Money·6 min read

Skimm Money: The Great Resignation, Record Home Prices, and LGBTQ+ Investing

June 25, 2021

Oh, hey.

Wedding season is back, travel is a thing again, and your social life might be busier than it's been in a loooong time. But we're not out of the woods yet, especially as experts predict the new highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant could soon become the dominant strain in the US. So if you want to know whether someone's vaxxed before splitting the check with them, here's how to (politely) ask.

Headlines, Skimm'd

  • Common ground. On Thursday, President Joe Biden reached a bipartisan compromise for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan. (Psst...his original plan was for $2 trillion.) What's included now: money for transportation projects, broadband, waterways, and "resilience" projects to deal with climate change. What's missing: investments in child care, education or other social programs. Dems are pushing for a second package to include these things before agreeing to this one.

  • Up, then it's up. Median US home prices hit 111 straight months of year-over-year price gains, reaching a record high of $350,300 in May. Meanwhile, sales have slowed, mostly thanks to lack of inventory. That might make it seem like a great time to sell.'d then have to join the crowded housing market as a buyer.

  • Investing keyword: volatility. Last week, stocks sank after the Fed said it'd raise interest rates in 2023 (a move to curb spending and inflation). This week, the S&P 500 bounced back to a new high, in part because the Fed boss assured everyone (again) that he thinks high inflation is temporary. Investors were also happy about low unemployment claims and the infrastructure agreement. In other news, Bitcoin dropped below $30,000 on Tuesday, briefly erasing its 2021 gains, before rebounding. And GameStop (still) won't stop.

Let's Talk About…

Text conversation
Design: ML Howell, Credit: iStock

Why Tweets Can Move Markets

A single tweet by a big name (think: biz leaders, celebs, politicians) can have a ton of (f)influence over the markets. Take Elon Musk, who's been regularly hopping on Twitter to share his thoughts on crypto. Not everyone loves the hot takes. Because what might be meant as a joke on social media or SNL has real-world consequences for investors. Including you. If you're wondering why, and how you can protect your investments, we Skimm'd the details.

Make Good (Money) Choices

If you're ready to say "see ya" to your boss...

Job Quitting Scene
Design: ML Howell, Credit: 20th Century Studios

Check in with your wallet before joining the "Great Resignation," aka the wave of people quitting to pursue new opportunities that make them happier. Money moves to make first: adding to your savings, figuring out your health care benefits, and looking up your retirement account vesting schedule. Once you're ready to give your boss the news, remember: dramatic exits may play well in the movies, but not so much IRL. Write up a short resignation letter and work with your manager on an exit strategy. More tips on the right way to leave your job here.

If you don't want an advance on the child tax credit…

Opt out ASAP. Starting on July 15, eligible taxpayers will automatically start getting half of their expanded child tax credit as a monthly payment of up to $250 or $300 per kid – a new benefit included in the last stimulus bill to help families through the pandemic. But not everyone wants that money now. Maybe you rely on a big refund to offset your tax bill in April. Or as a forced savings account. Whatever your reason, here's where you can tell the IRS to hold your credit (for now). If you're married and filing jointly, both parents have to unenroll three days before the first Thursday of the month. So to defer the first payment (and all subsequent payments), your deadline is Monday, June 28, by 11:59 pm ET. Re-enrolling will be available in late September.

If you thought your 401(k) was a free benefit…

Prepare to be sad. These plans charge two types of fees, which eat into your investment returns: provider fees and fees associated with the investments you select. You may not be able to do much about provider fees – which depend on factors like your company's size – besides appealing to your employer to make some high-level changes. But you can select investments with lower fees, such as mutual funds that track an index. (A reasonable fee or "expense ratio" for an index fund is about 0.2%.) Another option: contribute enough to get any employer match, then put the rest of what you can afford to invest each month in an IRA with lower plan fees.

Thing to Know

ESG Investing

Aka impact investing or socially responsible investing. By the letters, it means investing with certain Environmental, Social, and Governance standards in mind. Read: trying to build a more ethical portfolio. Like by supporting LGBTQ+ friendly companies, which can be a profitable strategy.

One way to find them: scan the Corporate Equality Index, which tracks companies' inclusive workplace policies. Think: nondiscrimination gender policies, domestic partner benefits, and transgender-inclusive benefits. Or consider investing in the new LGBTQ-focused exchange-traded fund. (Reminder: ETFs let you diversify more easily than picking individual stocks.) You can even find a financial pro with LGBTQ+-specific experience to help you out.

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