🎫 Hot ticket

Football field

Super Bowl spending is expected to score a record of $17.3 billion* this year. As 200 million Americans gear up for game day, some fans are snagging tickets for an average of $12,082* to watch their team live in Las Vegas.  

And what are fans eager to see off the field? Viewers hope for funny ads (69%*) over serious ones (14%) and more animals (47%). 

Let’s tackle this week’s financial headlines.   

— The Editors  


🍗 Chicken wings touch down: Americans are expected to consume a whopping 1.45 billion chicken wings* during Super Bowl LVIII weekend, but their wallets are still playing defense against rising food prices. The cost of food at home – the ingredients for your game day lineup – rose 1.3%* since last year, according to the latest Consumer Price Index numbers, while food at bars and restaurants jumped by 5.2%. The good news: The price of fresh chicken wings is down approximately 5%, while frozen wing prices are down 11% compared to January 2023. 

🏦 A punt on interest rates: For the fourth meeting in a row the Fed holds steady at 5.25% to 5.5%,* leaving interest rates at a 23-year-high. Market watchers continue to analyze the playbook, wondering when the central bank will start cutting. 

🎤 Dancing in the end zone: Taylor Swift has helped influence 16% of Americans* – that’s 53 million people – to spend money on football merch. Chiefs player Travis Kelce’s merchandise sales reportedly skyrocketed 400% since the singer started attending his games back in September. His jersey is now among the top-five bestsellers in the NFL. 

📱 Call the play: Younger generations are flipping over a new “vintage” technology: the flip phone, as influencers and celebs alike claim it helps them cut back on their screen time. Samsung has produced its own line of foldable smartphones, shipping more than 10 million* units since its first model debuted in 2019.* Some experts predict that the market for foldable phones can ring up to $29 billion by 2025. 


Halftime hustle for musical performers  

NFL players pull in an average salary of $2.7 million per year,* but what about the halftime musical performers? Nothing, as it turns out.  

Instead, stars rely on the value it’ll deliver them in sales, and the NFL foots the bill for the elaborate mid-game productions, which have exceeded $10 million* for a 15-minute-long set. Sometimes, artists chip in: The Weeknd famously spent $7 million* on his show in 2021.  

Spotify reported that Jennifer Lopez's streams spiked 335% after the 2020 Super Bowl, while Shakira’s went up by 230%. Lady Gaga’s sales rose 1,000% after her halftime show, and Dr. Dre's album sales increased by 183%.   

As for last year, Google searches for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty makeup line increased 883%, and in the 12 hours following her performance she generated $88.3 million in media value.


What’s your (SAT) score? 

Many colleges have made the nationally recognized SAT and ACT standardized tests – familiar to scores of anxious test-takers – optional. According to some estimates, this year over 1,900 schools* with bachelor’s degree programs consider the exams voluntary. 

Still, many states use the exams to evaluate their high schools to meet federal testing requirements. 

When it comes to prep, there are many factors to consider. With the average costs of colleges increasing up to 4%* this academic school year, many students will look to aid, loans, and scholarships. The U.S. Department of Education reports more than $6 billion in scholarships are awarded to college students each year. 

Empower research found that nearly 1 in 4 adults with student loans (18%) wish they invested the money to grow it in the market instead of taking on debt.  


💝 Quit playing games with my heart. How much do you plan to spend this upcoming Valentine’s Day? Let us know in this week's poll:

  • $25 or less  
  • $50 - $100 
  • $100 - $250 
  • $500+ 
  • I’ll pass  

Spelling out victory: It's a win W-I-N for Scrabble enthusiasts (28%), which tops the list of favorite board games from last week's poll, with Monopoly following in a close second (22%). 



Coworking heads to the ’burbs 

“Work near home” is on the rise with increasing demand for coworking spaces in new communities. And with outbound migration from major U.S. cities to smaller communities increasing by 59%* since 2020, “home” for many is in the ’burbs.  

Coworking space provider Industrious reveals that 70%* of new location launches in the past and upcoming year are outside of central business districts.  

Those sticking to the city still have options, like Hej!Workshop, a 46,000-square-foot coworking space in San Francisco, with membership starting at a cool $399* per month.

Get the scoop on your money.

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As of February 2, 2024, EAG does not hold shares of Spotify Technology SA (SPOT) 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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