Issue #121/ Oct. 18, 2019
✨ Catch up on what ya missed this week ✨
Chicago Teachers Strike For Better Classroom Conditions, President Trump Schedules G7 Meeting For His Own Resort
TEACHERS STRIKE: Teachers in Chicago went on strike Thursday after their schools failed to reach a deal with their union, The Associated Press reports. The teachers are asking for more classroom resources and smaller class sizes, noting that their work is "about the students."
UNICORN LIFE: Ever wonder what it was like to work for a startup in the early 2010s when money flowed and bro culture reigned? The New Yorker has a fascinating personal essay this week about one woman's experience in unicorn-land, and what it meant for her to leave.
TAX FIGHT: TurboTax has been fighting for 20 years to stop Americans from filing their taxes for free. ProPublica's latest investigation into the matter explains how.
ENRICHMENT: The Trump administration announced Thursday that the G7 Summit, a yearly gathering of the world's largest economic powers, will be held at President Donald Trump's Miami-based Doral golf resort, NPR reports. In other words, Trump is essentially using his position of power to help his own business. Yikes.
TRICKLEDOWN TRUTH: Trickle-down economics are a myth, the IMF confirmed this week, Pacific Standard reports.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: Where are my Succession heads at?
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Christine Chang On What It Takes To Serve On A Board
Christine Chang, the chief executive officer at a small business lending platform called 6th Avenue Capital, is a busy woman. She has three children under the age of five and runs a growing bridge financing business, which provides companies with short term loans when they’re in need of capital.
She’s also served on several boards, chairing the board at Bottomless Closet, which helps New York overcome poverty. She’s a member of High Water Women and the Trust and Estates Committee of the SUNY College of Optometry. She also mentors folks in the Columbia Business School’s Nonprofit Board Leadership Program and Cornell’s Alumni-Student Mentoring program
Chang shared her advice for snagging a board seat and supporting other women’s work in an interview with She Spends. What follows is an excerpt from that conversation
(editor’s note: the interview has been edited and condensed for clarity).
You have served on a few boards. Can you share a bit with our readers about how you’ve gotten there?
There really is a clear path to serving on a board that people don’t see. Ask yourself: How can you add value to the organization? Then, work to start serving on a not-for-profit board. It’s low risk for a not-for-profit. They get a volunteer. For example, early in my career, I drafted the guidelines for the board at Bottomless Closet to have an investment committee.
Then you serve on a private company board, then a university board. There’s an expectation that you’re going to raise money. Then you serve on a board for a public company. There’s generally a requirement for a publicly-traded company that you have experience. One of the most insightful things I heard was to remember the three Ws: Work, Wisdom and Wealth. It’s that triangle that makes a great board member. That’s usually the barrier to entry. You don’t just get asked to be a trustee because you’re nice.
What tools help you stay on top of your work and daily life?
I have an Excel sheet for my childcare situation. I use an app called Class Dojo to monitor what my kids are doing at school. It gives me a little more insight.
My five-year-old son is obsessed with being a ninja. There’s a book called The Official Ninja Handbook, and there are great principles in there. You just work twice as hard as everyone else. Everybody understands being nice to people. The way I extrapolate that in business is called co-opentition. I know my competitors better than people in the space that don’t work with me. A lot of our strategic partnerships are with my competitors. We’re creating a bigger pie versus competing for a smaller pie.
What advice can you share with our readers?
I think that it’s important for people to always be exceptional in their careers. People who write down their goals can achieve them.
You’ll see from a younger person’s point of view is that women are the greatest proponents or detractors of other women. I tried to help people early on, and that can come back to you. Early on, I think that it’s important to keep the perspective of not how someone can help me, but how can I help a person. I would keep that in mind, especially early on. It’s incredibly important for young people to think about how they can be additive.
Debt Got You Underwater? Filing For Bankruptcy May Help.
Debt happens. Whether you’ve racked up credit card bills, medical debt, or student loans, it can be easy to get underwater with money, and fast.
One way to handle those debts is to file for bankruptcy. While it’s a loaded term, bankruptcy actually can be a useful tool, especially for folks struggling to make ends meet.
The average income of folks who file for bankruptcy is $34,392, according to Debt.org, a website that aims to help Americans understand debt better. Unpaid medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy, according to the American Journal of Medical Health.
In other words, folks filing for bankruptcy aren’t “lazy” or “bad at money,” as many stereotypes suggest. Instead, they’re average people making lower-than-average income who become saddled with medical bills or other types of debt that they’re unable to pay back.
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows you to pay off and eliminate some of your debts. It is intended to allow folks who have racked up too much debt to start with a clean slate.
There are two types of personal bankruptcy: chapter 7 and chapter 13. In chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee, who is appointed by the court, will sell your assets to pay back creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protects certain “exempt” assets, like your retirement savings accounts, among other assets.
A chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is not as common as chapter 7. It allows folks who make enough money to create a repayment plan for their debts. They must do so in three to five years.
When should you file for bankruptcy?
If it would take you more than five years to pay off your debts, filing for bankruptcy may make sense. Other reasons it may make sense: your home is at risk of foreclosure, you’re using loans to pay bills, or if you’re being sued by debt collectors.
What is the process like?
Bankruptcy is a legal process, so you’ll want to seek advice from an attorney before filing. A lot of attorneys offer help for free on this matter. You do not need to hire a lawyer, though. You can use this link to figure out what forms you’ll need to file.
When you file, your creditors will no longer be able to ask you to pay them, nor will they be able to file a lawsuit against you for being unable to pay them.
This is called a “stay” on your debts. A trustee will be assigned to your case to help you sell off assets to pay your debts. You will have to share information on your assets, debts, current income and expenses, and other financial information with this person, as well as with the court itself. You may also have to undergo a credit counseling session as a part of the process.
Once this all happens, and your assets have been sold to pay back creditors, the remaining debt will be discharged. This process does cost money, as there are filing and administrative fees.
What debts can they discharge?
Almost any type of debt can be discharged in a bankruptcy case. There are two exceptions: student loan debt, and secured debt. Student loan debt is not discharged in a bankruptcy case. Secured debt is, but it is typically secured against an asset you own. This means that if you default on a loan, or file for bankruptcy, your creditors can take that asset back.
What happens to my credit when I file for bankruptcy?
If you file for bankruptcy, it will affect your credit score. A chapter 7 filing stays on your record for 10 years, while a chapter 13 filing stays on your record for 7. How much it affects your score is dependent on how much debt was discharged. It’s important to note that many loan applications ask if you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy. Even if your credit score no longer shows it, you still have to disclose that.
Are there other options?
Yes, definitely. Debt consolidation, which allows you to roll all of your debts into one account, which you have one monthly payment for, is an option. You can also look into debt or credit counseling as an option.
TELL US YOUR SPENDING SECRETS!
We are sharing the spending secrets of one reader each week -- completely anonymously. Fill out the money diaries survey to have your voice heard!
How 25-year-old Baltimore-based financial planner spends:
SALARY: I make between $50,000 per year, plus a bonus, which could be anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 per year. I have never asked for a raise.
SAVINGS: I have $30,000 in my savings account.
MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1237 per month on rent. I contribute to a 401(k), but I'm still on my parents' health care plan. My other monthly expenses include $100 for utilities, $400 for groceries, $80 for a gym membership, and occasional yoga classes that range from $20 to $40 per month.
INVESTING: I do investments for a living. I don't always want to do my own since I don't have the same level of assets as the clients I work with. I started a small investment account contributing $100 per month and have watched it grow over the last 2-3 years tremendously.
DEBT: I am not in debt.
SPENDING VICTORY: I always say quality over quantity. I have various things I've purchased over the years like nice kitchenwares or sturdy furniture that has lasted while my friends purchase new Ikea or Target items on the regular.
SPENDING REGRET: Not investing earlier or spending my money on trending apparel. It's not worth it.
SIDE HUSTLE: I do not have a side hustle.
IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I'd make a down payment on a house.
CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was a local animal charity that I volunteered for.
GOALS: I want to be financially stable, pay for future kid's colleges and own a vacation home.
Updates, blog posts and other important things:
FACEBOOKIN': We talked about what it means to be middle class in the Facebook group this week. 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.
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