Remember the last time we slid into your inbox on a Sunday?
Yeah, it was way back in February with the final edition of our Money Resolutions. It seems like a lifetime ago!
So we feel it’s high time we make an appearance again. Only this time, it’ll be a permanent fixture. We racked our brains a bit and figured that since you’ll be reading this newsletter after a long, hectic work week, you need something a bit casual.
And that’s what you’ll get in this Sunday Edition. We’ll take you through exclusive stuff that we haven’t published in the daily newsletter or on our social media handles. There will be colourful infographics, the inside scoop on content that didn’t make the final edits, short and insightful posts that will change the way you think, and maybe some personal finance tips thrown in for good measure too.
So, what are you waiting for?
Here’s a soundtrack to get you in the mood 🎵
Yellow Paper Daisy by When Chai Met Toast
Go get your favourite beverage, laze back on your couch, plug in your earphones and come chill with Finshots this Sunday!
What caught our eye this week 👀
Why is baby powder causing a rash for Johnson & Johnson?
38,000! That’s the number of lawsuits Johnson & Johnson has faced for selling its baby powder allegedly contaminated with a cancer-causing particle called asbestos.
The lawsuits piled up liabilities of up to $3.5 billion for J&J and it finally resorted to a drastic measure. It set the wheels in motion for the Texas Two Step Bankruptcy Strategy. All J&J did was spin out a subsidiary firm (essentially a dummy), push all these talc-related lawsuits onto it, and declare it bankrupt. The lawsuits would automatically hit pause.
Quite insane, we know!
But does the baby powder actually contain this carcinogenic asbestos?
Well, the iconic powder is made from talc — a soft mineral that’s mined from under the ground before it’s reduced to a fine powder. It then goes into products like body powder because it absorbs moisture, reduces sweatiness, and prevents rashes. But here’s the thing…talc often hangs out underground with another dermatologically unsafe mineral called asbestos. So yeah, there are studies out there that show talcum powders contain traces of asbestos too.
J&J called it misinformation. And defended itself tooth and nail saying that none of its scientific tests had ever revealed a fault.
But that may not be entirely true. An explosive investigation by Reuters in 2018 revealed that J&J knew about it. The media house pored over internal company records and other evidence from at least 1971 to the early 2000s. And it didn’t paint J&J in a good light — the final powder sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.
And people stopped buying the powder after all this. Demand plummeted and in 2020, J&J decided to stop selling the baby powder in the US and Canada. And finally, because the heat has been unrelenting, it’s finally bringing the curtains down on its 100-year-old, iconic, talc-based baby powder by 2023!
What do you think about this baby powder mess?
Edited out ✂️
The mystery traders of Sikkim
On Wednesday, we told a story of how commodity traders were using the non-existent income tax laws in Sikkim to pocket some gains for themselves. But there’s something else that we came across while doing our research. We didn’t include it in the final edits though.
You see, Sikkim’s name has been sullied in the past by other unscrupulous individuals too. We’re talking 3 decades ago — the late 1980s when something called the “Gift Scam” popped up on the authorities’ radar.
The modus operandi was simple. Outsiders who had black money would send the money over to local Sikkimese businesses. These folks would do the dirty work of laundering money and make the cash legal. All they had to do was file an affidavit in court saying that they had earned all that money in Sikkim (there was a negligible income tax on business). They didn’t have to show proof. And they could gift money to a non-Sikkimese friend. There wasn’t any tax on gifts either. This way, the black money got converted into white money. In return, the Sikkimese business would receive a commission of about 15% of the money laundered.
The people who got caught in the net?
Movie stars, politicians, and prominent business owners.
Money tips 💰
What is your personal inflation rate?
RBI says that prices have only risen 6.71% compared to last year. And they show you something called the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to get you to believe it.
But there’s a dirty little secret…this thing called CPI is made up of a whole host of things — there’s food, beverages, fuel, personal care, rent etc. It collects price movements for all this and then spits out a single number. For instance, fuel inflation is actually at 11.76%. Vegetable prices are up by 11.9%. And prices for clothing and footwear have jumped by nearly 10%.
Now if you’re someone who spends most of their money on these three items, you’ll find that your “personal” inflation actually isn’t what the RBI tells you. It could be more.
After poring over my bank statements last weekend, I found that my personal inflation rate is a cool 12%!!!
And that freaked me out a bit. I found that I was ordering food more often. And restaurants have amped up their prices significantly. Also, I ended up spending more time on the road. And with fuel prices heading north, the wallet has got considerably lighter.
But now that I know where the money is leaking from, it’s a bit easier to be more mindful about bringing down these expenses.
So go on, calculate your personal inflation rate because, in the end, that’s the only thing that matters. And don’t forget to ignore one-time expenses like a visit to the dentist when you note it all down.
Oh, and if you wish to share about what you spend your money on or your personal inflation rate, just hit reply to this email and we’d love to hear from you!
Readers Recommend 🗒️
Wondering why it’s blank up here?
Well, we’ve left this space for you!
We want to know what you’re reading, any new music you’re listening to, fun gadgets you’ve bought, literally anything you find interesting!
Drop us a line with your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. And maybe include a picture of your playlist or the book’s jacket or even that mouth-watering dish you had at your favourite restaurant last night? Oh, don’t forget to tell us your name, where you’re from, and maybe something about your college/work.
We’ll try and pin your post up next week!
Anyway, that’s all we’ve got for today folks! Did you like this edition? Or did you hate it? Hit reply to this email and let us know. We promise to get better and keep things interesting.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to tell your friends and family about us.
See you next Sunday!
PS: We don’t have a name for this Sunday newsletter yet. So if you have any suggestions, just hit reply to this email and let us know? We promise we’ll pick the one that catches our eye and send you a Finshots goodie too!!! :D