.gov.
Have a great week!