The solstice has come and gone, which means that it’s officially summer. While warmer weather brings a slower pace of life for some, conversations about money were as active as ever in June. And no wonder: with commentators reevaluating long-held commonplaces about personal finance and the Ontario government continuing to strip public services across the province of much-needed funding, there seemed to be no shortage of issues to talk about.
Below, our top personal finance reads for June.
“Poor” versus “broke”: the difference between the two terms might seem trivial, but as writer Talia Jane argues, they’re actually anything but. When we use the terms interchangeably — and who among us hasn’t? — describing ourselves as “poor” when our biggest financial challenge is that we can’t, say, buy a new shirt or book a vacation in good conscience, we risk obscuring and even downplaying the challenges that people in real poverty face. The distinction that Jane makes is an important one, but one detail about her essay that made it even better had nothing to do with the argument so much as Jane’s journalistic guile: to tease out why people love to mix the two terms so much, she reached out to none other than legendary linguist Noam Chomsky. He pointed her in the right direction, of course.
For These Women, a FIRE That Burns Too Male and Too White, via The New York Times
The “financial independence, retire early” community has come under, ahem, fire many times, mainly for setting ascetic and even punishing standards of frugality. However, this criticism has mostly come from outside of the movement, not within it, which is why this New York Times story stands out. In it, women of the FIRE movement talk about what they perceive as the movement’s biases towards white men: its tenets, they argue, are tailored for people who are not disproportionately tasked with caring for children and elders, or with so many of the other requirements that are placed upon women — especially women of colour.
“There’s this mind-set in FIRE discussions that you have to cut out everything that’s not essential,” said Kiersten Saunders, a black female marketing director from Atlanta. “But what’s essential to a white male is very different from what’s essential to me.”
The Real Impact of Doug Ford’s OSAP Cuts, via Flare
Back in January, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government introduced a 10% tuition cut across Ontario, but it also eliminated free tuition for low-income students and lowered the household income threshold that qualified students for OSAP funding. How are students coping? Flare talks to five students to find out.