Issue #101/ May 17, 2019

✨ Catch up on what ya missed this week ✨

 
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Three States Pass Restrictive Abortion Laws, Igniting Concerns Over A Future Supreme Court Case Challenging Roe v. Wade

  • ABORTION LAWS: Three states passed restrictive abortion laws this week: Georgia, Alabama and Missouri. While it is still legal to get abortions in those states now, when the laws go into effect, most pregnant folks won't be able to access the necessary health care service. Things are bad, but if you want to make change, reach out to your representatives on a state and local level, and sign up to volunteer at your local abortion provider. Donate to groups like the Yellowhammer Fund. New York magazine has a great list of ideas on what to do here

  • TURBOTAX SCAM CONTINUES: It turns out that TurboTax forced a lot of people to pay to do their taxes who shouldn't have. ProPublica has more. 

  • OPIOID EFFECT: One opioid maker, Insys Therapeutics, told shareholders this week that it could be forced to file for bankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reports. Its stock tanked 74% as a result. 

  • THERANOS 2.0?: Startup uBiome is using stock photos for customer testimonials on its website, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • LGBTQ FAMILIES: The Trump administration has started de-recognizing the U.S. citizenship of children born to same-sex couples who are U.S. citizens, the Daily Beast reports. 


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Cally Ingebritson on Founding Her Own LGBTQ-Focused Financial Advisory Firm

This week, I sat down with Cally Ingebritson, the mastermind behind Chillax Financial, a new financial advisory firm based in San Diego dedicated to serving queer folks. She started the firm after spending nearly 10 years in personal finance.

Tell me a bit about yourself.
My pronouns are she/her. I’m originally from Minneapolis. I studied Spanish in college, and I knew that I wanted to help people in some way. I lived in Spain, Mexico and Columbia before settling back in the Midwest.

Once there, I worked in personal finance in the Midwest for roughly 10 years. I realized that a lot of financial places can be very square and very serious.

I recently founded my own business, which is called Chillax Finance. It started when I saw how much of a need there was in a queer community for people to offer realistic financial advice at a low cost. Additionally, I work at the Women’s Business Center as a business adviser. I’m helping women start businesses in my role there. I also work at a local salon to support myself.

How do you stay on top of things when you have three jobs?
It’s very challenging, but it’s also on purpose. I took all the coursework to become a CFP and I have two financial coach certifications. I don’t want to look for financial advising jobs at traditional firms. I would just die in one of those environments. I want to create a new financial space for young people who are queer, identify as nonbinary or just generally are looking for something new.

What do you focus on at Chillax Financial?
Some of the common issues that the folks I work with want to address include cash flow. A lot of people struggle to understand how to divvy up their paycheck or to know where their money is going. A lot of people are working on creating a rainy day savings buffer. A lot of people want to open a retirement account or purchase a home. In the short term, it’s cash flow and building savings or paying off debt.

I really help them open different accounts. We create multiple checking and savings accounts, which can be really helpful for folks. After working in personal finance for ten years, I have come to realize that for folks with one checking account, their finances can be a hot mess.

When everything is coming in and out of one account, it’s really stressful. At Chillax, we use the rough guidelines of a 50/30/20 budget. We set up direct deposit. We include automation with that. I have found that that is super successful.

What are your plans for the future?
In one year I hope to be serving many more clients than I am now. I hope to be able to connect people to the tools we just talked about. I am hoping to do some national work, I hope to attend some women and queer events here to spread the word so that people know I exist. With the clients I’m already serving, I want them to feel relaxed, not judged about money. In all, I hope to be serving my full threshold.

What resources have helped you in starting your own business?
For me and starting my own business, it has been really helpful to get connected to the Women’s Business Center in San Diego. I found it using www.SBA.gov. There are a lot of different resources for readers who are entrepreneurs. It’s paid for by our federal taxes, so you should take advantage of it.

I really like Jenna Kutcher. She’s super rad. She has a podcast called Goal Digger. She gives lots of awesome advice and resources for people who are running their own businesses. I love listening to the Queerly podcast with Cameron Esposito. I also like the podcast called 2050 Trailblazers. It’s more like an industry podcast that’s specifically for financial advisers that are doing innovative things with people of color.

Any final words?
I would just like to encourage people that improving your personal finance is possible. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the stuff that is out there. You’re not bad with money, you just weren’t given the tools to handle it. You most likely weren’t taught it in school. I just want people to not feel overwhelmed.

 
 

On Elizabeth Warren's Student Debt CANCELLATION Plan And The Ensuing Debate 

I want to talk about Elizabeth Warren’s plan for universal free public college and cancellation of student loan debt this week. 

One, because I think it’s important for the public to have a discussion on how we plan to tackle the ongoing student loan crisis that has saddled our generation with an incredible amount of debt. 

Two, because I think the critique the plan has gotten gets to the heart of a larger issue in the United States: a lack of community, and how that bears out in our economic system.

So first, let’s discuss what is inside the proposal. Warren is proposing that we cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for every person with a household income of less than $100,000 per year. For folks who make between $100,000 and $250,000, debt will also be canceled, but it’s phased out by $1 for every $3 over $100,000 the person makes. 

For the folks who make more than $250,000 per year, there is no debt cancellation, because, as Warren noted in her proposal, these people are in the top 5% of Americans when it comes to wages. For most, the cancellation would be automatic. Private student loans would be eligible for the cancellation. The debt canceled wouldn’t be taxed. 

Warren is proposing that in addition to the debt cancellation, the country would offer free education at two- and four-year public state-run colleges. The federal and local government would split the cost. Her plan will also create a fund worth at least $50 billion for historically black and minority-serving colleges. 

Wait, so how the fuck would we pay for it? According to Warren, it will cost $1.25 trillion over ten years. First, the plan is expected to create an economic stimulus, which would offset some of the spending. The second part of the plan is an ultra-millionaire tax, which would be levied on folks who make $50 million or more. 

We had a hearty discussion on the news in the She Spends Facebook group this week. It was great to see a variety of opinions and ideas about how to tackle the ongoing student debt crisis. 

One critique of the plan really stuck out in the debate that ensued, not only in our Facebook group but on the internet at large. It’s the idea that the folks who took on the debt knew what they were doing when the took it on.

I think it’s worth examining whether these people really do understand what it means. It’s rare that 17- or 18-year-olds have a strong grasp of what it means to have to repay $100,000. The counterargument to that is “well I knew that I was taking out debt” or that their parents should have taught them better. 

Of course, this is an argument that doesn’t hold up: anecdotes can’t trump data. A 2018 survey from Student Loan Hero showed that half of the respondents didn’t know that interest accrued on federal unsubsidized student loans. A remarkable 10% thought that if you don’t get a job out of college, you don’t have to pay off your loans. 

What’s more, is that the “smart” option -- the one where you live at your parents’ house and work part-time while going to community college or a state school -- still costs a lot of money. And while some people have made real careers without having a college education, a lot of folks would not be where they are today without having a college education on their resumes. It’s become a requirement for many industries.

Couple this with the fact that student loan providers often operate in predatory and unhelpful ways, and it becomes clear that this is clearly a problem with student loans, not with individuals who don’t know enough about money. 

I think what the discourse following the release Warren’s plan made clear is that personal finance cannot be divorced from the systemic issues we face as a country. And I think the critiques highlighted the lack of community we feel as a nation when it comes to addressing problems like student loan debt. 

When I think about student loan debt, I think about what it holds us back from. On the She Spends money diaries survey, we ask folks what they would do if they won the lottery. One of the biggest answers? Pay off student loan debt.

So what can we do about this? 

Check out Warren’s plan, and decide whether it’s something you’d support. Consider other plans to tackle student loan debt, like the one from Scholarship America, which is less all-encompassing, but equally as interesting. 

If you have student loan debt, think about your options for repayment. Consider refinancing, and check out the Student Debt Crisis website for information on making a plan for repayment. Even as policies like Warren’s are proposed, you should still work on paying off your loans. 

If you don’t have student loan debt (lucky you!), talk to your friends and family members who do. Ask about what went into their decision making before they took on the debt and ask about what they have to forgo while they’re working on making payments. 

 
 

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 a 25-year-old Mississippi-based math teacher spends: 

  • SALARY: I make $38,000 per year teaching fifth-grade math at a charter school. I negotiated for a raise to $41,000 that will take effect next school year I asked for $42,000 and they gave me $41,000. My previous salary offer was $39,500.

  • SAVINGS: I have $5,000 in my savings account right now. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay roughly $296 on my mortgage, but my roommates pay me rent (it's a house hack) that covers more than that. I contribute to my 401(k) and I'm still on my parents' healthcare plan. I pay $35 for my gym membership, about $100 for the electric bill and about $60 for the natural gas bill.

  • INVESTING: I am investing in my Roth IRA at Vanguard and in a taxable investment account with Vanguard.

  • SIDE HUSTLE: Tutoring - I make $60 per month. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  My house! I love my house, and I love that my roommates are paying my mortgage and utilities.

  • SPENDING REGRET: I went to art school for my first two years of college, and I wish I had a better idea of what I wanted before I did that. 

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy an investment property - probably a duplex or triplex in my city.

  • GOALS: I want to retire early. 

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Updates, blog posts and other important things:

  • FACEBOOKIN': We talked about travel 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!

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