💵 Bundle up

03.07.2024

Big media players Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox plan to change the sports streaming game by bundling up* their content to appeal to cord-cutting fans. This fall, subscribers will have access to 14 sports channels, including Disney’s popular ESPN+ offering, on one platform. Though no price has been released yet, it’s expected to cost above $40 per month.*  

Sometimes, the economy also works in bundles – like inflation and cost of goods, which stack up as people’s top economic concerns for 2024, according to Empower research

Read on for more pairings and partnerships in money news. 

— The Editors

Money

🏀 All-Stars and center court: The NBA All-Star Game debuted an LED-infused stage of brilliance in the form of a 27-million-pixel floor* that lit up with animations. The court-sized video screen, which replaced the traditional glossy hardwood flooring, cost the NBA over $2.5 million.*  

🥤 COLA and inflation: Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is expected to plummet as inflation cools. Older adults already saw their adjustments fall from 8.7% to 3.2%* from 2023 to 2024, but analysts predict that extra “bundle” could be as low as 1.75% next year.  

🌨️ Snow and shovels: Clearing out snowfall cost some property owners as much as $1,300* as Americans bundled up for storms this winter. Residential snow plowing typically costs anywhere from $30 to $100 an hour depending on where you live. Something to consider when choosing your ideal place to retire.  

Work

A skills-based boom 

According to a new report, 1 in 4 people* with higher education degrees are earning less than the median annual income of $32,000 for high school grads. Some jobs that place greater value on skills over formal education are offering higher-than-average salaries.  

In fact, many employers – 70% of companies* – adopted skills-based hiring practices last year, and dropped degree requirements from job postings.  

One study shows that Americans making student loan payments have up to 36% less saved* for retirement than those without student debt. A shift in job requirements could influence future decisions about higher education, as 54% of people say they associate financial freedom with being debt-free. 

Life

Perfect places for pups 

A recent list of best cities for dogs reveals Seattle is one of the happiest places for you and your four-legged friend due to its temperate weather and pet friendliness: 99% of residents* live within a 10-minute walk to a park.   

California shines with three cities landing on the list, including San Francisco, Long Beach, and Sacramento. The ranking is based on factors like the weather, number of dog parks, and average annual vet costs. 

No matter your city, puppy love comes with a price tag, as the average pet owner in the U.S. spends $741 per year,* according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For some, this package deal is worth it: 26% of Gen Zers say pets offer emotional support on their journey to financial happiness.  

Play

A snacking surge for fast foodies 

Wendy’s plans on testing “dynamic pricing” in 2025, a $30 million* initiative intended to benefit customers with pop-up deals on that side of fries. 

The restaurant chain says its new digital menu will enable stores to provide discounts and value offers to customers at different times of the day. 

While other industries like ridesharing and concert ticketing already use this pricing strategy, Wendy’s will be one of the first fast-food restaurants to adopt the model. 

The news comes during a time when consumers are especially cost-conscious and food inflation for dining out is up 5.1%* year-over-year. 

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🍟 Backflip or flip out: Are you craving the new dynamic pricing for fast food? 

  • I’m always hungry for a deal 

  • I’m satisfied with static pricing 

In other taxing decisions, last week’s poll showed that nearly 54% like to get a jump on their taxes and file right away, while about 24% wait until closer to the deadline. 

Get the scoop on your money.

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

As of March 1, 2024, EAG holds shares of Disney (DIS) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) in advisory client accounts and does not hold Fox Corp. Class B (FOX), Fox Corp. Class A (FOXA) nor Wendy’s Company (WEN). 

*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. 

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