The Margin: The relatable reason why the ‘tooth fairy’ is leaving less money under the pillow these days

Getting money from the tooth fairy these days is like pulling teeth!

The average payout per tooth has plummeted 43 cents over the past year, according to the most recent Original Tooth Fairy Poll by Delta Dental data. The annual survey of more than 1,000 parents with kids ages six to 12 found that each pearly white commands $3.70 on average, down from $4.13 last year. It’s the second year in a row that lost teeth have lost value, as last year’s price per tooth was down 11% from the $4.66 apiece the year before.

The tongue-in-cheek survey mused that perhaps the tooth fairy’s “cold cash payouts couldn’t keep up with the hot stock markets this year.” But a new poll from the same company notes that the tooth fairy’s generosity may actually rely on what parents have lining their pockets. Indeed, almost half of moms and dads (46%) admit that the under-pillow reward depends on how much spare cash the “tooth fairy” has on hand at the time. And as American society goes increasingly cashless, scrounging actual currency at the last-minute can be a struggle. (Even Monopoly doesn’t use cash anymore.)

Other key considerations include: the child’s age (31%); how much money was given for the last few teeth (29%); how well the child has behaved (20%) and how many teeth the kiddo has already lost (18%).

Delta Dental Plans Association

But not every parent playing at being the tooth fairy is pinching their pennies. And factors like the kid’s age and which tooth they lost often translate into shelling out more money.

While Priska Diaz, 43, recalls just finding coins under her pillow in exchange for her baby teeth when she was growing up, today the Eastchester, N.Y. mom has upped the dental ante by giving her son, 11, and daughter, 10, a whopping $20 for every lost canine and incisor. She estimates she’s coughed up $200 in the name of the tooth fairy so far.

“We started with $5 per tooth, which was very exciting for a pre-Kindergartener,” Diaz said. But as her kids have grown to appreciate money thanks to getting allowances, opening their own bank accounts and tracking the cost of toys, Diaz said that this financial knowledge has “raised the value” of their teeth.

“Last year the tooth fairy gave my daughter a $10 bill, and that made her very upset for several days. The tooth fairy had to come back and add the other $10,” Diaz said. “They also know that if they’re good in school and write nice letters to the tooth fairy and to grandma, one lucky molar can go for $50.”

Related: How to give your kids an allowance that will help them become financially-savvy adults

Talk about putting your money where your kid’s mouth is.

Not every version of the tooth fairy tips that well, however. Just over one in three parents (37%) in the Original Tooth Fairy Poll said they give their child at least $5 or more. And some regions are more generous than others. Kids out West make out like bandits, for example, where they get $4.19 per lost tooth, on average. Southern kids net $3.91 per tooth, while those in the Northeast and the Midwest net $3.75 and $2.97, respectively.

But the parents that MarketWatch spoke with, anyway, said that the Original Tooth Fairy Poll’s findings fall short of the real going rate for baby teeth. The first tooth usually commands the highest price, with many parents (sorry, tooth fairies) forking over $20 to celebrate the ‘smilestone,’ followed by subsequent teeth going for $5 apiece.

“The first tooth was big money: $20,” said Donna Saunders, a Manhattan mom of a 7-year-old son. “I’ve asked a bunch of friends, and we all thought $5 each for the rest was a nice amount; $2 or $3 wasn’t as impactful. The fifth tooth is about to come out any minute now, so I have my money waiting.”

Lance Somerfeld, father of two and founder of the City Dads Group, said he started giving $2 for his son’s first tooth, and then upped it a buck for each consecutive tooth: $3 for the second, and $4 for the third, before realizing this scale would take a huge bite out of his budget.

“We then realized that with 20 teeth, we needed a more cost-effective system or it would break the bank,” he said. “We capped it at $5, because most of our friends were giving in the $4 to $5 range.”

But that’s before getting the grandparents and great-grandparents involved. Somerfeld added that as soon as his son, now 11, loses a tooth, he calls his great-grandma in Florida. “She ‘alerts’ the ‘Florida tooth fairy’ who then mails another $5 to our son for each lost tooth. So, total haul per tooth equals $10,” he said, adding, “I love my grandmother for being a part of the magic.”

The gifts also vary by tooth. Washington Heights mom Lisa Marsh told MarketWatch that the tooth fairy’s gift to her son and daughter runs, “Five dollars, $10 or $20, depending on the tooth, the location of the loss and how long it took to come out, and there are letters written to the tooth fairy requesting such.” So a painful molar or premolar that takes its sweet time can command $20.

Or losing a couple of teeth at once also deserves special attention. Lyss Stern, CEO of the Divamoms.com lifestyle site and a mother of three, told MarketWatch that when her youngest son’s last four teeth came out at around the same time, she told him that the tooth fairy was saving a $20 Amazon gift card for him, which he’d get when the last one wiggled free. “He LOVED that idea,” she said.

Otherwise, her grandparents gave her boys $20 apiece for losing their first tooth, but then the boys got $5 for each subsequent tooth.

ktaylorg/iStock
Parents say sharing the tooth fairy tradition with their kids is priceless.

And parents say that spending this kind of time and money to keep the tooth fairy tradition alive is worth it for the priceless memories that the experience builds. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak in some lessons in oral hygiene.

“I grew up with the tooth fairy. It was a memorable and long standing tradition in our home …  which felt like hitting a jackpot for each tooth,” Somerfeld said, “So I wanted to make sure my kids relished in the joy of losing their teeth, too.”

Shalena McPartland, a travel blogger and mother of a 7-year-old in London, even bought a vial of glitter (or fairy dust) and a special, shiny pouch to slip her son’s baby teeth in once they start falling out. “I might be just as excited for him to lose his first tooth as he is,” McPartland said. “I like the idea of making it a bit special. And perhaps the glitter and fanfare will bring down the ‘price’ of the tooth just a bit!” (She plans to give $1 apiece, since in the U.K. kids generally get 50 pence, she said.)

The bottom line: Kids have about 20 baby teeth, so don’t set the bar too high too early, or else coughing up $20 per tooth is going to set you back $400 per kid. If you start with big money for that first tooth, let your kid know that was a special occasion, but the tooth fairy will bring around $5 per tooth in the future (which adds up to $100 per child over their six or seven years of losing baby teeth) which is much easier to swallow. If the tooth fairy is low on cash or forgot to hit the ATM, smaller children will still be overjoyed with loose change or a few singles, along with a note or a treat to show the tooth fairy was there.

This article was originally published in 2018 and has been updated with the latest Original Tooth Fairy Poll data.

New York police officer fired for deadly 2014 chokehold on Eric Garner

FILE PHOTO: Attorney Stuart London speaks as Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of New York City, looks on during a news conference after a New York Police Department (NYPD) disciplinary judge recommended the firing of officer Daniel Pantaleo, who used a fatal chokehold on unarmed black man Eric Garner during an arrest in 2014, in New York, U.S. August 2, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The white New York Police Department officer who used a deadly chokehold on Eric Garner while trying to arrest him in 2014, giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, was fired on Monday, Commissioner James O’Neill said.

The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, was suspended earlier this month after a departmental judge ruled that the officer should be fired. He had previously been on desk duty since he was seen in widely viewed cellphone videos using a banned chokehold on Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk during an attempted arrest. Police believed Garner was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and Chizu Nomiyama

After INF treaty exit, U.S. tests ground-launched cruise missile

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Monday that it had tested a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, the first such test since the United States pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

In a statement, the Pentagon said the test took place on Sunday at San Nicolas Island, California.

The United States formally withdrew from a landmark 1987 nuclear missile pact with Russia earlier this month after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

Outside the Box: 3 powerful habits that will transform your productivity

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we have much on our plate trying to balance work life, family life, and giving to our communities. It’s easy to lose focus and that can slow down or stall our progress. Focus is a “superpower” that can help us achieve extraordinary results and shave hours off of our workweek.

Read: These midlife entrepreneurs share their secrets to success

One of the lies of success that people often buy into is that you get ahead by working just a little harder, and just a little longer than everybody else does. You get up at dawn or before dawn — you are the first person in to work and the last to go home. When other people have stopped working and are long gone, you are hunkering down and putting in extra hours because this is how you achieve real success. This schedule might work well in the beginning but you can only drive in the express lane for so long before the wheels come off.

That “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” lifestyle can lead to “sunset fatigue”, a condition where you have given so much of yourself during the workday that there is nothing left when you get home for your family. I remember one specific time where my head was so full of the workday and I didn’t realize my young daughter was speaking to me about something important to her until she grabbed my face in her little hands and turned it to me and said, “Mommy, are you listening?” Maybe you are there physically, but not mentally as your head is still swirling from the events of your workday.

With all the responsibilities we have as leaders in our business, we need to realize that they are not going away. They’ll be there tomorrow. How can we better manage them and improve the time we are spending working? How can we increase our focus so that we can actually work less and achieve more?

Over the years I have found three strategies that work well for igniting our focus superpower:

1. Narrow your focus. Don’t try to do everything. Realize that you will have the highest energy and will be most productive when you narrow your focus to those projects that you love.

Think of focus as being interested and absorbed in something with ease. As an example, when you are watching a good movie that you are interested in you don’t “think” about having to focus on it. It just happens.

Think of a time when you were working on something that just flowed for you. Remember how time flew? You were highly energized by it. What activities do you do where the time just flies by like that? The goal in all of this is to increase the number of these type of activities and decrease those activities that are the opposite.

2. Carve out untouchable time. You need to intentionally carve out time that is untouchable. This is easy to say, and even quite easy to schedule, but very hard to do.

I call these power blocks, and typically these for me are one to two-hour appointments with myself. I also schedule power days where I commit to the full day without distractions.

What does this look like?

It is simply an appointment on my calendar with myself to work on a particular project or assignment. I free myself of distractions so I can have sustainable focus.

Set your power blocks at times you know you will have your best energy. For most of us, this is first thing in the morning. Instead of diving into email in the morning which for most of us should not be an important priority, use this time instead when you are freshest to work on your most important work. It is amazing how productive you can be and the big things you can cross off your list when you put them first.

3. Prepare for your power time. You need to prepare for your power blocks and be ready to fight for them.

Here are some tips to prepare you for your power blocks and help you get the most out of them:

• Get support: Let everyone know, including your closest work colleagues and family members, that you will be off the grid for a while.

• Go to a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

• Put away personal distractions such as your cellphone and an open email box.

When you get your “superpower” of focus right, you are free from distraction and free to be your best. Use your superpower of focus, and you will achieve a work flow that is highly energizing, fun, and very productive. You will shave hours off your workweek and you will achieve more.

Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and coach. She is founder and chief executive of Management Services Northwest, a janitorial, landscaping and maintenance company she started in her living room in 1995. Bruland is also the co-founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.

Metals Stocks: Gold under pressure as stock-market rebound dulls haven shine

Gold futures lost ground Monday as renewed optimism on the trade front and talk of stimulus by global policy makers dulls investor appetite for havens.

Gold for December delivery GCZ19, -0.80%  fell $15.70, or 1%, to $1,507.90 an ounce, while September silver SIU19, -0.92%  declined 20.7 cents, or 1.2%, to $16.915 an ounce. Gold was on track for a second daily decline after ending Thursday at the latest in a string of more-than six-year highs.

Global equities remained in rebound mode Monday, with U.S. stocks opening sharply higher after China over the weekend moved to change its interest-rate mechanism in a way that’s expected to pave the way to boosting cheap funding for businesses. A European Central Bank policy maker late last week indicated it was preparing a large stimulus measure that could be unveiled as early as next month, while, on the fiscal side, Germany’s finance minister said Berlin could loosen the purse strings if the economy continues to slow.

“If central banks prove they’re ready to act by delivering interest rate cuts and new quantitative easing programs, expect equity markets to resume their rally after their recent plunge,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a note. “Otherwise, expect more money to pour into gold, and other safe havens such as the Japanese yen and Swiss franc.”

Gold was boosted last week as rising worries over a global economic slowdown and potential U.S. recession were stoked by a brief inversion of the main measure of the Treasury yield curve, as well as weak data out of Asia and Europe. Stocks fell sharply in volatile trade on Wednesday before recouping a chunk of those losses on Thursday and Friday.

In other metals trade, October platinum PLV19, +0.87%  was off 0.1% at $850.30 an ounce, while September palladium PAU19, +2.11%  rose 1.5% to $1,463.30 an ounce.

September copper HGU19, +0.37%  rose 0.4% to $2.6045 a pound.

The Moneyist: My aunt is stealing my dead mother’s Social Security and persuaded my hospitalized father to sign over power of attorney


Dear Moneyist,

My mother’s sister is using my mother’s Social Security Number to avoid having to pay the Internal Revenue Service back taxes she owes. My aunt owes the IRS a bunch of money and believes the IRS would take it if it were in her name. She is currently receiving money under my deceased mother’s Social Security Number.

Also see: A letter from a reader on the poverty line: ‘I know what it means to go hungry for five days until you get your next paycheck’

My father was recently very sick and in the hospital, and he was not in his right mind. She somehow persuaded him to sign away power of attorney during the time he was in hospital. He thought it was 2058 and he was in jail. Obviously he had no idea what he was signing.

Recommended: My mother stole my identity and racked up $500,000 in debt

She then took the document to a friend who signed and notarized it. Is there anything I can do to stop her from changing his beneficiaries and emptying his bank accounts?

Feeling Powerless

Dear Powerless,

There’s a lot you can do, and you should do it as soon as possible. You cannot allow this to continue and, in order to do that, you must release yourself from any feelings associated with the consequences your aunt will face. What she’s doing is unethical and illegal. She’s stealing money from your late mother’s Social Security and, likely, from your father. She is either unwilling or unable to pay her taxes, and has no remorse about her own part in that. She has simply moved on to the next grift.

Your aunt may regard this as a series of unfortunate events, and believe she is entitled to other people’s money, but this is part of a pattern that will not end until you, law enforcement, a family lawyer that specializes in conservatorship, estate law and challenge this power of attorney now. You could petition a court to have yourself appointed instead. Your father’s bank, and the Social Security Administration and IRS put an end to it. You need to remove this woman from your lives and your family’s finances. Imagine she is a burglar who crept into your house in the dead of night — because through forged paperwork and coercion, that’s exactly what she’s doing.

Don’t miss: My husband and I paid off $193,000 in debt — now he never wants to take a vacation or even socialize with friends

There are 1 million cases of elder abuse reported to the National Adult Protective Services Association per year, a small fraction of overall cases. Your father was not of sound mind when he signed over power of attorney. Under the law, your father must have been of sound mind and not under or subject to duress, restraint, fraud or undue influence to sign a power of attorney document. The National Center on Elder Abuse, a government agency affiliated with the U.S. Administration on Aging, reports that elder abuse lags by as much as “two decades” behind research into other areas of familiar and domestic abuse.

See also: I built a nest egg of $1 million and I’m only 46 — so why do I still spend my waking hours worrying?

I’ll tell you what I told the woman whose mother who spent thousands of dollars on credit cards opened in her name: Someone who indulges in this kind of “familiar fraud” is banking on protection and/or a safety net from those family connections. If you confront her, you are likely to be told some kind of sob story and complex list of resentments about your family’s history that will be used to justify this behavior and pluck at your heartstrings. Put a stop to this before it goes any further.

I spoke to six white-collar felons a number of years ago, and they told me that they committed their crimes because they had financial worries or because they were following orders. Others say they were people-pleasers trying to help out family members or were helping themselves maintain the lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. One faced the courage to do time after watching Martha Stewart on television, looking happy and successful after her own stint in prison. Make those calls today.

Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).

Would you like to sign up to an email alert when a new Moneyist column has been published? If so, click on this link.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

Ex-Sudan president got millions from Saudis, court hears

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s ousted president Omar Hassan al-Bashir acknowledged receiving millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, a police detective told a court on Monday at the start of a corruption trial that many Sudanese thought they would never see.

Sudan’s former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir sits guarded inside a cage at the courthouse where he is facing corruption charges, in Khartoum, Sudan August 19, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Bashir listened to the testimony without comment, sitting in a metal cage and wearing traditional white robes and a turban in his first appearance in a Khartoum courtroom.

He is charged with illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner. Bashir’s lawyer dismissed the accusations, telling reporters after the hearing it was usual for leaders to hold amounts of foreign currency.

The veteran leader spoke to confirm his name and age. When asked about his residence, Bashir laughed and said: “formerly the airport district, at army headquarters but now Kobar prison,” referring to the detention complex where he sent thousands of opponents during his rule.

The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the testimony.

Bashir weathered multiple rebellions, economic crises, U.S. sanctions and coup attempts until he was overthrown by the military in April after mass protests against his 30-year rule.

His trial will seen as a test of how serious authorities are about trying to erase the legacy of a rule marked by widespread violence, wars, economic collapse and the secession of South Sudan.

The 75-year-old, who seized power in a coup in 1989, arrived at the courthouse in a convoy with military and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces soldiers.

Family members shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) and he raised his hand in greeting from the courtroom cage.

A small number of family members were permitted inside the cage after the session ended to speak with him. The next hearing was scheduled for Saturday.

SAUDI MONEY

Police Brigadier General Ahmed Ali Mohamed, a detective in the team investigating Bashir, testified that Bashir told them he had received $25 million from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, known as MbS.

The detective cited Bashir as saying MbS gave him the money for spending outside the Sudanese state budget and that it was spent on donations, without going into further details on who received it.

Sums of $351,000, more than 6 million Euros and 5 million Sudanese pounds were found at Bashir’s home when he was arrested, a judicial source said at the time.

Mohamed said Bashir also told investigators he received $65 million dollars, in two separate payments, from former Saudi King Abdullah.

Bashir’s lawyer Ahmed Ibrahim told reporters: “There is no information or evidence with regards to the accusations of illicit gains aimed at Bashir.

“Anyone in his occupation [has] to have foreign currency and it was in a room attached to his office in his presidential residence,” he added.

Bashir was also charged in May with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and prosecutors also want him questioned over suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.

Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of masterminding genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Slideshow (2 Images)

On Saturday, Sudan’s ruling military council, which took over after Bashir’s ouster, signed a power-sharing agreement with the main opposition coalition, paving the way for a transitional government and eventual elections.

The pact sets up a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country, but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers.

The sovereign council was due to be sworn in on Monday. But the spokesman for the Transitional Military Council, Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi, said the formation of the new ruling body would be delayed by 48 hours on the request of the opposition coalition.

Reporting by Eltayeb Siddig and Khalid Abdelaziz; Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo and Stephen Kalin in Riyadh; Writing by Nadine Awadalla, Nafisa Eltahir and Michael Georgy; Editing by Jon Boyle and Andrew Heavens

U.S. records 21 new measles cases as of last week

FILE PHOTO: An illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle studded with glycoprotein tubercles in this handout image obtained by Reuters April 9, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 21 new measles cases last week, raising the total number of cases for the year to 1,203 across 30 states in the worst outbreak of the virus since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there had been a 1.8% increase in the number of cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease between Aug. 8 and Aug. 15.

In a sign that the outbreak is slowing, the CDC in recent weeks has reported smaller increases in the number of measles cases, compared with surges of dozens of cases reported per week earlier this year.

Failure to vaccinate poses a public health risk to vulnerable people unable to receive the vaccine, health officials have warned.

The disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.

CDC officials have warned the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the outbreak, which began in October 2018 in New York state, continues until October 2019.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Jonathan Oatis

This 34-year-old paid off $81,000 in student debt, but not before it took a toll on her mental health

Melanie Lockert, now 34, graduated from California State University of Long Beach in 2006 with an undergraduate degree in theatre. She had borrowed $23,000 while in school and took an administrative job at an arts nonprofit soon after.

“I was making the minimum payment on my debt each month, and I felt good,” Lockert said.

Three years after starting her job at the nonprofit, Lockert decided she wanted to go back to school and pursue further education in theatre. Soon enough, she was accepted into a one-year intensive performance studies program at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts.

“It was my dream school,” Lockert said.

She was offered over $80,000 in loans to cover tuition and rent, but she chose to only take on $58,000 for tuition. “The higher number scared me. I had savings and worked multiple jobs on the side in order to pay rent,” she said.

While at NYU, she continued to make payments on her undergraduate loans but graduated in 2011 with $68,000 of debt and no job on the other side.

“I was panicking,” Lockert said. “I had done everything millennials were told to do. I had gotten a master’s degree and gone to a prestigious school.”

The psychological effect of debt

The debt soon began to weigh on her mental health. “I’ve had mental-health issues in the past, but this made me feel so low and guilty. I was depressed and cried every single day,” she said.

Realizing she couldn’t pay rent in New York without a stable job, she moved to Portland, Ore. where her partner at the time lived. In Portland, she worked temporary jobs for $10 to $12 an hour and ended up on food stamps.

“I didn’t make a bad decision per se. I went to a good school. But at that point, I felt so aimless,” she said.

The financial burden of student debt is discussed often. Graduates who do take out loans leave school today with approximately $30,000 of debt. And multiple 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have made canceling this debt a central component of their campaigns.

Individuals who experience financial challenges in college are more likely to show signs of depression later on in life.

But student debt’s effect on mental health is often left out of the conversation. And this effect is very real, research suggests. Individuals who experience financial challenges in college are more likely to show signs of depression later on in life, according to a recently released study from the University of Arizona. The study researchers polled 208 University of Arizona students three times, once in 2010 during their fourth year of college, once in 2016 five years after college graduation, and once in between those years. The median age of the participants five years after leaving college was 27.

Individuals in the study who reported what the researchers defined as “good financial behaviors,” including “tracking monthly expenses, spending within a budget, responsible borrowing, saving, and investing,” were less likely to experience depression after college.

To assess depressive symptoms, researchers asked participants to rate how often they felt “unhappy, sad, or depressed,” how often they felt tired, and whether they lost appetite or overate when they felt upset.

“Managing your money well in your fourth year of college leads to lower symptoms of depression later on,” Xiaomin Li of Beijing Normal University, the lead researcher on the study, said.

But those who “manage their money well” can often do so because they have less debt, Katherine Keyes, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, told MarketWatch.

“Financial instability is a strong predictor of mental-health problems,” Keyes said. “These students who are managing their money well in their final year of college and go on to have fewer depressive symptoms may also be students who have less debt or students for whom managing that debt is less of a burden.”

Other studies, including one from the University of South Carolina in 2015, have also found that high levels of student debt or financial instability can take a toll on mental health. And approximately a quarter of millennials say their student loans keep them up at night, according to a Charles Schwab SCHW, +1.59% survey.

Mental-health troubles can make life more expensive

To manage the depression and anxiety surrounding her student debt, Lockert began going to therapy in Portland.

“It helped, but it didn’t make my problems go away,” she said. Since she lived in Portland, she could see counseling students at Portland State University to save money. “They weren’t licensed, but they were one semester away from being licensed.”

Lockert spent about $5 per session, but that’s not the reality for most people. Therapy sessions generally can cost anywhere from $65 to $250, or more. For those with insurance, part of the cost will be typically be covered — but rarely all of it. “The effect can be compounding for those who already have a lot of debt to pay off,” Lockert said.

‘I made my last payment in December 2015’

While struggling to pay off her debt and working temp jobs seven days a week, Lockert started a blog titled Dear Debt in 2013 to document her journey. “I didn’t find anyone talking about mental health or emotions related to debt, and I felt alone,” she said.

At the same time she started the blog, Lockert was offered a job at a non-profit with $30,000 annual salary. She took the job, but quit one year later.

“I started freelance writing full-time,” she said. “I had been looking for a stable job for so long, so to quit right after I finally got one seemed crazy. But I wanted to focus on writing and the blog.”

Her first year freelancing full-time, she brought in $60,000 and was beginning to pay off her debt.

“I made my last payment in December 2015 and was crying tears of joy,” Lockert said. “A lot of people tell me that paying off their debt was anticlimactic, but I was celebrating.”

Life changing

“I finally had time to see friends again. I wasn’t working seven days a week anymore. I went to Italy with my mom, and I moved to LA,” she said. “It was so exciting.”

Not all of Lockert’s mental-health struggles went away once she had paid off her debt. “I had struggled with anxiety and depression before I had the debt,” she said. “But my life was so different, and it was significantly improved — paying the debt was a complete relief.”

It’s been six years since she started her blog, and Lockert still doesn’t believe the link between debt and mental health is discussed enough.

“Though mental health itself is getting more attention, the intersection of debt and mental health is still not discussed widely,” she said. “I get many people Googling GOOGL, +0.85% GOOG, +0.89%  ‘I want to kill myself because of debt’ and finding my blog.”

“This is a problem the personal-finance community cannot ignore,” Lockert says.

These college students are far more prone to serious mental-health issues

College students with marginalized gender identities are far more likely to experience mental-health issues than their cisgender counterparts, a new study finds.

Researchers studied a large sample of gender-minority students — in other words, people whose gender identity is nonbinary or different from what they were assigned at birth, including those who are transgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer or a different self-identified gender.

11% said they had lost or been unable to obtain financial aid due to their transgender or gender-nonconforming status.

The share of these students experiencing depression, anxiety, eating disorders and nonsuicidal self-injury was more than twice the share of cisgender students who experienced the same, they found. Moreover, rates of gender-minority students who reported having experienced suicidal ideation (thinking seriously about attempting suicide), made a plan for attempting suicide or attempted suicide were three to four times greater than the rates among cisgender students.

“There has never been a more important time for colleges and universities to take action to protect and support trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary students on campus,” lead study author Sarah Ketchen Lipson, a Boston University assistant professor of health law, policy and management, said in a statement.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, analyzed responses from 65,213 students (1,237 of whom were gender-minority students) from 71 U.S. higher-ed institutions, who participated in the annual Healthy Minds Study between the fall 2015 and spring 2017 semesters.

Some 78% of gender-minority students “met the criteria” for at least one of the mental-health outcomes measured, the researchers found, compared to 45% of cisgender students. And gender-minority students had more than four times greater odds of experiencing at least one mental-health issue.

The results convey “broad urgency to identify protective factors and reduce mental-health inequities for this vulnerable population,” the authors wrote.

24% of individuals in college or vocational school who were out or perceived to be transgender reported experiencing physical, verbal or sexual harassment.

College students who are transgender or gender nonconforming face high rates of harassment and discrimination. For example, 24% of individuals in college or vocational school who were out or perceived to be transgender reported experiencing physical, verbal or sexual harassment, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.

Fifteen percent of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey also reported having left school for transition-related financial reasons, according to a 2011 report, and 11% said they had lost or been unable to obtain financial aid due to their transgender or gender-nonconforming status.

Meanwhile, being denied access to bathrooms or gender-appropriate housing has “a significant relationship to suicidality,” according to a 2016 analysis of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

The present study’s findings underscore “an urgent need” to address mental-health demands among gender-minority students, the authors wrote. The results also drive home the importance of implementing policies and programs to prioritize gender-minority students’ needs, they said.

“Mental-health outcomes, as well as negative educational outcomes like dropping out, are preventable,” Lipson said. “The most effective way to prevent them would be, from my perspective, through policy changes. Inclusive policies are necessary to advance equity.”