Pass the popcorn: It’s awards season

Pass the popcorn

Sign up for the weekly edition of The Currency newsletter delivered to your inbox. 📧


Red carpets, gilded trophies, speeches gone astray. Brace yourself — it’s awards season.  

After celebrities finish finessing their Academy Awards acceptance speeches in the mirror, we’ll be tuning in to see how they address pay equity in Hollywood. 

Just ahead of Equal Pay Day, the Oscars on Sunday will be the next opportunity to clap back. 

—The Editors 

Take a hike: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave his semiannual testimony to both houses of Congress this week. Key topics: wage inflation and the labor market as a result of rising interest rates. 

Supreme debt: Last week the Supreme Court heard two cases that paused President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal loans. Borrowers will need to wait until June to learn the Supreme Court’s final decision.  

A little birdie told us: Elon Musk reclaimed his spot as the world’s richest person, despite Twitter’s reported 40% year-over-year tumble in revenue.

Stars, they’re just like us 

Few people would scoff at a paycheck of $12.5 million — the amount earned by costars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling for their roles in “Barbie.”   

This makes Robbie the highest-paid female actor in 2022. 

In comparison, Tom Cruise — whose film “Top Gun: Maverick” is up for the Oscars’ Best Picture — took to the skies with $100 million+ for his reprised role.

And it’s no secret that pay discrepancies exist for those of us in the sub-million earnings category.   

There enters Equal Pay Day on March 14, the date that represents when women must work to get paid the same amount of money their average male peer was compensated the year prior. That means that to earn as much as a man made in 2022, a woman must work an additional two and a half months. But that’s not the full story. 

After all, there are pay disparities even among women. 

Dig into the nuances with our piece on Equal Pay Day, which includes tips for negotiating your salary and an overview of what states are doing (and you can do) to close the gender pay gap. 

TVs and other gadgets are turning off inflation 

We may be balking at $16/month entertainment subscription costs, but our gadgets appear to be defying inflation. Government data shows declining prices for TVs, smartphones, computers, and some other electronics. (Indeed, the annual inflation rate has dropped from roughly 9% to the mid-6% range, though it still sits above the Fed’s target of 2%.) 

But are we really paying less for our new cell phones? 

Even with slashed prices overall, most Americans are still shelling out more for their devices. This could be because consumers are opting for high-end versions from their favorite brands. 

Choosing between a generic brand versus a deluxe option from your favorite brand is all part of managing your household budget — no easy feat when you’re eyeing the next greatest technological masterpiece.

Won’t you be my roommate? 

Now you’re in New York, but high prices may not inspire you — especially if you’re single. The average Big Apple solo renter pays $19,500 more each year than coupled counterparts, according to a Zillow analysis of the “single’s tax.” 
Sure, in spendy cities, your dollars are stretched thinner — even with a cost-of-living-adjusted salary to match. For singles and couples alike, here are other costs to keep in mind for managing a high-income cash flow.

Speak Up: 

Attendees at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday will receive an "Everyone Wins" Oscar gift bag valued at an estimated $126,000. 

Send your best guesses to what's inside to We'll publish the best responses anonymously next week. 

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.