Your Financial News Roundup
August 30, 2023
1. Economy: The number of 401(k) and IRA millionaires are rising; while Japan’s economy is showing signs of growth.
2. Tech: Content creators are forming their own “union” to empower and protect creative talent; meanwhile the U.S. Copyright Office is seeking ideas from the public on how to approach AI-made content.
3. World: India became the first country to land a rover on the Moon’s South Pole; and Luis Rubiales, head of the Spanish Football Federation, faces backlash for forcibly kissing World Cup star, Jenni Hermoso.
Personal Finance Concept [Part 5/10]: Debt Detox — Personal Loans
🤑 Millionaires Rising: Fidelity Investments reports that the number of 401(k) millionaires (by account value) rose by 10%, while IRA millionaires rose by 13%. By the numbers:
- 52% of these account holders are Boomers, 46% are Gen Xers
- The average account age is 26 years
- IRA, 401(k), and 403(b) average account balances are up for all generations
- Total savings rates are holding steady at 14% — a solid figure for retirement savings
- More young people are using Roth IRAs
- Employers are increasingly enabling automatic enrollment and contribution (thanks to the SECURE 2.0 Act)
- 2023’s strong stock market performance also contributed to the rise of the newly minted millionaires. (Yahoo! Finance)
Our Take: An account balance of $1M+ is a huge milestone and a sign to continue building your bag. The secret to investing is time in the market, not timing the market.
🇯🇵 An Overdue Turning Point: Rising wages and prices may reverse the 25-year-long deflation trend that’s keeping the Japanese economy stagnant. Its central bank reports that companies have been setting higher prices and wages since the spring of 2022, which could end the need for low-interest rates and high government spending. While Japan’s inflation rate hit 4.2%, driven by higher raw material costs and a tight job market, the central bank is hesitant to declare that deflation has fully ended. (Yahoo Finance!)
Our Take: Though this is hopeful news for Japan, the country still needs to address its falling birth rate, which poses future systemic issues to its economy.
💪🏾 Internet Workers Unite!: Last week, online content creators formed the Creators Guild of America (CGA) to fight for fair wages and content ownership. The CGA does not identify as a labor union but call itself a “professional services organization.” It will not engage in collective bargaining, but will provide networking events and collaborate with brand and studios. With membership starting at $99/month, the CGA is open to all types of creatives, including designers, photographers, and videographers. (TechCrunch)
Our Take: The CGA was spurred by the ongoing wave of organized labor activism taking place across the nation. A union-like system for content creators is timely, as generative AI tools threaten their livelihoods.
👨🏽⚖️ Help Govern AI: Starting today, the U.S. Copyright Office is taking public comments on how to address AI-created content, specifically on:
- How AI models should use copyrighted data during their training process
- Whether Ai-generated content can be copyrighted in the absence of human involvement
- Copyright liability in cases involving AI-generated content
Creators, civil society, and politicians alike view the copyright status of an AI’s training data and outputs as a necessary space for new laws. Public comments are due on October 18th and you can submit them here. (The Verge)
Our Take: Given that AI is in its early phases, participating in the legal process is crucial for helping to shape and govern its use.
🌓 Lunar Touchdown: Last week, India landed its Pragyan (wisdom) rover on the Moon’s unexplored South Polar Region, becoming the first country to do so. It is now the 4th country to have reached the Moon. The rover will search for frozen pools of water that could sit at the bottom of darkened craters. If they exist, these water sources could support human settlers by hydrating them and propelling their rockets back to Earth. (Good News Network)
Our Take: To India, this moon landing is a huge source of national pride. It’s being compared to the inspiration that arose from the first moon landing in 1969. If water is found, then lunar travel and settlement would be much cheaper and closer to reality!
💀 Defeat in Victory: After Spain won the Women’s World Cup, Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso. Rubiales says the kiss was consensual while Hermoso denies consenting. With ongoing protests in Madrid, the Federation’s regional leaders have replaced Rubiales and FIFA has suspended him. Critics call Rubiales an example of the “structural machismo” in Spanish society. Meanwhile, Rubiales’ mother began a hunger strike to protest the treatment of her son. (BBC)
Our Take: This incident is becoming Spain’s “Me Too” moment as protesters chant, “Jenni conmigo” or “I’m with Jenni” to bring attention to the misdeeds by male leaders in football and broader society. Many football players are refusing to join Spain’s national league, adding to the league’s financial pressures.
Finance Concept of the Week
Debt Detox [Part 5/10]: Personal Loans
Common types of debt and how to best tackle them
A personal loan is money borrowed from a lender, such as a bank or credit union, that you can use for various purposes. For instance, you can use a personal loan to consolidate debt, pay medical bills, refinance an existing loan, or fund a vacation. Lenders usually offer anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 with repayment terms of 2 to 7 years.
How Personal Loans Work
Most lenders allow you to apply for a personal loan online, but some banks and credit unions may require you to go to their physical branch. Before applying, check your credit reports to see if there are any mistakes. Correcting any errors on them can help you qualify for better terms.
Some lenders allow you to pre-qualify, giving you the opportunity to preview your potential terms without hurting your credit. Once you’ve found the right lender, you can submit a formal application, which involves verifying your identity and income. After approval, you should receive the funds within a week, with the first payment typically due in 30 days.
One of the biggest benefits of personal loans over credit cards is that they come with fixed interest rates and repayment terms. With credit cards, it’s easy to go into debt because it is a revolving line of credit with variable interest rates. But, with personal loans, the monthly payment is the same for the entire loan term.
Similar to other forms of credit, making on-time payments can boost your credit score while missing payments hurt it. While you can use a personal loan for nearly any purpose, it works best if you want to reach a specific financial goal.
Common Types of Personal Loans
- Secured personal loans: To take out a secured personal loan, you need to provide some form of collateral. The lender may require you to secure a personal loan with cash assets, such as a savings account or certificate of deposit (CD), or with a physical asset, such as your car. If you default on the loan, the lender may keep your collateral.
- Unsecured personal loans: Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning they do not require collateral to qualify. You’ll receive a lump sum of cash immediately with the expectation that you will fully repay the loan by the end of the agreed-upon repayment term.
- Credit-builder loans: A credit-builder loan is a type of personal loan geared toward building credit. Unlike a traditional personal loan, where you receive money upfront, you have to make fixed monthly payments into a savings account. The lender will report your payments to the credit bureaus and at the end of the loan term, you’ll get the money back.
Pros of Personal Loans
- Flexible use: Personal loans provide flexibility in terms of how you can use the funds. You can use them for home improvements, emergencies, weddings, vacations, etc.
- Structured repayment: A fixed repayment schedule makes it much easier to budget and plan for monthly payments.
- Lower interest rates: Depending on your creditworthiness, personal loans typically offer lower interest rates than credit cards. That could make a big difference in your monthly payments and the amount of interest owed.
- Quick access: Lenders usually approve personal loans fairly quickly, allowing you to easily access funds when needed.
Cons of Personal Loans
- Interest costs: At the end of the day, a personal loan is still debt. Even if the interest rates are lower than those of credit cards, there’s an added cost to borrowing to consider.
- Credit requirements: The best terms and rates for personal loans are reserved for those with good to excellent credit. If you have no credit history or have poor credit, you’ll have trouble finding favorable terms.
- Origination fees: Some lenders may charge origination fees, which will increase the cost of the loan.
- Collateral requirements: Some lenders may ask for collateral for larger loan amounts or for borrowers with lower credit scores.
How to Manage Personal Loans
- When comparing personal loans, pay close attention to the interest rate, fees, repayment terms, borrowing limits, and collateral requirements. These can all impact how much you owe.
- Avoid borrowing more than you can afford or need. Before taking out a personal loan, figure out how much you actually need and only borrow the amount required.
- If possible, set up automatic payments for your loan. This reduces the chance of missing a payment and helps you maintain a positive payment history.
- If you have other forms of debt, prioritize paying off the higher interest ones first. For example, if you have both credit card debt and a personal loan, focus on tackling your credit card balance first.
What Else Is New?
- U.S. rapper Eminem wrote a letter asking Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy not to use his music during his campaign.
- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Impact Theory, a Los Angeles-based media that purchased Founder’s Key, a non-fungible (NFT) project.
- Yevgeniy Progizhin, chief of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, was buried in a secret ceremony in St. Petersburg.
- 14-year-old Preston Mutanga was recruited onto the animation team behind ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ after making a Lego recreation of the teaser trailer.
Personal Finance Resources
🚀 Check out our collection of personal finance resources on Gumroad, featuring both free and paid options:
Stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, if there’s any other product you’d like to see, feel free to suggest it here.
If you liked what you read, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here!