Life Insurance: Responsible Investment or Waste of Money?

I didn’t understand anything about life insurance until I was in my late twenties. I’d just started a small blog with a friend (you wouldn’t have heard of it), and it was unclear how many people were reading it. Until one day, when a shocking email arrived in our inbox. A company wanted to give us money to recommend a product.

The product was life insurance.

Jess (that’s Piggy to the uninitiated) and I regarded this offer with the confused-yet-intrigued energy of hungry fish watching a worm wriggle on a hook. Obviously we hadn’t had the audacity to make a preemptive affiliate marketing policy. Life insurance sounded like the kind of thing responsible adults should have, right? And it would be cool to offset the cost of running the site, wouldn’t it? We agreed to take a few days and devote our shower thoughts to the idea.

Like many a wise rainbow trout, we decided against the hook. No matter who you are, easy money is always a fat and juicy temptation. But we agreed we’d rather run the blog at a loss than sell random crap to our readers. Happy with this decision, we sat down to our inbox to find two more unsolicited affiliate offers.

These products were also life insurance.

In the years since, they’ve never stopped coming. We get a new one at least once a month. Now, we have the experience to understand why life insurance companies are so eager to pay bloggers to rep their stuff. Today, we’ll permanently burn that bridge by explaining how it works—and why we think most life insurance isn’t worth it for the majority of our readers.

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Ask the Bitches: Do I Have a Right To Know the Private Details of My Partner’s Finances?

When we started Bitches Get Riches, we thought we’d be writing mostly about paying off student loans and building credit scores. And to be fair, we’ve done a lot of that! But more and more we find ourselves coming for Dear Prudence’s job. Because it turns out handling finances within a romantic relationship is hella complicated! And sometimes we get a question about financial transparency among partners that does us a concern.

Like this one:

Hey bitches! I know personal finance is personal, but if your significant other is being cagey about their finances even after you’ve been together for years and want to move in together/get married, is this a red flag? I don’t expect them to disclose all their spending habits or whatever, because yeah, personal finance is personal. But I feel like it’s reasonable to want to know what their income is and how much debt they have, especially if they know those things about you and you’re planning on a life together. Those things affect the rent you can afford and all sorts of stuff. But they act like I’m unreasonable and invasive for wanting to know, which makes me wary.

Anonymous Rex
Lack of financial transparency... scares me.

You’re right to be wary. And you’re definitely not being unreasonable. Let’s unpack this suitcase of red flags.

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If Your Employer Refuses to Negotiate Salary, Try These 11 Creative Counteroffers

If Your Employer Refuses To Negotiate Salary, Try These 11 Creative Counteroffers

Have you ever gotten yourself all hyped-up and battle-ready to ask for more money—only to learn your employer REFUSES to negotiate salary?

This happened to me when I was a young professional. I went for a role at a company that tied its job offers to intelligence test scores. (This is not a normal or cool thing to ask, by the way. It’s elitist, ableist, racist, irrelevant, and indicative of really bad leadership. Alas that I was young, dumb, and living on breadcrumb…s.) The recruiter warned me in advance that this employer refused to negotiate salary beyond their initial offer.

Now, the joke was on them! I’m one of those people who needs to make an L-shape with her fingers to tell left from right. And once hired, I’m about as biddable as Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron. But if you put a test in front of me, I’m gonna destroy it. So by their own stupid system, they were forced to offer me an absurdly high sum. My salary doubled overnight. Although I hated that job and left after six months, it was the best job transition I’ve ever made.

All of which is to say: if a potential employer refuses to negotiate salary, it doesn’t mean that their offer is bad. Internal policies far more benign than the one I just described dictate salary offers. Some employers have a strict system for salaries based on tenure, experience, performance, or job title. Others must adhere to government guidelines or union rules regarding fair salaries.

It also doesn’t mean that the conversation is over. You can ask for so much more than money! When an employer refuses to negotiate salary, they’re giving you leverage to ask for other things. Today, I’ll give you a few ideas for creative counteroffers that will make your life better and sweeten any job transition. Even better, I’ll suggest some simple scripts you can follow to maximize your chances that they’ll say “yes.”

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Learning To Reverse the Golden Rule

As we mentioned in our last article, Kitty and I recently taught a workshop on burnout. We did a ton of research around it. Obviously, we already knew that burnout sucks and is bad (not our hottest take, historically). But that research led us to a much deeper, scarier understanding of exactly how widespread and devastating burnout really is. It’s the difference between knowing how big a blue whale is because Google told you, and knowing how big a blue whale is because it’s rising up from the water beneath you.

The causes of burnout aren’t straightforward. A variety of cultural, organizational, and individual traits work together to burn a person out. Although bigger structural issues deserve the lion’s share of blame, individual struggles with perfectionism, breakneck compulsory productivity, and a cruel inner voice appear in story after story.

I recognize those struggles in the stories we’ve heard from readers. And from many personal friends and loved ones. And from my coblogger, Kitty.

But most especially, from myself.

Today I’m discussing why I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold everyone else. I want to think about how to let go of this unhealthy habit and start treating myself with more kindness and compassion. And since I know this is something I’m profoundly Not Alone in, I’ll share what I’ve learned.

Note: I talk about suicidal ideation and post-traumatic stress in this post. If you don’t feel ready for those topics, maybe skip this one! And if you struggle with suicidal thoughts, please call 988 for help and resources from the Suicide and Crisis Hotline.*

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How Abusive Workplaces Mirror Abusive Relationships

How Abusive Workplaces Mirror Abusive Relationships

Note: Today’s discussion is about abusive workplaces, abusive relationships, and the common ground between the two. We will talk about high-control relationship models, power imbalances, and manipulation tactics. But we’re not telling any harrowing first-person stories, nor talking about physical or sexual violence. If those are topics you need help navigating, we have an article dedicated to workplace sexual harassment, and another on intimate partner financial abuse.

Earlier this year, Piggy and I delivered a speech on the subject of burnout. That there’s an appetite for advice on this subject among women’s professional associations will, perhaps, not shock you?

As I was researching the impact that burnout has on the body, I got an eerie feeling that the symptoms seemed familiar. I wondered if I’d already written something on this topic and forgotten. (We’ve written several hundred articles apiece, so it happens!)

But no! What was tripping my extremely faulty memory triggers wasn’t a past article about burnout.

It was a past article on domestic violence.

This really got me thinking about all the stories I’ve heard from you, our readers, about burnout. And I started noticing disturbing patterns in the ways those stories were told. As a result, I’ve come to a stronger opinion about the overlap between the psychology of abusive workplaces and abusive relationships.

… Which is that they’re functionally identical.

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Our Final Word on Student Loan Forgiveness

I’m boldly labeling today’s post our final update on student loan forgiveness in America.

Yes, I could seal the deal by titling it “Final FINAL Update On Student Loan Forgiveness V2_2.” But that feels unnecessary. It’s implied.

We’ve written a lot about student loan forgiveness. As a campaign promise, we loved it, but had zero faith it would ever happen. When the pandemic hit and it improbably grew legs, we were shocked and elated—though still skittish. After all, it had been so long since we had unreservedly great news to share with our readers. Like a houseplant that’s been given too little water, too much water, too little sunlight, or too much sunlight, the politically optimistic part of our brains withered and turned brown years ago!

Even as the policy details came out and the application for student loan forgiveness went live, we kept nervously casting about for the cameras recording our joy for a cruel prank show.

And sure enough, we stand before you today, picking banana cream pie out of our hair.

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Your Super Simple Guide to COBRA Health Insurance

It’s really hard to fully understand what COBRA is and how it works. It’s a strange but potentially useful little product—but you’re only eligible for it if your life is already in a state of chaos. I don’t know about you, but I’m not great at absorbing complex new information when I am flying through the sky like Adrien Brody in the opening sequence of Predators!

COBRA is a very specific type of health insurance coverage. You can get it in only one circumstance: when you leave a job that has employer-provided health insurance. It’s meant to help you bridge the gap between when your old insurance coverage expires and the new coverage kicks in.

And honestly? Thank god.

If I’m under a fantastic health insurance plan from January 1 to December 30, my ass will be immaculately healthy for all 364 of those days. Then on New Years Eve, I will accidentally drop a bottle of sparkling wine that cannot legally be called champagne. I will twist both ankles as I log-roll over it, windmilling my arms comically while shouting “w-w-woah!” Then I will tumble ass-over teakettle down a staircase, landing on a bed of spikes, and all my prions will simultaneously fold the wrong way.

My body, the day I'm not covered by COBRA.

Like, I’m not superstitious. I’ve just lived long enough to know that’s literally how the world works. The moment you don’t have health insurance coverage, something spectacularly bad is bound to happen.

Which is exactly where COBRA comes in!

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Screw Up Your Taxes? Here’s How To Get Out of Paying Tax Penalties

Bitches Get Riches had been a business for a mere three years before we got a massive tax penalty fine.

Yes, that’s right: even your flawless finance aunties occasionally regularly make money mistakes! Despite appearances, we are but mere mortals, flubbing paperwork and misunderstanding deadlines! Aren’t we relatable??? Don’t you like us even more now?!?

Stars--they're just like us!

And in this particular case, we screwed up our annual tax filing—a mistake that was going to cost us upwards of $4,800. Which, uh… was not ideal.

But while we are more than capable of mistakes, we are also equally capable of researching our way out of most financial problems. Which is exactly why we were able to make that $4,800 tax bill… disappear!

And because we love you, today we’re going to share that trick with you.

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“Independent Contractor” My Ass: How to Stop Wage Theft Through Worker Misclassification

Every year, wage theft robs millions of American workers of billions of dollars—and worker misclassification is one of its most widespread, evil forms.

There are crystal-clear guidelines on the difference between independent contractors and employees. And a lot of employers steal from their workers by ignoring them. Today, I’m going to break the differences down for you. See if you recognize yourself, a friend, or a family member in these wage-theft-vulnerable positions.

If you are in a misclassification situation, your employer has stolen your wages. But there’s good news! You have recourse to get my two favorite things: money and justice! You can seek tax reimbursements, backpay, unpaid overtime, worker’s compensation benefits, and more for the years you were misclassified. And you can report your exploitative employer and get them into a wet mess of trouble.

Not to toot my own horn, but did you notice how I managed to say “misclassification situation” and not follow it with “truly an inspiration, it’ll be a sensation, we’ll have a Dalmatian plantation?

And did you further notice that I didn’t go on a secondary digression about how Anita from 101 Dalmatians can absolutely get it? Yeah, that’s because I’m a professional. I’m on-topic as shit. Plus, it’s not really even debatable…

If you say she's not a babe, that's some worker misclassification right there.

Note: Sorry, international readers! We’re talking exclusively about American labor law today. Go grab a non-cheeseburger food item of your choice and come back next week.

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The FIRE Movement, Explained

Am I really writing about the FIRE movement? Seven years into running what is, ostensibly, a FIRE movement blog? Why yes, I am!

We’ve published over 400 articles for Bitches Get Riches. It’s possible that one day we’ll stop because we’ve run out of things to say. But today ain’t that day.

A day may come when I'm over the FIRE movement. But it is not this day!

Today, I’m explaining a concept so important to us—so central and foundational to every aspect of our lives—that we forgot to write about it. For years.

What can I say? It’s peak me! When a friend comes to visit, I often meet them at the threshold, drag them inside, thrust food into their hands, and press them to name their favorite title card from the original Batman: the Animated Series before I remember to actually, y’know, greet them. A tiny minority of people find this blunderbuss communication style charming. I’m grateful to them! I collect them! And if you’re still reading our blog after such a glaring long-term omission, congratulations: you’re a part of my collection.

If this is your first time hearing about the FIRE movement, sit down. Get comfortable. I might have the privilege of changing your life—and I want us both to enjoy it.

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