Issue #32 / December 8, 2017

✨ Catch up on what ya missed this week ✨


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  • SMALL BIZ SUCCESS: One in five small businesses are now owned by women,CNN reports. What's more is that women are opening these businesses at a faster pace than men. 
  • PILLOW TALK: Former hedge fund star Nehal Chopra made a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after her husband improperly shared investment recommendations with her, Institutional Investor reports. 
  • ETF NATION: BlackRock and Vanguard -- the two main providers of index funds -- are less than a decade from managing $20 trillion, Bloomberg reports. What happens when asset managers rule the world? 
  • BITCOIN BUBBLE: Bitcoin was on a tear this week, signaling that traditional investors are embracing the cryptocurrency. Is Bitcoin ready for Wall Street? CNBC asks. 
  • BONDS FOR EQUALITY: One way to combat gender equality is to invest in bonds whose proceeds go to businesses actually doing the work to close the wage gap, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Sitting down to talk with Racked senior editor Alanna Okun is fun. She’s bubbly and kind, and she instantly puts you at ease. 

It’s not hard to imagine, then, Okun talking with readers of the shopping news website about a notoriously difficult subject — money — given her disposition. 

Okun, along with several Racked writers, launched a new feature earlier this year called “How Do You Shop?” The series is in the vein of several money diaries popping up on sites like Refinery29, Man Repeller and, of course, She Spends, and points to a desire on the part of readers to know how their peers spend their money. 

“We call it shopping for real life,” Okun says. 

The premise is this: a Racked reader shares her average salary along with typical shopping habits. The pieces tend to reveal far more than how a person buys their clothes (though that is certainly interesting). They serve as a means to communicate personal finance values, money advice and even family stories surrounding spending. 

“Most people talk about money in the same way,” Okun says on the phone. “They fear scarcity and want protection. People can find a lot of joy and fear in managing it. I thinkRacked looks to tell stories from this perspective.”

A spending profile on a single mom paying for child care, for instance, revealed not only that the mother has a hard time finding clothes to fit her athletic body (she’s also a weightlifter), but also that her family struggled with bankruptcy while she was growing up. This shaped her spending for years. 

“Family stories become stories about why we shop,” Okun says. “Money exists as this taboo on a spectrum for a lot of people.”

Writing these spending diaries hasn’t just been for the benefit of readers, she says.

“My financial landscape has changed radically since starting the series,” Okun says. “It’s helped me to stare money in the face a bit more.”

She notes that since interviewing a reader who uses five separate bank accounts to keep track of spending, she started using a similar system of her own, separating her long-term and short-term savings, as well as her fixed expenses and fluid expenses. As a result of this system, Okun says she’s been able to save $200 more per month. 

Money isn’t just on Okun’s mind because she’s working on this series. She also recently wrote a book, The Curse of The Boyfriend Sweater, which will be available for purchase in March. 

“Money has been on my mind when it comes to my book,” Okun says. “In order to have time and space to write books, you have to have money.”



The holidays are hard. We get it, so we put together a guide on some of the most common problems that arise in the office, among families and with ourselves during the holiday season. Be sure to check in on our Facebook group as the holidays approach; there’s a lot of advice given and received there. 

Office Politics
My office is having a holiday party. Can I get drunk? 
We recommend having one or two drinks, but staying relatively sober. All workplaces are different, but things get messy when people drink a lot. You don’t want to bring that into the office. 

What happens if my coworker or boss gets handsy at a holiday soiree?
This is unacceptable. We know it happens, though, and we wrote an entire guide on how to deal with unwanted attention in the workplace. In short: Tell your coworker to stop immediately, so there’s not even a question of whether you consented. If possible, tell a close coworker what happened or address it to anyone who witnessed the behavior. Document the incident and take it to HR as soon as you can. 

Should I get my boss or coworkers gifts? 
This one is iffy. We say avoid gifts unless it’s well-known that your office does an exchange. Keep things work appropriate: Travel mugs make great gifts, as do mini desk heaters if your workplace is particularly freezing. 

They want me to make Christmas cookies… what do I do?
Unless baking is truly one of your favorite hobbies, don’t give in. Offer to bring paper plates or napkins to a potluck. There’s no reason to continue giving into gender norms.

Want ideas for handling your family and your finances this holiday season? Click the link below to read more. 



We're sharing the spending secrets of one woman each week - completely anonymously. This section draws inspiration from Refinery29's Money Diaries and New York magazine'sSpending Diaries (gotta give credit where it's due, right?) Click here to take our anonymous survey on spending habits.

How a 26-year-old Cape Town, South Africa-based teaching assistant spends:

  • SALARY: I make $950.72 each month working as a teaching assistant based in Cape Town, South Africa. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $365.66 in my savings account right now.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $255.96 each month on rent. I don’t contribute to a 401(k) or pay for health insurance right now. 
  • DEBT: I am not in debt.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I ever spent money on was my airplane ticket to South Africa from the United States.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret spending money at bad clothing stores. It never is worth it. 
  • CHARITY: I most recently donated to the Saartjie Baartman Home for Women and Children.
  • GOALS: I want to start investing. If I won the lottery, I would immediately start putting cash into stocks and bonds. 


  • FACEBOOKIN': We hosted an AMA with Ally-Jane Grossan of the Moneysplained podcast in our Facebook group this week. Join to check it out! 
  • CRYPTO: Reader Laura Porter wrote her second blog post on cryptocurrency for the She Spends blog, #loosechange.
  • WEAR TO WORK: Reader Hanya Moharram shared how she dresses for work while observing hijab. Check out her Wear to Work post.
  • EVENTS: Alicia will be sharing ideas for salary negotiation at Shaktibarre in Brooklyn on Sunday, Dec. 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • GIVING BACK: Donate toiletries for our Bottomless Closet fundraiser. Learn more here.
  • BOOK CLUB: Amanda shared her thoughts on our November read, Crazy Rich Asians

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