Updated March 27, 2023
Bill Chen, CFA
The Piggy Bank
💳 Don’t Forget Your Credit Card Rewards
A Surprising Stat
One of the main perks of using a credit card, aside from helping you build your credit score, is that you get rewarded for your spending. Some cards offer as much as 6% cash back on select categories.
So, if you spend $5,000 on that category (such as eating out, traveling, or groceries) throughout the year then you’ll earn $300 cashback. However, one surprising statistic shows that many people are simply not cashing in on their rewards.
According to CreditCards.com, 23% of people surveyed say that they haven’t used any rewards over the past year. While many people are likely saving up rewards for a big purchase, there are also probably some credit card holders who simply don’t know that they have rewards or aren’t sure how to use them.
With that in mind, here’s a quick crash course on credit cards.
Which Card To Open
This is a highly-debated topic since different cards offer different perks. You’ll want to do additional research to see what perks different cards offer and which one is right for you. You should also take a look at your spending over the past few months to see where you spend most of your money.
As a general rule of thumb, cashback is usually the most popular reward option since it’s the easiest. More than 55% of cardholders use their rewards for cashback. But, your rewards will probably go a little bit further if you redeem them for travel expenses like hotels or airfare. This is because you can usually combine credit card rewards programs with other rewards programs offered by your preferred airline or hotel.
The Cardinal Rule
The Cardinal Rule of credit cards is that you should never carry a balance for extended periods of time. And if you can, try to pay your balance in full every month, that way you'll reap the reward without the interest penalty.
Credit cards charge incredibly high rates of interest, often over 20%. This means that an outstanding balance can quickly accrue more interest and add to your debt. This is particularly important to remember if you use your credit card for big purchases like going on a trip.
When used correctly, a credit card is a powerful financial tool that can help you build credit and get rewarded for spending. But, if you don't keep your spending in check then you will quickly wish that you never signed up in the first place!
🍼 Expensive Child Care Is Contributing To The Worker Shortage
The US is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of low unemployment which, at first glance, seems to be a good thing. Low unemployment typically means most people who want to are able to find jobs.
However, in this case, unemployment is so low that many businesses are actually struggling to find enough workers. According to recent data, one reason why there are fewer able-bodied workers than normal could be due to the high cost of child care.
Since the pandemic, roughly 380,000 workers, ages 25-54, left jobs and still have yet to return to the workforce citing the high cost of child care for their departure. Many of these workers held lower-income jobs in the restaurants and retail sectors.
It Takes a Village
Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling things that a person can do in life. But, there’s no way around it, raising a child is also a long-term financial commitment that can quickly eat into your budget.
After paying for childbirth, which can cost close to $3,000 even after insurance, families need to pay for ongoing expenses like diapers, baby formula, clothes, medical care, and dozens of other baby essentials. These expenses continue for 18 years and usually conclude with the most expensive cost of all: college.
To help pay for everything, many parents will try to return to work the moment their the baby is old enough. But, to do this, parents either need to find a sitter, hire a nanny, or pay for childcare.
All told, childcare costs can easily eat up 20% of the median family’s income. For some people, paying for childcare could eat up their entire paycheck, resulting in a net zero situation. This scenario is often what leads many to just leave the workforce altogether and take on the childcare themselves.
📱 Twitter’s Advertising Swap
The Musk Effect
Twitter has historically sourced most of its ads from large brands that are looking to raise brand awareness.
Think: companies like Apple or Coca-Cola that have ads pretty much everywhere. When a company like Apple shows an ad on Twitter, it doesn’t really expect you to click on the ad and buy an iPhone. It mainly just wants to stay top of mind, talk about new products, and generally increase brand awareness.
In 2021, around 85% of Twitter’s annual ad revenue came from big brand advertising. However, that changed abruptly when Elon Musk bought the company in 2022.
Many large companies immediately halted their ad spend after Musk bought the company, citing concerns that there was more offensive content on the platform that they didn’t want to be associated with. In January, the total number of advertisers plummeted by more than 50% year-over-year.
Direct Response Marketers
With fewer advertisers on Twitter, it's become cheaper and more lucrative for smaller advertisers to book up ad space that was previously dominated by large companies. This had led to a surge in direct-response advertisers.
Direct response advertisers are companies that are looking to gain an immediate result from the ad. They're less concerned about brand awareness and more focused on driving an action from their ad. Usually, they want people to see the ad, click it, and either buy a product or input their email.
According to industry insiders, this trend will likely only continue as long as the advertising space on Twitter remains cheap. As soon as the cost to advertise increases, it will drive down ad profitability and likely force these companies to stop showing ads on Twitter.
Your New Twitter Timeline
The introduction of more direct response advertisers means that your Twitter timeline has likely started to feel more like a late-night TV movie as opposed to NFL Sunday. In other words, you’re likely to see more ads for obscure, less well known products and fewer glossy images of products from big companies.
This increased spending from smaller companies likely still won’t be enough to help offset Twitter’s financial woes. Especially since Twitter isn’t as adept at targeting users compared to other platforms.
However, even if you hate seeing ads, Twitter fans should hope that advertisers find a way to make Twitter ads profitable. If not, the alternative would mean that you might have to start paying to Tweet.
The FCC is tightening the spam rules for telecom companies, which should result in fewer spammy text messages. The rule changes came after a surge in consumer complaints over the past few years.
According to a recent study, Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Mobile have the largest average apartment size. The smallest average apartment sizes can be found in Seattle, New York, and Portland.
Goldman Sachs, which has been very bullish on oil prices, has downgraded its forecast. This revised guidance comes now that the fear of a recession outweighs increased demand in China.
Recent turmoil in the banking industry has led to a resurgence in the popularity of Bitcoin. The largest cryptocurrency’s price recently surged past $28,000 following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
Egg prices have skyrocketed by as much as 60% in the last year and are still sitting at historically unprecedented levels. It’s gotten so bad that Dollar Tree has temporarily pulled eggs from its shelves.
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