Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Link List: Some Money-Related Things

I hope that everyone is doing well as we head into the year-end holiday season! K and I are now 13 days into our stricter-than-usual pre-holiday quarantine, in hope of spending Christmas and New Years with K's parents. I'll also be taking the last two weeks of the year off from work - using up the remainder of my 2020 vacation time - which will be nice. I'm feeling a bit of writer's block on blog-related writing, so I think my posting here may slow down a bit for the the next two or three weeks. 

Not a huge link list post today, but there were a few interesting money-related links I saw recently, so I figured I might as well share them now, instead of waiting to try and find other links to add. Sometimes I hold onto links for so long while trying to compile a longer post that it becomes too weird to share them because they were from so many months ago!

1. // Corporette occasionally does reader-submitted "Money Snapshot" posts, and the most recent one - from a doctor in a very high-paying Public Service Loan Forgiveness ("PSLF") eligible job - ignited quite a bit of discussion, both at Corporette and at r/MoneyDiariesActive. Be forewarned, the Corporette discussion is particularly negative, with a lot of people unreasonably criticizing the doctor for using PSLF when it's not her fault the program is structured in a way such that she is eligible for it! Also, while I'm no PSLF expert, I'm pretty sure both discussions are peppered with commenters misunderstanding how PSLF works. 

The student loan forgiveness programs available to some federal student loan borrowers here in the US - generally after relatively lengthy periods of income-based repayment before the remaining balance can be forgiven - are sometimes seen as controversial. (In 2018, I wrote a post that discussed a somewhat viral story about an orthodontist relying on PAYE or REPAYE to handle what had apparently grown into a million dollar student loan balance.)  

2. // Anne Helen Peterson just published the first article in a planned series for Vox about "America's Hollow Middle Class." I thought this was an interesting read, and I'm looking forward to more! The author notes on Twitter that it's by design that this first article is a bit broad and general. Future articles in the series will be more focused on some of the many relevant underlying factors to this discussion. 

3. // Amanda Mull wrote in The Atlantic about the Afterpay, Klarna, and Affirm-type interest-free, "buy now and pay in installments" options that are popping up at various online retailers. Even one of the big fountain pen shops has partnered with Affirm! I confess, I've never really been able to understand why there's a market for these payment arrangements. This article does somewhat begin to answer this question - it may be, in part, for people who don't use credit cards - though I still don't quite understand why customers are interested.  

4. // Abra at Capitol Hill Style recently wrote in considerable detail about her experiences with running a monetized blog. Whenever a more popular blogger writes about the business side of blogging, I'm always interested in getting that behind-the-scenes look. She's probably somewhat unique among more prominent, longstanding fashion bloggers in that she chooses not to do sponsored posts. 

Abra's commentary about her past experience with ShopStyle's Pay Per Click ("PPC") program was particularly interesting to me, as someone who also may ultimately prefer that affiliate link model for my blog. She notes that her PPC earnings - before she transitioned to the sales commission-based model - had ranged from $0.04/click to $0.09/click. My own PPC earnings never rose above ~$0.075/click. The only other data point about peak PPC earnings I'm aware of is that Ariana of the now-shut down Paris to Go (I miss the blog dearly! I still follow her on Instagram) has sometimes discussed her past blog earnings in Instagram stories. I vaguely recall that it sounded like she sometimes got significantly above my typical $0.06 to $0.07/click commission rate because she was very focused in how she approached affiliate links. 

Regardless, in-depth discussion about ShopStyle's previous PPC model is largely irrelevant now, as I don't think the company is particularly interested in supporting it anymore. But I'm still interested in looking back on it sometimes. 

I'll probably write at least one or two more new posts before the end of 2020. But in case I don't manage it, best wishes to you and your loved ones for this holiday season and for the new year! 

With the start of Pfizer COVID vaccine distribution to front-line healthcare workers here in the US and FDA approval of the Moderna vaccine likely to come soon, I'm feeling more optimistic about 2021. As a younger-ish adult with no risk factors and who works a non-essential, mostly remote for now job, it likely won't be my turn to get a vaccine for at least a few more months. Once it's available to people like me, however, I'll be rushing to get it. 

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