Money·5 min read

Skimm Money: March Madness, Interest Rates, and Equal Pay Day

LTA Equal Pay Day
Illustration: Michele Rosenthal
Mar 18, 2022

Welcome to March Madness. A phrase the NCAA women’s tournament finally has permission to use. Just in time for student-athletes who can now profit from their name, image, and likeness. The new branding — and brighter spotlight on the women's brackets — may help some players score an endorsement deal. Which could allow them to continue their education rather than needing to choose between staying in school or cashing in on going pro ASAP. 

Headlines, Skimm'd

  • Take a (rate) hike. After months of anticipation, the Fed’s raising interest rates. From near 0% to 0.25%-0.5%. The goal: To combat record-high inflation and keep surging prices (think: groceries and gas) in check. But it could mean paying a little more each month on your mortgage, car loan, and credit cards. We Skimm'd what it means for you and how you can protect your budget. (Psst…it’s not all bad news. Your savings account could get a boost.)

  • Meanwhile on Capitol Hill. Just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an impassioned plea to Congress (virtually) on Wednesday, Biden announced an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine. And a bipartisan group of senators proposed offering cash rewards for info on the wealth of Russian oligarchs — and sending proceeds from seized assets to the Ukrainian gov. Russia’s moves? Asking China for help funding its war. And placing sanctions against a select list of high-profile Americans.

  • Corporate pride. In response to a Florida bill that limits talk of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics), Disney suspended all political donations in the Sunshine State. And other companies are standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Apple, Google, and more signed a newspaper ad calling on the governor of Texas to overturn his recent executive order targeting transgender youth.

Let's Talk About…

Tuesday marked this year’s Equal Pay Day. Meaning women, on average, needed to work all of last year, plus until March 15 of 2022, to match men’s earnings from 2021. Not a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month. And worse, women of color won’t catch up until later this year.

The gender pay gap is a systemic issue. So taking meaningful steps toward closing it will involve new legislation (hi, lawmakers), pay transparency, and shifting societal expectations (including around caregiving and dividing labor at home). But in the meantime, here are three things you can do at work to narrow the gap:

  1. Ask for more money. Employers are struggling to retain workers right now, so it might be an especially good time to ask for (and get) a raise.

  2. Job hop. Your next big pay bump could come from a new position, company, or industry. Use websites like Glassdoor to help inform your new salary. 

  3. Talk about salary. Pay transparency can help reduce pay inequity. Talk to trusted colleagues who are comfortable swapping info.

Make Good (Money) Choices

If you’re hoping your net worth will rise with prices…

Take action today to give your money a boost later. Because who doesn’t love the feeling of finding $20 in your own coat pocket? Making an extra debt payment or contributing a little more to your savings account now can give you that “found money feeling” later — and make Future You feel like you won a mini lottery. Oh, and see if Past You racked up credit card rewards you can use. They could be particularly useful for cutting upcoming travel costs. (Hello, higher airfare prices.)

Crypto, Decoded

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order that sent shockwaves through the crypto community. One of the most significant directives: Asking the government to look into a central bank digital currency, aka CBDC. So, what’s a CBDC? And how is it different from what we have now? Here’s the Skimm:  

  • Fiat currency: What already exists offline. It’s not backed by gold or silver, but rather by a federal government, which also controls it. Think: US dollars, euros, pesos, etc.

  • Stablecoin: A cryptocurrency (aka unregulated and decentralized) that's pegged to the value of another asset like gold or a fiat currency. It’s less volatile than other cryptos, but not controlled by a central bank.

  • CBDC: Not a cryptocurrency. A digital currency that = the value of fiat currency. It’s also issued (and regulated) by a central bank. And some of the biggest economies are looking into it, including India, and now, the US.

PS: Wondering about crypto’s environmental impact? Watch our short video explainer.

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