📱 Do you “Dreamscroll”?


After the 9-5, here’s how people are spending their 5-9: “Dreamscrolling” (yup, the opposite of doomscrolling). Americans spend nearly 2.5 hours a day (or 873 hours per year) looking at dream purchases they’d like to one day own, according to new Empower research.  

All that time may be well spent, as people say the habit motivates them to reach their financial goals (71%), be smart with their money (56%), and focus on what they really want, helping to avoid unplanned purchases (30%). 

Scroll the study and this week’s money headlines.

— The Editors


💰 Economy effect: New data from the Federal Reserve’s annual survey reveals 72% of Americans* said they were “doing at least OK financially” at the end of last year. While nearly half of respondents could cover a $2,000 cost, some 1 in 5 said they could only handle an emergency expense under $100 using their savings. Inflation and high prices are still a top concern in 2024: Empower research shows more than 2 in 5 Americans say they spend more time dreamscrolling when the economy is uncertain (43%). 

🏃 Dreaming the distance: It’s marathon mania for younger generations, as the number of New York City Marathon runners aged 20-29 crossed the finish line just shy of 10K* participants in 2023. Interest in “marathon training plans” has been catching up too, increasing by 78%* in the last 5 years. For some, the bragging rights and big prize money (a combined $900,000* in NYC) are key motivators. Not so speedy? Slow running is also picking up pace, with some 40,000* enthusiasts enjoying the benefits.  

🤫 Dream invite: Private social clubs are popping up* nationwide, and memberships could set you back as much as $5,000* a year, depending on the club and location. Membership rose 10%* in the fourth quarter ahead of new global openings for celebrity-favorite Soho House in Manchester, Sao Paolo, and the U.S. Those hoping to join their local club may have to wait: There are reportedly more than 100,000 applicants.  

🐶 Living the dream: One in 4 people say their dream job includes pawternity leave to have more playtime with a new pet. A third of Gen Zers (31%) would take a pay cut for a job with flexible hours so they could spend more time with Fido, and nearly 2 in 5 say they’d be more likely to return to the office if they could bring their pet to work. But what if your pet had a job of their own? PetSmart is searching for new Chief Toy Testers to try and review new products on social media in exchange for $10,000* a year. 

Dreaming of the future: Nearly 7 in 10 people see dreamscrolling as an investment in themselves (69%) and an outlet for them to envision what they want out of life (67%).


Dream tiny, live large  

One in 5 Americans spend time scrolling for their dream home, and for some a smaller square footage is a big deal: The tiny home market is expected to grow $4.17 billion* by 2027.  

As an affordable entry point to home ownership, Home Depot is getting a foot in the (tiny house) door by offering a 444-square-foot, 2-bedroom small cottage for $63,000.* Since some 68%* of tiny-home owners carry no mortgage, a smaller footprint may be the right fit for those looking to save. 

Not ready to buy? Look out for opportunities like when Skittles gave one lucky fan the chance to live in a dreamy, rainbow-colored micro-apartment* rent-free for a year to celebrate its new product, Skittles Littles. 


Working on it 

Freelancers make up 4.1% of the U.S. labor force and 43%* of independent workers say their earnings went up last year.  

Those going it alone are dreaming big: 55% are expecting to earn more this year than in 2023 – especially the younger generation. Gen Zers are acknowledging the value of their work – 76% said they are at least somewhat likely to raise their rates in the coming months, compared to 49% of freelancers overall.  

Need to know: Whether you’re freelancing full-time or as a side hustle, you may need to make estimated tax payments throughout the year. 


Golden state dreams 

Dreaming of your golden years? For those hoping to add mayor to their post-retirement resume, California has listed an entire city on the market with a price tag of $6.6 million.*  

The 16-acre listing includes 28 residential properties, as well as a metal shop, post office and lumber yard. In total, 62,000 square feet of property is part of the sale — with monthly rents totaling $44,253 worth of passive income for the new buyer. 

More than half of Americans say owning their dream purchases would make them feel more financially secure (51%), which may be why 47% say working with a financial professional would help them reach their goals. 

Eggcellent news: Some grocery store staples are getting cheaper, with meats, poultry, fish, and egg costs rolling back 0.7%, led by eggs cracking down a hearty 7.3% month-over-month in April. 

Foodflation has altered consumer behavior – last week, 66% of you told us you prefer to add private label brands to your cart over national brands.

Get the scoop on your money.

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

As of May 23, 2024, EAG holds shares of Home Depot Inc. (HD) in advisory client accounts and does not hold shares of Soho House and Co Inc. (SHCO), PetSmart Inc. (PETM), or Hershey (HSY).

*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. 

RO3600920-0524 WF3391951-0524

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.