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Derek Miller, CEPF®

Derek Miller is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh where he studied economics. He is passionate about using data to help people make better financial decisions. Derek is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance® (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He is a data journalist whose expertise is in finding the stories within the numbers. Derek's writing has been featured on Yahoo, AOL and HuffPost. He believes the biggest financial mistake people make is waiting too late to save for retirement and missing out on the wonders of compounding interest. Derek lives in Brooklyn.

Posts by Derek Miller, CEPF®

coffee fanatics
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Best Cities for Coffee Fanatics – 2019 Edition

The majority of American adults are coffee drinkers. According to research from the National Coffee Association in 2018, 64% of Americans 18 or older said they drank a cup of coffee the day before. And cravings for a java boost are on the rise: Google data shows that interest in coffee in the U.S. is… read more…

gender pay gap
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Occupations With the Largest and Smallest Pay Gap – 2019 Edition

The current gender wage gap in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sits at slightly less than 82%. That means the average working woman earns 82% of what the average working man earns, which hurts not only women’s ability to earn but also their ability to save. That number is up 20… read more…

salary needed to afford a home
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Salary Needed to Afford Home Payments in the 15 Largest U.S. Cities – 2019 Edition

Even though many people picture the high cost of living when they think of America’s biggest cities, the housing markets in these areas actually vary quite a bit. Part of that range comes from particular local factors such as property taxes. It is helpful to be aware of a city’s reputation as expensive or affordable,… read more…

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States With the Largest Tax Bills

Tax season can be a celebratory time for Americans who are owed a refund. But while the focus is often on those who have overpaid, it’s important to note that a significant number of people don’t pay enough. Americans who owe taxes are especially vulnerable if they cannot cover their tax bill with what’s in… read more…

rising housing markets
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Top 10 Rising Housing Markets – 2019 Edition

The American housing market has changed significantly since the post-recession economy of the early 2010s. Zillow estimates the median home in the U.S. is worth $225,300, up from $148,000 in January of 2012. That is a gain of more than 52% in just seven years. If you do want to take advantage of this seller’s… read more…

secondary home market
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The Hottest Secondary Home Markets in the U.S. – 2019 Edition

A second home can be a cherished retreat but also a savvy investment. Buying another residence in a booming housing market in particular can help diversify your holdings and introduce another way for your assets to increase in value. And if you’re renting out the property, you can enjoy an extra revenue stream to boost… read more…

top states for higher education
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Top States for Higher Education – 2019 Edition

A college degree is pricey and getting increasingly expensive: From 2006 to 2016, the cost of college tuition and fees increased by 63%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That may leave would-be undergraduates with sticker shock that deters them from matriculating. But forgoing a college education can limit your earning potential. From 1979… read more…

raise a family in the northeast
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The Best Places to Raise a Family in the Northeast – 2019

The total cost of raising a child through age 17 is nearly $234,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s a whopping price tag for your bundle of joy. And the expense of having a family explains, in part, the downturn in the American fertility rate and why the average American woman now has… read more…

save monthly to buy a home
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How Much Millennials Need to Save Monthly to Buy a Home

It can at times feel daunting to buy a home. In many cities, home prices are rising and pushing Americans increasingly further from their homeownership dreams. The difficulty of buying a home starts long before you decide to become a homeowner, though. Closing costs and down payments mean people may need to spend years saving… read more…

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The Best Cities for Women in Tech in 2019

Tech jobs are particularly desirable, because they pay well, show long-term signs of growth and are less vulnerable to automation. But women have faced systemic difficulties in getting these jobs. And even when women do find jobs in the tech world, they earn 84% of what men in tech do, according to Census Bureau data,… read more…

pay rent
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Hours of Work Needed to Pay Rent in the 25 Largest Cities – 2019 Edition

Rising rents present a major challenge for non-homeowning city dwellers nationwide. Since 1983, the cost of housing for urban renters has risen more than 324%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. In the meantime, average workers in the largest cities have struggled to keep up as they fill their savings accounts with… read more…

best taxpayers

States With the Smartest Taxpayers

A large majority (75%) of taxpayers overpay on taxes and receive a tax refund, according to IRS data. A smaller proportion (19%) see the opposite: They will have overestimated their withholdings and learn they still owe the IRS some money. Apart from overpaying and underpaying, there is another small, exclusive group of savvy Americans who… read more…

women buying homes
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Where Women Are Buying Homes the Most – 2019 Edition

If buying a home is hard for the average working American, it can be even more difficult for the average working woman. The average full-time working woman earns just 81% of what the average full-time working man does, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For the average full-time working woman, then, hitting financial goals like… read more…

in-demand jobs
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The Most In-Demand Jobs for Bachelor’s Degree Holders 2019

For bachelor’s degree holders, nabbing a high-paying job often hinges on finding out which sectors of the economy most need educated workers. Identifying the right roles where employers are clamoring to hire them allows those with this undergraduate degree to snag a gig that offers a robust paycheck and helps build their savings accounts. Below, we… read more…

millennials buying homes
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Where Are Millennials Buying Homes? – 2019 Edition

Record high home values, stagnating incomes, the largest economic downturn in a century and record levels of student debt are just a few examples of the roadblocks between millennials and homeownership. All these factors have manifested in millennials’ inability to sock away enough cash in their savings accounts for a down payment and the historically… read more…

tax filing help
Tax Filing

States Where It’s Easiest to Get Help Filing Taxes – 2019 Edition

Filling out your taxes can be a real headache. It’s no surprise, then, that online software like TurboTax has been growing in recent years to meet the demands of taxpayers in need of expert advice. But there are more resources available to you beyond tax software. Many states have programs to help taxpayers fill out… read more…

get out of debt
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Best Cities to Get Out of Debt – 2019 Edition

Americans have greater than $800 billion in outstanding credit card debt, according to data from the New York Federal Reserve. What’s more, roughly 8% of credit card debt is delinquent by 90 days or more. If you’re someone saddled by debt and trying to avoid those lofty interest rates by paying it off, moving somewhere… read more…

tax refund
Tax Policy

States With the Highest Average Tax Refund – 2019 Edition

About 75% of American taxpayers overpaid on taxes in tax year 2016, according to IRS data. And though they may have been overjoyed to get a handsome tax refund, this scenario means they are simply being reimbursed for money they’ve lent the government. This tax season, whether or not an individual has a windfall on the… read more…

beach towns
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The Most Affordable Beach Towns in 2019

Beachfront property in warm locales is not exactly in large supply, so it can be difficult to find an affordable home where you and your family can winter. For the past few years, though, SmartAsset has endeavored to uncover beach towns where the average American can afford to become a homeowner without depleting his or… read more…

work-life balance
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Cities With the Best Work-Life Balance – 2019 Edition

A healthy work-life balance is something most professionals in the U.S. highly value. In fact, 53% of employees say that a job conducive to a greater work-life balance and improved personal well-being is “very important,” according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace 2017 report. Of course, certain places around the country are better than… read more…

pay the most taxes

Where Full-Time Workers Pay the Most Taxes: 2019

It can be difficult to look at your paycheck and see upwards of 15% of it sent to the government. Of course, those taxes pay for worthwhile causes, a fact that doesn’t always lessen the initial sting of seeing your money disappear. Thanks to local and state taxes, though, residents in some places have it… read more…

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Unusual Jobs That Are Abundant in the 30 Largest Metro Areas

Many cities have a reputation for being filled with a particular type of professional.  Picturing New York City, for instance, some people may conjure up an image of Wall Street with its highly paid financiers. San Francisco, on the other hand, is known for its programmers. Washington, D.C. is the city of political scientists, of… read more…

work from home
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The Best Cities to Work From Home – 2019 Edition

The benefits of working from home are manifold — but especially helpful when it comes to your mental state and finances. After all, a commute can be stressful and pricey if you’re guzzling gas while sitting in traffic. What’s more, eating at home is usually cheaper than the standard takeout fare you might find around… read more…

improving their finances
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Places Where Residents Are Improving Their Finances the Most

Each new year, Americans tell themselves they’re going to make changes to improve their lives. According to a recent YouGov poll, the top three lifestyle adjustments Americans want to make are eating healthier, exercising more and saving more money. Of course, resolutions take commitment. It’s easy to say you’re going to sock more money away… read more…

safest cities in America
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The Safest Cities in America in 2018

When families are looking to move to a new area, they often consider the affordability of a new city, their new commutes and the quality of local schools. But one factor they can overlook is safety. More than just being crime-free, a safe city also has careful drivers and clean air. While danger can take… read more…