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This Week In Your Wallet: The Estrogen Advantage

Happy Tuesday! As we head toward Independence Day, I hope you’re looking forward to a few days of fun with family and friends, staying busy or relaxing, whichever you prefer. Me?I’ll be spending the weekend at the wedding of great friends in Boston. Of course, like many of you (at least many of you women), I stressed out about what to wear. Just what exactly does “Black Tie Invited” mean, anyway? Is that stronger than “Black Tie Optional?” Does it mean long for women? I hope not; I’m going short. Anyway, perhaps that’s why the following story on the cost of being a wedding guest cost my eye. At my age, it’s less for me than for my colleagues, who are still being asked to be in a couple of weddings a year. But still… shocking. Read on. And here’s a toast to a great weekend.

The Cost Of Being A Wedding Guest

The word “save” in “Save the Date” has a double meaning — and it’s a good instruction to try to follow. That said, it may not be easy. The average wedding guest spent $888 per wedding last year, according to a study from The Knot, and those in the wedding party shelled out over $1,000 on average. The key takeaway here: If friends and family members are hinting at upcoming engagements, it might be a good idea to start adjusting your budget and padding your savings account. (Apps like Digit, which analyze your spending patterns and silently sock away money for you, can help here.)

And if the wedding invitations are already piling up, CNN Money has savings tips, including renting formalwear instead of buying (sites like Rent the Runway, Le Tote and Menguin are all good options). Or you could do what I did in borrowing a dress from my pal Jodie next door. (No, you’re never too old to raid each others’ closets.) And since about one-fourth of couples get married in a place other than where they live, set up flight alerts on sites like AirfareWatchdog, SkyScanner or Hopper — and do your own research on the cheapest hotels in the area, even if the couple has discounted rooms booked.

The Estrogen Advantage

And if you needed more evidence that girls rule… Research — out of Caltech, Wharton, Western University and ZRT Laboratory — suggests that higher levels of testosterone could raise the likelihood of making snap judgments. It could also make people less likely to mentally “check their work.”

Two groups of men were either given testosterone gels or placebos, then asked questions to gauge their ability to reflect on facts. One example: “If a ball and a bat cost $1.10 and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?” Most people originally answer 10 cents, according to Rebalance-IRA.com, but the correct answer is 5 cents for the ball and $1.05 for the bat. Here’s where testosterone comes into play: The group of men with the testosterone gel were quicker to make a snap decision and to think, “I’m definitely right.” They also got 20 percent fewer questions correct than the placebo group.

The overarching message from this study could apply directly to investing. Research shows women often outperform men in the markets and often attributes overconfidence as a significant factor. Lower testosterone levels might be the reason behind that. (Men tend to trade more frequently, which leads to more trading costs. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to stick with their investment decisions for the long haul.)

The moral of the story: Everyone should think twice before trading. Historically, trying to time the markets yourself rarely works. And making a snap judgement is also rarely the right financial move. 

Making Money On Your Home

In other news… Nearly one in three American workers earn income through independent work and the “gig economy,” according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute. But how much are they actually taking home? When it comes to online lodging marketplace Airbnb, it’s an average of $924 per month — likely more than anyone else in the gig economy, reports Priceonomics. And although earnings vary widely, nearly 50 percent of all Airbnb hosts make over $500 per month from the site. If you’re looking into getting a piece of the action, Travel + Leisure has tips, including taking beautiful, high-quality photos of your place and being realistic about your listing price. And if you’d consider side gigs like driving for Uber or running errands for TaskRabbit, check out this TODAY segment.

…And Making Money From Home

“Working from home is really having a moment,” declares CNN Money. It’s true — the number of people doing it has increased 115 percent over the last 10 years, according to a report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. As for specific industries, remote job listings grew more than 20 percent last year in mortgage and real estate, human resources and recruiting and accounting and finance. And the benefits extend to both employees and employers, reports CNN Money. For the former, full-time telecommuting can mean more than $4,000 a year in savings on expenses like gas, dry cleaning and public transit, plus gaining back the equivalent of about 11 days per year in travel time. Employers, on the other hand, can save more than $11,000 per year via flexible scheduling by allowing a worker to telecommute half the time. If you’d like to cash in on working from home, ask your employer if it’s feasible — and if they seem nervous, propose beginning on a trial basis.

Have a great week,


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