Unmarried? In THIS Economy? 7 Ways Our Society Financially Punishes Single People

Unmarried? In THIS Economy? 7 Ways Our Society Financially Punishes Single People

Structural discrimination against single people is the latest topic chosen by our Patreon donors. It is sooooo like them to throw research-heavy bummers my way. Thanks a lot, you beneficent bastards!

I used to think that the biggest financial turning point in my life was when I stopped being self-employed (read “chronically underemployed”) and got a Big Girl Job™ with a steady paycheck and health benefits. It was transformational. I felt suddenly, magically middle class. Like the fairy godmother turned down the heat on her princess-making magic wand to something just as good, but slightly less flashy.

Single people when they finally feel middle class.

But now, I question if that was really my greatest turning point. Because around the same time, I started dating a friend of mine. Financial pressures pushed us to commit to moving in together almost immediately. In the jumble of first/last/security payments on a new apartment and a flurry of Craigslist secondhand furniture purchases, it took a while to feel any financial benefits to partnership.

I see more clearly now how much dual incomes and shared expenses contributed to our long-term stability, to a magnitude no job could ever touch.

At the structural level, our economy financially punishes single people. I think it often rises to the level of discrimination. But even when it doesn’t, single people statistically have less financial security, and thus will feel “normal” economic strains faster than partnered people.

I’m striving with all my being to discuss this topic without making an “all the single ladies” joke. 2008 was four hundred years ago, and I’m clinging to cultural relevancy with only my fingertips.

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BONUS EPISODE: "What can I do to prepare for life in a post-Roe world?"

How to Prepare for a Post-Roe World (Bonus Episode)

In a good timeline, no one would have to prepare for a post-Roe world. Reproductive rights would be safely enshrined in our constitution, where they belong. Plus, ice cream would never melt.

Unfortunately, last week’s news made it abundantly clear that we’re in a crappy timeline. I accepted this news with horror, but not surprise. My faith in my elected representatives is as melty as a tub of Americone Dream left on the counter overnight.

But this isn’t the time to despair. It’s time to take action. Someone gave us the incredible gift of forewarning. We have two months to prepare. And there’s a lot of steps you can take to protect yourself and others in your community from the appalling consequences of forced childbirth.

Piggy and I hopped on an impromptu recording session to help our readers and listeners steel themselves for the fall of Roe v. Wade. And I’m thrilled to say we left our aimless thrashing and redundant moralizing on the cutting room floor! (Mostly.) What remained were actionable steps to help you prepare for a post-Roe world.

Listen below, or read on for a text transcript.

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How to Protect Cash Savings During High Inflation

How To Protect Cash Savings During High Inflation

We’ve gotten a TON of questions recently from readers trying to protect cash savings during periods of high inflation.

Usually, having mad cash and not being sure how to spend it is a fun problem to solve. (Index funds + a nice seafood dinner at a non-chain restaurant is our default answer.) But right now, high inflation is sucking the pleasure out of Scrooge McDucking on a big pile of cash.

Now is a terrible time to be holding onto cash. Cash savings during times of high inflation are guaranteed to lose value. For example: if you had $1,000 saved a year ago, our 8.5% inflation rate means that money can only buy $915 worth of goods today. It sucks for everyone, but especially so for people who’ve been saving up for a long time to hit a life milestone.

We know how hard our readers work and sacrifice to put money away. And it’s so painful to watch it lose its value because of reasons outside your control. So if you’ve got money sitting idle in your checking account, listen up! We’ll do our best to help you take the sting out of shrinking cash savings during high inflation.

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How to COMPLETELY Insulate Yourself From Advertisements

Man, let me tell ya, I hate few things more than advertisements.

Ads are the worst. They waste my time and attention. They make me feel spied-upon. Their fundamental purpose is to part me with my hard-won money. Worst of all, they remind me of my dark past working in marketing. I’m trying to leave that behind me, thank you very much!

You might remember this passage from high school…

“If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song. There is a great heap of dead men’s bones lying all around, with the flesh still rotting off them. Therefore pass these Sirens by, and stop your men’s ears with wax that none of them may hear…”

It’s from Homer’s Odyssey. Specifically, it’s the part where the sorceress Bavmorda gives advice to Willow Ufgood (you know, the hero of the Odyssey) about how to navigate temptation.

Although she’s a rapscallion known for turning soldiers into pigs, Bavmorda is also a smart lady who gives pretty good advice. Willow ends up lashing Madmartigan to the mast of their ship while stopping his own ears (and those of the prophesied child Elora Danan) with wax.

The moral of this ancient epic poem? Sometimes, the best way to resist temptation is to physically stop yourself from experiencing it in the first place.

Here are some easy ways to make yourself harder to find—and harder to tempt.

Did he get an Oscar for this?
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Ask the Bitches: "Do Women Need Different Financial Advice Than Men?"

Ask the Bitches: “Do Women Need Different Financial Advice Than Men?”

Today on Ask the Bitches, we’ve got a GREAT question about whether women need different financial advice than men. And it was asked by… A MAN?!

(Cue: crashing thunder, rain SFX, opening cords of “It’s Raining Men.”)

That’s right, doubters and haters. Despite our joyless misandrist ways, we’ve got male readers. We’ve even got male readers who are so into what we talk about they’re willing to pay us for our work by becoming Patreon donors!

Our male fans be like...

One such donor asked us a thought-provoking question about gender and money that initially kinda stumped me. In short: do women need different financial advice than men?

I had a knee-jerk reaction to say “no” and leave it at that. (Helpful!) But as I thought about it, I realized there are some significant biological and cultural differences worth discussing. Let’s start by reading the particulars of Patron Mat’s excellent question.

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The Resignation Checklist: 25 Sneaky Ways To Bleed Your Employer Dry Before Quitting

The Resignation Checklist: 25 Sneaky Ways To Bleed Your Employer Dry Before Quitting

I awoke last night in a cold sweat, gripped with the sudden realization that I have an incredibly comprehensive resignation checklist… and I’ve been selfishly sitting on it, to the detriment of the millions of Americans who’ve walked away from their jobs in recent months.

I recognize that this constitutes a top ten anime betrayal.

許してくれ。

I'm so sorry I didn't write this resignation checklist sooner!!

The thing is… I’ve been daydreaming about leaving my job for years. These plans have been a part of me for so long that I kinda forgot they were plans at all. Like, I don’t necessarily notice my own breathing, stretching, or constructing elaborate fantasies about leaving corporate America forever.

Planning to quit ahead of time is a great advantage, and not everyone gets it. In most states, people can be fired suddenly, for no reason. Other people need to leave their job abruptly because of absolutely untenable issues like workplace safety or harassment. Those people do not have the luxury of planning a soft landing for themselves. 

But if you’re planning to quit voluntarily, you can do what they cannot. You can be strategic. Y’know, like Light Yagami eating potato chips! And in doing so, you can extract a ton of value back from your employer and/or your government before you go.

I’m down to just one month at my job, and I’m systematically going through this list. It will save me thousands of dollars. It will also prevent a lot of logistical headaches for my future self. Because I wanna set her up with a low stress post-job lifestyle. Listening to the hold music for the COBRA continuation assistance hotline is not on my retirement vision board!

Here’s my ultimate resignation checklist…

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If You Can’t Afford to Tip 20%, You Can’t Afford To Dine Out

The tipping system sucks. It should be eradicated. But it’s the system that servers are stuck with to pay their rent this month, so we are where we are.

"We don't have any."

In the United States, we’ve built a tipping system that is designed to replace employer-provided wages with customer-provided tips. This is in opposition to how tipping was originally intended: as a merit-based reward system for service above and beyond the norm. Under this tipping reality, the amount of your tip isn’t a whimsy, but a necessity to servers.

So if you don’t tip 20%, your server isn’t getting paid even close to a living wage. And if you can’t afford to tip 20%… then you sure as hell can’t afford to dine out.

The power dynamics of tipping

There’s a perfect phrase to describe someone who tips low, or not at all: “garbage person.”

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Investing in Cryptocurrency is Bad and Stupid

Investing in Cryptocurrency is Bad and Stupid

If you’ve been reading our blog for long, you probably could’ve guessed we think investing in cryptocurrency is bad and stupid.

And yeah, I considered using more expansive words like “unethical” and “speculative” instead of “bad and stupid.” Those words had precision, but lacked panache.

Our Patreon donors vote on potential article topics, and this month they wanted to read our thoughts on investing in cryptocurrency. So we get questions about it all the time! Which isn’t surprising. Relative to cash and traditional investment vehicles, crypto is new and confusing. To make matters worse, there’s so much hype surrounding it in the personal finance world that research feels like reading a data science textbook through a swarm of bees.

Mercifully, we’re not here to explain what crypto is, or how the mysterious blockchain technology works (others have done that intolerably boring work for us). Rather, we’re going to release you from caring about crypto in the first place!

So it’s our personal opinion that investing in cryptocurrency is bad and stupid, and you shouldn’t do it. Here’s why.

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Why Are Poor People Poor and Rich People Rich?

Why Are Poor People Poor and Rich People Rich?

In a society that’s supposedly equitable, why are some people poor, and other people rich?

Piggy and I discussed a ton of things when we first started our personal finance blog. But one thing we didn’t talk about was our target audience. We didn’t have to! We both knew immediately that we wanted to write for our younger selves.

Years later, we’re older and more financially stable—but inside we still feel like a pair of broke young folks. And maybe we always will? As we’ve discussed, money doesn’t immediately cure the financial anxieties you develop when you’re poor.

Our twenties were a decade-long financial panic. It was so stressful trying to figure everything out on our own. So we spent a lot of time talking about all the bad financial advice we’d received.

Some advice was simply too old. It relied on outdated growth models, or ignored a rapidly changing globalized economy, or discounted the possibilities of living in a world transformed by technology. My grandpa loves telling his grandkids that the best way to get a job is to put on an uncomfortably formal suit and stroll into literally any workplace without an appointment or even a lead on open positions. Which sounds like a great way to get escorted off the property by security guards.

As far as bad advice goes, that stuff is kinda innocent. He’s old, and he grew up in another world. He just doesn’t get it. THIS GRANDPA is making SEVEN FIGURES with this ONE COOL TRICK—recruiters HATE him!

But the worst financial advice we grew up hearing is definitely not innocent.

The worst stuff is based around a horrific lie. It’s a lie about the fundamental reasons why poor people are poor and rich people are rich. A lie that harms and oppresses every rung of our society save the very tippy-top. And unlike my Grandpa’s stale takes, it’s constantly being revitalized and perpetuated by people who should know better.

(A version of this article was originally published on July 15, 2017. We expanded and revised the shit out of it because everything we’re saying has only gotten truer, and we’ve only gotten more pissed off about it.)

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