Reading List for June 19-21

Jun 19, 2020
Economics, Investing, Paying for College, Current Events


  • Another 1.5 million people filed unemployment claims this past week. The important and telling statistic is the continuing unemployment claims, which have remained above 20 million since late April. (The Street)
  • The recovery in Retail Sales has been uneven, according to the National Retail Federation CEO. (CNBC)
  • The market took the retail sales figure as positive news. (MarketWatch)
  • NPR breaks down retail spending by income level. Folks at lower income levels are spending whatever income they have (and stimulus checks), the rich, not so much.

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  • With so much commerce happening digitally during the pandemic, coins are not circulating and banks are running low. (Reuters)


Personal Finance/Managing Credit

  • I bet you hadn’t thought about what happens to “repo men” during a pandemic when debt is suspended. (WSJ-subscription) This article explains what is going on economy-wide with the debt market, and how it may play out.
  • Folks are struggling with managing debt during the pandemic. Recent survey results were revealed by  Business Wire.



Some strange and sad consequences of the surge in retail investing/day-trading.

  • Hertz declares bankruptcy but decides to try to issue stock to raise capital. (Yahoo Finance) Everyday, uninformed (Robinhood) investors “swarm” to stocks like Hertz, figuring “what the heck” and giving Hertz the notion the stock sale might work. (Bloomberg-subscription.)
  • And tragically, a 20 year-old figured out how to trade options (relatively safely) on Robinhood, but his account showed a $730k negative balance at one point (read article to understand how/when this could happen), and he committed suicide. We may never know the whole story here, but certainly a cautionary tale. (Forbes)


Paying for College

  • Investors behind The National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts block relief for 800,000 Student Loan Borrowers. This group purchased private student loan debt securitized and bundled by original lenders (commercial banks.) (Forbes)
  • As part of the CARES act, the Department of Education was supposed to issue emergency relief to qualifying students, but much confusion left many eligible recipients out in the cold. (Inside Higher Ed)



  • The Federal Reserve has lots of educational resources. Ever think of checking out the Bank of England’s resources? In case you are looking for more and think your kids would get a kick out of the British accent.



  • The pandemic may end up driving the racial wealth gap in homeownership even wider. (WAPO)

Higher Ed

  • The list of schools waiving he SAT/ACT requirement for next year is growing, (WAPO) and now includes (almost) all the Ivy League schools (CNN). Will the drop be permanent?



  • Would it have been possible to insure against the economic impact of the coronavirus? The answer is yes, and this article discusses why the insurance was not a big seller. (Wired)



  • We don’t usually include listicles, but this looks like it might be fun: CNBC lists the 50 disruptor companies for 2020.


For Fun

  • Since the supermarket it one place we have continued to visit, if you are interested in the history of supermarkets, check out this Atlantic article.
  • Morning Brew’s map quest this week may be one to file for next year: a cool world map depicting the color of each country’s currency. (



  • Note this data was pre-pandemic.



About the Author

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an M.B.A. in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducting student workshops, and developing finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.