⚡ Sparks fly


In a jolt to the financial world, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved historic rule changes to allow bitcoin exchange-traded funds. The day of the announcement bitcoin hovered around $47,000.* In short: The long-anticipated decision unlocks easier access for everyday investors to buy and sell cryptocurrency the same way they would stocks and mutual funds.  

More than 16 million* U.S. households hold ETFs, and the move is a landmark decision in the sector.  

Crypto is likely to remain a topic of hot debate. This week, we’ll look at money headlines that make sparks fly. 

— The Editors


A legend’s shine: Golf phenom Tiger Woods ended his partnership with Nike after 27 years.* The 48-year-old player inked his first five-year, $40 million contract with the sportswear company back in 1996. His 10-year deal in 2013 was his last, amounting to a reported $200 million. The news comes on the heels of Nike’s December earnings call announcing its goal of around $2 billion* in cost savings over the next three years. It’s a good idea to get your own financial plan in full swing to help maximize your savings. 

✍️ Electric touch for taxes: A $7,500 federal tax credit* for electric vehicles will be easier to unlock this year, with car buyers now having the option of an instant rebate at time of purchase at the dealership. There are eligibility requirements to qualify, so interested buyers should get to know their adjusted gross income.  

🛒 Prices still hot: While inflation has dropped since its recent peak of 9.1%* in summer 2022, consumers are still feeling the heat on some costs for everyday goods. The Consumer Price Index increased 3.4% from a year earlier, and egg prices jumped 8.9%* month over month in December, even after climbing 2.2% in November, according to the Labor Department. Empower research found that 51% of Americans have turned to getting groceries at discount stores to offset rising prices as one way to save on food.


There’s an app for that 

Millennials – born between 1981 and 1996 – are now more likely to work more than one job compared with other generations, according to a recent report examining more than 20 million tax filers.* Almost a third of Millennials said they plan to work for an app-based company, such as those for outsourcing household tasks or making deliveries. As of January 2021, 4.9 million Americans* reported income from platform-based gig work, a figure that more than tripled between 2017 and 2021. 

This drive to carry multiple jobs tracks with an ongoing desire to build wealth for security. According to Empower research, in order to feel happy and less stressed, Millennials think they’d need an average annual salary of $525,947


🔋 68% of you said that you're sticking to your New Year’s resolution so far. If you need a boost of motivation, you're not alone. What’s your favorite way to recharge? 

  • Working out 
  • Socializing with family and friends 
  • Scrolling the internet 
  • Settling back with a good book or show 



Cool it 

In 2023, $93 billion in losses* were connected to disasters in the United States, with the country experiencing a record high of 28 events that each cost at least $1 billion. 

Emergencies like floods, wildfires and hurricanes can have a cascading effect on wallets in the form of hikes to homeowners’ insurance rates and utility bills. California’s largest home insurer is set to raise rates by an average of 20%* this year.  

In addition to what’s happening outdoors, heating and cooling bills are one of several variable expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget. While you can’t control the forecast, you can take steps to be proactive and lower your energy costs


A big, sparkling gulp 

The market for carbonated soft drinks in the U.S. is projected to hit $44.7 billion* by 2026. Nearly 7 in 10 consumers imbibe bubbly soft drinks as a treat, which analysts say has made the category thrive in uncertain times. 

To go with that refreshing beverage, how about a snack? Buying snacks is just one everyday luxury Americans are spending on – see Empower’s recent research to see how your splurges stack up

Get the scoop on your money.

Stay current on planning, saving, and investing for life.

As of Jan. 12, 2024, EAG holds shares of Nike (NKE) 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.


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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