🤝 Seal the deal


Capital One is showing what’s in its wallet with a proposed plan to purchase Discover in a $35.3 billion all-stock transaction.*  

The deal depends on approval by shareholders of both companies as well as federal regulators. Given a green light, the mega-merger is expected to close in late 2024 or early 2025, forming the nation’s largest lender.  

The market is all about dealmaking, and Empower research shows Americans feel bullish – just 5% listed the stock market as an economic concern for the year ahead, and most are rosy about their overall earning potential (64% men, 50% women).  

Here’s a look at some money movers and shakers making headlines. 

— The Editors


🥤 A shake up: McDonald’s is shaking things up with the early debut of its popular green Shamrock Shake. The minty mainstay of the fast-food giant’s limited-time menu runs $3 – $4,* and more than 60 million* have been sold since 1970. The fan favorite Oreo Shamrock McFlurry is also available for the season, following the chain’s fourth-quarter revenue of a cool $6.41 billion.*  

📈 Good terms: Small-business owners are feeling more optimistic about the economy, with 28%* describing the current state as “excellent” or “good” — up from 18% over last year and the highest in two years. Though confidence about overall direction is on the rise, inflation is still top of mind, with nearly one third pointing to it as the biggest business risk to Main Street. 

👓 Wrapped up: Target and fashion brand Diane von Furstenberg are partnering to launch a line of affordable clothing, accessories, home décor, and furniture. The apparel collection features von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress, with most items retailing for under $50.* Made-to-order furniture starts at $300. Target has a history of successful designer partnerships, including one with Isaac Mizrahi that tripled sales to $300 million* over five years. 

No time for bargains: Luxury watchmaker Piaget went back in time with the re-release of the Polo79, its most recognizable style from the 1980s. The retro-inspired timepiece is 18-karat yellow gold and sells for $73,000.* Competitors Rolex and Bulgari already offer similar nods to nostalgia for $38,900 and $13,200, respectively.


Stock grants on the table for Walmart managers 

Walmart announced a new program for its store managers, making them eligible for up to $20,000* annually in company stock grants. Many of the retail store heads oversee as much as $100 million* in annual revenue and about 350 workers. 

When it comes to compensation, 75% of Americans say bonuses are important, and 71% value a retirement plan matching benefit. For nearly half (45%), the focus is making enough money to pay their bills on time. According to last week’s poll, 29% plan to add their bonus to retirement savings and 21% will put it toward an emergency fund. 

Stock options, purchase plans, and other forms of equity payments can potentially make a difference to long-term financial goals, so it’s a good idea to know how the different types of equity compensation stack up


🧾 Mid-season check-in: Are your taxes a done deal? Let us know when you file your return

  • As soon as possible to get it out of the way 

  • Right away if I’m expecting a refund 

  • The last day if I think I’ll have to pay  

  • There’s still time – I wait until closer to the deadline 

  • I’m running behind and may need an extension 



Fanatics makes a trade for collectible cards 

The collectible trading cards industry is estimated to be worth about $44 billion,* and some companies want in. Sports merchandise giant Fanatics has expanded its reach to the card hobby market, providing enthusiasts with new platforms for buying and trading than the traditional rummage-style shows.  

The online retailer opened its trading card division, Fanatics Collectibles, in 2021 and has been cutting deals since — including scoring the exclusive trading card partner for Major League Baseball and buying card maker Topps for roughly $500 million. Last year it launched Fanatics Live, an online community and livestream e-commerce experience for hobbyists and collectors. Just three years young, the collectibles division already generates more than $1 billion in revenue.  
Budding collectors may want to add pastimes to their sinking fund savings categories to be prepared when it’s time to seal those trading card deals. 


The deal with overspending 

More than 2 in 5 Americans (42%) want to cut back on spontaneous spending, according to Empower research — and speaking up could help them build positive money habits. The practice of “loud budgeting” has people tossing out money taboos in favor of transparency: Being upfront about your monthly spending targets can keep you motivated and focused on your financial goals when hanging out with family and friends. 

There may be other benefits to conversing about cash: 66% of Americans believe more money talks can help people achieve financial freedom and build generational wealth. 

Scale back on spending by trying the 48-hour rule* to stave off impulse purchases or the 50-30-20 approach to budgeting.  

Get the scoop on your money.

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

As of February 23, 2024, EAG holds shares of Target Corporation (TGT) and Walmart Inc. (WMT) in advisory client accounts and does not hold Capital One Financial Corporation (COF), Discover Financial Services (DFS), McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), Piaget [a brand of Richemont (CFR)], and Bulgari [a brand of LVMH Group (LVMUY)].

*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.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.