Why You Need To Start Investing Now & How TF To Do It

Even though more womxn are working and earning higher salaries than ever before and breaking glass ceilings all over the damn place, we’re still behind when it comes to retirement and investing—yet we live longer than men do. So what gives? 

Well, a lot of the womxn I know in my life feel like they have time to wait, they can invest later when they have more available cash, after they save for a wedding, or after they pay off student loans or credit card debt. Or it’s just not that important right now. Even worse is my biggest pet peeve: that they can rely on their spouse’s 401(k). In other words, they’re contributing to their spouse’s retirement for THEIR future. Well, I’m here to tell you that in most cases, you’re wrong. 

You need to be investing what you can, right now. Not only for your future self, but for your present self. So you can change things in the world, literally put your money where you mouth is (or values are), and invest in ESG or SRI stocks (aka, socially, environmentally, and ethically conscious investments). Plus, if you walk away from a marriage or a relationship, you need to have your own damn money to fall back on. Yes, you can have a healthy relationship while still prioritizing your own financial well-being.

And if you’re over there thinking you’ve got it all figured out because you have a good chunk of money in a savings account, kudos. Money in savings is a GREAT first step, but even in the highest interest savings account you can find, your money is still worth less with each passing year. The only way to combat that decreased buying power is by investing that money in something that beats the rate of inflation (which has been an average of 3.22%/year). 

First, I’m going to define a few important terms I’m going to use throughout this article:

Compound Interest/Compounding Returns: Interest/returns paid on both the principal balance and on accrued interest/gains.

Retirement Accounts (SEP IRA, Roth IRA, 403b, 401k, Traditional IRA, etc): A plan for setting aside money to be spent after retirement. For the purposes of this article, the retirement accounts I refer to are all qualified retirement accounts per the IRS. Some of them help you pay less in taxes now (SEP/Traditional IRA 401k), and some help you pay less in taxes later (ROTH). For these accounts, you can’t take your money out without incurring a 10% penalty before the age of 59 ½. This is to incentivize you to keep your money in here, and not touch it until you’re actually retired (and also why I recommend also having savings accounts and non-retirement investment accounts).

Investment/Investment Account: A type of account that is post-tax, doesn’t have any long-term retirement benefits, but money can be withdrawn at any time, regardless of your age.

Inflation: A general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.

Why You Need To Invest

We’re going to talk about compound interest here for a minute. One of my strongest beliefs is that you should get retirement and investment accounts set up first, followed by a savings account. That’s because your retirement and investment accounts will generally give you an 8% average return over a 10-year period. 

Now we’re going to do some math (I know, but trust me, it’s important).

If you’re 25 and invested $5,000 now, contributed $100/month to retirement for the next 40 years, and retired at 65, you’d have somewhere around $470,467.71. If you waited until you were 30, invested $5,000 and contributed $100/month for 35 years and retired at 35, you’d have $310,851.00. That’s a difference of almost $160,000, and the amount invested only decreased by $6,000 (5 years of $100/month).

Even crazier, if you’re 20 and invested $5,000, contributed $100/month for 45 years, and retired at 65, you’d have around $708,271.99!!

So when I tell you that compound interest is important and that investing something now is better than investing a larger amount in a few years, trust me on it.

How To Invest

Invest in yourself and your future right now, even if it’s only five dollars a month. Something is better than nothing, and like I talked about above, compound interest is your friend when it comes to taking care of your future self. 

If you have a retirement plan offered through a job, you can start now by:

Opening a retirement (or multiple) accounts (if you don’t have access to one through a job).

If you have one through your work, you want to contribute to both a ROTH and regular option. ROTH contributions help future you with taxes, and regular/traditional pre-tax options help you with taxes. 

If you’re self-employed or don’t have a retirement plan offered through a job, you can start now by:

Opening two types of retirement accounts: a ROTH and a Traditional IRA (or a SEP IRA if you’re self-employed).

You want to open and contribute to both types of accounts because post-tax ROTH contributions help future you with taxes, and regular/traditional pre-tax contributions help you now when it comes to taxes.

Whether you have a retirement plan offered through your employer or not, I recommend splitting your pre- and post-tax contributions 50/50, so if you can set aside $50/month for now, I’d send $25 to a ROTH and $25 to a Traditional account. I also recommend opening an investment account, then a savings account. I like Ellevest and Betterment.

That’s it. Your step-by-step guide to starting investing today (in like 15 minutes). You’re worth it, and the world needs more womxn investing and taking control of their financial future.

Images: Startup Stock Photos / Pexels

Should You Wait To Have Sex With The Person You’re Dating?

There are certain age-old questions we all must contend with at one point or another: What is the meaning of life? What is my calling? How long should I wait before sleeping with the new person I’m dating? OK, so the third one may not be quite as existential as the others, but it’s one that has boggled the minds of many a lost soul dater in this day and age. Countless books have been written on the subject, and people like Patti Stanger have made careers out of telling people, most often women, that they shouldn’t get into bed before being monogamous with a partner. But *Oprah voice* what is the truth? There’s no hard and fast rule (despite what the Three Dates Truthers tell you), but there are various factors to consider on both sides. I’ve compiled the arguments for and against waiting to have sex with the new person in your life so you can decide for yourself.

The Case For Waiting

Before you jump down my throat, many experts cite science when arguing that it’s best to wait before jumping into bed with someone. Dr. Nancy Lee, a clinical psychologist and author of Don’t Sleep with Him Yet: A Badass Guide to Dating in 10 Empowering Steps, points to brain chemistry to support her book’s thesis: “Waiting to sleep together allows for attraction-promoting mystery and eroticism to build in a relationship.” Building eroticism kind of sounds like the opposite of what you’d expect to happen when you wait, but she explains, “When we experience a powerful attraction to a dating partner, our brains release an amphetamine-like chemical, phenethylamine (PEA), which is known as the ‘love drug’ because it causes a temporary state of euphoria.” But, she says, “if you sleep with someone right away, you don’t give the spell-casting PEA time to synthesize—not only preempting that ‘can’t stop thinking about her/him’ feeling, but also derailing much of the romance in a relationship as well.”
In other words, sleeping together too soon impedes the process of attachment and bonding, which is aided by the chemicals in our bodies. I’m not usually one to argue with science, so I’ll take their word for it, I guess, but this seems a little… much. Is sleeping with someone really going to tank your relationship because of your brain chemicals (and not because the person you’re seeing just wanted to hit it and quit it all along)? Really, the idea is to take sufficient time to assess the relationship and build trust with your partner before taking things to the next level.

The Case For Doing Whatever The F*ck You Want

Of course, we can’t always reduce human behavior to a formula when every relationship and individual in one is so different. Those who eschew rules about waiting for sex have a problem with the fear-based beliefs that allow such rules to be born in the first place, like the idea that men are wild stallions who must be tamed and trained and women who refuse to do so will end up trampled and abandoned. Ideas like these lead us to create rules that provide some semblance of order, but are these fears really warranted? Andrea Syrtash, co-author of It’s Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date: And Every Other Rule of Dating, Debunked, thinks not: “A recent survey of 1,000 18- to 35-year-old women found that over 83 percent felt that men will lose interest and respect if you hook up with them too soon. But 70 percent of men said that’s not true—if they’re interested, it doesn’t matter. Getting naked won’t affect if he calls the next day.”

It’s true that men and women are different, but according to experts like Syrtash, subscribing to the notion that biology equals destiny reinforces antiquated gender roles and potentially keeps us from taking risks in love that might very well pay off. While it seems indisputable may feel like every guy is a f*ckboy, that’s not actually the case.

So when is the appropriate time to have sex? One of the more enduring rules states that you should wait until the third date. However, one recent study found that the average was closer to eight dates. Ultimately, only you can know when you’re ready to sleep with someone new. There are compelling reasons to wait or to dive right in. On the one hand, rules allow us to feel safe and help to create order in what can often be a chaotic dating world. On the other hand, reinforcing old-fashioned stereotypes about sex is… well… not very 2020.

Rules are never one-size-fits-all, and these rules are no different. Being true to yourself and your desires is the most important factor of all. Whatever camp you find yourself in, it comes down to trust, both of yourself and the partner in question, whether that takes one date or one hundred. As long as you’re doing what feels right to you and not in response to pressure or some sense of obligation, there’s no wrong answer. You do you (or him/her/them).

Images: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash; Giphy (2)

The Right Way To Tell Your BF You Want To Get Engaged, Like, Yesterday
Whether you love it or hate it, engagement season is upon us. I mean, it’s always kind of happening, but now, with the holidays approaching, I have a feeling everyone you know is going to get engaged every Sunday from now until the end of 2019. If you are in a long-term relationship, this time of year might have you thinking about your own future with your significant other. Of course, not all couples are ready to take the next step at precisely the same time. While you may feel ready for marriage, your partner may be moving at a speed akin to ABC’s progress in casting a diverse Bachelor. Perhaps you’re at the point where you’re considering giving your partner an ultimatum, like Katie did with Schwartz on Vanderpump Rules. Ultimatums, like Katie, are often thought of as manipulative and coercive, and they certainly can be. But can marriage ultimatums ever work and, if so, under what circumstances? There are a couple of factors you’ll want to consider before you bust out the “…or I’m done” statements.

Think About Why You Want To Get Married

Before you can even consider an ultimatum, you need to think critically about why you’re so focused on a timeline. It’s natural to have moments of insecurity in even the healthiest relationships, but if you’re feeling this way often, it’s worth exploring more deeply. Are you so focused on marriage because you’re fighting constantly and want assurance that your partner isn’t going to leave you? Are you anxious about marriage because all of your close friends are getting married and you don’t want to get left behind? If your desire for marriage is coming from a place of insecurity rather than security, it’s probably best to hold off until you feel secure and focus on mending the underlying fractures in the relationship with open communication. Many people get caught up in the notion of marriage as a magic Band-Aid for all of a relationship’s problems when, in reality, it is the great revealer of a couple’s strength and the first of many important and difficult conversations. Once the party and honeymoon are over, you’re left with a life commitment to your partner. If the foundation isn’t solid to begin with, time and challenges are only going to erode things further.

Does Your Partner Really Need An Ultimatum?

Ultimatums get a bad rap for a reason. Almost no one wants to be told what to do (or at least, be made to feel that way). In most cases an ultimatum won’t be effective, and will ultimately be harmful, because it provokes feelings of stubbornness and resistance by forcing the recipient to make a choice. It’s important to talk openly with your partner and understand what’s driving the lack of forward momentum before you can assess whether or not an ultimatum is appropriate. Try something like, “I’ve noticed that we haven’t really discussed taking the next step and getting engaged. Why do you think that is?” If your conversations reveal that your partner is someone who simply needs an extra nudge, an ultimatum might make sense. If, however, your partner prefers to do things on his or her own terms, you may push him or her further away or set yourself up for a lifetime of resentment even if you do ultimately get that engagement ring. So no pressure!

Deal In Facts

If you feel confident that your relationship is on solid ground and that your partner will be receptive, it’s essential that you approach the conversation (yes, it’s a conversation) in the right way. One way of doing that is to stick to objective facts rather than subjective feelings whenever possible. For example, saying something like, “Since we’ve been together for of years and I’d like to start a family by , I’d like to talk with you about getting engaged” is a lot more likely to elicit a favorable response than “What are you waiting for, Todd?! My eggs are dying by the minute!” When your thoughts are presented reasonably, it’ll be easier for your partner to see things as you see them and not feel attacked in the process.

Make It A Dialogue

An ultimatum is more likely to be effective if it’s framed as a conversation rather than an outright demand. Threats have no place in a healthy and functional relationship (a reality many of our beloved VPR cast mates need to be reminded of), and if you’re used to making threats to get what you want, you’re probably not ready for marriage. You may have heard of the idea in conflict resolution of employing “I” statements instead of “you” statements. It might sound like a middle school conflict mediation tactic, but it’s a useful tool when giving an ultimatum. Instead of demanding a proposal by , contextualize the issue in terms of your own life plans. You can say something like, “I love you, but if you don’t want to get married in the foreseeable future, I need to know so I can figure out my next steps.” This way, you’re empowering your partner to engage with you without imposing your will, but still honoring yourself and your goals without relinquishing your agency in the relationship either. This two-way dialogue can also extend to the time frame as well. If you’d ideally like a proposal in the next few months, but your significant other would prefer to wait another year, perhaps you can meet in the middle and compromise on a 6-month window. This way, both parties feel heard and as if each is part of the decision-making process and, therefore, more likely to commit to the agreed-upon time frame.

Stick To Your Guns

If you do decide that you need to issue an ultimatum to your partner, you need to be prepared to walk away if you don’t end up getting what you want. Practically speaking, if you decide with your partner that you’ll get engaged by the end of the year, but that doesn’t happen and you stay anyway, you lose credibility. The relationship may suffer as well. If you’re not willing to move on, the ultimatum becomes nothing more than a manipulation tactic, fostering an unhealthy and toxic relationship dynamic.
More importantly, you deserve to find someone who will give you what you want. If your partner can’t respect a reasonable timeline, it may be best to stop wasting months or years of your life and free yourself up for a person who can commit. If you can’t see yourself actually leaving in the event your partner doesn’t follow through, then you absolutely should refrain, not give an ultimatum, and ask yourself why you’re afraid to be alone.
Ultimatums are like fireworks. When handled with care, they can have an illuminating and satisfying effect. But when deployed incorrectly and carelessly, they can blow up in your face. Of course, marriage is not the end goal for many couples in long-term relationships, nor should it be. If you’re happy with the progression of your relationship, continue with what feels right to you and try to quiet the background noise. It’s so easy to get caught up in others’ expectations, whether real or perceived, but you need to move at the pace that feels right for you and your relationship, whether or not it leads to a proposal. Marriage is wonderful, but it’s an incredible commitment and you should not move forward with it until you and your partner are both prepared to light your cash on fire ready.
Images: Zelle Duda / Unsplash; Giphy (5)
5 Signs You May Be In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Emotional abuse can be tricky to detect. While it may be easy to pick up on patterns in other people’s relationships, especially now when it is on such flagrant display on shows like The Bachelorette and Vanderpump Rules, I’ve learned from experience that it can be harder to recognize in the context of your own relationship. This is because emotional abuse can take many forms and, unlike sexual or physical abuse, is more insidious in the way it manifests itself. So how can you tell whether you are in an emotionally abusive relationship? Below are five potential signs that something may not be right.

1. You Can’t Be Yourself

The best relationships are those in which you can be completely and authentically you. At the risk of sounding corny, a good partner will love you because of your flaws, not in spite of them. If instead you find yourself constantly striving to live up to your partner’s conception of the perfect person, and exhausting yourself in the process, this may be an indication that your relationship is emotionally abusive. Ask yourself why you feel this need to be perfect. It’s possible that you have been so conditioned to viewing yourself as “less than” that you’ve internalized your partner’s criticisms to the point that you are turning on yourself.

2. Your Friends And Family Aren’t Fans

While this one in and of itself is not determinative, it is usually a pretty good indicator of a larger issue. Our family and friends generally are the people that love us most in the world and want what is best for us. So it stands to reason that if your significant other was treating you like the queen (or king) that you are, your loved ones would be on board with this person. If, on the contrary, you are getting the vibe that your friends and family do not like or want to be around your significant other, it may be a sign that something is not right with your relationship. Be doubly concerned if your partner is discouraging you from seeing your family and friends. Many abusers seek to isolate their victims from their loved ones so that the victims are more dependent and easier to control.

3. You Never Feel Good Enough

At its core, a healthy relationship is supposed to make you feel like your best self. An emotionally abusive relationship, however, has the opposite effect, leaving you feeling like you can never measure up. Maybe your partner constantly tells you that you need to lose weight, or that he or she would love you if you were just a little more ________. The key is that your partner’s love and affection are conditional and contingent, rather than unconditional. As a result, you may find yourself internalizing these critiques to the point where you start believing you will never be good enough. The sad truth is that with an emotionally abusive partner, you never will be, because keeping you feeling small and defeated is what an abuser thrives on.

4. You’re Always The One Apologizing

Despite my protestations to the contrary to my husband, I know that I am far from perfect. None of us are, and it’s important to own our actions and behavior when we are in the wrong. An emotional abuser, like a narcissist, is unable and unwilling do so, and if you’re with this kind of person, chances are you have found yourself apologizing, even when you don’t believe you’ve done anything wrong, for the sake of keeping the peace. Many emotional abusers will completely shut down in the face of a conflict and withhold love and affection in an effort to punish the victim. While conflicts and fights are totally normal in a relationship, alienation and abandonment are not.

5. You Feel Unhappy Most Of The Time

This one is more of a gut check. No relationship is all unicorns and rainbows, despite what Instagram would have us believe. Undoubtedly, in any relationship you will find yourself going through challenging times. It’s a problem, though, when your unhappiness is stemming from the dynamic of the relationship itself, rather than external factors. A partner should provide a sense of stability during difficult periods. An emotionally abusive relationship, however, can leave you feeling more alone than if you were single. If you are feeling this way a majority of the time, you may need to look at the relationship with a more critical eye.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive and there may be other more overt or subtle signs that you are in a toxic and potentially emotionally abusive relationship. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the above signs for an extended period of time, it may be worth seeking professional help (which you can do here and here). It can be hard to see emotional abuse for what it is when you are in it, but I can promise you that when you get to the other side, you’ll be thanking yourself.

If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, talk to someone you trust and/or visit loveisrespect.org.

Images: Sasha Freemind / Unsplash

Slay Your Pay with BETCHES x Soap & Glory Continues

Well betches, we finally made it past the joke of a year that was 2016, and we all know what that means: time to make your new years resolutions, and attempt not to break them during your first blackout night of 2017 (that’s for your second blackout night of 2017). In our perpetual mission to get our shit together, we know you’re trying to save more money in 2017 so you can finally buy yourself a dog or like, meet your personal goal of retiring by age 35. You’ve come to the right place.

As you might already be aware, as part of our partnership with our favorite beauty brand Soap & Glory, we declared December as National Ask For A Raise Month. We’re thrilled to say that the response was even better than we hoped for — we got tons of submissions of success stories, as well as questions about pay and general career advice. We’re prouder than Yolanda Foster at Paris Fashion Week. 

Thanks to your overwhelmingly positive response, the good news is that we’re expanding the Slay Your Pay campaign into 2017. Why should the raises end just because December did? Let your cup bank balance runneth over. What if we told you you could keep your new years resolution to save more money, while buying the same amount of shit as before? This, betches, is why we’re keeping this campaign and the convo about the pay gap going.

Speaking of betches taking a stand, we’re not sure if you heard, but the day after the inauguration this year (that would be January 21st, let’s see if your resolutions are still intact by then), there’s going to be a ‘UGE women’s march on Washington.

The goal of the march is to stand in solidarity with women’s rights, which includes a whole array of shit, other than our salaries, that we definitely take for granted. Women have been marching a LOT throughout history, and if we didn’t have all these marches, we probably wouldn’t even be allowed to have these jobs in which we suffer from unequal pay. Sad!

What is the gender pay gap and why should I care?

Basically the gender pay gap means that women, on average, are only paid 80% of what men are (aka for every dollar a man gets, a woman only gets 80 cents) for doing equivalent jobs that require equivalent experience. And while making 20 cents less than your boyfriend sounds like nbd, over time this turns into a fuckload of money. I object! 

If there was no wage gap, a woman would earn on average $530,000 more over her lifetime, which in some states could buy you a literal mansion. Do you care yet?

That’s like, so unfair. How can this happen?

The sad truth is that the pay gap starts with a discrepancy between men and women’s entry level salaries, usually right out of college. Men tend to negotiate for higher pay than women, and many people simply don’t know that you can or should negotiate, or that it’s up to us to ask for a raise. The employer isn’t going to just offer because you’re pretty. 

What can I personally do about this?

Omg so glad you asked. Many of our readers told us about their successful experience asking for a raise during Decembetch (aka National Ask For A Raise Month), and you can be one of them. If you yourself aren’t in a position to ask for a raise right now because you just started a new job, or you’re about to leave, you can spread awareness by telling your friends about it. This is totally in your interest as well, because the more money they have, the less annoying they’re going to be about splitting the bill evenly at group dinners, trust me.

How do I ask?

You just fucking ask. You can also read our article on how to ask for a raise like a betch.

Also, we’ll be continuing to share Slay Your Pay stories on our podcast Betch Slapped, and dedicating one of our Dear Betch submissions every week to career-related advice, so if you want a shout out (anonymous or not), you should share your story with us by email at [email protected] and maybe we’ll read it on the ‘cast.

What is the Women’s March and how do I get involved?

The march is taking place on January 21st in Washington DC. It is an inclusive march, with the goal of standing in peaceful solidarity against all types of injustices against women. You don’t have to buy a ticket, just show up. Maybe get some glitter glue and make like, a sign or something.

Check out the Facebook event here. To let everyone know you’re going you should probably RSVP, even though the Statue of Liberty doesn’t say you have to.

ABOUT SOAP & GLORY
 
Soap & Glory has been supporting the Clean of England since 2006, when we decided to formulate fun, world-class quality beauty products that would give every girl the best bang for her beauty budget.  We suggest using Soap & Glory with equal parts happiness and abandon, because we believe while beauty absolutely matters, it doesn’t matter absolutely.