Who we are




Who we are

Updated January 22, 2024

how much $$ does it take to be happy? + loud budgeting

how much $$ does it take to be happy? + loud budgeting

how much $$ does it take to be happy? + loud budgeting

AJ Giannone, CFA

Adam Damko, CFA

The Piggy Bank


📈 The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high last week.

💼Economic News

Retail Sales Surprise Economists. Retail sales for December rose 0.6%, topping expectations for the holiday shopping season. Sales were buoyed by a pickup in clothing and accessory stores as well as online non-store businesses.

Mortgage Rates Hit Lowest Level Since May 2023. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped down to 6.60% this week, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, a full percentage point below their peak of 7.79% last year. However, it's worth noting that mortgages are still considerably more costly than they were during the pandemic-era period of low-interest rates.

 👀 What to Be on the Lookout for This Week

Here are the main economic announcements to look out for:

  • Tuesday: API Crude Oil Stock Exchange, Redbook YoY

  • Wednesday: 30-Year Mortgage Rate, S&P Global Composite PMI

  • Thursday: Durable Goods Orders, New Home Sales, Goods Trade Balance, Initial Jobless Claims, Building Permits

  • Friday: Personal Income, Personal Spending, PCE Price Index

Additionally, here are the biggest earnings reports to keep an eye on:

  • Monday: United Airlines, Logitech

  • Tuesday: 3M, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, Verizon 

  • Wednesday: AT&T, Tesla

  • Thursday: Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Blackstone, Intel, T-Mobile, Comcast, Capital One

  • Friday: American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, Booz Allen Hamilton

📰 In Other News

Biden’s Ban on Overdraft Fees. This past week, the White House continued its war on junk fees. Specifically, the Biden administration announced a crackdown on bank overdraft fees. These are fees that many banks charge when a customer withdraws more money than they have in their account, typically around $35. The new rules aim to reduce the maximum overdraft fee amount to as low as $3, with the goal of providing relief to low-income Americans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that Americans have paid an estimated $280 billion in overdraft fees since 2000. 

In addition to overdraft fees, the Biden administration has already begun cracking down on “junk” fees that are added onto purchases at checkout, such as Airbnb’s cleaning charge.  

Spirit’s Stock Enters Freefall. A federal judge in Boston ruled against JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines, causing Spirit’s stock to fall nearly 50% in one day. The stock continued its bumpy descent for three days straight. In justifying the decision, the judge cited potentially increased fares for flyers, particularly for budget airlines, as the main reason for blocking the acquisition. In other words, if JetBlue and Spirit did combine forces, there would be fewer discount airlines to choose from, which could decrease competition and lead to higher prices for travelers. 

RBI Drops $1B on BK. Restaurant Brands International, Burger King’s parent company, spent $1 billion to acquire its largest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group. RBI plans to spend $500 million over the next few years to remodel roughly 600 of Carrols’ locations by 2028. Overall, Restaurant Brands International — which also owns Popeyes, Firehouse Subs, and Tim Horton’s — is aiming to build a portfolio of smaller franchisees who have a stronger local presence. 

Is a “Money Wave” Coming for the Market? When the Federal Reserve began its policy of raising interest rates, trillions of dollars flowed out of stocks and into money-market funds and other cash-like investments. During this period, many investors wondered why they should risk having their money in stocks when they could get a risk-free 5% return through a savings account. However, this thought process could reverse now that economists anticipate that the Fed will start lowering rates this year.

In the third quarter of 2023, investors had $8.8 trillion invested in money funds and CDs. As we head into 2024, the WSJ is reporting that investors could possibly redirect this cash back into the stock market and potentially fuel another rally. However, as is always the case with investing, there's no absolute certainty about what the unpredictable stock market will do next.


🤔 How Much Money Do You Need To Be Happy?

The Magic Number

Since the invention of currency, mankind has grappled with the question: “Can money buy happiness?” Generation after generation, this age-old query has fueled countless debates and personal reflection. Now, two separate studies think they have the answer. 

It’s tempting to assume that having more money would automatically lead to happiness. After all, money is the key to freedom, literally affording you the opportunity to live the life of your dreams. Money is the means to pursue your passions and desires, be it travel, art, or simply enjoying life without constraints. However, the constant desire for “more” can trap you in a downward spiral of never feeling truly satisfied, always wanting to be wealthier. The question is, what is the financial threshold at which people believe they have stability in their lives? If the bills are paid and there’s money left to enjoy, will we crave more? In other words, what is the magic number that makes us happy? 

To get to the bottom of this question, Empower Financial conducted a study that asked more than 2,000 Americans over the age of 18 a variety of questions about money. The results showed that 59% of respondents believed that happiness could indeed be bought. And, according to the average American, $1.2 million was the magic number for achieving true financial happiness.

Breaking It Down

When it comes to their dream annual salary, respondents in Empower’s survey, on average, said they believed they would need to earn $284,167 per year to be happy. However, this average varied depending on the respondent’s age and gender. 

Among the generations, millennials appeared to be the most demanding, with respondents stating that they would need to earn a whopping $525,000 along with a net worth of $1,699,571 to be happy. On the contrary, baby boomers seemed more content on the whole, aiming for a salary of just $124,000 and a net worth of $999,945. In the middle was Gen Z, with an ideal salary of $128,000 and a net worth of $487,711. Finally, Gen X aspired to have a dream salary of $130,000, with a net worth of $1,213,759. 

Additionally, it's worth noting that men reported requiring a substantially higher income than women to feel happy. On average, men expressed a desire for an annual income of $381,000, whereas women indicated that they would be content with just $183,000.

Finding Happiness With Money

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prize-winning psychologist and economist, conducted his own research to determine whether having more money led to increased happiness.  

Kahneman found that having more money can enhance happiness, but only up to around $500,000, after which happiness levels tend to plateau. The biggest exception to the “more money = more happiness” theory was for individuals who were already financially well-off. Kahneman's study found that if an individual was unhappy even though they were already wealthy, then making more money was unlikely to improve their outlook on life. 

That being said, a common theme between both studies was that most people mentioned they would feel happier if they could indulge in everyday items, like a Starbucks latte or the occasional impulse buy. In other words, happiness is still enjoying the little things in life, even if you do need money to buy them. 

📢 Gen Z’s New Money Mentality: Loud Budgeting

What Is ‘Loud Budgeting’?

The youngest working generation, Gen Z, is known for a willingness to share almost every aspect of their lives, be it with friends, family, or followers on social media. Their personal finances are no exception. 

A rising trend known as “loud budgeting” is gaining popularity and inspiring young people to openly share information about money matters; in particular, about their personal financial goals. The trend encourages individuals to speak up about their budgets: both what they can’t afford to spend money on, and what they choose not to. 

As an example, if a group of friends or co-workers suddenly plan to go out for drinks or a meal, most people probably feel obliged to join them, even if it doesn't align with their budget. The desire to spend quality time with friends and not miss out on creating lasting memories can be quite strong. On top of that, even if you hesitate to commit to a potentially expensive outing, you might offer an excuse, such as a scheduling conflict, rather than simply admitting you don’t want to or can’t afford to spend money on it. Followers of the loud budgeting trend, however, would readily inform their friends that they would love to join, but prefer not to spend a substantial amount, and might explain that their priority is to pay off a debt or avoid accumulating more, framing the decision as a practical one choice to stay on track with their financial goals.

In this sense, loud budgeting is inspiring people to stand their ground and take pride in prioritizing their individual goals.

Benefits of ‘Loud Budgeting’

The trend has many potential short- and long-term benefits. For instance, it can provide a sense of companionship in your budgeting journey. Sharing your budget with those around you can foster a sense of community, alleviating the isolation that many Americans face in managing their finances. 

According to a new study by Empower, roughly 73% of Americans feel stressed about their finances and many young adults admit to losing sleep over money matters. The challenges of post-pandemic inflation have exacerbated this stress, with 67% of Americans stating that they believe their budgets haven't kept pace with rising prices. For younger generations, the rising cost of rent and resuming student loan payments are making it even harder to make ends meet. 

For some individuals, one way of coping with this financial stress is to take pride in their budget and share their financial priorities with others. Moreover, with loud budgeting, they can quickly connect with others who share a similar mindset. Instead of feeling isolated, loud budgeters soon find themselves surrounded by others who, like them, prioritize their budgetary commitments, and may be able to provide valuable budgeting advice as well.

Take Back Control of Your Budget

Many wealth managers are on board with loud budgeting too. They say the main benefit of loud budgeting is that it helps young people develop healthy financial habits, sooner. One of the biggest financial mistakes many people make is turning a blind eye to their finances. Adding the tab from a night out to a credit card may bring momentary happiness, but it comes at a cost, quite literally. 

Once the bills add up, it's human nature to avoid checking statements or bank balances, rather than confronting them. While there are many ways to overcome this, such as enabling balance notifications, they can do little to alleviate the issue itself.  

Loud budgeting normalizes the need to prioritize your own financial situation. The practice acknowledges financial constraints as a challenge of our times, allowing you to connect with like-minded people, and ultimately, perhaps, achieve your financial goals.


Housing costs played an outsized role in inflation last month. The shelter index climbed 6.2% annually in December. This inflation is hitting renters much harder than homeowners. 

Rising auto inventories could start driving down the price of cars. To drive sales, car dealers are starting to offer discounts or cheaper financing to boost sales. 

CVS is closing dozens of stores in Targets across the country, starting in February and ending in April. These closings are part of the drugstore’s plan to reduce its store and pharmacy density. 

Amazon is bringing its “Just Walk Out” technology to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. This technology is already used at select Whole Foods stores, stadiums, theme parks, and airports. 

Factory-built modular houses were hailed as a saving grace for the housing market. However, many of the companies in this industry have gone bust.

Head to the app store and download Allio today to start building wealth your way!


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