Money·5 min read

Skimm Money: More Infrastructure, Student Loan Pause, and the Delta Variant's Economic Impact

August 13, 2021


This Friday the 13th is your lucky day: we recorded Tuesday night's special SkimmU all about crypto, ICYMI. You’re welcome. Oh, and happy National Financial Awareness Day tomorrow to all who celebrate.

Headlines, Skimm’d 

  • The gov at work. On Tuesday, the Senate (finally) passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. And on Wednesday, it passed a $3.5 trillion spending package that includes expanding paid leave and paving the way for universal pre-K. But nothing’s official yet. And the infrastructure bill alone could add $256 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Here’s what that means for your budget.

  • 1 step forward, 3 steps back. From July 2020 to July 2021, the Consumer Price Index (hint: it measures the average price of things like food, clothes, housing, etc.) rose 5.4% – about the same as last month and what economists expected. Some experts say investors can rest easier now that inflation seems to have peaked. But bad news: the Consumer Sentiment Index (that measures how people feel about the economy) dropped to its lowest level since 2011 as delta variant concerns grow. 

  • Dame más gasolina. The White House called on OPEC (aka a group of countries that aims to regulate the world's oil supply) to boost production – a shift from what the admin's said about tackling climate change. The goal: pump the brakes on rising gas prices, which hit an average $3.19 per gallon in the US this week. 

News to Wallet

Student Loans
Design: ML Howell, Credit: iStock

What the Student Loan Pause Means for Your Wallet

Last Friday, the moratorium on federal student loan payments was officially extended through January 2022. Read: until then, you don't have to repay your student loans, and they won't accrue any interest. Phew. But the Department of Education says this will be the last extension, so get ready to tackle your debt again soon. We Skimm'd ways to do that, whether you have federal or private student loans.

Make Good (Money) Choices

Mortgage, Consumer Debt, Student Debt
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock

If you thought all debt was bad…

Get to know “good” debt. That's the kind of borrowing that can help you increase your net worth (in theory). Think: mortgages, which Americans have been loading up on lately. That's helped push US household debt up by $313 billion last quarter, the biggest jump in 14 years. But before you take on any loans, remember that even good debt can be bad if you mismanage it. Skimm more about good debt vs. bad debt and learn how to handle it all like a pro.

If delta variant news is giving you 2020 flashbacks…

Take a deep breath. Experts say the current wave likely won't result in a 2020-style lockdown even as some places are bringing back mask mandates and other restrictions. But it could impact the economic recovery. Think: stock market volatility and supply-chain issues, which could add to the list of worldwide shortages. And on the work front, caregivers are struggling to get back to their jobs as the safety and school situation of younger, unvaccinated children remains uncertain. Psst...our co-CEOs talked to Bloomberg about focusing the return to office conversation on women and moms.

If you're thinking about joining the Great Resignation…

Don’t go yet. Because you could leverage what’s going on with today’s job market to make your current work situation better. No quitting required. Job openings are at a record high, yet employers can’t seem to find the right hires. So some are loosening requirements, sweetening benefits, and raising wages to attract and keep good workers. See: Target, McDonald's, Under Armour, the gov...and maybe your boss. If recruiters have been hitting you up, see if your current employer can match an offer for higher pay. And even if there’s no other deal on the table, try talking to them about what you really want at work, whether that's a WFH forever option (without a pay cut), opportunities to advance or more PTO. Now’s a good time to shoot your shot.

Hot Off the Web

  • AMC wants you to try two things you probably didn't think you'd do this year: go to the movies and pay for it in Bitcoin.

  • NASDAQ says company boards who don't meet diversity requirements have some explaining to do – and the SEC agrees

  • The UN’s latest climate report says the future is hotter. Here's what that means for your money. 

  • Andrew Cuomo's own great resignation means NY has its first female governor. Hi, Kathy Hochul.

  • Even if you're just a student of life, you’ll want to check out these back-to-school buys.

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