🎉 Party time


It’s The Currency’s one-year birthday of bringing the latest in money news to your inbox – and we’re not alone in celebrating. 

A record 4.1 million Americans are poised to turn 65 in 2024, and while the milestone is typically seen as the average retirement age for many, the goal posts are moving: According to Empower research, people’s expected retirement has been pushed back by three years, on average, and five years for those lacking a detailed financial plan. Redefining what their golden years look like, more than half of Americans (58%) are open to working indefinitely. 

No matter how many birthdays you’ve had, it’s wise to keep your retirement accounts on track: Check out where your 401(k) stacks up by decade. 

Let’s celebrate together by unwrapping this week’s money headlines. 

— The Editors


🎇 A stock is born: Serving as the first social media IPO since Pinterest in 2019, Reddit has filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange after boasting 73 million average daily active users* across 100,000 communities. In a unique move, the company plans to reserve shares for 75,000* of the most loyal and engaged Redditors; users selected will have the chance to buy shares of the stock at its IPO price before it starts trading.

🍰 Blowing out the candles on birthday perks: Brands have been cutting back on the once-abundant b-day freebies tied to loyalty programs or bumping up the price of redemption. In the past two years, Dunkin’ removed the free birthday drink from its loyalty program, while Red Robin and Sephora started requiring a minimum spend* to redeem. You can still snag coffee on the house at Starbucks, and with the chain’s lofty goal of doubling its base of 75 million rewards members* in five years, that’s a lot of birthday gifts. Given the current state of inflation, consumers are taking a sip of relief whenever they can.    

🎶 A song for the ages: The gift of music keeps giving, as Rod Stewart can see – he recently sold his catalog of songs for around $100 million.* Known for relatively predictable returns, music rights continue to attract investors after the market hit a high note in 2021 and 2022. Though some tunes can’t collect royalties forever: “Happy Birthday to You” entered the public domain in 2016, and the previous owner agreed to pay $14 million* to refund those who had paid licensing fees to use the song.  

🎁 Wishing for four wheels: While getting a license may be a nostalgic rite of passage in your teen years, the ride itself is hitting some speed bumps. Despite new vehicle prices rising only slightly (0.7%*) between January 2024 and the year prior, the cost of auto insurance zoomed up more than 20%* on average during the same period. Instead of wheels, investing in your teen’s future could pave the way for financial security. 


💰 On your wishlist: Which of these financial presents would you most like to receive? 

  • Stock shares 

  • IRA contribution 

  • Conversation with a financial advisor 

  • Student loan payment 

  • Bonds

Make a wish for food deals, too: Last week, 48% of you said you’re ready to dig into dynamic pricing.  


Another year around the sun 

Want to spend your birthday on Mars? Do candles burn in a zero-gravity environment? You may be in luck: NASA is seeking four volunteers* to spend a year living in a simulated Mars environment.  

The surface mission on a 1,700-square-foot, 3-D printed habitat in Houston, called Mars Dune Alpha, will help inform NASA’s plans for human exploration of the red planet.  

The crew will reportedly earn about $10 per waking hour, 16 hours a day, amounting to a roughly $60,000 paycheck.* Considering that a real mission to Mars could cost upwards of $1 trillion,* it’s a worthwhile trial run. 


Turning the page on 100 years   

After a century in business, the country’s third-biggest publisher* is telling a story for the ages: a list of the 100 most notable book releases* in the last hundred years — a blend of bestsellers, prize winners and cultural canons that would make a good birthday gift for the bibliophile in your life.  

Books are big business: In the first six months of 2023, adult fiction sales rose 4.2%,* thanks in part to the power of social media. The popular pastime has helped Simon & Schuster close the books with a record $1.1 billion in revenue in 2022 and score a $1.62 billion acquisition by private equity firm KKR in October of last year.  

As you write the story of your life, taking some time to reflect on what your ideal retirement looks like can help you work toward your own happily ever after. 


Cue the watch parties 

’Tis the season for another big-ticket yearly celebration: March Madness is getting the ball rolling with Selection Sunday,* where fans can expect the participating teams and seeds to be revealed. 

Brands flocked to last year’s tournament – spending more than $1 billion* for TV ads that ran over the course of the multi-week event. The final games in 2023 spanned the spectrum in terms of viewership, though the women’s championship set a new record with 9.9 million* tuning in on ESPN (and 12.6 million including other platforms). 

The popularity of that game in particular was a factor in the new $920 million,* eight-year agreement signed by the NCAA, which gives ESPN exclusive rights to broadcast 40 championships, including the Division I women’s basketball tournament.  

If you’re aiming to take home a bracket crown this year, plan ahead for what to do with your March Madness winnings

Get the scoop on your money.

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

As of March 7, 2024, EAG holds shares of Disney (DIS) in advisory client accounts and does not hold Pinterest (PINS), Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. (RRGB) and Sephora [a brand of LVMH (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.