Hi there. It’s our first email of Black History Month. We’re celebrating all month long by giving you the money news, tips, and info you need to better understand, support, and honor the Black community.
Lawmakers have an idea to narrow the racial wealth gap...cancel up to $50K of federal student loans. Some progressives are renewing calls for President Joe Biden to make a move they say would boost the economy and specifically lift up BIPOC borrowers. PS: here’s what student loan forgiveness could mean for you. Even if you don't owe Uncle Sam for college.
Congress moves to fast-track the $1.9T stimulus plan. While bipartisan talks continue, Dems are working to advance Biden's relief package without GOP support via “budget reconciliation.” That’s a special process that lets certain money-related legislation pass with a simple majority, instead of the Senate’s usual 60-vote requirement for breaking filibusters.
Unemployment drops it slow. In January, the US added just 49K jobs and lowered the unemployment rate from 6.7% to 6.3% – the first decrease in two months. But there's still a long way to go. There are nearly 10M fewer jobs than there were pre-pandemic.
GameStop won’t stop making headlines. Treasury sec Janet Yellen met with financial regulators yesterday to discuss volatility and “meme stocks.” (Hi, Dogecoin.) Two movies about the controversy may already be in the works. Meanwhile, some thought the next “Wall Street Bet” was silver because the commodity hit its highest price in eight years on Monday. (PS: we Skimm'd commodities investing for you).
The biz world is buzzing. Bumble is set to go public soon, making founder/CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd one of the youngest women to lead a tech company through an IPO. Jeff Bezos will update his Amazon title from CEO to executive chairman. Merck’s Ken Frazier – one of just four Black Fortune 500 CEOs – will also step down this summer. And Uber is buying Drizly – the app that delivers alcohol to your door. No DD necessary (but Uber's got those, too).
Make Good (Money) Choices
If you’re looking to make an impact this month...
Give back to BIPOC communities or orgs that fight for them when you shop. From reusable face masks to Black Lives Matter-themed enamel pins, we rounded up a few of our fav buys.
If you want to show your Valentine you care...
Bare it all...about your finances. Money-related issues are often cited as a reason for divorce. So having open and honest discussions about money (from your income and debt balance to your future goals) from early on is an investment in your relationship. More on how to make money talks your love language here.
If you watch the Super Bowl for the commercials…
Check the score on Sunday, too. A Wall Street superstition called The Super Bowl Indicator says whoever wins the big game predicts the stock market’s performance. A win for the AFC team (that’s the Kansas City Chiefs this year) = stocks will fumble and end the year in the red. An NFC team (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) win = touchdown. If you’re throwing a flag on this non-scientific investing prediction, roll the tape: it’s been right 40 times over the past 50+ years. Just don't bet on it.
If you’ve finished Netflix…
Switch to PBS. On Monday, it aired a new documentary called “9to5: The Story of a Movement” about a group of Boston secretaries in the 1970s whose mission was to achieve better pay, more work opportunities, and an end to sexual harassment in the workplace. Spoiler: the 9to5 org is still working on these things today.
Thing to Know
Black Tax: The cost of being Black in America. In homeownership, it can be seen as higher property taxes and mortgage costs totaling an average of more than $13K paid over the life of the loan vs. white homeowners – thanks to deep-rooted issues like redlining, biases in credit scoring models, and lending discrimination. In banking, it’s paying $7 more in monthly fees than white account holders (but $2 less than Hispanic Americans). And at home, it can look like an expectation to help family members financially. Add it all up and you get a huge barrier to building wealth.
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