Money·5 min read

Skimm Money: Legal Bitcoin, Gov Emergency Funds, and Amplifying Your Career

September 10, 2021


Tomorrow marks 20 years since the 9/11 attacks. Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic events of that day.

Headlines, Skimm'd

  • El Salvador to the crypto world: 'first.' This week, the country officially made Bitcoin its national currency. Citizens can now use it to pay for goods, services, and even taxes. But the rollout was as volatile as the crypto's value. The gov-backed digital wallet (where people store their crypto) didn't initially show up in major app stores. And Bitcoin prices plunged on Wednesday, wiping more than $365 billion from the crypto market. We Skimm'd what Bitcoin's wild ride means for you.

  • Emergency funds needed. To avoid a gov shutdown on October 1, lawmakers must agree on a short-term spending bill. President Joe Biden is urging Congress to throw in an extra $24 billion in aid to help recovery efforts following recent natural disasters, including California fires and Hurricane Ida. Plus $6.4 billion to help Afghan refugees in the US.

  • Emergency funds taken away. Some pandemic relief programs, including enhanced unemployment payments, expired this week. But other gov benefits like food assistance and the new child tax credit are still available. If you lost your main stream of income, here's how to make a new financial plan ASAP.

News to Wallet

vaccine status n2w
Photo: Getty Images | Design: theSkimm

How Your Vaccination Status Affects Your Wallet

Free COVID-19 vaccines have been widely available to Americans since April. And no matter how you feel about the science, not getting the shots could cost you and others. Think: higher healthcare expenses, fewer job opportunities, and a slower economic recovery. On the flip side, there are some budget-friendly benefits to having that CDC card. Get theSkimm on what your choice means for everyone's financial health.

Make Good (Money) Choices

How to Stay Visible While WFH
Illustration: Vanessa Lovegrove

If you don't want to fade into the (Zoom) background...

Take some tips from Stacey Vanek Smith, host of NPR's "The Indicator from Planet Money" and author of "Machiavelli For Women." We asked her about how women can fight back against the "motherhood penalty," when not to ask for a raise, and how to stay visible in a virtual working world. One strategy: "amplification," aka teaming up with other women to repeat one another's ideas in meetings and help ensure they're heard and given proper credit. Let's get loud.

If you're ready to buy a new-to-you set of wheels…

Run a thorough background check. After a major natural disaster (hello, Ida), water-damaged cars tend to flood the market. Unusual, musty smells and corrosion may be signs of a problem. Miss them, and it could cost you down the road. Carfax and the National Insurance Crime Bureau let you input a car's vehicle identification number ('s usually on the driver's-side windshield) to check for issues. Bonus pro tip: always test-drive the car and have it inspected by a mechanic before committing.

If you've noticed stocks dancing in September…

Keep it in perspective. The market's generally been having a great 2021. (Good for you, stocks.) And ups and downs are normal. Historically, the S&P 500's performance has cooled off heading into autumn. So far, this month's falling in line with that trend. Delta wave complications and August's weak jobs report are not helping. But over the long term, overall stock prices have always recovered from drops and continued marching up. So focus on your long-term goals, stick with your investing plan, and don't sweat the short-term dips that are bound to happen.

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