Category Archives: Think

4 Stats About Women & Money at Work

This post is brought to you and contributed by Casey Musarra. Casey is a reformed sports journalist tackling a new game of financial services writing. Previous bylines include Newsday and Philly.com. Mike Francesa once called her a ‘great girl.’

dollar bills sitting on a white backgroud. some of the bills are folded in half.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 82 times: there’s a big ol’ pay gap in the United States.

As of the most recent Census data, women still are earning just 82 cents for every dollar men earn.

But it’s not all bad news for women in the workplace. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, females have outnumbered males in college enrollment every year since 1991. In turn, this means women can earn more money than men at a younger age.

Here’s the 4-1-1 on women and money at work.

The more educated sex

While women have long dominated the college-educated, that hasn’t been reflected in the workplace until recently. Remember when women used to go to college to find a husband? (Gag.) Me neither.

In the first quarter of 2019, the number of women with at least a bachelor’s degree (29.5 million) surpassed the number of men with at least a bachelor’s degree (29.3m,) according to Pew Research.

While women tend to begin their careers making more than men, the pay gap soon hits—and grows larger as workers age. The pay gap used to be widest among lower-paying jobs but is now largest among higher-paying jobs. Only 336—or just under 12%—of the world’s billionaires in 2019 were women.

Meanwhile, women were 17 times more likely than men in 2019 to work in an industry that doesn’t pay a living wage, according to a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Despite typically having lower incomes and possibly dealing with more student loans, women tend to be better at managing debt than men. Overall, women have better credit scores than men, which can put them in a better position to qualify for opportunities to consolidate said debt. A low-interest personal loan for debt consolidation can help streamline your debt into a single payment, making life a little bit easier as you continue trying to shatter glass ceilings.

The gender and racial pay gap

The wage gap doesn’t end at gender—it’s even wider for women of color.

According to an analysis of the Census data by the National Women’s Law Center, Latina women faced the biggest wage gap in 2019, earning 55 cents, to every dollar white men earned. Native American women earned 60 cents, and Black women and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander women earned 63 cents.

Asian women had the smallest pay gap, earning 87 cents on the dollar that white men earned, a drop of three cents from 2018. And white women earned 79 cents on the dollar that white men earned.

The undervaluation of domestic work

Domestic workers are highly undervalued in the United States, and the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated this even further. Marginalized women make up the large majority of domestic workers.

According to the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, more than 90% of domestic workers—the majority of whom are women houseworkers—lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 by the end of March 2020. More than 3/4 of these workers said their earnings were the main source of income in their households. In other words, they’re the breadwinners and often single mothers.

On top of that, women carry out about 2 1/2 times more unpaid household and/or care work than men, according to a UN Women report. And nearly 2 million women left the work force because of COVID-19. This is an issue that 50 prominent women, including Tarana Burke, Julianne Moore, and Amy Schumer, are pushing the Biden Administration to rectify with the Marshall Plan for Moms.

How COVID-19 affected women at work

While many jobs have started to come back—the unemployment rate was down to 6.3% in January—they’ve rebounded more for men than women.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly job report from December—the first month of job loss since May—showed a net loss of 140,000 jobs, all of which were women’s jobs. Women lost 156,000 jobs while men gained 16,000 jobs.

But hey, look on the bright side? The gender wage gap is expected to close by 2070.

Sure, you’ll probably be retired, or maybe even dead. But the gap is projected to close. Eventually.

Socially-Distant Spa Days for Valentine’s Day

This post is in collaboration with FTD.

Towel, lit candle, tan towel and pink flowers all sit on a white table.

I’m not going to lie: I really, really hoped we’d be free from the Coronavirus by now.

I’m incredibly sad that we’re not. But I’m also incredibly encouraged by the vaccine distribution which is gaining efficiency as time goes on, though there is still much work to do.

I’m encouraged by the booster trials for the new strains.

And I’m encouraged by the potential of further economic stimulus from the government.

But for right now, we’ve got to sit tight. Hope is on the horizon, but until it arrives in totality we need to stay away from other people as much as possible in order to preserve more lives. And continue to mask up whenever we do have to breathe in public.

That means we might have to sustain the changes to our traditions for a little while longer. We’re getting to be pros at it. We’ve had virtual Halloween parades and Zoom Thanksgiving dinners.

One of the final holidays new to our quarantine routine is Valentine’s day. In years past, you might have gifted a spa day to your mom, sweetheart or BFF.

In 2021, let’s redirect our attention to the socially-distant alternative: Spa Day Gift Baskets.

Cucumber & Olive Oil Spa Gift Basket

Cucumber & Olive Oil Spa Gift Basket
This soothing and refreshing spa basket contains natural products including:

  • Cucumber and olive oil hand soap.
  • Shea butter bar soaps.
  • Exfoliating body wash.
  • Shower loofa.
  • Smoked almonds.
  • Teavana green tea.

View the whole basket here.

Love & Rose Valentine Spa Gift SetLove & Rose Valentine Spa Gift Set

CHOCOLATE spa day! More specifically, included are:

  • Godiva chocolate truffles.
  • Two foil-wrapped, chocolate hearts.
  • Tea box.
  • Valentine’s Day coffee mug.
  • Shower loofa.
  • Rose-scented lotion.
  • Rose-scented body butter.

View the whole basket here.

Spa Day at Home Gift Set

Spa Day at Home Gift Set
With a melody of different heavenly scents and flavors, the Spa Day at Home Gift Set comes with:

  • Godiva chocolate truffles.
  • Lavender mimosa candle.
  • Bath bomb.
  • Chamomile and honey lotion.
  • Chamomile and honey bath scrub.

View the whole basket here.

Lavender Spa Day Gift Basket

Lavender Spa Day Gift Basket

This relaxing basket includes:

  • Lavender soap bar.
  • Lavender lotion.
  • Loofah
  • Lavender sachet.
  • Lavender hand soap.
  • Pumice brush.
  • Lavender mimosa candle.
  • Bath bomb.
  • Slippers.

View the whole basket here.

Ways to Trick Yourself into Spending Less

This post is in collaboration with BetterHelp.

Woman's hands holding a bunch of $100 bills fanned out.

It can be hard to save money, especially if the autopilot on your decision-making process is set to ‘spend.’

There are ways you can override that autopilot, though. Here are some practical ways to trick yourself into spending less money and saving more.

Practice the 72-Hour Rule

Those with a shopping habit may want to practice the 72-hour rule. When you see something you want to buy, you don’t purchase it right away.

Wait at least 72 hours. Most of the time, the urge to purchase will fade. You might even forget you wanted to purchase the item in the first place.

If this rule helps you, you’ll want to stay away from advertisements for flash sales. Don’t open the ‘Promotion’ portion of your email inbox unless you’re intentionally shopping for something you need and want to find a promo code.

If you just can’t stay out of the ‘Promotion’ tab, you may want to unsubscribe from email newsletters altogether.

Practice Mindfulness

Simply noticing your thought patterns can stop your spending cold in its tracks.

When  you notice the urge to spend, stop yourself and ask yourself why you want to purchase. Be honest in your answer.

If the answer is,

I want to buy this because I need it, have been watching sales, and this is a good price. I can afford it and it would add value to my life.

Then by all means, purchase.

But most of the time, you may find that if you’re honest with yourself, the answer is something more along the lines of:

I want to buy this because I’m sad and the shopping high will help me feel temporarily better.

I want to purchase this because there’s money sitting in my account and I fundamentally feel that when I have money, I need to spend it because the event of having money is so rare and fleeting.

Financial goals feel too overwhelming. Because the future is so overwhelming and I don’t have a long-term plan, I look for every last immediate ‘win’ I can get in the present moment. Including the temporary shopping high I know this purchase will give me.

Financial Therapy

If you’ve got a lot of unpacking to do with your thought programming around money, it can be helpful for some to seek assistance from a therapist.

Some therapists may come from an orientation that believes plasticity and the ability to interrupt your own thoughts indicates that the mind is a separate entity from the body. This is called dualism.

Other therapists believe the mind and brain are one entity. This is called monism. Your therapist’s view on monism vs dualism may affect the therapy you receive, though Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most common treatment in these situations.

Earmark Income Streams for Savings

Waiting on your stimulus check?

If you’re one of the lucky who doesn’t need the small boost to catch up on day-to-day needs, consider earmarking this extra money for your savings goals.

You can do this with all surprise ‘extra’ money.

If you have multiple income streams, you can use this same principle. Maybe all your day-to-day needs are covered by your nine-to-five job, while the money from your side hustle goes into your emergency fund or gets set aside for a ‘want’ like a vacation.

Automate Savings

A great way to trick yourself into saving more cash is to not even give yourself the option. Let’s say you get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month. You could set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings on the 1st and 15th of every month.

By removing the mental labor of making a decision on payday, you’re giving yourself less opportunities to fall through on yourself.

 

 

 

Recognizing Reverse Psychology in Advertising

This post is in collaboration with BetterHelp.

The shadow sillohettes of a girl and boy crossing a crosswalk. The way the photo is shot, it lookslike the girl's and boy's bodies are upside down while the shadow are upright.

You know that feeling when someone tells you that you can’t do something?

That feeling in your gut that just wants to prove them wrong? 

That feeling is a version of reactivity, and is often the result of reverse psychology. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the ways advertisers use reverse psychology to try to get you to buy stuff.

Direct Reverse Psychology

In 2011, Patagonia launched its initial ‘Don’t buy this jacket’ campaign: A full-page ad featuring the Patagonia jacket you weren’t supposed to buy. The company took things to the next level, claiming the ad was meant to highlight its eco-friendly ethos.

If consumers are encouraged to think twice before they purchase, the company reasoned, they would ultimately buy less stuff. When consumers buy less, you would hope less would be produced, thus easing the burden we place on our planet.

When you buy higher quality, you don’t have to buy as often. So while you should think twice before purchasing, Patagonia’s hoping that when you do, you’ll remember their ad and high-quality product.

That complex reasoning may be well thought out.

But at the end of the day, you remember the ad because it’s different. It tells you to do the opposite of what they’re hoping you’ll do, and harkens back to the type of reverse psychology you and your friends used while you were children.

Most reverse psychology in advertising isn’t as blatant. Because if you recognize it, you might alter your behavior.

Exclusivity

One way to use reverse psychology in marketing is to not only not advertise, but make it difficult for potential customers to find your storefront. When businesses do this, they put off the air that they don’t necessarily ‘need’ your business, and that their product is only for an exclusive group of people.

When you’re told you’re not allowed in the in-group, your gut reactivity may push you to want to join even more. Businesses that  put off these exclusive airs can attract people who want to be included or those who want a unique, special experience.

NYC is known for its difficult-to-find clubs hiding behind common storefronts. For example, if you know where to find the secret door inside UES Ice-Cream Shoppe, you’ll find the Storage Room. The Storage Room is a cocktail speakeasy.

Selectivity

Subscribed to too many email lists? You’ve likely seen reverse psychology delivered straight to your inbox.

Some newsletter managers will send out emails actually encouraging people to unsubscribe. If you’re not going to engage with the newsletter, they tell you, they don’t really want to keep you on it anymore.

Do some people unsubscribe?

Yes. But those are generally viewed as people who would not have bought anyways.

And it does something else to the people who choose to stay. If the reverse psychology works, they may engage with the newsletter more. After being told their lack of engagement could get them kicked off the list, they engage more, making them more likely to purchase.

Direct Sales

 

The Wilt Chamberlain VW commercial is one of the classic examples of reverse psychology in advertising. First they show you that Wilt Chamberlain won’t fit in the car. It’s not a good product for him.

But they’re not trying to sell the car to Wilt Chamberlain. They’re trying to sell it to you, and most of you are 6’6” or under.

If you purchase something from a salesperson, you might encounter this same type of reasoning. Let’s say you’re the salesperson. A common tactic is to first show a product that you know provides more than what the consumer needs. It’s also likely way outside their budget.

When they tell you so, you show them a second product. It has less bells and whistles, but no one needs that many bells and whistles anyways. Plus, compared to the initial product you showed them, it’s way less expensive. It’s feels like an acceptable alternative, and they purchase.

The salesperson always meant to sell you the second product, not the first. VW always meant to sell its cars to people 6’6” and under, not Wilt Chamberlain.

Reverse Psychology in Real Life

Examples like Patagonia and VW show instances where companies used reverse psychology and the consequent reactivity from consumers to grab attention. They tell a joke and let you in on it. By letting you in on it, you’re more likely to trust them.

But reverse psychology is often more manipulative. We expect advertisers to try to manipulate us. When we learn more about the methods they use, we can make more conscious spending decisions.

We expect advertisers to manipulate us, but we don’t expect the same behavior from those closest to us. If reverse psychology is happening in your personal relationships, you may want to seek help from a therapistLearn more about why and how at BetterHelp.com.

What Neuroscience Says About Making Financial Decisions

This post is in collaboration with BetterHelp.

Picture of a hard, plastic brain in a blue room. The brain is lit up mostly red with one section near the back lit up green.

Over the past several decades, our knowledge of neuroscience has skyrocketed. With it, our understanding of mental health has also expanded

Understanding how our brain works physically has major implications in the field of psychology. Understanding how our brain is physically wired can help us rewire mental workarounds. It can also tell us what medication may help alleviate the physical chemistry going on in our brains when necessary.

Because so much of our financial behaviors are based on our psychology and past experiences, this increased knowledge in the field of neuroscience can also help us make better decisions with our money.

Neuroscience and financial decision making

A 2017 study sponsored by Northwestern Mutual measured neural activity during the decision-making process. Some of the study participants were given assistance as they were making financial decisions. Others were left to make those decisions on their own.

Those that did not receive assistance experienced:

  • 20% more stress and difficulty when making a decision.
  • 28% less understanding of their financial decisions.
  • 21% less relaxed when making those financial decisions.

The study even included brain scans, visually showing the difference in brain functioning between the two groups.

The neuroscience shows that simply having someone to guide you through the process lessens your anxiety levels when making financial decisions. It helps you understand those decisions better, and can thus result in better results.

Ways to get assistance with financial decision making

How does one get this assistance that the neuroscience showed to be so important?

There are several ways to seek financial assistance. The best one for you will depend on your budget and the specific financial decision you’re trying to make.

Financial advisors and coaches

If you have money to spend on professional help, you can look for people with letters after their name.

For example, if you want help filing your taxes, you could look for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or enrolled agent (EA) with the IRS.

If you’re planning for retirement and have a complex array of financial products, you may want to find a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Certified Financial Advisor (CFA).

If you just need help getting your day-to-day money on track and want one-on-one attention, you might look for a coach who has their Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) or Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) certification.

Purchasing a home

If you participate in a first-time homebuyer program, you will often be required to complete a first-time homebuyer education course.

This may seem like just another hoop to jump through. But it’s often a positive thing for you as a buyer. You get access to that assistance that neuroscience has shown to be so important. And you get it through a unique process you’re only likely to go through a couple times in your life.

Day-to-day finances

You might need specific help with a specific financial problem. But if you just need general money advice, turning to financial influencers you trust can be a good way to get the support you need.

For example, when Tiffany Aliche launched the first Live Richer Challenge, she did so using her background in early childhood education. She gives participants one thing to do per day. A bite-sized task instead of a list of overwhelming decisions.

By the time you get to the end of the initial course, you have a budget, a finger on the pulse of your spending habits, and an idea of what it will take to get out of debt.

The Northwestern study showed that this tactic achieves the goal of alleviating stress. Your brain doesn’t have to worry or get overwhelmed with big decisions. It can focus on the one task in front of it, increasing your motivation as you successfully complete each task, building momentum and confidence along the way.