Let's hit the books

Let's hit the books

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Pencils down: Q2 results are in from approximately half of the S&P 500 – and nearly 80% of companies have reported earnings above analyst forecasts, according to FactSet. Another quarter is in the books, and it’s officially earnings szn.  

Many economists predict the Fed may also be turning the page and slowing interest rate hikes. Recession or soft landing is just one of the debates driving markets. 

So let’s study up on the latest financial headlines this week – we’re here to help you ace the test when it comes to your money goals. 

– The Editors


Earn a perfect score: If you’re looking for a mental workout, try wrapping your brain around the new internet phenomenon, Immaculate Grid, a.k.a. the sports version of Wordle. The trivia game asks players to fill in a nine-square chart by naming an athlete that fits into two categories, with specific “boards” for professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. Created in April 2023* by software developer Brian Minter, the game was swiftly acquired by website giant Sports Reference* in July for an undisclosed amount of cash. It’s part of the trend of media companies snatching up viral games, lest we forget the NYT acquisition of Wordle for $1 million, also just months after its launch.  

Bed Bath & Beyond is back: Overstock, once an online retailer for closeout home décor and furniture, has officially acquired Bed Bath & Beyond’s intellectual property for $21.5 million,* shortly after the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Customers searching for housewares, small appliances, wedding registries, and college dorm supplies at either retailer will wind up on the same e-commerce page, where both companies’ logos will be displayed until the rebrand is complete. 

Earth to astronomy scholars: NASA is investing $150 million* in contracts to help humans “live off the land” – namely, the lunar surface. For earth dwellers, this August brings stargazers the chance to view two supermoons. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, August 30 will be a blue supermoon,*  a rarer phenomenon that won’t reoccur for nearly a decade. And no, the moon doesn’t actually turn the color blue, says NASA. The moon can take on a blue tint because of clouds or particles from volcanic ash and smoke in Earth’s atmosphere.


The price of admission  

College can be expensive. In fact, the average tuition at U.S. private colleges grew by about 4% last year to just under $40,000 per year, according to recent data.* After adjusting for current inflation, college tuition has increased a whopping 747.8% since 1963.  

With numbers like that, a 529 plan can be an important savings vehicle to help cover some of the common needs for your college student, like housing, books and supplies, and meals.   

However, there is the possibility that you saved too much in a 529 plan* or have money left over in the account, which could lead to tax consequences if you use those funds to pay for anything other than “qualified” education expenses. Read up on your options, which include changing the beneficiary designation, to make sure you dot the I’s and cross the T’s on your 529 plan before withdrawing any cash.


Prime delivery for college football fans 

"Coach Prime" made major headlines when he accepted the head coaching position at Colorado.* Now Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes are saying “CU” later to the Pac-12 after the 2023 season and moving back to the Big 12, where the school competed in from 1996-2010.  

Colorado is the third school to leave the Pac-12 in the last year, changing the face of college ball for the foreseeable future; UCLA and USC are joining the Big Ten next year, leaving the Pac-12 with only nine member schools for the 2024-25 season. 

The jump back to the conference in 2024 will net Colorado nearly $32 million in annual television revenue,* a big win for an athletic department that hasn’t experienced many victories on the football field in recent years. This follows other major media deals: The Big Ten’s $7 billion* media rights agreement kicks off this season, creating an NFL-style TV schedule on Saturdays for college sports fans across Fox, CBS, and NBC. 


A teaching moment  

The number of people completing a teacher-education program has declined by almost a third* in recent years, according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. In 2018, 57,000 fewer students nationwide earned education degrees than in 2011, causing a shortage that doesn’t meet current demand. 

As one way to help fill these gaps and encourage more to take on a career in teaching, community colleges are starting to offer education programs,* with states like Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada and New Mexico leading the charge. These types of courses can cut down the cost of earning a teacher’s degree, while making a job in education more accessible. The trend is picking up steam: There are now 51-community college-based teaching programs nationwide.

Teachers' salaries vary by state, but a median annual salary is just over $61,000 a year,* according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  


“X” marks the spot: Last week, we asked what you thought about Twitter’s new name, X, and 56% of our readers say they’re going to miss the bird; 14% believe it’s very on brand; and 3% think everything is moving too fast. The real four-feathered fans prefer birding (18%) outside to all the online chirping.  

Now for a little pop quiz! What’s on your summer reading list? 

  • Fantasy
  • Historical fiction
  • Mystery or thriller
  • Biography or memoir 
  • Self-help
  • Romance

Let us know in this week’s poll.


As of August 3, 2023, EAG holds shares of CMCSA in advisory client accounts and does not hold TWTR, FOXA, CBS, OSTK, or BBBYQ. 

RO2969706-0823 WF2772793-0823

As of August 3, 2023, EAG holds shares of CMCSA in advisory client accounts and does not hold TWTR, FOXA, CBS, OSTK, or BBBYQ.

RO2969706-0823 WF2772793-0823

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.

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