Take a byte of the apple 🍎


It is a truth universally acknowledged: September is Apple szn.  

No, we’re not talking about apple picking (but more on that below). Apple recently unveiled the iPhone 15 and announced all next-gen smartphones will switch to the universal USB-C.* The EU-mandated move is dialing up a sense of déjà vu 11 years after the Lightening Charger debuted.  

Apple’s valuation supercharged across the $3 trillion mark in June,* but third-quarter earnings report iPhone revenue fell 2%; a smartphone slump may be a contributor, with demand falling nearly 7% across the industry.  

Whether or not you make the upgrade (if so, you might have to wait until November*), what and when you bite may come down to purchasing power

– The Editors



POLL: Apple of your eye 🍎: Every year, 11.1 billion pounds of apples are grown in the U.S. to the tune of $3.2 billion in domestic sales,* according to the U.S. Apple Association. With 7,000+ varieties, which one is your favorite?  

  • McIntosh
  • Red Delicious 
  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • Pink Lady 



Along for the ride: Disney will spend $60 billion* to expand its theme parks, cruise lines, experiences, and products over the next 10 years. The company has more than 1,000 acres of land to play with, plans to open a new cruise port in Singapore, and has a new fleet of ships in development. It’s part of Disney’s effort to reach 700 million consumers* identified by the company's internal research as “Disney fans who have yet to visit one of its theme parks.” 

A bite worth billions: Almost all generations feel some kind of way about Twinkies (after all, they were invented in 1930). The classic treat is making an expensive comeback, with Smucker set to acquire Twinkies maker Hostess Brands for $4.6 billion.* The deal comes at a time when consumers still have a big sweet tooth for snacks, gobbling up $181 billion in sales last year. Indulgent snacks have experienced 20% faster growth in the past three years than products marketed as healthier alternatives. The move puts Smucker, known for its jams, jellies, and Uncrustables sandwiches, in one of the fastest growing grocery-store aisles.  

Location, location, location: A new study reveals that property taxes can vary by nearly $8,000* for the same-priced home, depending on where you live. The median property tax rate for all states and the District of Columbia is 0.91%. New Jersey and Illinois are the only states with property taxes that are higher than 2%. To put that list price in perspective: For a home worth the U.S. median of $416,100, New Jersey homeowners would pay $9,279 in property taxes, while someone in Hawaii would pay $1,332 for the same house.


A market recharge with the return of IPOs  

After a nearly two-year drought in the initial public offering (IPO) market, Arm Holdings – an artificial intelligence chip designer owned by Softbank – scored this year’s biggest IPO, rising 25% at the end of trading to close at $63.59,* giving the company a fully diluted valuation of $67.9 billion.  

The record-breaking opener could help recharge the market: Grocery delivery start-up Instacart went public at $33.70, giving the company a market value of more than $11 billion.* Birkenstock, the German footwear brand valued at more than $8 billion,* is getting a foot in the door by filing for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange – proving that you’re never too old to go public (the company is turning 250 next year).  

An IPO renaissance may be nigh, as analysts predict there are roughly 200 companies ripe to go public.


Redefining retirement  

According to new Empower research, over half (58%) of Americans may be in the job market post-retirement and are open to working indefinitely – and the reason might surprise you. Would-be working retirees are motivated by values like personal fulfillment (41%) and having a sense of purpose (37%), just as much as potential financial needs (40%).  

Nearly 2 in 5 Americans say working post-retirement would help them maintain a daily routine (37%) and keep their minds (37%) and bodies active (36%). Sixty-four percent of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are open to work, while Gen Zers are the least likely generation to agree, at 49%. 

Overall, respondents point to having a 401(k) account as the top way to save for retirement (56%), followed by stocks (35%) and a traditional savings account (34%). According to Empower data, for people ages 60 to 65, the average 401(k) account balance is $198,194.  

Workplace savings, such as a 401(k), are one important component of long-term financial health – alongside retirement income and a person’s overall net worth. Learn more about your 401(k) and IRA options on The Currency™. 


Auto insurance speeds past at all time high   

According to August’s Consumer Price Index report, the cost of car insurance is up 19% compared to a year ago* – the biggest annual jump in 47 years. Prices rose 2.4% between July and August, after rising 2% the preceding month.  

The Insurance Information Institute says auto insurers paid $1.12 in claims last year* for every dollar they collected in premiums. This year, that ratio is expected to be $1.09. To cover that shortfall, insurance companies typically count on investment proceeds.  

Reasons for the price hike may include the rise in repair and replacement costs* and an increased frequency of natural disasters, including hailstorms, hurricanes, and wildfires. Another reason, according to NPR: As drivers have returned to the roads in full swing, they are taking more risks – accident rates are higher than they were during the pandemic.  


As of September 18, 2023, EAG holds shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Walt Disney Co. (DIS) in advisory client accounts and does not hold SM Smucker Co. (SJM), Hostess (TWNK), Arm Holdings (ARM) or Instacart (CART).

iPhone, iPad, Apple, Apple Watch, and App Store are trademarks of Apple Inc.

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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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