Issue #113/ Aug. 16, 2019

✨ Catch up on what ya missed this week ✨

 
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Markets Drop While WeWork Tries To Go Public

  • MARKET MOVES: The stock market fell roughly three percent on Wednesday, then stabilized Thursday. More details below in our She Saves section, but this Reuters piece on the U.S.-China trade war is related.

  • WEWORK: WeWork, the office space provider, has filed an S-1, or the document necessary to complete an initial public offering in the United States. It's bonkers. ReCode has more.

  • UNFAIR: When Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman's book deal fell through, Thrush, despite sexual harassment allegations against him, got to keep the money. Haberman did not, according to BuzzFeed News.

  • FAMILY LEAVE: A couple working for the law firm Jones Day is suing it over paid family leave, according to the New York Times.

  • WW: Weight Watchers has released an app for children, which is really bad. Elle explains why.


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The Founders of Yoga Is Dead On How Money Killed Yoga


The women behind the Yoga Is Dead podcast, which launched on June 8th, are about to revolutionize the industry. 

Tejal Patel and Jesal Parikh left the corporate world years ago to devote their lives to yoga. But after becoming instructors, the two increasingly became disenchanted with the industry. When they met at a yoga teacher training in New York, it was like fate: the two describe feeling relieved to find another woman with similar experiences and background working in the industry.

The two have since started a podcast called Yoga Is Dead, which explores cultural appropriation, racism, exploitation, and other issues in the yoga industry. Their second episode launches Monday and covers the influence of money and capitalism on the practice of yoga. What follows is a conversation with the two.


(editor’s note: the interview has been edited and condensed for clarity).

Can you share a bit about what folks can expect to hear and learn in your upcoming episode?
T: Our next podcast episode is called Karma Capitalism Killed Yoga. One of the big issues we’re talking about is employment for yoga instructors.
J: We’re talking about lack of contracts in the space. I was teaching on staff somewhere and I didn’t have an employment contract. The studio presented me with a really unreasonable video release to sign. They wanted to use my image in any way they could. I didn’t sign it, and they let me go.
T: The flip side of that is that I did have a contract that was far-reaching and too broad. I ended up being sued. That’s obviously an outlandish scenario.
J: An independent contract having a non-compete doesn’t make sense. But it’s common, lots of studios ask people to sign noncompetes.

T: Both of us come from corporate backgrounds. We’ve had 9-5 jobs. In the yoga industry, there’s an unwillingness to engage in the professional process. There’s no discussion on what employment entails. There’s no negotiation, there’s no opportunity to ask questions.
J: We take an opinion in our episode about business owners that operate like this, we just say not to open the studio. If you can’t communicate clearly, you don't have a business plan in place, and you can’t sustain your staff, don’t open the studio.
T: If the studio was super clear about that up front and said what the money would get you, that’s a different story. Studios are not super clear about what they’re offering. This is coming from an abuse of power. The establishment of the institution, of the trainers, everyone within the studios, is abusing the power.
J: Not just on a capitalistic level, but they’re using spirituality as manipulation. In the world of spirituality, where there are for-profit businesses being run, there’s confusion about what is the spiritual part and what is the capitalist part. There’s a denial that you’re in it to make money. If you weren’t, you’d open a nonprofit, an Ashram, something else. It wouldn’t be a for-profit business. There’s nothing wrong with that, but again you need to call a spade a spade.

T: It’s been flying under the radar too long. We talked about labor unions and movements around what employees can do. If the collective of teachers feels that there is something going wrong, they have the power to come together and organize.
J: A lot of these people trying to start these businesses come at it with the idea that they enjoyed yoga. It’s almost the wrong place to come to a business. You may have zero experience in managing a business. One of the comparisons we make is if you’re a professor at a university, are you going to open a university?

What about karma programs, or taking shifts in exchange for free classes, at yoga studios? Where do they fall into this system?
J: I don’t think it’s super clear that there’s an unequal exchange happening. I think studios are offering these work exchange programs but not considering the person is not going to have time to take them up on the class exchange part of it. The term they use - a karma yoga service - the exchange program is neither of those things. Karma means selfless service. The selfless service implies that it’s a choice and that there’s no expectation of an outcome. Of course, there’s an expectation of an outcome. To use the word karma is a misuse of the word.

How did the podcast start? What are you hoping to achieve with it?
J: I think honestly it started with Tejal and I bitching. We were the first people for each other that we felt like we could talk to about certain stories and topics that understood where we were coming from. We became each other’s confidante. There were a lot of similarities between us but we’d end up on different sides of a debate. So we said, we should do a podcast.
T: People who disagree need to sit together and still talk.
J: We started putting together an episode. We did a good amount of work in a year, we started doing a script and we didn’t like it. We took a little break and came back to it. We realized we couldn’t just share our stories. We need to back up what we’re saying.
T: For being yogis, you don’t just leave that negativity out there. We talk about research and tools. We want to build community.
J: We called the first episode White Women Killed Yoga, so we decided to go back and process what we were saying and do some research on it. In the process of researching for our episodes, what happened is that we came to much more of a middle ground than we thought we would. Having a deeper understanding of each topic helped us to get to a place where we agree enough that we can put out some shared statements.

What has the feedback been like so far?
J: Ninety-nine percent of it has been positive. We expected way more negativity and shutting down of our experiences than we received. Of course, those comments are still out there and that’s fine. We didn’t expect it to have the traction that it has.
T: We didn’t expect people to reach out individually and share. They realized that we could relate. The long stories of their journeys coming into our inbox have been amazing.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
J: One other money thing is that I’m not the best at sales. We realized though that we need to ask people directly for donations. When people make direct contact with us, we ask them to support us right away. That’s something a lot of people in the industry have trouble with. We’ve found that people do, you just have to ask.

I had this conversation with another person who has a podcast in our industry, and the same thing, she wasn’t asking for contributions for it. I told her that the work and time it takes, the value it provides is so big, that even if you just ask for $5, I would give it to you.

 
 

Freaking Out About A Recession? We Got Your Back

Given the stock market’s movements this week (and the financial media’s subsequent panic) we thought it would be helpful to answer some questions we got in our Facebook group and Instagram here. Consider this your guide to current market conditions, and save it for later so you can feel prepared for the next time investors get spooked.

Are we in a recession?
Nope! A recession occurs when the economy contracts for more than two months. A recession is measured using several indicators, which include real gross domestic product (GDP), income, employment, manufacturing and retail sales.

Other terms, including market correction, a bear market and a stock market crash, are used interchangeably with the term recession, but they shouldn’t be.

A market correction occurs when the overall market falls 10 percent. It can also be applied to individual stocks.

Meanwhile, a bear market occurs when there’s a 20 percent drop in share prices over at least a two-month period. Related: if you can’t keep bear and bull markets straight, think about how the two animals attack. A bear often stands up over its victim, punching down. Thus, a bear market is falling. Meanwhile, a bull uses its horns to push up against the victim, lifting them in the air. A bull market works similarly.

A stock market crash, like the ones in 2008 during the Recession and in 1929 before the Great Depression, is a sudden steep drop in stock prices. Think 20 percent over a week, rather than a few months.

What does the yield curve mean? Why do we care that it inverted?
Okay, so the yield curve measures how bond investors are feeling about risk. It’s typically a more legitimate way to track how the market is doing than stock prices because the bond market is larger, and because bond investors are a bit more intentional about what they do than stock investors.

When the yield curve inverts, long-term (10-year) bonds have yields, also called returns, that are lower than short-term (2-year) bonds. Check out this writing metaphor, or this sports analogy, for a more detailed explanation.

We care that a yield curve inverts because it has often indicated that a recession is on its way.

And why are stock prices going down?
Stock prices fell about three percent on Wednesday, then stabilized on Thursday. Investors are concerned about the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, among other issues.

What other indicators do people watch?
Some folks watch the VIX, or the volatility index. When it goes up, it means there is more volatility, or uncertainty, in the market. On Wednesday, as stock prices fell, the VIX was up nearly 30 percent.

Why does it feel like everyone is talking about a recession?
Well, they are! I work in financial media, and I can attest to the fact that reporters and our sources alike have been talking about when the next recession would happen since at least 2015 (folks who have been in the field longer than me say it goes back as far as 2012). Quite frankly, media folks and investors alike have been terrified that another 2008 would happen (although the next economic contraction likely won’t be as serious). As a result, both jump at any signal that the markets are turning.

Okay, so we’re not in a recession. But eventually, we will be. What should I do to protect myself and my family?
First, don’t panic! If a recession happens, you can do a few things. First, when it comes to your investments, you’ll likely be best served to do nothing, especially if you’re investing for the long term. Remember that when you sell investments, they are subject to taxes.

Consider refinancing your mortgage or student loans now, because it is often easier to do prior to a recession than during it. Remember that every situation is different though, and you may not find this necessary.

Finally, look at beefing up your emergency fund. The way most folks are hardest hit during a recession is that they lose their jobs. Make sure you have extra liquid cash, and keep that resume up to date, just in case.

Got memes?
We love a good finance meme. These two are great for the recession panickers among us.

 
 

TELL US YOUR SPENDING SECRETS!

Since the inception of She Spends, we've been sharing the spending secrets of one reader each week — completely anonymously. During that time, 257 readers shared their money diaries. Here's what we've learned! Don't feel like your experience is represented in the data below? Fill out the money diaries survey to have your voice heard! 

How 29-year-old Hollywood-based operations manager spends:

  • SALARY: I make about $35,000 working as an operations manager in Hollywood, California. I have asked for a raise before. I got a 50 cent raise at my coffee shop. It took 2 months to get my review, another 2-3 months get it submitted and another 2 months to actually get it on my check.

  • SAVINGS: I have $108.06 in my savings account. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1149.31 each month for rent. I do not contribute to a 401(k), but I do pay for my health insurance. I pay for Hulu ($12), Apple Music ($5) and iCloud Storage ($1). My monthly bills are T-Mobile ($122 including my phone), Gas ($10-20) and Internet ($32.50). My electric bill comes every 2 months ($50-100). I owe taxes ($155). I give myself $200 each month for whatever I need to spend.

  • INVESTING: I used apps to invest small amounts of money like Acorn and Sofi.

  • DEBT: I am in debt. I pay $80 in minimum payments across three cards. I am not paying my other credit cards because I would only have $166 left for anything I would need.

  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I ever bought was my MacBook Pro, which I bought in mid-2012. I got it in 2013 because I went to school for media. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: Recently, I spent $125 on an open box desktop. It's not that good of a computer.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy this $6.5 million apartment building in Los Feliz, Los Angeles.

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I work with my roommate at events randomly. They pay me $30 per hour and gigs can range from three to seven hours. I also pick up shifts at my old job as a barista. I can make $200 from working a weekend (2 six-hour shifts) including tips.

  • CHARITY: I contributed most recently Red Nose Day at Walgreens.

  • GOALS: I want to get out of debt and have at least $15,000 saved.

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Updates, blog posts and other important things:

  • FACEBOOKIN': We talked about the Equifax in the Facebook group this week. What do you think? Join us!

  • SHE SPENDS x BKP: She Spends has partnered with Brooklyn Plans! Want to work with Alicia (who is a financial coach) on your financial plan? Drop us a line!

  • CONTRIBUTE: Support us through Patreon! Your patronage can help us continue to create tools that empower women to hammer away at the glass ceiling. 

  • PATREON SPOTLIGHT: Shoutout to Patreon supporters Alexis Andreas, Jacob Bell, Lauren Bonner, Mimi Chiahemen, Emma Court, Rachel Creager, Natalie Daher, Shelby Eberlan, Maria Eisenberg, Gaby Garcia, Sara Guenoun, Christine Hinojosa, Ellen Kern, Tim Livingston, Duncan Magidson, Carolyn McElhaney, Hanya Moharram, Emily Munson, Leanna Orr, Gracie Raver, Julia Reinstein, Bill C. Smith, Troy Taylor, Anita Whitmore, Tamara Wong, Dris Villaman, Ally-Jane GrossanFundamental Children's BooksIdaliaKristina KingLaura PorterSara Rosso and Troy Taylor. Couldn't do it without you!  

 
 

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