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Chris Thompson

Mortgage, Credit Card, Savings and Retirement Expert

Chris Thompson is a retirement, savings, mortgage and credit card expert at SmartAsset. He has reviewed hundreds of credit cards and loves helping people find the one that best matches their financial needs. Chris is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He graduated from Montclair State University where he received the Journalism Achievement Award. Chris’ articles have been featured in places like Yahoo Finance, MSN and Bleacher Report. He lives in New Jersey and is a Mets, Jets and Nets fan.

Posts by Chris Thompson:

by Chris Thompson Nov 14, 2018

Higher education is pricier than ever, and tuition hikes don’t show any sign of slowing down. But 529 college savings plans and Roth IRAs both include benefits to help you save for your children’s education. Investors use 529 plans specifically for the purpose of paying for college. By contrast, Roth IRAs provide the chance to save for both retirement and college in a single account. Decision which one to utilize is a complicated decision that can have long-term financial ramifications, so feel free to consult a financial advisor if you have further questions. Read more

by Chris Thompson Nov 15, 2018

TD Ameritrade is a full-service brokerage firm that is a fixture in the investment sphere. It was first established back in 1975. As a matter of fact, as recently as 2018, Kiplinger named TD Ameritrade the No. 1 overall broker in the U.S. TD Ameritrade employs well-balanced online and mobile trading platforms that include versions for both new and experienced investors. It backs this up with great customer support to help clients get the most out of the diverse account features. However, even with all these benefits to its name, TD Ameritrade has a significant number of legal issues on its record. In late 2017, TD Ameritrade bought out Scottrade, another massive national brokerage that opened its doors in 1981. With the annexation of Scottrade’s accounts and funds, the firm now serves a combined 11 million clients with more than $1 trillion in assets. TD Ameritrade finished its complete integration of Scottrade in 2018. Read more

by Chris Thompson Nov 19, 2018

Merrill Edge is a brokerage firm that offers everything from self-sufficient investing to financial advisor consultations and robo-advisor services. The brokerage firm falls under the umbrella of the Merrill Lynch group of companies. Although once its own entity, Merrill Lynch is now under the ownership of Bank of America. Therefore Merrill Edge is an especially natural fit for anyone who maintains accounts at BoA. The brokerage firm has racked up its fair share of accolades in recent years. Barron’s has handed Merrill Edge a 4-star rating each year from 2014 to 2018 as one of the top online brokers on the market. Institutional Investor has also named it one of the top global research firms from 2011 to 2017. The firm boasts some of the best customer service marks as well, leading to J.D. Power’s “Outstanding Customer Service Experience” award for seven years running. On the downside, Merrill Edge does not excel when it comes to its mobile app, which has a weaker interface. But with… Read more

by Chris Thompson Nov 14, 2018

Robinhood is a brokerage firm whose services are centered around its mobile and online trading platforms. In fact, the firm’s mobile app won a design award from Apple in 2015, and it holds an average… Read more

by Chris Thompson Nov 05, 2018

A bank branch is a physical location of a banking corporation, such as Chase, Bank of America or Wells Fargo. These buildings are technically referred to as “brick-and-mortar” branches, and they… Read more

by Chris Thompson Nov 08, 2018

The investment world is full of an overwhelming number of options, including equities, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and more. Commodities may seem like just another one of the bunch, but these… Read more

by Chris Thompson Oct 29, 2018

Completely mobile banks are still a fairly new phenomenon in the mainstream banking world. Chime Bank and Simple Bank have already risen to become two of the main players in this youthful industry.… Read more

by Chris Thompson Nov 19, 2018

There are many ways to become a successful investor, and asset management and hedge funds are two prominent options. There are undoubtedly some similarities between these investment styles. However,… Read more

by Chris Thompson Sep 27, 2018

For many, predicting how your investments will perform over the long term can be difficult. After all, these returns may often seem abstract and distant. But being able to determine a time frame for… Read more

by Chris Thompson Oct 31, 2018

The investments that Utah has made with its public employee pension funds have paid off handsomely in recent years. However, its state income taxes can be a bit heavy at a 5% rate. There are also a… Read more

by Chris Thompson Oct 31, 2018

With around a million public retirement system participants in North Carolina, the state has plenty of residents to take care of. But although the number of retirees in the state and the subsequent… Read more

by Chris Thompson Oct 31, 2018

Wisconsin boasts one of the least complicated retirement systems in the country, as essentially all state and local employees fall under the umbrella of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). It has… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 17, 2018

The retirement system of Ohio is in good shape, especially after experiencing a major financial boost entering 2017. Whereas many states will convolute its offerings by having many base and… Read more

by Chris Thompson Oct 31, 2018

South Carolina has six different iterations of its base retirement system for different types of local and state employees. It even has a National Guard-centric plan, which not many states offer. The… Read more

by Chris Thompson Oct 31, 2018

Arizona state and local employees should feel confident about the quality of the state’s retirement system, as well as each of its subcategories. It also boasts a simple set of retirement systems… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 29, 2018

Both the Texas state government and U.S. federal government offer special programs for first-time home buyers who might be struggling to get the money together to make a purchase. Depending on your… Read more

by Chris Thompson Sep 07, 2018

The process of purchasing your first home can be daunting and expensive, and it will likely include many financial situations you’ve never encountered. Luckily, the federal and Florida state… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 29, 2018

While it may seem like an intimidating process, purchasing and owning your first home is a reachable goal. Some of the cheapest and most reliable ways to hang your hat on a nice piece of property are… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 01, 2018

The Florida Retirement System (FRS) is an extremely inclusive program that, for the most part, doesn’t require small sects of employees to enroll in specific retirement plans. Instead, it combines… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 01, 2018

Texas believes all residents should have the “three-legged stool” of retirement income. This trio consists of Social Security benefits, personal retirement savings and state retirement. The Texas… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 01, 2018

The state retirement system of Kentucky had been in deep crisis for some time. But the recently developed “Keeping the Promise” plan that Governor Matt Bevin introduced looks to fix this long-running… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 01, 2018

The state of Virginia boasts the 44th largest public or private pension fund in the world and has performed past its benchmarks over the last 10 years to the tune of more than $2 billion. As far as… Read more

by Chris Thompson Aug 01, 2018

The pension fund of New York is one of the three largest in the nation and serves well over one million plan participants. This success has put the state in a great spot for the health of its… Read more

by Chris Thompson Sep 07, 2018

Nebraska is one of just six states in the U.S. that employs an inheritance tax. Aside from this, though, the state has a fairly typical set of inheritance and intestate succession laws that mostly… Read more

by Chris Thompson Jul 10, 2018

With its own estate tax on top of the federal estate tax, Rhode Island residents and nonresidents who own property in the state may find the tax situation surrounding their estate to be rather… Read more