Tik, Tok, Tax Time
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If you’ve been waiting for March vibes to turn from lion to lamb, it didn’t happen this week. Between banking turmoil, stark new climate warnings, and a massive blob of seaweed upending spring break plans, the month is still roaring along. Here’s what we’ve been watching:
- Interest rates: The Federal Reserve raised rates by another quarter of a point. That brings the benchmark federal funds rate to a range of 4.75% to 5% (that’s what banks charge each other for overnight lending, and it trickles down to mortgages, car loans, credit cards, etc.). Even if rates have reached their peak, experts don’t expect them to drop to rock-bottom levels anytime soon, so we have a quiz today to test your knowledge on investing in a high-inflation, high-interest-rate environment — keep scrolling for the link ⬇!
- Bank failure fallout: The banking crisis continues to unfold, with Swiss giant Credit Suisse becoming the biggest bank to fail in the last two weeks. If you don’t bank with any of the institutions that have collapsed, you might be wondering — what does all this mean for me? We think you might find last week’s FWIW of interest, and this Wall Street Journal story is helpful in understanding some of the ripple effects.
- Climate warning bell: A new report from the UN International Panel on Climate Change warns that climate change is already transforming the planet and that we must act swiftly to stop it. Reports of early starts to spring are just one example of how we are seeing global warming play out, and the report made it clear that the younger you are, the greater the impact these changes will have on your life. If the headlines have you thinking about how to support sustainability through your investments, our Guide to Cleantech Investing might be helpful.
- ESG investing in political crosshairs: President Biden exercised his veto power for the first time on Monday, protecting the rights of retirement fund managers to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in their investment decisions.
Also, it might be hard to believe, but Tax Day is just 26 sleeps away. Whether you’ll be rushing to file at the last minute or you’re already thinking ahead to next year, we’ve got some tips for you below.
News you can use
- You can feel good about your next Target run, as the retailer just earned a perfect score on a racial and gender pay scorecard. Target earned an A+ for reporting 100% racial and gender pay equity across its entire employee population. Other leaders include Starbucks, Mastercard, Microsoft, Pfizer, BNYMellon, Citigroup, Adobe, American Express, Visa, Lowe’s, Best Buy, and Home Depot.
- Assets in US gender equity funds have doubled over the last three years to $1.3 billion, according to Morningstar. Unfortunately, those funds still represent less than 0.01% of total equity fund assets in the US. If you want to learn more about gender lens investing, we’ve got you covered.
- Starbucks’ new CEO Laxman Narasimhan is having quite a first week (and may need something stronger than coffee). Ahead of his first annual shareholder meeting, workers at over 100 stores went on strike, demanding an end to alleged union busting. Today, shareholders will vote on a proposal for a review of the company’s labor practices, which Morningstar called “a bellwether” of how Wall Street’s feeling. Read more about how shareholders weigh in on issues.