By Blake Ellis, CNNMoney
(CNNMoney) - Mark Stephanz, a senior investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was sure his decision to come out of the closet would end his career.
He had been at the firm for over 20 years, and everyone knew him as a straight, married man with three children. So he knew the news could come as a shock.
"Wall Street has always had that good old boys image, so I was fearful at first that I was risking my career," he said.
But his internal struggle finally became too much to bear. First, Stephanz gradually came out to his family. Then he told his coworkers and managers.
The reaction was surprising. His boss was supportive and said he couldn't believe that Stephanz, who was 47 at the time, had lived his life as he had for so long. His clients, too, were supportive.
That was just a few years ago. If he had come out even earlier, Stephanz doesn't know whether it would have gone so smoothly.
By Blake Ellis, CNNMoney
New York (CNNMoney) - A year after graduating from college, women are earning thousands of dollars less per year than their male peers.
Women who worked full-time jobs one year after receiving their diplomas earned 82 cents for every dollar men earned. That's according to a report from the American Association of University Women, which analyzed data from a Department of Education survey of 15,000 graduates conducted in 2009, the most recent data available.
While men earned average salaries of $42,918, women earned $35,296 - a nearly $8,000 difference, the report found.
"You hear in the news that [millennial] women are now out-earning their male peers, but what we found in looking at those emerging from college is that there is still a gender pay gap," said Catherine Hill, director of research at AAUW.
Read the full story from CNNMoney
By Blake Ellis, @CNNMoney
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Nearly 10 million households across the country are living without a bank account. And in some states, these residents make up a big slice of the population.
Among all of the regions in the country, the South has the largest percentage of residents who are "unbanked," meaning they don't have a checking or a savings account. According to an FDIC report released this week, 10% of the region's population doesn't have a bank account, compared to the national average of 8.2%.
While 37% of U.S. households live inthe South, nearly half - or 46% - of all unbanked households in the country reside in this region. And so do nearly 40% of the nation's poor, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Click here to see if you live in an unbanked state
And that's no coincidence, said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of CardHub.com and former head of a team at Capital One tasked with identifying products for unbanked customers. "Wherever you see high poverty and low-income populations, you will see higher populations of unbanked," he said.
Mississippi, which has suffered the highest poverty rate in the country for years, also has the biggest population of unbanked households - with 15% of its residents lacking a bank account. Texas and Arkansas follow, with bankless rates of 12.8% and 12.3%, respectively.
Compare that with New Hampshire, which has the lowest rate of unbanked, at 1.9%, as well as the lowest poverty rate in the nation.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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