Skimm Money: March Jobs, Money Myths, and Unclaimed Property

Published on: Apr 2, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
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Hey there.

Happy Financial Literacy Month. This April, we're busting money myths to help you make smarter financial decisions. Here's myth #1: when it comes to financial health, your income is the most important number to know. Nope. Keep reading (just past the headlines) to learn a better way to gauge how you're doing.

Headlines, Skimm'd
  • March jobs report gets an A. The US added 916K jobs, blowing past economists' predictions. Experts say the hiring surge is a good sign that the US economy is on the mend. 

  • Joe's ready to hit the roads. President Biden unveiled his plan to improve infrastructure and create jobs. Key goals: fix highways and bridges, upgrade electric grid and transit systems, and expand long-term care services. Who's picking up the tab? Corporations (to start). We Skimm'd what higher corporate taxes could mean for your wallet.

  • Taxes, they are a-changin'. Many states have moved their filing deadlines to May 17, when federal tax returns are now due. And the IRS confirmed Monday that Americans have until then to contribute to their IRAs and HSAs for 2020.

  • The racial wealth gap has a long way to go. A new Fed study says older Black millennials have almost 18x less wealth than their white counterparts. One reason: student loans. Roughly 87% of Black students take out federal student loans for higher ed vs. 60% of white students.

  • Waiting on the world to change...in 135.6 years. That's how long, on average, a new report says it will take 156 countries to close gender gaps in terms of economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and survival, and education. In North America, the number's 61.5 years. Not nearly good enough.

Make Good (Money) Choices

 If you want a full picture of your financial health…

Get to know your net worth. Net worth = your assets (the value of everything you own, like your home, car, jewelry, plus what's in your bank and investment accounts) minus your liabilities (aka what you owe on your mortgage and/or car, and any other debts). Spoiler: yours might be negative. That's okay. Understanding where you are today – and making a plan to grow your number – is what's important.

If your house hunt is taking forever...

Take the time to save more. US home prices are rising, and the supply of homes for sale fell almost 30% from February 2020 to February 2021, the largest annual drop ever. Translation: your down payment goal may end up being higher than you thought. And competition could be tough. More on how to prep your budget (and your credit) for a new home here.

If you heard WeWork was going public via SPAC and thought 'huh?'...

Read this. We broke down a few of the most popular investing manias you keep hearing about. Plus what to know before diving in wallet-first.

Tips Don't Lie

Track down "unclaimed property." Read: assets in accounts that have been inactive for so long that they're in the state's hands now. Like 401(k)s, security deposits, and tax refunds. Don't believe you could forget about money that belongs to you? It happens. The IRS estimates that in 2020, more than $1.5B in tax refunds were forgotten for the 2016 tax year alone.

Check the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators' website for any missing money with your name on it. It's like Googling yourself, but better.

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Skimm'd by: Ivana Pino, Stacy Rapacon, and Elyse Steinhaus