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JANUARY 15, 2019


The Less Broke You

Skimm'd while making our money do the work


"Silicon Valley's most unusual and pampered tenants" – Tina and Louise are just two gals living in a $1,500-a-month studio apartment. Also, they're cats.


Brexit vote

The Story

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is stressing about today's crucial Brexit vote.

What should I expect?

For lawmakers to likely vote against her Brexit plan. Finalizing the details around Brexit has been a bloody nightmare. One of the biggest issues is how to handle the customs border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU). May's deal – which her cabinet and EU leaders have backed – hits pause on that issue and keeps the UK in a trade agreement with the EU until they can hash out the details. But UK lawmakers still aren't on board.

Tell me more.

Some want the country to stay part of the EU. Others want the UK to make a clean break and cut all ties. As we said, bloody nightmare. They were supposed to vote on the plan late last year, but May delayed it since it appeared to be doomed from the start. This time, things aren't looking much better. Yesterday, she put pressure on lawmakers to vote in favor of the plan, saying "no it is not perfect. And yes it is a compromise."


In 73 days, the UK is set to split from the EU. With or without a deal in place. But if lawmakers don't sign on to May's vision, here's what might play the UK could leave the bloc without a deal, which could cause economic and geopolitical drama. Or two: Brexit may not happen, meaning the decision from the 2016 referendum could be overturned. Your move, Parliament.

PS: There's a lot going on with Brexit. If you sign up for theSkimm app, you can text us your questions, and we'll break down WTF is going on for you.

William Barr's confirmation hearing

The Story

Attorney General nominee William Barr is sitting down with senators for his job interview today.

What should I expect?

A lot of questions about his stance on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation – since, if confirmed, Barr would be the one overseeing it. Late last year, President Trump fired his AG Jeff Sessions. The two were on the outs ever since Sessions recused himself from overseeing the FBI's Russia investigation. So Trump tapped Barr – the former AG for President George HW Bush – to replace him. But Barr's been critical of Mueller's probe.

Tell me more.

Last year, he sent the DOJ a memo, saying that Trump shouldn't be forced to answer Qs from the special counsel...because he says the theory that Trump may have obstructed justice is "fatally misconceived." But in order to get the job, Barr faces two days of intense questions from Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. So he's changing his tune a bit. Yesterday, his testimony was made public, in which he states it's "vitally important" for Mueller to wrap things up on his own terms.


Barr has a pretty good chance of getting confirmed since Republicans control the Senate. But both sides of the aisle are looking to see if he'll be an impartial overseer of the massive investigation into the president that appointed him.


What to say when a stranger yells at you for accidentally bumping into them…

That escalated quickly. Yesterday, a Chinese court sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death for drug smuggling. In China, drug smuggling is considered a highly punishable offense. Schellenberg had previously been sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly trying to smuggle methamphetamine from China to Australia. He appealed. But a court decided that he should be executed instead. Things have been tense between China and Canada since last month, after the CFO of Huawei (a Chinese telecom giant) was arrested in Vancouver. Since then, two Canadians have been arrested in China for allegedly "endangering national security," raising Qs about whether these are tied to the CFO's arrest. In response to yesterday's court decision, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau accused China of using the death penalty without any concrete reason and said that the world should be concerned. China called his comments "irresponsible." Schellenberg was given ten days to appeal his sentence.

What people are watching…

The Russian republic of Chechnya. Yesterday, activists said dozens of people there have been detained and at least two have died because of a new crackdown on LGBT groups. This is a predominantly Muslim region where being gay isn't accepted. Back in 2017, there were reports of more than 100 gay men arrested and tortured – some even killed – in the region. Authorities have denied the accusations. Now, an activist group is saying that this recent crackdown has been going on since last month. A spokesman for the head of the republic said that no one's been arrested for being gay and that these latest accusations aren't true.

What to say when you do something wrong…

Time to take responsibility, just like PG&E. Yesterday, California's biggest power company said it plans to file for bankruptcy by the end of the month. Investigators have determined the utility's power lines started a number of wildfires in 2017 – killing dozens of people and burning almost 200,000 acres. The state is also looking into whether its equipment started last year's Camp Fire – which is the deadliest fire in the state's history, where at least 86 people died. Now, PG&E said it's potentially facing more than $30 billion in liability costs because of its role in the wildfires. This came less than a day after the company announced its CEO was stepping down.

What to say when an interview for a new roommate goes badly…

No, thank you. Yesterday, President Trump rejected a proposal to temporarily reopen the government. So, we're on day 25 of the partial shutdown. And Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport shut down a TSA checkpoint because there aren't enough officers working.

What to say when your friend says 'I'm tired'…

You. Need. Sleep. A new study says sleeping less than six hours each night or waking up a lot increases your risk of developing dangerous plaque in arteries (aka it can narrow or block your arteries). Not just in your heart, but throughout your body. This can cause things like poor circulation or strokes. Reason number 700 why you need to get good sleep.

What to say when you hear Hulu upped the ante against Netflix

There must be something in the water.


2019 is the year of making money moves. As in, no more excuses about waiting to invest until you have more saved up. Or not understanding how your finances work.

You made your money, now make it work for you.

Welcome to "The Less Broke You." We've got your investing 101, financial tips for the different stages of life, and answers to your biggest money questions.

Get started here.


Spotlight on…Skimm'r of the Week Katie Doyle. She's the head of content for HerMoney, a personal finance site where the mission is to change "our relationship with money, one woman at a time." Learn more here.

Cheers to…Hannah N (NC) who is overseas for 11 months doing mission work in 11 different countries. That's one country every month. And to Mikayla D (KS) who is three years cancer-free.

Some (Birthdays)…Taylor Greenberg (FL), Mona Goodman (CT), Angelle Dumond (TX), Jacquelyn Brummond (IA), Shonali Burke (MD), Calee McElwain (NJ), Jessica Catalano (MA), Eric Johnson (IN), Kendra Allen (AZ), Jade Kirstein (CAN), Kate Rinehart (South Africa), Byron Goldstein (PA), Lauren Hughes (SC), Tim Pinkham (NH), Bryan Torcivia (IL)

*Welcome to a new Skimm community section we're testing. Want to take it to the next level with us? Reach out here for a chance to be featured.