Little Relief in a Season of Drought

In the parched environment of a crisis, rains come, rains go. Occasional relief sometimes helps the big picture—and sometimes it isn’t enough.

First, one of our biggest parched landscapes: the Great American Drought, the worst for the U.S. in at least 50 years. It finally rained in the Midwest this week, a welcome reprieve. But with dry weather also threatening harvests in other countries like Russia, food prices are still going to be rising. Soybeans are currently 32% more expensive now than at the start of the year, and corn is up 22%.

Consumers haven’t felt the price jump yet, but we will—the USDA estimates we’ll really start feeling the pinch in 2013, as the impact of the drought trickles down to other things like meat (many animals eat corn).

Another, metaphorical, parched landscape got a little relief: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said in a speech, “Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro … believe me, it will be enough.” The mere hint of additional aid sent the euro higher and sparked a stock rally around the world.

In the parched landscape of unemployment (the U.S. may soon be facing its highest poverty level since 1965!), the Labor Department found some good news: Unemployment filings fell more than expected last week.

This week, we’re talking about income inequality in America—is the “American Dream” still true: With hard work, can you move up the echelons of economic class? And we bring you what you need to know regarding new laws about disclosing 401(k) fees—potentially a big win for anyone who has one.

How Attainable Is the American Dream, Really?

Is the American Dream accessible for everyone? A new study shows that 84% of people out-earn their parents, but it’s still difficult to move between classes.

401(k) Fees Are Changing—How Your Returns Could Improve

Some families spend over $155,000 in 401(k) fees in a lifetime! That might soon change. Here’s what you need to know about the new 401(k) laws.