Friday, April 5, 2019

Link List: On "Wealth" and Other Miscellany

By now, everyone has probably already seen Nathan Pyle's comics, but if not, I highly recommend them! His Strange Planet series, example above, is cute and clever. His other comics are also good, expecially this one, which I think is too frequently relevant these days, alas. 

1. // And here are some other things on the more light and cheerful side of the spectrum: After seeing her work on the the Pokemon Go subreddit, I've started following @miscellaneousmao, who does some really awesome baking and dessert-making, including some Pokemon-shaped truffles. Her April Fools' "sushi" cakes also look remarkably like the real thing. What a talent!

I don't follow celebrity red carpet fashion and street style quite as much as I used to in my teenage years, though I check in at Tom and Lorenzo a few times a week to get the general scoop. Not much celebrity fashion catches my eye, even if it's often nice to look at, but I just had to share this round-up of Marsai Martin's recent red carpet and public appearance outfits because every look is so fun and awesome. And her upcoming movie, Little, in which she is both the star (along with Issa Rae and Regina Hall) and executive producer, looks really funny. 

2. // I keep doing that thing where I save up a bunch of links related to a general theme, in hopes of writing a longer post about them, but then other current events or viral stories come along and displace my older post ideas. One idea I was working towards, but that I don't think will get its own post anytime soon (it wasn't very focused, was maybe a bit too abstract, and I don't think I have enough useful things of my own to say about it regardless), was about the nature of "wealth", and social perceptions of where the line is at which a person becomes "wealthy." It's a question I don't think American society at large understands. That's probably why we perennially get those really annoying articles about households that make multiple six figures, but apparently feel very middle class and far from "wealthy." I don't have a good answer for that question either. 

My set of links related to this larger theme are, in keeping with the amorphousness and half-formed nature of the idea, a bit all over the place. A few months ago, I mentioned that I was enjoying the money-related content on Glamour's Youtube channel, particularly the "Different Women, Different Salaries" series, where they gave a money-related survey to several anonymous NYC women across a range of different incomes, and then had a set of actresses read the responses. It's not quite as much information as, say, Refinery29 Money Diaries, but I think this small set of interview questions, combined with only minimal additional details about each respondent (just their income, age, and occupation), is still quite illuminating. It's a very interesting series, though one thing to keep in mind is that the way each actress "plays" the "character" of their corresponding interview subject may, of course, not fully reflect the exact tone or "feel" of each answer as the respondent intended. I even got a little attached to the first set of "characters"/actresses, but haven't been able to get into the more recent set they just started.

When I watch the videos one after another, it really struck me that, for the women earning $100,000/year or more, their answers to a lot of the tougher questions often sound more relaxed, more self assured, and a lot less stressed out than for the under $100,000 group. Okay, okay, it's a totally obvious and unsurprising observation, and the reasons behind it are also extremely obvious. But I thought it was still a helpful extra set of perspectives that really drove home the point that $100,000/year is a lot. And it allows for a lot of comfort, splurges, and luxuries, while still leaving room for saving (at least before taking into account children and other dependents, which few of the survey respondents seemed to have yet), even in an ultra-expensive locality like NYC.

As it turns out, the other links I saved may not have been quite as related to the exact same theme. I've also been interested in stories about how people view and manage their money in relation to their obligations to their parents and extended families, some of which are culturally learned. Aminatou Sow's interview with The Cut got into this theme, as did this article about one of the first things Ijeoma Oluo wanted to do for her mom after getting a big royalty check from her book.

3. // Lots of great blog entries to read recently: Speaking of the difficulties society has with identifying the line at which a someone is arguably "wealthy", Kathy initiated a discussion about something that was making the rounds on Twitter. Because the source material for the viral tweet she was referring to was purportedly about two attorneys very similar to K and I, I had to chime in too. As you can see, I was skeptical about the truth of the original personal finance blog source material that CNBC adapted the tweet from ( link in order to not give page-views to something I view as likely inaccurate click-bait).

Two bloggers I follow, Olga and Talia, both posted recently about their perspectives on how blogging and social media have changed over time. They come at it from different perspectives, one more focused on fashion blogging since 2010 and earlier, and the other more about general social media use since that time, particularly on Instagram, and how that interacts with what she wants to accomplish on her blog. Both raise very good points. I always love when Adina goes in-depth about thrifting, resale, and related topics, because she writes so thoughtfully, and from ample experience. This time, she wrote about her experiences with the challenges associated with reselling clothes. And Luxe wrote a great post about the process of choosing how much to pay for housing. I'll contribute my thoughts to the discussion soon, if I haven't already!

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