Kicking off 🏈

09.14.2023

On kickoff day of this year’s football season, we witnessed that the pros, just like us, sometimes struggle to get back into the game (even one with a recently inked $55 million annual contract*). 

But the season is young, and there’s plenty of time to change tack. 

For those keeping count, it may as well be on the Broncos’ new scoreboard, now 70% larger than before, serving as the focal point of $100 million offseason upgrades* to Empower Field at Mile High. 

‘Tis a season of possibilities – from streaming services to soft landings (about which there are “very good” feelings*). In any case, we’ll need to wait and see how it all falls. 🍂 

– The Editors

WORK

 

New hire playbook: The post-2020 heady hiring season is winding down, as job growth returns to prepandemic trends.* In March 2022 job openings peaked at 12 million, approximately double the number of unemployed people the same month. In July, the number of open positions fell to 8.8 million, while close to 6 million were looking for work. For those starting a new job, the challenges of paperwork, acronyms, and processes can be overwhelming. One thing we can all benefit from: making sure to take advantage of 401(k) offerings for long-term savings. 

Onto greener skies: Seven-time football champion Tom Brady will be hitting new heights soon* as Delta Air Lines’ “strategic advisor” to develop teamwork tools for the airline’s 90,000-plus employees. (And this is in addition to his post-retirement $375 million broadcast deal* with Fox Sports.) Indeed, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. One couple, who purchased and renovated a $615,000 abandoned inn, proves the value of seeing your vision through to the final play.* (Just don’t make the mistake of calling it passive income.) 

Get his GOAT: Speaking of income diversification, it’s nothing but net (worth) for basketball legend Michael Jordan, whose fortune slams at an estimated $3.5 billion,* making him the richest basketball player of all time. At any net-worth level, you can make your money “work” by earning interest, dividends, and returns.

MONEY

Tackling inflation 

While Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently said she is “feeling very good”* about a soft landing for the U.S. economy, inflation increased in August for the first time in six months. 

Overall prices popped 3.7% higher year-over-year*, up from 3.2% in July, primarily driven by a rise in gas prices. The amount spent at the pump averaged $236 in August, the highest since a year prior, according to Empower Personal DashboardTM data.  

With the latest inflation reading in hand, the Fed decides next week whether it will further hike rates or hold steady. Analysts predict borrowing rates will remain fixed (and higher) for some time. 

🔎 Take a closer look at this week’s happenings with the Empower portfolio strategist’s capital markets perspective

LIFE

Timeout for consumer spending 

Cost of living is up, with annual expenditures averaging $72,967 in 2022,* spiking 9% from the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

A Bloomberg survey indicates that personal consumption is likely to take a dip in early 2024, with more than half (56%) of consumers saying their spending will shrink and 21% planning to cut back* even sooner during the holiday season this year. 

If spenders’ predictions are correct, it would mark the first quarterly decline since the start of the pandemic. Analysts say consumer wariness may be driven by increased cost-consciousness, dwindling COVID-relief savings, and high borrowing rates. 

💸 Where you live and how you spend can have a big impact on your long-term financial plan. Find out how your state ranks in cost of living, and get tips from a financial professional on keeping your expenses in check

PLAY

Refuse to lose (money, that is) 

More than a third of Americans (36%) say they’re curbing spending on sports due to inflation, according to new Empower research.  

Although the expenses of fandom quickly add up, home is where the halftime is: 

  • A quarter of Americans (27%) say they’re spending up to $1,000 to upgrade their game day entertainment space via a new couch or TV.
  • Fans are 11% more likely to plan to spend on a livestreaming subscription to watch sports than live event tickets. 
  • 34% prefer to watch the game at home instead of spending money at a restaurant. 

Home viewers have their options cut out for them: More NFL games will be available only on streaming sites* this year than ever before. This marks the first season with YouTube TV as the exclusive provider of NFL Sunday Ticket, part of a seven-year deal that will cost the company $2 billion per season.* Subscribers, on the other hand, pay $299 annually* for NFL Sunday Ticket and YouTube TV access. 

For one-third (38%) of our survey respondents, the costs are worth it because "spending on sports brings me joy.”  

⬆ Chalk it up to values-based spending.

 

As of September 14, 2023, EAG holds shares of GOOGL in advisory client accounts and does not hold DAL or FOX.

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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.

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