money·4 min read

Skimm Money: Gas Prices, Investing Mistakes, and Everything Crypto

gasoline can
May 14, 2021

Hi. Friendly reminder: Tax Day is on Monday. If you haven't filed yet, you have one last weekend to claim all the credits and deductions you can. You got this.

Headlines, Skimm'd 

  • Fill it up, please. Last Friday, a cyberattack forced a US pipeline running from Texas to New York to shut down. That caused a major disruption to the east coast's fuel supply, leading to panic-buying and shortages in some states. And even pushing the national average price of gas to over $3 a gallon.  

  • Help wanted for more than 8 million. That's how many jobs were available in the US in March – a record high. But hiring stayed low. Some blame the extra $300-a-week in federal pandemic unemployment benefits for people choosing to not work. So certain states are dropping them early. Other possible reasons for the labor shortage: some workers are afraid of getting sick, some caregivers are still needed at home, and some Americans are considering changing careers.

  • Aaand more crypto news. Ether hit a new record high. Elon Musk is working with developers to upgrade Dogecoin. And there's a new Shiba Inu in town. Why has crypto been extra hot lately? One reason: inflation. When investors worry about traditional currencies losing value, they tend to look for alternative investments to keep their money safe. And right now, some think that's digital currency. 

Make Good (Money) Choices 

If you're still confused about crypto…

Read our answers to Qs from Skimm HQ'rs and our IG followers. Because you're not the only one who's confused. We break down how it all works, why it's valuable, the risks involved, and why Musk – Tesla's CEO – announced this week that the automaker would stop accepting Bitcoin. 

If you've heard investors should "sell in May and go away…"

Don't buy it. This old saying is based on the idea that the stock market produces lower returns in the summer, starting in May. And that it's smart to sell investments before the slowdown and pick them up again when the market returns from vacation. But trying to time an unpredictable market is rarely a good idea, even if it rhymes. A better time to sell: when you're ready to cash out to fund a money goal.

If you think you can't afford mental health care...

Don't let your budget stop you from getting the help you need. Most insurance plans are required to cover mental health just like physical health. As in, they can't charge higher copays for your visit to a psychologist vs. a surgeon. Tap your health savings account or flexible spending account, if you have one. These accounts let you use pre-tax dollars to pay for deductibles, prescriptions, and sometimes therapy. No insurance? You might be eligible for free or low-cost care from a local gov-funded health center or university hospital. P.S. Happy Mental Health Awareness month.

Asking for a Friend

Q: What's the biggest investing mistake you've ever made? 

Jully-Alma Taveras: My first big mistake was not understanding that the "free money" I was getting from my company [through a 403(b) match] had what is called a "vesting period." It meant that I had to work there for three years to keep my money. When I left two and a half years in, I was forced to leave thousands of dollars behind. It was definitely disappointing. But it made me ask more questions about employee benefits next time. Money mistakes will happen. Analyze what happened and take action so you don't fall into the same trap or money mistake in the future. 

Read the rest of our Q&A with Jully, aka "Investing Latina" on IG, who's working her way to a $1 million portfolio. 

Hot off the Web 

  • OZY Fest = TED + Coachella. Stream it live on May 15-16 and see Mark Cuban, Condoleezza Rice, and more talk about crypto's future and other big ideas. Sign up here.

  • Get a free Uber or Lyft to your vax appointment.

  • The "Cheugy" NFT sold for $410. Who else is live-laugh-loving NFTs? eBay.  

  • Most of NYC's mayoral candidates don't know what it costs to live in Brooklyn. 

  • Maya Angelou, Sally Ride, and other trailblazing American women are making change

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