Skimm Money: Paid Leave (Again), Stablecoins, and FSAs

Published on: Nov 5, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Light bulb with dollar bill in it Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock

New words, who dis? Last month, Merriam-Webster added hundreds of new definitions to the dictionary. Including "digital nomad" and "blank check company," aka a shell company made specifically to help other businesses go public. Investing vocab "FTW."

Headlines, Skimm'd
  • Back on the table. Last week, President Joe Biden announced he was cutting his $3.5 trillion spending bill by about half, and paid family leave was out. Now it's back (but cut to four weeks vs. 12), thanks to a lot of pushback and an outpouring of demand from the public. Including our co-founders and co-CEOs Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, who published an op-ed and are asking parents to #ShowUsYourLeave on social media. (While we wait to see what happens next, here's how to financially prep to go OOO if your company doesn't offer paid leave.)

  • Tapering on. On Wednesday, the Fed said it's ready to reduce (aka "taper") its bond purchases – a major part of the economic stimulus plan. But it's holding off on raising interest rates until the labor market improves more. (The strong October jobs reportshowed things are getting better.) Our guide explains what all this means for you.

  • The election's direction. After polls closed on Tuesday, some places looked redder than usual. Like Virginia, which elected its first GOP governor since 2009. And New Jersey, where Democratic governor Phil Murphy barely hung on to his job. Many Dems see the change in voting trends as motivation to get moving on the looong-debated infrastructure and spending plans. The House could vote on both today.

Let's Talk About…
global minimum tax
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock

Why a Global Minimum Tax Is a Big Deal

World leaders had a lot to talk about at the G20 summit. Including how much to tax companies doing biz around the world. Last weekend, they officially endorsed a policy that would require certain corporations to pay a tax rate of at least 15%. The plan could bring in about $150 billion a year in additional global tax revenue. Fans in the US say that could help fund some of Biden's key agenda items. Others say 'this could cost us.' Read more about how this tax can affect companies, the economy, and maybe your wallet.

Make Good (Money) Choices

If you work hard for the money...

Put your money to work. Because it's already November, and your to-do list is long enough. Growing your net worth doesn't have to be one of the tough or time-consuming tasks. One small, but easy win: keeping your savings in a high-yield account helps you earn more interest than letting it sit in checking. Search sites like Bankrate and DepositAccounts for the best rates. Another idea: instead of researching individual stocks to invest in, consider index funds for instant diversification. We Skimm'd other ways to money smarter (not harder) when it comes to budgeting, paying off debt, and more.

If you didn't get played by "Squid Game" crypto scammers...

Stay on your guard. 'Tis the season for fraud, as hackers get more opportunities to attack busy holiday shoppers, especially online. Using a credit card could help. Because unlike debit cards, credit cards limit your liability to $50 for fraudulent charges. Virtual card numbers (issued by your credit card company) and wallets (think: ApplePay or GooglePay) can be even safer because they hide your real account number from merchants. So if there's a data breach, your info won't be exposed.

If there's still money in your FSA account...

Find out if your employer is following new pandemic rules that let you roll over all unused cash (up to $2,750, depending on how much you signed up to contribute) into 2022. Previously, the max you could roll over was $550. Some companies had a grace period, where you got a few extra months to use the money. But plenty said 'our policy is use-it-or-lose-it.' Details are still up to your plan provider, so ask HR if you're not sure where they stand. Reminder: FSAs aren't just for prescriptions and co-pays. You can also use pre-tax dollars in this account for tampons, OTC acne treatments, allergy meds, at-home COVID tests, and hand sanitizer. 

Thing to Know

Stablecoin

Crypto's answer to "can you ever just be whelmed?" Stablecoins are digital currencies that, unlike other cryptos, tie their values to another asset. Examples: Tether and TrueUSD track the US dollar, with each coin worth about $1. Stablecoin investors get to enjoy the privacy and security of crypto, without the sharp price swings associated with more volatile options. Basically, a happy medium for the crypto-curious who still want to sleep at night. Over the past year, the stablecoin market has grown 6X. A new report from the Biden admin says it could become a legit payment option...with the proper regulations. The gov wants to treat stablecoin issuers like banks. And help clear a path for an official US digital currency, like China's digital yuan

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Skimm’d by Casey Bond, Liz Knueven, Kamaron McNair, Stacy Rapacon, and Elyse Steinhaus


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