🐤 Easy come, easy go

If you've ever dreamed of striking it rich, we've got some points you ought to ponder.

Saturday | March 4th, 2023
Early Chirp
Together With Tommy John

Welcome to the weekend, chirpers! If you’re headed out shopping today, you might be wondering how to stick to your budget.

Even as prices keep going up in many stores, TJ Maxx is able to keep its stores packed with high-quality goods for rock-bottom prices. Whether by buying inventory from closing stores, purchasing items in bulk, or taking on inventory that brands are looking to unload for some other reason, this chain has built a reputation for low-overhead stores where treasure hunters can load up on serious bargains.

If there’s one near you (and there probably is), why not give it a fresh look today?

-Chris Agee


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The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

⚽ Messi situation: Less than three months after soccer player Lionel Messi led the Argentinian team to a World Cup win, he and his family are reportedly being targeted by violent criminals. A pair of gunmen entered a supermarket in Rosario that the elite athlete’s in-laws own and left a message for him that read: “Messi, we’re waiting for you. [Rosario Mayor Pablo] Javkin is also a drug trafficker, so he won’t take care of you.” It wasn’t immediately clear why Messi or his wife’s family would face such threats, but Javkin traveled to the supermarket and railed against the region’s unabated drug-related crime wave. He even suggested that security officials might have been involved, asserting: “I doubt everyone, even those who are supposed to protect us.”

🌪️ Twister trouble: As a wild winter nears its end, parts of Texas and Louisiana were hit with a major storm that resulted in multiple tornadoes and left airline passengers stranded in Dallas this week. An advisory went out to residents across several states warning that they should take immediate action upon hearing alerts on their cellphones or storm sirens. Fortunately, there were no deaths attributed to the fierce winds and the only injuries appear to have been minor. Several structures sustained significant damage, though, and trees were toppled across the area. A few big rigs were reportedly knocked over by the winds and a grocery store near Dallas had its roof peeled back during the storm. Meanwhile, in California, a winter storm dumped a significant amount of snow on the drought-plagued state.

✈️ Flying high: It might sound like child’s play, but two engineers at Boeing take their paper airplane skills quite seriously. Dillon Ruble and Garrett Jensen set out to record the longest flight on record and managed to create a design that achieved their goal. The plane soared nearly 290 feet and earned Ruble, Jensen, and another collaborator, Nathaniel Erickson, a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records. As Jensen explained, they took paper size, weight, and launch angle into consideration — and the plane took 20 minutes to fold. The team spent nearly 500 hours honing their design and creating a craft capable of shattering the existing record.

⛓️ Locked up: The latest murder trial to capture nationwide attention ended this week when disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murder of his wife and daughter in 2021. He is also accused of embezzling nearly $9 million from his law firm and, according to state Attorney General Alan Wilson, prosecutors still plan to go forward with a trial in that case unless he agrees to a plea deal. Although there was substantial circumstantial evidence against Murdaugh in the murder trial, prosecutors didn’t have much physical evidence pointing to his guilt, which is likely why they didn’t seek capital punishment. Wilson also noted that there would have been more expenses involved in a death penalty case, noting: “There are so many factors you have to consider. We felt like this case is complicated enough.” Murdaugh reportedly plans to appeal his conviction.

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Watch Out For These Pitfalls If You’re (Un)Lucky Enough To Get Rich Quick

Whether by lottery or inheritance, there are some issues you need to address.

Watch Out For These Pitfalls If You’re (Un)Lucky Enough To Get Rich Quick Giphy

It sounds like an ideal scenario for folks who are struggling to make ends meet — but in reality, falling face-first into a fortune can be more like a nightmare than a dream come true.

The family factor

Whatever the source of a windfall might be, many people are concerned about relatives — and to a certain extent, friends or acquaintances — coming out of the woodwork and asking for a handout. Some newly rich folks might not even believe that they deserve their wealth and struggle to adapt to their new financial situation.

Financial advice columnist Charlotte Cowles recently responded to one such woman who inherited a substantial sum when her mother died. Writing for The Cut, Cowles advised:

  • Invest in a therapist who can help sort out the mixed emotions and jumbled thoughts.
  • Rely on those closest to you for support — even if you think they’re looking at you differently now.
  • Set clear boundaries regarding your own spending and how much you’ll give away.

Learning from others

Unfortunately, there are countless stories of lottery winners and others who came into a fast fortune who squandered their money, were taken advantage of by those they trusted, or faced frivolous lawsuits from jealous people in their lives.

Without a solid plan based on expert advice, you could easily fall into a situation like Billie Bob Harrell Jr., who won a $31 million lottery jackpot in 1997.

Less than two years later, he was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after his entire life had fallen apart. His wife left, he fell victim to a scam, and his once-jolly demeanor disappeared forever.

It’s possible to make smart decisions with a windfall and live a comfortable life with the newfound wealth … but that doesn’t change the fact that money can’t buy happiness.

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Here’s How A Spicy Korean Dish Is Transforming American Tastebuds

BTS and Sesame Street are partially responsible.

Here’s How A Spicy Korean Dish Is Transforming American Tastebuds Giphy

The United States was built on immigration and, as a result, its national cuisine is influenced extensively by flavors and preparations brought to its shores by people from all over the globe.

There are also countless international dishes that never caught on — but one of them is starting to gain traction nationwide.

Introducing tteokbokki

If you haven’t yet heard of this Korean favorite, chances are you’ll come across it at some point in the near future. At its core, this is just a sticky, soft cake of rice that is covered with hot sauce.

There are variations, of course, and as with any food, some places make it better than others.

Even if your neighborhood doesn’t have a tteokbokki restaurant yet (they’re popping up at an impressive pace these days), you can always find a packaged option online or at certain stores, including Costco.

A Korean food supplier called O’Food has only been selling the product for about 16 months, but it’s seen demand skyrocket. In the past year alone, its online sales through platforms like Amazon and Walmart have spiked by about 450%.

The cultural influence

You might have noticed that Korean culture has taken a foothold in the United States in a big way over the past few years. Along with music, animation, and other forms of entertainment, this also has led to the discovery of dishes like tteokbokki.

Jimin, a member of the hugely popular K-pop boy band BTS, helped spotlight the dish when he enjoyed it at an eatery in Seoul, South Korea. Sightings soon went viral on social media and fans around the world clamored to get their hands on some of the spicy rice.

It’s also appealing to kids via Sesame Street, where Asian Muppet Ji-Young has described tteokbokki as her favorite food.

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Three Simple But Important Tips For Any Woman Planning Her Financial Future

This is an important topic to discuss ahead of International Women's Day.

Three Simple But Important Tips For Any Woman Planning Her Financial Future Giphy

March is Women’s History Month, but it’s always the right time for women from all walks of life to think about their own financial futures. As the world creeps further into an unpredictable economic landscape, experts recommend a few important factors that will help smooth out some of the bumps in the road ahead.

Preparation is key

There are certain issues that still impact women in the workforce far more acutely.

One of the most common involves the need to take time away from work in order to care for children, which became an even bigger issue during pandemic lockdowns.

COVID-19 was unavoidable, but planning things out as much as possible gives women more control over their ability to earn and save for the future.

Stop saving, start investing

We’ve all found that traditional savings accounts are returning next to nothing in the form of interest these days. Nevertheless, studies show that women are less likely than men to invest their income.

This takes a huge toll on future wealth since estimates show that women would have created an extra $3.2 trillion if they’d been investing on pace with men. As it stands, women tend to leave the workforce with only about two-thirds as much money in their retirement accounts as men.

Seek an expert’s help

While this piece of advice is good for just about anybody, it can be especially helpful for women. There are many professionals who can each offer a significant piece of the puzzle (certified public accountants, estate planning attorneys, and financial advisers, to name a few), but it’s crucial to pick the best of the best.

Make sure whichever expert you pick is classified as a fiduciary, which means he or she is compelled by law to act only in your best financial interest.

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$222.13 (1.94%)
Dow Jones
$361.22 (1.09%)
S&P 500
$61.78 (1.55%)
$0.00 (0.34%)
-$1,143.71 (-4.87%)
FuelCell Energy
$0.21 (6.25%)
*Market data for this issue is from March 3rd, 2023 at 3:50pm EST

Markets: Well, investors can breathe a cautious sigh of relief as we head into the weekend. Friday’s stock performance resulted in some big gains for all three of the top indexes, though it wasn’t enough to erase the losses posted throughout the first two months of the year.

A report by the Institute for Supply Management helped fuel those increases with a positive outlook on the non-manufacturing sector. Its 55.1 rating signals continued expansion and is 0.6 higher than experts predicted — but slightly lower than last month’s result.

Together With Tommy John

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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