💘 Love or money?

The Currency newsletter - issue 48
02.15.2024

Love don’t cost a thing, at least to the 67% of Americans who prioritize it over money, according to new Empower research.

The National Retail Federation, on the other hand, says Americans are making Valentine’s Day sweeter for their significant other by spending a record-breaking $14.2 billion.*

More than 2 in 5 of our readers (42%) say they rang up $25 or less for the holiday. Top gifts include dining out (49%), chocolates (38%), flowers (30%), and roughly 13 million pounds* of conversation hearts.

Keep on reading for more money news to love.

— The Editors

Play

🥇 It’s a game: The city of love is hosting the summer Olympics (with a budget of $8.2 billion*), but the Parisian prices are giving some sports enthusiasts sticker shock. Most of the 100,000 ticketed seats are sold out, with remaining spots costing $2,930.* Hotels in Paris are tripling their rates to an average of $1,092* for opening night. Capitalizing on 15 million expected visitors, destinations like the Louvre Museum and Palace of Versailles are raising admission prices.

🔥 It’s a match: Finding true love in the digital age can be tricky. Match Group, parent company of popular dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and OKCupid, announced a $1 billion share buyback program* during its most recent earnings call, citing last year’s price hike for a dip in users. Match maintains optimism for the future with a first-quarter revenue outlook up to $860 million.  

📅 It’s a date: Applebee’s Date Night Pass immediately sold out* upon its release. Those who were able to snag the promotional pass for $200 will have 52 “date nights” at the restaurant chain, where they can order up to $30 during each use – that's about $1,500 worth of food and drinks. For nearly half (49%) of Americans, their Valentine’s Day spending went toward dining out. 

Money

A spicy split heats up 

Hot sauce lovers everywhere have grappled with low inventories of sriracha. A famous green-capped bottle by Huy Fong Foods has been noticeably absent from shelves due to a heated breakup* with its sole pepper supplier after nearly three decades. Since the split in 2016, the sauce company has relied on various pepper suppliers* but crop yields have been inconsistent. 

The “on-again, off-again" shortage has led to the prized sriracha being resold online for a scorching $150 per bottle.*

In other spicy news, the hot sauce market is projected to grow by $1 billion* by 2028 thanks in part to foodies’ enthusiasm for cooking more restaurant-quality meals at home. Millennials are warming up to the trend, with 1 in 5 hosting a date-night dinner at home to save money for Valentine’s Day.

___

🌶️ $150 is steep for a sauce. What’s a condiment you wouldn’t mind paying extra cash for? 

  • Hot sauce, I understand the hype 

  • Ketchup 

  • Ranch 

  • BBQ sauce 

  • Mustard 

___

Life

For a thousand years  

Empower research finds that 67% of savers (and 75% of Boomers) are more focused on being able to take care of themselves today than passing on wealth to future generations.  

While the average American inherits about $1,500 from their grandparents,* some of the wealthiest families are leaving a legacy behind by leveraging generation-skipping trusts. 

In some states, these “dynasty trusts” allow affluent taxpayers to provide for their descendants for as many as 1,000 years and only be subject to tax once. To put that into perspective, if you bequeathed $12.92 million and each generation for the next 75 years paid a transfer tax, the fortune would compound to $108.4 million, assuming a 5% after-tax rate of return. If using a dynasty trust, the assets would compound to an estimated $501.7 million, nearly $400 million more. 

If you’re planning on passing down an inheritance of any size for your loved ones, read on for tax watchouts.

Work

A soccer sensation strikes

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has announced which cities across North America will host games as part of the 2026 World Cup. 

The U.S. will host the most games in 11 cities,* while Canada will host in two cities and Mexico in three for soccer fans to attend.  

The impact will score big economic wins for these locales, generating more than $5 billion* in short-term activity, including around 40,000 jobs and close to $1 billion in worker earnings across North America. 

Get the scoop on your money.

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

As of February 9, 2024, EAG holds shares of Match Group, Inc. (MTCH) in advisory client accounts and does not hold shares of Dine Brands Global, Inc (DIN). 

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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. 

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