Contextualizing the finance news you need to know.
While there is some great money advice out there—in that it helps you improve your finances—other advice can be wildly incorrect (like, no, you can’t just write off a Lambo by creating an LLC 🙄). We compiled some technically correct (yet bizarre) pieces of advice that gloss over the underlying problems creating the need for the advice in the first place.
Weird tip #1: Bleed it out
Let’s face it: Paying for college is rough. But according to The College Investor, everyone has a hidden asset that could help cover private student loans, and that asset is plasma.
How does plasma help? Most borrowers are a few hundred dollars away from affording their monthly payments. Four plasma “donations” at fifty bucks a pop (or jab) could bridge the gap. Money expert Robert Farrington writes for The College Investor: “The fact is, many people will complain about not being able to afford their private student loans, but few will actually take action to change their situation.” 🥴
Using shame to encourage plasma donations unfortunately isn’t new. But as a certain emo heartthrob once sang, it will never be enough. The plasma market is also ethically complicated because it partially relies on economic insecurity to secure enough supply of this necessary medical resource.
In all fairness, Farrington offers other ways to alleviate the student loan struggle, like reaching out to your lender. We recommended the same to a Money Scoop reader, with the added tip of looping in the help of a credit counselor. A tough convo is better than a tough jab, in our opinion.
Weird tip #2: No more Denny’s?
Unfortunately, the Center for Eating Disorders at Duke Health warns that forgoing meals out of economic need can be a recipe for an eating disorder rather than a savvy money move. For example, developing binge eating tendencies also means you may end up spending more on food later.
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Financially and physically healthier alternatives can include things like couponing and meal planning. And though programs like SNAP aren’t perfect, no one should feel ashamed to apply for assistance.
Weird tip #3: If he can do it
For some, wealth inspo can be motivating. It’s why our fav influencer, Money with Katie, refers to her fans as #RichGirls. 💖 But is it fair to tout billionaire Warren Buffet as a frugal king?
Don’t get us wrong, most tips in listicles like these that praise the Oracle of Omaha for his frugality contain some decent tips: Stick with a modest car as long as you can, don’t splurge on brands, yada yada. But remember when ProPublica received that leak of billionaire tax returns? It turns out Buffet pays the least amount of taxes at 0.10% when compared to other billionaires. So in all fairness, Buffet probably saves the most money by (legally) paying very little in taxes.
IRS data from 2018 shows that 87.3% of American taxpayers took the standard deduction, and for good reason, since someone would need to tally up more than $12,950 of write-offs as a single filer for it to be worth their time.
And the alternative—itemized deductions—greatly benefits high-income taxpayers more than low-income ones, according to the CBO. So even if the average Joe wanted to use Buffet’s actual money-saving power move to lower their tax liability, his strategies are “beyond the reach of ordinary people,” according to ProPublica.
Bottom line: None of us volunteered as Tribute to battle it out in this rough economic climate. Fortunately, we can learn a thing or two from resident Hunger Games grump Haymitch: There are ways to do your best within an imperfect system and still work to make it better. Either way…may the odds be ever in your favor.