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Happy Tuesday Morning Brewers!

Good morning. Taylor Swift’s music may be the only thing breaking more records than global temperatures. Swift became the first woman to have 12 No. 1 albums after her re-recorded Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) notched the top spot on the Billboard 200. Having topped the charts a dozen times, Swift passed Barbra Streisand, who has done it 11 times.

Seems like a good opportunity for a pop quiz: There are only three other musical acts with 12 or more No. 1 albums. Who are they? Give it some thought as you scroll through the newsletter, and the answer will be at the bottom.


Americans are flush…for now

Tom from Parks and Rec making it rain

Parks and Recreation/NBC via Giphy

People across the US are likely belting out Lil Wayne when they check their bank balances these days. New data shows Americans have more cash sitting in the bank than they did before the pandemic.

  • Americans have ~10%–15% more in their bank accounts than they did in 2019,  according to a JPMorgan Chase analysis of 9 million Chase customers’ checking and savings accounts.
  • Meanwhile, after lagging behind inflation for two years, wages are finally rising faster than prices. Last month, hourly wages were up 4%, while prices for consumer goods only climbed 3%.

We’re spending like we know we’ve got it: Though Americans have more funds than they did before they had an opinion on the best brand of hand sanitizer, median account balances have dipped more than 41% from their peak in April 2021, when people collected stimulus checks with nowhere to go spend them, the Chase analysis shows. And people still want to shop—consumer sentiment spiked to an almost two-year high this month.

It helps explain why the recession that Wall Street kept warning us about hasn’t materialized, according to the Washington Post (fingers crossed that trend continues).

The same can’t be said across the pond: According to the Wall Street Journal, Europeans are getting poorer. Wages have declined, and the fallout from Covid and the war in Ukraine continue to be felt.

But there are payments coming due

The biggest bill many are facing is the one for their student loans, and those auto-debits are scheduled to restart in October after the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s plan to forgive much of that debt.

Other programs that helped people save during the pandemic are also winding down, and there’s no telling what impact possible future interest rate increases could have on the economy or the job market.

Bottom line: Things are looking up right now, but maybe don’t blow your whole rainy day fund on Jet Skis and Barbie merch just yet.—AR


Kick back + retire


Wanna hear something that’ll get you excited about your golden years? This Princeton grad’s startup raised $161m to help people plan for retirement.

So if you’re one of the whopping 110m Americans over age 50—or a wise millennial looking to get ahead—check out SmartAsset. Their no-cost tool makes it easy to find vetted financial advisors who are legally bound to work in your best interest.

On the fence about securing an extra set of eyes? Research suggests that people who work with a financial advisor could end up with 15% more money to spend in retirement.¹

Take SmartAsset’s free quiz and get matched with up to 3 financial advisors.


Tour de headlines

A grain ship from Ukraine

Sercan Ozkurnazli/ dia images via Getty Images

 Russia nixed the landmark deal on Ukrainian grain. Yesterday, Russia refused to extend an agreement that helped keep global food prices stable by allowing grain from Ukraine to be exported via the Black Sea. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the decision would “strike a blow to people in need everywhere.” In other Russia news: Russia seized local assets of European companies Danone and Carlsberg, underscoring the risks for foreign companies staying in business there. And a Ukrainian attack damaged a bridge connecting Russia with the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

 Experimental drug slows Alzheimer’s progression. Eli Lilly reported the results of clinical trials of its Alzheimer’s treatment donanemab, showing that the drug generally slowed the disease’s pace by a third—and by as much as 60% in certain patients who were given the medication at very early stages of the disease. That makes it the second drug to appear effective at treating Alzheimer’s, along with the recently approved (and very pricey) Leqembi. Both drugs target amyloid plaque in the brain, a notable feature of the disease. Eli Lilly has applied for FDA approval of donanemab and expects a decision by the end of the year.

 Family of teen killed in Murdaugh boat crash to receive $15 million. The family of Mallory Beach, the 19-year-old who died when Alex Murdaugh’s son Paul Murdaugh crashed his boat, has settled their lawsuit against the convenience store that sold then-underage Paul alcohol the night of the accident. Prosecutors have alleged that the scrutiny brought on by the crash led Paul’s father, a once-prominent attorney, down the path that ultimately brought him to murder his wife and Paul in an attempt to cover up his own financial misdeeds.


Ford brings its pickup to the EV price wars

The electric Ford F-150 base model got a $10,000 price cut

Francis Scialabba

Who has two electric motors and a $10,000 price cut? *Slaps roof of F-150 Lightning* this guy. Yesterday, Ford reduced the starting cost of its battery-powered pickup truck from $59,995 to $49,995, saying it was because of lower material prices and greater production capabilities.

It’s likely also because, over the weekend, Tesla rolled out its first production Cybertruck, which will directly rival the F-150 Lightning and is estimated by Kelley Blue Book to start at ~$50,000. While Ford has slashed the price tag on the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV several times to try and compete with Tesla, whose own cuts have helped it dominate 60% of the American EV market, it had been raising prices on the F-150 Lightning…until now.

With sales of the F-150 Lightning dropping from 13,000 in the second half of 2022 to 8,800 in the first half of 2023, Ford hopes the price cut will juice sales. But there’s still an oversupply of the reduced cost Mach-E that far outpaces demand.

Ford isn’t the only one with too much supply: The quantity of EVs available for purchase in the US has exploded by almost 350% this year, according to Cox Automotive, and demand hasn’t kept pace—leaving many unsold cars on lots.—ML



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Skiplagging: When the layover is your destination

Erasing final destination from plane ticket

Francis Scialabba

One of the internet’s favorite travel hacks made headlines recently after a teen allegedly got detained and barred from boarding an American Airlines flight because his North Carolina driver’s license aroused suspicion.

The passenger wasn’t suspected of smuggling Cook Out: His trip to NYC had a layover in Charlotte, NC, and airline staff (correctly) supposed he was committing a textbook example of skiplagging, the thrifty trick of booking a flight with a stopover with no intention of proceeding to the final destination.

Why skip out on the final city?

Airlines usually charge more for direct flights than ones with layovers, so booking this way can save you a lot on the fare.

But missing out on the extra cash makes carriers side-eye the practice like you would a seatmate keen on unpacking the trauma of his three divorces with you. Most major carriers explicitly forbid skiplagging. United and Southwest have both sued the founder of, a website that’s been helping travelers use the trick to find cheaper flights since 2013 (the United case was tossed, and Southwest settled).

It’s a risky hack: It’s legal, but airlines have retaliated but airlines have retaliated by threatening to revoke travel points and banning passengers from their planes. Plus, your skiplagging plans are kaput if you’re forced to check your carry-on or your flight gets rerouted.—SK


Key performance indicators

NBA player Bruce Brown

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Stat: A degree from Wharton is nice, but if you’re looking to make serious cash, you might want to consider being 6’10” with a smooth midrange game. Currently, there are more NBA players with $30 million/year salaries than S&P 500 CEOs guaranteed the same amount annually, the Wall Street Journal reports. That means it’s not just the LeBrons of the world who are out there being both literally and figuratively baller: The WSJ highlighted the Pacers’ recent deal worth up to $45 million to bring on Bruce Brown, a player who started last season on the bench before quietly helping his Denver Nuggets teammates clinch the championship.

Quote: “The Department of Defense is aware of this issue and takes all unauthorized disclosures of Controlled National Security Information or Controlled Unclassified Information seriously.”

That does sound serious but, in this case, the government isn’t worried about intentional leakers doling out classified docs. Instead, it’s concerned about careless typists. It turns out that the domain for Mali (ML) is awfully close to the one for the US military (MIL), leading to “millions” of emails meant for military personnel to go to the West African nation instead—some containing sensitive information like passwords and high-ranking officers’ travel plans, the Financial Times reports. The Dutch entrepreneur contracted to manage Mali’s domain has been sounding the alarm about this leak potential for a decade, but his contract is almost up, meaning all emails will soon go straight to Mali’s government, which is closely allied with Russia.

Read: Christopher Nolan wants Oppenheimer to be a cautionary tale for Silicon Valley. (The Verge)


What else is brewing

  • The FDA approved the first vaccine that protects infants, whether or not they have a medical condition, against RSV, the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in the US.
  • More Americans are getting turned down when they apply for loans, with rejection rates at their highest since 2018, data released by the Fed yesterday shows.
  • Thousands of authors signed a letter asking AI companies to stop using their work to train models without seeking permission or providing compensation.
  • The Golden Bachelor has been revealed, and the man handing out roses in the franchise’s first senior edition will be a 71-year-old retired restaurateur and grandfather from Indiana.


Tuesday To Do List

 Stake your claim: Here’s how to get national park camping spots even after they sell out.

 It’s ASMR in app form: Laying out these 19th-century tiles is so satisfying.

 Keeping it real: Take this quiz to test your AI knowledge, like whether you can tell pictures of real people from AI-generated ones.

 Tony relates to having issues with your mother: This theory links The Sopranos and Gilmore Girls.

  A CFO’s guide: Don’t just cut costs—optimize them. In this CFO Brew resource, discover how to approach cost management proactively.


 Supercharge your performance: in the bedroom with Tenuto 2. The only vibrator designed for him, with her in mind. Banish bedroom anxiety for you and your partner for a powerful finish.*



The puzzle section

Brew Mini: We’ve got a good feeling you can complete today’s Mini in under 30 seconds—or at least under 1 minute. Give it a shot.

Motor City Trivia

Ten years ago today, the city of Detroit, Michigan, went bankrupt in the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.

Let’s show Motor City some love on this anniversary with questions about the city and its people.

  1. Detroit is named after the Detroit River, which connects which two Great Lakes?
  2. The Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Red Wings play in an arena sponsored by a pizza chain with an HQ in the city. Can you name it?
  3. Fill in the blank: Dearborn, a city outside of Detroit, has the largest American ______ population per capita in the US.
  4. This lead singer of The Supremes was born in Detroit’s North End and was neighbors with Smokey Robinson.
  5. The corporation most often associated with Detroit is General Motors. Can you name GM’s four core auto brands?


3 is the magic number

Retail Brew graphic

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 In a world full of innovation, ideas abound, but making them real is the challenge. Tech Brew has you covered. Find out how.


Detroit trivia

  1. Huron and Erie
  2. Little Caesars
  3. Muslim
  4. Diana Ross
  5. Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac

Billboard 200 trivia

Drake (12), Jay-Z (14), and The Beatles (19)

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