Issue 37: The Money Issue

Forget Leaning In, It’s Time For Women To Push Back

Good news: You’re the boss. Bad news: You’re the boss

My promotion was cause for celebration for everyone but me. Friends clinked glasses at happy hour, and though I smiled over martinis, I felt dread. I’d worked so hard for my new title, but I already crammed my art into the nooks and crannies of the occasional free evening. For a (very) mild pay raise and resume-fattening responsibility, I’d be giving up more time and energy to do work that frankly bored me. Saying so aloud seemed like spitting on my privilege.

Only one person in my life understood my ambivalence: my father. The first in his family to go to college and land a gig that required pressed shirts and briefcases, he’s prone to waxing nostalgic about his college construction job, the one he took to pay off the tuition that was supposed to give him a “better” life. Laying bricks left his body sore and his mind unfettered; he missed knowing that when he put his hammer down for the day, his life was his own.

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Money

Harry Potter And The Curse Of The Student Loans

The Boy Who Lived battles perhaps his most difficult foe yet — Hogwarts debt.

I had some vague idea that Hogwarts was expensive. But no one told me that when I graduated I would owe an amount equivalent to roughly 300,000 butterbeers. When I first embarked upon my wizarding degree, I had zero savings of my own and no one to co-sign my loans, so I took out a private loan on the recommendation of a “friend” who later turned out to be a Death Eater (long story). Anyway, after 10 years of fighting for my life, rescuing classmates and mentors alike, blah blah blah, my interest rate was the last thing on my mind. Frankly, by my final year I assumed I could just Expelliarmus any extra debt that had accumulated.

Little did I know someone had put a Cascading Jinx on those loans. So I decided to defer them for a couple of years while I figured out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life—turns out that the only professorships they give out these days are adjunct, even at Hogwarts. I slipped on a few payments, and now I owe 60,000 Galleons more than when I started. I’m getting Howlers every second from the Ministry of Credit. I can’t walk out my door without being accosted by a fucking owl!

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Money

Why Publicly Shaming Your Boss Is Actually A Great Career Move

How burning a work bridge leads to better opportunities.

If being laid off is the corporate version of a sucker punch, mass termination via form letter is more like a round of carpet bombing. A few years ago, AOL informed me that my “engagement for content services” was no longer needed in a company-wide email that addressed me as “Hi There.” Emboldened by visions of financial ruin, I composed a scathing essay that ran on a popular humor website.

“Are you sure you want to burn that bridge?” asked a concerned friend. “You’ll never work with them again.” He had a point. Conventional wisdom says that trashing an employer is bad business. Rather than piercing AOL’s armor, it’s possible I’d only dent my own. What if I came off as an entitled crybaby, suspiciously interested in workers’ rights only after getting rejected? But when the piece went live, commenters cheered me on, and my bitter words were picked up across the internet. Surprisingly, freelance job offers piled up in my inbox—good ones. After years of lowbrow “content creation,” I’d fired back and, in the process, gained respect as a serious writer.

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Money

Good Advice: “Money Isn’t The Enemy”

The celebrated artist and technologist reflects on the best money advice he ever received

John Maeda’s work explores the intersection of business, technology, and design. A celebrated artist and technologist, he credits his winding career path—from academia (associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab and president of Rhode Island School of Design) to venture capital (advising startups as design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers)—to always “confronting his own ignorance” with a sense of curiosity and humanity. Here he shares his best money advice:

I always go back to what Paul Rand, the famous graphic designer, told me in the ’90s when I worked on his last book—and I typed my name into his book because he wouldn’t pay me anything. He said, “Young man, I have something very important to tell you: Make lots of money.” I was a little perplexed because here’s the Yoda of design telling me to make money—what’s that about? You see, what he had learned is that everything he loved to do tended to not make any money, whereas there were things that he could do that would make money. So he would take the thing that made money to fund the thing that didn’t. For example, his famous book, A Designer’s Art, was a five-color printed book, which was very expensive to make at the time. The publisher refused to pay the extra printing costs so Rand paid them himself. I took that as a cue.

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Money

Where’s My Money?

Chances are, you aren’t sure where all your 401(k) funds are. A handy guide to claiming what’s rightfully yours.

Chances are, you forgot your 401(k) funds when you left your last gig, and the gig before that, and the one before that… Here’s how to claim what’s rightfully yours.

When even a year feels like a long time to stay at one job (let alone an apartment), it’s way too easy to leave money behind when you transition into a new role. That’s a shame, especially if your company matched your contributions. Chances are, you’ve been neglecting some serious cash. Tracking down old 401(k)s isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, but a little detective work can literally pay dividends:

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Articles

Welcome to Swiftopia

If real change requires critical mass, pop star Taylor Swift has that on lockdown.

The youth of America has always been, in part, raised by its idols. We mark the passage of time with songs and films. In our restless years we’re more inclined to heed the words of our favorite artists than those of our parents. Today, there is no one more influential in shaping the collective social consciousness than the biggest star in the world: Taylor Swift.

Dismiss her at your own peril because, over the course of her career, Swift has redefined the job description of pop star into committed philanthropist with a progressive social agenda. She represents not only the most effective and sustainable business model in music, but the new archetype of superstardom, one in which speaking out and giving back will become the expectation instead of the exception.

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