No more waffling 🧇

No more waffling 🧇

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Let’s take a beat and toast the important women in our lives.  

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and celebrating doesn’t have to come with a price tag. A recent Empower survey found that 33% of adult children will be spending less on mom and dad this year due to inflation.1  

Good news though: 96% of parents prefer quality time over receiving a gift, though if you’re going to spring for something and need help making a decision, 49% of moms say they’d appreciate being treated to a meal out.1 Enjoy that brunch!  

–  The Editors

No deal on the debt ceiling: The White House and Congress met in an attempt to reach a debt-limit accord* after a three-month debate over whether or not to raise the $31.4 trillion U.S. debt ceiling. No agreement has been reached yet, and the clock is ticking to avoid a default before the end of May. If you’re getting déjà vu, it’s because the nation had a similar high-stakes standoff in 2011.  

Casting a long shadow: The recent banking failures have ushered in the rise of “shadow banks”* or institutions that make loans but aren’t banks (e.g., pension funds, money market funds, and asset managers). These providers can take bigger risks because they are not subject to the same financial regulations as banks. Since 2013, private credit has grown exponentially to $850 billion, but it may come at a cost. These firms often leverage higher rates and tougher terms than traditional banks, and some worry that could lead to more business foreclosures and broader economic implications. 

Job market in bloom: According to the Labor Department, employers added 253,000 jobs in April,* despite high inflation and banking industry turmoil. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, matching a 53-year low in January.  

Brunch, bouquets, and billions on the table for Mother’s Day  

Another Mother’s Day, another few billions expected to be added to the collective brunch bill – that’s a lot of bottomless mimosas.   

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers are planning to drop $35.7 billion* on the mom-centric holiday this year. 
The NRF reports the top spending categories for consumers include $7.8 billion on jewelry, $5.6 billion on special outings, and $4 billion on electronics. While flowers (74%) and dinner/brunch (60%) are among the top trending presents, Empower research found that many moms prefer handmade gifts (48%) and cards (47%).1  

Despite the sizeable spending forecast, it’s clear a thoughtful gesture can go a long way. There are plenty of ways to celebrate without breaking the bank.

WGA goes off script and on strike  

Thousands of members from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have been out on picket lines in California and New York after contract negotiations with studios, streaming services, and networks failed.

The WGA, which represents 11,500 screenwriters, is asking for total pay increases for members amounting to $429 million per year* and stability in an industry that has eroded job security by creating a "gig economy inside a union workforce.” Since 2018, inflation-adjusted pay for screenwriters has fallen 14%, according to the guild. 

Lack of residual payments (a type of royalty), shorter employment terms, and fewer writers on staff (e.g., streaming giants using “mini rooms”) are other key issues cited by the WGA. Numerous television shows and movies are already being affected by the strike, including Netflix’s "Stranger Things"* and late-night shows like "Saturday Night Live".  

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the strike threatens roughly $81 billion in direct wages* from 800,000 jobs in the film and TV industry. When the WGA went on strike in 2007, it lasted 100 days and cost the LA economy more than $2 billion.* 


Back on the wedding playlist: Ed Sheeran wins copyright case 

Ed Sheeran came out victorious in a recent high-profile copyright case that claimed his “Thinking Out Loud” hit copied Marvin Gaye’s classic song “Let’s Get it On” from 1973. 

Sheeran argued that his song leveraged “commonplace musical building blocks”* that appeared in dozens of other songs. At the heart of the controversial case is the concern that the lines between inspiration, homage, and plagiarism are getting blurred as major labels and publishing companies continue to fight for intellectual property.*  

It’s not the first case to shake the music industry. In 2015, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams paid more than $5 million to Gaye’s family* for “Blurred Lines.” But five years later, Led Zeppelin won in a suit involving “Stairway to Heaven.” This, coupled with Sheeran’s victory, seems to indicate a shifting of the tides.*

Coffee talk: Which money lessons do you remember learning growing up?

  • Money doesn’t buy happiness
  • You only live once, so don’t worry too much about money
  • It’s not polite to talk about money
  • How much money you need to be financially secure
  • How to manage a budget 

Take our one-question poll and we’ll compare your reminiscing to what we heard as part of our Money Talks survey in next week’s edition. 

1 Methodology: In May 2023, Empower surveyed 200 parents and 800 children over the age of 18 to explore spending habits when celebrating special occasions. 

*Empower Retirement, LLC and its affiliates are not affiliated with the author or responsible for the third-party content provided from links to external material. 

As of May 9, 2023 EAG hold shares of NFLX in advisory client accounts. 

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The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites. 

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Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. 

Advisory services are provided for a fee by Empower Advisory Group, LLC (“EAG”). EAG is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and subsidiary of Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.