📣 Black lives matter 📣

Hi friends,

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my Monday night newsletter that’s normally about stocks and investing but today is about police brutality and racism.

And of course money comes into this. The powerful use money as a weapon (sometimes literally, look at the footage of police tanks and police departments with billions in funding, dressed in full riot gear, rolling up on protesters in t-shirts and jeans). The powerless destroy wealth because sometimes it’s the only way to get attention (and possessions!).

Police have killed black people again and again, and enough is enough. We all saw George Floyd get killed by a police officer holding his knee against his neck for nearly 8 minutes until he went unresponsive, and even then did not seek to get him medical attention or stop pressing against his neck for over a minute (I actually hope you didn’t watch and share it, because black death is not your entertainment).

Protests against police brutality and white supremacy erupted this week across the country, with many incidents of police violence and some reports of looting.

Let’s look at some money facts. Police unions donate money to political candidates who then help fund the police budgets and encourage policies to support them (and publicly support them when officers use their powers for police brutality).

On average, a white family in the US in 2016 had a net worth of $171,000, ten times that of a black family, which was just $17,150.

Black families historically experienced redlining in housing, segregating cities and ensuring that real estate and intergenerational wealth became more difficult to accumulate.

Discriminatory lending practices remain, with black businesses less likely to get emergency coronavirus relief loans from the government.

And white supremacy also applies to big business!

There are currently only four black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Kenneth Frazier runs pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Marvin Ellison is the head of retailers Lowe's, Roger Ferguson, Jr. runs insurance company TIAA and Jide Zeitlin is the CEO of Tapestry, a fashion company.

Only two black women have ever been the head of a Fortune 500 company — Ursula Burns who ran Xerox until 2017 and Mary A. Winston, who spent six months as interim CEO of Bed Bath and Beyond last year.

Brands and companies have been posting statements to social media all week — including the NFL! the company that ended Colin Kaepernick’s career when he peacefully protested police brutality against black people by taking a knee during the national anthem! — and many of them read hollow, not specifically calling out police, police brutality or racism.

And! A global pandemic, which affects and kills black people in larger numbers, is still continuing.

May I suggest three easy ways you can get involved this week, particularly if you’re a well-meaning non-black person wondering what to do.

  1. Join a local protest, follow and listen to local black leaders.

  2. Read to better your current and historical knowledge and learn methods to be anti racist (here’s a great list!).

  3. And of course! Give your money. Some suggestions:

The National Bailout Fund — a black-led and black-centered group working to end mass incarceration and pay bail.

Black Lives Matter — the organization leading many of the protests and the fight against police brutality of black people.

Color of Change — an organization aimed at fighting injustice and ending white supremacy.

We Love Lake Street — working to rebuild and reopen small businesses in Lake Street, Minneapolis.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project — Today is the first day of Pride (remember, Stonewall was a riot against police brutality). The Sylvia Rivera Law Project focuses on legal aid for trans people of color.

Pay The Rent — I know lots of my readers are Aussie, and may I suggest you give money to a local indigenous charity such as Pay the Rent. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up 2% of the population and 27% of the prison population. There have been 432 indigenous Australians who died in police custody, don’t pretend it’s not the same problem there.

Stay safe this week,

Amber Jamieson

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a racist mate? Forward this onto them and tell them to not be a dickhead.

As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.

😷 Masks are sexy 😷

Hi friends,

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my weekly (ish) Monday night newsletter about investing, stocks and the messy world of money.

Long time no see! Once quarantine like, rly hit, the thought of doing a day’s work on my dining table and then moving to my couch to spend a few hours writing a newsletter, felt… insurmountable.

It still does a bit, which is why I am emerging back on a public holiday where I have had a nice calming three days off.

If you’re a newbie around here, hi! I’m Amber, I’m a breaking news reporter in my work life — this newsletter is a little space for me to talk about my own investments, feelings about money and suggestions for other clueless investing newbies.

To get yourself acquainted with the Better Have My Money world, I’d suggest getting yourself across a few past posts, particularly if you’re totally unsure if a stocks newsletter is even for you because you don’t have stocks or investments (it is for you! —and if you do have lots and are very wealthy, hey, this newsletter probably isn’t for you!):

  1. how to feel about capitalism when you know it’s ruining everything but you also want to be financially independent

  2. how markets go up, markets go down, and you should just chill out

  3. why you need a fuck layoffs fund and to know your personal savings rate

  4. figuring out which investments feel ethical aka why I personally don’t buy Amazon

  5. go listen to Get Money, the podcast I co-host about how to get your money shit together


There’s a lot of shit more important than money right now. Nearly 100,000 people are dead in the US, millions have been sick and the loss is unbearable, particularly when collective mourning is near impossible.

Seeing people struggle with the choice between money or people is terrifying (please remember that wearing a mask is sexy).

And the economy has changed in truly profound ways. Nearly everyone I know’s money situation is different than it was in Jan. Maybe you’ve been furloughed. Maybe you’ve had your pay cut (*raises hand*). Maybe you’re supporting more people. Maybe your partner has been laid off. Maybe you’ve been laid off. Maybe you’re waiting for more layoffs to happen soon (*raises hand again*).

Nearly 40 million people have applied for unemployment in the US since the pandemic began. Which means a lot of people are thinking about money — and the lack thereof — in a different way because their steady employment is gone, perhaps forever.

And personally, my spending has changed. I’ve had extra costs (buying masks, an office chair, a laptop stand, a thermometer, a pulse oximeter). I’ve donated a crap ton more money than normal, and bought fundraiser merch. I paid to get my bike fixed and get a new bed frame and a portable dishwasher and a bunch of little home errands that would have been (happily) ignored if I wasn’t spending 23 hours a day in my little Brooklyn studio.

My groceries are more expensive because I’m buying them from restaurant suppliers and local restaurants turned grocery stores. I’m trying to spend locally and thoughtfully. Blah blah blah, all the things that most people are doing if they are lucky enough to have steady money right now, but also not the normal ~stuff~ we buy.

I’m fascinated to know though: how has the pandemic changed your spending? Has it made you pause your saving? How have your finances been affected and how are you coping? Comment and tell us!

One of the weirdest things for me? Watching my stocks do better than they have in the two and a bit years since I started buying them. My investment portfolios with Acorns and Ellevest are down, because they’re made up of ETFs and overall the market is still down, although it’s risen a lot since the February crash.

Confusing term of the week: “ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds” — basically a broad mix of stocks or bonds. Often they are a specific asset (such as “large-scale US businesses”) or tied to the whole market overall, like an index fund which tracks the top 500 companies and owns a tiny bit of each of them.

If you haven’t seen me do this before, I publish a list of all my individually owned stocks every few months. I last published my portfolio in Feb, so I figured it was worth doing a check in, because I honestly feel conflicted about it. I’m up 55% overall, in just over two years since I began investing.

Because some companies are doing really bloody well right now in this work-from-home COVID-19 world. Netflix, my biggest holding, is up 15% in the last three months, because what the hell else are we doing except sitting home and watching TV. Okta, basically a cloud-based intranet service for companies, is up nearly 50% in three months, because it’s a service that’s very helpful for a work-from-home employee. Same as Slack, which is still down from when I bought it, but is up 13% in the last three months.

Match is internet dating, which is what we are all doing when not watching Netflix, and Paypal helps internet shopping payments, so despite the fact that whole industries (travel, events, hospitality) have collapsed, for others the pandemic is good…. business?

Which feels totally bonkers, with nearly 40 million unemployed. Even watching which of the restaurants and bars near me were able to start selling grocery goods, or organized to-go cocktails, or started updating their Instagram accounts daily, has been a lesson in how some businesses can pivot and adapt to the market and are more likely to survive (and to be clear, it’s not always the ones you’re hoping for).

But do try and support the small businesses near you. And I also recommend, if it’s possible for you, to send some money to Give Directly, an org that hands out $1000 cash payments to people who need it (mainly single mothers) and let’s them decide how to spend it.

And I promise you won’t have to wait 10 weeks for the next newsletter.

Cheers,

Amber Jamieson

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a mate who is spending like crazy right now? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.

And shameless referral code time! You can use my referral code to get a free stock when you sign up to Robinhood, an app to buy and sell stocks which has free trading. And sign up to Acorns, an app which automatically rounds up your purchases and invests the spare change here and we both get $5. As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.

Better Have My Money

🦠Paying for a global pandemic🦠

Hi friends,

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my weekly newsletter about investing and feelings… but is anyone thinking about anything that is not the ‘rona right now?

I wrote last week “Everything feels a little bit scary right now, even if you’re not a particularly anxious person” and in one week, I feel like that’s morphed to “everything feels a lot scary right now, and we’re all anxious.”

Here in New York, bars and restaurants are shut (although to-go orders are available at some), gyms are closed, schools are closed and everyone is staying inside and only going on occasional walks and trips to the supermarket (and if you’re doing more, please… go home).

Quarantining might be cutting down on going-out costs but it is expensive to stock up and buy large amounts of groceries at once. I’ve spent hundreds in the last week or so trying to stock my cupboards and fridge, as a single person who lives alone, and that’s while making sure I’m not taking more than I need.

I spent today speaking with a lot of hospitality and service workers for a BuzzFeed News story who, very suddenly, found themselves without an income — and the ability to pay for health insurance — and are terrified and uncertain of what comes next.

It reminded me a lot about the need for a fuck layoffs fund. That is, an emergency fund for when something — like say, a global pandemic that you’d barely been considering a week ago — suddenly leaves you unemployed and with no jobs in your field for the foreseeable future.

It’s hard because working from home (if you’re lucky enough for it to be an option) also gives people the shoppies, so I can understand it can be hard to save.

But it makes a really big difference to have a buffer. Having 3-6 months worth of an emergency fund can be the difference between spiraling into debt or being able to cope with a sudden criss. And right now, everything feels like a bit of a crisis. If you haven’t got savings aside already, get your credit card debt paid off and start it.

And not everything is bad! There are also ways you can use your money to help the community and make everything feel a bit better. Lots of local restaurants are offering gift certificates right now, as a way of ensuring money for them in this lean time.

Check if your local bar is doing a virtual tip jar or Venmo for staff that you can send money too. New Yorker writer Helen Rosner has been posting great merchandise options from cafes and restaurants across the country on her Instagram that you can purchase in order to support them.

Keep paying your gym membership, if you can, and check that staffers are being paid. Support your local supermarkets and bodegas. Buy from small stores online, rather than Amazon, which is so inundated with orders it is hiring 100,000 new workers (bleak!).

It is the local businesses that really make a neighborhood — the book store, the local cocktail spot, your fave coffee shop, the taco truck — so make sure you’re supporting them as much as you can.

Also, stocks are really cheap right now. (You could also see it as that all your investments are currently worth… very little, but I’m trying to be positive). If you want to make long-term investments, well, it’s probably a decent time.

Airline stocks in particular (American Airlines, Boeing, Jet Blue), seem to be an absolute bargain, if I had some extra cash, I would probably pick up a few. Hotel sites like Bookings and Expedia are also way, way, down.

Travel will, eventually, pick up again. Everything will, eventually, pick up again. This too shall pass.

Things getting me through self-isolation: the new Slack of my neighborhood which is everyone being kind to each other, the Headspace app which offers great meditations, the Aaptiv app which is perfect for at-home workouts, and also remembering how I’m quite useful at cooking for myself.

Sending you all some calming deep breaths and a call for my parents to f*cking stay inside,

Amber Jamieson

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a mate who panic bought everything? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.

And shameless referral code time! You can use my referral code to get a free stock when you sign up to Robinhood, which has free trading. If you open an account with Ellevest using this link, we both get $20. And sign up to Acorns here and we both get $5. As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.

⚡ What's a circuit breaker? ⚡

Hi friends,

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my Monday night newsletter about stocks, investing and feelings.

And damn, don’t we all have a lot of feelings right now! (wash your hands)

Monday was a panicky day. Plunging oil prices and the growing coronavirus outbreak sent US stocks plummeting.

The market dropped so low, so quickly, that it actually triggered stock market circuit breakers to pause the market temporarily for 15 minutes.

Confusing term of the week: “circuit breakers” — basically they are automatic mechanisms that kick in if the market drops too quickly in one day. So if the S&P drops 7% in a day — which happened today — all trading is halted for 15 minutes.

“They are designed to slow the effects of extreme price movement through coordinated trading halts across securities markets when severe price declines reach levels that may exhaust market liquidity,” explains the New York Stock Exchange site.

There are three levels of circuit breakers:

It was the first time one has been triggered since Oct. 27, 1997. By the end of the day Monday, the S&P 500 closed 7.6% down.

My office is also in self-quarantine, to help curb the spread of coronavirus in the city. Which meant I spent the most beautiful day of the year sitting on my couch in my ground floor apartment with little natural lighting, feeling vaguely tense.

Everything feels a little bit scary right now, even if you’re not a particularly anxious person.

Should I be outside frequenting local businesses, or should I be limiting my spending? And, should I try and stay home to limit how many people I come in contact with, in case I have coronavirus, since many people do not have affordable access to healthcare and there’s limited healthcare resources? Should I buy those cheap plane tickets to Europe and help support tourism, or is that just unhelpful at a time when Italy has just announced a quarantine on the whole country?

I’m trying to focus a bit more on community than myself — statistically as a person in my 30s with no underlying health problems, this virus should not greatly affect me if I get it. But how will it affect the economy and other workers, such as gig workers, hospitality workers, freelancers and those with no sick pay?

What about frontline emergency and healthcare workers? What stories aren’t being told because we’re focusing so much on the coronavirus? How can we keep as many people healthy and safe at once, and slow down the infection rate? (wash your hands).

What will the next six months to three years look like? (I’m not using the r-word yet, even if articles keep mentioning the possibility of one). The uncertainty of the coronavirus will continue to affect us and our finances.

When it comes to your own money right now, I feel like there are two sensible options. Either do nothing — don’t change your investment strategy or money, don’t check your 401(k), don’t open your investment accounts to see how they’re going, don’t read articles about the markets. Just know that based on historical records, the market will eventually go up again.

Or do just a little something.

Maybe it’s increase your 401(k) contribution by 1%, if you’re not maxing it out. Or bump up how much you automatically put into your savings account. Maybe it’s open a brokerage account, if you’ve never invested before. Maybe it’s purchase a few index funds, so you have some diverse investments across the market, rather than just individual company stocks.

Nothing dramatic. Just something small, to give you a tiny feeling of control back. Don’t suddenly sell things or drain your savings accounts and panic buy (either stocks or toilet paper), because everything remains uncertain.

Today I decided to transfer $1000 — I’d been keeping it aside to get some art framed and do a few fun house things, but I guess I will just keep living in shambles — to my Robinhood. I bought three stocks in a S&P 500 ETF, and a few in The Motley Fool 100 ETF, the 100 top recommended stocks by the site Motley Fool. These aren’t stocks that are super thrilling or exciting or align with my thoughts on ethical investing. But, they are diversified and historically reliable, at an uncertain time.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has launched a covid-19 fund, to help support the safety of responding healthcare workers, supporting those that have been quarantined and encouraging good strategies to help prevent the spread. (wash your hands)

And I think tomorrow I’m going to go work from a local cafe or a co-working space.

Hope your week gets brighter,

Amber Jamieson

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a mate who panic bought everything? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.

And shameless referral code time! You can use my referral code to get a free stock when you sign up to Robinhood, which has free trading. If you open an account with Ellevest using this link, we both get $20. And sign up to Acorns here and we both get $5. As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.

🤷Markets go up, markets go down🤷

Hi friends!

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my weekly newsletter about stocks, investing and figuring out when to buy the dip.

Have you been freaking the fuck out reading the headlines and watching all the red and down arrows in your investment and retirement accounts this week?

Let me be the latest newsletter to tell you just to calm down. If you’ve signed up to any other stocks newsletters or have brokerage accounts, you’ve been getting these “don’t panic, just relax and don’t sell everything” emails. Well, the experts are right. Chill out.

Last week everyone started flipping out over lines such as “largest one-day drop in Dow history,” “worst week since 2008” "and “$5 trillion wiped,” after news of global Coronavirus outbreaks. Which, fair enough!

But just remember, the S&P 500 is still up 10.65% in the last year. And it bounced back 4.6% today. The drop felt so low last week because the market was hitting record highs just two weeks ago. It is normal for the market to go down. I spoke on AM to DM about it on Friday, using a lot of weird eye movement.

I also actually wrote about Coronavirus and your money for BuzzFeed News, aka my day job, ‘cause everyone has been in stock market panic. I tried to explain WTF is going on:

"Part of the stock market decline is the result of stocks being overvalued," economist Mark Weisbrot, codirector of Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank focused on economic policy, told BuzzFeed News — meaning the drop was partly just the market correcting itself.

While it was the biggest point drop in history, there have been much larger drops in terms of percentage of the Dow overall. For some historical comparison, the Dow dropped 4.4% last Thursday, however during the Wall Street crash of 1929, it dropped 13% one day and 12% the day after.

Plus, it's not like years and years of investment gains got wiped out last week.

"The stock market saw its worst week since the financial crisis as coronavirus fears gripped markets," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, in a statement. "But the market is still higher than it was as recently as last August."

I’m not usually a panicker — I was genuinely confused why people were stockpiling supplies when I saw people posting photos of empty supermarket shelves on Twitter and Insta, because the thought of prepping for Coronavirus never crossed my mind.

But it’s not thrilling to see hundreds or thousands of dollars that you’ve saved for gone in a short period of time. Just remember, the stock market does, eventually, come back up again. In fact, we should focus a lot more on that, because us media types focus pretty regularly on the lows, but not so much on the small everyday increases which help grow wealth consistently over time.

Appropriately, 🤑🤑🤑the most recent episode of Get Money 🤑🤑🤑 is all about savings for retirement and how I want to retire fancy. Retirement savings can seem all a bit overwhelming but it’s also super important, because you need those decades to get all that delicious compound interest.

Confusing term of the week: “compound interest” — basically interest on top of interest. It sucks when it comes to debt, dramatically growing your debt, but when it comes to saving, this is how you get rich over time. For example, $1000 earning an annual 9% interest (historically how much the stock market makes each year) is worth $20,413 in 35 years, even if you never add another cent to that principal sum.

If you’re not convinced to listen to the podcast yet, maybe this email — which I received today, and totally knocked me and the whole Get Money team over with kindness — will encourage you:

One thing an economist told me about the risk of Coronavirus to our money is that if we treat the public health crisis properly, then the stock market will take care of itself. With that in mind, may I suggest a donation to an organization such as Project Hope, which is on the ground in Wuhan, China, helping those affected.

Hope your investments grow like the love between Lauren and Cameron,

Cheers,

Amber Jamieson

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a mate who loves to prepare for a pandemic? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.

And shameless referral code time! You can use my referral code to get a free stock when you sign up to Robinhood, which has free trading. If you open an account with Ellevest using this link, we both get $20. And sign up to Acorns here and we both get $5. As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.

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