Plus: Don’t BNPL Your Wedding (Please!)
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HerMoney Podcast Episode 337:
How to Negotiate Fearlessly
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This Week In Your Wallet:
It’s Going To Be A Bumpy Ride

With Monday’s drop in The Dow Jones Industrial Average — marking five straight days of losses for stocks — the Dow hit its lowest closing level in nearly two years. We’re now officially in a bear market. And although stocks climbed a bit on Tuesday morning, worries still abound that the Fed’s efforts to tamp down inflation are hurting the stock market more than some investors expected. The Fed has signaled that more large increases are likely, “showing it was willing to tolerate a period of higher unemployment and slower economic growth in order to get inflation under control,” writes Jenny Gross in the New York Times.

By now, regular readers know my general advice on the inevitable dips and swings in the stock market: Don’t check your balances too often. Hold on tight when things get rough. Don’t panic just because everyone else is (in fact, the very moments when others are selling can be the perfect time for you to score some stocks on sale.) And invest for the long haul — for the future that you know is coming, that you just might not be able to see yet. Now is one of those times when we all need to take a deep breath.

And…if you’re looking to gain a little more on cash you know you’re not going to need for six months or more? Looking to Treasuries instead of CDs or high yield savings accounts could bump up your return to 4% and eventually maybe more. Our pal money columnist Terry Savage lays out the argument and the how-to-buys from Treasury Direct. (Yes, that account you opened to buy i-bonds is looking like it’s going to come in handy.)

Wedding Bells Bills, On Installment Now, Too?

Why is it so often the case that when wedding bells toll, the toll it takes on our wallets is the one we hear ringing the loudest? For most of us, a wedding is the most expensive party we’ll throw in our lifetimes — the average cost in 2021 was $28,000, but, ahem, “party of a lifetime” should not mean that you’re paying it off for a lifetime. But if Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) companies have their way, that’s exactly what more couples will be doing. A new company called Maroo is helping couples essentially put their weddings on layaway — only you get the wedding now, and you’re stuck paying it off later. The way Maroo works, as explained by Stephanie Cain in The New York Times, is: 1) a couple hires a vendor in the Maroo network, then 2) that vendor then bills the couple via the Maroo platform 3) the couple can then decide to break up the cost of the bill over a three, six, or twelve month time period.

As convenient as this may be for vendors and couples, it’s clear that going into debt for a party is not a good way for couples to start their financial journey together. My fear is that BNPL options for weddings may actually inspire couples to spend more. Those who might have scaled back their wedding to more affordable levels may suddenly decide to “go all out” simply because they can — and not deal with paying for it today.

As with all things BNPL, the devil is in the details — miss a payment and you’re subject to all penalties stated in the vendor’s contract, and each vendor can invent their own set of requirements. Here’s everything you need to know about the hidden traps in BNPL. Bottom line: It’s always concerning to see clever new ways for people to get into debt, but it’s especially troubling during a season with a possible recession looming and interest rates rising. The first piece of advice I always give anyone heading into leaner times: Pay. Down. Your. Debt.

Investors Regrets On The Horizon?

A new Fidelity study reports that 67% of women are now investing outside of their retirement accounts, up from just 44% in 2018. That’s a 50% increase in four years, and, yes, music to my ears. But there are some numbers more troubling: Nearly 1 in 5 consumers have closed investment accounts over the last 12 months, and for Millenials and Gen Z, the number is closer to 21%, according to a recent survey from Ally Financial. Were they the Robinhood (and Robinhood-ish) investors who threw their stimulus dollars into stocks hoping to make more of them? Perhaps. Fears of market volatility and an uneasy adjustment to record-high inflation are understandable.

But as the market continues its downward trend with more folks predicting recession everyday, it’s an important time for a reminder. It’s only when you sell (or, yes, close out an investment account), that you're locking in any losses you incurred. If you stay invested, you may see your balance continue to drop (especially these days) but when the markets rebound, you’ll be there to catch that upswing. But in order to make all that happen, you have to stay invested. This chart from Bank of America shows why. And if you truly can’t sleep at night due to market stresses, then take a look at reallocating your portfolio in a small way — perhaps moving an additional 5% to safer havens — and see if that does the trick. There is a path out there for all of us to be successful investors, and if you’re looking for the education that can take you there, then I’d love for you to join us as part of my new investing club, InvestingFixx. I’ve teamed up with pro investor Karen Finerman of CNBC to offer a roadmap to investing for women at all stages of their investing journey. All you need is an interest in putting money in the market, and a desire to have some fun while doing it. We hope to see you there!

The Struggle (And The Midlife Crisis) Is Real

We’ve all heard the jokes. A midlife crisis is what inspires you to buy a corvette. To blow up your life and wake up one morning in a new city with a new job and a new spouse. To throw caution to the wind in every possible direction.

But if you’re currently feeling what many people are at middle age — depression, suicidal ideation, and a sense of being overwhelmed — then you’re not laughing. And the rest of us shouldn’t be, either. Because “something elemental appears to be going wrong in the middle of many of our citizens’ lives,” according to a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, as reported this week in the New York Times by Peter Coy. (There’s also a special series on mental health that just started “It’s Not Just You” that’s worth checking out.)

Essentially, the study showed how midlife crises affect men and women, rich and poor, married and single, and those in countries of poverty as well as those who live in countries of prosperity. The crises typically start in people’s 40s and dissipate in their 50s. The researchers called it “paradoxical and troubling” that someone in their mid-40s who is at their peak earnings, in perfect health, living in a safe country, would be feeling the same things as someone living the exact inverse. There are theories as to why we’re feeling what we’re feeling, but no certainties. For example, chimps experience something similar at around the same age, so it could just be our biology. A part of nature that’s hard-wired in us for reasons beyond our understanding. It could also be a product of our modern age. We’re surrounded by near-constant promises of meaning and fulfillment, and when we don’t find it, perhaps we feel like we’re the only ones. But I promise — it’s not just you. We’re all in this together.

Have a great week,


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