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16 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest

This article takes a look at the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on navigating retirement living in the US, you may go to 5 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest. The Ease of American Travel – and Its Place in Retirement  […] This article takes a look at the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on navigating retirement living in the US, you may go to 5 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest. The Ease of American Travel – and Its Place in Retirement  While Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG) and Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) are high up on the list of what makes America great, there’s another factor that takes the winning spot – the ease of American travel. Undoubtedly, one of the best things about the US is its lack of inter-state travel requirements. Simply get up, book a flight, pack a bag, and head to the airport – no need for visas or complicated documents or waiting periods. It’s partly due to this ease in requirements that the US Federal Aviation Administration handles upwards of 45,000 flights and more than 2.9 million travelers every single day. Of course, a large part of these travelers would be those who are traveling for work-related purposes or for leisure, but there’s also another group in the US that accounts for inter-state moves: retirees.  2023 saw more than 338,000 retirees move states to live out their Golden Years, reports AARP. Not only is this number huge itself, but it also depicts the growth in move-to-retire trends as the 338,000 figure is a 44% increase from 2022’s number.  In the Advisor Authority survey conducted by Nationwide, findings shed light on the reasons why American retirees move. The reasons listed included the search for a lower cost of living, tax benefits, and relocation for family purposes – in descending order of likelihood. While this survey was conducted with a sample of investors to inquire about their retirement plans, it is plausible to apply the same reasons to a broader group of retirees. All in all, it’s safe to say that retirees venture to find the best cities to retire for 2024.  “Regardless of the reason, now is the time for advisors and financial professionals to check in with clients who are approaching retirement to make sure they have a plan in place for their next steps, and to work together to ensure their path is one that will lead to a secure and happy retirement. It’s also a great opportunity to drive a conversation about what life may look like when they reach a point where they are unable to work, which could come sooner than some may expect”. -Rona Guymon, Senior Vice President, Nationwide Annuity Distribution Of those who do choose to move for retirement, the destination chosen is varied. While Florida still reigns as one of the most popular retirement states, others have claimed their positions. The Pacific Northwest – namely, Idaho – has also made it to the top ten spots, as shared by Forbes. With growing popularity, the Pacific Northwest US states are attracting more and more retirees, and finding the best retirement cities during this trend becomes crucial. While these states don’t offer the magic of Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) – there are over one hundred Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG) locations though – they offer something much more valuable to retirees: lower costs of living and lower median house prices in many of their cities.  To facilitate present and potential retirees in navigating the Pacific Northwest move, we have compiled a list of the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest.  Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com Methodology To compile this list of the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest, we consulted several sources including our list of 20 Best Cities to Retire for 2024, FinanceBuzz, The Ascent, WorldAtlas, MoneyTalks, and The Honest Local. As the list of Pacific Northwest US states is often disputed, for the purpose of this article we took the definition of National Geographic Maps. They define the following US states as Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.  Once a list of places was compiled using these sources, we then ranked them across multiple factors, namely, their cost of living, their livability scores, and their median house price. For this article, cost of living indices were taken from Best Places, livability scores were taken from Area Vibes, and median house prices were taken from Redfin Corp (NASDAQ:RDFN). A cumulative score was then assigned to each city, with the 16 highest-scoring cities making our list of the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest.  For cities that gained an equal score, their cost of living index was used as a tie-breaker. The resulting list is presented in ascending order, with the highest-ranked place being presented last. It is important to remember that personal preference plays a big part. The best course of action is to visit the place you plan to move to, converse with locals, take advice from a financial consultant, and only then make your final decision.  By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or a professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.  Here are the 16 best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest: 16. Tumwater, Washington Insider Monkey Score: 68 Cost of Living Index: 112.1 Livability Score: 84 Median House Price: $500,000 Set in Washington’s Thurston County, Tumwater starts off our list of best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest. At the crossroads of Budd Inlet and the Deschutes River, Tumwater holds abundant natural beauty – complete with a stunning waterfall. Its high livability score, decent housing opportunities, and expansive retail options make it an ideal retirement city. 15. Grants Pass, Oregon Insider Monkey Score: 69 Cost of Living Index: 102.5 Livability Score: 70 Median House Price: $387,500 With a cost of living that is just 2.5% higher than the national average and a median house price that is close to the US median figure, Grants Pass can prove to be a suitable retirement option for retirees with a decent figure in the bank. What pits Grants Pass above some of the cheaper cities is its homely environment. The city provides residents with a suburban atmosphere along with a mix of nature. Retirees can relax along the Rogue River, attend one of the city’s galleries, or explore one of its cozy coffee shops. They can also indulge in delectable farm-to-table cuisine for some healthy yet delicious treats. 14. Salem, Oregon Insider Monkey Score: 73 Cost of Living Index: 104 Livability Score: 79 Median House Price: $427,900 While a somewhat more expensive option than some of the other cities on our list of best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest, Salem’s many other benefits make it a place worth considering. Not only does the destination offer top-notch healthcare facilities, but it also boasts a variety of nature-related and entertainment activities that are ideal for fun-loving retirees. Senior citizens can catch a ride on the Salem Riverfront Carousel, relax in the city’s lush parks, or kick back with a drink at Santiam Brewing. 13. Bonners Ferry, Idaho Insider Monkey Score: 73 Cost of Living Index: 92.8 Livability Score: 62 Median House Price: $340,000 With a cost of living that is 7.2% lower than the national average, Bonners Ferry in Idaho is one of the best places to live in the Pacific Northwest. A popular retirement city, senior citizens can spend their days taking in the beautiful views of surrounding forests and mountains. Better yet, for retirees looking to invest in their forever home, Bonners Ferry homes sit a good $47,000 below the national average, giving them a leg up on the market. 12. Coos Bay, Oregon Insider Monkey Score: 75 Cost of Living Index: 90 Livability Score: 60 Median House Price: $318,000 Our third Oregon pick, Coos Bay is an ideal spot for retirees with a smaller retirement bank balance as the cost of living is 10% below the national average. Especially favorable for retirees who are weather-conscious, Coos Bay experiences a mild and pleasant climate with mild winters and cool summers. A coastal city, senior citizens can soak up all the benefits of coastal living, including scenic hiking areas, stretches of sand dunes, and fresh cuisine. 11. Ashland, Oregon Insider Monkey Score: 76 Cost of Living Index: 106.1 Livability Score: 83 Median House Price: $485,200 If your retirement plans come with a bit of budget, then Ashland in Oregon is one of the best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest – and definitely worth exploring.  Home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and several galleries, the city welcomes classic art lovers and gives them an experience to remember. On the nature side of things, Ashland’s Lithia Park offers pickleball courts, a rose garden, a volleyball court, and duck ponds. 10. Roseburg, Oregon Insider Monkey Score: 76 Cost of Living Index: 89.5 Livability Score: 66 Median House Price: $366,050 Located in the Umpqua River Valley, Roseburg is known as the ‘Timber Capital of the Nation’. While still integral to the Roseburg economy, the city also offers many other amenities such as excellent healthcare services, perfect for the health-conscious retiree. A nature haven, Roseburg boasts surrounding rivers, lakes, mountains, and streams while offering a close-knit community feel. 9. Astoria, Oregon Insider Monkey Score: 81 Cost of Living Index: 107.1 Livability Score: 82 Median House Price: $393,750 A soothing coastal city, Astoria is popular for its history and natural beauty – ideal for retirees who crave a more laid-back and peaceful retirement period. The city offers museums, the highly-rated Bowpicker Fish and Chips, and the hilltop Astoria Column. 8. Walla Walla, Washington Insider Monkey Score: 87 Cost of Living Index: 93.2 Livability Score: 79 Median House Price: $355,000 Our second Washington pick for best cities for retirees in the Pacific Northwest is none other than Walla Walla. A college town, Walla Walla is home to Whitman College, welcoming people, Walla fresh produce, many wineries, and several eateries – including the much-loved Maple Counter Cafe. 7. Umatilla, Oregon Insider Monkey Score: 88 Cost of Living Index: 88.5 Livability Score: 75 Median House Price: $319,434 A small city close to the bigger ones, Umatilla is an ideal spot for retirees who look for slower living but still want access to big-city energy.  An affordable option, Umatilla boasts a cost of living that is 11.5% lower than the national average, attracting retirees who live on smaller monthly budgets. 6. Spokane, Washington Insider Monkey Score: 92 Cost of Living Index: 103.1 Livability Score: 81 Median House Price: $337,500 While Spokane’s cost of living is 3.1% above the national average, retirees can seek financial benefit from Washington’s tax policies. Since the state does not tax any form of retirement income, senior citizens can enjoy the full benefit of their finances. With great healthcare, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and the Riverfront Park, Spokane is among the best places to live in Washington state for retirees.  Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest.  Suggested Articles:  17 Safest Places to Retire Abroad for Less Than $3,000 a Month 15 Most Luxurious Places To Retire Abroad if You Have a Budget Over $15,000 a Month 16 Best Fuel-Efficient Cars for Retirees To Buy in 2024  Disclosure: none. 16 Best Cities for Retirees in the Pacific Northwest is originally published on Insider Monkey. .....»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey5 hr. 51 min. ago Related News

Where to watch The Traitors online for free: US and UK versions

The Traitors (US) and The Traitors (UK) have aired two seasons each so far. We'll show you how to stream both shows, from wherever you are. When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn moreAlan Cumming.Euan Cherry/PeacockThe Traitors has taken the world by storm. Since the Dutch original, De Verraders, first premiered in 2021, English-language versions have spread across global television, most notably with The Traitors (US) and The Traitors (UK). Below, we'll show you all of your watch options for both versions, including where to watch The Traitors online for free.The reality series puts 20+ contestants, from well-known figures like The Bachelor's Pilot Pete to everyday folk, in a castle together. The contestants complete activities to add to the prize money that the winners will split between themselves. Among the contestants are a handful of "Traitors," whose entire purpose is to deceive the others (known as "The Faithfuls") by getting rid of a Faithful at night and tricking everyone else into banishing someone innocent, instead of the true culprit. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's a lot like the party game Mafia. See also: Where to watch Survivor live stream | How to watch The Bachelor live stream for free | Where to watch Vanderpump Rules from anywhereBoth the US and the UK versions of The Traitors air second seasons this year. Below, we'll teach you how to stream both versions and suggest a VPN for international viewing.The Traitors (US) quick linksAccess streaming options internationally via ExpressVPNUSA: Peacock ($5.99) - both seasonsAustralia: 10 Play (free) - both seasonsUK: BBC iPlayer (free) - season 1 only Canada: CTV (free) - season 1 onlyWhen: Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET - Peacock onlyWhere to watch The Traitors (US) in the USThe Traitors (US) is hosted by Alan Cumming and is currently airing its second season. Both seasons are streaming on Peacock in the US. Subscriptions start at just $5.99 per month and come with a wealth of other reality TV options.Where to watch The Traitors (US) in the UKThe Traitors (US) streams on BBC iPlayer in the UK. So far, only the first season is available, but the website says the second season is coming soon. You just have to sign up for a free account with a local postcode and then you're ready to watch.Where to watch The Traitors (US) free from anywhereIf you're not in Australia right now, you'll want to use a VPN (virtual private network) to access the free episodes from both seasons. A VPN changes your device's location, so Australians who are traveling at the moment will still be able to keep up with The Traitors (US). VPNs are also important ways to boost your internet privacy.We suggest ExpressVPN, an easy-to-use service with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Looking to learn more? Check out our ExpressVPN review and keep reading to learn the easy steps to using a VPN.How to watch The Traitors (US) with a VPNSign up for a VPN if you don't have one.Install it on the device you're using to watch the show.Turn it on and set it to an Australian location.Go to 10 Play.Sign up for a free account.Watch both seasons of The Traitors (US).The Traitors (UK) quick linksAccess streaming options internationally via ExpressVPNUK: BBC iPlayer (free) - both seasonsAustralia: 10 Play (free) - both seasonsUSA: Peacock ($5.99) - season 1 onlyCanada: CTV (free) - season 1 onlyWhere to watch The Traitors (UK) in the USPeacock is also the US home of The Traitors (UK). So far, only the first season is available, but the second will most likely be added to the streaming service in the future. Peacock subscriptions start at just $5.99 per month.Where to watch The Traitors (UK) in the UKThe Traitors (UK), hosted by Claudia Winkleman, airs on BBC One in the UK. Both seasons are currently available to stream in full on BBC iPlayer. Once you sign up for your account with a local postcode, you'll be ready to watch. Where to watch The Traitors (UK) free from anywhereIf you're not in the UK at the moment, a VPN (virtual private network) will be your best bet for access to free episodes. VPNs alter your device's location, so if you're from the UK and traveling out of the country, you'll still be able to keep up with the latest episodes of The Traitors (UK). VPNs increase your internet privacy and security as well.We recommend ExpressVPN, a straight-forward VPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Take a look at our ExpressVPN review for more information and keep reading to learn how to use a VPN.How to watch The Traitors (UK) with a VPNSign up for a VPN if you don't have one.Install it on the device you're using to watch the show.Turn it on and set it to a UK location.Go to BBC iPlayer.Sign up for an account with a local postcode.Watch both seasons of The Traitors (UK).Note: The use of VPNs is illegal in certain countries, and using VPNs to access region-locked streaming content might constitute a breach of the terms of use for certain services. Insider does not endorse or condone the illegal use of VPNs.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt7 hr. 7 min. ago Related News

Bank of America, Wells Fargo Offer Spot Bitcoin ETFs To Clients

Bank of America, Wells Fargo Offer Spot Bitcoin ETFs To Clients After sitting out the first round of bitcoin ETF frenzy, and quietly watching the mind-blowing pace of inflows into the various investing vehicles... ... Wall Street is ready to jump in: according to Bloomberg, Bank of America's and Wells Fargo’s brokerage units have begun offering access to exchange-traded funds that directly invest in Bitcoin. The move by these banks reflects the growing interest among investors in gaining exposure to Bitcoin. Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo are providing access to approved Bitcoin ETFs to select wealth management clients with brokerage accounts upon request, Bitcoin Magazine reported. This development comes after spot Bitcoin ETFs had a record-setting week in the US, with inflows of BlackRock's ETF hitting $612 million yesterday. The decision by Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo to offer these ETFs demonstrates their recognition of the increasing demand for Bitcoin investment options among their affluent clientele. By providing access to Bitcoin ETFs, these banks are catering to the evolving investment preferences of their clients, who are seeking opportunities to diversify their portfolios and capitalize on the growth potential of Bitcoin. The availability of Bitcoin exposure through mainstream financial institutions like Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo further legitimizes the Bitcoin market and underscores its integration into traditional finance. But as more financial intermediaries open up to bitcoin, some oldschool money managers refuse to join the frenzy: Vanguard is among the handful of firms holding off, saying in a Jan. 24 blog post that “crypto is more of a speculation than an investment.” Sure, whatever: since then bitcoin is up 60%, outperforming such bubble stocks as NVDA and SMCI. So call it what you want, but investors will only care about one thing: what profits they can generate, and so far in 2024, crypto is the best performing asset by a huge margin. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 16:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt7 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

The best PS5 headsets in 2024

A great PS5 gaming headset will allow you to chat with friends online and get the most out of the console's 3D audio technology. When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn moreThe best PS5 headsets include wireless, wired, and earbud models from brands like SteelSeries, Razer, Turtle Beach, and Wyze.Business InsiderA dedicated gaming headset for your PS5 can help elevate your gameplay experience by offering convenient voice chat support for online multiplayer. The best PS5 headsets will also pair well with the console's Tempest 3D audio tech, which can surround you with sound from all directions. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P is our top pick thanks to its affordable price and comfortable fit. It also delivers 40 hours of battery life and simultaneous support for wireless 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections. But if you want to spend less and don't mind using a wired headset, we recommend the Turtle Beach Recon 70 as a basic yet reliable option.Below, you'll find all of our picks for the best PS5 headsets you can buy right now. Our recommendations are based on hundreds of hours of personal experience and testing.Our picks for the best PS5 headsetsBest overall: SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P  - See at AmazonBest high-end: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless - See at AmazonBest entry-level wireless: Wyze Wireless Gaming Headset - See at WyzeBest budget: Turtle Beach Recon 70 - See at AmazonBest earbuds: Razer Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed - See at AmazonBest overallThe SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P is our top pick for the best PS5 headset, and it's also compatible with the Nintendo Switch and PC. It even supports simultaneous 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections, so you can pair your phone while still hearing audio from your PS5.The Arctis Nova 7P has a standard design with a metal frame wrapped in plastic. The ear cushions use a memory foam fabric that feels light and breathable. You can also swap the ear cup covers and fabric headband with colored replacements for an additional price, though there aren't many choices.On-board controls include a power button, Bluetooth button, a volume dial, and a handy sidetone dial. Sidetone lets you hear what your microphone picks up so you can monitor the volume and quality of your voice. However, controlling the balance between in-game audio and chat must be done through the PS5 itself. The microphone is fully retractable, which we prefer compared to other headsets with swivel or removable mics. Voice pickup is clear, and the microphone does a nice job of eliminating noises like breathing.The Arctis Nova 7 is perfect for consoles like the PS5. (7X edition pictured above)Kevin Webb / InsiderWhen it comes to sound quality, the Nova 7P delivers great performance. It handles spatial audio formats well and does a solid job isolating sounds. Like most gaming headsets, the 7P's audio profile offers deeper bass than regular headphones, which can be effective for adding some extra oomph to games. The headset comes with a USB-C dongle that can plug right into the front of a PS5. However, if you use the console's front USB-C port, the dongle will block the PS5's second front-facing port. If this becomes a problem, you can simply use the included USB extender to connect the dongle to one of the PS5's rear USB-A ports instead.The battery lasts 35 to 40 hours on a single charge, which is above average for wireless headsets. In practice, you should be able to use the Arctis Nova 7P for more than a week on each charge if you play for around four hours a day.Though we're recommending the Arctis Nova 7P here, remember that SteelSeries sells a few versions of this headset. The "7P" is geared toward PlayStation consoles and features the aforementioned sidetone dial built in. However, this version can't connect wirelessly to Xbox consoles. If you want dual PS5 and Xbox support, you should opt for the Arctis Nova 7X, which adds Xbox compatibility but swaps out the sidetone dial for a ChatMix dial that only functions with Xbox systems.Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 review.Best high-endThe Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is easily one of the best gaming headsets you can buy, whether you're using a PS5 or another console. It takes everything we like about the Arctis Nova 7P and adds a few extra features for buyers willing to pay more. Key additions include active noise cancellation (ANC), leatherette ear cushions, and a dedicated wireless hub that can also serve as a charging base for the headset's swappable batteries.The overall build is nearly identical to the Nova 7P, with a metal frame encased in plastic, a retractable microphone, and even the same replaceable ear cup covers. The Nova Pro also has the same power button, volume dial, and Bluetooth control, but it doesn't have a sidetone dial like the 7P since you can adjust features like that via the included base station instead.The wireless base station is easily the biggest feature of the Nova Pro Wireless; it has an OLED display and allows you to control the headset's settings on the fly, along with standard controls like volume, noise cancellation, and audio input. The receiver also doubles as a battery charging station.The base station features an OLED screen that displays various settings and playback details.Kevin Webb / InsiderTwo batteries come with the headset; the spare should be left charging in the wireless receiver when unused. Batteries can be hot-swapped in about 30 seconds by removing the right ear cover. The individual batteries last for about 15-20 hours on a single charge, which is about half as much as the Nova 7P, but when you add them together, you get around the same total playtime.This might be inconvenient for some, as you'll have to swap batteries more often than you'd need to charge the Arctis Nova 7P. However, as long as you always keep your spare battery in the base station, there's never a worry that your headset will run out of power. Also, if the battery life starts to decrease over time, you'll be able to replace the batteries themselves rather than the entire headset.As with the Arctis Nova 7, SteelSeries sells different versions of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless geared toward Xbox or PlayStation consoles. The main difference between each version is that the PlayStation edition can't wirelessly connect to Xbox systems, but the Xbox edition can support both. The Xbox edition's wireless receiver has one port for PlayStation/PC and one that's Xbox only. Meanwhile, the PlayStation edition's receiver has two PlayStation/PC ports. If you plan to use your headset with a PlayStation and PC, the PlayStation edition is more convenient, but we think the added benefit of Xbox support is a better tradeoff for most gamers. Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review.Best entry-level wirelessThis straightforward headset from Wyze is one of the best wireless gaming headsets you can get on a budget, offering great features and a solid build for $60. Wyze uses a no-frills, all-black design with a removable microphone, leatherette ear cushions and headband, and a metal frame.The ear cushions aren't quite as comfortable as the memory foam on the Arctis Nova 7P, but they feel fine and the overall fit is standard. Typical on-board controls for volume and mute are present, but there's no dial for balancing the voice chat and game audio. The flexible boom mic can be fully removed when not in use.Wyze's first wireless headset offers great value and essential features.Kevin Webb / InsiderIn testing, the Wyze lasted longer than the expected 20-hour battery life with up to 32 hours of use. The range and consistency of the wireless signal were also on par with competing headsets. However, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack to plug directly into the DualSense controller or any other device, like a Nintendo Switch or tablet, so you can't use a wired connection as a backup.Regarding sound quality, the Wyze gaming headset isn't quite as good at eliminating outside noise as other headsets, but playback quality is on par with most models we tried. Again, like most headsets, the sound profile has heavier bass than regular headphones. The microphone also does a solid job of eliminating background and ambient noise, but your voice can sound distant compared to other models.Note: As of writing, this model is temporarily out of stock but is expected to be available soon.Best budgetThe PS5 can use nearly any pair of wired headphones, so you're not limited to a gaming headset if you prefer a wired connection to the DualSense controller. The controller even includes a microphone, so you can still voice chat with headphones that don't have a mic built in.However, if you're looking for a dedicated wired headset on a budget, we recommend the Turtle Beach Recon 70. It's an entry-level headset with a swivel microphone and plastic shell. The headset offers nine color options, which helps make it a solid choice for younger gamers who want a variety of looks to choose from.Wired headsets like the Recon 70 are a reliable, affordable choice for multi-platform use.Kevin Webb / InsiderThe Recon 70 connects to the PS5 via the DualSense controller and is fully compatible with 3D audio, but you'll have to use the console's on-screen settings to manage volume and audio balance. The microphone automatically mutes when swiveled up away from your face.The wired sound quality matches what we expect to hear when using the PS5's 3D audio tech, and the microphone quality is also up to par in voice chat. While the audio profile boosts bass, the sound is not quite as deep as the more expensive headsets we recommend.The plastic build also makes the Recon 70 feel less durable than pricier headsets; it's sturdy enough to last through hours of regular play at home, but it may not be the best option to take on the go.Best earbudsThe Razer Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed are one of the few pairs of wireless gaming headphones that use an earbud-style design. While the case and form factor may make them look similar to something like Apple's AirPods Pros, the Hammerheads are larger and include support for a 2.4GHz wireless connection, which is better than Bluetooth for delivering a high-quality, stable audio signal while gaming.With the help of the PS5's 3D audio tech, the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds generally match the audio performance we've heard from larger over-ear headsets. The earbuds include an active noise cancellation feature but aren't much better at filtering out sound than over-ear headphones, which provide a natural seal against extra noise.The Hammerhead Pro earbuds offer Bluetooth audio support in addition to 2.4GHz wireless, but you can't use both signals simultaneously. Swapping between audio modes is relatively simple with the touch controls. While Bluetooth makes it easy to take the Hammerhead Pros on the go, their limited battery life and larger size make them below average for use outside gaming compared to the best wireless earbuds that we recommend.The Hammerhead Pros hold up well during regular PS5 play sessions, though. The earbuds will last about four hours in a single sitting before you need to charge them in their included case. The case can provide around 20 hours of extra power.Customizable lighting is also supported, but this feature has a noticeable impact on battery life. The lighting on the earbuds can only be adjusted via the Razer Audio app, so you'll need to use your phone for full control. The Razer Audio app also includes EQ settings for Bluetooth playback.Though the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds are our current pick in this category, buyers should keep in mind that Sony just released its own pair of PS5 gaming earbuds called the Pulse Explore. We'll be testing this model soon for consideration in our guide to the best PS5 headsets.How we test PS5 headsetsOur PS5 headset picks all went through hands-on testing.Kevin Webb / InsiderTo select the best PS5 headsets, we evaluated models based on key performance areas, including audio performance, build quality, features and connectivity, and value. Here's how each category is tested.Audio performance: Sound quality is the most important reason to buy a PS5 headset, whether you want to experience 3D audio or improve your microphone pickup. We run a series of tests for playback quality with games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Gran Turismo 7, and Call of Duty Warzone. We also test microphones in third-party recording apps like Zoom and Discord to see how well the mic filters out background noise.Build quality: The physical build of a PS5 headset is important for its longevity, so we check for overall comfort, battery life, sturdiness, and the materials used. Other design factors are important, too, like microphone placement, storage, RGB lighting, and alternate colors.Features and connectivity: While the PS5 supports lots of headsets and even standard headphones, they don't all offer the same range of features. We look for features like simultaneous Bluetooth and noise cancellation and prioritize range and cross-compatibility when it comes to connectivity.Value: The best PS5 headsets can cost as much as $350, but you don't have to spend that much to take home a great headset. We judge headsets by comparing the overall performance and quality against the asking price; feature-rich headsets with competitive prices are more likely to make our list.PS5 headset FAQsKevin Webb / InsiderDo wireless gaming headsets have disadvantages compared to wired ones?Though wireless headphone technology used to have bigger limitations, modern 2.4GHz wireless signals no longer present meaningful drawbacks compared to wired connectivity. However, some competitive gamers may still prefer a wired connection to eliminate any possibility of audio delay or interference.What's the difference between Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless?Instead of Bluetooth, wireless gaming headsets for the PS5 use a 2.4GHz signal sent between a USB receiver and the headset. A 2.4GHz signal has less audio delay, better sound quality, and a more stable connection than Bluetooth.Some of the best PS5 headsets may also include Bluetooth as an extra feature so you can pair them with additional devices, but the PS5 itself doesn't support Bluetooth audio. The last PlayStation console to allow Bluetooth headsets was the PS3.Can I use my wireless PS5 headset with other consoles?Many of the best PS5 headsets with wireless support will also work with the Nintendo Switch and a Windows PC via the same 2.4GHz dongle. If it's a wired model, it can also connect with an Xbox console via a 3.5mm cable.However, not all wireless PS5 headsets will be wirelessly compatible with Xbox consoles. Xbox systems use a proprietary wireless signal that must be licensed separately. Only certain headset models are cross-compatible with Xbox and PlayStation systems. Check out our guide to the best Xbox headsets for more recommendations with Microsoft's systems in mind. Best overallThe SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P is our top pick for the best PS5 headset and it's also compatible with the Nintendo Switch and PC. It even supports simultaneous 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections so you can pair your phone while still hearing audio from your PS5.The Arctis Nova 7P has a standard design with a metal frame that's wrapped in plastic. The ear cushions use a memory foam fabric that feels light and breathable. You can also swap the ear cup covers and fabric headband with colored replacements for an additional price, though there aren't many choices.On-board controls include a power button, Bluetooth button, a volume dial, and a handy sidetone dial. Sidetone lets you hear what your microphone picks up so you can monitor the volume and quality of your voice. However, controlling the balance between in-game audio and chat must be done through the PS5 itself. The microphone is fully retractable which we prefer compared to other headsets with swivel or removable mics. Voice pickup is clear and the microphone does a nice job of eliminating noises like breathing.When it comes to sound quality, the Nova 7P delivers great performance. It handles spatial audio formats well and does a solid job isolating sounds. Like most gaming headsets, the 7P's audio profile offers deeper bass than regular headphones, which can be effective for adding some extra oomph to games. The headset comes with a USB-C dongle that can plug right into the front of a PS5. However, if you use the console's front USB-C port, the dongle will block the PS5's second front-facing port. If this becomes a problem you can simply use the included USB extender to connect the dongle to one of the PS5's rear USB-A ports instead.The battery lasts 35 to 40 hours on a single charge, which is above average for wireless headsets. In practice, you should be able to use the Arctis Nova 7P for more than a week on each charge if you play for around four hours a day.Though we're recommending the Arctis Nova 7P here, you should keep in mind that SteelSeries sells a few different versions of this headset. The "7P" is geared toward PlayStation consoles and features the aforementioned sidetone dial built in. However, this version can't connect wirelessly to Xbox consoles. If you want dual PS5 and Xbox support, you should opt for the Arctis Nova 7X, which adds Xbox compatibility but swaps out the sidetone dial for a ChatMix dial that only functions with Xbox systems.Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 review.Best high-endThe Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is easily one of the best gaming headsets you can buy, whether you're using a PS5 or another console. It takes everything we like about the Arctis Nova 7P and adds a few extra features for buyers willing to pay a bit more. Key additions include active noise cancellation (ANC), leatherette ear cushions, and a dedicated wireless hub that can also serve as a charging base for the headset's swappable batteries.The overall build is nearly identical to the Nova 7P, with a metal frame encased in plastic, a retractable microphone, and even the same replaceable ear cup covers. The Nova Pro also has the same power button, volume dial, and Bluetooth control, but it doesn't have a sidetone dial like the 7P since you can adjust features like that via the included base station instead.The wireless base station is easily the biggest feature of the Nova Pro Wireless; it has an OLED display and allows you to control the headset's settings on the fly, along with standard controls like volume, noise cancellation, and audio input. The receiver also doubles as a battery charging station.Two batteries come with the headset; the spare should be left charging in the wireless receiver when not in use. Batteries can be hot-swapped in about 30 seconds by removing the right ear cover. The individual batteries last for about 15-20 hours on a single charge, which is about half as much as the Nova 7P, but when you add them together you get around the same total playtime.For some, this might be an inconvenience, as you'll have to swap batteries more often than you'd need to charge the more affordable Arctis Nova 7P. However, as long as you always keep your spare battery in the base station, there's never a worry that your headset will run out of power. Also, if the battery life starts to decrease over time, you'll be able to replace the batteries themselves rather than the entire headset.Just like it does with the Arctis Nova 7, SteelSeries also sells different versions of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless geared toward Xbox or PlayStation consoles. The main difference between each version is that the PlayStation edition can't wirelessly connect to Xbox systems, but the Xbox edition can support both. The Xbox edition's wireless receiver has one port for PlayStation/PC and one that's Xbox only. Meanwhile, the Playstation edition's receiver has two PlayStation/PC ports. If you plan to use your headset with a PlayStation and PC, the PlayStation edition is more convenient, but we think the added benefit of Xbox support is a better tradeoff for most gamers. Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review.Best entry-level wirelessThis straightforward headset from Wyze is one of the best wireless gaming headsets you can get on a budget, offering great features and a solid build for $60. Wyze uses a no-frills, all-black design with a removable microphone, leatherette ear cushions and headband, and a metal frame.The ear cushions aren't quite as comfortable as the memory foam on the Arctis Nova 7P, but they feel fine and the overall fit is standard. Typical on-board controls for volume and mute are present, but there's no dial for balancing the voice chat and game audio. The flexible boom mic can be fully removed when not in use.In testing, the Wyze lasted longer than the expected 20-hour battery life with up to 32 hours of use. The range and consistency of the wireless signal were also on par with competing headsets. However there's no 3.5mm headphone jack to plug directly into the DualSense controller, or any other device, like a Nintendo Switch or tablet, so you can't use a wired connection as a backup.In terms of sound quality, the Wyze gaming headset isn't quite as good at eliminating outside noise as other headsets, but playback quality is on par with most models we tried. Though again, like most headsets, the sound profile has heavier bass than regular headphones. The microphone also does a solid job of eliminating background and ambient noise, but your voice can sound distant compared to other models.Best budgetThe PS5 can make use of nearly any pair of wired headphones, so you're not limited to a gaming headset if you prefer a wired connection to the DualSense controller. The controller even includes a microphone, so you can still voice chat with headphones that don't have a mic built in.However, if you're looking for a dedicated wired headset on a budget, we recommend the Turtle Beach Recon 70. It's an entry-level headset with a swivel microphone and plastic shell. The headset offers nine color options, which helps make it a solid choice for younger gamers who want a variety of looks to choose from.The Recon 70 connects to the PS5 via the DualSense controller and is fully compatible with 3D audio, but you'll have to use the console's on-screen settings to manage volume and audio balance. The microphone automatically mutes when swiveled up away from your face.The wired sound quality matches what we expect to hear when using the PS5's 3D audio tech, and the microphone quality is up to par in voice chat as well. While the audio profile boosts bass, the sound is not quite as deep as the more expensive headsets we recommend.The plastic build also makes the Recon 70 feel less durable than pricier headsets; it's sturdy enough to last through hours of regular play at home, but it may not be the best option to take on the go.Best earbudsThe Razer Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed are one of the few pairs of wireless gaming headphones that use an earbud-style design. While the case and form factor may make them look similar to something like Apple's AirPods Pros, the Hammerheads are larger and include support for a 2.4GHz wireless connection, which is better than Bluetooth for delivering a high-quality, stable audio signal while gaming.With the help of the PS5's 3D audio tech, the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds generally match the audio performance we've heard from larger over-ear headsets. The earbuds include an active noise cancellation feature but ultimately aren't much better at filtering out sound than over-ear headphones, which provide a natural seal against extra noise.The Hammerhead Pro earbuds offer Bluetooth audio support in addition to 2.4GHz wireless, but you can't use both signals at the same time. Swapping between audio modes is relatively simple with the touch controls. While Bluetooth makes it easy to take the Hammerhead Pros on the go, their limited battery life and larger size make them below average for use outside of gaming compared to a typical pair of everyday earbuds.The Hammerhead Pros do hold up well during regular PS5 play sessions though. The earbuds will last about four hours in a single sitting before you need to charge them in their included case. The case can provide around 20 hours of extra power.Customizable lighting is also supported, but this feature has a noticeable impact on battery life. The lighting on the earbuds can only be adjusted via the Razer Audio app, so you'll need to use your phone for full control. The Razer Audio app also includes EQ settings for Bluetooth playback.Though the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds are our current pick in this category, buyers should keep in mind that Sony just released its own pair of PS5 gaming earbuds, called the Pulse Explore. We'll be testing this model soon for consideration in our guide to the best PS5 headsets.How we test PS5 headsetsOur PS5 headset picks all went through hands-on testing.Kevin Webb / InsiderTo select the best PS5 headsets, we evaluated models based on key performance areas, including audio performance, build quality, features and connectivity, and value. Here's how each category is tested.Audio performance: Sound quality is the most important reason to buy a PS5 headset, whether you want to experience 3D audio or improve your microphone pickup. We run a series of tests for playback quality with games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Gran Turismo 7, and Call of Duty Warzone. We also test microphones in third-party recording apps like Zoom and Discord to see how well the mic filters out background noise.Build quality: The physical build of a PS5 headset is important for its longevity, so we check for overall comfort, battery life, sturdiness, and the materials used. Other factors of the design are important too, like microphone placement, storage, RGB lighting, and alternate colors.Features and connectivity: While the PS5 supports lots of headsets and even standard headphones, they don't all offer the same range of features. We look for features like simultaneous Bluetooth and noise cancellation and prioritize range and cross-compatibility when it comes to connectivity.Value: The best PS5 headsets can cost as much as $350, but you don't have to spend that much to take home a great headset. We judge headsets by comparing the overall performance and quality against the asking price; feature-rich headsets with competitive prices are more likely to make our list.PS5 headset FAQsKevin Webb / InsiderDo wireless gaming headsets have disadvantages compared to wired ones?Though wireless headphone technology used to have bigger limitations, modern 2.4GHz wireless signals no longer present meaningful drawbacks compared to wired connectivity. However, some competitive gamers may still prefer a wired connection to eliminate any possibility of audio delay or interference.What's the difference between Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless?Instead of Bluetooth, wireless gaming headsets for the PS5 use a 2.4GHz signal that gets sent between a USB receiver and the headset. A 2.4GHz signal has less audio delay, better sound quality, and a more stable connection than Bluetooth.Some of the best PS5 headsets may also include Bluetooth as an extra feature so you can pair them with additional devices, but the PS5 itself doesn't support Bluetooth audio. The last PlayStation console to allow Bluetooth headsets was the PS3.Can I use my wireless PS5 headset with other consoles?Many of the best PS5 headsets with wireless support will also work with the Nintendo Switch and a Windows PC via the same 2.4GHz dongle. If it's a wired model, it can also connect with an Xbox console via a 3.5mm cable.However, not all wireless PS5 headsets will be wirelessly compatible with Xbox consoles. Xbox systems use a proprietary wireless signal that must be licensed separately. Only certain headset models are cross-compatible with Xbox and PlayStation systems. Check out our guide to the best Xbox headsets for more recommendations with Microsoft's systems in mind. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt8 hr. 8 min. ago Related News

15 Highest Paying Countries for Photographers

In this article, we will look at the 15 highest paying countries for photographers. We have also discussed the challenges and growth of photography as a profession. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, head straight to the 5 Highest Paying Countries for Photographers.  The global Photography Services market is experiencing a huge growth, […] In this article, we will look at the 15 highest paying countries for photographers. We have also discussed the challenges and growth of photography as a profession. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, head straight to the 5 Highest Paying Countries for Photographers.  The global Photography Services market is experiencing a huge growth, with projections indicating a rise to $68,890 million by 2028 which is a significant increase from $50,760 million in 2021, at a CAGR of 4.4% during 2022-2028. This growth is attributed to several factors like the increasing adoption of advanced photography equipment such as DSLR cameras, drone cameras, and specialized lenses. These technological developments continue to empower photographers to overcome challenges related to weather and lighting while enhancing the quality of their services.  One of the examples that confirms the growth of photography services is that while China is facing rising youth unemployment, there has been an increase in summer tourism that has birthed novel job opportunities. Popular roles such as personal photographer-companions and travel photo quality assessors are being advertised extensively on platforms like Douyin. University and secondary school students dominate the workforce, charging hourly rates ranging from 1 yuan (14 US cents) to 100 yuan. Additional services like makeup and photo editing incur extra fees. However, unfortunately, photographers around the globe often find themselves undervalued and underpaid for their work, and it’s a multifaceted issue. One major reason is the oversaturation of the market, with more individuals entering the field than ever before. This abundance of photographers leads to increased competition, driving prices down as clients have more options to choose from. Additionally, many people view photography as a simple service rather than a specialized skill, further diminishing its perceived value. The rise of digital technology exacerbates this problem, making it easier for amateurs to produce acceptable results at a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, some clients prioritize budget-friendly options over quality, contributing to the downward pressure on prices. These factors also explain why photography was named as one of the worst jobs in the US for job security and salaries in 2018. Despite the factors, the demand for photography and videography jobs increased in 2023, with major growth in different related skills. According to freelancer.com, videography saw a remarkable increase of 53.7%, while photography jobs grew by 44.8%. Adobe Inc (NYSE:ADBE) Lightroom projects alone experienced 68.9% growth. Freelancers in the United States are capitalizing on this trend, charging up to $300/hour for photography, $200/hour for videography and video editing, and $160/hour for TikTok content creation. With brands increasingly incorporating video into their marketing strategies, the trend is expected to continue, reflecting a shift towards visually engaging content in the digital landscape. Freelance photography is the highest paying kind of photography.  Getty Images Holdings Inc (NYSE:GETY), a global visual content creator, recently garnered immense recognition at the 2024 White House News Photographers Association Still Photography Awards. Chief News Photographer Win McNamee led the charge with 12 awards, clinching the top spot in the Political Photo of the Year category for his coverage of Capitol Hill’s new Speaker election. McNamee’s accolades included first place in Political Portfolio, third place in Picture Story/Politics, and an Award of Excellence in the Presidential category. Moreover, Getty Images Holdings Inc (NYSE:GETY) Staff Photographers excelled across different categories. Patrick Smith secured first place in Sports Feature/Reaction and second place in Picture Story/Sports, among others. Chip Somodevilla’s achievements included second place in Picture Story/Politics and third place in Domestic News. Ken Mainardis, Getty Images Holdings Inc (NYSE:GETY) Global Head of Editorial, expressed immense pride in the team’s accomplishments, emphasizing their dedication and creative prowess, which reaffirms Getty Images Holdings Inc (NYSE:GETY)’s 30-year legacy of photographic excellence. The average Photographer base salary at Getty Images Holdings Inc (NYSE:GETY) is $63,000 per year. On the other hand, Shutterstock Inc (NYSE:SSTK)’s latest update has introduced AI-powered tools like Magic Brush that will enable users or photography professionals to edit images by simply describing desired changes. The beta AI image editor also offers features like generating alternate versions of stock images and automatically resizing images to fit required dimensions. However, AI-generated or edited content will not be eligible for licensing to protect contributor IP.  Shutterstock Inc (NYSE:SSTK)’s partnership with OpenAI has advanced further with an update to its AI image generator, integrating OpenAI’s DALL-E text-to-image generator. This expansion builds on Shutterstock Inc (NYSE:SSTK)’s commitment to compensating artists, with a contributor’s fund established last year. Competitors like Adobe Inc (NYSE:ADBE) and Canva are also exploring AI-powered image editing, indicating a broader trend towards capitalizing on AI for creative endeavors. Stock photography on Shutterstock Inc (NYSE:SSTK) is one of side hustles that can help you earn extra $500 a week. A film director, clapperboard in hand, behind camera filming a movie set. Our Methodology To list the highest paying countries for photographers, we identified the countries with the highest demand for photographers and then made a list for 25 countries with the average salaries for photographers. Of those 25, the 15 with the highest average salaries were selected and have been ranked. We acquired the data for average salaries of photographers for each country from ERI Economic Research Institute. The list is presented in ascending order. By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that uses a consensus approach to identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The website tracks the movement of corporate insiders and hedge funds. Our top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). So, if you are looking for the best stock picks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. Here is a list of the highest paying countries for photographers: 15. France Average Salary: $50,156 France is renowned for its exclusive arts and culture, making it a high paying market for photographers. The country’s rich history, picturesque landscapes, and fashion industry create abundant opportunities for photographers to showcase their talents. Additionally, high demand for professional photography services, coupled with a strong economy, contributes to competitive pay rates, attracting photographers from around the world. Paris is one of the 15 Best Cities for Modeling in the World. 14. New Zealand Average Salary: $50,519 New Zealand’s stunning natural landscapes, diverse environments, and unique cultural heritage make it a hotspot for photography jobs. The country offers opportunities for capturing breathtaking scenery, wildlife, and adventure sports. Additionally, its thriving tourism industry drives demand for professional photographers to showcase the country’s beauty. It is one of the best countries for photographers.  13. Norway Average Salary: $54,879 Norway offers stunning natural landscapes including fjords, mountains, and the Northern Lights, providing abundant opportunities for captivating photography. Its unique light conditions, changing seasons, and unspoiled wilderness inspire creativity. Norway is also one of the highest paying countries for graphic designers.  12. Canada Average Salary: $55,813 In Canada, the demand for photographers varies across provinces and territories. Projections indicate a very good outlook in Quebec, with moderate opportunities in New Brunswick and Ontario. Manitoba sees good prospects, while Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan have limited demand. The situation is undetermined in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Over the next decade, approximately 6,800 new job openings are expected, with 5,700 new job seekers available to fill them.  It is one of the countries where photographers make the most money. 11. Ireland Average Salary: $56,263 Apart from being a high-paying career in the country, photography has played a pertinent role in revealing Ireland’s 1898 food shortage, bridging the gap between the well-fed and the hungry. As famine loomed, newspapers like the Manchester Guardian and nationalist outlets documented the crisis, while the Irish Field contributed impactful images. Photographs depicted dire living conditions, reliance on maize, and families surviving on minimal sustenance. Charitable efforts in Dublin and Manchester, aided by powerful lantern slide projections, raised awareness and funds. Through emotive imagery, photography transformed a regional concern into a national imperative. 10. Finland Average Salary: $56,531 Finland has a stable economy and strong support for arts that create a conducive environment for professional photographers. With a culture that values design and innovation, there’s a growing demand for photography in different industries, from tourism to advertising, making it an attractive place to pursue photography as a profession. It is one of the highest paying countries for photographers in Europe. 9. Iceland Average Salary: $57,930 High demand for photographers in Iceland stems from its breathtaking landscapes, including glaciers, waterfalls, and the Northern Lights, attracting tourists and couples for weddings or engagements. Additionally, influencers and brands seek unique backdrops for content creation. 8. Netherlands Average Salary: $57,938 The Netherlands has a vibrant cultural scene and picturesque landscapes, making it a high-paying market for photographers. With its bustling cities, historic architecture, and scenic countryside, there’s a constant demand for photography services ranging from weddings and events to commercial projects and tourism promotion, offering ample opportunities to make money. It is one of the countries that pay the highest salary for photography jobs.  7. Australia Average Salary: $58,251 Australia’s strong economy and thriving creative industry contribute to high-paying opportunities for photographers. Companies like Getty Images Holdings Inc (NYSE:GETY), News Corp Australia, and Fairfax Media offer competitive salaries for skilled professionals. Targeting industries such as advertising, fashion, tourism, and e-commerce can further lead to lucrative prospects, as demand for high-quality visual content remains consistently high. Additionally, sectors like real estate, events, and corporate photography also present high earning potential due to ongoing demand for visual storytelling and marketing materials. It is also one of the countries that produce the best fashion designers.  6. Austria Average Salary: $60,974 Austria offers a rich tapestry of landscapes, from the Alps to charming cities like Vienna and Salzburg, providing diverse backdrops for photography. Its cultural heritage, architectural wonders, and vibrant arts scene offer endless inspiration. Moreover, with a high work-life balance, it is one of the best countries for photographers to work in.  Click here to see the 5 Highest Paying Countries for Photographers. Suggested Articles: 16 Largest Photography Companies in the World 15 Highest Paying Countries for Graphic Designers 16 Largest Media Companies in the World in 2022 Disclosure: None. 15 Highest Paying Countries for Photographers is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey8 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

15 Highest Paying Countries for Chefs

In this article, we will look at the 15 highest paying countries for chefs. We have also discussed the recent developments in the culinary industry. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, head straight to the 5 Highest Paying Countries for Chefs.  The food service market is witnessing exponential growth, with a projected increase […] In this article, we will look at the 15 highest paying countries for chefs. We have also discussed the recent developments in the culinary industry. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, head straight to the 5 Highest Paying Countries for Chefs.  The food service market is witnessing exponential growth, with a projected increase from $2.85 trillion in 2023 to $6.3 trillion by 2031, indicating a remarkable CAGR of 10.45% during the forecast period. This increase is attributed to the evolving consumer lifestyle, technological developments, and rising disposable incomes, especially in emerging economies. A key driver of this growth is the growing convenience culture, where consumers look for quick and easy meal solutions due to their fast-paced lifestyles. This demand has led to the popularity of ready-to-eat meals, fast food, and food delivery services, contributing significantly to market expansion. Moreover, urbanization and changing lifestyles have increased the number of individuals eating out or ordering food, further propelling market growth. It is interesting to observe that major US restaurant chains, such as IHOP and Applebee’s, currently operate at about 90% of their pre-pandemic staffing levels, representing a trend persisting for at least four consecutive quarters. IHOP alone is adjusting by reducing operating hours in nearly a quarter of its US locations due to a shortage of overnight shift workers. Despite recent improvements in hiring, the industry remains approximately 635,000 workers short compared to pre-pandemic levels, constituting a 5.1% deficit as of July. In response to labor shortages, restaurant chains are implementing technological solutions and operational adjustments. For instance, Marco’s Pizza has integrated machines to expedite dough preparation, significantly reducing the time needed for this task. Additionally, Chili’s Grill & Bar is reevaluating kitchen processes to optimize labor efficiency, potentially saving millions in operating costs annually. To read more about automation in other industries, see the Industries Being Revolutionized By AI and Automation Technologies. It is also worth noting that the culinary profession often fosters a sense of passion and creativity, leading to job satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, many chefs benefit from structured career advancement opportunities, such as promotions and skill development, which incentivize long-term commitment. This also explains why workers in the food industry exhibit high retention rates, with positions like sous chef (11.18%), executive chef (16.16%), and head chef (17.19%), according to recent data from Indeed.com. Chefs are known to have the happiest jobs in the world.  The highest paid job of a chef is that of an executive chef and the average salary for an Executive Chef is $85030 per year in US. Two of the highest paying companies for chefs in the US are Brinker International, Inc (NYSE:EAT) and Darden Restaurants, Inc (NYSE:DRI). Brinker International, Inc (NYSE:EAT) is a renowned casual dining restaurant company that has an extensive global presence with over 1,600 restaurants across 29 countries and two US territories. Among its celebrated brands are Chili’s Grill & Bar, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and the virtual brand It’s Just Wings. Established in Dallas, Texas, in 1975, Chili’s revolutionized casual dining with its bold flavors, quality ingredients, and Texas-sized portions, all served in a welcoming “come as you are” atmosphere. This ethos remains ingrained in Brinker International, Inc (NYSE:EAT)’s culture, ensuring guests feel at home in every visit. Chefs within Brinker International, Inc (NYSE:EAT) enjoy lucrative salaries, thanks to the company’s success and demand for skilled culinary professionals. With over 100,000 team members worldwide, Brinker International, Inc (NYSE:EAT)  offers ample opportunities for growth and advancement. The company’s commitment to quality extends beyond its flagship brands, as evidenced by the launch of It’s Just Wings in 2020, a virtual brand operating out of existing Chili’s and Maggiano’s locations. Furthermore, Brinker International, Inc (NYSE:EAT) has a strong focus on sustainability and community engagement, reflecting its dedication to making a positive impact beyond the dining experience. Through its scratch kitchens and family-style dining options at Maggiano’s, the company fosters an environment where guests can celebrate life’s special moments.  On the other hand, Darden Restaurants, Inc (NYSE:DRI) has been a highly trusted name when it comes to culinary experience. The company reported a strong growth in its Q2 Fiscal 2024 earnings, with total sales increasing by 9.7% to $2.7 billion and adjusted diluted net earnings per share rising by 21.1% to $1.84.  Darden Restaurants, Inc (NYSE:DRI)  also announced a raised quarterly dividend of $1.31 per share and repurchased $181 million of its common stock. The company updated its fiscal 2024 outlook, projecting total sales of approximately $11.5 billion and adjusted diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations of $8.75 to $8.90, signaling confidence in its performance despite industry challenges. Segment-wise, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse saw significant same-restaurant sales growth, while the Fine Dining and Other Business segments experienced declines. Darden Restaurants, Inc (NYSE:DRI)’s strong financial performance was reflected in positive segment profit across the board. A busy restaurant kitchen with a chef carefully plating a meal. Methodology To list the highest paying countries for chefs, we identified the countries with the highest demand for chefs and then made a list for 25 countries with the average salaries for chefs. Of those 25, the 15 with the highest average salaries were selected and have been ranked. We acquired the data for average salaries of chefs for each country from the Economic Research Institute (ERI). The list is presented in ascending order. By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that uses a consensus approach to identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The website tracks the movement of corporate insiders and hedge funds. Our top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). So, if you are looking for the best stock picks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. 15. Finland Average Salary: $47,173 Finland’s reputation as one of the highest-paying countries for chefs can be attributed to several factors deeply rooted in its culture and culinary evolution. Traditional Finnish cuisine with stews, root vegetables, and locally sourced ingredients, has evolved over centuries, blending influences from Swedish and Russian governance periods. Recent decades saw an increase in gastronomic innovation, with Helsinki boasting seven Michelin-starred restaurants and a burgeoning fine dining scene. 14. Canada Average Salary: $47,613 In Canada, the demand for chefs has been notably high, with projected job openings totaling 33,800 from 2022 to 2031. However, this demand is overshadowed by an influx of 44,900 new job seekers during the same period. This surplus of potential workers is expected to shift the occupation from a previous shortage to balanced conditions. Nevertheless, owing to the high quality of life and work-life balance, Canada is one of the best countries for chefs. 13. United Arab Emirates Average Salary: $48,874 The UAE is one of the highest paying countries for chefs in Asia owing to its flourishing hospitality industry, characterized by luxury hotels and ambitious projects. The region’s relentless pursuit of culinary excellence demands top-tier talent, driving up salaries for skilled chefs. Grand hotels like the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, the Palm, are global examples of world-class dining experiences, necessitating highly trained culinary professionals.  Owing to the country’s emphasis on culinary experiences, the UAE is one of best countries for chef courses. 12. Ireland Average Salary: $49,342 In response to shortages, Ireland is offering diverse chef courses. For example,  Ulster University’s Culinary Arts Management course prepares for roles like Head Chef, Executive Chef. Owing to the high salaries and an excellent culinary industry, Ireland is one of the best countries for chef jobs. 11. Iceland Average Salary: $49,376 Iceland presents a unique opportunity for chefs owing to its emphasis on fresh and locally sourced ingredients such as abundant seafood and geothermally grown produce. The country’s culinary scene is burgeoning, with a growing number of acclaimed restaurants showcasing innovative Nordic cuisine. It is one of the best places to work as a chef. 10. Netherlands Average Salary: $50,849 The Netherlands has a rich culinary heritage, with its traditional dishes like stamppot and stroopwafels, alongside a vibrant street food culture influenced by its multicultural society. Furthermore, the Netherlands’ commitment to sustainability extends to its food industry, promoting organic farming and reducing food waste. This emphasis on ethical sourcing aligns with modern culinary trends and attracts chefs aspiring to make a positive impact through their cuisine. It is one of the countries with the best paying chef jobs. 9. Austria Average Salary: $51,172 Recently, the Austrian Airlines reintroduced its Flying Chefs for premium long-haul passengers, enhancing the dining experience with Austrian cuisine and hospitality. Dubbed “Tastefully Austrian,” the upgraded menu features expanded options including Viennese coffee service and a cheese trolley in business class.  Austria is one of the countries where chefs get paid the most in the world. 8. Norway Average Salary: $51,925 Norway’s culinary industry thrives on its rich seafood offerings and commitment to sustainable practices, inspiring chefs worldwide. Renowned chefs like Eyvind Hellstrom, celebrated for his innovative Nordic cuisine, and Christopher Haatuft, known for his farm-to-table approach at Lysverket, exemplify Norway’s culinary excellence.  7. Germany Average Salary: $52,348 Germany is popular for its high-paying chef positions owing to its strong culinary culture and demand for skilled professionals. Notable hotels like Hotel Adlon Kempinski and Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden are known for offering competitive salaries to chefs.  Renowned chefs such as Tim Raue and Heinz Beck have also contributed to Germany’s culinary reputation. It is one of the highest paying countries for chefs in Europe. 6. Australia Average Salary: $52,759 The culinary profession holds the record for the largest pool of applicants awaiting their PR visas, totaling 1,923 individuals in Australia. This trend highlights a rising demand for hospitality experts within the country. Australia’s culinary sector has been notably impacted by the pandemic, resulting in a dearth of skilled chefs and prompting an immediate requirement for proficient and seasoned professionals to address the vacancies. Moreover, according to the latest Labour Market Update report from Jobs and Skills Australia, Chefs have secured the 8th position among the highly demanded occupations in the country. Click here to see the 5 Highest Paying Countries for Chefs. Suggested Articles: 30 Highest Paying Jobs In The World In The Future 30 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree or Experience 15 Highest Paying Countries For Physiotherapists in the World Disclosure: None. 15 Highest Paying Countries for Chefs is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey8 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

S&P 500 Price Prediction in 2030: Bull, Base & Bear Forecasts

The future can be notoriously hard to predict, especially where the stock market is concerned. However, that doesn’t stop experts from trying! Out of all the stocks out there, the S&P 500’s (NYSE: SPY) price looms large. As one of the major indexes, everyone has something to say about its future price. We’ll explore some […] The post S&P 500 Price Prediction in 2030: Bull, Base & Bear Forecasts appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. The future can be notoriously hard to predict, especially where the stock market is concerned. However, that doesn’t stop experts from trying! Out of all the stocks out there, the S&P 500’s (NYSE: SPY) price looms large. As one of the major indexes, everyone has something to say about its future price. We’ll explore some expert opinions and analyze historical trends in this article. Of course, even with all the expert opinions in the world, predicting the future is still next to impossible. Let’s dive into the potential factors that may shape the S&P 500’s journey into 2030. S&P 500’s Performance Last Decade The S&P 500 has seen steady growth over the last decade, but that doesn’t necessarily predict future success. The S&P 500 had a strong decade from 2014 to 2023. The index saw significant growth. However, it also experienced periods of volatility. It wasn’t always shooting for the stars. The index saw an impressive return of 163% over the last decade, which is an annualized growth of around 10.26%. This performance was around the historic performance of the index, though. While 163% may seem like a lot, it isn’t that surprising. The trend overall was positive. However, the market did experience significant periods of volatility over the last decade, with some huge corrections. This return assumes that the dividends were reinvested, though. In other words, they were used to purchase additional sales, amplifying the return. Returns would be a bit lower if the dividend was pocketed. 3 Key Drivers of the S&P 500’s Performance Through 2030 The Federal Reserve’s policies can significantly impact the country’s economic growth. Predicting the future of the S&P 500 is inherently challenging. After all, no one has a crystal ball. However, understanding some key drivers can help us make more accurate predictions: 1. Economic Growth A strong, sustained economy both at home and abroad is vital to support growth for the companies in the S&P 500. Because these companies are so large, much of the growth potential is directly linked to how well the economy is doing. These companies tend to have higher stock prices when the economy is improving. On the other hand, an economic slowdown could harm the stock’s growth. Of course, lots of factors affect the overall economy, like political stability and global trade politics. All of these factors also affect the S&P 500. 2. Technological Innovation Many of the stocks in the S&P 500 are tech-focused companies. Therefore, the development and adoption of new technologies greatly impact the S&P 500’s stock price. If we continue to see breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, automation, and renewable energy, the whole index may see continued growth. However, technological investments can also be hit-or-miss. These investments don’t always work out and can hit a company’s bottom line. Plus, other industries may see disruption because of these advancements. This may impact the companies in the S&P 500 or affect the underlying stock price. 3. Monetary Policy The monetary policy of the United States government also impacts the stock market, including the S&P 500. Specifically, interest rates set by the Federal Reserve could impact investment decisions. Lower interest rates make stocks more attractive than bonds, increasing stock prices. Rising interest rates may lead to increased interest in fixed-income options, though. S&P 500 Price Prediction in 2030: Bull, Bear & Base Predicting the stock market is exceptionally hard, so you should always be prepared for a loss. Don’t invest money you can’t afford to lose. We predict the S&P 500 will increase around 60-80% from its current levels by 2030. However, there is always the chance that unforeseen events could affect these numbers. There is also a small chance that all the factors we discussed above may turn out positively or negatively. Let’s take a look at the bull, bear, and base case a bit closer: Bull Case for S&P 500 Prices A bull case for the S&P 500 would include 80-120% growth. This very optimistic scenario assumes that a lot goes right and very little goes wrong. There would need to be a strong economic boom beyond the usual steady growth. Technological breakthroughs and a surge in consumer spending may fuel this boom. Either way, corporate earnings would need to be exceedingly strong. Likely, there would also be disruptive innovations. These changes may create entirely new industries or change existing ones. The companies in the S&P 500 would probably change as some industries see tons of growth while others shrink. Companies at the forefront of innovation would likely see the highest amount of growth. On top of this innovation, the S&P 500 must-see supportive government policies. Stable global relations and little political tension would be required to encourage a thriving economy and keep investor outlooks high. Base Case for S&P 500 Prices The base case shows a 60-80% growth in the S&P 500. This scenario assumes moderate and sustained global economic growth, which will increase the value of stocks accordingly. Corporate earnings will continue to grow steadily. The exact factors that lead to this growth are less important. Stable trade policies, increasing global trade, and lowered inflation could all play a role. However, in the end, the only thing that matters is steady growth. Continued development in artificial intelligence and automation could drive innovation and increase stock prices, too. Innovation can be a key driving role in company valuations, which will increase the S&P 500’s price. This scenario also assumes that there are relatively stable interest rates. There is some room for up-and-down movement as the economy shifts. However, exceptionally high and exceptionally low interest rates could lead to more or less growth. Bear Case for S&P 500 Price The bear case could see lower-than-average growth of under 60%. In a very rare case, the S&P 500 may even see a decline of up to 20%. However, a few very big things would need to go poorly. For instance, a significant economic downturn would likely drag the S&P 500 down. A global recession, trade wars, or other financial hardships would need to occur. These events would lead to declined corporate earnings. There would also be plenty of geopolitical tensions, leading to instability. Investors tend to be less confident when global politics become spicy, which would impact the price of the S&P 500. Significant interest rate hikes may also lower the growth of the S&P 500. However, other factors would also need to be at play for the growth to be slowed substantially for a long period. Sponsored: Want to Retire Early? Here’s a Great First Step Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free. Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions. The post S&P 500 Price Prediction in 2030: Bull, Base & Bear Forecasts appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallst8 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

I"m a makeup artist who spent $360 on products this month. Here are 8 items I"d buy again and 2 I"d skip next time.

Some of the best things a makeup artist spent $360 on this month include the Fenty Skin hydrating and strengthening lip oil and Nars blush. I bought some hits and misses this February.Makeup by Mario, Saie, Hourglass, Nars, One/Size,  Fenty Skin, Abanti Chowdhury/BII'm a makeup artist who spent $360 on new products and old favorites this February.The Fenty Skin Fenty Treatz hydrating and strengthening lip oil moisturizes without being sticky.I wouldn't purchase the Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème contour-and-powder bronzer duo again.As a makeup artist, my job includes trying new products and repurchasing old favorites for my kit each month.This February, I spent $360 on blushes, powders, concealers, and more.Here's how each makeup product I bought stacked up.The Fenty Skin Fenty Treatz hydrating and strengthening lip oil felt so luxe.The Fenty Skin Fenty Treatz hydrating and strengthening lip oil moisturizes without being sticky.Fenty Skin, Abanti Chowdhury/BII wanted a moisturizing lip product that wasn't sticky or overly tinted to keep in my purse for no-makeup days, and I loved the Fenty Skin Fenty Treatz hydrating and strengthening lip oil.This lip oil feels like self-care in a bottle and comes with a luxe-feeling doe-foot applicator, so I'll definitely repurchase it.I paid $24 for the Fenty Skin lip oil.The Nars blush in Taj Mahal looks beautiful on the cheeks.I love the orange tones of the Nars blush in Taj Mahal.Nars, Abanti Chowdhury/BIOrange on the cheeks is always a good idea, and the Nars blush in the Taj Mahal shade is an excellent choice. Its vibrant tangerine hue and golden shimmer add a sun-kissed glow to the skin.The highly pigmented formula blends effortlessly, lasts all day, and is perfect for any occasion.I purchased the Nars blush for $32.The Saie Dew Blush gives the cheeks a beautiful pop of color.I bought the Saie Dew Blush in the Dreamy shade.Saie, Abanti Chowdhury/BIThe Saie liquid blush is super blendable and buildable and gives the cheeks a perfect pop of color, like a natural glow from within.It's made with great ingredients like elderberry and licorice-root extracts, so I feel good about what I'm putting on my skin. I purchased the shade Dreamy, which is a perfect berry hue for dark complexions.I purchased the Saie Dew blush for $25.I need the Hourglass Vanish Airbrush concealer in my makeup bag at all times.I like how easily the Hourglass Vanish Airbrush concealer covers dark circles.Hourglass, Abanti Chowdhury/BIThe Hourglass Vanish Airbrush concealer is my new go-to for effortlessly covering dark circles and blemishes.Its lightweight formula is full coverage and blends seamlessly into the skin. Plus, the large doe-foot applicator makes the product easy to apply.I bought the Hourglass Vanish Airbrush concealer for $36.The One/Size by Patrick Starrr Ultimate Blurring setting powder effortlessly smooths imperfections.The One/Size by Patrick Starrr Ultimate Blurring setting powder is lightweight but effective.One/Size, Abanti Chowdhury/BIIt took me a while, but the One/Size by Patrick Starrr Ultimate Blurring setting powder has become one of my favorite products.This powder lives up to its name and hype by effortlessly blurring imperfections and leaving the skin flawless. Its lightweight formula sets makeup without feeling heavy or cakey.The One/Size setting powder was $34.In my opinion, all eye-shadow lovers need the Makeup by Mario Ethereal Eyes palette.The shadows in the Makeup by Mario Ethereal Eyes palette blend like a dream.Makeup by Mario, Abanti Chowdhury/BIThe Makeup by Mario Ethereal Eyes eye-shadow palette is a total game changer because the shades feel like butter — so smooth and blendable.This palette can be used to create many looks, from everyday-chic to glam-nighttime makeup. Plus, the colors are incredibly pigmented.This $68 palette is a must for anyone who loves playing with makeup.I had to grab another Nars Radiant creamy liquid color corrector for my kit.The Nars Radiant creamy liquid color corrector covers blemishes perfectly.Nars, Abanti Chowdhury/BIThe Nars Radiant creamy liquid color corrector effortlessly neutralizes imperfections for a lightweight, luminous finish.Its blendability is exceptional, as it seamlessly melts into the skin. I also love how this color corrector comes in a versatile shade range.I purchased the Nars color corrector for $30.I love using the mini Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder for on-the-go touch-ups. The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder doesn't feel heavy on the skin.Charlotte Tilbury, Abanti Chowdhury/BIA mini Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish setting powder is perfect for on-the-go touch-ups. Its finely milled texture blurs imperfections and leaves a matte yet radiant finish.The long-lasting powder controls shine without looking heavy or cakey. Its packaging is luxurious, and the velvety feel makes it a staple for those who want an airbrushed complexion.I paid $28 for the Charlotte Tilbury setting powder.On the other hand, I'd skip The Foundation Stick from Basma next time.I didn't love The Foundation stick from Basma.Basma, Abanti Chowdhury/BIThe Foundation Stick from Basma promises hydrating, buildable coverage and a natural finish.However, I'm not quite sold on foundation sticks yet. I haven't found myself reaching for this much, so I probably won't purchase it again.The Foundation Stick from Basma cost $40.The Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème contour-and-powder bronzer duo wasn't my favorite.I wish the Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème contour-and-powder bronzer duo had a better shade range.PATRICK TA, Abanti Chowdhury/BISimply put, the shade range of the Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème contour-and-powder bronzer duo falls short.The limited options made finding a suitable match for various skin tones challenging. I wanted to love this product, but even the darker contour shades may appear ashy or not show up well on deeper complexions.The Patrick Ta contour-and-bronzer duo cost $40.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt8 hr. 52 min. ago Related News

Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQT) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQT) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 27, 2024 Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $-0.72 EPS, expectations were $-0.65. Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good day […] Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQT) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 27, 2024 Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $-0.72 EPS, expectations were $-0.65. Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good day and welcome to the Arcutis Biotherapeutics’ 2023 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speaker presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Please be advised that today’s conference is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over to Derek Cole, Arcutis Investor Relations. Please go ahead. Derek Cole: Thank you, Andrew. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us today to review 2023 financial results and business update. Slides for today are available on the Investors section of the Arcutis website. On the call today we have Frank Watanabe, President and CEO; Patrick Burnett, Chief Medical Officer; Todd Edwards, Chief Commercial Officer; and John Smither, Chief Financial Officer. I’d remind everyone that we will be making forward-looking statements during this call. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and our actual results may differ. We encourage you to review all of the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including descriptions of our business and risk factors. With that, let me hand the call over to Frank. Frank Watanabe: Thanks Derek. I’m now on Slide 5 of the deck. We’ve had a lot of really exciting progress since we last spoke for our Q3 earnings call, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the Arcutis team and our execution in the quarter. We’re more excited about the foundation these results laid out for progress in 2024. We continue to see growing momentum in the ZORYVE cream launch in psoriasis as healthcare providers and their patients see how it addresses real needs in their treatment of psoriasis. [Technical Difficulty] 165,000 prescriptions and over 10,700 unique prescribers to launch to-date as our product delivers positive clinical experience for HCPs and their patients. We continue to make significant progress on our gross-to-net each quarter with improvement in Q4 over Q3 of a similar magnitude as seen Q3 over Q2, taking us to an average in the mid-60s for the fourth quarter. The solid growth in prescriptions, coupled with continued gross-to-net improvements drove strong revenue growth in Q4, both versus Q3 and year-over-year with fourth quarter net revenue of $13.5 million. Coming on top of our progress with ZORYVE cream in psoriasis, we also received approval for ZORYVE foam for seborrheic dermatitis in December and launched in late January. I don’t think I’ve ever seen comparable levels of excitement amongst patients and dermatologists as what we’re hearing about ZORYVE foam. We also continue to execute against our clinical and regulatory milestones with a steady flow of successes this past quarter. Patrick will go into a little more detail in a minute. But during the quarter, the FDA accepted our supplemental NDA for atopic dermatitis down to the age of six and assigned a target date of July 7, 2024, potentially expanding our portfolio even further. We also released very exciting interim long-term data from our open-label study in AD that demonstrated efficacy continues to improve with long-term use out to 52 weeks, along with favorable long-term safety and dependable disease control. We’ve seen robust, consistent and predictable efficacy across all targeted indications, including psoriasis, SebDerm and atopic dermatitis in each of their respective pivotal trials. In addition, in October 2023, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the company a new formulation patent that covers a means for inhibiting roflumilast crystal growth that is not limited to hexylene glycol. And in November 2023, the company was also awarded a new method of treatment patent covering a topical roflumilast formulation with an extended half-life. Both patents do not expire until 2037. And in October, we completed a secondary offering that raised $102 million, putting us in a strong financial position to continue investing in the ongoing launches in plaque psoriasis and SebDerm as well as the potential atopic dermatitis launched later this year, while continuing to develop — the development of our pipeline. Moving on to Slide 6. A major reason why we’re so excited for this year is that we are in the midst of a very significant expansion of the opportunity for topical roflumilast, which we expect will translate into a substantial acceleration of our revenue trajectory. You’ve seen this before, but from the initial approval for psoriasis, the total addressable market for ZORYVE could grow around 10-fold this year alone to over 15 million patients in the United States. We have the right commercial team in place for success, and we have an excellent plan to execute against these opportunities. With that, let me turn it over to Todd to provide some further commentary around the ZORYVE cream launch in psoriasis and update you on how the foam is progressing in SebDerm. Todd Edwards: Thank you, Frank, and I’m very enthusiastic about our growing commercial portfolio, recent progress, and a tremendous opportunity I see ahead. Moving to Slide 8. The ZORYVE psoriasis launch is accelerating, and our execution strategies are showing signals that we are able to push the launch trajectory in psoriasis. These efforts also lay a solid foundation for sustained growth in SebDerm and potential further growth in new indications upon approval. The NRx and TRx prescription volume is growing every quarter, and ZORYVE has over 165,000 TRxs launched to-date. Fourth quarter 2023, TRxs were up 26% compared to Q3 2023 and over 290% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. We are starting to see a preference for ZORYVE relative to the non-steroidal competitor as evidenced by our steady gains in market share and eight in 10 ZORYVE riders are increasing their utilization of ZORYVE. The new pediatric label expansion down to six years of age, incrementally expands our opportunity for growth and further strengthens ZORYVE’s safety and tolerability profile. Refills continue to be an important driver of long-term growth. The number of refills in the fourth quarter increased by around 39% versus the third quarter and now constitute more than one in three prescriptions, which is in line with what we want and expect to see given the positive experience patients have with ZORYVE. I am now on Slide 9. There are multiple important dermatology conferences in January. After spending time with dermatologists, MPs, and PAs currently using ZORYVE cream, the feedback I received about the product is exceptional. These prescribers spoke to me about their patients being delighted by the results achieved with ZORYVE. The prescriber feedback is clear that there are some distinct attributes of ZORYVE cream that make it attractive. The ability to be used anywhere, once daily dosing, compelling efficacy data, favorable tolerability profile, safety, and appropriateness for any psoriasis patients. And these attributes make ZORYVE cream an attractive treatment for patients with different types of needs, the patient who is concerned about steroids. The patient who has been cycling through various topicals, or ones that are exploring different treatments to find that works for them long-term or to manage flares. We know that psoriasis patients have different needs depending on where they are in their journey and see that ZORYVE cream can really be a solution for most of these patients. I’m now on Slide 10. The team has been focused on three pillars of commercial success for sustaining ZORYVE cream growth in psoriasis. Firstly, driving HCP awareness and use. The prescriber base is growing steadily with now over 10,700 unique prescribers since launch. Our experienced field sales team is focused on high-volume geographies. The field team continues to deliver broad efficacy messaging to move physicians along the adoption curve from initial trial in specific regions of the body to expanded use for patients who have psoriasis plaques across a large body surface area. Secondly, patient engagement and positive use experience. Refill volume has increased to 38% of total volume as the re-patient awareness continues to improve. And finally, the broad high-quality access in commercial and anticipated Medicare-Medicaid coverage creates the opportunity for more patients to experience ZORYVE. ZORYVE’s differentiated pricing and access strategy continues to resonate with payers with over 132 million commercial lives having access to ZORYVE cream. The Arcutis team successfully secured coverage for ZORYVE cream with all three large PBMs in the U.S. within 12 months of the launch. And we anticipate further improvements in ZORYVE commercial coverage throughout 2024. And PAs and step edits are typical for branded products in dermatology. And for ZORYVE, this process is now well-understood by pharmacies and dermatology offices. We are seeing very encouraging trends in percentage of cream prescriptions being covered by insurers with a clear opportunity to expand on this by working with contracted pharmacy partners. From my experience, I am confident in our ability to continue to improve our gross-to-net. We saw very good improvements in gross-to-net during Q4 and expect that progress to continue in subsequent quarters with us approaching our target gross-to-net in the 50s for the psoriasis indication by the second half of 2024. One very large entire opportunity to accelerate prescription growth is the expansion into Medicaid and Medicare, which we expect to begin as early as 2024. Roughly one-third of psoriasis patients and nearly half of SebDerm and atopic dermatitis patients are on Medicare or Medicaid. So, this is a very important opportunity for us. ZORYVE’s pricing falls below the CMS specialty threshold tier, unlike other branded topicals. So, we are well-positioned to access these segments. Now, moving on to Slide 11. We are seeing a tremendous early response to the launch of ZORYVE foam. The first drug approved for seborrheic dermatitis with a new mechanism of action in over two decades. As you have likely seen in IQVIA data, we have a strong start to the launch with a very positive launch trajectory. The first approved treatment unconstrained by severity, duration, and location. ZORYVE foam is different than anything else derms or patients have seen for this disease. With treatment success of eight in 10 patients in our pivotal trial with over half of these patients completely clear in just eight weeks. Significant impact on itch, most symptom of this disease, with improvements seen as early as 48 hours, simple, once-daily leave an application that’s much more convenient than any other option. And taken together, we believe ZORYVE foam can be the new standard-of-care imagining in SebDerm. I’m now on Slide 12. With the product profile offering rapid dramatic disease clearance and significant reduction in itch with a simple single treatment, HCPs and patients are very enthusiastic about the availability of ZORYVE foam. 81% of survey prescribers view that ZORYVE foam profile as very compelling or compelling. They also recognize the attributes of applicability to any part of the body. The uniqueness of the vehicle and critical efficacy needs for this patient type of rapid response at itch and erythema, which then helps to reduce the number of treatments in the regimen and potentially leads to improved compliance. On Slide 13, as mentioned previously, we have secured access with the three national PBMs who recognize the ZORYVE foam as a line extension under the ZORYVE cream contracts. This has translated into an increased volume of covered prescriptions early in the launch period with covered prescripts already near 50% of total volume. We continue to work with the downstream health plans, leading them on board, and this accelerated coverage, which translate into a more rapid improvement in gross-to-net compared to what we saw with the cream launch [Technical Difficulty] derm products. Finally, all the key EMRs already have ZORYVE foam available for electronic prescribing. Moving to Slide 14. Building on the strength of label and product profile, we are confident that we have the ingredients in place for successful launch of ZORYVE foam in SebDerm. With relationships already built with dermatologists, a field team trained on a value proposition and ready to promote and educate, contracted pharmacies in place, familiarity with the co-pay card and processes that go with the product, and access of PBMs ensure patients get the drug. I look forward to updating you further on our commercial progress throughout the year. We are also looking forward to upcoming launches in new indications. And so I will hand it over to Patrick to cover that. Patrick Burnett: Thanks Todd. I’m extremely proud of the team’s performance in delivering on the promise of topical roflumilast in the dermatology community and hitting all our timelines with regard to our regulatory milestones. On Slide 16, I’m going to cover these according to indication with psoriasis first. Here, we have approval down to the age of six after we have expanded the indication and the opportunity in pediatrics to reach the two to five-year-old’s will be the subject of a future FDA review. Next, for SebDerm with our approval in December and the recent launch, physician excitement is palpable and the feedback at Medical Congresses has been very positive. The profile here is unprecedented efficacy with a once-a-day foam in a market as big as psoriasis with no innovation in decades and no branded competition. So, moving on to atopic dermatitis. As Frank mentioned, the FDA accepted our supplemental NDA for roflumilast scream as a potential treatment for atopic dermatitis for patients down to the age of six, and they assigned a PDUFA action date of July 7th of this year. And finally, we’re also expecting to submit another sNDA with the FDA for ZORYVE foam in scalp and body psoriasis in the second half of 2024. On Slide 17, I want to highlight some recently released pooled data from our Phase III AD studies INTEGUMENT-1 and 2, and it’s quite notable and highly unusual that over 90% of patients saw improvement in their symptoms in just four weeks and nearly 70% seeing at least a 50% improvement. Looking at the more demanding EASI-75-hurdle, almost 45% of patients achieved this large improvement at week four. And encouragingly, in the long-term study, which we’ve released, but aren’t showing here, at the end of 56 weeks, two out of three patients had achieved a 75% improvement. It’s really exciting to see where we have a high proportion of patients responding early and then seeing an increased benefit over time with long-term treatment. And in that long-term study, we also looked for the first time and our ability to control the disease with a less frequent maintenance regimen, where patients were switched to twice weekly treatment if they reach complete clearance. We’re really happy about the response there and this regimen fits nicely with the current clinical practice, and these data have really resonated with dermatologists. We’re excited about the roflumilast cream clinical profile for AD and the significant opportunity in this large and growing market. Dynamics here at AD are favorable towards rapid adoption and share some of the positive tailwinds as SebDerm. And in pediatric patients, especially here in AD, there is a propensity to adopt non-steroidals higher than in the psoriasis patient population, and that’s largely driven by parents’ avoidance of steroids. So, moving on to Slide 18. I want to highlight the itch response across our portfolio of products. So here, we’re showing WIN-NRS or worst-itch numeric rating scale results of our Phase III studies. These are pooled results for psoriasis dermis and the AD INTEGUMENT studies, and these are individual study results for STRATUM and ARRECTOR. Itch is a primary symptom for these conditions and a key driver of our quality-of-life impact. So, ZORYVE cream and foam at 0.3% and topical roflumilast 0.15% cream for AD provided consistent and rapid improvements in itch across psoriasis, SebDerm, and AD, respectively, with improvements as early as 24 to 48 hours as compared with vehicle-treated patients. This includes scalp psoriasis in the ARRECTOR study, which is particularly difficult to control and only four weeks of treatment in the INTEGUMENT studies. Across indications, we have a significant proportion of patients achieving an itch-free state. And with that, I’ll pass it over to John. Frank Watanabe: Operator, can you hear me? This is Frank. Operator: Yes, I can hear you now. Frank Watanabe: While we’re working on John, I’ll take over for him for just a minute. So, if you’re listening, so, I’m on Slide 20. So, we achieved $29.2 million in net product revenue for ZORYVE for the full year 2023, with $13.5 million of that in Q4, reflecting a 67% growth from Q3 to Q4, which comes on top of the approximately 70% sequential growth we saw from Q2 to Q3. This was driven by substantial growth — gross-to-net, excuse me, percentage improvement down in the mid-60s and the team’s success in pulling through covered prescriptions. We also saw a healthy prescription growth in the quarter. So, looking forward to 2024, we expect continued prescription growth and gross-to-net improvements for ZORYVE cream in psoriasis and continued prescription momentum and GTN improvements for ZORYVE foam, although there will likely be a temporary erosion in psoriasis gross demand improvements in Q1 2024 versus Q4 2023 due to the typical deductible resets and patients changing their coverage that always occurs at the beginning of the year. Turning to Slide 21, you can see the strong performance in the fourth quarter with net product revenues for the quarter of $13.5 million, up over $10 million from Q4 of 2022. R&D expenses for the fourth quarter were $23.8 million, which is down significantly from Q4 2022 due to continued decrease of development costs on topical roflumilast programs. And recall that our R&D expense includes research, operations, and medical affairs spend. On Slide 22, looking at full year. Full year total revenues of $60 million with $29.2 million in net product revenues and $30 million in other revenues related to the upfront payment in connection with the Huadong collaboration and licensing agreement we received in Q3. R&D expenses for full year were $111 million, which is down $70 million, approximately due to the one-time $30 million fee associated with the Ducentis acquisition in 2022, winding down of our major roflumilast Phase III studies and lower pre-commercial production. We expect full year 2024 R&D expense to decline meaningfully versus full year 2023 as we continue completing the few remaining Phase III studies continuing with regulatory filings, reduce our prelaunch production costs, and maintain our medical fares activity to support the launches. SG&A expenses for the year were $185 million, primarily due to higher commercialization expenses year-over-year, driven by continued investments in ZORYVE cream and preparing for the ongoing launch of ZORYVE foam and the potential upcoming launch in atopic dermatitis, if approved. As we head into 2024, we expect SG&A to increase over 2023, which aligns with the investment behind our SebDerm launch and preparations for the atopic dermatitis launch, including our previously announced incremental expansion in sales force. We will continue to focus on appropriate investments to support our commercial activities. Launching drugs properly require substantial investments in staff and promotional investment and having multiple launches in a short period of time really magnifies these resource demands. It’s important to note that we have made concerted efforts to adjust our operating expenses to reflect our transition from being exclusively a pre-commercial company to a commercial enterprise and ensuring we invest appropriately in current launches and if approved, ensuring the same for our future launches. We don’t want to be in a position of underinvesting and harming the trajectory for the ongoing launches in psoriasis and SebDerm or future launches if approved. Earlier in the year, we undertook a reorganization and reprioritization of non-commercial efforts to align with our commercial execution focus in 2024, which will result in aggregate approximately $50 million of reduced expenses over the next two years as compared to previous internal forecasts. You can expect us to continue to focus on cash burn as we look for opportunities to maximize our OpEx, while making continued progress on maximizing the ZORYVE opportunity across multiple unique indications. A top priority for our team is being good stewards of the investor capital interested to us, and we believe we have demonstrated an excellent track record thus far. We have made appropriate levels of investment that established our pipeline achieved nine positive Phase III clinical trials and now two FDA approvals with the third potentially coming midyear, while launching two products to-date and if approved, another in the second half of 2024 and a fourth in 2025. On Slide 23, our final slide, on the balance sheet, we had cash and marketable securities of $272.8 million as of December 31st. As I mentioned on a previous slide, our current capital enables us to continue to invest appropriately in commercial initiatives. We also remain confident about concluding an out-licensing deal in Japan to bring in additional non-dilutive capital, which would further extend runway and largely address the capital requirement covenant with SLR. Additionally, we are actively pursuing a primary care partnership and are seeking — and seeing early interest from our efforts there. So, that’s it for our comments today. If I step back for a minute, we founded Arcutis with a vision of bringing meaningful innovation to the medical dermatology space, especially in the topical space. With our second launch in less than 18 months, I’m proud that our team is making that vision in reality and in the process is helping a growing number of people suffering from dermatologic conditions. As we continue to execute on the psoriasis and SebDerm launches and hopefully adding atopic dermatitis launch later this year, we look forward to helping millions of people allowing us to create additional shareholder value. We are confident that 2024 will be a transformational year for Arcutis. And with that, we will open it up for Q&A. See also 16 Longest Lasting Jeans Brands of 2024 and Top 20 E-Commerce Companies in the World. Q&A Session Follow Arcutis Biotherapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQT) Follow Arcutis Biotherapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:ARQT) or Subscribe with Google We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: Thank you. [Operator Instructions] And our first question comes– John Smither: Frank, I think we’re back on. Operator: Tyler Van Buren with TD Cowen. Your line is now open. Tyler Van Buren: All right. I think that’s me. Good morning guys. Thanks for taking the question. So, the SebDerm prescriptions for ZORYVE foam have gotten vertical very early in the launch and have reached levels that ZORYVE cream and Botama took significant longer to reach. So I understand that having coverage from day one is a huge benefit, and there’s not a direct competitor, but what else would you attribute the success to early on? And do you think ZORYVE foam could ultimately end up being significantly larger than the cream? Frank Watanabe: Yeah, I think maybe, Todd, if you could take that, and then Patrick, see if you have any additional comments after Todd’s comment from a commercial standpoint. Todd Edwards: Yeah, thank you, Frank. And, yeah, as mentioned, we’re very pleased with the uptake of ZORYVE foam. And, I mean, you know, with the weekly demand trends, I’d say it’s too early to comment on how much of that is coming from a warehouse of patients. But I would say that one big driver of this initial uptake is just that, that it’s a ready pool of patients that are out there. Patients have been waiting for ZORYVE foam. You know, they’ve been waiting for a more convenient, more effective treatment. And so I think that that’s been driving this. But, you know, we expect continued strong growth of the product. But I just caution that a linear progression based on the rate trend is probably overly optimistic. But I think that there’s a long runway for ZORYVE foam. And we’re looking forward to continuing to grow this product. Tyler Van Buren: Patrick, any additional medical thoughts? Patrick Burnett: Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, I think just kind of adding the, you know, the perspective of how this might fit into practice for dermatologists. You know, seborrheic dermatitis patients can be a challenging patient type in the dermatology practice just because you’ve had them in your practice for, you know, 10, 15 years sometimes. You know, we know that there’s a very long runway for patients before they actually get to a diagnosis. And oftentimes, they’ve tried everything that’s out there. And in this space where we haven’t really had any innovation for 10, 20 years, remember, this is the first new mechanism of action for a prescription topical in over two decades. Yeah, I think there really is a lot of interest in having a new therapy. And that translates into a level of frustration for the dermatologist that was kind of pent up prior to this. Because when a patient would come back in, they just had nothing to offer them that wasn’t a topical antifungal or topical corticosteroid. So, you know, I think that this is simply a component of solving an unmet need where there are patients who are dissatisfied with the treatment and, you know, healthcare providers who haven’t really had anything new to offer. And we’ve heard that in anticipation of the approval and launch you know, for the two or three years while we were, you know, running our phase three studies, looking for the FDA to approve the drug, that there was a high level of anticipation for this, for those reasons. Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Uy Ear with Mizuho. Uy Ear: Hey, guys. Yeah, thanks for taking my question. So, just on the launch, the septum launch, could you, you know, you speak of warehousing effect. Are you sort of suggesting primarily that these are kind of patients who, you know, have limited options? And I guess, are you seeing, what kind of patients are you seeing generally? Do they tend to be more on the severe side or the mild side? And could you sort of just maybe provide some of the demographics a little bit if you have such data? Yeah, so that’s my first question. I’ll follow up with a second question. Thanks. Frank Watanabe: You know, Uy, I think that the point we’re trying to make is, you know, think about it. It’s been over 20 years since there was a truly new drug for seborrheic dermatitis. And so, you know, there is a very large pool of patients, as Patrick or Todd mentioned, excuse me, who, you know, are have been eagerly awaiting ZORYVE foam’s availability. And, you know, I think some of the very early demand is probably these patients who have been, as Patrick mentioned, you know, have been cycling for three years and have been just sitting in the office. And now all of a sudden the doctor has a new option and they’re going to put them on ZORYVE foam. So, you know, we don’t We think that there is this pool of ready-made patients that is helping the early launch, but we want to make sure that folks don’t think that that pool will exist forever with, you know, this constant stream of very large patients. Having said that, you know, our research suggests that dermatologists see about 75 SebDerm patients a month. So, it’s a very large population of patients which should sustain long-term growth for us. In terms of your question around the demographics, I think it’s really too early. for us to have any data on that. We’ll be looking at, you know, adoption and where doctors are using it as we get farther into the launch. And, you know, we’ll be able to share some of those data in the future. But at this point in the game, we don’t have any data on that yet. Uy Ear: Okay. And maybe you’re going to help us understand that a little bit. So, during the earlier call, the launch call, you indicated there were scripts that were waiting at the pharmacies. Are you still seeing significant number of scripts that have not been filled or shipped to consumers? Or at this point, these scripts, you know, they come in and they are, I guess, readily shipped. I’m just wondering if there’s a large delta. And maybe along that line, could you kind of also help us understand in your ZORYVE direct program, Is there any differences between the cream and the foam in terms of getting it processed? And if there’s any, yeah, just wanting a little more clarity on that. Thanks. Sure. Yeah. Sure. Frank Watanabe: Todd, can you take those too? Todd Edwards: Yeah, absolutely. As mentioned, prior to the commercial launch, there was a number of prescriptions that were sitting at the pharmacy, but those prescriptions have all been filled and distributed to the patients. So we don’t see what I’ll call a warehouse of prescriptions sitting currently at the pharmacy today. And relative to our ZORYVE direct program, and I think this is a big strategic advantage for us, is that the program’s identical. It’s the same program for ZORYVE cream and psoriasis, or for ZORYVE foam and seborrheic dermatitis. And that creates a great efficiency for the dermatology offices, given that two unique products for two distinct patient populations psoriasis and SebDerm, but one process in fulfilling that prescription. And so, that is a common process across both products. Uy Ear: Okay. Thank you. Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Chris Shibutani with Goldman Sachs. Chris Shibutani: Hi. Thanks for taking our question. This is Steven on for Chris. One, on the SebDerm launch, curious if we should expect any inventory or channel stocking effects in the first quarter. And then, as far as the commercial team goes, do you believe the team is currently the right size for the psoriasis and SebDerm opportunities, and if we should anticipate any changes ahead of Atopic Derm? Frank Watanabe: Thank you. John, do you want to maybe take the channel question, and then Todd, could you address the team? Chris Shibutani: With respect to Q1, no, we’re not anticipating any channel buildup with respect to Q1. Todd Edwards: Yeah, and then a question relative to being right-sized, especially for the potential Atopic Dermatitis launch. In anticipation of that launch, we will expand our field sales organization. Today, roughly, we have around 100 field sales individuals within that team. And we’ll likely expand that by approximately another 50 sales representatives to make certain that we can get the breadth and depth of prescribing across the two products that are approved today and potentially the Atopic Dermatitis products. So we will be expanding, and that will be initiated shortly. Chris Shibutani: Okay. Thank you very much. Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Seamus Fernandez with Guggenheim Securities. Unidentified Analyst: Hi, this is Colleen on for Seamus. Thanks for taking our question and congrats on the quarter. So, we’re seeing around 6,000 scripts per week for ZORYVE over the past few weeks. So, as a conservative estimate, if we analyze those 6,000 scripts for 48 weeks and assume a 60% growth SNF, by our math, that gives us a little under $100 million for ZORYVE sales. Are we thinking about this the right way for a conservative minimum for 2024, which also isn’t taking the Atopic Dermatitis launch into account? Or are there other factors we should be considering for the year? Thanks. Frank Watanabe: Yeah, I think I’ll let John answer that one. John Smither: Thanks, Frank. Specifically, we’re, you know, we’re not giving revenue guidance. And the 6000 number, I believe you quoted is both cream and foam. As Todd had mentioned, we’re seeing early signs of strong SebDerm. We’re seeing improvement around psoriasis. You know, we’re in the early part of the launch. So I think we’re standing back and thoughtfully and looking at how that launch is going. We’re quite enthusiastic about how the year will turn out, but we’re not giving specific guidance on revenue. As it relates to gross to net, just as a reminder, We exited 2023 essentially in the mid-60s, and there is a reset that happens in Q1 as a result of folks, a deductible reset, and as folks also change their medical plans. So you’ll see that probably tick up for psoriasis and SebDerm, but we’re confident as the year progresses that gross to net will continue to improve toward the end of 2024, and I believe in our script we mentioned our target is in the 50s. Unidentified Analyst: Great. Operator: Thanks. Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Serge Belanger with Needham. Serge Belanger: Hi. Good morning. Thanks for taking our questions, and congrats on the progress. I guess a question for Todd related to growth to nets. If you reiterated your target to be in the mid-50s by the end of the year for I believe it was ZORYVE Cream in psoriasis. Just curious how we should think about the other products, especially ZORYVE Foam, and what will happen to overall growth synapse once the AD indication comes on board and the managed care component also expands next month. Todd Edwards: Yeah, yeah, thank you. As mentioned just by John earlier that, you know, we’re anticipating the second half of the year to achieve that, the 50s for the gross net. That is for the indication of psoriasis. It’s too early to comment on for seborrheic dermatitis. I think the one signal that I mentioned earlier was relative to the coverage scripts approaching 50% now of the total volume. And then relative to Atopic Dermatitis, just as a reminder, these are three unique and distinct products, have separate NDCs, so therefore they’ll have separate, unique. But relative to the potential launch in Atopic Dermatitis, the PVMs, similar to what happened with ZORYVE foam, will treat the AD launch as a line extension which will be able to support rapid uptake of covered prescriptions at launch for the Atopic Dermatitis product. Operator: Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Vikram Purohit with Morgan Stanley. Vikram Purohit: Hi, good morning. Thank you for taking our questions. We had two, one on SebDerm and one on AD. So, for SebDerm, could you remind us how many cans of product you expect patients on the foam to work through annually? Understanding it’s still pretty early in the launch. And are there any interesting observations you’re picking up from the initial phase of this launch on, you know, which areas of the body patients are using the product in, how much they’re using, and whether they’re using it either as monotherapy or as a combination agent? And then on AD, I would just be curious what your latest thinking is on where ZORYVE Cream could fit in, if approved, versus other brand of topicals that are or may be on the market by the time ZORYVE launches. Thanks. Frank Watanabe: Sure. Yeah. Todd, you want to maybe take the first question? Todd Edwards: Yeah. For the first question, relative to the anticipated number of units, so we’re anticipating that per patient, on average per year, a patient would use one to two SebDerm units. And then relative to, it’s a little bit early to be able to tell where patients are using this on the body. It will, you know, our labels very open relative to anywhere on the body or scalp. And then relative to monotherapy or not, once again, it’s too early to tell specifically how dermatologists will likely be using this product. Although, I will mention that there has been a lot of feedback from dermatologists relative to the convenience of this product being a monotherapy. And I think that leads back to patients really yearning for something that’s more convenient and not having to use, you know, six products on average per week. And so I think that, you know, this is one significant differentiator of the product to be able to use as a monotherapy, highly effective product anywhere on body and scalp. Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Sean Kim with Jones Trading. Sean Kim: Yeah. Hi. Congratulations, and thank you for taking my questions. I guess one question on Medicaid and Medicare expansion opportunity. So, just curious, what are some of the remaining gating steps to realize the expansion opportunity in the managed care? And my second question is about the patient awareness. You mentioned about 17% among patients aware of your branded products. Just curious to hear whether the demand for your products has been more on the doctors recommending their products to patients or vice versa, patients kind of requesting the products and your expectations going forward, whether that awareness will further increase. Thank you. Frank Watanabe: Sure. Todd, sorry, but I think those probably both are to you, too. Todd Edwards: Yeah, no, thank you. And just a clarification of the first question, that was relative to the Medicaid expansion opportunity? Right. Medicaid and Medicare both. Medicaid and Medicare both. Fantastic. Yeah. Relative to Medicare, we are currently in negotiations with a couple of the Part D Medicare plans. And we’re anticipating Medicare coverage at some of those Part D plans to be initiated in the second half of 2024. And relative to Medicaid, a very similar timeframe. We’re also actively talking and working with some of the state Medicaid plans. And we anticipate that those plans will come online near the middle of the year to the second half of the year for the Medicaid plans. And then on the other relative to patient awareness, and also whether it’s a physician or doctor driven, I think right now it’s primarily, for the most part, doctor driven given just a new product to market. There has not been any new innovation within this space in two decades, and the enthusiasm by providers around this product. So I think there’s a tremendous push by physicians to their patients to take this product. I think over time, that paradigm will shift to the patient as we continue to engage more directly with patients, create awareness to patients through a different mode of engagement opportunities. Frank Watanabe: Sean, maybe just to clarify for you and the other animals, you know, neither Medicare nor Medicaid are binary coverage decisions, right? So, you know, in Medicare, The majority of patients are covered by, you know, these Part D plans that are run by various PBMs or insurance companies. And so, you know, we’ll get coverage with individual Medicare providers just as we have with commercial. It won’t all come at once. We’ll get a little bit here, a little bit there, a little bit the other place. And then in the case of Medicaid, you know, that’s administered as a state program through block grants from the federal government. And so you have to negotiate with individual states for Medicaid coverage. And so, again, that will be, you know, kind of a piecemeal coverage process. In fact, even more fragmented since you’re dealing with such a large number of states. Sean Kim: Okay. That’s very helpful. Thank you for the clarification. Operator: Thank you. There are no further questions. Thank you for joining our Q&A’s today. This does conclude the call, and you may now disconnect. Follow Arcutis Biotherapeutics Inc. 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Category: topSource: insidermonkey10 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

Squarespace, Inc. (NYSE:SQSP) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Squarespace, Inc. (NYSE:SQSP) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 28, 2024 Squarespace, Inc. misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.04 EPS, expectations were $0.16. SQSP isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good morning, my name is Tamiya […] Squarespace, Inc. (NYSE:SQSP) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 28, 2024 Squarespace, Inc. misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.04 EPS, expectations were $0.16. SQSP isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good morning, my name is Tamiya and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to Squarespace’s Fourth Quarter 2023 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]. Thank you. I will now hand the call over to your host at Squarespace, Clare Perry. Clare, please go ahead. Clare Perry: Good morning and thank you for joining Squarespace’s fourth quarter 2023 earnings conference call. This is Clare Perry, Head of Investor Relations. I’m joined by Anthony Casalena, Squarespace’s Founder and CEO and Nathan Gooden, CFO. After their prepared remarks, we will open the call to your questions. Earlier today, we posted a press release and shareholder letter to the investor relations section of our website. On today’s call, we will be referencing both GAAP and non-GAAP financial results and operating metrics. You can find additional information on how we calculate these metrics, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP measures in today’s press release and shareholder letter. These measures should not be considered in isolation from, nor a substitute for our GAAP reporting. We will make forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which include, but are not limited to statements related to our future financial performance, our strategies and our ability to integrate new technology into our core platform. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially. These risks are further defined in our most recent filings with the Security and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements that we make on this call are based on assumptions as of this day, February 28th, 2024. We undertake no obligation to update these statements as a result of new information or future events, except where required by law. Please also note that all comparisons are on a year-over-year basis, unless we state otherwise. I will now turn the call over to Anthony. Anthony Casalena: Thank you, Clare and good morning, everyone, 2023 was a strong year for Squarespace, both strategically and financially. We crossed $1 billion in revenue for the first time, growing 17% for the year. Our unlevered free cash flow margin expanded to 24%. This top-and-bottom-line performance put us in Rule of 40, territory for the year. Q4 was an excellent finish to 2023, with faster bookings and revenue growth than we saw for the full year, also aided by the addition of our customers coming over from Google Domains. Last year was also an important year for laying the foundation for accelerating multi-year growth. We began rolling out Squarespace payments in Q4, a key strategic initiative supporting our commerce aspirations and I’m delighted to share today that payments is now fully rolled out to new customers in the United States. We invested significantly in our domains business as we welcome customers over from Google Domains and established ourselves further in this space. We also launched dozens of new products and features in 2023 to make it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to launch their businesses and stand out online by leveraging the most distinctive design capabilities anywhere in our industry. The main drivers of our business moving forward into 2024 are: first, enabling small business, which is inclusive of the essential services an entrepreneur needs to get started, namely a domain, website, and email. Second, Commerce, where we offer powerful tools to enable customers to engage and transact via their online presence; and finally, third, International, where we’re making great progress in expanding our brand and presence in both existing key markets and new ones. With respect to enabling small businesses, two key highlights this year were the build out of our domains business and the launch of Squarespace Blueprint. Squarespace Domains is now the fourth largest registrar in the world. Renewals from migrating Google customers are going better than expected and we’re now poised to grow adoption of our broader offerings as we capitalize on a wider customer funnel and larger customer base. Major updates to our platform’s interface are launching as soon as next week and when our customers want to build a website, many are onboarding using Squarespace Blueprint, also available in select international markets. Blueprint’s guided interactive design experience enhances our users’ ability to rapidly create a distinct personalized website. And it acts as a natural place for us to inject an array of generative AI features that help guide customers through setup. We’ll be releasing these improvements throughout the year under the banner of design intelligence, which you’ll find at home on our front site. Turning to commerce, we’re now offering a comprehensive set of tools that enable our customer’s to transact and engage with their customers through selling digital content, physical goods and services. Acuity scheduling has proven to be an important driver of GMV growth and underscores our increasing focus on services sellers, but we believe we will offer meaningful product differentiation. Tock closed out the year with a record Q4, its best revenue quarter ever, and we saw an uplift in seasonal GMV. We believe that the product enhancements, new integrations, and an improved iOS app further separate, Tock as the leading hospitality solution for restaurants and diners alike. Our largest scores based payments in Q4 serves as a cornerstone of our commerce capabilities. Enabling merchants to collect money directly through our native solution will be central to enhancing the power of our platform by growing GMV and driving customer growth and retention. With payments now 100% rolled out in the US, we’re turning our attention to key international markets. Payments is getting great early feedback from customers, and we look forward to building payments discount for our current customers into our broader plan offering as we move throughout the year, marking the first time we will have the ability to do that. Finally, we are excited to the efforts we have put into expanding our international offering are showing up in our performance. Our largest international markets continue to grow, and we’ve seen double digit subscription growth across all key markets. In 2023, we added 18 new currencies, enabling more customers to pay in the ways most convenient for them. As we enter our third decade, Squarespace is in a better position than ever to empower more entrepreneurs online. We’re looking forward to even more strong product releases in 2024, as we continue to refine the go to market for much of what we were able to release in 2023. Today, we’re also announcing that we’ll be holding an Investor Day at our offices in New York City on May 15th, where Nathan and I and key Squarespace leaders will dive deeper into our market positioning, growth drivers, and opportunities for the future. Thank you all for your support and now I’ll turn it over to Nathan. Nathan Gooden: Thank you, Anthony, and good morning, everyone. 2023 was a tremendous year. The Squarespace ecosystem of products and solid execution fueled our strong financial results. We exceeded our top line and unlevered free cash flow guidance, which culminated in full year revenue growth of 17% and a 24% unlevered free cash flow margin, over 400 basis points of improvement. We are driving meaningful top line growth, improving our profitability and delivering strong incremental cash flow, a powerful formula for long term value creation. We continue to balance our strong cash flow with sustainable top line growth. Today, we announced a $500 million share repurchase program. This authorization underscores the strong financial momentum of our business. Our robust balance sheet and cash flow generation provide us with the flexibility to repurchase shares, while continuing to execute against our long term strategy. We view share repurchase programs as an integral part of our capital allocation strategy, a key topic which I will discuss more at our upcoming investor day in May. Turning now to strong financial results driving our business, Q4 bookings of $286 million grew 23% as reported and 22% in constant currency. Our acquired domain assets, consisting of single domain subscriptions originally sold by Google as part of our acquisition of Google Domains, drove about half of the growth during the quarter, followed by contributions from websites, both in presence and commerce. Related to our acquired domain assets, renewal rates from this customer base have surpassed our expectations. As a reminder, we acquired Google domains in September 2023. This was an asset purchase with no deferred revenue. There are two primary components of the acquisition, which include the acquired domain assets and a partnership. Squarespace is the exclusive domains provider for any customer purchasing a domain along with their workspace subscription from Google directly for a minimum of three years. Additionally, we see benefits from Google referral pages, which direct traffic to Squarespace domains. Unique subscriptions and ARPUs do not include our acquired domain assets. Full year 2023 bookings were $1.1 billion, growing 19% and 18% in constant currency. The primary driver of growth during the year was the strong retention and growth of unique subscriptions. Legacy price increases across several of our website plans were another driver of our full year bookings growth, in addition to contributions from our acquired domain assets. We are delighted by the momentum we achieved through 2023 with bookings growth accelerating quarter after quarter and driving $169 million of incremental growth in the year. Revenue of $271 million exceeded the high end of our guidance of $261 to $264 million in the fourth quarter, which represents 18% growth and 16% in constant currency. In addition to positive contributions from foreign exchange, we saw stronger new subscription acquisitions from websites. We continue to see a positive halo effect following our acquisition of Google domains, where we see robust referral traffic to Squarespace, increases in premium plan mix, and new unique subscriptions. As of year-end, our customer base represented over 4.6 million unique subscriptions, up 10% and representing a net increase of 427,000 unique subscriptions over the 12-month period. Q4 2023 revenue highlights included presence revenue of $188 million, growing 20% and 18% in constant currency, and $82 million of commerce revenue, growing 14% and 13% in constant currency. Presence revenue grew from the acquisition and retention of unique subscriptions and also benefited from legacy customer price increases. Our acquired domain assets also contributed to presence revenue growth during the quarter. Revenue recognition of our acquired domain assets, where generally domain subscriptions are annual and paid up front, is recognized rateably over the course of 12 months. Therefore, we see greater contributions from this important customer base in our presence revenue in 2024. Squarespace has built a strengthening, diverse commerce portfolio to support our customers’ e-commerce needs, including physical goods and service sellers, as well as hospitality customers. Commerce website subscriptions, acuity scheduling, and talk were primary drivers of commerce revenue growth in Q4. We saw positive contributions to GMV-related revenue sharing across commerce capabilities. In Q4, GMV was approximately $1.7 billion, growing 6%. We saw strength in acuity scheduling this quarter, and Tack had a great finish to the year with strong seasonal uplift in reservations, leading to record-high GMV and solid subscription revenue contributions from customers. As Anthony highlighted, our full year 2023 revenue reached approximately $1.01 billion, up 17% and 16% in constant currency. We exited the year with annual run rate revenue of $1.1 billion, up 19% or $174 million. All year, we saw strength from websites, the largest driver of our growth, both from retention of existing and acquisition of new subscriptions. For the full year 2023, unique subscriptions contributed $87 million, representing 60% of our top-line growth. Price increases across our subscription offerings contributed $39 million, representing approximately 27% of our top-line growth, with renewal rates supporting strong cash retention. Price increases had an outsized impact on our presence revenue during the year. In 2023, the growth of unique subscriptions and legacy price increases drove record cash retention to 88%, 400 basis points of improvement versus 2022. As of year-end, ARPU’s accelerated 9% to $228, primarily the result of the increase in revenue associated with our unique subscriptions and price increases across several of our subscription plans. International revenue was $286 million, growing 17% and 14% in constant currency and representing 28% to our total revenue during the full year period. Strong growth in websites across the target markets contributed to our revenue growth. In 2023, we increased our currency options five times, which, alongside growing our support languages, bolsters our ability to support our international customers. As Anthony mentioned, international is a key growth driver for our business as we look to bring our ecosystem to new markets. We are focusing resources on markets where we see clear synergies with our differentiated design and where our product market fit is well supported. We are investing in product features, targeted marketing campaigns, and building ties with pro users through Circle, our partner program to deliver growth. Through our powerful business model, we drove profitability as a result of solid execution and operating improvement, offsetting the temporary gross profit margin impact from our acquired domain assets. We intend to improve profitability while we continue to invest to support long-term growth and shareholder return. Turning to our margin profile, our non-GAAP gross profit margin was 81% in full year 2023, a decline of 286 basis points. Cost of revenue increased in the year, primarily due to domain registration fees associated with our acquired domain assets. As legacy Google Domain customers renew their domain subscriptions, we pay registry fees up front, but recognize associated revenue rateably over the course of 12 months, as I mentioned earlier. Our customer operations costs increased on an incremental dollar basis, but as a percentage of revenue remained in line with 2022, showing that we are able to sustain an efficient model for our business as we scale. We see AI as a continued driver of efficiency in our customer operations. We have been using AI models to bolster parts of our platform and enhance our customer support for the better part of a decade. We will continue to leverage technology to drive efficiency in our business. Moving to operational expenses, we improved non-GAAP operating efficiency in areas throughout the year, lowering expenses as a percentage of revenue. In 2023, non-GAAP R&D expense was $183 million, or 18% of revenue, an improvement of nearly 280 basis points, primarily due to efficient spending in cash-based payroll with increased capitalization year over year. During the same period, non-GAAP marketing and sales expenses were approximately $313 million, or 31% of revenue, an improvement of nearly 400 basis points. Our marketing attribution model has been efficiently directing the mix of spend to the optimal marketing channels, helping us drive better ROI. During the year, we prioritized direct response channels and decreased investment in brand advertising. These changes supported increases to our growing subscription base. Finally, non-GAAP G&A expenses were $90 million, or 9% of revenue. We improved non-GAAP G&A expenses both on a dollar basis and as a percentage of revenue, more than 250 basis points, primarily due to taxes. In 2023, we focused on execution and efficiency, which can be seen across each of the operating expense areas. Full year 2023 adjusted EBITDA increased 60% to approximately $235 million, or 23% of total revenue, nearly 600 basis points of improvement compared to the previous year, driven by our operational discipline. This performance more than offset impacts related to the acquired domain assets and increases in employee expenses. Turning now to the balance sheet and cash flow statement, we finished Q4 with cash and cash equivalents of approximately $258 million and approximately $18 million of available borrowing. Total debt was approximately $569 million, of which $49 million is current. I remain comfortable with our leverage ratios today, with net debt to our trailing 12-month adjusted EBITDA at 1.2 times as of year-end. We delivered strong cash flow in 2023, surpassing the high end of our guidance. Our cash flow from operating activities grew 41% to $231 million. We generated strong unleveraged cash flow of $241 million for the trailing 12 months, or 24% of total revenue, a growth rate of 46%, surpassing the high end of our guidance. The outperformance was primarily due to strong bookings, driven by renewals and acquisition of our website business. Our consistent levels of positive unleveraged fee cash flow afford us opportunities to innovate and develop new products, where we see opportunity to provide more value to our customers and to plant seeds for long-term growth. In 2023, we returned approximately $26 million of cash to shareholders under our current share repurchase authorization. This represents purchases of approximately 1.3 million shares at an average price per share of $22.17 on the open market. At year end, we had approximately $54 million remaining on the current authorization. The shares we purchased in 2023 had an anti-dilutive impact and offset some of our stock-based compensation grants. Turning to our guidance for Q1 and full year 2024, we are expecting another year of strong growth for Squarespace, driven by our expanded ecosystem, contributions from renewing Google domain customers, and the continued strong performance of our website business. In Q1 2024, we are targeting total revenue in the range of $274 to $277 million. This represents 16% growth at the midpoint. We expect unleveraged fee cash flow during the quarter to be in the range of $83 to $86 million, which implies an unleveraged fee cash flow margin of 31% at the midpoint of the range. Our Q1 unleveraged fee cash flow margin reflects the seasonal strength in bookings, including the added benefit of bookings from our Google Domain Asset Acquisition. For the full year 2024, we expect total revenue to be in the range of $1.17 to $1.19 billion, representing growth of 17% at the midpoint of the range. Unleveraged fee cash flow is expected to grow through the year to the range of $290 to $310 million, and implies an unleveraged fee cash flow margin of 25% at the midpoint of the range. Related to the full year revenue guide, we expect contributions from our Google domain assets to be in the range of $85 to $88 million. I want to call out that we are not including any material contributions from either pricing of our core offerings or cross-selling of Squarespace products to our Google domain customers in our revenue guidance. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to improve as the year progresses, ultimately showing similar leverage to our full year 2024 unleveraged fee cash flow margin as we benefit from improved marketing efficiency in the second half of 2024. Finishing where I started, I couldn’t be more proud of our performance in Q4 and 2023. Our teams helped drive steady performance, enabling us to maintain a strong outlook and steadfast execution. 2023 was my first full year as CFO at Squarespace, and it is clear that we have a strong foundation for growth, supported by our growing Squarespace ecosystem and suite of products. Thank you to our employees who execute daily to deliver value to our customers. I look forward with confidence and excitement in this new year. With that, operator, please open the line for the Q&A portion of the call. See also 12 Worst Cities in the Southeast for Retirees and 15 Best Family Vacations on a Budget for $5000. Q&A Session Follow Squarespace Inc. Follow Squarespace Inc. or Subscribe with Google We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: Certainly. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]. The first question comes from the line of Matt Pfau with William Blair. Your line is now open. Matt Pfau: Great. Nice results, and thanks for taking my question. First, actually had two that I wanted to ask related on payments. First, what is the plan to go about migrating existing customers over to Squarespace payments? And then, both from Squarespace’s perspective as well as the customer’s perspective, what would the advantages be to moving from a third-party payment system over to Squarespace payments? Thanks. Anthony Casalena: Sure. I can take that. So, one of the things that we haven’t talked about up to this point is what the release of payments can do to our plan and offering architecture. So, in the past, we’ve talked about customer experience, which is better, everything being integrated. They don’t have to go to more than one place. Obviously, we have some better economics with it. But as we roll this out, we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how we can give people on higher SaaS tiers, a more advantageous take rate than they currently get right now via the Stripe relationship. And so that begins to answer both of your questions at once. Your first is about migration. Your second is, why do it? So, you don’t see it in the plan architecture now, but that is something we’re going to be actively working on and testing. It’s been built into our payment infrastructure so that we can deploy that. If you look across our competitive set, a decreased take rate is probably, in multiple cases, the very first line item on why people are selecting various plans. In my opinion, one of the reasons why I think certain larger sellers or people who would adopt our invoicing products might not use Squarespace. It might not even be in our ecosystem. So, we have a lot coming there. It’s just a huge unlock for us. Right now, we’re focused on making sure that the system is working well. It so far is. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be at 100% U.S. rollout, moving to all of our international markets, and then integrating that to our plan architecture. That’s all just, frankly, super exciting. We’re all spending a lot of time here looking into it. Matt Pfau: Okay. Just to follow-up on that, in terms of the more advantageous pricing, perhaps, what has that meant in terms of uptake by new customers that have been exposed to Squarespace payments coming into your customer ecosystem? Anthony Casalena: So, what I’m talking about is not something you see in production right now. This is something we have the ability to do and are currently contemplating it in our re-bundling and just new offerings as we continue to shape the commerce product, but that is not currently out. Matt Pfau: Got it. Great. Thanks for taking my questions. Operator: Thank you. The next question comes from the line of Andrew Boone with JMP Securities. Your line is now open. Andrew Boone: Thanks so much for taking my questions. Nathan, can you unpack the 2024 guidance, given the fact you’ve given us domains revenue? Is that 8% high single-digit number right to think about for 2024? Is there anything else we should consider as we’re doing our math? Then, Anthony, on domains, can you just help us understand where you are in the cross-sell into other Squarespace products and what the strategy is there? Thank you so much. Nathan Gooden: Thanks for the question, Andrew. For 2024 guidance, we certainly ended ‘23 very strong. It was an incredible year at 17% year-over-year growth rate, which was driven by the top driver of our core business of the retention of our existing and acquisition of new against the backdrop of raising legacy prices. As we go into 2024, 18% growth at the top end of the range is really driven a combination of what we disclosed for Google domains, but that core business coming through. But we are lapping the pricing, and so you will see that impact in the 2024 guide, as well as, as I said in my opening remarks, we’ve built immaterial cross-sell for the Google domains. I’ll let Anthony talk really the focus of migrating those domains. Anthony Casalena: Yeah, and just to reemphasize, in 2023, we saw some of the strongest quarters ever, including COVID quarters in our core business. And so, I’m sure we’ll get to it later, but we’ve built in really no material changes in the 2024 guidance due to any more pricing changes other than an update to some of our customers who are currently not at list that will be at list. But that’s like a single million sort of thing. And we can talk about pricing and pricing strategy later. To your question on domains and cross-sell, right now, the answer is nowhere, because we’re still in the process of migrating everyone over. We have a new interface coming on next week, which will be kind of the foundation for more cross-sell and up-sell. We’re really just focused on a seamless transition, making sure everything’s working perfectly to make sure there’s no interruptions. And we’ll be doing that for the next couple of months. And then after that, we’ll be thinking more about cross-sell and up-sell. That being said, we do have an elevated and new stream of new domains coming in that we are seeing attach rates into Google and website products for, and that is greatly elevated versus last year. And early results, considering we’re literally doing almost nothing, is encouraging what they’re attaching. I mean, the thesis here is not really like too hard. I mean, all small businesses in the world need a domain, a website, and email. And so we’re just refining the offering there, and we’re going to have plenty of opportunity later throughout the year and throughout these customers’ life cycles to get them into that trifecta of products. Andrew Boone: Thank you. Operator: Thank you. The next question comes from the line of Siti Panagrahi with Mizuho. Your line is now open. Siti Panagrahi: Thanks for taking my question. Anthony, Squarespace has been a pioneer in website building. You always differentiate yourself from this crowded market, competitive market. So now the question we’re getting with this emergence of new competitors now leveraging AI, wondering how are you positioning yourself from the back? I know some of the investment you did on the AI side. Could you talk about how the product changed right now, your offering, and also in terms of go-to-market, what you’re doing?.....»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey10 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:SEAS) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:SEAS) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 28, 2024 SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good day and welcome to the United Parks & Resorts Q4 2023 Earnings Conference Call. All participants […] SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:SEAS) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 28, 2024 SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good day and welcome to the United Parks & Resorts Q4 2023 Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. [Operator Instructions] Please note, this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Matthew Stroud with Investor Relations. Please go ahead. Matthew Stroud: Thank you and good morning everyone. Welcome to United Parks & Resorts’ fourth quarter and fiscal 2023 earnings conference call. Today’s call is being webcast and recorded. A press release was issued this morning and is available on our Investor Relations website at www.unitedparksinvestors.com. Replay information for this call can be found in the press release and will be available on our website following the call. Also, we have posted a slide presentation on our investor website along with our earnings press release that we will discuss during our prepared remarks. Joining me this morning are Marc Swanson, Chief Executive Officer; and Jim Forrester, Interim Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. This morning, we will review our fourth quarter and fiscal 2023 financial results, and then we will open the call to your questions. Before we begin, I would like to remind everyone that our comments today will contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from those forward-looking statements, including those identified in the risk factors section of our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risk factors may be updated from time to time and will be included in our filings with the SEC that are available on our website. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. In addition, on the call, we may reference non-GAAP financial measures and other financial metrics, such as adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. More information regarding our forward-looking statements and reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to the most comparable GAAP measure is included in our earnings release available on our website and can also be found in our filings with the SEC. Now, I’d like to turn the call over to our Chief Executive Officer, Marc Swanson. Marc? Marc Swanson: Thank you, Matthew. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us. I want to welcome you to our first quarterly earnings report under our new company name, United Parks & Resorts Inc. We believe this name change better reflects what we have been and will continue to be a diverse collection of park brands and experiences. The name change affects only the name of the parent company, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Our award-winning portfolio of parks: SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, Sesame Place, Water Country USA, Adventure Island and Aquatica retain their respective park names. What also remains unchanged is our deep commitment to creating experiences that matter for our guests and inspiring them to help protect animals and the wild wonders of the world. Before we turn to the quarterly and annual results, I want to point out that we uploaded a presentation to our Investor Relations site that includes some supplemental information that covers topics we have heard from our investors that they would like covered as well, as well as some other important points that we want to get across. I will refer to these slides later in my remarks. Now, let me turn to the quarterly and annual results. We are pleased to report another quarter and fiscal year of strong financial results. In the fourth quarter, we delivered record attendance and record in-park per capita spending despite significant adverse weather impacts, in particular, across our Florida markets during peak visitation periods and an unfavorable calendar shift in the quarter. For the full year, we delivered near-record results and grew our total revenue per capita for the sixth year in a row despite significant adverse weather impacts throughout the year. We estimate that weather-related and calendar shift impacts reduced attendance by approximately 75,000 visits in the fourth quarter and that weather-related impacts reduced attendance by over 370,000 visits for the full year. Weather aside, we continue to drive growth in total revenue per capita, including growth in admissions per capita and in in-park per capita, which has increased for 15 consecutive quarters, demonstrating the effectiveness of our revenue strategies, our pricing power, and the strength of consumer spending in our parks. Also in 2023, along with our partners, we successfully opened our first SeaWorld Park outside of the United States in Abu Dhabi, which has been extremely well received and is performing ahead of expectations. In addition, we made meaningful investments across our parks and business that we are confident will deliver strong returns and will be a source of growth and profitability this year and into the future. I want to thank our ambassadors for all their dedicated efforts in 2023. Our attendance levels for fiscal 2023 were still below levels achieved in 2019, primarily due to a decline in international and group attendance, which we are confident will eventually recover to and surpass pre-COVID levels. We are also still more than 3 million visitors below our historical high attendance of approximately 25 million guests achieved in 2008. Our clear opportunity to drive meaningfully more attendance to our parks, combined with our demonstrated ability to continue to grow total per capita spending, manage and reduce cost and achieve strong returns on our investments gives us high confidence in our ability to continue to deliver operational and financial improvements that will lead to meaningful increases in shareholder value. We are excited about our plans for 2024 including the prospect for more normalized weather and an incredible lineup of new one-of-a-kind rides, attractions and events and new and improved in-park venues and offerings across our parks. We’re also really excited about celebrating SeaWorld park’s 60th anniversary this year, which kicks off across our SeaWorld parks on March 21st, and will run through the whole year. There will be even more reasons to visit our SeaWorld parks this year with special events, shows, attractions and a whole lot more. We are happy to report that our new rides and attractions are all currently scheduled to open before the peak summer season. We are also encouraged to see 2024 bookings trending ahead of prior year for both group sales and our Discovery Cove property. We expect meaningful growth and new records in revenue and adjusted EBITDA for 2024. As I mentioned, for 2024, we have an exciting lineup of new rides, attractions, events and new and improved in-park venues and offerings with something new and meaningful in our parks. We’ve outlined each of our new rides and attractions in our parks in our press release, and we encourage you to visit them this year. I will highlight just a few of them here. The first one is Penguin Trek at SeaWorld Orlando, an unforgettable multi-launch family coaster adventure, where guests will navigate the harsh and Arctic environment in search of a colony of penguins. Penguin Trek will be an indoor/outdoor coaster experience as well as the eighth and most immersive addition to the Coaster Capital of Orlando. The next one is Jewels of the Sea in SeaWorld San Diego. A first of its kind at SeaWorld parks, the all-new Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience offers an immersive and interactive view into the mysterious underwater world of fascinating and graceful jellyfish. This aquarium features three unique galleries, including one of the largest jelly cylinders in the country, as well as an immersive multimedia experience. The next one is Catapult Falls at SeaWorld San Antonio. Riders will experience the rush of the world’s first launched flume coaster featuring the world’s steepest flume drop. This family thrill experience will also feature the tallest flume drop in Texas. The next one is Loch Ness Monster: The Legend Lives On at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The legendary Loch Ness Monster will resurface as a fully restored experience loaded with all new thrills, dramatic storytelling and innovative effects as it takes riders on Nessie’s newly refurbished signature track. Finally, Phoenix Rising at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay. Riders will experience a fiery blaze of immersive, family-friendly excitement as they soar above the Serengeti Plain and drop into an array of fun-filled twists and turns on the new Phoenix Rising. This family suspended coaster includes an onboard audio soundtrack and speeds up to 44 miles an hour. As I mentioned, I would encourage you to go back to our press release, and you’ll see there’s other rides we are adding at other parks across our company that you can read more about. I’ve just hit the highlights. Now, turning our attention to the slides that we posted. We mentioned we created a presentation that addressed certain topics that we have heard from stakeholders and shareholders that they would like to be covered and some important points that we would like to get across. Slide 4 is titled disciplined capital allocation strategy. And on this page, we’ve outlined our capital allocation strategy. We have a thoughtful and clear capital allocation philosophy where we consider the highest and best use for our excess capital across four buckets; number one, investing in the business; number two, debt pay down; number three, M&A; and number four, return capital to shareholders. Investing in the business is focused on three areas; continuing our ongoing maintenance spend to ensure our parks are well maintained; continuing our cadence of new rides, attractions, shows and events in our parks, creating new reasons to visit; and identifying and executing on high conviction, high ROI initiatives. As you’ll see on the next page, we typically spend approximately $150 million to $175 million per year on core CapEx and up to $50 million per year on expansion ROI CapEx. Looking at debt paydown, we are comfortable with current leverage levels and expect further deleveraging from future EBITDA growth. Given our low leverage levels and the current cost of debt, paying down debt is not a current priority. Regarding M&A, we will opportunistically pursue M&A when attractive opportunities present themselves. But at present, no M&A opportunities are currently contemplated. The company has and will continue to aggressively return capital to shareholders when it makes sense to do so in the form that makes the most sense. We have repurchased over 1 billion shares — sorry, $1 billion in shares since January of 2019, which is 23 million shares or approximately 27% of shares outstanding. And yesterday, the Board of Directors voted to recommend a new $500 million share buyback authorization subject to approval by non-Hill Path shareholders. Needless to say, the Board and the company believe our shares are materially undervalued. Going forward, the Board and the company will consider buybacks and/or dividends, regular or special, as appropriate based on market conditions and other relevant factors. Finally, if somehow it’s not already clear and obvious, you should know that the Board is highly aligned with shareholder interest. Turning to the next slide, disciplined capital spend strategy. We have a clear and disciplined capital spend philosophy. We think about capital spending in two buckets; number one, core CapEx; and number two, expansion/ROI CapEx. We estimate that our core CapEx will typically run between approximately $150 million and $175 million on an annual basis. This is the spend that we estimate supports growth in revenue and adjusted EBITDA in line with long-term base business expected growth rates. This amount includes maintenance CapEx and new rides and attractions CapEx. We estimate that our expansion/ROI CapEx will run between approximately $0 million and $50 million on an annual basis. This is spend that supports growth in excess of normalized levels and include high conviction projects with 20%-plus ROI unlevered cash on cash returns, including revenue-generating and cost savings projects, park expansions, new properties, et cetera. So in total, we expect total normalized CapEx of approximately $150 million to $225 million on an annual basis. Turning to Slide 6, capital spend update. This slide provides more color on our 2023 capital spend and on our expected 2024 capital spend. As discussed in prior calls, given our significant excess cash flow generation in recent years, our Board challenged us to pursue more than our normal cadence of ROI projects in 2023. As such, we spent approximately $80 million more on ROI CapEx in 2023 than we would normally spend, and we took on more projects than we would typically take on. Many of these projects completed on schedule and delivered expected ROI. Many others were delayed due to some combination of weather and us taking on more projects than we probably should have. As discussed on previous calls, this led to certain operational disruptions in peak periods in some of our parks and was a headwind to performance in certain parks at certain times. The good news is we learned a lot from our experience in 2023, and we expect the headwinds that we experienced in 2023 will be tailwinds going forward. In 2024, we currently expect to spend approximately $225 million of CapEx, split between $175 million of core CapEx and $50 million of expansion/ROI CapEx. We feel good about these ROI projects and have high conviction on their impact in 2024. Turning to Slide 7, capital spend case studies. We show you some examples of projects completed in 2023, delayed in 2023 and what we have in store for 2024. On the next slide, capital spend significant free cash flow generation. We simply lay out the significant discretionary free cash flow generation of our business. The slide speaks for itself and shows the high free cash flow conversion of our business and the $400 million of normalized levered free cash flow that the business should be expected to generate on an annual basis. Turning to Slide 9, hotel update. We’ve gotten a lot of questions on hotels from investors. First, let me be clear that we believe there is a great opportunity for hotels in our parks. We own approximately 400 acres of developable land adjacent to our parks. We know there are significant vacation hotel demand from guests in our markets and we see an obvious opportunity to generate significant incremental EBITDA and value from hotels in our parks. Second, we have not decided to spend any capital actually constructing hotels and in any event, we will not spend any capital to construct a hotel without high confidence in achieving 20%-plus ROI unlevered cash-on-cash returns. Third, we have targeted the first hotels in the Orlando area, which is the largest tourist destination in the United States. Market research makes it clear that there is significant demand for hotels in this market. We are evaluating the opportunity for hotels in other park markets as well. Fourth, we expect hotels to be a meaningful contributor to EBITDA over time but the contribution will depend on the business structure ultimately chosen. Fifth, we are currently evaluating options with respect to who will build and manage these hotels and we are in discussion with various development, management and brand partners. The ultimate decision will be in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders, taking the risk-reward, timing, capital requirements and expected ROI into consideration. Moving on to the next slide, significant international and group attendance opportunity. As we have discussed, we strongly believe we have a meaningful opportunity to grow attendance across our parks, including by just simply returning to historical levels we once achieved. This next slide shows on the left that in 2023, our attendance from group and international guests was still down approximately 1.3 million guests or 30% from 2019 levels. On the right side of the slide, you can see that excluding group and international visitation, our attendance was up in 2023 versus 2019 despite the severe weather headwinds we experienced in the year. In other words, there is a 1.3 million visit upside to our attendance just by recovering group and international attendance. We are confident in our ability to recover these guests in the near to medium term. Turning to Slide 11, meaningful opportunity to grow attendance by returning to historical levels. This is a slide we have shown before. If we return total attendance to 2019 levels, that would be approximately 5% growth in attendance compared to 2023. If we return attendance to 2008 levels, our historical high, that would represent approximately 18% growth in attendance compared to 2023. If we achieve attendance levels where each park returns to its historical high level of attendance, that would represent a 25% increase in attendance compared to 2023. We have clear and ample opportunity to grow attendance just by returning to levels we have previously achieved ignoring population growth, sector share gains, et cetera. On the next slide, drivers of future attendance growth. We lay out a roadmap of how we think about attendance growth beyond returning to historical levels. We plan to grow attendance over time by: number one, benefiting from population growth with our addressable markets growing in excess of U.S. national average; number two, creating new reasons for people to visit such as new and expanded rides, attractions, events and shows. Number three, growing our season pass base and visitation per member; number four, continuing the recovery in international visitation as well as increasing our focus on partnerships and marketing. Number five, growing awareness, increasing conversion, optimizing our media spend; number six, continuing our CRM build out and optimize the strategy around that; number seven, increase our focus on group sales across youth, corporate and other large buyouts; and number eight, developing and growing a loyalty program. We have confidence in the near, medium, and long-term strategy with respect to each of these drivers. Turning to the next slide, admissions forecast — really to the next two slides, where we show bridges for admissions and in-park per caps. You can all study these slides on your own as they are self-explanatory. The punchline is that we are confident and believe our current per caps are sustainable and have clear further upside. We think about growing our per caps in line with inflation and then beyond inflation through our inherent pricing power and the various initiatives we lay out on these pages. Slide 15, cost efficiency and cost reductions outlines our current cost efficiency and reduction initiatives. As you can see on the page, we have currently identified approximately $85 million of cost efficiency and reduction initiatives and expect $50 million of realized cost savings in 2024 with the remaining cost savings being achieved in 2025, along with other cost initiatives we developed over the course of this year. As you all know, cost discipline and management has been and is a relentless focus of our management team, and we have a track record of delivering on these margin-enhancing activities. Turning to Slide 16. United Parks & Resorts’ illustrative adjusted EBITDA. This is a slide that we have previously discussed in past years. And as a reminder, this presentation, this illustrative adjusted EBITDA potential is not meant to be guidance. It is just meant as a simple illustration to show what we believe the earnings power of this business would be at 2019 attendance levels and if we return to 2008 historical peak attendance levels, while growing our total per capita revenue, along with the cost savings opportunities we have identified. As you can see from the illustration, this business has the potential to do between $1 billion and $1.2 billion of adjusted EBITDA under these scenarios, excluding any cost inflation or pressure. Just as a reminder, this is not guidance but rather a simple illustration. As we’ve said before, our business model is simple and not complicated. If we get a little attendance growth, a little per cap growth and we remain disciplined and focused on cost management, the EBITDA potential of this business is substantially higher than what we achieved in 2023. Turning to Slide 17, United Parks’ valuation overview. This slide outlines the current public market valuation of our shares. As you can imagine, this page makes us quite frustrated. The public market is valuing our company at 7 times forward EBITDA and 9.4 times forward unlevered free cash flow and at around a mid-teens levered free cash flow yield. We operate in an industry that historically was valued at over 11 times EBITDA, and we strongly believe deserves to trade at a much higher multiple than 7 times EBITDA. Slide 18, trading at a significant discount despite outperformance. Now, even more frustratingly, this next slide shows our performance compared with leisure, hospitality and entertainment company peers. As you can clearly see, we have outperformed, in many cases, significantly so our peer groups and yet we trade at the lowest multiple of any of our peers. This is really incredible to us and hard to understand. The next slide, Slide 19, implied future stock price. On the next slide, we show what our implied share price would be if we traded in line with our peer groups or at discount to our peer groups. Any reasonable way you look at it, we feel we are materially undervalued and that there is significant upside opportunity in our current share price. And finally, let me turn to Slide 20, which is the key takeaways. And there are 6 key takeaways. Number one, our capital allocation strategy is focused on maximizing returns for shareholders with a highly aligned Board. Number two, we have a disciplined capital spend strategy with approximately $150 million to $225 million in normalized annual CapEx spend. Number three, we have significant discretionary free cash flow generation. Number four, we have a thoughtful approach to hotels and will not spend any capital to actually construct hotels without high conviction and 20%-plus unlevered returns. Number five, we see a path to $1 billion in adjusted EBITDA with multiple levers to drive value and further upside. And finally, number six, we believe the company is extremely undervalued despite significant outperformance relative to peers. Thank you for letting me take you through that presentation. Hopefully that address the number of questions that people have had. So, with that, I will turn it over to Jim to discuss our financial results in more detail. James Forrester: Thank you, Marc. Good morning, and thank you all for your interest in our company. It’s good to be able to join you to report out our quarterly performance. During the fourth quarter, we generated total revenue of $389.0 million, a decrease of $1.6 million or 0.4% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. The decrease in total revenue was primarily a result of decreases in admission per capita, partially offset by increases in attendance and in-park per capita spending Attendance increased approximately 23,000 guests when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, primarily due to an increase in demand, partly from the company’s Halloween and Christmas events, partially offset by the impact of adverse weather during peak visitation periods, particularly across our Florida markets and the impact of a calendar shift in the quarter. Total revenue per capita in the quarter decreased slightly to $78.42 compared to $79.10 in the fourth quarter of 2022. Admission per capita decreased 2.6% to $44.46 while in-park per capita spending increased by 1.5% to a record $33.96 in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. Admission per capita decreased primarily due to the impact of the admissions product mix when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. In-park per capita spending improved due to pricing initiatives. Operating expenses increased $8.3 million or 4.7% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. The increase in operating expenses is primarily due to non-cash expenses related to asset write-offs and costs related to certain rides and equipment, which were moved from service. Selling, general, and administrative expenses increased $0.3 million or 0.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. We generated net income of $40.1 million for the fourth quarter compared to net income of $49.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. The decrease in net income was primarily a result of the impact of higher operating expenses. We generated adjusted EBITDA of $150.4 million, a decrease of $3.2 million when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. Adjusted EBITDA was negatively impacted by a decrease in total revenue. Looking at results for the full year. Total attendance was approximately 21.6 million guests, a decrease of 1.5% versus 2022. Total revenue was $1.73 billion, a decrease of $4.7 million or 0.3% when compared to 2022. Fiscal 2023 total revenue per capita was a record $79.91 compared to $78.91 in 2022, a 1.3% increase, driven by an increase in admissions per capita and in-park per capita spending. Admission per capita increased 0.4% to a record $44.16 compared to $44.0 in 2022. Admission per capita increased primarily due to the realization of higher prices in our admissions products, resulting from our strategic pricing efforts and the impact of the park attendance mix, which was partially offset by the impact of the admissions product mix when compared to 2022. In-park per capita spending improved by 2.4% to a record $35.75 from $34.91 in 2022. In-park per capita spending improved primarily due to pricing initiatives and an increase in revenue related to the company’s international services agreements when compared to 2022, partially offset by factors including weather, the admission product mix, closures and disruption related to construction delays at certain in-park locations. Operating expenses increased by $23.2 million or 3.2% when compared to 2022, primarily due to an increase in non-cash asset write-offs and self-insurance reserve adjustments and an increase in costs associated with our international services agreements, partially offset by the impact of implemented structural cost savings initiatives when compared to 2022. Selling, general, and administrative expenses increased by $21.2 million or 10.6% when compared to 2022, primarily due to an increase in third-party consulting costs and legal fees and an increase in labor-related costs, partially offset by the impact of implemented cost savings and efficiency initiatives when compared to 2022. Net income for the year was $234.2 million, a decrease of $57 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $713.5 million, a decrease of $14.8 million when compared to 2022. Net income and adjusted EBITDA were negatively impacted by a decrease in total revenue and increases in operating expenses, selling, general, and administrative expenses and the depreciation expense. Net income was also negatively impacted by higher interest expense. Now, turning to our balance sheet. Our December 31st, 2023, net total leverage ratio was 2.53 times and we had approximately $618.5 million of total available liquidity, including over $246.9 million of cash on the balance sheet. The strong balance sheet gives us flexibility to continue to invest in and grow our business and to opportunistically allocate capital with the goal to maximize long-term value for shareholders. Just a few weeks ago, we refinanced our Term Loan B, locking in a more favorable interest rate that will save the company approximately $5 million in annual interest expense going forward. Our current deferred revenue balance as of the end of the fourth quarter was $155.6 million. Excluding certain one-time items, deferred revenue decreased approximately 5.3% when compared to December of 2022. As Marc already mentioned, yesterday, our Board of Directors voted to recommend a new $500 million share buyback authorization subject to approval by non-Hill Path shareholders. Through yesterday, our pass base, including all pass products, was down slightly compared to February of 2023. We are pleased that we’re seeing high single-digit price increases on our pass products compared to prior year. Last fall, we launched our best pass benefits program ever, which we expect will drive additional increases in pass sales and a strong pass base for this year. We’re seeing strong pass sales in recent weeks and are excited about our peak pass selling period coming up during the spring and early summer periods. As a reminder, our deferred revenue balance contains a number of products to include ticketing, vacation packages, annual and seasonal passes and ancillary products. Some of those 2022 ticketing product balances were one-time items, as mentioned last year. We also continue to see an increase in the number of pass holders who have been with us for at least a year who transitioned to month-to-month payments at a higher rate at the completion of their initial pass commitment. This month-to-month revenue does not show up as deferred revenue. As noted, we have a very strong balance sheet position. As of December 31st, 2023, our total available liquidity was $618.5 million including $246.9 million of cash and cash equivalents on our balance sheet and $331.6 million available on our revolving credit facility. We spent $70.6 million on CapEx in the fourth quarter of 2023, of which approximately $25.8 million was on core CapEx and approximately $44.8 million was on expansion and/or ROI projects. For 2023, we spent $304.8 million on CapEx, including $181.8 million on core CapEx and $123 million on high conviction growth and ROI projects. Looking ahead to 2024, we expect to spend approximately $175 million on core CapEx and plan to spend approximately $50 million on CapEx on growth and ROI projects that are a direct result of our 2024 planning process. Now, let me turn the call back over to Marc, who will share some final thoughts. Marc? Marc Swanson: Thanks Jim. Before we open the call to your questions, I have some closing comments. In the fourth quarter of 2023, we came to the aid of 98 animals in need. Over our history, we have helped over 41,000 animals including bottlenose dolphins, manatees, sea lions, seals, sea turtles, sharks, birds and more. I’m really proud of the team’s hard work and their continued dedication to these important rescue efforts. I want to thank them and all our ambassadors for all they do to operate our parks. We are excited about 2024. We have some great events going on now, including Seven Seas Food Festival at SeaWorld Orlando, Mardi Gras at SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld Texas and both Busch Gardens Parks. We are proud of these events and the event calendar that we have scheduled for the rest of the year, that gives our guests even more reasons to visit. And I want to reemphasize the SeaWorld’s 60th anniversary celebration starting on March 21st and going all year at our SeaWorld parks. We are proud to celebrate 60 years of conservation, education and fun for all ages. We continue to strongly believe there are significant additional opportunities to improve our execution, take advantage of clear growth opportunities and continue to drive meaningful long-term growth in both revenue and adjusted EBITDA. We continue to have confidence in our long-term strategy and our ability to drive significantly improved operating and financial results that we expect will lead to meaningfully increased value for stakeholders. Now, let’s take your questions. See also 14 High Growth Consumer Stocks to Buy and 20 Richest People in Africa in 2024. Q&A Session Follow Seaworld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:SEAS) Follow Seaworld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:SEAS) or Subscribe with Google We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Michael Swartz with Truist. Please go ahead. Michael Swartz: Hey everyone. Good morning. Maybe just to start, Marc, with some of the commentary around the park — or, sorry, hotel or accommodations development plan. I think in the previous calls, you said you would look to finance some of that. Now, it sounds like you’re not looking to finance any of that. I mean maybe help us understand what’s changed in your thought process just from the standpoint of appetite to invest in these sorts of things? Marc Swanson: Hey Michael, I think what we were saying there is that we’re looking at all options. So, I don’t want to suggest that financing a portion of that is off the table. We’re looking at all the different ways we could enter into a hotel structure, whether it’s with a partner or licensing, whatever it may be. And we have the land, as we’ve mentioned, and a lot of different ways we could go about this. I think what we’ve been hearing from a lot of our shareholders is they wanted to hear more about this. There’s multiple ways that people have done this. What is clear is that people are fans of hotels. They recognize the potential of having hotels in our parks. Many other companies have been successful with that, as you know. So, we’re just saying, look, we’re looking at all the different options. We want to be sure to drive the ROI that I mentioned in the slides, and there’s multiple ways we could look at trying to achieve that. And keep in mind, it’s not just the hotel itself, the EBITDA from the hotel, you’re going to get, we believe, incremental benefit from people being in your parks longer, capturing more of their day, more of their total spend. So, we’re excited about hotels. I think we’re just trying to be transparent and let you know that we’re still looking at different alternatives before we actually go about constructing the hotel. Michael Swartz: Okay, that’s helpful. And then just a second question for me on the commentary around you’re expecting meaningful growth in revenue and EBITDA for the year. And I think you went through some of the longer-term opportunities or levers to drive bottom-line growth. But just as we think about the year ahead, what are the primary maybe puts and takes? I understand there’s easy comps, so that’s probably part of it. But how should we be thinking about the main drivers of growth for the year ahead? Marc Swanson: Yes, there’s a couple of things to think about. One, certainly, we had a pretty significant weather impact in 2023. So I think any sort of weather normalization would be significantly in our favor if that happens. We’ll have to see if that happens. The start to this year, if you followed the news has been tough weather comps, especially in Florida with El Niño really since December and into January and February. Having said that, I’ve been in this industry a long time, a lot of us have been. We expect weather will eventually normalize at some point. We’ve had good years and bad years and so — more recently, we’ve had tougher years, but weather would certainly be one of the factors. And then I talked all about the lineup of attractions, rides, events, new things we have coming into our parks. And certainly, I think the lifeblood of this industry a lot of times is having new things in our parks, new things to talk about. And we have another, I think, really good lineup of new things. And we’re getting the ride in Texas, for example, Catapult Falls, just opened last weekend to a select number of people. It will start to open here in March to more people. So, we’re excited to get some of these things open and the others will open as we get into the peak summer season or sooner. So, we’re excited for the rides and attractions. And then beyond that, you’ve got the continued execution on our pricing initiatives, our revenue management initiatives. And then I’d say, lastly, the cost work that we have undertaken for some time now and will continue to do that going forward. So, again, we think about those things and put them all together, that leads to, I think, an exciting outlook for not only 2024 but beyond. And I think about the business in a really simple way, as I mentioned, if we can grow our attendance a little bit each year, and I like the markets we’re in. We’re in Florida. We’re in Texas, for example. We’re in bigger markets and states that are growing. And then if we can grow our per caps a little bit and then watch our cost each year, that should translate into EBITDA. We’ve talked about that previously. So, that’s how we think about the business here, and we’re certainly excited for 2024. Michael Swartz: Thanks Marc. Operator: Next question comes from James Hardiman with Citi. Please go ahead. James Hardiman: Hey good morning. Thanks for taking my questions. So, I wanted to dig into the weather a little bit. I was a bit surprised by the 75,000 weather headwind. Maybe let’s just start with is that versus normal weather or versus last year? Because if I remember correctly, last year, you called out 249,000 of weather headwinds. You had some hurricanes in the fourth quarter of last year. So, I guess, same question for the 370,000 you called out for the year, is it versus a normal year? Is it versus last year? I’m just trying to figure out what attendance would ultimately look like if we were to get back to normal weather, even though obviously, that’s an elusive concept. Marc Swanson: Yes. Hey James. No, that is relative to 2022. So I think the way I think about it is we didn’t have really good weather in either year. And where I thought we may see some improvement, I think all of us did, some improvement in 2023 really didn’t materialize quite as we had expected. So, that is relative to 2022 to be down over 370,000 people. I think it’s been pretty well documented, at least in the markets we’re in. Keep in mind relative to some of our competitors, we are in Florida. And I think that’s been pretty well documented here, especially more recently with December and then even into this year. So, that’s the weather and how we think about it......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey10 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:IART) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:IART) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 28, 2024 Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.89 EPS, expectations were $0.9. Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good […] Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:IART) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 28, 2024 Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.89 EPS, expectations were $0.9. Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good day, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Integra LifeSciences Fourth Quarter 2023 Financial Results. [Operator Instructions] Please be advised, today’s conference is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Chris Ward, Senior Director of Investor Relations. Please go ahead. Christopher Ward: Good morning, and thank you for joining the Integra LifeSciences Fourth Quarter 2023 Earnings Conference Call. Joining me on the call this morning are Jan De Witte, President and Chief Executive Officer; Lea Knight, Chief Financial Officer; Mathieu Aussermeier, Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance, Investor Relations and Treasurer. This morning, we issued a press release announcing our fourth quarter 2023 financial results. The release and corresponding earnings presentation, which we will reference during the call, are available at integralife.com under Investors, Events and Presentations, in a file named Fourth Quarter 2023 Earnings Call Presentation. Before we begin, I want to remind you that many of the statements made during this call may be considered forward-looking. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are discussed in the company’s Exchange Act reports filed with the SEC and in the release. Also in our prepared remarks, we will reference reporting an organic revenue growth and organic revenue growth, excluding Boston. For 2023 results, organic revenue growth excludes the effects of foreign currency, acquisitions, divestitures and discontinued products. For 2024 guidance and reporting, organic revenue growth will no longer exclude discontinued products. Organic revenue growth, excluding Boston excludes the revenues from products manufactured in our Boston facility in both periods. Management believes that excluding revenue from all products manufactured at the Boston plant provides useful information when evaluating the company’s organic growth because of the unusual nature of the manufacturing stoppage and voluntary global recall. Unless otherwise stated, all disaggregated and franchise-level growth rates are based on organic performance. Lastly, our comments today will include certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures can be found in today’s press release, which is an exhibit to Integra’s current report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC. And with that, I will now turn the call over to Jan. Jan De Witte: Thank you, Chris, and good morning, everyone. Before we dive into our financial results, I first want to acknowledge the commitment of our teams working to strengthen our operational capabilities, while capitalizing on the growth of our markets and building out our strategic potential. Total sales for the fourth quarter were $397 million, representing a year-over-year organic decline of 1.2%, or growth of 3.6% if we exclude the Boston products. Our fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share were $0.89. Both results were within our guidance at the low end of the range. For the full year, sales were $1.54 billion, flat on an organic basis and up 5.5%, excluding Boston, with full year adjusted EPS of $3.10 per share, and Lea will take us deeper into these financials in a few minutes. So let’s turn to slide number four to cover an update on Boston and our strategic highlights for the year. Although the Boston recall weighed on our financial results for the year, we’re pleased with the significant and steady progress we have made towards bringing the Boston portfolio back on the market by mid to late second quarter. We restarted the factory in November. And in January, we successfully completed an initial external review following the factory restart, the dress rehearsal we referred to in earlier calls. We’re now preparing for the external audit, which will take place in March. Successful audit will allow us to start building finished goods inventory to resume distribution mid to late second quarter. When we look at the broader performance of our business, excluding Boston, we are encouraged by our results and resilience of our markets and the strength of our broad portfolio. Full year growth in Codman Specialty Surgical and Tissue Technologies was approximately 5% and 7%, respectively, in line with our growth expectations. We have made, and we continue to make considerable progress in our strategic initiatives. Our commitment to long-term growth has guided our actions, including the successful global relaunch of CereLink, with the 510(k) clearance in the U.S. earlier this month. We have completed the successful integration of SIA into our Tissue Technology division and advanced our implant-based breast reconstruction PMA strategy for both SurgiMend, our collagen-based mesh; and DuraSorb, our resorbable synthetic mesh. Outside the U.S., we expanded our international portfolio and footprint and strengthened our commercial execution focus, fueling double-digit growth in our international business in 2023. In parallel, our in-China-for-China strategy is taking shape with the ongoing build-out of our late-stage assembly capabilities in China. We also signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Acclarent ENT business, which we expect to close by the second quarter. With this acquisition, we are adding an adjacent, highly complementary and growth accretive platform to our neurosurgery segment. In addition to the advances in our portfolio and markets, we returned value to shareholders with $270 million of share repurchases. We remain focused on our drive for operational excellence and resiliency and exited 2023 better positioned for the future. We have fortified our quality management system across our manufacturing network and continue to invest in our operations, infrastructure and process capabilities in order to create a more robust supply chain. This work will also remain in 2024 focus. So with this intro, let me now turn the call over to Lea to provide additional detail on our financial results and guidance for 2024. Lea Knight: Thanks, Jan. We’ll move on to our full year financial results, starting with slide five. Two primary themes characterize our financial results for 2023. First, we have seen a full recovery in our markets and growth in line with our mid-single-digit growth expectation. There is strong demand for our broad and diverse portfolio of products, with several parts of our business growing by double digits, and we continue to make investments that will deliver value to shareholders. The second theme was the impact of the Boston recall, which drove significant operational challenges in 2023. Our full year revenues were $1.542 billion, down approximately 1% on a reported basis, with organic growth flat for the year and within our guidance range communicated in October. The Boston recall represented an approximate $67 million headwind to our reported revenues. Excluding Boston, organic growth across the remainder of our business was approximately 5.5%, demonstrating the continued robustness of our diverse portfolio and the markets that we serve. We delivered double-digit growth across many product lines in our portfolio. In CSS, we saw double-digit growth in CUSA Clarity disposables, Certas Programmable Valves, DuraGen, Mayfield Capital, BactiSeal, CerebroFlo EVD catheters and ICP microsensors. Our specialty surgical instruments saw double-digit growth in our Jarit and MicroFrance ENT products. In Tissue Technologies, we delivered double-digit growth in DuraSorb, Gentrix and MediHoney. Our adjusted EPS for the year was $3.10, down 7.7% versus 2022 and within the guidance range communicated in October. The Boston recall negatively impacted full year adjusted EPS by approximately $0.42, including the impact of spending reductions we implemented during the year. Looking at the middle of the P&L, our gross margins were 66.1% for the year, down 110 basis points versus 2022. The Boston recall impacted gross margins by approximately 150 basis points due to roughly $20 million in product returns, unfavorable mix from the lost revenue and remediation costs. To realize our gross margin improvement potential, we are stepping up resources to assess opportunities within our significant manufacturing sites and in our supply chain. We expect to initiate additional projects in 2024 that will have a favorable impact on our margins beginning in 2025. Turning to adjusted EBITDA margins. Our full year adjusted EBITDA margins were 24%, down 240 basis points compared to 2022. Our adjusted EBITDA margin performance reflects the impact of the Boston recall, along with the investments in key strategic priorities preserved throughout the year and the year one dilution from the SIA acquisition. We continue to make investments in key operational and product development priorities throughout the year to ensure that we are positioned for longer-term success. Operating cash flow for the full year was $140 million with a free cash flow conversion of 29.5%. Our operating cash flow and free cash flow conversion rate declined versus 2022, as we invested in manufacturing infrastructure and inventory to improve supply reliability. If you turn to slide six, I will cover the fourth quarter financial results. Our fourth quarter revenues were $397 million, approximately flat on a reported basis, with organic growth down 1.2%. Excluding Boston, organic growth was roughly 3.6%. Our adjusted EPS for the quarter was $0.89, down 5.3% compared to 2022. Looking at the middle of the P&L, gross margins were 64.7% for the fourth quarter, down 160 basis points versus 2022. Gross margins were impacted by approximately 50 basis points from the Boston recall and 60 basis points from a supply constraint on Integra Skin. During the second half of 2023, we saw strong demand for Integra Skin, which tightened our inventory. And at the same time, we experienced a capacity constraint on one of the several production lines we have for Integra Skin. While we have continued to produce and ship, we were not able to fully keep up with the strong demand that we saw at the end of Q4. Currently, we are resolving the supply constraint and rebuilding our inventory. Turning to adjusted EBITDA margins for the fourth quarter. Our adjusted EBITDA margins were 25.3%, down 230 basis points compared to 2022. Our decline in adjusted EBITDA margin primarily reflects the decrease in gross margins that I mentioned earlier. Operating cash flow for the fourth quarter was $59 million with a free cash flow conversion of 49.5%. If you turn to slide seven, we’ll take a deeper dive into our CSS revenue highlights for the fourth quarter. Reported fourth quarter revenues in CSS were $271.6 million, an increase of 2.7% on a reported basis and 2.3% on an organic basis from the prior year. Global sales in Neurosurgery grew 2% on an organic basis as a result of mid-single-digit growth in CSF management driven by Certas Plus valves; mid-single-digit growth in Dural Access and Repair driven by DuraGen; and low single-digit growth in neuro monitoring driven by BactiSeal catheters and ICP microsensors. Lower CUSA capital sales in the quarter drove a low single-digit decline in advanced energy. For the full year, our capital sales, excluding CereLink monitors, are up low single digits. With regard to our CUSA Clarity performance in Q4, we are moving into the later stages of the capital refresh cycle, which impacted our year-on-year performance. That said, we have grown our CUSA installed base since the launch of CUSA Clarity, and the funnels for CUSA Clarity capital remains strong. In 2024, we expect to see fewer installs of CUSA Clarity compared to 2023, but still see an increase in our total installed base and growth in our CUSA disposables. Turning to Instruments. We saw approximately 3% growth, in line with our growth expectations for this business. Shifting to international. We saw another strong quarter from our international business and CSF with low double-digit growth. Strength in the quarter was driven by double-digit growth in China, Canada and Australia and high single-digit growth in Japan. Moving to our Tissue Technologies segment on slide eight. Tissue Technologies was down 6% on a reported basis and 8% on an organic basis compared to the prior year. Excluding Boston, organic growth was up 6.9%. Fourth quarter sales in the Wound Reconstruction franchise decreased by 11%. Excluding the recall products, we experienced organic growth of 5% driven by double-digit growth in Gentrix and amniotics and mid-single-digit growth in Integra Skin and MediHoney. We remain encouraged by the broad resilience of our portfolio, which continues to provide us with confidence in the long-term growth potential of our custom Wound Reconstruction business. In private label sales grew 2.2% versus last year. Excluding the impact of the Boston recall, private label sales were up 12.5%, reflecting strong demand from our partners in the quarter. Finally, international sales in Tissue Technologies were down low double digits due to the Boston recall. If you turn to slide nine, I will briefly update our balance sheet, capital structure and cash flow. During the quarter, operating cash flow was $58.7 million, and free cash flow was $34.2 million, reflecting increased working capital primarily from investments in inventory and CapEx. Free cash flow conversion was 29.5% on a trailing 12-month basis. Our balance sheet remains strong with ample liquidity to support our short and long-term plans. As of December 31, net debt was $1.2 billion, and our consolidated total leverage ratio was 3 times. The company had total liquidity of $1.5 billion, including $309 million in cash and short-term investments, and the remainder available under our revolving credit facility. Our balance sheet flexibility enabled us to return value to shareholders in the form of $275 million in accelerated share repurchases in 2023. If you turn to Slide 10, I will provide our consolidated revenue and adjusted earnings per share guidance for the first quarter and full year 2024. First quarter revenues are forecasted to be between $360 million to $365 million, representing reported growth in the range of approximately minus 5.5% to minus 4.1%, and organic growth in the range of approximately minus 5.1% to minus 3.7%. Our forecast performance reflects continued strong global demand for our products, more than offset by an unfavorable $15 million comp in the Q1 2023 Boston revenue and the supply constraint on Integra Skin. Excluding Boston, we are forecasting organic growth of approximately minus 0.4%. For the full year 2024, revenues are forecasted to be in the range of $1.603 billion to $1.618 billion and includes the return of the Boston portfolio in the second half. At this time, we included only revenues from the SurgiMend and PriMatrix relaunch in the second half of 2024, and we look forward to updating our guidance based on our progress in relaunching the Boston product. Our guidance also reflects the return of CereLink globally, with U.S. revenues included for 10 months as well as current FX rates. As we move past the first quarter headwinds, we expect to see our organic growth improve during the year as we relaunch Boston and resolve the supply constraint on Integra Skin. We expect our reported and organic growth for the full year to be 4% to 5%. This guidance excludes the expected acquisition of Acclarent. Turning to adjusted earnings guidance. For the first quarter, we expect adjusted EPS to be $0.53 to $0.57, down from the prior year, driven by the supply constraints referenced previously. For the full year, we expect our adjusted EPS to be in the range of $3.15 to $3.25 per share, reflecting the positive organic growth of the business, first quarter impact from the supply constraints, modest gross margin improvement and OpEx normalization. Slide 11 shows our key guidance considerations. During my first six months as Integra CFO, I have heard our investors and analysts request additional detail into our financial results and projections. The following summarizes our guidance assumptions and modeling inputs. On the left side of the page, you’ll see key metrics, including FX rates, share count and adjusted tax rates for your models. On the right side of the page, we highlight the main drivers of Q1 revenues, organic growth progression throughout the year, key gross margin and OpEx assumptions. With that, I will turn the call back over to Jan. Jan De Witte: Thank you, Lea. Please turn to Slide 12 to conclude our prepared remarks. Looking back at 2023, we saw our unique technologies and commercial strength deliver resilient growth across several parts of our portfolio. However, this achievement was obscured by the Boston recall. Organic growth, excluding the impact from Boston, which landed at 5.5% for the year, continues to give us confidence in the growth potential of our markets and our portfolio. Although the recall has required a significant amount of our team’s focus and attention, we are confident we will bring this part of our portfolio back to our customers and their patients in mid to late second quarter. We remain committed to delivering reliable long-term business performance, consistently executing our commercial and operational plans and building our capabilities to achieve profitable growth. We have strengthened our quality management system with critical investments in talent and process capabilities across our manufacturing network. We’re also making investments across our manufacturing plants and supply chain to ensure reliable supply for our commercial teams, our customers and their patients. In parallel, we launched projects to realize our operational efficiency opportunities and achieve sustainable margin expansion. We also continued building out our new product development capabilities and remain focused on leveraging organic and inorganic projects to drive improved business performance. We’re executing our implant-based breast reconstruction strategy, progressing the Aurora minimally invasive neurosurgery platform and preparing to launch the BactiSeal-Endexo combo catheter. We continue to expand our international portfolio and commercial capabilities. And the work to close the Acclarent acquisition by second quarter remains on track, and we look forward to welcoming the Acclarent team to Integra. As we strengthen our operational resilience, advance our organic portfolio and successfully execute on our M&A imports we’re well positioned to deliver strong top and bottom line growth and realize our full potential as a profitable innovator of life-saving technologies worldwide. Let me again take a moment to acknowledge the broader Integra organization for their dedication to our customers and patients and for delivering on the accomplishments that position Integra for a strong future. Now before opening the call for questions, I’d like to take a moment to briefly touch on the leadership transition announcement we made earlier this morning. As you’ve seen by now, I have informed the Board of my intention to retire as President and CEO of Integra by the end of the year and move back to Europe. While we believe this is an important decision that we wanted to communicate as early as we could, it does not change any of the focus that I and our executive leadership team will have over 2024. I’m firmly committed to ensuring a seamless transition and will stay on with the company until a successor is named. In the meantime, we look forward to delivering on our objectives for 2024 with an immediate focus on further enhancing operational execution, particularly in our manufacturing and supply chain. We will continue to execute on our integrated growth strategy, while building capabilities and investing in our programs to achieve commercial acceleration through improved product development and digital innovation, strategic acquisitions and international market growth. The Board has engaged executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles for support in identifying a highly qualified leader and expect a new CEO to be named by the end of this calendar year. As part of this announcement, in order to drive improved shareholder value and ensure an effective transition, Board Chairman, Stuart Essig, has been appointed Executive Chairman effective immediately. Stuart, with whom most of you are very familiar, is uniquely suited to take on this additional responsibility, having served as our Non-Executive Chairman for the past 12 years and as COO prior to that. We look forward to updating you on the CEO search later this year. So I’ll close by saying that it’s an honor and privilege to lead this fine organization, and I look forward to a seamless transition. I remain firmly committed to this company, our dedicated employees and the patients we serve. Thank you for joining us this morning. This concludes our prepared remarks, and operator can open the lines for questions. See also 21 Best Countries to Buy Real Estate According to Reddit and 50 Best Countries in the World. Q&A Session Follow Integra Lifesciences Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:IART) Follow Integra Lifesciences Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:IART) or Subscribe with Google We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Vik Chopra with Wells Fargo. Your line is open. Vik Chopra: Hey good morning and thanks for taking the question. Jan, I just want to congratulate you on your retirement, and I’m sure we will all miss working with you. So it sounds like it’s a personal decision. I just wanted to see if you could shed some additional color into that. And then I had a follow-up question, please. Jan De Witte: Yes. Thank you, Vik, for your question. Yes, it’s a personal decision driven by family requirements. It’s a decision that I discussed with the Board over the past several weeks and given — I wanted to make a decision early to allow all of us to manage a very smooth transition over the year, okay, my main concern is to make sure that we execute our 2024 plan, keep on track with our short and our longer-term strategic objectives. Vik Chopra: Great. And just as a follow-up. So I think the Q1 guidance was obviously well below expectations. Can you maybe highlight some of the puts and takes and what gets you to the top versus the bottom end of the guidance range and how confident you are in resolving the supply backlog issue starting in Q2? Thank you. Lea Knight: Thank you, Vik. Appreciate the question. So a couple of dynamics, right? As we look at kind of Q1 and the organic growth outside of Boston, that’s where we’re seeing the impact as a result of the Integra Skin supply constraint that I talked about in our Q4 results as well. And so just kind of a bit of background on that, we did have an issue that impacted the throughput on one of our production lines for Integra Skin. That’s resulting in the supply constraint that I mentioned. It first appeared kind of in that or — yes, appeared in the December time frame and continued into early Q1. We’ve since resolved that supply constraint and are starting to rebuild inventory. But as you can imagine, it’s going to take us a while to catch up to kind of the demand. And so that’s impacting the growth that we would have anticipated in our portfolio outside of Boston. The other dynamic that I would call out is related to our CUSA Clarity. As I mentioned, what we saw in Q4 is we’re in the later stages of our refresh cycle on CUSA Clarity. And so the rate of growth is slowing on that — for that part of the business. So that’s an element. But also in Q1 of 2023, we had a fairly big comp. We had some pretty large buy-ins for CUSA Clarity in Q1 a year ago that we’re now comping, that is also impacting kind of the overall growth rate for the quarter. And then I think — so those are the elements that are impacting kind of base growth outside of Boston. Obviously, we also are lapping $15 million of a comp of having Boston revenue in a year ago, not in the first quarter of 2024. And so those are kind of the key elements. I think just to follow on, and I think you asked kind of as we progress throughout the year in terms of supply, getting back into full supply, because we now are in a position of resolving the supply constraints, rebuilding our inventories, we would anticipate, as we move into Q2, that we are, from a growth perspective, getting back into the mid-single-digit growth expectations for the business. And then certainly, as we bring Boston portfolio back online and get to the back half of the year, that’s when we would — might see kind of even stronger mid-single-digit growth for the balance of the year. So we do believe that you’ll start to see that turnaround in Q2. Operator: Thank you. One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from Kristen Stewart with CL King. Your line is open. Kristen Stewart: Hi, thanks for taking my questions. I was wondering if we could just discuss a little bit more in detail the gross margin and just thinking about the cadence of when you guys think you can get back to a more normalized gross margin and what you kind of see that as. Lea Knight: Yes, certainly. So — and I’ll talk about it through the lens of kind of — I’ll start first on kind of full year 2023. So on a full year basis, gross margins were down 110 basis points. And as I mentioned, a big driver of that is due to the Boston recall. As we move forward into 2024, we are anticipating a modest improvement in gross margins. So we’ll start to see some of the benefit come back as we bring the Boston portfolio back online. We won’t see the full benefit, and we won’t see the full benefit for a couple of reasons. One, the Boston portfolio will only be back in for 2024 for a portion of the year. So that higher gross margin portfolio, again, we won’t see the full benefit. Two, from a remediation cost perspective, which is part of the reason why we were down in 2023, we’re still incurring remediation costs until we’re fully up and running. And so while that should be less in 2024, it’s still going to be a factor. And I think the other dimension is from some of the supply constraints on Integra Skin, it is also creating a headwind for our gross margins. So net-net, we are starting to see some of the benefit come back from Boston. We won’t realize the full benefit, and that’s why we’re calling a modest improvement. That said though, Kristen, that I think to your point, we are not waiting for the Boston portfolio to come back to drive overall gross margin improvement. We are actively adding additional resources to launch projects in 2024 aimed at extracting the value that we’ve talked about that exists in terms of improving our margins through better operational efficiency as well as yield and productivity improvements. And so that work is also very much underway. And so we’d expect to see the benefits from that work, along with the benefit from the full Boston portfolio coming back online as we move into 2025. Kristen Stewart: Thank you. And just a quick refresh on the Acclarent acquisition. I know that’s not in your guidance now, but do you still feel comfortable that, that’s going to be neutral to 2024? Lea Knight: Yes, yes. That was kind of what we shared at the time that we announced the acquisition. We are working diligently to close that. Still anticipate planning to close it by Q2. And at this point still project that it will be EPS neutral in 2024. Kristen Stewart: Okay, perfect. Thank you for taking my questions. Operator: One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from Ryan Zimmerman with BTIG. Your line is open. Ryan Zimmerman: Good morning, thanks for taking my question. Maybe just to start, you do expect to close Acclarent in — at the end of 2Q. Is that right? And I just want to ask that because — sorry, go ahead. Lea Knight: By Q2. Yes, by Q2, Ryan. Ryan Zimmerman: Okay. So I mean, I recognize that we’re not including Acclarent guidance for current estimates. But just to be clear and just to ground everyone, we should expect something in the range of maybe $50 million to $60 million in sales in the back half of the year in organic sales that is on Acclarent, just based on kind of their current run rate and profile. Or are you expecting anything different just because of that integration? Lea Knight: Yes. So we’re not providing guidance right now on what Acclarent will do to our overall call at this point. I think what we have shared is revenue based on that business in J&J’s hands as of 2022 was in the order of magnitude of $110 million in revenue. So obviously, depending on when we actually complete the acquisition, we’ll have a partial year. And so… Ryan Zimmerman: All right. Well, we’ll put something in there for it. I assume you’ll get it closed. Maybe just turning to Tissue for a moment. I mean, I recognize that you guys have faced tremendous challenges, and I think everyone in the Street recognizes that. When Tissue comes back, though, implied in your guidance, net of Acclarent and so forth, is a sizable ramp in the back half of 2024 on Tissue products. And so I appreciate some color on why that happens and why it’s not more gradual and why — it’s a pretty competitive environment. I mean, people are probably seizing on the opportunity. And so just help us understand kind of your thinking around the back half of 2024 in terms of the recovery in Tissue. Jan De Witte: So let me take that one. I mean, first, a big part of that ramp is linked with Boston getting back on — our sales force is looking forward to that and are ready to take the projects when they are up and running. They feel good about winning our customers back. Two factors playing there. One, the relationship has been maintained over the past 9 months, plus given the breadth of our portfolio, our sales force is still with our customers, serving them with other products. In terms of getting the product back, I mean, this is an area where customers now and then do trial other products, and so they have no issue switching back. We know that our products out of the Boston factory are differentiated, differentiated from a strength, the size, conformability, price perspective. Our sales force feels strongly they can win their customers back based on the strength of that portfolio. Ryan Zimmerman: Okay. Let me just sneak one more in, and I’ll hop back in queue real quick. Just because — China has been a growth area. We know that China VBP, particularly in neurosurgery, has been an area of focus. Can you just talk about what’s happening in China, the impact of pricing on your neuro business within China and when your China-for-China strategy can take hold? Jan De Witte: So on China, the big driver behind our China success is that, one, this is a big growing market where we are geographically and from a penetration in hospitals, we’re still have plenty of opportunity to further penetrate. And so that’s what we’re doing from perspective of strengthening our sales capability. That’s also the backdrop to our in-China-for-China strategy to be seen as a more local player doing high level or late-stage assembly there. That factory by the end of this year should start to produce products for product qualifications. So somewhere near the end of 2025, we should be feeding part of the products for that market out of our local factory. And so this is a dynamic, the China opportunity that, as we look at new hospital builds, new geographies, it’s a continuation over the next years of going after that opportunity. From a VBP perspective, we’ve seen limited impact. Our products are differentiated, a limit number of local players, plus it’s not a massive market where we play. Therefore, not as much on the radar screen for the VBP pressure. Ryan Zimmerman: Thank you. Operator: One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from Jayson Bedford with Raymond James. Your line is open. Jayson Bedford: Good morning. Thanks for taking the questions. Just a couple for me. I think there’s a lot of moving parts here, but it does look like you pulled back on your assumptions for the contribution from the Boston facility in 2024 relative to last call. I think on the call today, you made a comment referring to only including SurgiMend and PriMatrix. Why the change, if I am correct here? Lea Knight: Yes. Thank you, Jayson. And yes, you are correct. So our guidance right now reflects SurgiMend and PriMatrix, which is pretty much the majority — which is our commercial business out of Boston. What we’ve excluded from the guidance for now is the private label business. And so that describes why the tailwind that you may have been expecting is lower in our guidance. And so let me kind of step back and explain why. At this — as you know, we’ve been partnering with our private label partners throughout to keep them apprised of our time lines, progress on the remediation and have given them access to kind of assess the progress we’re making at our manufacturing site in Boston. But at this point, we are not producing salable finished goods yet, and we don’t have orders from our private label partners. And so we have not included it in guidance, but anticipate that as we get closer to our commercial relaunch, we have an opportunity to update this kind of audience and our guide as appropriate based on what transpires between now and then. And I would expect that timing to be in and around our Q1 earnings call. Jayson Bedford: Okay. But to date, there hasn’t been any private label relationships that have been severed. Is that fair? Jan De Witte: I would say that’s fair to say. We are continuing to discuss. We know that our private label customers are evaluating their different options that they have in terms of deciding on final option. I think that will happen the moment where we really get into commercial shipping, and both they and us have more certainty on what’s coming out and when. Jayson Bedford: Okay. Just one quickie, I apologize if I missed it. What’s the expectation for the first quarter gross margin? Lea Knight: We did not provide gross margin guidance for the quarter, just for the year and I think kind of a modest improvement, 2024 over 2023. Jayson Bedford: Okay, thank you. Operator: One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from Robbie Marcus with JPMorgan. Your line is open. Robert Marcus: Great. Thanks for taking the questions. And Jan, I’ll add as well, sorry to see you go. Wish you all the best. Maybe a couple of questions again on the guide just to help clarify because there are a lot of moving pieces here. Maybe if you start with first quarter and the full year, and you look at sell-side numbers and you look at your current expectations, what do you think are the biggest deltas between it? Because the EPS came in fairly materially lower as did first quarter, particularly. So what are you assuming for the supply constraint headwind in first quarter? And where do you really see the biggest delta versus sell-side numbers right now? Lea Knight: So let me break that down into a couple of pieces. Again, from a first quarter perspective — and actually, let me start from kind of how we ended 2023. So on a full year basis, the portfolio outside of Boston grew in that mid-single-digit range that we said is kind of the right place for this business, right? So as you move into 2024, I think that becomes the starting point of what this business has the potential to do. What we’re seeing in Q1, as I mentioned earlier, was the impact of the supply constraints. There’s also the impact of the kind of CUSA Clarity dynamic that I mentioned for Q1. That’s lowering the growth rate that we’re experiencing on the business outside of Boston. And so that kind of describes why we have a lower start to the year. As we move into Q2 and we resolve the supply constraint, we get back into mid-single — sorry, yes, mid-single-digit growth on the business and continue through the balance of the year, that’s when we’ll really see the business operating back at the levels that we were operating in, in 2023. So I would say the largest kind of deviation between what you were anticipating and what you’re seeing on a revenue top line basis has to do with that. Clearly, there is a profitability implication because the nature of the gross margin on skin are definitely kind of higher gross margin products in our portfolio, so that is a contributor to why there is likely a gap from an EPS perspective. And then the final thing I’d mention, as we are bringing Boston back up online, we are returning to more normal OpEx levels probably about a quarter sooner than we had originally anticipated. We see the Boston relaunch as an opportunity to take an aggressive kind of marketing, advertising approach to getting back into the market with our products. And so that is feeling kind of becoming — operating at more normal levels prior to what we really anticipated. Robert Marcus: Great. Maybe just as a follow-up on free cash flow. You guys did about a 40% conversion rate in 2023. There were a lot of exclusions that lowered the cash flow. How should we be thinking about cash flow in 2024 here and not just the full year, but also the progression through the year? And if I could just squeeze one more. On the last question, you talked about the difference between the prior commitment of what products and you’re leaving out private label. I believe before, it was a 100% run rate of sales within 12 months. Now excluding the private label, do you know what that percentage of sales is? Thanks. Lea Knight: Let me deal with the cash flow question first. To your point, cash — free cash flow for the quarter in 2023 was about $34 million. Our free cash flow conversion rate on a trailing 12-month basis was 29.5%. As we move into 2024, we do — we’ll have to overcome some of the headwinds that I’ve talked about in Q1, which will actually drive our trailing 12-month conversion down slightly. So think of it being kind of in the low 20s. And then as we progress through the year, we resolve the supply constraint on Integra, we relaunch Boston, we start to comp, some of the lower growth period that we saw in 2023, specifically in Q4, that’s when we would expect our trailing 12-month to get back up to about 58% by the end of the year. So it’s a progression up, with Q1 being kind of the low point and then improving every quarter thereafter. So that’s the cash flow. I think your other question was with respect to how to think about the Boston business through the lens of how long it’s going to take us to get the Boston business back, right, now that we’ve removed private label. There is actually no — yes, there is no change to that thinking because, again, previously, when we’ve talked about our relaunch and talked about regaining kind of our run rate trajectory, it was through the lens of the commercial business, right? And so that’s kind of the frame that we’ve talked about. And we still anticipate, while we think there’s a slightly longer ramp initially for — in terms of the 2024 impact, as we get into 2025 and we have all products relaunched out of Boston, that’s when we think in kind of that Q3 time frame is when we’ll be back at the run rate we left it at in 2022. Robert Marcus: Appreciate it. Thank you very much. Operator: One moment for our next question. Our next question comes from Ron Feiner with Oppenheimer. Your line is open. Steven Lichtman: This is Steve Lichtman. Jan, I was wondering if you could provide some more color coming out of the external review in Boston, what some of the learnings there, why that gives you confidence on the resumption of sales starting in the second quarter. Jan De Witte: So on Boston, just as a reminder, we restarted that factory in November and then in January had an external review, which we call the dress rehearsal. I call it a successful dress rehearsal because what we got were the confirmations, but also the learnings that we hoped to get based on the work done and its guidance, the learnings have been guiding us since the end of January over February into the preparation for that external audit, which will take place in March. The audits pretty much cover every aspect of our quality management system, I mean, from beginning to end. We got, I would say, limited observations on things that we could have improved. The main learnings, in fact, were on how people were conducting the interactions with the different auditors. And that’s why we called it a dress rehearsal. Part of successful audit is not just having your quality management system processes documentation where it needs to be. It’s also making sure that in the question and answering with the auditors, you make sure that all that work is readily visible. So overall, like I said, since end of January, we’re now, let’s say, finishing on the lessons learned and preparing pretty much in a straight line to that external audit, which will start the first week of March. Steven Lichtman: Got it. Great. And then what are you assuming with regard to incremental CereLink sales in 2024 with the 510(k) and CE mark in hand now? And can you remind us of that opportunity through over the medium to long term now that it’s back on the market? Lea Knight: Yes. Thank you for the question. So CereLink, as you saw, we did achieve a clearance in the U.S. in early February. And so we are relaunching that in the U.S. market. Because of timing of when we got the clearance, we’re assuming about 10 months of U.S. sales in our guide. And so just as a reminder, on an annual basis, what we’ve said is the monitors are about $12 million globally. And so a portion and the U.S. market being the largest market. So hopefully, it’s enough to dimensionalize kind of what the 2024 implication is. In terms of that business going forward, I think, annually, we would expect monitor sales to be in and around that same level, with the real opportunity being on the disposables that we’d be able to sell through as a result of increasing our installed base for the monitors. And in past experience, we’ve seen that business grow at about kind of high single, low double digit, and we would expect similar performance here. Jan De Witte: Maybe just one addition to that, looking over the next couple of years, because you’ve seen when we talk about strategies, CereLink is one of those multiyear global growth catalyst. I think we’ve learned during the recall that this is a great product. Customers that we had stayed with us because they like the microsensors and were willing to wait for CereLink to come back. Prospects that we had before the recall also waited because CereLink is pretty much the most innovative product in the market. And so we see our sales force now picking up those leads and those prospects that they had before. We’re at this point focused on U.S. and Europe. CereLink will be launched in probably 2-plus years in Asia, with China being another important market for CereLink at that point......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey10 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

Frozen Pizza Brands You Should Never Buy

It’s hard to beat the convenience of frozen pizza. When the calendar is filled with work deadlines, school projects, piano recitals, basketball practices, and just general busyness, popping a frozen pizza in the oven is a quick and easy way to get the entire family fed. But that convenience is sometimes tempered by the undeniable […] The post Frozen Pizza Brands You Should Never Buy appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. It’s hard to beat the convenience of frozen pizza. When the calendar is filled with work deadlines, school projects, piano recitals, basketball practices, and just general busyness, popping a frozen pizza in the oven is a quick and easy way to get the entire family fed. But that convenience is sometimes tempered by the undeniable truth that some frozen pizza brands aren’t all that tasty. Some of them, in fact, are just plain bad. It’s one thing when you have to make your kids eat broccoli or Brussels sprouts. That’s the tough love of parenting, right? However, when you have to force-feed them pizza, that’s a sure sign that it’s time to find a better pizza. To help you eliminate this hassle, we have compiled a list of six frozen pizza brands to avoid. Ranking frozen pizza brands is an admittedly subjective process. To assemble this list, 24/7 Wall St. consulted ten different food blogs and vlogs. Weighting each blog’s rankings equally, these six frozen pizza brands posted the lowest scores. We only evaluated brands that are available nationwide. Regional pizzas were excluded. For example, Wegman’s frozen pizza scored near the bottom on multiple blogs. The grocery chain is only found in eight East Coast states, though, so it was excluded from our list. Celeste is another pizza brand that is restricted to regional markets. If it was available nationwide, it would score among the worst pizzas on the list. Not a single blogger had anything positive to say about it. Most of us should be grateful that it isn’t available in our markets. We also excluded pizzas with crusts made of chicken, cauliflower, chickpea, or other non-traditional ingredients. Nothing against these alternatives, but comparing a chickpea crust to a traditional dough crust is hardly an apples-to-apples (or, maybe in this case, a tomato-to-tomato) comparison. Pizzas with alternative crusts ought to be measured against one another. For our purposes, we only evaluated frozen pizza in its most traditional form. The Best Frozen Pizza Brands Some frozen pizzas are actually quite good. While almost no frozen pizza is on par with a freshly baked pie from a quality pizzeria, some are much better than others. In our search for the frozen pizza brands to avoid, we also discovered some that were consistently ranked as the best. Freschetta, Newman’s Own, Amy’s, Red Baron, and Tombstone all received consistently high marks in our search. We’d recommend you give one of these brands a shot on your next pizza night. (Speaking of pizzerias, here’s a list of the 15 oldest pizzerias in America.) The Worst Frozen Pizza Brands These pizzas receive a hardy thumbs down. By the same token, we’d recommend you steer clear of the brands listed below. These six frozen pizza brands were ranked among the worst on the market. 6. Screamin’ Sicilian Here’s a look at the Screamin’ Sicilian “Bessie’s Revenge Cheese Pizza” prior to cooking. Company: Palermo Villa Expected Price: $7.26 Big Price Little Cheese The Screamin’ Sicilian brand received somewhat mixed reviews, which elevated it above some other brands that are just downright bad. The reviewers noted that there is ample cheese on this ‘za, placing it above the brands that noticeably skimp on the cheese. However, reviewers noted that the “mediocre” sauce was less generously applied. They also found the crust “listless” and “[obviously] mass produced.” At over seven bucks a pie, consumers understandably expect a better product than this. We’re not necessarily “screamin’” about how awful it is, but we won’t be shouting its praises, either. 5. Trader Joe’s Trader Joe’s frozen pizza fell surprisingly short of our expectations. Company: Trader Joe’s Expected Price: $5.99 Bowling Alley Taste With None Of The Fun The Trader Joe’s pizza box proudly states the pie was imported from Italy. Many of the reviewers wish TJ’s would have left it there. One blogger went as far as describing Trader Joe’s Organic Three-Cheese Pizza as “bowling alley-esque.” Another compared the taste of the sauce to that of SpaghettiOs. While those statements may be a bit over-the-top, one thing is clear: this pizza definitely does not live up to the quality we have come to expect from Trader Joe’s. The sauce is a bit bland. The crust is kind of mushy. It’s just not very good. 4. California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen is a popular pizzeria, but their frozen pizza doesn’t measure up. Company: Nestlé Expected Price: $8.27 Hurts People’s Souls This was among the most surprising entries on this list. With nearly 200 restaurants worldwide, California Pizza Kitchen has a strong reputation in the pizzeria industry. However, that same quality hasn’t been replicated in the grocery store freezer section. CPK’s frozen pizza elicited responses such as, “This hurts me and makes me sad.” Another person asked, “Why did someone do this? Do they hate people? Do they hate me, specifically?” The perforated wafer-like crust was a common complaint among reviewers. Some also noted the “fake-tasting” cheese. The pepperoni received some positive feedback, but it wasn’t enough to salvage the pie itself. This pizza from the Golden State is anything but golden. 3. Whole Foods 365 Whole Foods has many wonderful food options, but frozen pizza is not among them. Company: Whole Foods Market Expected Price: $5.29 Little Toppings And Terrible Taste Placing this entry from Whole Foods was a bit more difficult to calculate than some of the others. Some bloggers found a few positive things to say about it. Others did not, with one calling its crust “straight-up garbage.” Again, pizza preferences are highly subjective. Overall, however, this pie was consistently criticized as sub-par on most of the blogs we consulted. The sauce was described as “pasty.” The toppings were viewed as skimpy and “sad.” One writer noted that, since Amazon owns Whole Foods, maybe Jeff Bezos could spend a bit of his fortune on a few extra slices of pepperoni. Of all the pizza’s different components, the crust received the lowest reviews from the critics, including the one who compared it to the refuse in his trash can. One slightly more magnanimous reviewer said it reminded them of a big “Bagel Bite.” 2. Tony’s In a world filled with so many frozen pizza options, don’t waste your time and money on Tony’s. Company: Schwan’s Consumer Brands Expected Price: $3.72 Watery Sauce Tony’s was one of the nation’s first frozen pizzas, debuting in the 1960s. Pizza itself traces its roots back to Naples in the 17th century. It was introduced to America by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. However, the dish wasn’t fully embraced by Americans until the 1940s and 1950s. It was around that same time that home freezers became common, so frozen pizzas quickly rose in popularity, as well. Tony’s was among the first of those pizzas to find its way into Americans’ freezers. Tony’s may be among the pioneers of frozen pizza, but it is certainly not among the tastiest brands today. Quite the opposite. It ranked well below almost every other national brand, earning it the second-to-lowest spot on our list. Some adjectives used to describe the sauce included “watery,” “goopy,” “musty,” and “tasteless.” The sparse amount of cheese didn’t help matters. Neither did the subpar pepperoni. The one saving grace for Tony’s is the low price point. At less than four bucks, it is certainly a budget-friendly option. But you’ll probably find that the old axiom also proves true yet again…you really do get what you pay for. 1. Totino’s There are over 70(!) ingredients in this pizza. Company: General Mills Expected Price: $1.97 Tastes Like Styrofoam In the competition for the worst frozen pizza brand, there was a clear winner…or, more accurately, a clear loser. Totino’s easily took the crown as the absolute worst frozen pizza brand. Note: this is an evaluation of the brand’s “Party Pizza,” not their famous pizza rolls. As one vlogger put it, “Everybody has had a Totino’s. If you haven’t, then you haven’t struggled enough.” A Totino’s “Party Pizza” costs less than two bucks. You probably have enough loose change in your car to score one of these pizzas, but we’d recommend you spend that change on something tastier. Styrofoam comes to mind. Totino’s pepperoni pizza has 70+ ingredients, many of which sound like they would be more at home in a science experiment than in a pizza recipe. The third ingredient listed on the box is imitation mozzarella cheese. This “cheese” alone has 16 individual ingredients. And don’t even get us started on the “meat.” One serving of this pepperoni pizza contains a whopping 750mg of sodium. Since these pizzas are small, however, most people will eat the whole thing. That brings their sodium intake to a staggering 1,500 mg! While none of the pizzas on this list could even remotely qualify as a health food, Totino’s is in an unhealthy category all its own. And the taste? Imagine a root canal, a flat tire, and a bad break-up all had their own flavors. This pizza tastes like a combination of the three. If this is a party pizza, then we can only hope that our invitation gets lost in the mail. We Have No Idea What to Do With This One… Some pizzas defy categorization. There was a general congruence among many of the blogs concerning the worst frozen pizza brands, with one very notable exception. Some reviewers ranked this brand among the worst on the market. Others considered it to be one of the best. A few even ranked it as their very favorite frozen pizza. Given this disparity, we are certainly not including it among the frozen pizza brands to avoid. In fact, it seems that you’ll have to to try it so you can decide for yourself. This bitterly divisive frozen pizza brand is… DiGiorno People can’t seem to agree on DiGiorno pizza. Company: Nestlé Expected Price: $6.96 It’s Definitely Not Delivery You know the tagline by heart. “It’s not delivery. It’s DiGiorno.” This frozen pizza is purportedly on par with a pie that is delivered by a national pizza chain. Some of our reviewers completely agree with that sentiment. Others view it as near sacrilege. One reviewer noted that the sauce is “way too sweet,” and also that there is too much of it. And, while the sauce was overabundant, some reviewers noted the cheese was lacking. The cheese that is found on the pizza was described as “waxy.” In one instance, this pizza was labeled as, “The Definitely Not Delivery DiGiorno.” On the flip side, another reviewer called DiGiorno, “the best frozen pizza out there. Hands down.” Another called it “the quintessential grocery store frozen pizza,” saying that “it really is better than a typical delivery option.” The further we dug into the DiGiorno debate, the more it felt like the blue dress/white dress or the Laurel/Yanni debates from the 2010s. Everyone perceives it differently and is fully convinced of the correctness of their position. While we can confidently advise you to steer away from the six frozen pizza brands mentioned above, our advice for DiGiorno is the exact opposite. Steer directly into it. Will this pie, complete with its trademark rising crust, make you forego pizza delivery now and forevermore? Or will you scoff at the very idea and jump on Domino’s website to place an order? You’ll have to give it a try and find out for yourself. Sponsored: Tips for Investing A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit. The post Frozen Pizza Brands You Should Never Buy appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallst10 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

I ordered the same meal at Culver"s and Kopp"s. The smaller chain packed a mightier punch.

As a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, local, I've had my fair share of meals at both Culver's and Kopp's. But I wanted to see which fast-food chain was better. Culver's and Kopp's are both Wisconsin-based chains that are popular in the Midwest. Sojourner WhiteI am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I love going to both Culver's and Kopp's.Kopp's has always been my favorite for frozen custard, but the sandwiches can be hit or miss.Culver's has solid meals, but I wasn't as impressed this time — especially with its fries.As someone born and raised in the Midwest, I take my frozen custard, burgers, and fries seriously.It's an iconic combination of food that's perfect for any season around here, and where I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Culver's and Kopp's are the top two places to go for it.After years of eating at both spots, I wanted to see, once and for all, how the chains compared to each other regarding quality, flavor, and value.I went to both Wisconsin-based fast-food chains and ordered a burger, fries, and frozen custard to decide which was best.I started by visiting Kopp's Frozen Custard. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, fries, vanilla custard, and an Oreo sundae. Sojourner WhiteKopp's is a Milwaukee-based chain with three locations across the city. Although it's small, people come from all over the Midwest for its famous custard.At Kopp's, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with the works (lettuce, tomato, mayo, and onion), fries, a scoop of plain frozen custard, and an Oreo sundae.The meal cost $21.34 in total.Culver’s offered similar menu items to make it a fair matchup. I tried to match my Kopp's order at Culver's. Sojourner WhiteCulver's is also a Wisconsin-based chain that's popular in the Midwest, but it's expanded across the country. Today, there are locations in 26 states.Culver's has more options than Kopp's, but to keep things even, I ordered a similar meal.I got a bacon deluxe ButterBurger with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and onion; fries; one scoop of vanilla custard; and an Oreo Concrete Mixer.The total came to $17.95.Kopp’s burger was huge.I think Kopp's might have the biggest burgers in Milwaukee. Sojourner WhiteI normally prefer Culver's burgers, but my bacon cheeseburger from Kopp's was perfect. The juiciness of the patty, the crispiness of the bacon, and the freshness of the toppings all made it stand out. Kopp's burgers are also massive. It normally takes me two meals to eat one of them.Culver’s burgers are smaller but still delicious.You can't beat Culver's buttery, toasted buns.Sojourner WhiteEven though Kopp's had the better burger, it doesn't mean Culver's ButterBurgers are bad. In fact, I thought it had the better bun, by far. Culver's is known for toasting its buns in plenty of butter, and it really makes a difference. The meat also had tons of flavor and was grilled well, and the toppings tasted fresh. Kopp’s fries were just fine.I don't think the fries are the best thing on Kopp's menu, but they are good. Sojourner WhiteKopp's doesn't serve the best fries I've ever eaten — they're less salty than most fast-food restaurants.Overall, I think the side is average in comparison to other items on Kopp's menu. I've never been a fan of Culver's fries, either. I don't enjoy crinkle-cut fries. Sojourner WhiteI've been telling my family and friends for years that I think Culver's fries lack flavor, so I rarely order them. I was hoping the chain finally changed the recipe, but unfortunately, I was still disappointed by the lack of seasoning. I liked these even less than the fries at Kopp's.Though I didn't order them on this trip, I'd much rather get a side of the chain's iconic cheese curds.There's really no competition when it comes to Kopp's frozen custard.Even the plain, vanilla custard is so flavorful. Sojourner WhiteFrozen custard is an ice-cream-like treat made with milk, cream, sweetener, and egg yolks, and the Midwest is known for making some of the best.Kopp's frozen custard is undefeated. I don't know what it is about the process, but even the plain vanilla flavor tastes like it has an extra layer of sweetness.I'm never disappointed, whether I opt for vanilla, the flavor of the day, or a sundae. The smooth, creamy texture makes it melt-in-your-mouth delicious. But Culver's sweet treats are still top-notch. There's nothing wrong with Culver's frozen custard. Sojourner WhiteCulver's frozen custard isn't bad by any means, and the chain offers even more options than Kopp's. But I don't find myself reaching for its plain scoop as often. I think the highlight of Culver's dessert menu is its Concrete Mixers, which blend toppings into the chain's signature custard. They're blended very well — so the toppings are in every bite — and the custard is satisfying. In the end, Kopp's came out on top. Kopp's may be a smaller chain, but it's worth seeking it out. Sojourner WhiteI'm lucky in Milwaukee because I have easy access to both Culver's and Kopp's. But even though it's a little harder to find, I still think Kopp's is the winner.It's worth a few extra dollars to get a larger sandwich, rich and creamy custard, and more well-seasoned fries.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider11 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

The 10 best mattresses for back sleepers in 2024, tested by experts

We've tested over 90 mattresses to find the best for back sleepers. Our top picks offer an excellent balance of pressure relief and support. When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn moreWe tested over 90 mattresses to find the best options to suit a wide range of back sleepers.Saatva, Tempur-Pedic, Allswell/Business InsiderMuscle soreness, joint pain, trouble breathing, and poor sleep quality are all signs that your mattress isn't right for your sleep position. I've tested over 90 mattresses over the last five years and talked to countless experts to find the best mattresses for back sleepers. While many of the best mattresses are designed for the largest sleep demographic: side sleepers, after extensive testing, we've determined many excellent options that offer the ideal medium-firm feel, spine-aligning support, and pressure point relief for back sleepers to get a good night's rest.The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress is our top choice for back sleepers because the all-foam design adjusts to your body's contours to offer optimal pressure relief and support. Or, you can save over $1,000 with our budget pick, the Allswell Mattress. The firmness kept my spine aligned helping me sleep comfortably on my back, but it doesn't dissipate heat well or have good pressure relief.Learn more about how Business Insider Reviews tests and researches home products.Our top picks for mattresses for back sleepersBest overall: Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress - See at Tempur-PedicBest budget: The Allswell Mattress - See at WalmartBest upgrade: Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze - See at Tempur-PedicBest for pressure relief: Saatva Classic Mattress - See at SaatvaBest for back pain: Leesa Sapira Hybrid Mattress - See at AmazonBest memory foam: GhostBed Luxe Mattress - See at GhostBedBest hybrid: DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress - See at DreamCloudBest latex: Birch Natural Mattress - See at Birch LivingBest cooling: Nest Bedding Finch Latex Mattress - See at Nest BeddingBest firm: Serta iComfortECO Foam Mattress - See at Serta Best overallIf I needed a mattress and had a $2,000 budget, the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress is what I'd buy. Tempur-Pedic's proprietary memory foam contours to your body no matter your sleep position to offer outstanding pressure relief and support. While sleeping on it, I often switched between my back and side and was equally comfortable in each position, though the firmer-than-average feel is ideally suited for back sleepers. Within minutes of lying down, I'd be out cold and stay asleep through each testing night, a rarity.The Tempur-Cloud is also the top pick in our guide to the best memory foam mattresses. It's made up of three layers of CertiPUR-US-certified foams. The top two layers are the proprietary foam. Below that is a base foam for added durability and support. The mattress features a moisture-wicking cover that lends breathability. This checked out in my testing: I found the Tempur-Cloud did an outstanding job of dissipating heat and staying cool.  The Tempur-Cloud's motion isolation is impressive. It passed our bowling ball test (see how we test), and I barely felt it when my kid jumped up and down. Unfortunately, the edge support wasn't as good. I didn't feel comfortable on the edges. Instead, I felt like I was falling off.Additionally, of note, unlike most Tempur-Pedic mattresses that come with white-glove delivery, the Tempur-Cloud ships as a bed-in-a-box style, which also most likely contributes to its slightly lower price point when compared to other Tempur-Pedic models. Read our full Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Cloud Mattress review.Best budgetFor under $400, you aren't going to find a better mattress than the Allswell Mattress. That's why I made it the top pick in our best cheap mattress guide. While testing this exclusive-to-Walmart hybrid, I had the best sleep quality on my back and stomach, thanks to its firm support. However, I felt the pressure relief could have been better, but it was passable for this price point.The 10-inch Allswell has several layers of CertiPUR-US-certified memory foam. The top fabric features polyethylene meant to give a cool feel. Below that is high-density foam for support. Then, gel-infused memory foam and comfort foam offer pressure relief. The individually wrapped coils give the bed durability, firm support, and breathability. At the bottom, high-density foam provides more support and durability.Back-sleeping couples on a budget should consider the Allswell because of its great motion isolation and edge support. However, if you sleep hot, you may want to look elsewhere. This bed slept the warmest among the affordable mattresses we tested, a plus if you tend to get cold at night.Read our full Allswell Mattress review.Best upgradeThe same proprietary memory foam that makes the Tempur-Cloud our top pick makes the Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze worth the splurge. Unlike the Cloud, the PRObreeze has pressure-relieving pocket springs, which help with durability, support, and airflow. I also found the PRObreeze had even better motion dampening than the Cloud.The PRObreeze contours to your body for optimal spinal alignment no matter what position you're in, though the medium hybrid version I tested was a little firmer than the Cloud, a plus for back sleepers who may spend some time on their stomach. I was comfortable no matter what position I slept in during the year it was my main mattress. Additionally, it kept my chronic back pain at bay with its excellent spinal alignment and pressure relief, especially around the hips and shoulders.I shared the bed with my wife, a back sleeper, and she also loved it. The two of us appreciated the motion-dampening properties. We slept undisturbed when the other got into or out of bed and when our dog decided to jump around. However, like the Cloud, the PRObreeze's edge support was subpar. The side sank when I lay or sat on it. At over $4,000, this is a pricy mattress, but the pressure-relieving comfort for back sleepers and durability justify the price. Plus, it comes with a free in-home setup. Read our full Tempur-Pedic PRObreeze review.Best for pressure reliefThe Saatva Classic Mattress has three firmness options: plush soft, luxury firm, and firm. It's also available in 11.5-inch and 14.5-inch heights. I tested the 11.5-inch luxury firm and found it was just right for back sleeping, though if you spend time on your stomach, too, you might want the firm.Two features of its construction made it our pick for pressure relief. The first is right below the breathable pillow top: a lumbar zone that provides firmer support around your midsection while offering cushioned relief around your shoulders and hips. The pocket coils below also feature a lumbar zone that balances support and body-cradling comfort. At the base is another set of coils for durability and airflow. The coils are surrounded by a foam that gives the mattress excellent edge support.Senior home editor Jaclyn Turner slept on the Classic for almost two years as a predominant back sleeper. While she experienced a break-in period, she appreciated the plush pillow-top design and gentle support.As someone who tends to overheat, I appreciated the heat dissipation. My subjective experience with the motion isolation was great: I could feel kids or pets moving around on the bed while I lay there. Yet, it had higher-than-average vibrometer readings and failed our bowling ball test, suggesting the motion dampening is just so-so.Free in-room delivery and setup and free removal of your old mattress and foundation are included in the price of the Saatva Classic. You can try it out risk-free for 365 nights, though $99 will be deducted from your refund if you return it. Saatva backs its mattresses with a lifetime warranty.Read our full Saatva Classic Mattress review.Best for back pain In addition to being the top pick in our guide to the best mattresses, the Leesa Sapira Hybrid Mattress is also our best mattress for back pain. It was my main mattress for about a year, and I loved how it shaped to the contours of my body. This helps back sleepers with back pain maintain a neutral spine that will keep pressure off their back.Despite playing roller derby and other sports, I didn't have any back pain flare-ups during the year. My only hesitation with this pick is that the average firmness may not be firm enough for heavier back sleepers. Still, I slept comfortably on my back; most sleepers will appreciate the comfort and support.The Leesa Sapira Hybrid is made up of pocket springs and CeritPUR-US-certified foams. The cover and top layer of cooling foam dissipated heat well, keeping me from overheating. Contour foam is below that, offering supportive pressure relief. Next, the coils are between two dense foam layers for a supportive, durable, and breathable base.The Leesa Sapira Hybrid offers outstanding edge support and motion isolation, making it ideal for couples. I tested this bed with my wife, and we were blown away by how we couldn't feel each other get into and out of bed. The motion dampening allowed us to sleep undisturbed.Read our full Leesa Sapira Hybrid Mattress review.Best memory foamIn our guide to the best memory foam mattresses, the Tempur-Pedic Cloud takes the top spot, making it logical to top this category. Instead, we chose to make it our top pick in this guide and give you another option: the illustrious GhostBed Luxe Mattress, which costs about $450 less than the Cloud.The GhostBed Luxe has an impressive combination of motion isolation and edge support, making it the ideal option for couples and earning it a spot in our guide to the best mattresses for couples. It failed our bowling ball test, yet its vibration readings were among the lowest, and I didn't feel jostled when I had my kid jump on the bed, suggesting the motion isolation was good. I felt supported while lying and sitting on the edges.From top to bottom, the GhostBed Luxe has a quilted cover, cooling fiber, and gel memory foam to help with heat dissipation, though the bed was only average in our cooling tests. Another cooling fabric layer comes next. Below is more gel memory foam, a bouncy foam comfort layer, and a thick, durable, supportive base foam.The firmer-than-average feel was great no matter what position I slept in back, stomach, or side. I felt the mattress's sinkage was optimal for maintaining a neutral spinal position.Best hybridThe DreamCloud Premier Hybrid is the back sleeper pick in our guide to the best hybrid mattresses because I slept excellently on it while on my back. I sank in just enough for an ideal balance of spinal alignment and pressure relief. It excelled in every area in our tests, making it an easy choice for our hybrid pick, especially at its midrange price point.The DreamCloud Premier's excellence begins with its construction. The cashmere-blend cover helps give it a softer-than-average feel and breathability. Four layers of CertiPUR-US-certified foams contribute to its excellent pressure relief, motion isolation, and body cradling properties. Below that, a base of individually wrapped pocket springs promotes airflow, reduces motion transfer, and adds all-over support.The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid is also a smart pick for couples, thanks to its impressive motion isolation and edge support. Best of all, it's comfortable. While testing it, I slept on my back and side and appreciated how it helped keep my spine aligned. Excellent heat dissipation kept me from overheating at night. Lastly, you can try the DreamCloud for 365 nights. If you don't like it, return it for a full refund. If you decide to keep the bed, it's covered by a lifetime warranty.Read our full DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress review.Best latex Latex is one of my favorite mattress materials. It's eco-friendlier and stays cooler than memory foam. The responsive feel adjusts to your body the moment you lay down. Plus, it has a pleasant bounce to it. The Birch Natural Mattress by Helix is my pick as the best latex mattress for back sleepers. You can customize it with or without a plush latex mattress topper for extra cushioning. I tried it both ways and preferred the topper when sleeping on my side, but back sleeping was more comfortable without the topper. I recommend back sleepers stick with the firmer and more affordable topper-free experience.Birch is committed to crafting its mattresses with environmentally friendly materials and is GREENGUARD Gold-certified to be free of harsh chemicals. Directly underneath the breathable organic cotton cover are two comfort layers of wool, which is both temperature-regulating and a natural fire retardant. The middle layers of latex and individually wrapped coils provide support and motion isolation. A wool batting base offers durability and stability.Couples will appreciate the bed's top-notch reinforced edge support and motion-dampening properties. I also had my 6-foot-5-inch teen sleep on it when I finished testing. The pressure point relief was just what they needed to help soothe the aches and pains from constantly growing. Plus, they appreciated how it kept them cool on most summer nights, despite their tendency to sleep hot.Best cooling The Nest Bedding Finch Latex Mattress tops our best cooling mattress guide, and with its slightly firmer-than-average feel in medium, it's ideal for all sleeping styles. It's also available in firm if you want more support while sleeping on your back. The Finch dissipated heat well and stayed cool, registering some of the lowest temperature readings in our tests. I had to grab extra blankets because I often got too cold while sleeping on it.Though I preferred sleeping on my side, I was comfortable in every position. I found the latex layers helped relieve pressure on my joints. The top layer has breathable wool, cotton, and CertiPUR-US-certified foam. Below that are two OEKO-TEX-certified latex layers. The mattress's firmness comes from the top layer of latex, while the bottom layer provides durability, support, and structure.The Finch is a smart choice for couples. The edge support is outstanding. I didn't sink in much while sitting or lying on the edge or even in the middle of the mattress. Yet, it failed our motion isolation bowling ball test and had average vibrometer readings. I liked that the bed had a good bounce.Nest Bedding offers a lifetime warranty, 365-night home trial, and a Lifetime Renewal Exchange, which means you can get a free comfort layer to update your bed's feel anytime.Best firm In general, back sleepers should look for a medium-firm mattress, but if you want a particularly firm mattress, I recommend the Serta iComfortECO Foam Mattress. It comes in plush, medium, and firm options. The firm was one of the firmest mattresses I've ever tested, yet I felt it still offered good pressure relief and kept my spine aligned. I had some of my best sleep quality scores on this mattress. My average over the years is 63 out of 100, with higher being better. Yet, I had several 70+ nights in a row and a couple over 80 while testing this bed.The Serta iComfortECO is up to 70% sustainable. The Repreve cover is made of recycled bottles. Below that is a pressure-relieving foam—partially made from plant-based material—that lent the bed impressive motion isolation and a thick base layer of durable support foam. I tested the most affordable "standard" option, but it also comes in enhanced and ultimate, which features additional layers of comfort foam, responsive Oeko-Tex-certified latex, and cooling gel memory foam. The ultimate incorporates an additional memory foam layer for pressure relief.The iComfortECO also has some of the best edge support I've experienced. This, coupled with the great motion isolation, makes it ideal for couples who want a firm feel. However, I wouldn't recommend it for hot sleepers, as it did not dissipate heat well. A couple of nights, I awoke sweating.What to look for when choosing a mattress for back sleepersI encourage you to check out our article on how to choose a mattress for general buying advice, including mattress type differences, mattress size advice, and more. In this section, I'll focus on what back sleepers should look for based on my five years of experience testing mattresses and interviews with experts. A bed's firmness is the defining characteristic that makes a mattress better for back sleepers as opposed to side or stomach sleepers.Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, a lung and sleep health specialist at the Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Institute of South Florida, recommends a medium-firm mattress for back sleepers to help maintain the spine's natural S-curvature. Logan Schneider, clinical assistant professor of sleep medicine at Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, warns against any mattress that lets you sink in too deeply, as it can collapse your airway and put you at risk for sleep breathing problems. Your body type will also play into your ideal firmness. Heavier individuals should go even firmer to limit sinkage. Petite back sleepers should consider an average firmness since they naturally don't sink in much.How we test mattresses for back sleepersMeasuring edge support is just one of many objective tests we put each mattress through.Erin BrainsIn addition to personally sleeping on every mattress for at least two weeks, I put them through a series of tests to gauge their comfort, motion isolation, edge support, cooling, and more.Here are some of the results for the main attributes we tested:AttributeTempur-CloudAllswellTempur-PRObreezeSaatva ClassicLeesa Sapira HybridGhostBed LuxeDreamCloud Premier HybridBirchNest Bedding FinchSerta iComfortECOFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)676756575.58Motion Isolation (1 awful to 10 best)771057871048Edge Support (1 awful to 10 best)3731079810910Heat Dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)94777565103Trial Period (nights)901009036510010136590365120Warranty (years)101010Lifetime1025Lifetime10Lifetime10Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:Comfort: This is subjective, but based on my years of testing more than 90 mattresses, I gauge each mattress's firmness, pressure relief, spinal alignment, support, and which sleep position it's best for. When testing each mattress, I use a smartwatch to track my sleep to get my average sleep quality. I use an infrared laser thermometer to measure how cool a bed stays and take readings before I lie down, right after I get up, and two minutes after I get up. This tells me how hot the bed gets while lying on it and how quickly the heat dissipates.Edge support: If a mattress sinks significantly on the edges, you won't feel comfortable sleeping on the periphery, it will be harder to get into and out of bed, and you won't want to sit on the side to put your shoes on. I measure this by lying on the side and rolling off the bed to see how far I can get. I also sit on the edge and measure how much the edge sinks. via GIPHY Motion isolation: You don't want to feel your partner moving around in the night. Beds with good motion isolation keep you from being disturbed by other's movements. We measure this by dropping a bowling ball from 4 feet above the mattress so that it lands a foot from a soda can. If the can falls over, the motion isolation could use improvement. If it stays upright, it has excellent motion isolation. To get more granular, I also place a vibrometer on the other side of the mattress to get a numerical readout of the vibration intensity.Setup: While I recommend having someone to assist you, I set up every mattress on my own unless it comes with an in-home setup. While doing this, I note anything that makes the process more difficult or easier and if it comes with instructions or a cutting tool. Since you'll likely have to move your mattress a few times throughout owning it, I rate how easy it is to move. Mattresses with handles get bonus points.Trial and warranty: The home trial is perhaps the most important factor when choosing a mattress since sleeping on the bed in your home for several nights is the only way to know if it's right for you. I read the home trial's return policy and look for any loopholes, like shipping costs or restocking fees. I also read the small print of warranties to see if there are catches. For more details, check out our article on how we test mattresses.Back sleeper mattress FAQsWhat mattress firmness is best for back sleepers?Schneider answered this question with another question, "I think step one is, what mattress firmness is most comfortable for you?" Basically, he said your personal comfort preferences are the top priority to ensure healthy sleep. If you don't know where to start, consider going with a medium to medium-firm bed. This will keep your spine properly aligned while sleeping on your back and keep you from sinking in too much. Heavier individuals should start with medium-firm, while petite sleepers generally prefer medium or a little softer.What is the best mattress thickness for back sleepers?Schneider noted no empirical studies on the best mattress thickness for different sleepers. In my experience, mattresses less than 10 inches thick tend not to be supportive enough. These mattresses are also usually cheaper since they use less material.What mattress type is best for back sleepers?There's not quite a clear-cut answer here, as much of it comes down to personal preference for how you want your mattress to feel and priorities like motion isolation, edge support, breathability, and pressure relief. Hybrid mattresses tend to be more durable and supportive than all-foam, but the foam mattresses in our guide offer excellent support for back sleepers. I advise choosing the mattress that best meets your needs regardless of type.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider11 hr. 36 min. ago Related News

Federated Hermes (FHI) Could Be a Great Choice

Dividends are one of the best benefits to being a shareholder, but finding a great dividend stock is no easy task. Does Federated Hermes (FHI) have what it takes? Let's find out. Getting big returns from financial portfolios, whether through stocks, bonds, ETFs, other securities, or a combination of all, is an investor's dream. But for income investors, generating consistent cash flow from each of your liquid investments is your primary focus.Cash flow can come from bond interest, interest from other types of investments, and of course, dividends. A dividend is that coveted distribution of a company's earnings paid out to shareholders, and investors often view it by its dividend yield, a metric that measures the dividend as a percent of the current stock price. Many academic studies show that dividends account for significant portions of long-term returns, with dividend contributions exceeding one-third of total returns in many cases.Federated Hermes in FocusHeadquartered in Pittsburgh, Federated Hermes (FHI) is a Finance stock that has seen a price change of 5.2% so far this year. The one of the nation's largest managers of money market funds is currently shelling out a dividend of $0.28 per share, with a dividend yield of 3.14%. This compares to the Financial - Investment Management industry's yield of 3.06% and the S&P 500's yield of 1.59%.Taking a look at the company's dividend growth, its current annualized dividend of $1.12 is up 0.9% from last year. In the past five-year period, Federated Hermes has increased its dividend 1 times on a year-over-year basis for an average annual increase of 0.56%. Any future dividend growth will depend on both earnings growth and the company's payout ratio; a payout ratio is the proportion of a firm's annual earnings per share that it pays out as a dividend. Federated Hermes's current payout ratio is 33%. This means it paid out 33% of its trailing 12-month EPS as dividend.Looking at this fiscal year, FHI expects solid earnings growth. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 is $3.64 per share, representing a year-over-year earnings growth rate of 7.06%.Bottom LineInvestors like dividends for a variety of different reasons, from tax advantages and decreasing overall portfolio risk to considerably improving stock investing profits. It's important to keep in mind that not all companies provide a quarterly payout.Big, established firms that have more secure profits are often seen as the best dividend options, but it's fairly uncommon to see high-growth businesses or tech start-ups offer their stockholders a dividend. Income investors have to be mindful of the fact that high-yielding stocks tend to struggle during periods of rising interest rates. That said, they can take comfort from the fact that FHI is not only an attractive dividend play, but is also a compelling investment opportunity with a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy). Top 5 ChatGPT Stocks Revealed Zacks Senior Stock Strategist, Kevin Cook names 5 hand-picked stocks with sky-high growth potential in a brilliant sector of Artificial Intelligence. By 2030, the AI industry is predicted to have an internet and iPhone-scale economic impact of $15.7 Trillion. Today you can invest in the wave of the future, an automation that answers follow-up questions … admits mistakes … challenges incorrect premises … rejects inappropriate requests. As one of the selected companies puts it, “Automation frees people from the mundane so they can accomplish the miraculous.”Download Free ChatGPT Stock Report Right Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Federated Hermes, Inc. (FHI): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks12 hr. 7 min. ago Related News

JPMorgan (JPM) Close to Forming Private Credit Partnership

JPMorgan (JPM) is in advanced talks with FS Investments and Octagon Credit Investors to form a partnership to expand into the rapidly growing private credit space. As part of its efforts to tap into the $1.7-trillion private credit markets, JPMorgan JPM is close to finalizing a partnership with FS Investments and Octagon Credit Investors. The move is expected to help JPM diversify its investment solutions and enhance offerings in the rapidly growing private credit space.According to people with knowledge of the matter, the talks are ongoing and the terms of a potential tie-up may be modified.Given that the private credit space has been eating into the market share of the leveraged loan and high-yield bond markets, Wall Street banks have been searching for ways to remain competitive.In November 2023, Bloomberg reported that JPM was looking for third-party capital to supplement more than $10 billion that the bank had allocated for its private credit strategy. The financial giant wanted to bring together a group of lenders for the purpose of funding the private credit deals it originated.JPMorgan held discussions with sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments and alternative asset managers.If JPMorgan is able to originate deals with its external partner and provide capital, it would lower balance sheet risk, resulting in private credit revenue growth.Notably, JPM is a major provider of leveraged loans and high-yield bonds, and the private credit effort may safeguard an essential part of its business. By implementing the partnership, it could maintain control over client relationships and provide a level of certainty to borrowers that agreed loans would be funded.The collaboration between JPMorgan, FS Investments and Octagon Credit, if formed, will not just be a merger of resources. It will result in the alignment of expertise in the private credit space.Over the past six months, shares of JPMorgan have gained 24.4% compared with the industry’s rise of 22.6%. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Currently, JPM carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Other Banks Seeking Expansion in Private CreditA number of lenders have announced private credit partnerships and others are considering alternative options.Last month, Citigroup Inc. C, along with LuminArx, announced the launch of Cinergy, a financing tool for the private lending market.Cinergy is expected to offer a wide range of private credit solutions to companies, including Citigroup’s client base.Mitali Sohoni, the head of asset-backed financing at C, said, “The private lending market is experiencing transformative growth, and we are pleased that Cinergy will enhance our ability to meet the capital needs of our clients. Powered by LuminArx’s execution capabilities and the significant industry experience of its team, I believe Cinergy represents a truly differentiated offering.”Similarly, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. GS, intending to capitalize on significant growth of the private credit industry, entered a partnership with Mubadala Investment, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. The companies will invest $1 billion in private credit deals in multiple Asia-Pacific markets, with a particular focus on India.The funds will be deployed through a separately managed account, which will be managed by GS through its dedicated on-ground team in Asia and a global private credit team.The expansion into the private credit space will likely drive Goldman’s revenue growth amid efforts to scale back its consumer banking business, along with focusing on its core strengths of investment banking, trading and asset management. Top 5 ChatGPT Stocks Revealed Zacks Senior Stock Strategist, Kevin Cook names 5 hand-picked stocks with sky-high growth potential in a brilliant sector of Artificial Intelligence. By 2030, the AI industry is predicted to have an internet and iPhone-scale economic impact of $15.7 Trillion. Today you can invest in the wave of the future, an automation that answers follow-up questions … admits mistakes … challenges incorrect premises … rejects inappropriate requests. As one of the selected companies puts it, “Automation frees people from the mundane so they can accomplish the miraculous.”Download Free ChatGPT Stock Report Right Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS): Free Stock Analysis Report JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report Citigroup Inc. (C): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks12 hr. 7 min. ago Related News

12 home purchases you"ll probably regret in a few years, according to interior designers

From low couches and round windows to barn doors and gray flooring, there are currently some popular home purchases that may not age well. Certain design style and decor features aren't very practical.Ground Picture/Shutterstock Business Insider asked interior designers about home purchases people might regret in a few years. The experts said to rethink white appliances, faux-leather couches, and sliding barn doors.  They also encouraged people to avoid installing round windows or entertainment centers. Low couches may be aesthetically pleasing, but they aren't always practical.Low couches aesthetically fit in many industrial-style living rooms.jafara/ShutterstockSarah Bowen, interior designer and founder of Spruce Up, told Business Insider that going all in on industrial style may cause regrets down the road."Low couches are an undeniably bad interior choice many who opt for the industrial style fall for," she said. "Yes, the low couches look cool, but they're not typically comfy or practical."Shabby-chic furniture can easily make a space look cluttered.Shabby-chic design has increased in popularity over the years.SoNelly/ShutterstockAlthough it's "a romantic, feminine style" that brings comfort and uniqueness to many spaces, Bowen said, too many shabby-chic purchases can lead to regret."It's easy to go overboard with this style choice, adding more and more weathered, vintage pieces until your space is brimming with oldies-but-goodies," the designer said. "This is generally a decision people quickly regret, as they end up with limited workable space in their homes."White appliances aren't as timeless as other options.White is also hard to keep clean.Ground Picture/ShutterstockEddie Rider, luxury designer at Eddie Rider Designs, said white appliances aren't worth splurging on."White appliances are definitely a trend and not nearly as timeless as stainless steel or matching/blending cabinet panels," he said. "Often the cabinets and the appliances do not match the white tones, and it throws the whole vibe off."Instead, the designer suggested matching the trim in your kitchen to any white cabinets. You might want to rethink installing gray-toned wood flooring.Flooring is expensive, so make sure to really think through your options the first time.John Keeble/Getty ImagesPaige Garland, interior designer and owner of Paige Garland Interiors, cautions against gray-toned wood flooring — especially since it's expensive to replace if you regret it in a few years."Gray-toned wood flooring is unnatural and clashes so hard," she told BI. "I think a big mistake people make is knowing they want cool tones and going all the way with that cool-toned everything — you still want pops of warmth here and there whether you know it or not."Faux-leather sectionals and sofas quickly lose their polished look.Faux leather wears and fades pretty easily.Iglenas/ShutterstockLuxury interior designer Lesley Myrick said people often believe faux leather is a good alternative to genuine leather. But when it comes to couches, this isn't the case."It just isn't the right material for sofas and sectionals. It may look good for a year or two but will eventually begin to deteriorate by cracking, flaking off, or both," she said.Instead, opt for a real leather sofa or a different material that's easier to maintain and clean. Viscose may not be the best material for a rug.Viscose is a semi-synthetic material that's often used as an alternative to silk.Design gallery01/ShutterstockAccording to Joe Human, interior designer of Designs By Human, you might want to steer clear of viscose rugs."Viscose rugs are super soft and have a lovely sheen but are very easily ruined when used in the wrong application," he said.There might be a safe spot for the material in a low-traffic bedroom, but light-colored viscose rugs in a living room are a recipe for disaster. "Any spill will turn them yellow," the designer added. "Instead, splurge for a real wool rug or, if you can, silk."Sliding barn doors are a fading fad.Farmhouse interiors have come and gone in style over the years.Breadmaker/ShutterstockDevin Shaffer, lead interior designer at Decorilla Online Interior Design, said sliding barn doors are merely a trend. "Requests for overhauling modern-farmhouse decor have become a daily thing," he told BI. "From the very beginning, I knew that the Joanna Gaines aesthetic was a fad. Let's face it: Interior-design TV shows are the fast fashion of interior design."Before paying upwards of $1,000 each for rustic barn doors, the designer said to consider the fact that they likely won't do a great job blocking sound. They may not be functional for your home in the long run.You might want to rethink installing large entertainment centers.Built-in entertainment centers are very costly.pics721/ShutterstockEntertainment centers with built-ins can help house all of your electronics, but Shaffer said there are much more flexible options."I'm very surprised entertainment centers are still on the market and could never imagine living with such a monstrosity," the designer told BI. Not investing in large, built-in furniture makes future moves easier and allows you to rearrange your space for the latest technology, like TV projectors. Don't fall for the faux-flooring trend — replacing it can be costly.Sticker tiles or PVC flooring might end up costing you in the future.Luckeyman/ShutterstockElle Cole of Elle Cole Interiors recommended avoiding faux flooring even if it seems like a cost-friendly option.  "Material that looks like wood or cement tile (sticker tile) isn't going to finish out well. It's better to get real wood or tile and enjoy your floor for years to come instead of a season," she said. "Flooring is a great expense, so do it well the first time."Rounded windows aren't always worth the effort.Round windows can be a pretty design element, but they're usually complicated.Ground Picture/ShutterstockMichal Rubin, owner and principal designer at MR Interiors, said most clients end up regretting rounded windows, even if they add character to a space. "They lack practicality mainly because of their unique shape," she said. "Finding window treatments is less than easy. Clients often spend tons of money on custom treatments just to cover the window for the privacy they need."Skip purchasing low-back dining chairs.Pick a more comfortable chair for your dining room.Ground Picture/ShutterstockMany people opt for low-back dining chairs for a modern look, but Rubin recommended choosing something else."Low-back dining chairs are desirable because they look 'less bulky' and can appear more modern. But I can guarantee this choice is a regrettable one," the designer said. "They are usually uncomfortable, and if you're hosting, guests will prefer a seat back that can hold."Bouclé-covered anything is worth reconsidering.The textured fabric can be hard to clean.Followtheflow/ShutterstockKelly Hayes, owner and principal designer at Carriage House Studio, told BI that even though bouclé is a trendy fabric now, it'll likely go the way of early-2000s chevron print in a few years. "While bouclé currently covers every available surface from sofas to dining chairs, the actual application in real-life situations with pets and kids and repeated use means this fabric will look a lot more like the Velveteen rabbit than the Coco Chanel skirt suit we aspire to own," she said.This story was originally published in April 2023 and most recently updated on February 29, 2024. Read more:Interior designers share 15 home trends you'll probably regret in a few yearsInterior-design experts share 12 kitchen trends they think you'll regret in a few yearsI'm an interior designer. Here are 10 trends that don't actually look good in real life.Interior designers share 12 popular decorating trends that are a waste of moneyRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt13 hr. 52 min. ago Related News

I"m an interior decorator. Here are 10 things I"d never have in my kitchen.

As an interior decorator, laminate kitchen cabinets, real or faux plants, and open shelving are some things I would never have in my kitchen. As an interior decorator, I'd advise against plants, builder-grade cabinets, and open shelving in the kitchen.New Africa/Shutterstock As an interior decorator, I think kitchens need to be designed for functionality and timelessness. Real and faux plants and glassware on open shelving get way too grimy and dusty. I think matching dish sets and table settings lack personality and won't impress your guests. As an interior decorator, I know some things can look tacky or would never be functional in a kitchen.Here are 10 things you would never find in my kitchen.Impractical countertops aren't versatile in the long run.Avoid butcher-block countertops.chuckcollier/Getty ImagesIf you're renovating your kitchen, I recommend selecting countertops that are neutral and conventional to most designs.Though it's tempting to design your space to match current trends, going with neutral big-ticket items, like a countertop, will allow you the flexibility to change your decor in the future.I'd especially avoid materials like butcher block, wood, concrete, and tile because they have a trendy, distinct look and may require special maintenance. Instead, use those materials in a portion of your kitchen, like in a separate bar area, to give you the look you want without committing 100% to the trend.Plants get too grimy in the kitchen.Without regular cleaning, grease and dust build up on plants.New Africa/ShutterstockPlants are a beautiful addition to kitchen decor but they collect dust and can get covered in layers of cooking grease that's hard to clean off. Faux plants might also trap cooking odors if not regularly cleaned, and natural plants are susceptible to mold, mildew, and pests.Though I recommend staying away from plants, if you really love the look of greenery, I'd go with the faux version and place them further away from the stove to avoid grease buildup. Or, pot fresh herbs for a beautiful, tasty decor accent that you'll regularly use in recipes and won't need to clean.Many laminate cabinets can't withstand a little water.Laminate cabinets are very susceptible to water damage.Alphotographic/Getty ImagesPrefabricated laminate cabinets are a popular builder's choice because they're easy to install and very budget-friendly. However, any spraying water can seep into the seams and cause the particle board to swell and the laminate surface to bubble up.If your budget allows, I always recommend choosing wood cabinets. They're more durable, can have an upscale finish, and may be painted over if your taste changes over time.Matching dish sets lack personality.Matching dish sets don't bring any unique qualities to the kitchen.Tracy ben/ShutterstockIt makes sense to pick up a dish set with identical matching plates, bowls, and saucers from your local big-box store. But, in my opinion, matching dish sets can look boring and often lack personality.Instead, I favor the elevated look of a coordinated, customized plate setup. Impress your guests by selecting individual pieces with matching or complementary colors, patterns, and styles to create a cohesive, visually pleasing table setting.As a bonus tip, intentional linen tablecloths and place mats can also bring your personality into the kitchen and give a designer feel.Heavy drapes will trap cooking odors.Heavy drapes can weigh down the look of the kitchen.onurdongel/Getty ImagesThick, luxurious curtains are better left out of the kitchen so they can avoid grease and cooking odors.Cotton and linen fabrics, which many drapes are made out of, quickly fade in direct sunlight and need to be regularly washed. Thick curtains also visually weigh down a space, a tone that doesn't fit an energetic work zone like a kitchen.I recommend framing kitchen windows with sheer polyester curtains, wooden blinds, shutters, or roller shades for privacy and some UV protection. These window treatments have clean lines and will keep your kitchen bright and functional.Top-mount sinks are not my favorite choice.Instead of top-mount sinks, I'd go with the beautiful streamlined design of under-mount versions.brizmaker/Getty ImagesTop-mount sinks are usually the most budget-friendly option and are easy to install: Just drop the sink into a precut hole in the countertop and seal the edges. However, grime can easily build up along the seam between the sink and the countertop.I also think the top-mount sink looks less sophisticated compared to the under-mount or farmhouse options. Under-mount sinks allow you to wipe water and debris directly off the countertop and have a more intentional, modern design.Builder-grade cabinet hardware bores me.I especially don't like the look of basic silver hardware.Bogdan Sonjachnyj/ShutterstockI think the current trend of leaving builder-grade silver rods and knobs on cabinets lacks personality and can make even a luxurious kitchen feel underwhelming. Swapping out dull, builder-grade cabinet hardware is a relatively inexpensive way to spice up your decor. Think about the elements of your home that excite you and incorporate that design element into your kitchen hardware. For example, if your decor aesthetic is modern vintage, go with modern-looking cabinets and install playful gold vintage hardware.Open shelving in the kitchen can be a chore to keep clean.Open shelving allows the glassware and dishes to collect dust.David Papazian/ShutterstockOpen shelving is a beautiful way to display fine glassware but the accumulation of dust and grease on exposed items requires frequent cleaning. The lack of concealed storage to keep clutter out of sight can also create a visually chaotic, cluttered space.I recommend going with cabinets with transparent glass to keep the open shelving without the risk of dusty glassware. If you have to go with the light, airy look of open shelves, I recommend using them sparingly and displaying items that are easy to clean and organize.I'd never put non-soft-close cabinets and drawers in my kitchen.Using cabinets that slam shut can negatively impact your kitchen experience.Hendrickson Photography/ShutterstockMany traditional cabinets lack the dampening technology that prevents doors and drawers from slamming shut. Slamming cabinets shut can accelerate wear and tear on hinges or slides and isn't a pleasant kitchen experience.Soft-close cabinets and drawers extend the lifespan of the hardware and add an element of luxury to your kitchen experience without breaking the bank. Adding soft-close cabinets to your kitchen can also be a relatively simple DIY project.Drawers and cabinets without shelves are organizers are an inefficient use of space.I like to opt for drawers rather than lower cabinets without shelving.Prostock-studio/ShutterstockPrefabricated cabinets, especially lower cabinets, are usually large empty spaces without much functionality for organizing your belongings. Although they may cost less upfront, you'll probably need to install organizers and buy shelves to maximize the storage space.In a modern kitchen, I prefer large drawers or cabinets with pull-out shelves. Smart storage solutions like vertical utensil drawers and cutting-board racks are also great ways to keep your countertops clutter-free and your kitchen organized.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt13 hr. 52 min. ago Related News

13 Biggest 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid

This article takes a look at the 13 biggest 401(k) mistakes to avoid. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on unraveling the controversy surrounding 401(k) plans, you may go to 5 Biggest 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid. Unraveling the Controversy Surrounding 401(k) Plans Who is Robert Kiyosaki? More importantly, why does Robert Kiyosaki not […] This article takes a look at the 13 biggest 401(k) mistakes to avoid. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on unraveling the controversy surrounding 401(k) plans, you may go to 5 Biggest 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid. Unraveling the Controversy Surrounding 401(k) Plans Who is Robert Kiyosaki? More importantly, why does Robert Kiyosaki not like 401k? Robert Toru Kiyosaki, a Japanese-American businessman and author, is famous for the Rich Dad Poor Dad series of personal finance books. According to him, 401(k)s are a “horrible retirement plan. Yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 56% of all civilian workers, including both full-time and part-time employees, participated in a workplace retirement plan in 2023. A retirement savings plan is an employer-sponsored plan where plan participants have individual accounts, including 401(k), 403(b), 457, and SIMPLE savings plans. Given these statistics, if retirement plans such as a 401(k) are bad, why are people participating? According to the financial expert, there are many mistakes that folks tend to make with a 401(k) account. For instance, there are high management fees associated with 401(k) plans, which usually tend to eat away at the retirement savings of an individual. Moreover, individuals also tend to have lesser control over the money invested in a 401(k), there is a limit to what can be invested, and you can’t even gain immediate access without paying a fee. Moreover, there isn’t any insurance on these plans, either. Rich Dad staff also notes that 401(k) plans are taxed at higher earned income rates, and provide a false security of employer match. Without a 401(k), your employer should still provide a match equivalent. However, they are only obliged to pay the match if you opt-in. Additionally, vesting schedules may allow the employer to avoid paying the match if the employee leaves before becoming vested. Providing all these arguments, the Rich Dad Poor Dad staff stands their ground that 401(k) plans are simply horrible. Contrarily, T.Rowe Price seems to think that 401(k) plans still make sense. According to T.Rowe Price, 401(k) plans are an important way to save and prepare for retirement. There are many advantages of 401(k) plans. For starters, employers have increasingly been adopting auto-enrollment of such plans which in turn allow for automatic savings for individuals. A T. Rowe Price in 2022 showed that 86% of employees participated in their plan if it was set up for auto-enrollment. Moreover, these plans also help individuals plan for retirement and aid in meeting retirement goals through tax-deferred growth with traditional or Roth savings. While the arguments towards and against a 401(k) plan are many, Charles Schwab agrees that 401(k) plans can be quite complex. Even though they are the most common retirement plans out there, they are not that easy to understand. Consequently, it’s easy to make mistakes when operating one, which only demonstrates a lack of preparedness. Not being prepared or aware of the intricacies revolving around retirement planning is one of the most critical mistakes in retirement planning. As such, navigating the world of 401(k) plans can be a daunting task for many individuals seeking financial security and freedom. While these retirement savings accounts are an excellent opportunity for wealth accumulation, they have their fair share of pitfalls. Making mistakes in managing your 401(k) can have significant consequences on your retirement nest egg. In this exploration, we’ll delve into some of the biggest 401(k) mistakes that individuals commonly make, and why they should be avoided. A financial advisor discussing retirement plans with an elderly couple in their home. Methodology To compile the list of 13 biggest 401(k) mistakes to avoid, we have used several sources such as Bank Rate, CNBC, Kiplinger, Investopedia, Forbes, and U.S. News, to name a few. Next, we adopted a consensus methodology to select the mistakes, with one point being awarded to a mistake each time it was recommended by a source. Scores were summed up and places were ranked in ascending order from the lowest to the highest scores. By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or a professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. Here are the 13 biggest 401(k) mistakes to avoid: 13. Inadequate Default Savings Rate One of the biggest 401(k) mistakes that you can make is settling for a low default savings rate. 401(k) contribution rates, also known as deferral rates, act as an important lever of your retirement savings. Having higher deferral rates increases your chances of having a larger nest egg in retirement. According to Vanguard, the average deferral rate was 7.4% in 2022. Even though increasing your default saving rate increases your chances of improving your retirement nest egg, having a deferral rate that is too high can also prove to be dangerous. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, higher defaults aren’t always better, and overly aggressive rates can cause financial strain on employees, and lead to potential opt-outs, amongst other problems. 12. Forfeiting Valuable 401(k) Matching Contributions If you miss out on the 401(k) match, it potentially means that you’re leaving free money on the table. This is one of the biggest 401(k) mistakes that one can make. The SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 primarily enhances automatic enrollment options for 401(k) plan sponsors. If an individual is automatically enrolled in a plan, it’s advisable to maximize the benefits available to them. They must ensure that they determine the highest employer match that they are entitled to and understand the required contribution amount to qualify for these benefits in their 401(k). For instance, an employer might provide a 50 percent match on your contributions up to 6 percent, indicating that you can receive up to 3 percent of your salary as an employer match. The matching contribution is contingent on a vesting period that could extend over a few years. If you fail to contribute enough to contribute to the company’s match, you’re leaving your chance to compound your money faster. 11. Under-utilizing Tax Break Opportunities “Anything you can do to tax-defer helps stretch your dollar”. -Shannon Edwards, UFHR Benefits Director. One of the main advantages of a 401(k) plan is that individuals don’t have to pay taxes on the amount contributed. These contributions are subtracted from your paycheck and are not part of taxable income. Consequently, the amount of tax that gets taken out of your paycheck is reduced. The more that an individual contributes to their 401(k) plan, the less taxes they have to pay. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the amount that individuals can contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2024 has increased to $23,000, up from $22,500 for 2023. The limit on additional catch-up contributions for employees 50 or older is $7,500, the same as in 2023. 10. Overpaying in 401(k) Fees Another 401(k) mistake that can significantly impact the overall returns of your 401(k) investments is failing to look at, and consequently overpaying in 401(k) fees. While it is true that many plans negotiate lower costs on behalf of the employees. However, there are plenty of others that charge hefty fees instead. Since different 401(k) plan investments come with different fees, it is best to compare the fees of different plan investments before choosing one. 9. Early Withdrawal Penalties According to the IRS, any amount that an individual withdraws from an IRA or a retirement plan before reaching the age of 59 ½ is called “early” or “premature” distributions. For such early or premature distributions, there is a 10% early withdrawal tax. There are certain exceptions to this 10% withdrawal penalty, which can be checked out in detail on the IRS website. Even if there is no penalty on your withdrawal, you will still reduce your retirement savings and even miss out on any investment gains that the money would have earned you. 8. Initiating Risky 401(k) Loans When you take out a 401(k) loan, you are taking a loan from your retirement account. According to Charles Schwab, if you’re disciplined, responsible, and can manage to pay back a loan, go ahead. However, there are potential drawbacks related to initiating these loans. First, you’re removing money from your retirement account that would otherwise grow tax-free. According to Investopedia, since money taken from a 401(k) loan is typically tax-exempt, it is better than taking a hardship withdrawal. However, the best course of action is to not initiate a 401(k) loan at all. 7. Neglecting Old 401(k) Plans Another critical mistake that potential retirees are making is at the time they are switching jobs. This mistake involves ignoring or forgetting about your previous 401(k) plans. Failing to roll over your old 401(k) is a big mistake, resulting in lost opportunities for portfolio management and growth. Therefore, the best course of action is to roll it into your new employer’s 401(k) plan. In the case you leave your old plan with a previous employer, you may have to risk a forced cash-out, for example, which leads to tax implications and penalties. According to Charles Schwab, individuals should compare the pros and cons of all available options, including fees and expenses, investment and distribution options, legal and creditor protections, loan provisions (if any), and tax treatment. 6. Rolling 401(k) Plan into an Existing IRA Next up on our list of biggest 401(k) mistakes is rolling your 401(k) plan into an existing IRA. In the case that an individual switches jobs, they have the option to move their old 401(k) plan to a new qualified retirement plan. This helps them avoid early distributions and even helps them to allow their money to grow tax-sheltered. Many individuals aren’t aware that commercial creditors typically can’t touch your 401(k), while they can do so with an IRA. According to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, the assets in your 401(k) plan are safeguarded from creditors. However, it’s important to note that under federal bankruptcy law, only the initial $1,512,350 of assets in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is exempt from creditors’ claims. This means that amounts beyond this threshold may be subject to creditor claims in the event of bankruptcy. This exemption limit doesn’t affect funds in an IRA rolled over from a 401(k), provided they are kept separate from any initial IRA contributions. To safeguard unlimited creditor protection, it’s advisable to perform a 401(k) rollover into a distinct IRA if you have an old 401(k) plan. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Biggest 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid. Suggested Articles: 20 Countries That Read the Most in the World 50 Best Countries in the World 18 Most Tax-Friendly States to Retire in 2024 Disclosure: none. 13 Biggest 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkey14 hr. 23 min. ago Related News