🏁 Into the fast lane

12.07.2023

Looking to speed up holiday gifting? 

Google recently announced tools powered by artificial intelligence* to accelerate your shopping. From describing Grandma’s interests and getting a customized, shoppable list of gift ideas to generating photos of that perfect sweater you’ve been daydreaming about, you may get finished in no time flat. 

If you take these tools for a test drive, you’ll be joining the 25% of Americans who plan to use AI to help with their gift-giving this year, according to an Empower study

Hop in this week, we’ll visit some hot topics – including homes, careers, and yes, cars. 

– The Editors

 

MONEY

🔑 Ready… to start households: As the largest generation by population in U.S. history, Millennials are poised to keep leading the country in “household formation,” translating into a steady demand for housing, according to a recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.* In such a tight housing market, affordability is a tricky balance, so weighing the options for cost of living is a good first step. 

🧱 Get set… to build new housing: Where’s all the supply for this demand? Builders are revving up. The rate of single-family housing starts,* which makes up most of the new construction, rose by 0.2% in October, seeing most activity buzzing in the Northeast and West. We’re also seeing upticks in multi-family housing starts and permits as well.  

💵 Go… mortgage-free: For existing homeowners, there’s another race taking place: Bloomberg reports that the number of U.S. single-family homes and condos that do not carry a mortgage* shot up by 7.9 million from 2012 to 2022, to 33.3 million – a record that’s just under 40%. Even if you own your home outright, it’s still important to check in on how much you’re saving for retirement

 

WORK

Mark Cuban shifts gears 

Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban announced he’s leaving “Shark Tank” at the end of next season. In his 10 years on the dealmaking show, Cuban has invested $29 million in 85 companies.* He’s also close to selling his majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks for close to $3.5 billion.*  

Despite reports that the Great Resignation is over* for workers and employers, many Americans are still thinking about their careers. One-third of Gen Zers are considering switching their job in 2024, and 27% of younger generations plan to boost their earnings by taking on a side gig, according to a recent Empower study

 

LIFE

Guardrails on Big Tech? 

It’s not “out of sight, out of mind” for virtual wallets right now. Last month, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed regulating smartphone wallets and payments including privacy protections. Together, in 2021, the major tech players in the space facilitated around $1.7 trillion* worth of payments. 

With 51% of Americans using digital payment apps weekly, trust and safeguards are paramount. Consumers are no stranger to scams and cybersecurity threats, and the watchdog agency could be adding to the safety net. 

 

PLAY

Go cart

Car shopping may be in a whole new arena next year as Amazon will start selling cars in the U.S.* after inking a deal with Hyundai. The retail giant will let local car dealers sell straight to customers on the site.  

U.S. car sales fell 1.1%* in October compared to September, and time will tell if the convenience of online “dealerships” will affect that outlook. 

If you’re in the market for a car, pass go and stay safe while shopping in a digital society

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Would you consider buying a car online? 

  • Yes, the convenience can’t be ignored. 
  • No, it’s too big a purchase to do sight unseen. 

In last week’s poll, 37% of readers said they’d like to try and see if money can buy happiness, while the “no” (35%) and “yes” camps (28%) are more set in their stances. With such a close split, perhaps there’s still room to give it a go?
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As of December 1, 2023, EAG holds shares of Amazon (AMZN) in advisory client accounts. 

*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, responsibility, or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites.

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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.

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. 

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