money·6 min read

Skimm Money: Infrastructure Goes, Prices Rise (More), and Elon Tweets

make room in your budget
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Nov 12, 2021

Happy (belated) Veterans Day. Many places are honoring military members all week long with restaurant deals, free entry to zoos, museums, and parks, and other discounts. If you want to say ‘thanks’ to those who've served, consider a charitable donation

Headlines, Skimm'd

  • Green means go. The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill finally passed through Congress last Friday, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it on Monday. It includes some major funding for things like transportation, internet access, and electric grids. At the top of the list for upgrades: ports. The Biden admin plans to invest $17 billion in improvements to help address supply-chain problems.

  • The more you owe. Total US household debt went above went above $15 trillion for the first time ever in the third quarter. That's thanks to $1.58 trillion in student loan debt adding to the balance. And larger mortgages and auto loans, as home and car prices continue to rise. PS: the Consumer Price Index (which tracks the average cost of things like food, shelter, and gas) is up 6.2% since last October – the fastest rise in over 30 years. 

  • Leave it to Twitter. Tesla shares fell hard to start the week and wiped around $200 billion from the company’s market value. The reason: in a weekend tweet, CEO Elon Musk asked his followers if he should sell 10% of his stock options. A move that could force him to pay more than $10 billion in taxes. And 58% of respondents said ‘yup.’ His trust already sold about $5 billion worth of shares early in the week and more worth over $650 million on Thursday – but not enough to meet his Twitter pledge yet. See why high-profile tweets have power to move the market

Let’s Talk About… 

Illustration: Daniel Fishel

What's Got Investors Lookin' So Crazy Right Now?

NFTs, crypto, and SPACs (oh my). January's GameStop saga introduced "meme stocks" to our vocab and kicked off a year of *unusual* investing trends. A few recent examples: Bed Bath & Beyond stock soaring more than 50% in one day last week and a Doge fight between dueling cryptos. Even the mayor of Miami wants to hop on the trend and give every city resident a crypto wallet to collect Bitcoin yields from MiamiCoin. Catch up on what else is going on with investing manias and how to tell if you should jump in with your own money.

Make Good (Money) Choices

Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock

If your dollars don’t go as far as they used to… 

Make some room in your budget. Because prices are rising, and experts say they'll keep going up in 2022. So hit refresh and make a new spending plan according to your current priorities and needs, plus some cushion for higher prices. Then look for ways to create some wiggle room. Think: buy in bulk, repurpose what you already have, and negotiate down recurring bills. Need more ideas? We’ve got you covered

If your employer hasn’t baby-proofed your income…

Ask for paid leave. What could strengthen your case: rallying coworkers to approach HR with you. And pointing out that it's good for workers and companies. Because offering this benefit helps with retention (replacing employees isn't cheap) and attracting new talent – two things many companies have struggled with during the Great Resignation. Skimm more about advocating for yourself, plus everything else you need to know before going OOO to bond with a new baby.

If your new year's resolution is to max out your 401(k)…

Get ready to up your contributions. The IRS announced a $1,000 increase to 401(k) contribution limits for 2022. Meaning you’ll be able to set aside up to $20,500 in your 401(k) next year (up from $19,500 in 2021). But your IRA is out of luck: the max is staying unchanged at $6,000. If you’re not sure what type of investment account is best for you, learn about your options.

Tips Don’t Lie

Make the most of the advanced child tax credit. If you need extra cash for the holidays or regular necessities like childcare, check with Uncle Sam. Qualifying families who filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return should have received the first half of the 2021 child tax credit in automatic monthly installments beginning in July. If you didn’t earn enough money to file a return in the past, you only have until November 15 to use the IRS's non-filer tool to claim the early credits in a lump-sum payment in December. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until you file your 2021 tax return to claim the full amount. PS: If your situation changed (read: you lost income or welcomed another child into your family), the IRS recommends updating your info by November 29 to be sure you receive the correct amount in December.  

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