Oct 17, 2022
The Weekly Scan October 17, 2022
Find out what’s happening in the world of business this week.
Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of October 17, 2022. Plus, our Certified Financial Planner™ Lauren Anastasio gives advice on how to respond to the news.
The gig is up? The Department of Labor introduced a proposal last week that could lower the bar for companies, making it easier for gig workers like Uber and Lyft drivers to be full employees. The proposal would take into consideration the level of control workers have over their work and whether or not they have the potential to increase their earnings by offering new services. Being considered a full employee at the federal level can change the benefits and wages they receive on a federal level.
- Lauren’s takeaway: If these new rules go into effect, they could mean more rights and benefits for gig economy employees; however, the ramifications to business models like DoorDash, Instacart and Uber could be devastating.
Heightened security. Social Security payments will increase 8.7% as part of the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for beneficiaries. It’s the largest increase the government has made to Social Security in four decades. Every beneficiary who receives Social Security will get the same bump—more than $140 extra per month—no matter their circumstances. The government makes adjustments on an annual basis based on inflation numbers, which remain high. Last year, Social Security payments increased 5.9%, the largest in four decades at the time. Sixty-five million people receive monthly Social Security benefits.
- Lauren’s takeaway: Social Security income is a vital component to retirement for most Americans, but for many it may not be enough. If you want to plan for a comfortable retirement, consider the benefits of saving in your own IRA.
Speaking of inflation…The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the main measurement of inflation in the United States, remained high at 8.2% in September. Consumers are reportedly spending more on essential items like groceries where prices continue to be high and less on things like gas and furniture, where prices are falling. Overall food prices increased 0.8% in September from August and 11.2% year-over-year. Prices for butter and margarine, flour, breakfast sausage, fruits, and vegetables saw some of the biggest increases in price.
- Lauren’s takeaway: Increasing food prices are making it harder on everyone’s budget. Consider swapping beef for poultry, and name brands for a generic alternative at the grocery store to keep costs down.
Getting dunked on. Dunkin’ announced that it’s changing its rewards program, known as DD Perks, and fans of the program are upset. Previously, DD Perks members received a free drink after they spent $40. Members will now get that free drink after they spend $70. Perks users will also no longer get a free Dunkin’ drink on their birthdays. Dunkin’s has notoriously loyal customers, but many were upset over the changes and took to the Reddit thread “/DunkinDonuts” to express it.
- Lauren’s takeaway: Inflation has been making headlines for over a year, but you may not have considered that rewards points–whether it’s airline miles, credit card rewards, or coffee loyalty points–are also subject to inflation. It’s best practice to redeem often rather than stockpile rewards for the future.