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
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
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)
For most of us, birth control is a necessary evil. Like doing our taxes, or pretending to enjoy giving blow jobs (just me?). It’s the thing we joke about when our alarm goes off during happy hour, the thing we bitch about when we’re overly hormonal, or feel grateful for after a hookup goes awry. It’s a thing we hate sometimes, but can’t—or won’t—live without it. And if you think I’m being overdramatic with that statement here are the
receipts facts: according to recent studies, nearly two thirds of American women use contraceptives in some way, shape, or form. I should know because for the last 15 years I was one of these women.
If a friend told me they were goingn to go off birth control, I would act aghast. “You can’t be serious. I don’t know who I am without it,” I’d joke. But it wasn’t really a joke. I was 12 when I first started using birth control. I had a heavy period that would come every 10 days. I was bleeding more days out of the month than I wasn’t. My doctor recommended me going on the pill to regulate my periods and my mom, who had nothing but good experiences with birth control, was all for me trying it out. Fifteen years later, I never looked back.
Being on the pill felt like an extension of myself, like an arm or the gel manis I can’t live without. There was never a question of me not being on it. To be totally fair, I never seemed to have the issues most of my friends had with the pill. I didn’t have crazy mood swings or weight gains. If anything, I felt like going off the pill would cause those kinds of side effects. My personality is already a fun mix of dark cynicism and the occasional rage blackout, I don’t need to f*ck with my hormones on top of it.
But I did end up going off birth control. For me, the decision wasn’t so much of a conscious choice as it was necessary to my finances at the time. When I was 26 I quit my job in the city to move back to my home state to be closer to friends and family. I quit without having another job lined up, which meant forgoing a monthly income—and health insurance. Being on my parents’ insurance was out of the question because I’d just aged out before quitting my job. My only options were to pay out of pocket or look into COBRA, a new law that lets you stay on your previous employer’s health insurance for up to 18 months after leaving your job, but it was going to cost me HUNDREDS of dollars a month. With no new income coming in and my bank account practically hemorrhaging money from my move across state lines, I chose to save money and forgo getting health insurance completely. Bye-bye, birth control.
At the time I thought I would find a new job in a few months and be back on birth control by Christmas. I was unemployed and living at home with my parents and, if my dating app matches were any indication, that wasn’t a great look for picking up guys or having sex. I guess living off parental pity isn’t as sexy as I thought it was? Who knew? So, I thought, if I wasn’t having sex, then what was really the harm in going off it? Sure, there’s the crazy mood swings that might manifest, but, as I was living at home, so only my family would have to endure those and they’re genetically obligated to love me anyways. Right, mom?
So I decided to go off birth control with the sole intent of not making it a permanent situation. I don’t know what I expected when I stopped taking the pill. The metaphorical floodgates to open and to start bleeding uncontrollably? I pictured my first period post-pill to look a lot like Carrie after they doused her in pig blood. That I’d bleed for an entire month and ruin every piece of underwear in my possession. I expected my acne to get worse, and to be rocking in a corner somewhere with all my ping-ponging emotions. But that’s not what happened at all. In fact, after I went off the pill I didn’t get my first period for 8 weeks, and when I did get my period it only lasted 4 days. I was shocked. The whole reason I went on birth control in the first place was because my periods were heavy and long. Post-pill, they were short and light. Manageable, even. Other than my cramps being a little worse than normal, my periods were a lot like the ones I had while on the pill. This doomsday mentality I’d crafted around being off the pill was just that: a mentality. It wasn’t real.
I thought being on birth control gave me a sense of safety—and it did, don’t get me wrong—but being off the pill made me feel empowered in ways I didn’t expect. For one, it helped with my anxiety. I used to obsessively try and plan out my periods by skipping pills in the pack so I wouldn’t have my period on the weekend or on random days during the week if I had an important work meeting or something. If I wasn’t planning out a period, then I was constantly trying to hound my pharmacist for my prescription. If the pharmacist couldn’t refill my prescription on time and I couldn’t start my new pack of pills within the first three days after my period, I would panic and have a breakdown. I can remember crying in my office because the pharmacist told me my insurance had changed last minute and I could only refill every 31 days, so I’d need to wait a few more days to pick up my prescription. Crying in my office! And not even over something reasonable like my office nemesis eating the last everything bagel in the break room.
Sure, I could have tried another form of birth control, one where I don’t need to worry about monthly prescriptions or even getting a monthly period, but the pill was so ingrained in my life that I truly thought I couldn’t function without it. I’d heard horror stories of friends getting the birth control implants in their arms and bleeding for weeks at a time, or having to fish an IUD out like an errant tampon. The pill worked for me. My periods were light and manageable. My skin was clear, my hormones weren’t making me crazy (aside from what just comes naturally with my personality). Sure, it caused me stress and anxiety, but wasn’t that worth it in the long run? And if I went off it or tried something new, who would I be then? I’d been on the pill for 15 years, over half my life, and I was terrified to make that change.
Then there’s the sexual aspect to it. For my entire adult life I’ve been on the pill. I was a late bloomer so when I started having sex in college, I’d already been on the pill for six years. Six. Years. That’s, like, almost the entire length of The Buffy The Vampire series (sorry #Spuffy fans, but I don’t count the 6th season because it was trash!!). My uterus was practically a cement fortress at that point, and boy did I love to test the limits of that fortress. I felt invincible because I didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant, but at the same time I felt powerless. I was constantly having to fend off arguments from guys as to why I still wanted to use condoms, as if being on birth control gave them free reign over my body. There were times when I felt like I couldn’t say no, like wanting to protect my body from diseases was too flimsy an excuse.
This is something I have to work on personally. I know this. Standing up for myself in my relationships with men, and also not choosing to date flaming piles of garbage masquerading as human men. But that doesn’t change the pressure I felt during those instances. I felt like I was solely responsible for providing the contraceptives during sex because I’d been on the pill for so long. Once I went off the pill, I thought having sex without that added protection would be scarier, but it wasn’t. I didn’t feel like it was just me having to be responsible for safe sex anymore, I felt like I was in a partnership again.
Look, I’m absolutely not advocating that women go off birth control or refuse to use it. I’m advocating that everyone should do what’s best for them. Women need birth control for more than just sex, and my experience is proof of that. But since I’ve been off the pill I’ve felt more at ease in my own body. I don’t feel anxious about my period or refilling a prescription. I feel more confident in my sexual relationships. These were not the emotional or psychological reactions I expected to have when I stopped taking the pill. I fully expected to feel more anxious, more out of control, powerless. I didn’t realize how much pressure this one, tiny thing had over my life until I was off it. And, to be fair, I got lucky—there are women who do experience side effects after stopping birth control, such as a heavier, irregular period; shedding hair; breakouts; and decreased libido, so just because I felt completely normal does not mean that you will too. Everyone is different, I’m just saying that for me, my choice to go off birth control did not have those drawbacks.
It’s been seven months since I made the decision to go off birth control. I have a job and health insurance again, but I still don’t know if I’ll go back on the pill. Or if I ever will. After 15 years of taking a pill every damn day of my life, it’s been nice to take a break, to not have to worry about medication. Will I feel differently in a few months? A few years? When hell freezes over and I finally get in a long-term, committed relationship with someone? Maybe. But for now, I’m not looking back.
Images: Giphy (3); Pixabay.com (1)
Some men are gentlemen. They listen when you talk and ask you questions and respect whether or not you want to fuck them. These men are called pros and we reward them with our company and blowjobs, if we feel like it.
Okay so now that I’ve gotten all that #NotAllMen shit out if the way let’s talk about the everyday creepy assholes who roam the streets chasing tail and blurring the line between man and beast. I’m talking, of course, about cat callers.
Every betch on earth has been cat called. In fact, you don’t even have to be a betch to be cat called. You just have to be vaguely female-presenting and outside. It’s fucking lame, and I think I speak for all betches when I say we’re over it. So here’s our guide making it through the day without being gobbled up by some dude who amounts to nothing more than a literal animal wearing human clothes.
DO: Look Visibly Disgusted
Betches have a whole range of faces for letting someone know you hate them without ever actually acknowledging them. So use all your skills: bitchy resting face, eye rolling, pretending to vomit, actually vomiting. Whatever makes you feel good and lets this creeper know you are far from interested.
Like most wild beasts, cat callers lose their shit when you make eye contact, so don’t. Turn up your headphones, put on your sunglasses, and walk on by. Let this fool know that shouting down women on the street is less of a dating strategy and more of a sign that he won’t be moving out of his mom’s basement anytime soon. When you talk to these freaks or smile at them or say hello then they’ve gotten what they wanted: your attention, and there are plenty of normal, not-insane bros who haven’t even earned that.
DO: Tell Someone
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re moving from a regular cat call situation to a first-scene-in-robocop type situation, fucking tell someone. Go into the nearest store or flag down the nearest sane person and let them know what’s going on. Girls find a million reasons not to report being harassed because it feels shitty and takes time and makes you seem dramatic, but fuck that. Be dramatic. You didn’t bat an eyelash when you drunkenly flipped out at a dude who spilled his drink on your satin shoes, so why give this actual psychopath a pass?
DON’T: Let anyone convince you it’s flattering
Any girl who’s ever had to run to the store in sweatpants on her period with a hangover knows that cat calling has nothing to do with how you look. In fact, it has nothing to do with anything except the fact that you appear to have a vagina and that makes some men think they can shout at you. Like, oh you think I look beautiful? Well I already fucking knew that because I’m a perfect fucking snowflake. These dudes would cat call an actual cat if they thought it would understand what they were saying, so don’t let them try to convince you that their unsolicited comments on your appearance are something you should be grateful for. It’s fucking gross and he can go shave his back now.
Dear Women Against Feminism,
“I don’t need feminism I don’t need something that tells me the actions of a slut are okay and then that the possible evidence of those actions can be thrown away like they were like nothing but a clump of tissue.”
That is a quote from your anti-feminist Tumblr “WomenAgainst Feminism.” The first thing we have to say to you is to learn English. What are you even trying to say here? We’re fairly certain you’re attempting a form of slut-shaming, which is awful by itself, but you’re also saying feminists throw away the “evidence” of slutty actions. What evidence? Promiscuity is not a crime, and feminists aren’t out to prove their sexual expression. Are you trying to say like, you don’t think women should be allowed to sleep around and still be able to legally obtain an abortion? Because having your birth control fail is not “the actions of a slut.” Getting sexually assaulted is not “the actions of a slut.” Having inadequate or no access to birth control and poor sex education is not “the actions of a slut.” What I’m saying is, there are about a million reasons to terminate a pregnancy and I’d bet none of them are “I thought it would be way easier and less invasive than talking a Plan B.”
“Patriarchy doesn’t exist. If it did, then we would have no rights. What kind of patriarchy gives women the exact same rights as men? Not a very effective one.”
Where do we even start with this one?
1. The Patriarchy has existed, and still does exist. It existed when women didn’t have suffrage. It exists now, when women compose half of the United States, but less than 20% of Congress. It exists across the world where a woman is killed to preserve a family’s honor after being raped (side note: feminism isn’t just about America).
2. The Patriarchy is not one man. It is not your loving boyfriend. It is not your dad. It is not that guy you’re seeing. The Patriarchy is society’s collective prejudice, intentional or not, against women that is a result of centuries of male oppression.
3. Women don’t have the exact same rights as men. Ever heard of countries outside the first world? Yeah. Not so great for women.
4. Did you just applaud the “ineffective patriarchy” for giving you rights?
“I don’t need feminism” because:
- I am an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for myself and my actions.
- I define myself and derive my value by my own standards. I don’t need to be “empowered.”
- I am not a target for violence and there is no war against me.
- I respect men. I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my actions.
That’s fantastic. You sound like a strong independent woman. It sounds like you’re… empowered. Furthermore, you are a target for violence. We’re not saying men don’t experience violence or sexual assault. They do; it’s not to be overlooked. But an overwhelming majority of sexual assault is on women. Why? Because these offenders were raised in a patriarchal society that taught them a woman’s body is not her own, that the way she dresses and acts is consent, and that women are nothing more than sex objects. And we repeat, feminists are not out to demonize men. They place partial faults on the Patriarchy, which does not equal “men.” Fucking, duh.
“I don’t need feminism.”
Comments on this post include:
“now once more with your top off kthx”
“and cover these boobs, you slut! (god, why?)”
“will this woman please make me a sandwich?”
Clearly. Clearly you don’t need feminism. Clearly these commenters are looking at you as a person, not a sandwich-making boob robot.
Here’s the thing. Feminists aren’t hairy women hating all men and calling rape on everyone who looks at them. Certainly, there are those people who hate men who call themselves feminists. But feminism is an attempt to help women stand on equal grounds socially and politically with men.
Like, we’re not going to tell you what to believe, we’re just telling you what you believe is completely wrong and probably doing women everywhere a disservice.
Very truly yours,
Thanks to Beyoncé and that African lady on “Flawless,” we are now all familiar with the definition of feminism (something about waking up like this I think?) Now that Bey has taken it upon herself to show us that feminism has less to do with burning your bra and man-hating and more to do with loving yourself and getting the respect you deserve, it’s time for betches to embrace the term and not puss out when somebody asks them point blank if they’re a feminist. (Note—the term “puss out” probs not super pro-feminist but, whatever. We all take on what we can handle.)
So that being said, here are some betchy feminist buzzwords you can use the next time some bro tries to take you down a notch just because you won’t touch his nasty-ass d.
#1 “The Patriarchy”
A long long time ago a bunch of cave bros got together and decided that they couldn’t have women leaving their caves and doing things because they might start doing those things better than men can do them. This idea persisted throughout history as bros convinced themselves that if women were allowed to have jobs and drive cars then men would never get hard again or some other bullshit, and thus the patriarchy was born. The patriarchy is all around us and is constantly trying to hold betches down. Luckily all the betchy ladies in politics and a bunch of just regular citizen betches are not having that shit anymore and are fighting on the daily for a betch’s right to decide not to carry a fuckboy‘s illegitimate child to term and to get paid the same amount as bros for the work they don’t do. TG.
So, there are a lot of super long articles about the psychological impacts of gaslighting and how shitty it is, but for the sake of not boring the shit out of you, here’s a crash course. Remember when your so-called bf blew you off for like a full week and then told everyone you were a “psycho bitch” when you finally went off on him via text? That’s gaslighting. Remember that dude you met on Tinder who said his ex was “crazy” but then after a little investigation you found out he just cheated on her a bunch? Again, that’s gaslighting. Remember that time you were in the car with your hot stepbrother and some chick in a beret laughed at your understanding of Hamlet even though you know you remember Mel Gibson accurately? You guessed it—gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a term that comes from some old-ass movie that means when a bro (or anyone—betches can gaslight other betches) tries to deflect their own shittiness by trying to make you feel insecure and stupid, usually by telling everyone you’re crazy and making you feel crazy. This is the ultimate in shady bro behavior, but unlike other shady things bros do, it’s not attractive. Gaslighting is bullshit and is used by people who want to take away your agency and make you feel small so next time somebody tries to do it to you tell them to fuck off and be like “you can go gaslight your back now byeeeeeeee.”
#3 Slut Shaming
Every betch observes the code of not fucking bros (sometimes) differently. For some betches, “sometimes” literally means “some of the time” and for others it means “basically every weekend now that I’m on Tinder.” Whatever. Do you. A betch is a gift to society and if she chooses to bestow that gift upon an entire basketball team, that’s her prerogative. No judgement. Slut shaming is when people fail to mind their own fucking business and act like what you do or don’t put into your front pocket has anything to do with them. Luckily, betches have been long times champions of the anti-slut shaming movement by embracing the joys of dressing like a slut and always keeping in mind that we’ve “got to stop calling each other sluts and whores because it just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.” Thanks Tina.
#4 “The Bechdel Test”
The Bechdel Test is a test for movies that asks one simple question: Does the movie portray at least two named female characters who talk about something other than a man. Sounds easy, but a legit large percentage of movies do not pass this very simple test and it’s like come on, if I could pass Organic Chem you can pass the Bechdel test. It’s not fucking hard. Luckily, the Bechdel test might as well be renamed the Betchdel test because all our fav movies like Clueless, Mean Girls, Bring it On, and Spring Breakers all pass the shit out of it proving once and for all that feminism and betchism go hand in hand.
A day after the beginning of the end, i.e. Trump’s inauguration as President, women and people who care about women are marching on Washington D.C and cities around the country. Yeah, you’ve probably heard about it and/or received a Facebook invite to a similar march in your hometown. But ew, marching = exercise = work, so you should just stay at home. Right? As our now president (*screaming internally*) would say, WRONG. Here’s why you need to give a shit.
So WTF is the Women’s March?
Crowds are planning to march along the National Mall, like majorly big crowds, too. Hundreds of thousands are expected to turn out and turn up in D.C. alone, and probz millions more in marches organized around the country. You can find your local march here.
Probably the most important thing to note is that the marches aren’t being called “protests” for a reason. Organizers and marchers are saying they are a way to “promote women’s equity and defend other marginalized groups”. So, yes, even if you voted for the screaming cheeto as President, you can still march and support equality. I’m p sure the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Though, to stand up to the pussy-grabbing POTUS, women are making a buying “pussyhats”—pink knit hats with cat ears, naturally. If you don’t look good in hats, you can just come up with a shirt or a sign or some other clever thing to wear.
Why should you care about women’s issues and this march?
UH because you are one, or at least, were birthed by one. Also, if you like your insurance to pay for your birth control, want access to female health care, think men and women should be paid equally for the same job, and don’t want to end up as a tribute in the Hunger Games, you might want to start standing up for yourself, fellow betches, and the future. Just sayin.
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