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Feb 13, 2019 When shopping around for the right savings account, it’s important to know what you want from the account. It’s also important to know how your options stack up against the competition. Are you currently earning below the average savings account interest rate? Are there other accounts out there that would allow you to earn more on interest? Here are the average interest rates on savings accounts, as well as some accounts that outpace the average. Read More...

Feb 11, 2019 Saving for retirement is important for people of all ages. Contributing to an employer-sponsored plan, like a 401(k) is one great way to save. It won't always be enough though. Some employers don't even offer those plans. That's where an individual retirement account (IRA) comes in. An IRA let's you save for retirement without going through your employer. There are different kinds of IRAs and the best for you depends on your individual situation and goals. In this article we'll look specifically at an IRA CD to see if it's something you should consider as part of your retirement savings plan. Read More...

Feb 07, 2019 When it comes to saving your money, you have a number of account options. You might first think of a simple savings account that allows your money to grow according to a set interest rate. You also have the options of choosing a money market account or a certificate of deposit (CD). A money market account is like a mix of a savings account and a checking account. A CD on the other hand, doesn’t offer much flexibility in accessing your money with set term and withdrawal limits. Read More...

Aug 06, 2019 Individuals with a high net worth tend to take a different approach to managing their money. Research shows that the rich and the ultra-rich set themselves apart from the Average Joe, particularly when it comes to  saving, investing and banking. Here's a look at some of their banking habits. Even if you're not rolling in dough, you might be able to apply some of their strategies when dealing with your own personal finances. Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 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 to 2017, real incomes for men with just a high school degree dropped by 18% while incomes for women in the same group rose, but only by 5%. Your best bet is to find a college education that won’t break your savings account. Public schools typically offer some of the most bang for your buck. Below, we rank the best states for higher education. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 When browsing a bank’s account options, you’ve probably come across certificates of deposit, or CDs. These are time sensitive accounts that grow your initial deposit for a given amount of time, depending on your preferences. In these CDs, your money grows according to a set interest rate at the time of account opening. This rate is set by the issuing bank and can fluctuate with the interest rate economy. A market-linked CD, however, works a little differently. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 You've probably heard of an emergency fund, but do you have one?  Most of the financially savvy people in this world have gotten good at budgeting for the every day predictable expenses.  But what about the leaky roof that finally caves in and needs to be replaced?  Or the old car that completely dies on you? Read More...

Aug 20, 2019 Foodies typically flock to large cities given the availability of many different cuisines and dining options. But are larger cities always the best places for them? In this study, we compiled some of the best cities for food lovers by examining the most important factors foodies look at when considering whether their culinary explorations are worth the money they’re dishing out. Read More...

Aug 13, 2019 Women constitute nearly half of the workforce in the U.S. According to 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 46.9% of total workers are women, a figure that stayed constant from 2014 data. Despite the fact that the overall percentage remained unchanged over that time period, certain jobs and occupations in particular have seen significant growth for women, which in turn positively impacts their ability to save. These occupations include not only previously male-dominated jobs, but also other jobs for which the occupation overall is growing. Read More...

Aug 07, 2019 The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines those who pay more than 30% of their income on rent as housing cost-burdened. Generally known as the 30% rule, this HUD guideline has long been a rule of thumb for household budgeting. As rising rents continue to outpace increases in median incomes in most cities, having a roommate can be a great way to decrease the amount of  income you spend on rent, and in turn boost your savings. Sharing your home with a roommate is often less expensive than living alone as the cost split between two individuals for a two-bedroom apartment is generally less than the cost of a one-bedroom apartment. Read More...

Aug 06, 2019 An estimated 47% of jobs in the U.S. are vulnerable to automation, according to a 2013 paper written at Oxford University by researchers Carl B. Frey and Michael A. Osborne. Depending on the mix of knowledge, skills and abilities an occupation requires as well as the variety of tasks it involves, certain jobs will be more susceptible to automation than others, which could hurt workers’ potential to save enough to support themselves. According to the researchers' findings, some popular occupations most vulnerable to automation include tax preparers, real estate brokers, cashiers and secretaries and administrative assistants. All four of those occupations have over a 95% chance of computerization according to their findings. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 Over the past 10 years, average tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. rose by $7,390, or almost 26%, according to College Board. Given the rising costs of attending a four-year university, many students consider public two-year colleges as an alternative. While the cost of attending community college has also risen, community colleges continue to offer many students a more affordable and flexible option that helps them save money. For the 2018-2019 school year, the average tuition and fees for public two-year college in the U.S. was $3,660. By comparison, the average tuition and fees for private nonprofit four-year colleges in 2018-2019 was $35,830. Students at community colleges can also explore the possibility of transferring to a four-year… Read More...

Jul 22, 2019 For most of us, sending bills and receiving paychecks by mail are things of the past. We shop online, enroll in direct deposit, pay our bills, and file taxes online. If you have ever wondered what facilitates all these digital transactions, you've probably heard or read about three little letters with a big job: ACH, which stands for Automated Clearing House. Here's what you need to know about the ACH system. Read More...

Jul 08, 2019 There are lots of jobs available in America right now. Unemployment is low, and many companies are looking to hire good people. Where, though, are the sectors that are growing and looking for more people to fill companies’ ranks? And how does the area of the country you live in impact what occupations you should explore if you’re considering changing careers or finding a new job that can better help you build your savings? For the third year in a row, SmartAsset has found the fastest-growing job in each state, so you can know what jobs are hot in your home state, or where you might need to move if you have a particular set of skills. Read More...

Jun 27, 2019 Driving gives many Americans expanded access and mobility where they might otherwise have had limited options. But along with the freedom to roam around comes the responsibility of being a prudent driver, not only in terms of personal safety but financial protection as well. Whether it’s a serious accident that results in medical or car repair expenses or a traffic violation fine, mishaps on the road can put a dent in your savings account. That's all the more likely when your neighbors have higher rates of speeding and driving under the influence. To help you become aware of where these negative driving patterns are the most prevalent, SmartAsset took another look at which states have the worst drivers. Read More...

Jun 19, 2019 When buying nourishing food, it’s also important to sustain healthy budgeting and savings habits. Of course, how much you’ll spend on what you eat depends largely on where you live. Food has varying costs in different markets based on a lot of different factors, including the cost of shipping food to that location, the overall cost of living and the local economy. Knowing how much food costs in your area is key to determining your budget and how much you put in your savings account, as you have to balance the cost of food with other costs like housing, transportation and leisure activities, all while making sure not to spend above your means. Read More...

Jun 14, 2019 Lots of young people need to find a roommate to help pay their rent, but many of them dream of being able to locate an affordable home that is just theirs and that allows them to sock away more money in a savings account. There are some cities, though, where it is easier than in others to rent a place all on your own. Factors like average income, average rent cost and the availability of smaller apartments can create a situation that is either conducive to renting alone or difficult for solo renters who would be better served seeking out a roommate. Below, we consider these and some other factors to find the cities where renters are best able to live alone. Read More...

May 30, 2019 Building your professional life can be difficult, but it’s the best way to make sure you and those you care for can make enough to put money away in savings as well as afford to live the life you want. Certain cities are better than others for career opportunities. Opportunity, however, does not only depend on the number of jobs. Housing costs, median income and support networks all factor into determining which cities are best for those people looking to grow or even start their careers. Read More...

May 29, 2019 Nothing screams “Americana” quite like a summer afternoon spent at the state fair. The sounds of laughing children and braying livestock. The sights of carnival rides and butter sculptures. The signature scent, a combination of sunscreen, funnel cakes and animal manure, wafting through the grounds. Which states, though, have the best state fairs - the ones where you and your family will best be able to enjoy on a budget and create memories to last a lifetime, all without having to dip into your savings? Read More...

May 31, 2019 There’s a big world out there, and a lot of people want to see as much of it as possible through travel. Unfortunately, most people can only spend so much of their savings on jet-setting. As a result, finding places to take a vacation on a budget is important. To that end, SmartAsset researched the most affordable vacation destinations in America. We found places that were economical not only for traveling with a family of four but also as an individual. Below, we rank the most affordable travel destinations in the U.S. Read More...

May 21, 2019 The U.S. is the 19 th-happiest country in the world, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report that the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN released. Though this is a one-spot drop since last year, there are still plenty of places to find happiness in America. We looked within the U.S. to determine which counties are the happiest. Money, of course, doesn’t buy happiness, so those places gracing the top 10 don’t necessarily have the residents with the largest savings accounts. Rather, these places stand out due to a number of factors related to physical and financial health as well as family stability. Read More...

May 15, 2019 Nearly one-third of all U.S. households pay more than 30% of their incomes for housing, according to a 2018 study from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. And approximately half of renter households – about 11 million – bear a severe burden from housing costs, which means they’re paying 50% or more of their income on housing. About 7.5 million American homeowners experience similar difficulties that can stifle their ability to build up their savings accounts. Furthermore, low-income and minority households are more likely to be cost-burdened by housing. And while housing takes up a major chunk of most people’s budgets, there are some cities where the amount is more disproportionate than others. With this in mind, SmartAsset took a look at the most and least severely housing cost… Read More...

May 09, 2019 The ease and affordability of mobility are important factors to weigh when you’re considering where you want to live. Whether you move from place to place in a car of your own, via public transportation or by bicycle or futuristic scooter, transportation is likely a critical part of daily life. How much you spend on your transportation, though, largely depends on where you live. Budgeting is important in order to sock away extra money in your savings account, so knowing how much you can expect to spend on getting the places you need to go - especially if you expect a lengthy commute - is key for calculating your expenses. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 Moving to a new home can be a difficult undertaking, even though it might bring your life a much-needed change, especially when you have significant financial costs to consider. As you look to make intelligent decision that can help boost the balance in your savings account, it’s important to do your research before you eliminate any possible locales. After all, trends might indicate that certain places are more popular for your demographic than you might think and thus conducive to your lifestyle. For instance, the rich and the retired aren’t the only groups moving to Florida. From 2015 to 2016, the Sunshine State actually saw a significant net inflow of 10,266 upper-middle-class people as well, which makes it the top destination for individuals with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000. … Read More...

May 08, 2019 To buy or to rent? It’s a tough question. And though buying a home can seem a more feasible undertaking with a partner to help cover the down payment and mortgage, American singles in certain cities are more commonly opting to buy instead of rent. Rather than throw away rent money to a landlord, singles with enough in their savings accounts are embracing homeownership and the benefits of building up their home equity. Below, we rank the most popular cities where singles are choosing to buy over rent. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 Buying a home requires just as much care as any other significant investment. If being a first-time homebuyer is a part of your American dream, it’s important to choose a home that fits your budget based on your savings at the same time that it meets your other lifestyle needs. First-time homebuyers might find the home-buying process especially daunting, but there are many programs out there to help make it easier. And location, of course, is a crucial factor. Local market conditions, such as how stable the housing market is, can sometimes make all the difference. To help you get a better sense of where to start looking, SmartAsset created this list of the best cities for first-time homebuyers. Read More...

Apr 30, 2019 Small towns have their charm and big cities offer great opportunities, but what if you’re looking for something in between? Unlike a large metropolis, a small city tends to have a more affordable cost of living, making it easier to build your savings for a house or retirement. It’s also possible to find a great quality of life without completely sacrificing job opportunities, as you might have to do in an even smaller town. To shine a light on these great locales, SmartAsset created this list of the most livable small cities in the U.S. Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 If you’re looking to raise a family, the city you call home can affect many parts of your life. It potentially impacts the jobs available to you, how much you earn, how much it costs to live comfortably and how easy it is to build savings. Other factors like local schools and population also play a large role. We at SmartAsset understand that choosing where you and your family live is a big decision, and that’s why we created this list. Using data across 12 states in 10 metrics, we ventured to find the best places in the Midwest to raise a family. Read More...

Apr 23, 2019 In about 62% of two-parent households, both parents work, according to 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up about 1% from the previous year. Not only are more parents working, but Census data also shows that men and women across the country worked more in 2017 than in 2016. It’s also not much of a surprise that more parents are working. Housing costs, childcare and the overall cost of living continue to rise while incomes have seen less growth. So if you want to make ends meet now while also achieving big goals like buying a home and socking away money in a savings account, you’ll need to work more. Considering multiple factors, we created this list of the best cities in the U.S. for working parents. Read More...

Apr 17, 2019 Once you’ve put in the work to get a degree, you’ve got a big decision ahead of you: Where to start your career? For those who have the ability to relocate, choosing the right city can make a big difference. Some likely considerations are the cost of living and the strength of the job market. After all, you need to save enough to help you pay off those student loans. You probably also want to live in a place with people your age and things to do. We considered all of these factors and more to create this list of the best cities for new college grads. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Bonds and certificates of deposit (CD) are generally safe investments with little to no risk of reducing your principal. However, they have particular features that may suit different kinds of investors. The bonds vs. CDs choice takes some consideration depending on your risk tolerance and liquidity needs. Read More...

Apr 10, 2019 The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that women earn approximately 80% of what men do. Though the work to achieve pay gap equity is far from finished, it’s important to recognize the areas in which women in the workforce are making progress now in order to build upon these achievements in the future. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the unemployment rate for women (age 20 and older) was 3.40% in early 2019, which is the lowest unemployment rate for this demographic since 2000. The number of female business owners nationally has also grown more than 22% in the past five years. The more successful women are in places with favorable economic conditions for them, the more likely they are to tuck away money in a savings account for the future. To get a better idea… Read More...

Apr 03, 2019 Running is an accessible sport that allows you stay active while saving some money. Of course, one of the biggest requirements for runners is the space to run. That could mean open space, like parks and trails, but it could also mean a gym. If you’re a runner it’s also nice to have a supportive community. In addition, many cities have road races and races for charity. We considered all of this and more to find the best cities in the U.S. for runners. Read More...

Apr 02, 2019 Different places attract particular residents due to a variety of factors such as job opportunities, climate or lifestyle. Though an ultimate constraint is the cost of a home, some markets seem to draw more high-earning homebuyers than others.  For instance, Zillow estimates that the median home value in San Francisco is approximately $1.37 million (as of February 2019). That would require not only enough savings to afford a down payment, but also a large enough income to cover the high monthly mortgage payments. In the following study, we look at data on the highest earners to find the places where they're buying homes. Read More...

Mar 27, 2019 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 up 43% over the past five years. But if you are passionate about your caffeine intake, you may find that this relatively expensive beverage negatively impacts savings. Depending on where you live, though, it is possible to find high-quality coffee at a home-brewed price. Below, we rank the best cities for coffee fanatics. Read More...

Mar 21, 2019 It costs more than $233,000 to raise a child through age 17, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Given that high cost, you want to know that you’re living in a place that is conducive to your family’s happiness and success. In this study, we looked at almost a dozen factors, including childcare costs and  housing affordability, to find the best cities on the West Coast for families. Read More...

Mar 20, 2019 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 percentage points since 1979, though still far from ideal. According to data from the BLS, there was almost no progress in gender pay parity from 2005 to 2017.And when you look at occupation-specific data, the numbers can be even worse. Below, we dig into the occupation data to rank the occupations with the largest and smallest gender pay gap. Read More...

Mar 19, 2019 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, but in order to make the step from renter to homeowner in a responsible fashion, it's a good idea to have a plan. To help people make the most of their savings, below we model the salary needed to afford the average home in America’s largest cities. Read More...

Mar 14, 2019 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 their savings account. Below, we analyze IRS data to find the states with the largest tax bills. Read More...

Mar 13, 2019 Hockey may not be the most popular sport in America, but it enjoys a strong fan base. Its following is also growing: Since we last did this study, the National Hockey League has even added a new team, the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. That's the first new team to join the NHL in nearly two decades. Fans also go wild for the other professional leagues in the U.S. and for Division I college hockey. Attending hockey games can naturally take a bite out of your hard-earned savings, but that's worth it for the residents of some places. To see where hockey enjoys the most support from its fans, we created this list of the best hockey towns in the U.S. Read More...

Apr 09, 2019 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 market and maximize your savings, it’s important to know not only national trends, but what is happening in local markets as well. Read More...

Mar 20, 2019 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 your savings. But if you’re looking for a secondary home market in which to invest, you probably want to know which ones are most popular. Below, we look at data to rank the hottest secondary home markets in America. Read More...

Feb 28, 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 just 1.8 children, a figure far below “replacement level.” But especially in the Northeast, which is checkered with pricey cities, it’s possible for parents to be strategic about where they settle to make sure they’re saving ample money and getting more bang for their buck from the local school system. Of course, some locales more than others are conducive to raising a family given their abundant employment opportunities, low housing costs and investment in children’s education. … Read More...

Feb 27, 2019 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 for a home before they can sign the deed. For people trying to thread the needle between a smart homeownership decision, a secure retirement and ample general savings, it's important to develop a holistic financial plan. Below, we explore the relationship between time, savings and upfront costs of homeownership to understand the scope of the difficulty young Americans face in buying a home. Read More...

Mar 26, 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, and thus have less opportunity to  save. This is true at the national level, but there are some cities where parity between men and women in tech is less of a concern.  Read More...

Feb 22, 2019 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 their earnings, only to see that money go to their landlords. Below, we track this phenomenon by measuring the hours of work needed to pay rent in the largest 25 cities. Read More...

Feb 22, 2019 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 homeownership means coming up with ways to bridge that 19% gap and have enough cash on hand in a savings account to make a down payment. Of course, in some cities compared to others, women have an easier time rising above financial challenges to buy homes. Read More...

Feb 22, 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 analyze Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to find the most in-demand jobs for bachelor's degree holders. Read More...

Feb 22, 2019 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 low homeownership rates for their age group. And yet, many millennials in particular parts of the country are defying the economic trends and becoming homeowners. Below, we find out where millennials are buying homes. Read More...

Mar 26, 2019 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 affordable with high-paying jobs is a great strategy. That allows you to accumulate money in your  savings account so you can easily pay off any charges you rack up. Below, we rank the best places to get out of debt. Read More...

Feb 22, 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 her savings account. Read More...

Feb 22, 2019 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 others at helping you achieve a happy equilibrium. Living in cities with burdensome commutes and the expectation that people work long hours puts a ton of stress on the "life" part of the work-life balance. On the other hand, some cities with high unemployment rates simply make it more difficult for people to achieve their career ambitions and boost the "work" part of the equation.  Read More...

Jan 08, 2019 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 course, while in Los Angeles, you can’t walk down a city block without running into an actor. At least, those are our common assumptions. These matters may be fun to ponder, but they're not as trivial as they might seem. For people looking to make a move or a career switch, it's imperative, for the health of their  savings accounts, that they know what jobs really are most common in their new city. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 Labor Day is an American holiday that celebrates workers and the labor movement. Observed on the first Monday of September, it also (unofficially) marks the end of summer. To most, Labor Day means a three-day weekend of fun in the sun, barbecues, and special sales at retail stores. But if you want to visit a bank branch that day, you're out of luck: Banks are closed on Labor Day. If you need to conduct banking business, you will need to find another way to do it, or wait until doors open gain on Tuesday. Read More...

Jan 03, 2019 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 the office. And even working remotely in general -- from your local coffee shop, for instance -- can leave you with more time to accomplish your tasks without wasting time in transit to work. But despite its many benefits, the telecommuting revolution has yet to take hold in America: Only 8 million workers, or 5.2% of all employees 16 and older, work from home full-time, according to Census Bureau data. So if you do want to establish yourself as someone who works from home, you need to live in a city with an established work from home culture. Below, we look at a… Read More...

Jan 03, 2019 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 in your savings account by eating out less, but how often does this happen in practice? Getting better about how you manage your money takes discipline, and the residents of certain locales are better than others when it comes to ridding themselves of bad habits and giving their financial lives a boost. To identify and rank those particular places where Americans are improving their finances the most, we examined data on five factors. Read More...

Jan 02, 2019 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 an emotional and physical toll, a lack of safety can affect your savings account too. A bad accident or damage to your property can leave families tightening their budgetsRead More...

Dec 24, 2018 While there's a lot you can do at an ATM or through a mobile banking app, there are times when you need to visit an actual bank branch. So what time does the bank close? In the past, all bank branches used to close at 3 p.m. Now, banks are extending their hours to make themselves more accessible, though hours are still limited on weekends. Here's a general guideline for what time banks tend to open and close. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Just six years ago, the Census Bureau estimated there were only 880 breweries in America. But the craft beer revolution took off: By 2016, the Census Bureau pegged that number at 2,802, 2,605 of which belonged to the microbrewery category. In fact, nearly one in four U.S. counties can boast having a beer brewery within its borders. That all creates a healthy buzz for local economies. Those microbreweries employ 55,000 workers nationally and are responsible for an annual payroll of around $2.6 billion, some of which employees can sock away in their  savings accounts. But for drinkers, who value variety and palatable prices, not all beer hubs are created equal. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The new year is a time to reflect on which aspects of our lives we can most improve. For many people, that may mean a remorseful peak into their savings account or a regretful pinch of the waistline. Statistically speaking, losing weight or eating healthier tends to dominate surveys of Americans' new year’s resolutions -- and for good reason: nearly 40% of U.S. adults were obese in 2016, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). For many who dream of a healthier lifestyle, though, it may be that their environments may be holding them back. In certain places, it's easier and cheaper to stay in shape. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 Certificates of deposit, or CDs, offer a reliable and structured approach to savings. A CD has a set term length. Once you make your initial deposit, you can’t touch that money until the term ends. This allows your money to grow undisturbed, and you usually get a higher rate in exchange for the decreased liquidity. But when shopping around for a CD, how do you know what rates to look for?  Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 Every month, your bank prepares a document for you showing all of of your transactions for the past month. This is called a bank statement. It's important to review your bank statement regularly - in part to ensure there aren't any transactions you don't recognize, which could mean fraud. Here's how to get your bank statements, either online or through the mail. Read More...

Mar 05, 2019 Online-only bank accounts are increasingly popular. They tend to offer better interest rates than typical banks because they don't have to pay the costs of having brick-and-mortar locations. Two popular online banks in the U.S. are Ally Bank and Barclays Bank. If you're thinking of opening an account with one of these banks, here's how they compare. Read More...

Dec 04, 2018 Money market accounts work like a mix between a savings and a checking account. They come with the potential to earn higher interest rates, but may also let you write checks. Luckily, these accounts are FDIC-insured, which keeps your money safe in the event of a bank failure. Read More...

Dec 04, 2018 Certificates of deposit (CDs) offer a great, more structured way to save. CDs are timed deposits with set terms that typically vary from a couple of months to 10 years. After you make your initial deposit, you can’t access your funds until the term ends. In exchange for this lack of access to your funds, you get a higher interest rate, and  CD rates tend to outpace those on savings accounts. Some savers might wonder, though, if the differing nature of these deposit accounts makes CDs less safe than savings accounts. Read More...

Dec 04, 2018 The fear of skyrocketing rents can consume the thoughts of Americans who don't own their homes. Despite an improving economy and low unemployment rates, rent increases continue to chip away at earnings. And when residents are forced to devote ever-increasing portions of their paychecks to rent, the scenario not only impacts their ability to pad their savings accounts but also lowers their demand for other goods, hurting the city’s economy by extension. Read More...

Feb 27, 2019 Mobile banking apps have come a long way. Once upon a time, features like mobile check deposit were considered cutting edge. Now, consumers have come to expect that kind of functionality - along with seamless money transfers, bill pay, ATM locators and more. So what is now considered cutting edge? Some apps let you track accounts from different financial institutions. Others offer built-in financial wellness and budgeting platforms. Some even turn your mobile device into a digital wallet. It’s an exciting time in the world of mobile banking, and if mobile offerings are a deciding factor for you in choosing a bank, we've assembled this list of the best banking apps. Note that we've provided the apps' user ratings on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store; they are current as of the time of this publication.  Read More...

Jan 15, 2019 One of the best ways to save for future medical costs is to invest in a health savings account (HSA). It provides you with some great tax breaks while also helping you save for future healthcare expenses. These investments could prove vital amid daunting healthcare costs you may face as you get older. In fact, a recent Fidelity study found a 65-year-old couple would need $275,000 to cover health-related expenses in retirement. You can open an HSA at most banks and financial institutions. But not all are created equal. In this article, we explore the best HSAs around. We’ll cover fees, interest rates and more. Read More...

Nov 28, 2018 Feel like you're slogging away at the office with no reprieve in sight? Maybe you're grinding out those long days to show your loyalty to your company and nab a promotion? Sure, some American cities have well-established reputations for their hectic work schedules. In New York or San Francisco, for instance, it's not unusual to hear about 80-hour workweeks. But when a worker clocks in and out of the office doesn't tell the whole story with regard to how much leisure time he or she has available. Workers with extra-long commutes can spend inordinate amounts of time getting to and from the office to start their demanding shifts. What's more, not all workers have a savings stash that allows them to afford a vacation, and some just can't find it in their grueling careers to get a bit of a… Read More...

Nov 27, 2018 Most major banks will be open on Christmas Eve 2018, even though it’s a federal holiday and generally recognized as a bank holiday. Still, some banks do observe Christmas Eve. We’ll discuss which ones will open their doors before Santa lands his sleigh. And don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to access your money for some last-minute gift shopping regardless of whether your bank is opened or closed on Christmas Eve. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018 Black Friday, which falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, is among the biggest shopping days of the year. While it's all-hands-on-deck in many retail stores, many businesses outside the retail industry will be closed. So if you need to get to the bank that day, will it be open?  Read More...

Dec 03, 2018 Choosing a bank to work with is a very important step in your financial life. But with so many options out there, finding the right one can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, you can't go wrong when deciding between TIAA Bank or Ally Bank. Both of these financial services firms offer inexpensive and reliable products as well as rates that can easily compete with even the biggest names in the banking industry. In fact, they offer some of the best savings accounts we've reviewed. This article will help you decide which one to work with. We’ll explore factors like bank account features, fees and rates on savings products. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Even though credit unions are not FDIC-insured, they still enjoy strong protection from the federal government. In fact, a different entity essentially does for credit unions what the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) does for banks. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) fund insures up to $250,000 in any account category held that a member holds. So if you open a checking account and an individual retirement account (IRA) at an NCUA-protected credit union, NCUA will cover up to $500,000 of your money. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 These days, more and more people are managing their entire financial lives online. As a result, online banks are competing to offer the best products. Two that stand out today are Axos Bank and Ally Bank. Both are known for their low or non-existent fees as well as rates that stack up well against the competition. But which one is right for you? Below, find out how they compare in terms of their bank account offerings, fees, rates and more. Read More...

Nov 14, 2018 If you’re trying to send money to someone, you may consider just transferring funds to the person's bank account. But many people don’t have bank accounts. In fact, a recent FDIC survey revealed more than 9 million Americans fall into that category. The good news is you have plenty of options to transfer money. We’ll cover some of the cheapest, fastest and easiest ways to send money to someone without a bank account. Read More...

Nov 14, 2018 Manufacturing used to be one of the largest industries in America. In 1910, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that nearly one-third of workers worked in manufacturing. Today, that number has shrunk to 8.7%. Many smaller cities that historically relied on these manufacturing jobs have suffered as a result of their decline. But manufacturing in America is probably more robust than you imagine. Many metro areas across the country have growing manufacturing sectors that employ workers in good jobs and enable them to save for their future. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 If you’ve ever listened to the radio or watched television, chances are you’ve heard a commercial for a bank where a voice at the end says something about being FDIC-insured. If you’ve never stopped to look it up, FDIC stands for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and it is the federal agency that insures the money that Americans put into their commercial bank accounts. Even if you know that, though, you may still wonder just how much FDIC insurance covers in the event of a bank collapse or other serious problems with the financial system.  Read More...

Nov 13, 2018 The average American family earns about $55,000 per year, according to Census Bureau estimates. Of course, that's probably not enough to get by on in America’s most expensive cities, but there are plenty of places where the average American family’s income is sufficient for a satisfying life. These cities offer long-term financial stability by allowing average households to work and save for their future while providing opportunities for these families to enjoy themselves too. Below, we look at metrics related to all these factors to uncover the best cities to live on a $55,000 salary. Read More...

Nov 29, 2018 There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a bank, including interest rates, fees, customer service and accessibility (both online and in-person). It can be a lot to wrap your head around, so it can help to narrow your decision to two or three banks and then compare the features most important to you. Here's how two of the most popular retail banks,  Wells Fargo and Capital One, stack up where it counts. Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 Most banks are open for business Monday through Saturday. But occasionally you might show up at your bank on a weekday and find that the  bank has been closed all day. Because most banks follow a federal holiday schedule, their branches may be closed for business on that day. There are usually 10 such bank holidays in the U.S. every year. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 A bank transit number, also known as a routing number, helps financial institutions identify where checks and other documents were issued from. They’ve been around for over 100 years, and they help to keep track of and facilitate transactions between customers at different banks. You’ve more than likely had to search for your bank’s transit number. If you’ve ever set up a direct deposit or made a wire transfer, you needed to provide it. Read on to learn what a bank transit number is, how you can find yours and why they come in handy. Read More...

Nov 08, 2018 When it comes to choosing a bank, there are plenty of factors that you should consider, from interest rates to online banking offerings to the availability of physical locations. And the differences between banks are especially pronounced when comparing traditional banks with newer, online-only banks. In this guide, we’ll break down two of the most popular banks in the country: Ally Bank, a popular online bank, and Chase, one of the largest banks in the world. We'll go over the pros and cons of each bank, discuss how the fees measure up and compare the most popular accounts at each. Read More...

Nov 07, 2018 If you’re looking for the highest savings interest rates the industry can offer, you’ll want to turn to an online bank. Without the maintenance costs of physical branches, online banks can offer the most competitive rates - not only on savings accounts, but also on certificates of deposit, money market accounts and even checking accounts. Discover and Ally are two online banks with consistently high rates, and each offers a range of consumer-friendly features and product offerings. Here's how they compare. Read More...

Nov 07, 2018 Renters in America face an uphill battle to create space in their budgets for saving. In fact, the latest Census Bureau data reveals that nearly 10 million renting households spent at least 50% of their income on rent in 2017. But there's good news on the horizon for workers who rent in some cities. With unemployment rates near record lows and earnings starting to rise, some renters are actually finding themselves with more of an opportunity to sock away money. Below, we compare median earnings for full-time employees to average rents to see where rents are becoming more affordable for these workers. Read More...

Nov 06, 2018 If you’ve decided you have no need for physical bank branches, an online bank could be just the thing. With many online banks offering significantly higher interest rates than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts, many consumers are making the switch. But which online bank should you choose? Two big names you’ll want to check out first are Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Ally Bank. Here, we look at what each bank offers its customers. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Veterans are an important part of American society in light of their many sacrifices for our safety. They also make up a significant portion of our population: 7.3% of the 251 million Americans 18 and older are vets. But these heroes can face a number of difficulties when reintegrating into civilian life, particularly when it comes to their finances. This makes it important that veterans place themselves in cities where they can thrive, save and plan for their future. Below we look at a slew of factors to find the cities where veterans are thriving professionally. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 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 provide face-to-face service for customers of a bank. Branches customarily feature mortgage officers, financial advisors and other professionals as well, something that modern-day online banking currently… Read More...

Oct 30, 2018 Can you cash a check at any bank? Some of the best banks will do it for you even if you're not a customer. But your options don’t end their. You can also cash checks at several retailers, grocery stores and even through mobile apps linked to prepaid cards. Read on to learn all about cashing a check at a bank where you don't have an account and elsewhere. Read More...

Oct 30, 2018 Mid-sized cities can offer a good compromise between the unaffordable, congested big cities out there and the smaller, sleepy suburbs. But with so many mid-sized cities across the country, it isn’t easy to tell which are the best options. From cities with a lower cost of living where opportunities to save and invest are abundant, to less affordable cities with nicer amenities, mid-sized cities come in many varieties. Below we look to analyze a number of financial factors to rank the most livable mid-sized cities in the U.S. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 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. Although the two deposit companies share many characteristics, we delve into the subtle differences that could make one of them a better choice for you. Banking is a major part of anyone's financial life, so if you need helping picking an account, you may want to consult a  financial advisor. … Read More...

Oct 24, 2018 It’s October, the creepiest month of the year, a time when many cities flaunt their ghosts, troubled spirits and haunted houses. But which locale can boast that it's the spookiest in the U.S.? A cursory internet search for the most haunted cities in America retrieves many claimants while leaving any definitive answer a mystery. After all, there are many factors to consider: the number of vacant houses, grave yards and and costume stores that unleash the ghouls upon the streets. Not to mention the financial pasts that are haunting many Americans'  savings accounts today. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Sometimes you’ll need to transfer money from one bank account to another. Perhaps you’re paying some for the monthly rent or maybe you want to move your money from an old account into a  high-interest savings account. Regardless, you have a few ways to move the funds. You may not even have to leave the comfort of your home to do it. Like most things today, there are more digital options than ever. Here’s a look at ways to transfer money from one bank account to another and which method is best for your situation. Read More...

Dec 14, 2018 Investing in certificate of deposit ( CD) accounts provides you with several benefits. But as with anything in the investing world, you face some risk. So you have to weigh the CD pros and cons before you decide to open a CD account. This article will objectively examine those CD pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. But first, let’s examine what CDs actually are. Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 Maintaining a healthy savings habit is critical to financial wellness. Unfortunately, many Americans lack basic emergency funds. One easy way to build one is by opening a savings account. The best savings accounts will offer high interest rates, zero monthly service fees and low or no minimum balance requirements. This article will guide you through the process of opening a savings account, step by step. So read on and get ready to start saving. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 Most of us know that a savings account is a smart place to store money. Savings accounts have higher interest rates than checking accounts and, as such, help us earn more without sacrificing liquidity. And although they yield lower returns than most other investments, they are much lower risk. Yet even though savings accounts are part of most Americans’ financial plans, many of us don’t understand how the interest rates they offer work. Understanding this key element of your savings account is important to help ensure you’re making the most of your earnings. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 The American Dream of homeownership and financial independence is a hallmark of middle-class life. Indeed, working hard defines this cohort’s pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps sensibility. But earning and saving up enough money to afford a down payment comfortably and reduce financial stress is getting increasingly difficult. With inequality on the rise in America, the middle class is getting squeezed on both sides. That has made many Americans in this demographic wonder how much money they can really save and whether they will be prepared come retirement. Some states, however, are better for the middle class than others. Below we look at metrics related to income, homeownership and taxes to find the… Read More...

Oct 17, 2018 Finding the perfect city is difficult. You know you want to live somewhere with plentiful high-paying jobs. But you also want to balance a good job with affordable housing. That ideal scenario will allow you to boost your savings and set you on a clear path for financial independence. But there are other important considerations at play. Many Americans desire to live somewhere walkable where the threat of crime is low. Below we look at these and other factors to rank the most livable cities in America. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 As Americans pay more for medical costs, many seek new ways to save in case of emergencies. Some may not even know they have access to health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement accounts (HRAs). But smart consumers who are prudent about their physical and financial health would do well to consider the HSA vs. HRA decision. So which one should you get? The answer depends on your individual needs. But we will explore each in detail. We’ll also analyze the pros and cons of each. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 Good Friday marks the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and many of those observing will be fasting and engaging in religious ceremonies. Some may also be asking, are banks open on Good Friday? The answer is, most likely. Good Friday precedes Easter as a major holiday in the Christian faith. However, the government doesn’t observe it as a Federal Holiday. And it’s not typically recognized as a bank holiday. But that doesn’t mean every single bank in the U.S. will be open on Good Friday. Read on to learn more. Read More...

Oct 11, 2018 Are the robots going to steal your job or just free you up to tackle other needs at work? It's a consideration that puts fear in the heart of the typical American employee. You see, on the positive side, labor-saving devices make workers more productive. And having more productive workers typically means goods cost less, a fact that allows consumers to build up their  savings accounts. But amid that increasing productivity, labor-saving devices cause labor market upheaval, which has both positive and negative externalities. Read More...

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