🍊 Orange you glad

🍊 Orange you glad

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The Federal Reserve* revealed that American families saw the biggest surge in wealth on record last year, with median net worth climbing 37% to $192,900 between 2019 and 2022, and the average topping $1 million. Curious where that shakes out by age? See Empower’s data for a snapshot.

Meanwhile, inflation and higher prices are putting the squeeze on gains and making everyday life more expensive. Call it commoditinflation – a gallon of orange juice cost $9.18* in grocery stores this month, up more than 10% from last year.

This week, we’ll look at the freshest financial segments on retiring, tech spending, and some billion-dollar deals. 

– The Editors



☀️ Sun-kissed, golden years  In an SEC filing, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, 67, announced he’ll sell one million shares, or 12% of his holdings of his employer’s stock, amounting to $140 million.* The bank said the decision is “simply part of his personal financial, tax, and estate planning” and unrelated to succession planning. Want to know the average retirement age in the U.S.? Take a look. 🍎 How about them oranges? Google paid Apple around $18 billion* in 2021 to keep its search engine the default option on iPhones – and $26.3 billion overall for similar contracts. The figures were revealed during testimony in its ongoing federal antitrust case, which is expected to have major implications on the future of Big Tech’s dominance. In an apples to oranges comparison: That same year, Google’s revenue from search advertising was $146.4 billion.*🍂 Money doesn’t blow on trees  Ahead of the 2024 ban on the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers in the state, California has raked together $27 million* to help small landscaping businesses and sole proprietors buy electric equipment. Other states have introduced similar rebate programs to curb noise and emissions as people tidy up those pesky, but pretty, orange fall leaves.



Hess trucks are part of the deal

The famed Hess toy truck will roll on, even as Chevron will acquire the energy company in a $53 billion mega-deal.* The trucks have been a holiday tradition since 1964 and are the brainchild of founder Leon Hess (who’s also the former owner of the New York Jets – which are outfitted in the brand’s green and white colors).

This is the second major consolidation in the U.S. oil industry recently, on the heels of Exxon Mobil’s agreement to buy shale-oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources Co. for over $58 billion.* To analysts and investors, the deals signal a bet that oil and gas remains central to the global energy mix.

Hess shareholders will receive $6.50 a share in dividends after the deal closes, up from $1.75 at the time the deal was announced.

Investors, learn more about calculating dividends on The Currency™.



Everyone loves a puppy

So much so, the $137 billion* pet market is expected to fetch $200 billion by the end of the decade – and pet health is driving that growth.

Earlier this year, Walmart began offering its Walmart+ subscribers free access to veterinary telehealth. Similar to telemedicine for their favorite humans, pets can be seen by virtual appointment with vets and technicians.

Soon, other companies looking to compete may be getting in on the action. E-commerce giant Amazon made inroads into healthcare with its $3.9 billion acquisition* of primary-care provider One Medical in February, and is already a dominant player in pet food and supplies.

A 2023 Empower study found that 44% of Americans worry about healthcare costs in retirement, so many consumers may be on the hunt for value options, especially for their doggos.


Go to bed, you said: Last week we asked readers which financial trend has got to go; inflation and omnipresent tipping screens each snagged 39% of votes, and another 18% are exhausted by rising mortgage rates.

Spring forward, fall back. Nov. 5 is daylight’s savings. (Sun fact: Arizona, because of its desert climate, as well as Hawaii, doesn’t adjust its clocks.) Tell us how you really feel about turning the time. 

  • I love the extra daylight 2x a year
  • My sleep schedule takes a spin
  • Time to stop changing the clocks 




Ripe for the picking

It’s that time of year again, when workplace benefit elections open and employees pick health, vision, dental, and life insurance plans for 2024, including enrollment in health savings accounts (HSAs). Open enrollment is typically 2-4 weeks in November and starts Nov. 1 for public marketplace* plans.

Costs are rising. This year, the average premium paid to participate in an employer health plan rose 7% to nearly $24K a year, with workers paying $6,575* (or about $548 a month) towards the cost of coverage, and employers picking up the rest.

Consider your options to offset expenses through a health savings account (HSA), which offers a “triple tax advantage”: tax-deductible contributions, tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.



As of October 31, 2023, EAG holds shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Alphabet Inc Class A (GOOGL), Apple Inc (AAPL), Amazon.com, Inc (AMZN), Chevron Corporation (CVX), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), and Walmart Inc (WMT) in advisory client accounts and does not hold Hess Corp (HES) or Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD).

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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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