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Are you a Money Talker?

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04.20.2023

It's time we had the money talk.  

If you’re anything like 62% of Americans, then mum’s the word about finances, according to new research by Empower.1 Let’s discuss. 

Do you avoid money conversations at all costs? Does figuring out how to split a bill at a restaurant make you sweat? Have you ever sought out financial wisdom from a fortune teller (one in four Millennials have)1 but hesitated to speak with a financial advisor?  

If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re not alone: People would rather discuss politics (43%) and death (32%) than their finances (24%). A quarter of Americans (29%) would rather wait in line at the DMV, sit on jury duty (27%) or miss a flight (26%) than tell a stranger how much money they have.1 

And yet, 66% of Americans believe open conversations about money are the key to financial security.1 If conversation is a currency on the pathway to financial freedom, it’s time to start speaking up.  

Check out the full findings from Money Talks to learn more and continue your journey toward a brighter financial future. 

– The Editors   
 
P.S.: Are you a Money Talker or a Money Whisperer? Take our poll and we'll reveal the results next week! 

Cloudy with a chance: In a recent earnings call, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon talked to investors about "storm clouds"* on the horizon for the U.S. economy, noting that banking industry turmoil continues to make the forecast murky. Other big headwinds: a hawkish Fed, uncertain relations with China, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.  

Crypto craze prepares for the bulls: Ethereum Network completed a major software upgrade dubbed Shanghai* which enables investors to queue up to withdraw Ether (ETH) coins in return for rewards (e.g., staking).* With the ETH price up by 50% and the bitcoin price rising by around 70% since the beginning of 2023 ,* Ethereum Cofounder Vitalik Buterin is talking about the next bull run.* According to Money Talks, nearly half (45%) of Americans say new currencies are the future, yet the vast majority acknowledge they don’t understand them (67%).1  

The Erewhon of culture: An orange tree farm in Ojai, California, will serve as the headquarters for Donald Glover’s new production company and creative playground, Gilga,* which the musician-slash-actor-slash-producer behind the TV show Atlanta says will be “like Erewhon for culture.” One of the first projects will be a short film created by Malia Obama. The hits keep coming in the industry: In 2023, movie and video production in the U.S. is expected to reach $26.7 billion.*  

Just have it fixed by September: Netflix was forced to cancel the live airing of the hotly anticipated “Love is Blind” reunion show, citing technical difficulties.* The snafu is raising questions about all streaming giants’ readiness for live events. With YouTube the new home of NFL Sunday Ticket, fans are increasingly reliant on streaming networks for game day. And with packages starting at $349* (a 16% increase from last year), it better work.  

Mortgage lenders are paying the price as homebuyers sit on the fence 

Today's housing prices have many homebuyers deciding to sit on the sidelines – and it’s hitting banks hard. For the first time since 2008, mortgage lenders have collectively been in the red,* according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries lost an average of $301 on loans from 2022, down from an average profit of $2,339 per loan in 2021.  

In addition to low housing inventory and affordability challenges, CNBC reports the majority of potential homebuyers say they will not accept a 30-year fixed mortgage rate over 5.5%.* That’s well below the current rate of 6.4%, which is twice as high as this time last year.  

So, is the demand for homeownership diminishing? According to a third of Money Talks respondents, financial freedom is just as much about being able to go on vacation when they want (28%) as it is about the classic American dream of owning a home (29%).1 

Your June wedding may be short-staffed 

Just weeks before the start of wedding season, David’s Bridal announced it will be laying off 9,236 employees across 300 stores.* According to The New York Times, the company is reportedly filing for bankruptcy* for the second time in five years and could be exploring a sale as a way to restructure.    

This is the latest in a long line of layoffs. Since March, companies have announced 90,000 job cuts,* up 396% from the same period a year ago. 

For many Americans, the job search is on, and people may be in a sharing mood. According Money Talks findings, 34% of Americans, including over half of Gen Z (53%) and millennials (58%), would share their salary information on their LinkedIn to help with potential career opportunities.1  

Looking for an in? Industries with the highest rates of employment growth* include department stores (14,800 jobs gained), motion picture and sound recording industries (8,900 jobs gained), and air transportation (5,700 jobs gained).

Starships (weren’t) meant to fly  

This week was supposed to mark the historic launch of Starship,* what would have been the tallest and most powerful rocket to make it to orbit and a first step toward achieving SpaceX’s dream of sending humans to Mars. Instead, the planned launch was pushed back a few days due to technical difficulties and while the rocket did launch, it exploded* over the Gulf of Mexico after a brief four-minute flight. 
 
While the news means SpaceX CEO Elon Musk remains earthbound a bit longer, his star power remains high. According to new Empower research, people are more familiar with Elon Musk’s net worth (28%) than their own family’s (24%).1 In fact, just six in 10 Americans know their own net worth (58%), and only 38% know their partner’s.1  

If you spaced out during the net worth convo, don’t worry. Read on to learn more (and no, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to start taking steps to get a clear picture of what you own and owe).

1 This survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Empower from January 3 to January 10, 2023, surveying 2,000 Americans ages 18+. 

* Empower Retirement, LLC and its affiliates are not affiliated with the author or responsible for the third-party content provided from links to external material. 

As of April 18, 2023 EAG holds shares of GOOGL, NFLX, and JPM in advisory client accounts. 

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.