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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...

Apr 08, 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...

Feb 11, 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...

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...

Apr 10, 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...

Dec 18, 2018 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...

Nov 19, 2018 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...

Nov 19, 2018 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...

Nov 13, 2018 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...

Nov 08, 2018 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...

Nov 07, 2018 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...

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 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 cannot deliver. Read on to learn more about bank branches and if you should specifically join a bank that operates them. 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...

Feb 27, 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...

Oct 22, 2018 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...

Nov 27, 2018 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...

Oct 12, 2018 In a world where Americans are saving less and less, it helps to have something to motivate you to sock away some money for an emergency fund. A high-yield savings account can do that. As the name implies, these options pay you interest rates that rank well above those of traditional savings accounts. And the best savings accounts don’t require you to pay monthly fees or even keep a minimum balance. Some also provide very easy access to your funds via an ATM debit card. But what exactly is a high-yield savings account? Read on to learn all about these products and how they can help you improve your finances. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 Health savings accounts ( HSA) and flexible spending accounts (FSA) both help people save for future medical expenses. These accounts also offer distinct tax benefits. But when deciding which one is really best for you, it's important put them side by side and ponder the HSA vs. FSA match-up. Ultimately, your choice depends on your specific healthcare needs. Each account tends to benefit a different type of saver. So read on to learn all about the HSA vs. FSA comparison and which one's attributes and rules best suit you. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 Each year, the IRS sets maximum contribution limits for health savings accounts ( HSA). The HSA maximum contribution for 2018 increased from 2017, and it will climb again 2019. But under certain circumstances, you can breach these limits without penalty. However, there are certain HSA contribution rules you should follow to avoid consequences. This article will explain those rules, contribution limits and more. Read More...

Oct 09, 2018 Between trade group meetings and professional development confabs, the American workforce attends a whole lot of conferences. According to the most recent data from forecasting company Oxford Economics, there are 1.9 million conventions, trade shows and meetings in the U.S. each year with a total of 251 million attendees. All that economic activity is a boon for cities that can make themselves alluring spots to host conferences. In particular, attractive cities are those that offer attendees affordable accommodations and entertainment while not crushing their  savings. Ideal locations also include those that allow easy transport from the airport so attendees can preserve their budgets and maximize their networking time. Below we combine these and other factors to rank the best cities… Read More...

Oct 08, 2018 Money market accounts tend to generate interest rates that climb well above those of even the best savings accounts. They also offer additional benefits. For example, several banks link money market accounts to debit cards. You can use these to make unlimited withdrawals at ATMs without worrying about federal limitations. And the best money market accounts have no monthly fees, minimum balance requirements or a minimum opening deposit. But how does a money market account work? Read on to learn all about money market accounts and where you can find the best ones. Read More...

Oct 01, 2018 Considering moving your health savings account (HSA) funds from one provider to another? Luckily for you, the HSA rollover process isn't as difficult as you may think. The IRS allows you to fund a new HSA account from another HSA account, an individual retirement account (IRA), and even a 401(k) if you know a few tricks. This article will cover each process step-by-step. It will also explain the IRS rules in plain English, so you can enjoy all the tax benefits without worrying about penalties. Read More...

Oct 01, 2018 Closing your bank account may seem simple at first glance. However, there are a number of steps to follow and actions to take to close your account properly. Following the correct process will help you avoid unnecessary charges, fees and complications. We’ll walk you through the process from beginning to end and provide tips of what to look out for along the way. Read More...

Apr 17, 2019 A health savings account (HSA) allows you to invest for future medical expenses, while enjoying special tax breaks. Your contributions reduce your taxable income and your money grows tax free. Your withdrawals are also tax-free as long as you use the money on qualified medical expenses. We’ll explain how to open an HSA and how you can make the most out of your savings. We can also connect you with a financial advisor, who can help you make the right financial decisions around healthcare expenses. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 If you’re shopping around for health insurance, you’re probably getting sick from the alphabet soup of plan names you’re taking in. What is an HSA? What about HDHP? Pondering the HSA vs. PPO decision alone may be giving you a headache. But don’t pay to see a doctor just yet. This article will explain in plain English the difference between a health savings account (HSA) and a preferred provider organization (PPO). We’ll also explore the pros and cons of each to help you make the best healthcare decision for you. Read More...

Sep 25, 2018 Minor league teams are a beloved tradition in many baseball towns across America. They offer fans many advantages that the major leagues can’t compete with. First off, minor league games are affordable, meaning attendees can keep more money in their savings accounts. Secondly, minor league games are mostly a local affair offering fans a more intimate, community experience. Below, with all that in mind, SmartAsset takes on the challenge of ranking the best minor league baseball towns in America. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 If you want to open a bank account, you no longer need to visit a branch in person. With digital banking becoming more common, you can open and manage everything from saving accounts to mortgages, through online banking. In fact, there are now online banks that don’t have physical locations outside of their ATMs. But you can likely open a bank account online even if you’re working with a small, local bank or credit union. Here’s a look at the information you'll need to open a bank account online. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Around 2010 at the tail end of the Great Recession, the Census Bureau estimated that Americans 16 years old or older had an unemployment rate of nearly 11%. As of 2016, that figure stood at 5.8%. But while the economic downturn touched everyone, it did not affect everyone the same. Since then, some places have seen remarkable recovery in poverty rates and unemployment rates. Consequently, residents where things are on the up and up are less likely to be housing-cost burdened and are able to afford to put some money away into savings accounts. Below, we look at these trends to find the places where the quality of life is improving the most. Read More...

Sep 19, 2018 Renters in America’s largest cities are no strangers to roommates. As rent costs have risen so has the need for renters to group together to save on housing costs. But while rooming with a friend or an associate certainly has its financial benefits, it also comes with a loss of privacy and comfort that can be hard to value. Below, we take a stab at answering one side of that equation to find the places where having a roommate saves you the most money. Read More...

Sep 18, 2018 It seems we always end up with a stack of paper documents lying around. This is still true even with the major shift to mobile and online banking. But how long do we really need to keep those bank statements for? The short answer: you can usually dispose of your bank statements within a year. Sometimes, though, you’ll need to keep them for much longer for tax reasons. Let's  take a look at why you should save some paper documents and how long it makes sense to keep them for. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 A CD ladder can prove to be a handy savings tool. This is especially true for those who need some extra structure and discipline when it comes to savings. Certificates of deposit, or CDs, come in various term lengths. Once you make your initial deposit, you cannot access the money in the account until the end of the account’s term, also known as its maturity date. A CD ladder means you're socking money away in CDs of various maturity dates. This structure prevents you from dipping into your savings unnecessarily but also allows you more access to your cash at different intervals. Read More...

Oct 30, 2018 Have you ever rushed to the bank to make an important deposit or withdrawal only to find the lights off and the doors locked? Only then do you realize the bank is closed due to a holiday. There are 10 holidays, listed below, that you’ll need to remember if you want to avoid this kind of mix-up. Luckily, there are still ways you can access your money from your checking and savings accounts on these holidays. Read More...

Sep 13, 2018 Across the country, teachers are having a tough time making ends meet. Earlier this year, teachers in states like West Virginia and Oklahoma went on strike and won concessions for themselves and the schools where they teach. All told, teachers in eight states went on strike this year with differing results. But while going on strike and emerging victorious on some hot-button issues is something for teachers to celebrate, they probably would have preferred to have prevented the situations from getting so bleak. In contrast to those dire scenarios, pay for teachers and school funding are on the rise in some parts of the country. This means teachers in those areas have disposable income to save and don’t need to strike to earn it. Read More...

Sep 13, 2018 Capital cities in the United States share many of the same characteristics. Housing the state and local city bureaucracy, capital cities often times have stronger economies than other cities in the state. The best state capitals also tend to have strong local histories that broaden the local cultural offerings for residents. With that increased interest can come some problems, however. Many state capitals suffer from rising housing costs that leave residents unable to build their savings. That hurts the overall quality of life.  Read More...

Aug 23, 2018 According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average American household has an after-tax income of $64,175 and spends $57,311 per year. That leaves the average American household with a savings rate around 10.7%. But across the country, there are large disparities in savings rates. Some metro areas combine high-paying jobs with affordable housing, allowing households to fill their savings accounts. Other metro areas suffer from stagnant wage growth and bloated housing costs that hamper local residents’ ability to save. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 Most drivers probably have a few candidates in mind when they picture the worst drivers in the country. Often it's drivers from a neighboring state invading their lane, but some states carry a nationwide bad-driving reputation. So while it is perhaps fun to joke about the bad road etiquette of certain motorists, bad accidents and negligent driving are no laughing matter. From serious injury to car repairs draining savings accounts, living somewhere with bad drivers can have a serious negative impact on your life. Read More...

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