money·4 min read

Skimm Money: Equal Pay Day, Reparations, and Breaking Down NFTs

Sticky note with password written on it
Mar 26, 2021

Hey. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Our hearts are with all of you and those who have been personally affected by the tragic shootings in Atlanta and Boulder.

Headlines, Skimm'd

  • Traffic report: cargo ship stuck in the canal. Since Tuesday, one of the world's largest container ships has been blocking the Suez Canal in Egypt, a passageway for about 10% of all global trade. One calculation says the bottleneck is holding up an estimated $400M of goods each hour.

  • Happy bday, bull market. The S&P 500's bull market (aka when stock prices keep rising) turned one on Tuesday. If you'd invested $1,000 in an S&P 500 fund a year ago, you'd have celebrated the day nearly $750 richer.

  • Evanston, Illinois, says 'yes' to reparations. This week, the Chicago suburb became the first US city to approve paying reparations to Black residents, or their descendants, who suffered housing discrimination due to city policies. Supporters say it's a good start to address systemic racism and right historical wrongs.

  • More women making history in DC. Shalanda Young became the first Black woman to be confirmed as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. And Lina Khan, President Joe Biden’s pick to join the Federal Trade Commission, would be the youngest FTC commissioner, at age 32.

  • Doughnut throw away your shot. Participating US Krispy Kreme shops are giving COVID-19 vaccination-card-carrying customers a free glazed doughnut every day for the rest of 2021. That's sweet.

  • Newsflash: women deserve equal pay. In almost every occupation, including female-dominated fields, women are paid less than men, according to one analysis. Wednesday's Equal Pay Day marked how much longer women need to work, on average, to earn what non-Hispanic white men do in a year: about 83 days. It's even more for Latinas and Black women. And the pay gap is just the tip of the iceberg.

Make Good (Money) Choices

If Equal Pay Day stats make you feel bad…

Know this: women are not the problem. Calling out inequality is the first step to changing it. But changing it isn’t about telling women to choose higher-paying fields. Or to stop prioritizing flexibility when they have kids. Or to take any other advice that makes women responsible for a fix. Employers and the gov need to step up to close the gap. So let them know it. Talk about work and money with your coworkers, friends and fam – anyone who will listen. Because to get a real Equal Pay Day worth celebrating one day, everyone needs to hear it.

If all your passwords are the same…

Mix it up. (Spoiler: "yourdogsname789" is as easy to hack as it is to remember.) Weak and outdated passwords are a common cause of identity fraud, which one study says cost Americans $56B in 2020. Pro tip: throw extra numbers, letters, and/or special characters into new passwords to make them stronger and harder to guess. A digital password manager can help keep them safe and not forgotten.

If you’re the fixer in your friend group…

Let these problem-solving products do some heavy lifting. From containers that keep your food fresh for longer to a fabric shaver that helps you revive your clothing and avoid having to replace certain pieces every season. Even better: everything's under $50. Thank us later.

Thing to Know

NFT: Non-fungible token, or a unique digital asset as irreplaceable as Beyoncé. Think: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever published tweet (which sold for $2.9M), a digital collage by artist Beeple (sold for a record $69.3M), and the world’s first digital NFT home (sold for more than $500K). When you buy an NFT, you get a token secured by blockchain technology. (Hint: blockchain is a decentralized database that tracks who owns what.)

Why is this a thing? NFTs can be a new source of revenue for Internet creators and their supporters. Plus, pandemic boredom and apps like Robinhood made it easier for people looking for new ways to invest, helping drive interest in NFTs, "meme stocks" (hey, GameStop), and other investment manias. Warning: they're not called manias for their safety and reliability. If you want to try investing in them or other extra-risky assets, resist the urge to follow the crowd and go all in. And instead limit it to a (very) small portion of your portfolio.

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