IN THIS ISSUE: Market highs, a tax tip, and a vibe check
High 5What happened: The S&P 500®—a collection of the 500 largest companies’ stocks that helps investors gauge how the entire US stock market is performing—closed above 5,000 for the first time earlier this month (though has since bounced around a bit).
Here’s why: Investors are generally feeling good about the economy. Companies are reporting strong earnings, inflation has cooled over last year, and (despite layoff headlines) the overall job market is still strong.
What it means for you: If you invest in an index fund that tracks the S&P 500®—like in your 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA)—you might have noticed a bump. Stocks in the index have risen by over 20% in the last 12 months.2 But remember: Long-term investing isn’t about short-term ups or downs, and an index notching a new high shouldn’t be the reason you change your investing plan. Just started saving? Here are
5 tips for new investors.
Spam-a-notWhat happened: The Federal Communications Commission banned robocalls that use AI-generated voices.
Here’s why: The agency wanted to curb the spread of false info after a call impersonating President Biden told New Hampshire residents not to vote in the state primary. These now-illegal calls also mimicked family and celebrity voices to con victims out of money. In fact, Americans lost $32 billion to robocall scams last year, according to a report by market research firm Juniper Research.3
|What it means for you: Hopefully fewer scams and more efforts to keep callers honest. These
4 ways to protect yourself
from scammers and identity thieves could help you even more.
Attention, shoppersWhat’s happening: Shopping center vacancies (retail spaces other than malls) nationwide are at a 15-year low.4 And young people might be fueling IRL buying.
Here’s why: Gen Zers say they like shopping in person because of the instant gratification—there’s no waiting around for your shipment to show up, according to a 2023 report by the International Council of Shopping Centers. They also like being able to see, touch, and try out products before buying.
What it means for you: A survey by consumer insight company First Insight has found that shopping in store could actually lead you to spend more: The music, the smells, and experiencing the goods up close could put you in a buying mood.5 So keep an eye on your wallet when walking the aisles. Here are
9 other sneaky reasons you might overspend
(With)hold upCheck your
the amount of federal and state tax your employer hangs onto from your paychecks each year. You might need to make updates if you recently got married, bought a home, changed jobs, started earning more, or welcomed a child. Try the IRS’s
Tax Withholding Estimator6
which could help make sure you don’t withhold too little (and owe taxes later) or too much (which means you’re essentially giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan until you get a tax refund). Then submit a new
to your employer.
Make money onlineIt might not take much effort to put a little extra cash in your wallet—no commute required.
MONEY VIBE CHECK
Money dysmorphiaWhat it is: Having a false sense that your finances are in worse shape than they really are—and letting that pessimism prevent you from making smart money decisions (because what’s the point?). More than 40% of millennials and Gen Zers say they’ve experienced it, according to a recent Intuit Credit Karma survey.8
|Why you might be feeling it:
Social media highlight reels and unattainable celeb lifestyles could make a lot of people feel less-than. But that doesn’t mean it’s reality. Nearly 40% of respondents with money dysmorphia say they have more than $10,000 stashed—almost double the median amount that Americans have saved.9
How to deal: Take a good look at your finances—or consider
calling in a pro
who can provide an objective view. Are you hitting goals and making strides on what’s important to you? If not,
make a plan
you feel good about. Also, consider slowing your scroll—and avoid comparing yourself to others. Learn more about
why mental health matters for your money.