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Mar 20, 2020 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...

Mar 24, 2020 Saving for retirement is important for people of all ages, with a 401(k) being a particularly popular option. However, this standard account type may not always be enough. That's where an individual retirement account, or IRA, comes in. IRAs let you save for retirement without going through your employer. Furthermore, an IRA CD lets you lock in a CD-style interest rate in the form of a term-based retirement account. IRAs, 401(k)s and IRA CDs are three options to save for retirement, but there are many other possibilities on the market. Speak with a financial advisor to learn… 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...

Feb 24, 2020 In banking, as in life, being wealthy has its perks. Banks want the business of  high-net-worth individuals, so they're not going to make them wait on hold for the next available customer representative - or stand in a line with the hoi polloi. Instead, the rich get private bank services, which include investment help from a financial advisor. Whether you expect to be a millionaire someday or just want to steal some of their strategies, here's a look at some of the banking habits of the rich and ultra-rich. 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 12, 2020 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...

Mar 27, 2020 In a survey of economists conducted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business at the beginning of March 2020, more than half of participants expected COVID-19 to cause a major recession. Since then, increasing numbers of economists and policy makers have predicted that coronavirus will lead to a recession, defined as a fall in GDP in two successive quarters. In fact, one of the most dire estimates came out on Friday, March 20, with Goldman Sachs predicting that the U.S. GDP will shrink by 24% in the second quarter of 2020. That decline would be two and half times larger than any previous quarterly decline, critically affecting everyday Americans’ ability to manage expenses and Read More...

Mar 26, 2020 About 7.31 million Americans were employed in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations in 2018, an increase of 7.48% from 2014, when there were 6.80 million STEM workers. Those who are interested in joining this growing industry may have further opportunities to find jobs and save enough, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects an uptick in most STEM occupations over the next decade. According to BLS predictions, there will be 8.05 million STEM workers in 2028. Read More...

Mar 24, 2020 Despite the aging of the American workforce, with adults 65 and older twice as likely to be working now compared to 1985, Census data shows that one in four workers in 2018 was still younger than the age of 30. Entering the workforce at a younger age can be advantageous, since it means there’s more time to save up for goals such as homeownership and retirement. It is important to note, however, that young workers have flocked to some cities more than others. In this study, SmartAsset examined the cities with the youngest workforces. Read More...

Mar 17, 2020 According to data from advocacy groups like Equal Pay Today as well as government institutions such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women earn only around 80 cents for every dollar that men do. And that’s not including further disparity when considering race and ethnicity. Not only does this hinder women’s ability to further their careers and cover immediate expenses such as food or housing, but it also adversely affects their ability to save adequately for their retirement as well. There are some cities, though, where women’s pay is better than others, and SmartAsset crunched the numbers to figure out where those are. Read More...

Mar 10, 2020 With online and mobile banking increasing in popularity, physical banks have struggled to keep their doors open. Over the past five years, the number of branch locations in America declined by 7%. Though digital banking services may allow for easier service for some customers as they deposit checks into their savings, bank branch locations continue to be an important resource for others. In a recent Federal Reserve report, researchers note that the shift to digital banking channels is occurring more gradually for older individuals, those with lower incomes or fewer years of formal education and inhabitants of rural communities. Additionally, for all customers, even those who mostly use… Read More...

Mar 05, 2020 The Great Recession, which began in 2007 and extended into the early 2010s, wreaked havoc on the global economy at large and the finances of individual Americans alike. When the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 10.1% in October 2009, many Americans struggled to make their mortgage payments and save money. What's more, government spending on social safety net initiatives like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rose by almost a third from 2007 to 2010. Though the U.S. unemployment rate currently sits at 3.5% and the Dow roared toward 30,000 in early 2020 after a decade-long bull market, there are signs of economic vulnerability: At the end of February, the Dow had its worst week since 2008. The economy could crash again, but not every city is equally equipped to weather… Read More...

Mar 03, 2020 According to 2018 Census data, women make about 80% of what men make nationwide. The average full-time female worker earned $42,295, while the average full-time male worker earned $52,144. Though this gender pay gap suggests differences in compensation between men and women and their ability to save, it does not distinguish between two distinct metrics: pay discrepancies between men and women who have the same job and differences in promotion rates between men and women. That is, the gender pay gap may partially be a result of the fact that men are promoted more often than women and, in turn, earn more in higher-level positions. Read More...

Feb 25, 2020 Affording home payments is a struggle many homeowners face, especially in a large city with high living costs. Questions of budgeting and saving come into play, as well as how much additional debt - from the likes of car loans and credit card bills - a homeowner can comfortably afford. To budget housing costs appropriately, it's important to understand what your financial picture as a homeowner could look like from month to month. That’s why SmartAsset decided to examine how much you’d need to make in order to afford home payments in different cities across the country. Read More...

Feb 25, 2020 A conference can be a great break from your daily workplace grind. You often get to go to a new city, meet other people in your field and learn new skills. Even though professional development is the goal for many of these events, smart budgeting is critical to keep in mind, as you’ll want to be able to enjoy your time without overspending. On the flip side, if you’re an organizer of one of these events, affordable accommodations and travel time are key factors that contribute to boosting the number of attendees. So finding the right city to host a conference might be a little harder than it seems. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed data across the country to find the best cities for conferences. Read More...

Feb 25, 2020 Because getting a higher education is important in many professional fields, it can drastically change a worker’s earning potential and therefore his or her ability to save. According to 2017 statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly salary for someone with a bachelor's degree was $1,173, while it was only $800 for a person with just a high school diploma. Going to college isn’t cheap, of course. There are some states, though, where it is more affordable than others and offers a greater ROI. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Since household formation often alters spending patterns, one of the best ways to isolate differences in spending between the sexes is by comparing singles. As millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are less likely to have formed families relative to older generations, they provide an interesting lens to understand how men and women spend and save money. Do single millennial men and women spend and save differently? SmartAsset gathered data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Expenditure Survey to take a closer look. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Pew Research Center found that in 2017 more U.S. households were headed by renters than at any point since 1965. Considering the fact that rent is a major expense for many people - more than half of household income in some of the country’s largest cities - workers might find themselves clocking extra hours to pay their landlords and build their  savings. Of course, it can take more work hours to cover rental costs in some cities compared to others. Read More...

Feb 06, 2020 The employment of computer and information technology workers is projected to grow by 12% from 2018 to 2028, adding almost 550,000 new jobs, according to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many of these jobs are expected to be well-paying. In May 2018, the median annual salary for computer and information technology occupations was close to $90,000. However, employment opportunities and pay in tech jobs still tend to favor men. Women make up about 26% of the tech workforce nationally and, on average, are paid only 83% of what men are paid in the industry. This affects all of their money matters, such as their ability to  save a sufficient amount while also covering their various expenses. Read More...

Jan 30, 2020 About three in four Americans receive a tax refund each year, and the average amount returned with those refunds is around $3,000, according to IRS data. This means that for many Americans, their tax refund is the largest single check they will receive all year, substantially affecting the trajectory of how they use or  save their money before the next tax day. Though often anxiously awaited, tax refunds come with a major cost. Read More...

Jan 27, 2020 One way voters demonstrate their support for political candidates is by making campaign contributions, something Americans have increasingly done over the last few decades. According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans giving money to a political candidate doubled from 6% to 12% between 1992 and 2016. That means more Americans are allocating parts of their paychecks or using some of their  savings to back the candidates they think will do the best job. It's a way for voters to put their money with their mouth is and take an active stand in the political process, something that is top of mind during an election year. Read More...

Jan 23, 2020 Commuting takes up a lot of time as well as money - money that could be put towards other financial goals like saving up for a trip, car or house. With Americans already spending so much of their time at work, it’s no surprise that those who commute to the workplace might wish to close the distance a little bit. Read More...

Jan 16, 2020 As people age, their spending and saving patterns change. Major life events like buying a home, getting married or having kids may impact not only the rate at which people save, but also how they allocate the money that they do spend. Generational cohorts have also demonstrated differences in their financial priorities. For instance, a report from the Urban Institute found that in 2018, millennial homeownership rates were approximately eight percentage points lower than the homeownership rates of Generation Xers and baby boomers when they were the same age (21 to 37 years old). Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 In 2018, young adults with at least a bachelor’s degree had an impressive employment rate of 86%, compared to just 72% for their counterparts with a mere high school diploma. After all, a higher level of education can mean more job prospects and the opportunity to build strong savings. Unfortunately, not all kinds of jobs are always in as much demand as others. That’s why SmartAsset crunched the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to find out which sectors most need more workers with higher-education qualifications. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 It’s difficult to pursue your passions and manage your various commitments given the time that they require, especially if they are not directly linked to your job. In an ideal world, though, you earn enough to  sock away sufficient savings to enjoy your leisure activities without logging excessive hours at the office or on a punishing commute. Not all cities allow professionals to strike a happy medium, so SmartAsset decided to take a look at the cities with the best work-life balance. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 The average U.S. worker travels about 27.1 minutes to work and spends $2,600 annually on commuting costs, according to 2018 Census Bureau estimates and the Citi ThankYou Premier Commuter Index. Working from home represents an opportunity for workers to save both time and money while additionally allowing greater flexibility for working parents. Read More...

Dec 16, 2019 As we head into the new year, many of us are taking stock of what we accomplished in the past year and considering what goals we’d like to set for the coming one. Establishing a more consistent fitness routine may be on the list for some people, though it can sometimes burn more of our savings than our calories. That’s why SmartAsset examined the data to find the most affordable fitness-friendly places for the upcoming year. Read More...

Dec 20, 2019 Whether you're a birth parent or an adoptive one,  having children is costly. Given the variety of expenses prospective adoptive parents face, they must consider whether they have the  savings to handle the costs of the process. One of the biggest factors that determines how much it costs to adopt a child is the type of adoption. Adoption is generally categorized into three broad groups: private domestic adoptions, international adoptions and foster care adoptions. Below, we take a closer look at the three types of adoption considering national and state trends and average costs for each. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final… Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 The stress of credit card debt is often felt the most at the end of the year, since Americans tend to put more on the plastic during the holiday shopping season. In fact, data from Experian shows that credit card debt has peaked in the fourth quarter for the past eight years. While playing Santa can make credit card statements more intimidating if you don’t have enough saved up as the year comes to a close, credit card debt afflicts Americans year-round. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, in 2018, approximately 82% of all beer in the U.S. was domestically produced. While that may indicate that beer is widely available across the country, not all drinkers will agree it’s worth using their  savings to buy another round in every city. That’s why SmartAsset took a look at the best cities for beer drinkers around the country. Read More...

Nov 21, 2019 Like home prices, rent varies month to month in many cities. Rent is often higher in summer months than in winter ones, as more than 40% of all moves take place during the four months from May through August, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. College students returning for classes, recent graduates starting jobs in new cities and families moving before the start of the school year may all contribute to the high summer demand. But rather than haggling with a landlord when rents are seasonally more expensive, it’s possible for renters to use the calendar to their advantage. With all this in mind, SmartAsset uncovered where renters could save more money by strategically picking when to move. Read More...

Nov 12, 2019 Rent affordability is largely dependent on income. Guidelines from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recommend that households not spend more than 30% of their monthly gross income on housing-related expenses, including rent and utilities, to comfortably afford other necessities like food and healthcare. But fluctuations in rent as a percentage of income can greatly affect individuals' adherence to that rule and their ability to save. Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 The median household income in the U.S. was $61,937 in 2018, according to Census Bureau data. But what kind of life that income affords you depends on many factors, including your spending and saving habits as well as the cost of living in the place you call home. With that in mind, SmartAsset decided to find the best cities in the country to live on an income of $60,000. Read More...

Nov 07, 2019 Because the cost of living tends to correlate with population size, mid-sized cities are often more affordable alternatives to large cities and potentially offer better opportunities to save and invest. Your salary can go a lot further when your costs are lower, so people who use a  cost-of-living calculator to compare expenses between cities may gravitate away from major metropolises. Read More...

Oct 31, 2019 The number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased in recent years, which could be encouraging news for other women who are still building up the resources to start new ventures. According to data from the Census Bureau’s 2016 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, there were more than 1.1 million women-owned businesses in the 50 largest metro areas in 2016, up 2.8% from the year prior. However, as a percentage of total businesses, the representation of female-owned businesses remains low. In 2016, women owned only 20% of all employer businesses nationwide. Given that low percentage of women-owned businesses, SmartAsset looked at some of the best places for female entrepreneurs in this study in order to determine where women-owned businesses may be more likely to survive and grow. Read More...

Oct 29, 2019 Whether you’re taking someone out for the first time or enjoying a well-earned night on the town with your partner of a decade, it’s important to be able to enjoy a nice date night. It is even better when you have plenty of options for where to go and know a night with your special someone isn’t going to break the bank. With that in mind, SmartAsset decided to find the best cities in the country for budget-friendly dating. Read More...

Oct 29, 2019 Unions can be effective tools for collective bargaining. They represent workers in negotiations with management to uphold workers’ rights, including fair wages. According to a 2018 report on full-time workers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nonunion workers earned just 82% of the median weekly amount that union member workers earned. Being able to make a fair wage is necessary in order to budget properly and build up your  savings account. But the power of unions in the U.S. varies significantly across different locations. Some states are union hotbeds, where organized labor is a major player in business and politics. In other states, unions don’t hold as much sway. SmartAsset decided to see where unions are the strongest. Read More...

Oct 23, 2019 Every two years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases employment projections for more than 800 detailed occupations, with its most recent projections spanning from 2018 to 2028. Solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians top the list. The BLS projects employment growth of 63.3% and 56.9% for the occupations, respectively. Due to their relatively small number of employees, however, these high projections do not amount to many new jobs. Fewer than 7,000 workers are expected to join the ranks of solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians by 2028. Meanwhile, the number of personal care aides is expected to grow by 36.4%, which translates to an increase of 881,000 workers in the next decade. Those employment opportunities can give workers the ability to Read More...

Nov 04, 2019 Following mortgage debt, student loan debt is the second-largest form of U.S. consumer debt, growing substantially over recent years and negatively affecting Americans’ ability to save enough. According to data from Experian, student loan debt reached an all-time high of $1.4 trillion in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 116% from 10 years prior. In fact, the average American with student loan debt had $35,359 in student loan debt. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 About two-thirds of the jobs outlined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2018 do not require workers to have a bachelor’s or advanced degree. Though pay is generally correlated with education level and the majority of those jobs have average annual salaries below $50,000, some jobs that require only an associate’s degree or less actually pay pretty well. As a result, they can allow workers to meet their savings goals more quickly. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Bills pile up and debt accumulates, causing the pressure of financial concerns to grow. While there are certainly ways to get out ahead of these struggles - saving carefully, using a budget or making smart investments - sometimes things happen that make financial stress inevitable, even for the most careful planners. Some cities, though, are more financially stressed than others, so SmartAsset analyzed data to find which cities in America have the most financial stress. Read More...

Oct 07, 2019 According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 3.9 million births were registered in the U.S. in 2017, with millennial women accounting 80% of them. The average age of mothers at first birth was 26.8, and especially for those millennial mothers at the start of their careers, where they choose to start a family can have a substantial influence on their ability to have a safe pregnancy and birth while also building their  savings afterward. Read More...

Sep 24, 2019 While Major League Baseball is what you are most likely to see on television, baseball fans in cities across the country flock to the ballpark to watch the stars of tomorrow hone their craft in Minor League Baseball. These games are less expensive and less crowded than the average Major League game, so they are more accessible to the average family. With that in mind, SmartAsset analyzed the data for the sixth consecutive year to find the best minor league baseball towns in America. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 The pay gap remains a very real struggle for women around the U.S. The latest number from the American Association of University Women estimates that, on average, women earn around 80% of what their male counterparts earn in the workforce. This, in turn, significantly hurts their ability to save enough to meet their financial goals. There are some cities, though, where that gender pay gap is less than in others - and some where it may have started wide but is rapidly narrowing. Read More...

Sep 16, 2019 More and more people are getting into the business world through their own startups. Many of the companies you interact with on an everyday basis - Uber, Airbnb, even Apple - began as startups, often with just a few employees. While the stereotype may be that all startups are in either the Bay Area or New York City, they’re actually all over the country. Some cities, though, are more affordable for startups than others, and knowing which ones they are can help you avoid dipping too much into your savings to fund your venture at its outset. SmartAsset analyzed data from 80 cities across the country to determine where it is most affordable to found a startup. Read More...

Sep 11, 2019 In 2014, there were almost 32 million workers in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 34, and over five years, this number rose to more than 35 million, an increase of about 10%. Of those 35 million, about 13 million had a bachelor’s or advanced degree, or 16% more than workers who did in 2014. The 16% growth in educated young professionals varies by industry and occupation. Some industries and occupations have seen growth of workers with at least a bachelor’s degree that far outpaces 16% - growth that potentially allows much more flexibility in these professionals’ ability to save enough to meet their financial goals - while others have seen decreases in the number of educated young professionals working the field or job. Read More...

Sep 10, 2019 In 2017, the U.S. spent $3.50 trillion - more than $10,000 per person - on healthcare, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As a percentage of U.S. GDP, healthcare made up 17.10%. This is greater on a per capita basis and as a percentage of GDP than any other country. Read More...

Sep 10, 2019 State capitals aren’t always the biggest cities in their state, but they’re among the most important. Not only are they central hubs for government offices and homes for notable landmarks, but they may also offer employment opportunities and other cultural features that make them attractive for longtime residents and potential newcomers alike. Some state capitals, though, are better places than others for people to lay down roots and build their savings. To that end, SmartAsset analyzed data for all 50 state capitals to find the ones where you can expect to live the best life. 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...

Jan 14, 2020 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...

Jan 14, 2020 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...

Dec 13, 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...

Dec 12, 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...

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