Cannabis payment options diminish

Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

A terrible gold deal for retirees

Gold IRAs are no safe haven, said Jeremy B. Merrill and Hanna Kozlowska in The Washington Post. Gold IRA investment companies like Lear Capital and Hartford Gold Group typically promote their products as “exclusive” or “collectible,” even though they’re sold in bulk. They also sell with exorbitant markups. One retiree invested $100,000 in a Hartford IRA in 2019, which “netted him just $53,000 worth of gold and silver — meaning the coins had been marked up 92% over the value of the metal.” Gold companies have preyed on one segment in particular. “Pitches to invest in gold coins are a daily presence in media that caters to a right-wing audience and often echo conservative talking points about looming economic and societal collapse.”

Bargain prices for electric vehicles

Prices for used and new EVs have dropped substantially from a year ago, said Ana Teresa Solá at CNBC. The average price for a used electric vehicle was $40,916 in June, down almost 30% from a year ago. “New EV prices fell nearly 20% year over year from their peak of $66,390 in June 2022.” The price cuts helped spur a record 300,000 EV sales in the second quarter. More shoppers are looking into used EVs, which qualify for a $4,000 federal tax credit if sold for less than $25,000. There’s one major downside to buying used: “While the latest EV models are getting 250 to 400 miles per charge, used EVs may go up to only 150 miles per charge.”

Cannabis payment options diminish

Mastercard ordered banks last week to stop accepting marijuana transactions on its debit cards, said Tiffany Kary in Bloomberg. The development cuts off one of the last digital options for cannabis buyers and is another “blow to the industry, where stock prices have been depressed due to a lack of headway with national legalization.” Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and while some smaller, regional banks may still serve cannabis companies, “major institutions and credit-card networks like Visa and Mastercard don’t want weed transactions on their networks.” PIN debit cards were one of the few ways “to buy marijuana without cash,” which is inconvenient for customers and “riskier for dispensaries because it exposes them to potential theft.” It’s unclear whether other digital options exist for marijuana shoppers. 

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