The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 expanded the tax credit score to $3,600 per baby underneath the age of six and to $3,000 for these aged six to 17. It is in impact only for 2021, although Biden has advocated making it making it everlasting.
Half of the funds might be despatched to folks in installments via December. For instance, a mum or dad with one baby underneath six would obtain $300 per 30 days. Dad and mom can declare the remainder upon submitting taxes for 2021–unless they choose out to allow them to obtain all the cash once they file.
Madilynn A. Beck, founder and CEO of Palm Springs, California-based Fountful–an app that gives “life-style providers” like manicures or DJ appearances on demand–is contemplating that strategy. Beck says that if she meets her enterprise targets this 12 months, Fountful might generate sufficient income to considerably enhance her tax burden come subsequent April. “I am protecting my head above water now,” she says. “What occurs if I’m absolutely underwater then and do not have a life vest?”
The kid tax credit score will have an effect on individuals at a “wide selection” of earnings ranges, says Daniel Milan, managing accomplice at Cornerstone Monetary Providers primarily based in Southfield, Michigan. For aspiring entrepreneurs, it’d offset childcare prices for just a few months whereas they work on getting a enterprise off the bottom. For others, the cash might simply assist alleviate day by day monetary stress.
That is the case for Ruby Taylor, CEO and founding father of Baltimore-based Monetary Pleasure Faculty, which supplies monetary literacy training and produces a card sport that teaches the topic to younger individuals. In April 2021, she and her spouse’s monetary scenario modified consequently of the pandemic however they nonetheless needed to cowl issues like a brand new roof and fence for his or her home.
Their financial savings account dwindled, and Taylor’s nervousness spiked, leading to her occurring blood stress and nervousness treatment. The additional $500 the mom of two expects to obtain means the couple can construct up their security web once more, taking the stress off each of them. “When she’s not pressured, I am not pressured,” Taylor says. It “will assist the enterprise not directly, as a result of I may be extra productive.”
Guardian entrepreneurs face the extra problem of staying current with spouses and kids, says James Oliver Jr., founder and CEO of ParentPreneur Basis, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps Black mum or dad founders financially and with an internet neighborhood (of which Beck and Taylor are each members).
Month-to-month funds “may very well be the distinction of sending the youngsters to summer season camp, shopping for further groceries, taking a bit trip, or taking the youngsters to the amusement park as soon as a month to assist the household bond,” he says.
The Internal Revenue Service today launched two new online tools designed to help families manage and monitor the advance monthly payments of Child Tax Credits under the American Rescue Plan. These two new tools are in addition to the Non-filer Sign-up Tool, announced last week, which helps families not normally required to file an income tax return to quickly register for the Child Tax Credit. The new Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant allows families to answer a series of questions to quickly determine whether they qualify for the advance credit.
The Child Tax Credit Update Portal allows families to verify their eligibility for the payments and if they choose to, unenroll, or opt out from receiving the monthly payments so they can receive a lump sum when they file their tax return next year. This secure, password-protected tool is available to any eligible family with internet access and a smart phone or computer. Future versions of the tool planned in the summer and fall will allow people to view their payment history, adjust bank account information or mailing addresses and other features. A Spanish version is also planned.
Summer has arrived, and it’s time to fire up the backyard grill. Though many of us are trying to eat less beef for environmental reasons, it’s hard to resist indulging in an occasional steak — and you’ll want to make the most of the experience.
So, what’s the best way to grill that steak? Science has some answers. Meat scientists (many of them, unsurprisingly, in Texas) have spent whole careers studying how to produce the tenderest, most flavorful beef possible. Much of what they’ve learned holds lessons only for cattle producers and processors, but a few of their findings can guide backyard grillmasters in their choice of meat and details of the grilling process.
Let’s start with the choice of meat. Every experienced cook knows that the lightly used muscles of the loin, along the backbone, have less connective tissue and thus give tenderer results than the hard-working muscles of the leg. And they know to look for steaks with lots of marbling, the fat deposits between muscle fibers that are a sign of high-quality meat. “If you have more marbling, the meat will be tenderer, juicier, and it will have richer flavor,” says Sulaiman Matarneh, a meat scientist at Utah State University who wrote about muscle biology and meat quality in the 2021 Annual Review of Animal Biosciences.
From a flavor perspective, in fact, the differences between one steak and the next are mostly a matter of fat content: the amount of marbling and the composition of the fatty acid subunits of the fat molecules. Premium cuts like ribeye have more marbling and are also richer in oleic acid, an especially tasty fatty acid — “the one fatty acid that frequently correlates with positive eating experience,” says Jerrad Legako, a meat scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Sirloin, in contrast, has less oleic acid and more fatty acid types that can yield less appealing, fishy flavor hints during cooking.
That fatty acid difference also plays out in a big decision that consumers make when they buy a steak: grain-fed or grass-fed beef? Grain-fed cattle — animals that live their final months in a feedlot eating a diet rich in corn and soybeans — have meat that’s higher in oleic acid. Animals that spend their whole life grazing on pasture have a higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids that break down into smaller molecules with fishy and gamy flavors. Many consumers prefer to buy grass-fed beef anyway, either to avoid the ethical issues of feedlots or because they like that gamy flavor and leaner meat.
The biggest influence on the final flavor of that steak, though, is how you cook it. Flavorwise, cooking meat accomplishes two things. First, the heat of the grill breaks the meat’s fatty acids into smaller molecules that are more volatile — that is, more likely to become airborne. These volatiles are responsible for the steak’s aroma, which accounts for the majority of its flavor. Molecules called aldehydes, ketones and alcohols among that breakdown mix are what we perceive as distinctively beefy.
The second way that cooking builds flavor is through browning, a process that chemists call the Maillard reaction. This is a fantastically complex process in which amino acids and traces of sugars in the meat react at high temperatures to kick off a cascade of chemical changes that result in many different volatile end products.
Most important of these are molecules called pyrazines and furans, which contribute the roasty, nutty flavors that steak aficionados crave. The longer and hotter the cooking, the deeper into the Maillard reaction you go and the more of these desirable end products you get — until eventually, the meat starts to char, producing undesirable bitter, burnt flavors.
The challenge for the grillmaster is to achieve the ideal level of Maillard products at the moment the meat reaches the desired degree of doneness. Here, there are three variables to play with: temperature, time and the thickness of the steak.
Thin steaks cook through more quickly, so they need a hot grill to generate enough browning in the short time available, says Chris Kerth, a meat scientist at Texas A&M University. Kerth and his colleagues have studied this process in the lab, searing steaks to precise specifications and feeding the results into a gas chromatograph, which measures the amount of each volatile chemical produced.
Kerth found, as expected, that thin, half-inch steaks cooked at relatively low temperatures have mostly the beefy flavors characteristic of fatty acid breakdown, while higher temperatures also produce a lot of the roasty pyrazines that result from the Maillard reaction. So if your steak is thin, crank up that grill — and leave the lid open so that the meat cooks through a little more slowly. That will give you time to build a complex, beefy-roasty flavor.
And to get the best sear on both sides, flip the meat about a third of the way through the expected cook time, not halfway — that’s because as the first side cooks, the contracting muscle fibers drive water to the uncooked side. After you flip, this water cools the second side so it takes longer to brown, Kerth’s team found.
When the scientists tested thicker, 1.5-inch steaks, the opposite problem happened: The exterior would burn unpleasantly before the middle finished cooking. For these steaks, a moderate grill temperature gave the best mix of volatiles. And sure enough, when Kerth’s team tested their steaks on actual people, they found that diners gave lower ratings to thick steaks grilled hot and fast. Diners rated the other temperatures and cooking times as all similar to each other, but thick steaks cooked at moderate temperatures won out by a nose.
That might seem odd, given that steakhouses often boast of their thick slabs of prime beef and the intense heat of their grills — exactly the combination Kerth’s study found least desirable. It works because the steakhouses use a two-step cooking process: First, they sear the meat on the hot grill, and then they finish cooking in a moderate oven. “That way, they get the degree of doneness to match the sear that they want,” says Kerth. Home cooks can do the same by popping their seared meat into a 350°F oven until it reaches their desired doneness.
The best degree of doneness, of course, is largely a matter of personal preference — but science has something to say here, too. Meat left rare, says Kerth, doesn’t receive enough heat to break down its fatty acids to generate beefy flavors. And once you go past medium, you lose some of the “bloody” flavors that come with lightly cooked meat. “A lot of people, myself included, like a little bit of bloody note with the brown pyrazines and Maillard compounds,” says Kerth. “It has a bigger flavor.” For those reasons, he advises, “I wouldn’t go any lower than medium rare or certainly any higher than medium. Then you just start losing a lot of the flavor.”
Kerth has one more piece of advice for home cooks: Watch the meat closely when it’s on the grill! “When you’re at those temperatures, a lot happens in a short period of time,” he says. “You start getting a lot of chemical reactions happening very, very quickly.” That’s the scientific basis for what every experienced griller has learned from (literally) bitter experience: It’s easy to burn the meat if you’re not paying attention.
Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above, below or from the side. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly. Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill (an open wire grid such as a gridiron with a heat source above or below), using a cast iron/frying pan, or a grill pan (similar to a frying pan, but with raised ridges to mimic the wires of an open grill).
Heat transfer to the food when using a grill is primarily through thermal radiation. Heat transfer when using a grill pan or griddle is by direct conduction. In the United States, when the heat source for grilling comes from above, grilling is called broiling. In this case, the pan that holds the food is called a broiler pan, and heat transfer is through thermal radiation.
Direct heat grilling can expose food to temperatures often in excess of 260 °C (500 °F). Grilled meat acquires a distinctive roast aroma and flavor from a chemical process called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction only occurs when foods reach temperatures in excess of 155 °C (310 °F).
Barbecuen. Articles and ideas on everything from grills to cooking elk.
BroBBQ. A blog of recipes, product testing, fun by Jack Thompson.
BBQDryRubs. The site is a nice hobby site from David Somerville covering more than rubs. He focuses on Weber gear and the sausage section is good.
BBQ FAQ. An astonishing compilation of wisdom from scores of serious cue’ers. The only problem is that the mailing list of participants has been dissolved so you can no longer sign up. Also, a lot of the links are broken. Still, the knowledge there is timeless.
BBQ Sauce Reviews. He likes sauce. Some better than others. See if you fave is on his 5-star list.
Braai 4 Heritage. In South Africa they call it braai, and everyone barbecues. They even have a National Braai Day!
Cooking Outdoors. Gary House is fearless as he cooks everything on his grills, even pies and bread. There are sections on barbecue, cast iron cooking, Dutch oven, fire pit, and foil cooking. Lots of recipes well illustrated with photos.
Food Fire Friends. Mark Jenner’s site explores many aspects of outdoor cooking, including recipes, techniques, and product guides, as he works his way toward mastering cooking with live
GrateTV. This frequent video show stars Jack Waiboer, a talented BBQ cook and competitor based in SC, and co-host Bill West (above). They teach tips, technique, tools, toys, secret ingredients, beer drinking, and answer viewer email questions. They know their stuff, and teach it with a smile. That’s them above, and one of the gadgets they feature.
GrillGirl. Robyn Medlin Lindars knows how to cook, and she can do it outdoors. She blogs about her adventures and recipes. Her specialty is making barbecue fun for women. She also cooks on her sailboat! Fun stuff!
A Hamburger Today. Gently patted together by Robyn Lee, this site is made of prime restaurant commentary, stuffed with burger lore, topped with good humor, and held together with beautiful drippy photographs. She is aided by a handful of burgerphiles who know their stuff.
Home BBQ. Message boards that discuss just about anything barbecue.
The Ingredient Store.com. Home of the FAB injections and marinades. FAB is the stuff most of the brisket champs inject (into the meat, not themselves).
Live Fire Online. Curt McAdams can cook and takes nice pix in Ohio. He focuses on barbecuing and grilling, but often digresses on local foods, markets, baking, and dining.
Mark Stevens. I met Mark in one of the online message boards and have learned a thing or two from him and his tips. You can too. His home made website has great links, and some good recipes and tips.
Naked Whiz. This may be the most inaccurate and inappropriate name for a website on the net, but don’t let it deter you. This is the go-to site if you have any questions about charcoal, how it is made, and what is the best.
Nibble Me This. Chris Grove is in Knoxville and he works his Big Green Egg and other cookers hard. He has also written a book about kamados.
Grillocracy. Our lead writer Clint Cantwell’s personal BBQ and grilling blog.
Patio Daddio BBQ. John Dawson brings his analytical IT mind to the patio and tests new techniques, equipment, and recipes with an unusual thoroughness and sharp sense of humor. He also competes. This is one of my faves.
Postcards from Scotsylvania. Scot Murphy is a very smart, witty, fella, and a pretty good cook too. His blog covers barbecue, gardening, politics, comics, and “ruminations about the universe, occasional whining, snarkiness, stuff like that.”
She Smoke. Julie Reinhardt is the author of the book She-Smoke, a Backyard Barbecue Book, and co-owner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle. This blog is an extension of the book, the restaurant, and how she rolls with two kids in tow.
Imagine Imagine logging on to your own account with the U.S. Federal Reserve. With your laptop or phone, you could zap cash anywhere instantly. There’d be no middlemen, no fees, no waiting for deposits or payments to clear.
That vision sums up the appeal of the digital dollar, the dream of futurists and the bane of bankers. It’s not the Bitcoin bros and other cryptocurrency fans pushing the disruptive idea but America’s financial and political elite. Fed Chair Jerome Powell promises fresh research and a set of policy questions for Congress to ponder this summer. J. Christopher Giancarlo, a former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is rallying support through the nonprofit Digital Dollar Project, a partnership with consulting giant Accenture Plc. To perpetuate American values such as free enterprise and the rule of law, “we should modernize the dollar,” he recently told a U.S. Senate banking subcommittee.
For now the dollar remains the premier global reserve currency and preferred legal tender for international trade and financial transactions. But a new flavor of cryptocurrency could pose a threat to that dominance, which is part of the reason the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on developing prototypes for a digital-dollar platform.
Other governments, notably China’s, are ahead in digitizing their currencies. In these nations, regulators worry that the possibilities for fraud are multiplying as more individuals embrace cryptocurrency. Steven Mnuchin, former President Donald Trump’s treasury secretary, said he saw no immediate need for a digital dollar. His successor, Janet Yellen, has expressed interest in studying it. Support for a virtual greenback cuts across party lines in Congress, which will have a say on whether it becomes reality.
At a hearing in June, Senators Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, and John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, signaled openness to the idea. Warren and other Democrats stressed the potential of the digital dollar to offer free services to low-income families who now pay high banking fees or are shut out of the system altogether.
Kennedy and fellow Republicans see a financial equivalent of the space race that pitted the U.S. against the Soviet Union—a battle for prestige, power, and first-mover advantage. This time the adversary is China, which announced this month that more than 10 million citizens are now eligible to participate in ongoing trials.
The strongest opposition to a virtual dollar will come from U.S. banks. They rely on $17 trillion in deposits to fund much of their core business, profiting from the difference between what they pay in interest to account holders and what they charge for loans. Banks also earn billions of dollars annually from overdraft, ATM, and account maintenance fees. By creating a digital currency, the Federal Reserve would in effect be competing with banks for customers.
In a recent blog post, Greg Baer, president of the Bank Policy Institute, which represents the industry, warned that homebuyers, businesses, and other customers would find it harder and more expensive to borrow money if the Fed were to infringe on the private sector’s historical central role in finance. “The Federal Reserve would gain extraordinary power,” wrote Baer, a former assistant treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.
Some economists warn that a digital dollar could destabilize the banking system. The federal government offers bank depositors $250,0000 in insurance, a program that’s successfully prevented bank runs since the Great Depression. But in a 2008-style financial panic, depositors might with a single click pull all their savings out of banks and convert them into direct obligations of the U.S. government.
“In a crisis, this may actually make matters worse,” says Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University and the author of a book on digital currencies that will be published in September. Whether a virtual dollar is even necessary remains up for debate. For large companies, cross-border interbank payments are already fast, limiting the appeal of digital currencies. Early adopters of Bitcoin may have won an investment windfall as its value soared, but its volatility makes it a poor substitute for a reliable government-backed currency such as the dollar.
Yet there’s a new kind of crypto, called stablecoin, that could pose a threat to the dollar’s dominance. Similar to the other digital currencies, it’s essentially a string of code tracked and authenticated via an online ledger. But it has a crucial difference from Bitcoin and its ilk: Its value is pegged to a sovereign currency like the dollar, so it offers stability as well as privacy.
In June 2019, Facebook Inc. announced it was developing a stablecoin called Libra ( since renamed Diem). The social media giant’s 2.85 billion active users worldwide represent a huge test market. “That was a game changer,” Prasad says. “That served as a catalyst for a lot of central banks.”
Regulators also have concerns about consumer protection. Stablecoin is only as stable as the network of private participants who manage it on the web. Should something go wrong, holders could find themselves empty-handed. That prospect places pressure on governments to come up with their own alternatives.
Although the Fed has been studying the idea of a digital dollar since at least 2017, crucial details, including what role private institutions will play, remain unresolved. In the Bahamas, the only country with a central bank digital currency, authorized financial institutions are allowed to offer e-wallets for handling sand dollars, the virtual counterpart to the Bahamian dollar.
If depositors flocked to the virtual dollar, banks would need to find another way to fund their loans. Advocates of a digital dollar float the possibility of the Fed lending to banks so they could write loans. To help banks preserve deposits, the government could also set a ceiling on how much digital currency citizens can hold. In the Bahamas the amount is capped at $8,000.
Lev Menand, an Obama administration treasury adviser, cautions against such compromises, saying the priority should be offering unfettered access to a central bank digital currency, or CBDC. Menand, who now lectures at Columbia Law School, says that because this idea would likely require the passage of legislation, Congress faces a big decision: to create “a robust CBDC or a skim milk sort of product that has been watered down as a favor to big banks.”
Wall Street is warming up to the idea that the next big disruptive force on the horizon is central bank digital currencies, even though the Federal Reserve likely remains a few years away from developing its own.
Led by countries as large as China and as small as the Bahamas, digital money is drawing stronger interest as the future of an increasingly cashless society. A digital dollar would resemble cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ethereum in some limited respects, but differ in important ways.
Rather than be a tradable asset with wildly fluctuating prices and limited use, the central bank digital currency would function more like dollars and have widespread acceptance. It also would be fully regulated and under a central authority.
Myriad questions remain before an institution as large as the Fed will wade in. But the momentum is building around the world. As the Fed and other central banks work through those logistical issues, Wall Street is growing in anticipation over what the future will hold.
“The race towards Digital Money 2.0 is on,” Citigroup said in a report. “Some have framed it as a new Space Race or Digital Currency Cold War. In our view, it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game — there’s a lot of room for the overall digital pie to grow.”
There, however, has been at least the semblance of a race, and China is perceived as taking the early lead. With the launch of a digital yuan last year, some fear that the edge China has ultimately could undermine the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. Though China said that is not its objective, a Bank of America report notes that issuing digital dollars would let the U.S. currency “remain highly competitive … relative to other currencies.”
Empathy can be best defined as the trait or skill of understanding, sharing, recognizing, and even feeling the emotions, thoughts, and experiences of those around you or those who you see. It is often a crucial skill in developing healthy relationships, moral or ethical decision-making, prosocial behavior, and compassionate attitudes.
Simply put, empathy denotes an ability to walk in the shoes of another person. It can be a complex trait to develop, and some people may believe that empathy is harmful. After all, feeling the pain of others can become tiring. But in moderation, this skill is a fantastic way to improve yourself while helping others. Here are nine ways empathy helps with inner growth.
1. Empathy Reduces Stress
You may have noticed people who are empathetic seem to experience less stress. Considering how research has shown that stress accuses all sorts of diseases, it raises the question – how does empathy help?
It teaches emotional regulation skills.
Relating to others in positive ways teaches
It engages in our ability to control and handle our emotions in a healthy manner.
It helps us recognize where and when we may be feeling stressed or emotional, thanks to observing and empathizing with our loved ones.
Empathy can be best defined as the trait or skill of understanding, sharing, recognizing, and even feeling the emotions, thoughts, and experiences of those around you or those who you see. It is often a crucial skill in developing healthy relationships, moral or ethical decision-making, prosocial behavior, and compassionate attitudes.
Simply put, empathy denotes an ability to walk in the shoes of another person. It can be a complex trait to develop, and some people may believe that empathy is harmful. After all, feeling the pain of others can become tiring. But in moderation, this skill is a fantastic way to improve yourself while helping others. Here are nine ways empathy helps with inner growth.
As you can imagine, this helps you become an emotionally more stable person in the long run – indeed a fundamental thing to any future growth and maturation you wish to experience!
2. It Improves Your Ability To Communicate
Communication isn’t as simple as an exchange of words. After all, think about the many times you find yourself constantly misunderstood, no matter how hard you try. As it turns out, empathy can teach you how to express yourself better! This outcome is because:
You learn how to see, feel, and think from the other person’s perspective.
You’ll better understand how your words and thoughts may be interpreted by others.
You can tailor your expression of your thoughts and emotions to the individual you’re communicating with, so they can understand you better.
You can limit misunderstandings and miscommunications by seeing how the other person would process information from their point of view.
Indeed, you may notice that all of these positive benefits first require you to listen better and understand the other person before you can explain yourself in a way that truly resonates with them. This is why empathy is so important!
3. It’s Good For General Survival
Historically speaking, being social creatures is the critical reason for our species’ continued survival – and despite how much has changed socially, this hasn’t changed on a fundamental level! Empathy allows us to:
Pick up on nonverbal cues that indicate something is amiss
Tune in immediately to a situation the second someone starts acting strangely
React appropriately to a life-threatening situation you haven’t seen yet, just from the behavior of others in the area
Pay attention to abnormal atmospheres or facial features that suggest something is wrong
These examples may sound dramatic, but they can be applicable in all sorts of places – from recognizing when a bar fight is about to erupt to paying attention to a loved one who seems to be quieter than usual.
No matter which way you slice it, empathy may be the critical thing that saves you or your loved one’s life.
4. It’s Good For Your Health
How are empathy and your physical health related to each other? They’re more intimately intertwined than you might think. Various studies have shown a positive correlation between the ability to handle stress – a source of many health issues – and high levels of empathy.
This is because of empathy:
It encourages us to form close bonds that form the basis of our support network.
Teaches us how to form healthy coping mechanisms when trying to manage stress.
It assists us in paying attention to our bodies as an extension of learning how to observe those around us.
Reduces depression and anxiety levels as we communicate and empathize with our loved ones.
It helps us create healthy boundaries so we can avoid picking up second-hand stress and negative emotions.
Encourages positive thinking and mindsets via reconnecting to the world around us.
This ultimately leads to a better psychological and physiological state, resulting in a much better health and immune system. Not to mention, it’s easier to take care of yourself when you’re mentally and emotionally more stable and healthy!
5. It Can Guide Your Moral Compass
Normally, we learn empathy and emotional regulation in childhood – something that research has shown is important for our development. But that doesn’t mean our journey stops there!
As we grow older and meet new people, we must continue to learn and adapt to the changing world around us – and in this aspect, empathy is an essential tool. For example, it:
It helps us re-evaluate our core values and morals
Shapes and guides how we care for others and how we expect to be cared for
It shows us how to take care of those around us
Encourages us to strive for a better understanding of those we love
In other words, empathy can actually help us reshape our foundational understanding of the world and our relationship with it. This is important, as it can lead to us growing both mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as we strive to meet the needs of our loved ones!
6. It Connects You To Others
Ever found yourself just sitting there, unsure as to how to respond to someone else? Empathy is actually a vital and helpful tool in this regard!
How so? Research has shown that empathy is responsible for helping us better understand and respond to a loved one’s actions – both in the present and for potential future actions. Here are a few ways how it mentally preps you and encourages you to form positive relationships:
It helps us feel and better understand what the other person is experiencing.
Teaches us how to reciprocate and make the other person feel seen and heard.
It assists us in forming and nurturing intimate bonds where both sides can feel safe and vulnerable.
It encourages us to listen to those around us truly and really take the time to be there for them.
The final result? We end up learning not just about experiences we couldn’t otherwise have possibly gotten on our own, but also will likely end up with a close and personal relationship with the other person!
Over time, you will likely find that this sort of behavior cultivates deep, intimate connections that can bring you a sense of peace and stability – an incredibly vital foundation for any further inner growth you wish to achieve.
7. It Helps Prosocial Behavior
We are only human, so it’s natural to want close, intimate, and meaningful bonds. In fact, it is hardwired into our very DNA – we wouldn’t have gotten this far without that desire to bond with those around us, after all. As you can imagine, this means that the ability to empathize is crucial. This is because it:
It teaches us how to become more compassionate and caring
It’s crucial to our ability to communicate and connect with others
It encourages us to care for and help each other
Assists us in being kind and understanding to others around us
It tries to make us see things from a different point of view
From there, we then learn how to adjust our behavior and actions to ensure we are doing our best to love and care for those around us. This can then ultimately lead us to create the relationships so fundamental to our emotional and mental wellbeing!
8. It Fights Burnout
There is some irony in how, in an increasingly connected world, we feel even more lonely. And with that loneliness comes all sorts of mental health struggles and burnout as we struggle with work on our own. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A study has shown that those workers who are empathetic actually deal with less burnout – something you might find interesting! Here’s how empathy can help you achieve these outcomes:
It guides us in how we can communicate with those around us.
Assists in the development of soft skills that are crucial to handling conflicts with others.
It teaches us how to ensure both sides feel seen and heard.
It helps us connect and form meaningful relationships with others.
Encourages us to create social networks that can inversely support us in our times of need.
Promotes positive thinking as we pull from the experiences of others around us.
With the development of better communication and conflict-management skills, you may find yourself becoming a more emotionally mature and understanding person as you rise against the challenges life throws at you. And it’s all thanks to empathy!
9. It Improves Your Work
With just how helpful it is when you’re trying to both listen and to be heard, it’s no wonder that empathy forms a core aspect of communication – a vital skill in any team-based work. But there’s more to this than just better communication. Empathy also helps:
Negotiating with others to create a solution that meets everyone’s needs and desires
It makes people feel valued and involved in any project
It makes for a smoother transition and workflow, as you are already paying attention and anticipating the quirks and workstyles of those around you
As you can imagine, these aspects are all super helpful when you’re working on any team-based project. And these skills are transferable too! You can just as easily apply these positive benefits to both your work and your personal life and watch your relationships become better for it! Final Thoughts On Some Ways Empathy Helps With Inner Growth
Empathy is a valuable trait, yet it may seem like it is rapidly declining in today’s world. This can seem discouraging, and some may even worry that being empathetic may open them up to feelings of pain and discomfort.
The lucky truth is that this is not the case. Empathy is crucial for your inner growth and can actually make you stronger, healthier, and more resilient. If you struggle with developing empathy for others, you can speak to a mental health professional for help.
Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional states. Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional (or affective) empathy, somatic, and spiritual empathy.
Empathy is generally divided into two major components:
Affective empathy, also called emotional empathy: the capacity to respond with an appropriate emotion to another’s mental states. Our ability to empathize emotionally is based on emotional contagion: being affected by another’s emotional or arousal state.
Cognitive empathy: the capacity to understand another’s perspective or mental state. The terms social cognition, perspective-taking, theory of mind, and mentalizing are often used synonymously, but due to a lack of studies comparing theory of mind with types of empathy, it is unclear whether these are equivalent.
Although measures of cognitive empathy include self-report questionnaires and behavioral measures, a 2019 meta analysis found only a negligible association between self report and behavioral measures, suggesting that people are generally not able to accurately assess their own cognitive empathy abilities.
Roth-Hanania R, Davidov M, Zahn-Waxler C (June 2011). “Empathy development from 8 to 16 months: early signs of concern for others”. Infant Behavior & Development. 34 (3): 447–58. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.04.007. PMID21600660.
Baird JD, Nadel L (April 2010). Happiness Genes: Unlock the Positive Potential Hidden in Your DNA. New Page Books. ISBN978-1-60163-105-3.
While the needs of fundraising organizations have grown and diversified, the techniques of fundraisers have grown stale instead of evolving. Many organizations continue to use the same strategies to secure gifts as they have for years, despite growing evidence of the need for change.
Unfortunately, because of rare but highly public unethical practices in political and politics-adjacent industries, nonprofit fundraisers today deal with a lot of issues with stigma, skepticism and mistrust. Recently, the Department of Justice began cracking down on certain matching contributions claims, as an example of the way certain ‘gimmicks’ leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
Because of ongoing challenges, with donor trust, organizations looking to fundraise in 2021 and beyond will not be able to meet new challenges with old habits. Leaders and fundraisers need to be aware of the latest trends in the space to maximize their funding and, by extension, their impact.
Here are a few of the most important trends happening in fundraising right now and what you should do about them.
1. Retain your donors
So many fundraising initiatives focus on acquiring new donors, while not enough attention goes toward the people who have already proven their interest. Retaining your donors is one of the most effective ways to increase funding without overspending on acquisition costs of new donors.
Leaders in fundraising including Dan Pallotta, Mallory Erickson and Kivi Leroux Miller agree on the importance of retaining existing donors. Erickson makes the point that donors stick around when organizations focus on finding “Power Partners” and identifying win-win opportunities for them.
If aligned correctly from the beginning, your existing pool of donors indicate that there is something they like about your organization: your mission, your leadership, your messaging, etc. Find out what makes your donors tick by asking directly. Call, send surveys or post on community messaging boards. Find out why your best donors connect to your organization, then lean into that alignment to keep them engaged.
2. Demonstrate transparency and grace
Fundraising is rarely straightforward. Not only will you struggle to complete many of your goals, but you will likely make mistakes along the way. Be transparent about issues when they arise, but don’t fall flat over every small misstep. Instead, be graceful, accept the lesson and communicate what you will do differently next time.
The pandemic provided plenty of examples of what to do and what not to do on this subject. Take the CDC, for example. At the end of last year, the organization printed, then retracted, then removed a statement about how Covid-19 spreads through airborne transmission. The organization did not change its stance, but it was a bad look in an already tense conversation.
Stay focused on the mission throughout any communication on a faux pas. Clearly illustrate what went wrong and why, reiterate your commitment to the cause and explain what will happen next. The best part of transparency is accountability, and for fundraising purposes, remaining accountable is a must.
You cannot build a smart fundraising strategy if you never step back to evaluate the effectiveness of your actions. Schedule time each quarter, and preferably each month, to review specific messaging campaigns, events and other initiatives to see what landed and what did not.
Donor Search recommends tracking all the basics, like donation volume, size and retention rates, but also focuses smartly on digital engagement. In a world where fundraising can happen any time online, leaders of fundraising organizations must be digitally savvy.
Lead-tracking can be a great way to identify the best sources of new donors. Ask simple questions of event attendees in follow-up email campaigns and surveys. Invite them to download content about your organization or register for your next event. Try different ways to funnel different donor leads toward single large gifts, smaller recurring gifts or whichever arrangement you find has the highest conversion rate.
No one gets everything right the first time. This isn’t about transparency, though. While it is important to own your mistakes, it’s also important to act decisively when you have enough information instead of waiting until it’s too late.
Have a potential lead on a big donor but your contact fell through? Do your own research and reach out directly. Want to try a new messaging strategy but not sure if the budget is worth it? Try a small test audience and see how it goes. Some of your moves will fail, but you can’t let that stop you from trying. Perfectionism will only slow you down.
Fundraising in 2021 happens in bursts of opportunity. The right moment is only a moment away, and fortune favors those who take action before stopping to work out all the details.
These trends in fundraising have arisen because new tools, new strategies and new social pressures demanded change. The older, more passive ways of fundraising will not be as effective in the months and years to come. Embrace these changes and use these tips to secure the funding your mission needs to move forward.
Philanthropy consists of “private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life“. Philanthropy contrasts with business initiatives, which are private initiatives for private good, focusing on material gain, and with government endeavors, which are public initiatives for public good, e.g., focusing on provision of public services. A person who practices philanthropy is a philanthropist.
Philanthropy is different from charity, though there is some overlap. Charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem.
Traditional philanthropy and impact investment can be distinguished by how they serve society. Traditional philanthropy is usually short-term, where organizations obtain resources for causes through fund-raising and one-off donations. The Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation are examples of such; they focus more on the financial contributions to social causes and less on the actual actions and processes of benevolence.
Impact investment, on the other hand, focuses on the interaction between individual wellbeing and broader society through the promotion of sustainability. Stressing the importance of impact and change, they invest in different sectors of society, including housing, infrastructure, healthcare and energy.
A suggested explanation for the preference for impact investment philanthropy to traditional philanthropy is the gaining prominence of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2015. Almost every SDG is linked to environmental protection and sustainability because of raising concerns about how globalisation, liberal consumerism and population growth may affect the environment. As a result, development agencies have seen increased accountability on their part, as they face greater pressure to fit with current developmental agendas.
Philanthrocapitalism differs from traditional philanthropy in how it operates. Traditional philanthropy is about charity, mercy, and selfless devotion improving recipients’ wellbeing. Philanthrocapitalism, is philanthropy transformed by business and the market, where profit-oriented business models are designed that work for the good of humanity. Share value companies are an example. They help develop and deliver curricula in education, strengthen their own businesses and improve the job prospects of people. Firms improve social outcomes, but while they do so, they also benefit themselves.
The rise of philanthrocapitalism can be attributed to global capitalism. There is an understanding that philanthropy is not worthwhile if no economic benefit can be derived by philanthropy organisations, both from a social and private perspective. Therefore, philanthropy has been seen as a tool to sustain economic growth and the firm’s own growth, based on human capital theory. Through education, specific skills are taught which enhance people’s capacity to learn and their productivity at work.
It’s a classic symbiotic relationship. Entrepreneurs need exposure in the press and the media need information from brands to fill their pages. It should be a balanced partnership then yes? Well… not always. The problem comes when you’re simply not giving the media what they can use, i.e. what’s of interest to their particular readers.
Often this is down to not understanding how journalists work and what they want, but also it can be down to laziness on the part of inhouse or agency PRs who persist in sending mass mailouts to already overserved press.
You may not believe it, but It’s actually surprisingly easy to be featured in the press. And you don’t have to have budgets large enough to employ the services of a PR agency which can easily cost £5 to £10K plus a month plus disbursements (expenses) just for the most basic of services.
You just need to follow the following steps.
1. Select the media titles your potential and existing audience actually reads.
How? Well, try taking a sample of your social media followers and have a look at what media they are following. That’s an easy start. And don’t be afraid to pop a post up asking them to name or even vote for their favourite titles too.
Also conduct a simple Google search for media titles that reach your existing and potential customers and industry sector.
There are professional media databases which you can use to compile media lists but these can be expensive. If your budget is tight you could consider buddying up with another entrepreneur and splitting the cost.
Be reassured though, it’s really not about the AMOUNT of titles you target, but targeting the RIGHT ONES – i.e. the media that’s actually consumed by your target audience (you of course need to have defined this first).
Think beyond just national newspapers and magazines too. Consider TV and radio programmes, podcasts, social media influencers, smaller local/regional titles. And also titles that might not at first seem an obvious choice. For example, if you have a food or drinks brand, depending on its type and price points, you could consider wellness titles, health & fitness titles, luxury lifestyle blogs, TV programmes with a focus on nutrition or weight loss, parenting titles, supermarket magazines.
Don’t stick your nose up at these – most, including Waitrose’s monthly magazine actually have amazing reach, a fantastic reputation, wonderful production values and loyal readers. And in the UK, Asda’s magazine has one of the highest circulations and readerships of all print titles.
2. Find the contact details of the best person to approach.
What you also need to do, is find the names and email addresses of the best editors and journalists to actually contact.
This again isn’t as hard as you may think. Most publications have what we call in the trade, a “flannel panel,” AKA a section in the magazine, often near the front, which details all the staff and their roles. On websites it’s usually under About Us or Contact Us.
Look through these and find the journalist or editor responsible for the content that’s the best fit for your product or service. You can also go on to the media title’s publisher’s website and often find contacts there.
And LinkedIn can be another great source – here you can often find email addresses too and if you are a Premium member, reach out direct too. Failing this, a quick phone call to reception will usually reap rewards.
Bear in mind, Editors and Editor’s in Chief aren’t always the best initial contacts to approach because they typically get inundated with emails and requests. It’s often better to find the details of the staff journalists covering the content most relevant to you and approaching them. Larger publications have what’s called “Commissioning Editors” and these are the people to pitch in to. Usually they deal with journalists pitching in, but there’s no harm in you doing this do. I’ll be covering how to pitch well in another article so look out for this.
It’s worth considering targeting the title’s website editorial staff as well as those in the magazine or newspaper as it’s often much easier to get content picked up for online use as there’s unlimited space, whereas a magazine only has a finite number of pages available per issue.
Don’t forget about freelance journalists too – these can be a fantastic way in. Twitter, LinkedIn – both can be very useful sources here. Start to follow #journorequest on Twitter and you’ll see what journalists are seeking, and responding to this can be an excellent, not to mention free, way of connecting to and building relationships with journalists.
3. Provide content they will want to use.
How do you know what information to give your chosen media? The first step is to be really clear on exactly what topics they cover. It’s pretty straightforward to discover this – look at the content they already use, across as many of their media platforms as you can. Observing the regular content categories they have is quick way to gauge what’s called their “editorial pillars,” the key content their publication carries. By this I mean look at the primary content headings on a website, or contents’ page in a magazine. Hashtags they use on their socials can be a handy clue, too.
The second step is to look at the format of this content – length, tone – is it informal and friendly or more authoritative and serious, and if it tends to be more text led or image heavy. Also note if the content is typically presented as an interview, or a first person column, “Editor’s Pick,” a listicle (i.e. a Top 10 kind of piece) – this kind of thing.
By now you will know what topics they cover and in what style. Step three is to decide what information you want to communicate to these readers, that matches this, and pitch this in to the journalist or editor – or package into a press release. Do consider media titles always prefer to carry unique content – not information that’s been offered and taken up by their rivals, so you will need to create pitches and press releases that are tailored.
Pitches and press releases are usually sent as a simple, short email. I will cover creating these in detail in articles to follow, but essentially you need to communicate what your story is (the topic and specific angle), why it’s right for that title and is newsworthy for publication now – all in the most interesting way as possible.
It’s an art to make your pitches or press releases stand out for the right reasons when a journalist could receive hundreds of these a week, but, with some guidance and practice there’s no reason why you won’t be able to craft these as well as a PR agency and reap the considerable rewards press exposure can bring.
Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public in order to affect the public perception. Public relations (PR) and publicity differ in that PR is controlled internally, whereas publicity is not controlled and contributed by external parties.
Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. Public relations aims to create or obtain coverage for clients for free, also known as earned media, rather than paying for marketing or advertising. But in the early 21st century, advertising is also a part of broader PR activities.
An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a PR firm’s client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article. The aim of public relations is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders, and ultimately persuade them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization, its leadership, products, or political decisions.
Success in the field of public relations requires a deep understanding of the interests and concerns of each of the company’s many stakeholders. The public relations professional must know how to effectively address those concerns using the most powerful tool of the public relations trade, which is publicity.
Specific public relations disciplines include:
Financial public relations – communicating financial results and business strategy
Consumer/lifestyle public relations – gaining publicity for a particular product or service
Media relations – a public relations function that involves building and maintaining close relationships with the news media so that they can sell and promote a business.
Social Media/Community Marketing – in today’s climate, public relations professionals leverage social media marketing to distribute messages about their clients to desired target markets
In-house public relations – a public relations professional hired to manage press and publicity campaigns for the company that hired them.
‘Black Hat PR’ – manipulating public profiles under the guise of neutral commentators or voices, or engaging to actively damage or undermine the reputations of the rival or targeted individuals or organizations.
The development ideology of QubitLife implies the creation of its own unified ecosystem based on quantum technologies, as well as distribution of platform resources among its users. The main mission of QubitLife is to provide its users with effective ways to receive royalty payments from the use of quantum technologies, as well as to grant its users with an exclusive access to its strategic partners’ platforms.
The main goal of QubitLife is to reach platform’s capitalization value of 10 billion USDT and grow its users base to more than 10,000,000 users by 2025. QubitLife already uses the advantages of quantum technologies, gaining a serious advantage over the competition by adopting quantum neural networks data processing and applying computing power of quantum algorithms. Such implementations allowed to significantly improve the accuracy of analytical data acquired used for development, set up and adjustments of algorithmic systems, and as well as generally improve the efficiency of platform operations.
Greg Lemon from QubitLife had a simple but yet very powerful idea, how to take crypto trading the next level using technology like:
This idea was supported by by a group of independent experts in algorithmic and manual methods of asset management, together with acknowledged specialists in the field of development and administration of electronic systems with extensive experience from the traditional financial markets.
The company goal is to a robust process developed to produce trading signals and hand them over to traders, Smart software s developed to manage this sophisticated process, The payment side of things is being supported by the DBS bank and There are two different trading strategies that Qubit Tech is using which are Trading Robots API and Margin Trading Contracts.
By purchasing a lot of various startups, you can become a multimillionaire in the next 5 years. QubitLife uses Venture Program Budget to buy stakes in promising startups at an early stage. After the user purchases a startup’s lots, a lock-up period is set for the sale of the purchased lots. As the startup evaluation stages are carried out, each user has the right to sell the purchased shares of projects in part or completely in accordance with the available venture platform liquidity.
The possibility of selling lots of a particular startup is timely notified through the official media resources of QubitLife. USDT received from the sale of lots are instantly credited to the main wallet balance on the QubitLife platform. The commission for the sale of any lot is 5% of the transaction value.
Trading via API will be available at a later stage. Margin Trading Contracts can be purchased starting with 100$. Every package will generate daily profit for you until it reaches 250% total profit. That is approximately 25% per month. Profits can be withdrawn starting from 10 USD. The package size doesn’t have any influence on the passive income but it determines what referral commissions you will receive.
The bigger your package, the more Direct Bonus and more Binary Bonus you will receive.
If you own a Silver package ($1000), you will receive uni level bonuses of 6% (1st level) and 3% (2nd level). Your Binary Bonus will be 9% based on your weaker leg. To activate your binary you have to have at least one active investor on each leg. There is a matching bonus involved that will be paid as a percentage of the Binary Bonus received by the direct partners.
You would never know how terrible the past year has been for many Americans by looking at Wall Street, which has been going gangbusters since the early days of the pandemic.
“On the streets, there are chants of ‘Stop killing Black people!’ and ‘No justice, no peace!’ Meanwhile, behind a computer, one of the millions of new day traders buys a stock because the chart is quickly moving higher,” wrote Chris Brown, the founder and managing member of the Ohio-based hedge fund Aristides Capital in a letter to investors in June 2020. “The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming at times.”
The market was temporarily shaken in March 2020, as stocks plunged for about a month at the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak, but then something strange happened. Even as hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, millions of people were laid off and businesses shuttered, protests against police violence erupted across the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the outgoing president refused to accept the outcome of the 2020 election — supposedly the market’s nightmare scenario — for weeks, the stock market soared. After the jobs report from April 2021 revealed a much shakier labor recovery might be on the horizon, major indexes hit new highs.
The disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street, between corporate CEOs and the working class, has perhaps never felt so stark. How can it be that food banks are overwhelmed while the Dow Jones Industrial Average hits an all-time high? For a year that’s been so bad, it’s been hard not to wonder how the stock market could be so good.
To the extent that there can ever be an explanation for what’s going on with the stock market, there are some straightforward financial answers here. The Federal Reserve took extraordinary measures to support financial markets and reassure investors it wouldn’t let major corporations fall apart.
Congress did its part as well, pumping trillions of dollars into the economy across multiplereliefbills. Turns out giving people money is good for markets, too. Tech stocks, which make up a significant portion of the S&P 500, soared. And with bond yields so low, investors didn’t really have a more lucrative place to put their money.
To put it plainly, the stock market is not representative of the whole economy, much less American society. And what it is representative of did fine.“No matter how many times we keep on saying the stock market is not the economy, people won’t believe it, but it isn’t,” said Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist. “The stock market is about one piece of the economy — corporate profits — and it’s not even about the current or near-future level of corporate profits, it’s about corporate profits over a somewhat longish horizon.”
Still, those explanations, to many people, don’t feel fair. Investors seem to have remained inconceivably optimistic throughout real turmoil and uncertainty. If the answer to why the stock market was fine is basically that’s how the system works, the follow-up question is: Should it?
“Talking about the prosperous nature of the stock market in the face of people still dying from Covid-19, still trying to get health care, struggling to get food, stay employed, it’s an affront to people’s actual lived experience,” said Solana Rice, the co-founder and co-executive director of Liberation in a Generation, which pushes for economic policies that reduce racial disparities. “The stock market is not representative of the makeup of this country.”
Inequality is not a new theme in the American economy. But the pandemic exposed and reinforced the way the wealthy and powerful experience what’s happening so much differently than those with less power and fewer means — and force the question of how the prosperity of those at the top could be better shared with those at the bottom. There are certainly ideas out there, though Wall Street might not like them.
How the stock market boomed when American life soured
Many on Wall Street, like many people in America, were in denial about the realities of Covid-19 when it first began to take hold internationally in early 2020. In an interview with Vox last April, CNBC host Jim Cramer recalled wondering whether “another shoe will drop on this coronavirus outbreak” in early February, only to see stocks keep rising steadily. “But nothing happened. The market kept quiet,” Cramer told Vox. Indeed, stocks continued to reach record highs.
While stocks often rise slowly, they also fall fast. And once Wall Street caught on to the realities Covid-19 might bring, the market tumbled, wiping off some 30 percent of its value from mid-February to mid-March. “No one had any idea of what the future was going to be, how deep this is, how long it would be, how wide it would be,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The S&P 500 bottomed out on March 23, just a week into New York’s shutdown, and after that, it made a remarkably strong recovery, month after month.
Most analysts and experts point to the Fed as the most important factor in supporting market confidence. The central bank announced a series of big measures to help support the economy and markets in March 2020, including saying that it would buy both investment-grade and high-yield corporate bonds (basically, debt that is risky and debt that is not).
“Not dissimilar to the global financial crisis, the Fed stepped in, and that was really a catalyst for a stock market recovery,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “The Fed can be very, very powerful, almost omnipotent, when it comes to the stock market.”
Throughout the crisis, the Fed and Chair Jay Powell have made clear they will support markets and use every tool in their toolkit to do it. Powell has taken an extremely dovish tone and repeatedly said the Fed won’t raise interest rates — which would presumably slow down the economy and markets — preemptively. Basically, the markets let the Fed take the wheel.
Even if it didn’t buy bonds itself, the knowledge that it would if necessary reinforced the markets — private investors swept in to take up corporate bond offerings from companies such as Boeing and Nike. Continued confidence in a dovish Fed has only reinforced market bullishness; while a bad jobs report may be bad for businesses and workers, to investors, it’s also more reassurance that low interest rates aren’t going anywhere.
The issue is, the Fed is a much more powerful force on Wall Street than it is Main Street. Its programs to help small and midsize businesses and states and cities have been far less effective than those set up to help corporations and asset prices.
“It now feels like policy, be it the Fed or something else, that the stock market should really never go down,” said Dan Egan, vice president of behavioral finance and investing at Betterment.
To be sure, the Fed’s role is monetary policy, and it would have been bad if markets were allowed to crash or a litany of major corporations went bankrupt. And luckily for many struggling people and businesses, Congress stepped in with fiscal policy that could be more effective in helping the broader economy — a move that, no doubt, also helped markets. It’s good for corporations that people have money to spend.
Still, some wonder whether the Fed couldn’t have tried to go further to make sure its programs to support corporations flow to people other than shareholders. “Obviously it was good, the Fed needed to do something,” said Alexis Goldstein, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform. “But the criticism I would weigh was that there were no real conditions that workers were protected or rehired, that all the gains just didn’t go to the top.”
Goldstein pointed to a September report from the House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that found the Fed bought corporate bonds from at least 95 companies that issued dividends to shareholders while also laying off workers. “Surely the Fed is also so powerful that it can say, look, we need you all to prioritize rehiring your workers or we’re not necessarily going to rescue you, we’re going to rescue other companies, and that should be impactful,” Goldstein said.
Companies have been ruled by the mantra of shareholder primacy, where maximizing profits for investors is the end-all, be-all, for decades. Worker pay has severely lagged gains in productivity. Those trends were unlikely to change during a pandemic.
“Shareholder primacy means the job of corporations is to increase their share prices for this very small elite, and that means downward pressure on costs, including workers, where possible,” said Lenore Palladino, an assistant professor of economics and public policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “The fact that the stock market is booming is because of the financialization of our goods- and services-producing companies, not because the real economy is doing so well.”
The market felt better about the pandemic than you probably did
Jack Ablin, the founding partner of Cresset Capital, recalls calling clients in the spring of 2020 and telling them they didn’t know how long the lockdowns and virus would last, but they were “confident” that within a year, it would be done. “Of course, it wasn’t,” he told Vox. But the general attitude remains: The markets figured things would get better, sooner or later. “Part of it was saying, look, this is temporary, we will eventually get back to business. So we were trying to look past the valley to the other side of normality.”
Not everything had to break in Wall Street’s favor for the market rally to continue — as mentioned, between the Fed and the future promise of corporate profits, investors had plenty of reasons to be confident — but it doesn’t hurt that it kind of did. The vaccine, which at the outset of the pandemic some experts warned might be years away, appeared by the end of 2020. Donald Trump did not want to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election, which some investors feared would spark chaos before voting day, but by and large, the US saw a peaceful transfer of power (with the exception of a riot at the Capitol, that, while disturbing, didn’t have anything to do with the Dow).
Investors also seemed confident that Congress would come through with more fiscal support for the economy. This, too, was not a given. The $900 billion package passed in the lame-duck session in December for months seemed highly unlikely. Had Democrats not taken both US Senate seats in Georgia, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law in March, would not have happened. While neither provided direct support to the markets, they did support the broader economy that the markets have for months been bullish on. Putting money in people’s pockets means they’ll spend it. It’s good for Wall Street that Main Street America doesn’t fail.
Some people in the industry point to a certain level of faith in America, like the type legendary investor Warren Buffett channeled during the financial crisis and Great Recession when he told people to “buy American.”
“You have to have an existential faith in America in order to be in stocks over the long term,” said Nick Colas, the co-founder of DataTrek Research.
“What has happened in the last 14 months or so is we’re believing in America again, we’re believing in our companies,” said Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets. “From every bear market and every depression, we transition from despair to hope, and the hope was defined by American companies.”
“There are two lessons to be learned over the past year. The first is that economic headlines are lagging and not leading indicators of the market; and second, market timing is a losers’ game,” said Saira Malik, chief investment officer of global equities at Nuveen, an asset manager.
Nuveen is currently interested in emerging markets for potential investment possibilities on the horizon — including countries such as Brazil, which continues to be ravaged by the pandemic. “We do feel like in the near term they are going to struggle. But the vaccines are becoming more and more available, and while they’re lagging a bit behind, we do think they’ll catch up, and they’ve tended to have the cheaper valuations to go with that,” Malik said.
At this point, it’s hard to wonder what, if anything, will truly unnerve investors.
There are still plenty of risks to the market, including that in the US, President Joe Biden and Democrats may take steps to raise taxes that would mean a hit for the bottom lines of corporations and investors. When chatter of the president’s capital gains tax proposal kicked up in late April, the markets took a small dip, but it was hardly catastrophic.
“We have an administration that clearly has ambitions and wants to pay for them by taxing capital, taxing corporate profits, now taxing capital gains. The resilience of the market in the face of all that is kind of interesting,” Krugman said. “There may be a little bit of determined resilience; there may be some element of when people are determined to be optimistic, facts don’t matter.”
Hooper, from Invesco, offered up the explanation of the Fed. “I do think on a short-term basis, we could see a sell-off if there is a risk that appears imminent, but we have to recognize that all current risks are being cushioned by this incredibly accommodative Fed, which does have an impact. It’s a powerful upward force on stocks that can counteract the downward forces.”
What the stock market does and doesn’t represent
How the stock market does matters to a lot of people. A little over half of all Americans report owning stocks, including in their retirement or pension plans. And during the pandemic, plenty of people got into day trading, for better and for worse. But some groups have much higher stakes in the market than others. More than 80 percent of stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans, meaning when markets go up, they’re the ones who reap the most gains. White people are also the overwhelming majority of market beneficiaries — by Palladino’s estimates, 92 percent of corporate equity and mutual fund value is owned by white households, compared to less than 2 percent each by Black and Hispanic households.
“People often forget how concentrated corporate equity holdings are,” Palladino said. “They’re held mainly by wealthy white households.” Those are the people who disproportionately reaped the benefits of the stock market’s pandemic run, while people of color disproportionately suffered the health and economic consequences of the disease.
If the US wants to create a fairer, less extractive economy where corporations and shareholders aren’t living a very different reality than people trying to pay their rent or find a job, there are ways to do it. The federal government could raise corporate taxes and tax income from investments in the same way it does income from labor and seek to rein in CEO pay.
It could also clamp down on shareholder primacy and make sure companies base their decisions not only on making their investors rich but also on the well-being of their workers, customers, communities, and suppliers. In 2019, the Business Roundtable, a major business lobbying group, issued a statement that it would redefine the “purpose of a corporation” as one that fosters “an economy that serves all Americans.” The government and the public could find ways to hold them to it. Palladino, in her work, has outlined a number of proposals that would curb shareholder primacy, including requiring corporate boards to have worker representatives, banning stock buybacks, and boosting unions.
Beyond policy fixes, there’s also just the reality that the market measures very one specific thing — how investors think (rightly or wrongly) corporate profits are going to be in the future. And for many people, that measure is meaningless. “If you can assess that the economy is good when we’re in one of the worst economic moments of American history, then it’s a useless measure,” said Maurice BP-Weeks, co-executive director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy.
The past year has been a truly wild ride in America and for the stock market, though in different directions. Investors are reaching almost exuberant levels, from the GameStop saga to the crypto craze. Stocks are continuing their bull run, with no clear end in sight. There are plenty of warnings that investors are out over their skis, but then again, there always are.
It’s a far cry from a little over a year ago, when billionaire hedge funder Bill Ackman went on TV to warn that “hell is coming” because of Covid-19. Or maybe it did — just not for Wall Street.
You know how adults always told you to “eat your veggies” and greens when you were a kid? Well, that nagging advice doesn’t necessarily stop in adulthood. As a financial planner, I’m constantly giving people good advice they don’t want.
I know no one wants to hear this kind of money advice. But those who do listen — and more importantly, implement these ideas — tend to have better control over their cash flow, higher savings rates, and more financial power.
You might not like it, but much like eating broccoli and kale, taking it in is often for your own good.
1. Don’t buy so much house
Buying a home is rarely a data-driven decision. It’s an emotional one, and for good reason. For many people, homeownership represents stability, security, and even status.
These are not unimportant things, but too many people use their emotions as excuses to throw financial reality out the window when it comes to house hunting.
Set a budget and stick to it. We often recommend keeping your total annual housing costs to no more than 20% of your gross annual household income.
This helps ensure you retain flexibility in other areas of your cash flow so that you can own your home and keep pursuing other important goals or have money available for your other priorities.
2. And don’t assume your house is a good investment
I often caution people against thinking of their home as an investment. Again, that doesn’t mean buying is a bad idea or your house isn’t worth as much as you think it is. But an investment should provide a return.
A single-family home that serves as your primary residence (and does not provide rental income) may be an excellent utility. It is not, however, what I would consider a good investment.
Home values do tend to rise over time, but the cost of ownership, maintenance, and upkeep often erode most of the “gains” you might see when just looking at the transaction of buying and then selling your home on paper.
A reasonable, real return on single-family homes runs about 2%. That’s not nothing, but it’s also not something you can assume will fund your full retirement, either (especially when you have to live somewhere, retired or not, and most people put the equity from a home sale into their next purchase).
3. Save more than you think you need to
It’s really important to me that I help my clients strike a balance between enjoying their lives in the present while also building assets and future financial security. This would be much easier to do if we had a crystal ball and could accurately predict what life would be like in 10, 20, even 30 years.
We’d know your budget. We’d know what kinds of emergencies you’d have to deal with, and prepare accordingly. And we’d understand what your life would look like (including how long it would be).
With that clarity, it would be possible to say, “you need $X. Save just that and feel free to spend the rest.” That is, obviously, not how life works.
You can do this in a number of ways, including some we’ve already talked about, like saving more than you think you need to save.
Other ways of building in backups is by maintaining an emergency fund, using conservative assumptions around income, and overestimating your expenses when you do any kind of long-term financial projection, and not counting on any kind of windfall (from bonuses and commissions to inheritances) to make your plan work.
5. Stop trying to time the market
It is so tempting to think we can successfully time the market. Why? Because drops and spikes in the stock market look stupidly obvious with hindsight.
It’s very easy to look back at something like 2008 (or maybe even the spring of 2020 at this point) and feel like you know when the best times to buy and sell would have been… because they already happened.
Guessing what comes next without the benefit of knowing how things played out is not the same thing. Data shows us that even professionals fail to time the market repeatedly. You may get lucky once, but repeating that performance over and over again for the next few decades is virtually impossible.
Build a strategic investing plan — and then stick to it, regardless of current events.
It’s probably not as fun and may not be as sexy as bragging about your stock picks on Robinhood, but it works a whole lot better in the long run.
Over a year since declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, the World Health Organization has finally admitted that Coronavirus is airborne. Aerosol researchers started warning that “the world should face the reality” of airborne transmission in April 2020. Then in June, some claimed that it was “the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19”.
In July, 239 scientists signed an open letter appealing to the medical community and governing bodies to recognize the potential risk of airborne transmission. That same month (by coincidence, not as a result of the letter), WHO released a new scientific brief on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 that stated:
“Short-range aerosol transmission, particularly in specific indoor locations, such as crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons cannot be ruled out.”
Epidemiologist Bill Hanage interpreted WHO’s statement to mean: “While it is reasonable to think it can happen, there’s not consistent evidence that it is happening often.” In other words, WHO believed that spread via aerosols was rare.
As Hanage told The New York Times, WHO staff were looking for proof that would falsify their existing beliefs: “They are still challenged by the absence of evidence, and the difficulty of proving a negative.”
Virologist Julian Tang added that “WHO is being overly cautious and shortsighted unnecessarily” and criticized its approach to avoiding hazards: “By recognizing aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and recommending improved ventilation facilities to be upgraded or installed, you can improve the health of people.”
According to primary healthcare expert Trish Greenhalgh, there was another problem — members of WHO’s scientific committee didn’t agree on how to interpret the data: “The push-pull of that committee is palpable. As everyone knows, if you ask a committee to design a horse, you get a camel.”
WHO’s scientific briefs aren’t official guidance, and so its reluctance to recognize that Coronavirus is airborne created a bigger issue: a lack of health advice.
On 30 April 2021, almost 10 months after WHO said it would review the research on airborne transmission, it updated its Q&A page with the following statement:
“Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads mainly between people who are in close contact with each other, typically within 1 metre (short-range). A person can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time. This is because aerosols remain suspended in the air or travel farther than 1 metre (long-range).” WHO’s statement is too little, too late.
Why has the World Health Organization been so slow to publish public health guidance?
As I explained in my article ‘4 Reasons Why WHO Won’t Admit Coronavirus Is Airborne’, there are four (not mutually exclusive) explanations for its reluctant response.
For historical reasons, WHO’s staff assume that virus-laden droplets must spread over short distances, for instance, which (as Hanage pointed out) then leads to a need for scientific evidence to disprove that assumption.
WHO is also hampered by sociopolitical factors and how its decisions might be perceived by the public or its various stakeholders — including the countries that fund its activities.
But the most likely explanation for WHO’s slow progress is simply bureaucracy. The organization decided that its own staff should review all the evidence for airborne transmission. According to Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist, they were carefully reviewing 500 studies every day.
WHO made a rod for its own back. A cynic would say that its scientists created busy-work to justify their jobs, as they could have instead consulted some of the 239 researchers who had signed the letter on airborne transmission. Why did WHO’s scientists believe they understood more about aerosols than aerosol experts?
Regardless of the reason, WHO positioned itself as the sole authority that could judge the research. In doing so, it put its personal beliefs on what constitutes scientific rigor over the need for health guidance when speed was of the essence.
Since mid-2020, about 2.7 million people have died of Covid. While it’s unfair to pin that figure on WHO, we should consider how many deaths could have been prevented if it had listened to researchers who are specialists in their field.
WHO failed to consider that practical advice — to recommend the public use caution and wear face masks to block airborne droplets — has no major downsides compared to the alternative, which is to potentially allow people to spread Covid. To quote an English idiom: It’s better to be safe than sorry.
On 14 April 2020, Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw US membership — and funding — from the World Health Organization. Many people think Trump was trying to shift blame for his poor handling of the pandemic to a scapegoat, criticizing WHO for “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread of Covid-19 and mistakes that “pushed China’s misinformation.”
Others believe that blaming WHO is not scapegoating because there’s some merit to Trump’s criticism. I hold that opinion. No organization is perfect, and large ones especially have room for improvement — I’m not suggesting that we should defund WHO, but the organization could do with a little restructuring.
The world needs somebody (like Trump, but not Trump) who has the power to put pressure on WHO to reform its approach to communication.
WHO’s scientists should also stop giving press conferences that prioritize technically-correct but confusing jargon (like ‘presymptomatic’) over media-friendly language that the public can understand. That might, for instance, involve using professional science communicators to provide clear messages.
While indispensable in its role supervising the international fight against disease, WHO is ineffectual at giving guidance.
I’m a science communicator specialising in public engagement and outreach through entertainment, focusing on popular culture. I have a PhD in evolutionary biology and spent several years at BBC Science Focus magazine, running the features section and writing about everything from gay genes and internet memes to the science of death and origin of life. I’ve also contributed to Scientific American and Men’s Health. My latest book is ’50 Biology Ideas You Really Need to Know’.