Link Roundup! Fee-less Banks; Bankable Stars; When Success Isn’t a Straight Line

"I Declare Bankruptcy!"+ Looking for a low-cost but still FDIC-insured place to put your money? Here are eight options via Daily Finance ranging from true start-ups like Moven to off-shoots of Fortune 100 companies like TIAA Direct, with #realtalk about the benefits as well as the drawbacks.

TIAA Direct bank has the potential to be a fee-free account — if you never overdraft it or have overdraft protection. Only $25 is needed to open an account, and there are no monthly fees, no minimum balance, and no ATM fees if you stay within its large associated network. If you go overdraft without protection, it’s a $25 charge per transaction with a maximum of $75 in a day. That’s a very steep overdraft charge — close to what you’d pay a big bank. However, TIAA Direct doesn’t charge to transfer your money from savings to cover an overdraft. By comparison, Bank of America (BAC) charges $10 to transfer money from a customer’s savings account to checking to cover an overdraft.  TIAA Direct also offers tiered interest on its checking account, with 0.15 percent being the maximum available to accounts with $25,000 or higher.

Savings account: It has an opening minimum of $25 with a 0.80 percent APY.

+ Vulture’s list of 2014’s Most Valuable Stars is pretty fascinating. There are three women and seven men in the top 10, all white except for Denzel Washington. The other African-Americans/black actors in the top 100 are Will Smith (15), Kevin Hart (39), Jamie Foxx (42), Zoe Saldana (49), Lupita N’yongo (82) and Tyler Perry (95). “Sexiest Woman Alive” Penelope Cruz sneaks in at 96. Her husband is higher up at 75. Former Sexiest Women Alive Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, and Charlize Theron are there with her on the list; Halle Berry is not.

In short, as always, Hollywood values whiteness, hotness, youth, and masculinity, in that order, and makes only occasional grudging exception for a Sandra Bullock, a Melissa McCarthy, or for the one-and-only Meryl Streep. Also not in the top 100: Jack Nicholson, Jim Carrey, Oprah, or American Hero Paul Rudd. If the world were just, the most bankable stars would be Frances McDormand and Jeffrey Wright.

+ Mallory Ortberg, whose first book Texts from Jane Eyre comes out soon, took to Twitter to muse about how IRL book success can/will be different from Internet fame.
Mallory tweets

The situation is, on some level, unique to writers, and even perhaps to those — like Jolie Kerr, Anne Helen Petersen, and and Roxane Gay — who found an audience on the web and then parlayed that success into a book deal. Let’s see how they are faring in the howling void of the marketplace!

1) Jolie Kerr’s book My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag earned the “New York Times Bestseller” credit before settling in at #95 in the Kindle Store under “Cleaning, Caretaking, and Relocating How To.”

2) AHP’s Scandals of Classic Hollywood is doing better: it’s currently #5 in Books about the Movie Industry, #16 in the Kindle Store in Pop Culture, and #51 on a different General Pop Culture list.

3) Roxane Gay is doing pretty great, or at least her essay collection Bad Feminist is: it’s #2 in Pop Culture, #2 in Feminist Literary Criticism (although when you look on the page itself, she seems to hold all of the first three slots?), and #3 in Women Writers in Women’s Studies. Her novel An Untamed State, which also came out this year, is a more tepid #19,507 in the Kindle store and #16,005 in Books.

More broadly, though, Mallory’s point about the degree to which we all try to pretend we’re “constantly getting more successful instead of living a life with ups and downs” is true. I skipped my five-year college reunion because I knew everyone else would stroll in with their Stegner fellowships and Fulbrights and PhDs and medals for helping small rural villages generate their own electricity by giving women microgrants to ride bikes and whatever, and I’d stumble in all frizzy-haired and trying to suck in my stomach, like, “Hi! I’ve had four jobs in 5 years and all I have to show for myself for my life post-graduation is a manuscript in a drawer and an MRS degree.”

Success is not a straight line; success is a sine curve, even for the Internet famous. That can be really, really hard to remember, and harder still to admit.

Correction: Paul Rudd did squeak onto the list at #97 and he did not tackle some homophobe in the Dallas airport, despite the initial Wonkette report to the contrary. He is not an American hero, or at least not for that, and he is one of the Most Bankable Stars. The Billfold regrets the error.

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