Bring home the bacon

Bring home the bacon

The Currency newsletter - issue 21

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

07.20.2023

Life’s expensive.   

From back-to-school costs to long-term healthcare payments, everyday obligations can put the heat on your savings plans and goals. (Not to mention the commercial holidays and seasonal fun beguiling bank accounts.) 

But your long-term dreams don’t need to shift to the back burner. Thoughtful strategies for everything from budgeting to building wealth can have a big impact, making space on the skillet for your life’s priorities to sizzle. Let’s get cooking. 

— The Editors  

📬  If this was sent by a friend, get on our weekly list here

Prime is the new black: Move over, Black Friday – there's a new consumer holiday in town. Amazon Prime Day was a success* for the company and its investors, with buyers spending $12.7B online during the two-day event, up 6.1% year-over-year. But competitors like Walmart are looking to snag* a piece of the holiday pie, launching their own discount days during the same week. 

Movie mashup: What do you get when you cross Barbie and a bomb? My older brother’s favorite childhood game, yes, but also Barbenheimer,* an explosive double-feature of this week’s hotly anticipated summer blockbusters “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” Movie theater chain AMC says 20,000 of its reward members have bought tickets to both films on the same day. Low estimates bet that ticket stubs will total at least $85 million on opening weekend for the dollhouse dream, compared with $45 million for the bombastic tale. Boom. 

Welcome home, boo: Spooky season is still months away, but Home Depot is at your front doorstep* with a new slew of ghouls ranging from seven to 13 feet tall. The tallest of the bunch can be yours for a chilling $399. 

Spending’s in session 

Back-to-school shopping is anticipated to fall for the first time in nine years, with a $3 billion decline overall.* School supplies will see 20% year-over-year growth, but parents plan to spend 14% less on clothing and accessories and 13% less on tech products. 

Declines may be a result of spendy summers. At this mid-season mark, parents are spending a cool $1,200 to keep kids entertained – on top of rapidly approaching back-to-school shopping, which nearly one in three parents expect to pay more than $500 for their households. 
 
As you browse the aisles, school shopping can be a good opportunity to talk with kids about money. Many parents are seizing the moment: 70% say they talk about needs versus wants, and 63% address the value of saving. 

Money talks with kids benefit the whole family, says finfluencer Andy Hill in a new article on The CurrencyTM, especially when only three in 10 adults learned about budgeting in their younger years. 

📝 Get Andy’s take on age-appropriate money conversations with the kids in your life.

Hey there, HENRY 

The average job using AI pays $146K annually,* according to job search platform Adzuna. Most posted positions are as expected, like software engineer, product designer, and data scientist, while others (like tax manager) point to the growing value of AI in non-tech roles.   

Whether you work for the money or simply for the love of it (like this 100-year-old woman trimming fabric* at Joann Fabric and Crafts store), managing your cash flow can give you the most bang for your buck. 

HENRYs – high earners, not rich yet – are wise to pay special attention. Lifestyle creep is real: The more you earn, the easier it is to spend. But having a high income creates opportunity for investing and building wealth. 

How can you cut the N out of HENRY? Track your spending, pay off debt, and focus on growing your net worth.   

💰 Get our tips on staying in the black and socking away cash, all while enjoying your hard-earned salary. 

Crowdfunding healthcare 

Healthcare costs can take a toll on your finances, and some patients are turning to friends and family to help. A new study of GoFundMe campaigns shows that patients with diabetes request an average of $10,000* to pay for health-related expenses beyond what their insurance offers.   

Hospital services and medical care commodities both increased by more than 4%* year-over-year in June, not to mention costs borne by those with chronic illnesses, such as transportation expenses or hotel stays while visiting at-a-distance specialists. 

Savers can plan for healthcare costs (both expected and unforeseen) with a health savings account, or HSA, available to employees with a high-deductible health insurance plan. The HSA is a personal savings account that lets you set aside money on a pretax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. 

In fact, this account is known for its tax-slashing triple threat: tax-deductible contributions, tax-free growth, and tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.† Take that, lab tests. 

This year, individuals can stash $3,850, and those with family coverage can set aside $7,750.   

🩺 Learn what an HSA covers, and what may need to come out of pocket. 

As of July 20, 2023, EAG holds shares of AMZN, WMT, and HD in advisory client accounts and does not hold JOAN or AMC.

Contributions, any earnings, and withdrawals are federal income tax-free if used to pay for qualified medical expenses. State income taxes may still apply. HSA funds used for non-qualified medical expenses may be subject to applicable federal and state income taxes and/or penalties. 

WF-2747941-0723 RO-3009369-0723

Empower flag logo

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. Our team of writers, editors, and contributors are here to keep you current on ways to play, save, and invest for life.

Disclaimer

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. 

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.