It’s Friday the 13th. And the stock market is having plenty of bad luck (looking at you, Nasdaq). With FAANG stocks struggling (hint: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and the company formerly known as Google),investors are turning to oil. Even as some of the tech giants announce new plans like NFTs coming to Instagram and ads debuting on Netflix.
Market madness. Stocks swung this week as investors considered higher interest rates, the latest inflation data, and what turn the economy will take next. And crypto had a rough week, too. Bitcoin fell under $30,000 — well below its peak value of $68,000 in 2021 — and the price of TerraUSD (aka a stablecoin) stopped tracking with the USD. Yesterday, the crypto market saw $200 billion in value disappear before recovering a bit this morning.
Still high. Rising prices continued to stress budgets last month with the Consumer Price Index (hint: it measures the prices of consumer goods) hitting 8.3%. Translation: Inflation is down slightly from March. But still high. This week, President Joe Biden said reducing sticker shock is his #1 domestic priority. As food prices continue to go up and gas prices reach record highs.
Yellen about abortion. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says overturning Roe v. Wade and ending access to abortion would have “very damaging effects” on the economy and“set women back decades. ”Particularly in workforce participation and lifetime earning potential (hi, gender wealth gap). Meanwhile, those who already have babies may be struggling to find formula as the nationwide shortage worsens.
New Fed-ly Faces
Lisa Cook will be the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve board of governors. Despite Republican opposition, the Senate confirmed the economist this week with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.And with Philip Jefferson’s confirmation, this marks the first time more than one Black person will be on the board at once.
Cook served on both the Obama administration’s White House Council of Economic Advisers and Biden’s transition team. Her research has explored the effects of racial discrimination on the economy. And during her confirmation hearings, she said she specializes “in managing financial crises." Jefferson’s research has covered monetary policy and wages, poverty, and income distribution. Read: Their experience couldn’t come to the Fed at a better time.
Psst…not new to the board, but finally confirmed for his second-term: Jerome Powell.
Let’s Talk About…
Renting vs. Buying
Started at the bottom…now we’re at 5.27%? Yep, that’s the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage today. Which is up from a record low of 2.65% in January 2021. Because ICYMI, inflation is high (see above). And the Fed is trying to bring it down by raising rates (hey, higher mortgage payments). So you might be rethinking whether or not buying a home is worth it right now.
The answer? It depends. Partially, on where you live. Data says it’s cheaper to rent in pricey cities like Austin, Texas, San Francisco, California, and Seattle, Washington, but cheaper to buy in lower-cost cities like Birmingham, Alabama, St. Louis, Missouri, and Cleveland, Ohio. But it also depends on your lifestyle, financial situation (hi, down payment and emergency savings), and goals.
We Skimm’d four questions you should ask yourself to make the decision that’s right for you.
Make Good (Money) Choices
If money worries are keeping you up at night…
Take control to get your financial feelings in check. Spoiler: Money can take a toll on your mental wellness. And beyond stressing about going over budget, financial anxiety can manifest in other ways. Like obsessively saving or feeling crushed by debt. And it can lead to larger health problems. Think: high blood pressure or migraines. Get to know the signs of financial anxiety and how to deal with it.
PS: May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which aims to fight stigma and educate the public on mental illness. Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re in spring-cleaning mode…
Don’t forget your money. Dusting off your budget can help you make sure your money habits are aligned with your bigger financial goals. And the recent surge in prices (thanks, inflation) may have you rethinking your spending. Hint: Is it time to negotiate a better deal on your phone bill? Read up on five simple ways to spring clean your finances. Because seasons change. So should your money moves.
If rising prices are financially holding you back…
Join the club. In a recent survey, more than half of Americans said inflation could negatively impact their long-term financial goals (bye, new house). And inflation worries + stock market volatility = shrinking portfolios (retirement, wya?). But playing the long game means you have time to adjust your strategy and get that W (aka wealth). Here are seven things you can do to protect your finances from inflation.
Crypto investments are sometimes seen as risky business…because they are. But that doesn’t fully explain why the crypto gender gap is even wider than in traditional investments (think: stocks, bonds, and mutual funds). Sign up for Future-Proofed: Closing the Crypto Gender Gap, our free, virtual panel discussion on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30pm ET with crypto experts Laura Shin, Maggie Love, and Mags Kala. Mark your cal and RSVP to join.
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New Yorkers are fleeing the Big Apple for Florida. But locals aren’t saying ‘welcome to Miami.’
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