The final countdown

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Life may come at you fast, but the concept of a slow and steady retirement is picking up speed.  

No longer is the great workplace revolution just about remote, hybrid, or onsite. A new trend rising in popularity is a “phased” retirement – flex arrangements where employees scale back their hours while keeping some benefits (more on that below). Maybe the best of both worlds does exist. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or "phasing" into free time with new hobbies like pickleball, we’ve got you covered on living it up today and planning for your tomorrow.  

— The Editors  


Signed, sealed, delivered: Former NBA star Michael Jordan once famously said,* “The ceiling is the roof.” Confused? You’re not alone. While we’re still waiting on clarification on what Air Jordan really meant, the nation now has a resolution on the U.S. debt ceiling. By a vote of 63-36, the U.S. avoided its “first-ever sovereign debt default” just in the nick of time. With the agreement, the country’s $31.4 trillion debt limit is suspended until January 2025, giving the government the ability to borrow an unlimited amount of funds to cover its debts and pay its bills.  

Forgive and for … well, never mind: Schools may be winding down for summer, but student loan payments will soon be back in session. After several extensions to a national forbearance put in place during the pandemic, payments are set to resume as early as August 29* for more than 40 million federal borrowers (and there will be no extensions this time, as part of the debt ceiling deal). If you fall into this class, it’s time to get back to basics, learn your student loan repayment options and study up on the ways you can improve your financial picture.  

Amazon is calling: Coach Prime* isn’t the only Prime making headlines these days. ICYMI, Amazon has entered the chat. The e-commerce giant is in talks and texts with major mobile carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and Dish Network, to potentially offer Prime members wireless plans for $10 a month.* Some of the details are still on the line, so it doesn’t appear a packaged deal will be on the porch anytime soon.  


Dad knows best 

What’s the best way to watch a fly-fishing tournament? Live stream. 

While Dad may not be the best joke-teller, he does know a thing or two about what he wants for Father’s Day — and his #1 wish won’t break the bank.  

According to a new Empower survey, almost 40% of dads want “quality time” with their family, while 26% prefer receiving a handmade gift. All told, moms and dads are on same the page, saying that if you’re opening your wallet for a present, $100 is a good limit.  

That’s a nice sentiment, considering consumers are expected to shell out $22.9 billion* to celebrate in 2023. 


Less is more  

More “ease,” please.  

Following the evolution of hybrid schedules during the pandemic, more companies are offering their employees a “phased retirement*” program. The concept, which almost 25% U.S. employers are now implementing, allows workers the chance to slowly ease their way into retirement.  

Essentially, the closer you get to retiring,* the fewer hours you can elect to work, allowing you to keep your benefits and an adjusted income. This approach provides flexibility with security and leverages the expertise of an experienced workforce as more than 50% of Americans still view retirement as their top financial goal, according to our Empowering Americaʼs Financial JourneyTM report.  

Not sure at what age to call it quits? There are many factors that can influence your decision.  


Paddle up 

It’s loud — and it draws a huge crowd. Yes, pickleball is all the rage these days, as more than 36 million people nationwide have given the sport a try over the past few years, many of them 55 and older. It’s becoming big business, too: real estate investors in Sarasota, Florida, are putting $180* million toward new facilities.

While pickleball is driving many Americans crazy because of how noisy it is (earplugs, anyone?), that hasn’t stopped it from becoming the fastest growing activity in the U.S. Even LeBron James owns a professional team* as the sport is attracting celebrity investors and top athletes.  

If you’re not hooked yet, you may give it a shot (pun definitely intended). Hitting the court is a great way to stay active and keep those competitive juices flowing. Depending on where you live, you can join a recreational league for under $100 (just ask my mother-in-law).  

If you’re looking for other ways to prepare for a healthy retirement, and to get the most out of your savings, follow this winning game plan for your future.  


Put a ring on it 

Love is in the air — and on the airwaves. Hallmark Channel recently launched* its wedding movie series just in time for summer, one of the most popular seasons* to tie the knot.  

Walking down the aisle, though, could cost a pretty penny. In 2023, the average cost of a wedding is approaching $30,000* when you factor in all the traditional elements, like flowers, photos and food. With that amount, it’s best to have and to hold a budgeting plan before making any arrangements.  

Take our poll: Do you regret how much you spent on a wedding


*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 June 7, 2023, EAG holds shares of AMZN and VZ in advisory client accounts and does not hold shares of TMUS or DISH. 

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The Currency editors

Staff contributors

The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

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. 

Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. Investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money. 

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. 

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