Your Financial News Roundup
February 1, 2023
1. Economy: In Q4 2022, the U.S. economy grew 2.9% and added 233K jobs; and Americans cite the government’s dysfunction as their top concern.
2. Tech: Amid ongoing tech layoffs, plenty of firms are still hiring; and upcoming Supreme Court cases threaten to alter the status quo of online free expression.
3. World/US: Ukraine doubles down on its anti-corruption programs to maintain Western support; Finland continues its joint plans to join NATO with Sweden despite hiccups.
Weekly Finance Concept [Part 1/8]: A Primer on Cash
…on how the news impacts you and your wallet
1. Economy: The U.S. economy defies expectations (yet again), painting a rosier picture that has Fed Chair Jerome Powell angrily shaking his fist. However, the state of the economy is a cause for concern for many Americans. Decreased consumer spending, which makes up 70% of the economy, could drive the nation into a recession, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, it’s accurate to frame a mild recession as “cooling off” after 2 years of hyper-growth.
Tech: Ongoing tech layoffs due to overhiring have created opportunities for smaller firms to attract top talent that otherwise would have been lured away by Big Tech. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s handling of Internet cases could create an unequal playing field between established creators and rising talent and lead to increased censorship, among other impacts. As states create their own rules, compliance with state regulations may becoming increasingly complex for tech firms and prompt federal action.
World: The U.S. has supplied billions in aid and hardware to Ukraine. But Republicans are weary of U.S. spending and want a better idea of where the aid funds go. As calls for spending cuts grow, a change in U.S. support may affect the tide of war. Russia’s strategic goal was to improve its security, but instead, it incentivized the famously neutral Sweden and Finland to join NATO — bringing a spirit of unity to the West.
📉 Recession or Not?: The U.S. economy unexpectedly grew 2.9% in Q4 of 2022 despite interest rate hikes. This data comes in just in time as the Fed prepares for its next rate meeting, which is forecasted to result in a 0.25% increase. Overall, the job market ended strong with 233K jobs added in December and a 4.6% rise in wages compared to the past year. Plus, inflation continued to fall. But, home sales fell for the 11th month in a row. The consensus is that there will be a mild recession from April to September and unemployment will go up. (ABC)
🏛️ The People Have Spoken: A recent Gallup poll revealed that 21% of Americans believe poor leadership in the government is the most important problem facing the country today, followed by inflation (15%) and immigration (11%). More than 4/5 Americans describe the country’s economic conditions as only fair (38%) or poor (45%), while 72% believe the economy is worsening. But, job market prospects are positive, with 64% of Americans saying it is a good time to find a quality job. (Gallup)
💡 They Fire, We Hire: It’s only 1 month into 2023 and 65K+ tech workers have been laid-off. Layoffs.fyi indicates 200+ companies, including Spotify, Google, and Microsoft, have announced layoffs thus far. However, some tech companies are still hiring, including Nvidia, Apple, Cloudflare, Block, Broadcom, AMD, Palo Alto Networks, Crowdstrike, Box, LinkedIn, and MoonPay. (*Note HubSpot announced layoffs earlier this week.) (Business Insider)
⚠️ The Internet’s Rules are a Changin: The Supreme Court is taking up cases that will examine the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The CDA frees tech firms from the impact of their users’ posts while allowing them to moderate content — creating a free-speech-like environment without a flurry of lawsuits. The outcome of the pending cases could have a major impact on content moderation, content discoverability, and free expression on the Internet as we know it — either increasing censorship or loosening moderation rules. (CNBC)
🥊 A War on Two Fronts: While U.S. lawmakers call for scrutiny on Ukraine’s usage of billions of dollars in aid, the Ukrainian government is intensifying its anti-corruption programs. So far, 11 government officials have resigned or were fired. Given the nation’s history of corruption, Western nations fear their aid may be exploited. Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, a member of an anti-corruption committee agrees, saying “…we have two wars. The first is against Russia, then there’s our internal war for the future of Ukraine.” (BBC)
🤝 Finland Remains Aligned With Sweden in NATO Bid: Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto announced Finland would stick to its plan to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) with Sweden by July. Sweden is Finland’s closest military partner and both countries had been hoping for a quick joint ratification process. But, Turkey has raised objections to Sweden’s application due to concerns that Sweden is harboring suspected militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). (U.S. News)
Finance Concept of the Week
What’s This Asset? — A Primer on Cash [Part 1/8]
A Series Exploring Different Asset Classes and How to Invest in Them
You’ve likely heard the phrase “Cash is King.” It’s about having enough money to be financially healthy, especially in a market downturn when other assets’ values go down. In 2022, cash performed better than most securities, including crypto and stocks. Having enough cash during times of economic uncertainty gives you the flexibility and resources to navigate a crisis and come out for the better.
- Save and earn moderate interest on capital you are not currently using
- Access to liquidity during downturns (e.g., emergency fund)
- Pay off high-interest debt
- Dollar cost averaging (DCA) into investments
- Buy market dips to acquire assets at a discount
- Not suitable for long-term investing
- Loses its value through inflation
- Could lead to missed investment opportunities
How to Make the Most of It: Having enough cash on hand gives a sense of security, especially when times are hard. It helps to:
- Save at least 3-6 months of expenses for emergencies in a high-yield savings account. If you are more conservative or anticipate a greater need for cash in the future, save 8-12 months of expenses.
- Hold between 5%-20% of your investment portfolio in cash to dollar-cost average into the market regularly or to buy securities at a discount during market downturns.
Risk Level: Low
Common Accounts to Use:
- Checking Account: Best for storing money for short-term use (e.g paying your bills).
- Savings Account: Best for setting aside cash for a financial goal or specific need. Go for high-yield! Use a bank like Marcus by Goldman Sachs or Ally Bank to earn ≥3.5% on your savings!
- Certificate of Deposit (CD): Best for storing money for a few months to a few years to earn a fixed interest rate. Intended for funds you won’t need in the short-term.
- Brokerage Cash Account: Cash stored on an investing platform meant to buy stocks or other assets.
- Money Market Account: An account that invests in short-term, low-risk government bonds or certificates of deposit (CDs) to earn higher interest. Can only withdraw 6 to 9 times a month.
Tip of the Day
💵 With tax season coming up, check out online tax filing alternatives to TurboTax like OnLine Taxes or TaxAct to save some money. They are much cheaper, but offer a slightly more manual user experience.
- Grocery Shopping on a Budget (Finance Futurists)
- ChatGPT’s Classroom Effect (WIRED)
- Financial Wellness Is Self-Care (Kiplinger)
- How to Get Your State Stimulus Check (CNET)
- 700K Jobs Open in This Tech Field (CNBC)
- U.S. Fed Rejects Crypto-Focused Bank’s Application (Reuters)
Personal Finance Resources
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Stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, if there’s any other product you’d like to see, feel free to suggest it here.
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