Your Financial News Roundup
November 1, 2023
1. Economy: Tumbling tech stocks brought the NASDAQ index into a correction; while student loan payments resume for millions of Americans.
2. Tech: Adobe’s $20B acquisition of Figma has been stuck in regulatory limbo for 13 months; meanwhile, President Joe Biden passed an executive order focused on generative AI.
3. World: Fresh water shortages in Zimbabwe are exacerbating the cholera outbreak; and former President Donald Trump’s three children are named as co-defendants in his civil fraud case.
Personal Finance Concept [Part 4/12]: Profitable Side Hustles – Freelance Writing
📉 Stock Selloff: With leading tech firms trading lower last week, the tech-heavy NASDAQ index officially entered a correction — the index has fallen 23% in value from the year’s start. The NASDAQ index is highly sensitive to select tech stocks (e.g., Apple, Tesla) and interest rates, both of which have fallen due to rate hikes, geopolitical tension, and mixed company earnings reports. According to chief strategist Steve Sosnick at Interactive Brokers, the NASDAQ’s reliance on a select group of mega-cap tech stocks is a double-edged sword and investors should be excited again when a broader market upswing commences. (Yahoo! Finance)
Our Take: The tech sector makes up a significant portion of the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ. With tech experiencing a major downturn, both indices have tumbled. Investors seeking stable returns may consider a dollar cost-averaging strategy to reduce risk and diversify their portfolio with CDs, bonds, and high-yield savings accounts.
📚 Student Loans Are Roaring Back: For 3.5 years, student loan payments were suspended for 43 million Americans. However, since the Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Education doesn’t have the authority to forgive student loan debts, many Americans are now required to resume their loan payments. This shift may lead to financial instability, increased credit card defaults, rising delinquencies, and slower economic growth. As a result, many borrowers are exploring options to reduce their monthly payments or apply for forgiveness programs. (Forbes)
Our Take: Resuming student loan payments may impact the financial well-being of millions of people and have broader repercussions for the U.S. economy — adding to the downward pressure of high-interest rates. Borrowers may have to cut down on discretionary spending or use credit cards to meet their loan payments.
🚫 Deal in Limbo: Over a year has passed since Adobe announced the jaw-dropping news that it planned on acquiring Figma for a whopping $20B. Since then, the company has struggled to gain regulatory approval from authorities in the U.S., United Kingdom, and European Union for this acquisition. Critics contend that this move may be anti-competitive as it could potentially eliminate a key market competitor. However, both companies believe they have distinct customer bases and complementary products. (TechCrunch)
Our Take: Over the last few years, there has been increasing M&A scrutiny by regulators. While Adobe is hoping to close the deal by year’s end, it will continue to face significant hurdles from regulators who are more weary of concentration in the tech industry.
🤖 AI Executive Order: President Joe Biden issued an executive order setting rules for generative AI in anticipation of upcoming legislation. The order’s primary goals are to define new standards for safety and security, data privacy, consumer protection, worker support, innovation and competition, responsible government use, and coordination among federal agencies. Only a month ago, prominent players in the industry, including Adobe, Nvidia, and IBM, committed to the White House AI safety accord to advance the responsible, secure, and fair development of AI. (The Verge)
Our Take: There is a growing emphasis on responsible and ethical AI development and usage. It signals a changing landscape in which AI will be more closely regulated and monitored moving forward.
💦 Water Shortages in Zimbabwe: For months now, Zimbabwe has been struggling to control the spread of cholera in its urban and rural communities due to a lack of clean water. The situation bears resemblance to a similar outbreak in 2008-2009, which claimed over 4,000 lives. Despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledges to enhance infrastructure for fresh water, the government’s efforts thus far have been disappointing. (BBC)
Our Take: Cholera is often more prevalent in impoverished regions with limited access to clean water, sanitation, and healthcare. Social injustice, climate change, and conflict can also compound the spread of cholera, reflecting the deeper issues at hand.
👨👧👦 The Trump 3: Donald Trump’s three children have been named as co-defendants in his $250M civil fraud case with New York state due to their leadership roles in the family business and potential abuse of political influence. The case is about whether their father overvalued his properties to get better loan terms and smaller insurance premiums, as he lied on financial documents to inflate his net worth. A former real estate executive stated Eric Trump influenced asset valuation, while another said he helped Trump Organization leaders dodge taxes and inflated Trump’s property values. (BBC)
Our Take: The Trump family has often been accused of shady business practices and misusing their political power. Despite clear evidence against Trump, the cases have only boosted his electoral appeal within the Republican party.
Finance Concept of the Week
Lucrative Size Hustles [Part 4/12]: Freelance Writing
Earn extra income on the side and live on your own terms
If you have strong writing skills and love to write, consider looking for freelance writing opportunities. Freelance writers can engage in a range of projects for various clients, offering the potential for an interesting side hustle or even a potential career path.
How to Get Started
To start off, choose your writing style and the relevant niche. While you do not need to be an expert on a specific topic or have set qualifications, ideally you should be enthusiastic about what you are writing about. For example, you may want to focus on business-to-business (B2B) writing, copywriting, business-to-consumer (B2C) writing, travel, fitness and diet, personal finance, creative hobbies, etc.
Next, set up a website or blog to build an online presence. You can get started at a low cost using a platform like WordPress, Wix, Ghost, or Medium. Alternatively, you can buy a custom domain and use Google Sites to create your own website to share with prospective customers. Most employers will ask for sample work or your portfolio, so having an online presence will show them what you are capable of.
Once you put together your portfolio, it’s time to pitch your services. You can look at freelance marketplace sites like Fiverr or Upwork, check job boards for writing opportunities, join networking groups to build connections, follow leads on social media, or pitch to software companies. You should also keep your LinkedIn updated and include links to your work for potential employers to see. As you start getting clients, ask them to leave testimonials to build credibility.
Top Platforms to Use
- Upwork: Upwork is a massive freelancing platform that covers a wide range of skills, including writing. You can set your rate by project (flat rate), hour, word, page, or retaining fee. The average hourly rate depends on the type of writing you choose. For example, a technical writer can make an average of $20-45 an hour while a resume writer can make $25-65 an hour.
- Fiverr: Fiverr is known for its “gig” system, where you create specific services (writing-related or otherwise) and clients can hire you directly. Similar to Upwork, you can set your rate by word or hour. The average hourly rate for a freelance writer is $30-40, though you may be able to charge upwards of $50 or more if you have a specific niche or area of expertise.
- Contently: Contently is more focused on high-quality, long-form content creation. You need to apply and be accepted to join their platform, and they often work with established freelance writers. The pay range depends on your subject matter expertise, number of sources and original research, and word count. Pay for a short article (500-700 words) starts at $300 while pay for a long report article (1,000-1,500 words) starts at $1,250.
- ProBlogger Job Board: If you’re interested in blogging and content writing, the ProBlogger job board is a great resource for finding writing gigs. Typically, the site will add several new jobs on the board each day, posted by various companies.
- Variety: You have the opportunity to work on a wide range of topics and projects, which can be intellectually stimulating and prevent monotony. You can also work with clients from various industries, gaining valuable insights and building a diverse portfolio.
- Creative Freedom: Freelance writers often have more creative control over their work, allowing for self-expression and personal style in their writing.
- Potential for High Earnings: With experience and a strong client base, freelance writers can earn a good income, and some even make a substantial living.
- Independence: Freelancers are their own bosses, which means they can make decisions about the projects they take on and how they run their business.
- Skill Development: Freelance writing can help you develop and refine your writing skills, research abilities, and time management.
- Income Variability: Freelance income can be inconsistent due to its client-oriented nature. Some months, you may struggle to predict your earnings.
- No Job Security or Benefits: Freelancers don’t have the job security or benefits (health insurance, retirement plans) that traditional employees enjoy. Deadlines and workloads can also be unpredictable, leading to stress and long hours during busy periods.
- Self-Employment Responsibilities: You are responsible for managing all aspects of your freelance business, including taxes, invoicing, and client acquisition. Additionally, non-billable time spent on marketing, pitching, and administrative tasks can eat into your income.
- Competition: The freelance writing market can be highly competitive, making it challenging for newcomers to establish themselves.
- Client Management: Dealing with difficult clients, negotiating rates, and managing client relationships can be challenging and time-consuming.
What Else Is New?
- America’s favorite popstar, Taylor Swift, is officially a billionaire.
- Despite a weekend of global pro-Palestinian protests, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country will not back down.
- In a major win for workers, General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement.
- The world’s second pig transplant recipient, 58-year-old Lawrence Faucette, passed away six weeks following the organ transplant.
Personal Finance Resources
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