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Nov 13, 2018 When shopping around for the right savings account, it’s important to know what you want from an 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...

Nov 20, 2018 Most of us rely on financial instruments to keep our savings safe, but it can be hard to know if you're saving enough. Evaluating the average savings account balance across the country is a good start. Using data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, we've broken down the median and the average by age, income and gender, so you can see how you fare compared to Americans in recent history.  Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 If you owe someone money, there are multiple ways to pay them back. In the past, you might have written a check. But these days, you can transfer money electronically through various payment systems, including apps like PayPal and Venmo. You could also wire money to a checking account. If you're not sure how wire transfers work (and you're wondering, how long does a wire transfer take?), here's everything you need to know. Read More...

Sep 28, 2018 Getting married means joining your life with someone else's and for many couples, it can take some time to work out all the kinks. One of the most important things that needs to be addressed once you tie the knot is how you plan to manage your household finances. If you're used to keeping your bills and income separate, it can be challenging to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy. A joint bank account may (or may not) be a good option to manage finances. 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...

Feb 12, 2018 The last time you visited your bank or used an ATM, you might have seen a sign that says your deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This insurance is a big part of why people feel safe depositing their money a bank. Even through the Great Recession, consumers had some piece of mind because they knew their money would still be there if the economy struggled. So what exactly is the FDIC and how does it insure your money? 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...

Dec 14, 2018 Certificates of deposit, or CDs, offer a reliable and structured approach to savings. A CD has a set term length, and 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...

Dec 12, 2018 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...

Dec 12, 2018 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...

Dec 05, 2018 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...

Nov 29, 2018 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...

Oct 29, 2018 Completely mobile banks are still a fairly new phenomenon in the mainstream banking world. Chime Bank and Simple Bank have already risen to become two of the main players in this youthful industry. 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...

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...

Oct 12, 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...

Sep 27, 2018 Bonds and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts can serve as safe, low-risk investments in anyone’s portfolio. But as the interest rate environment that affects these investments, they have their ups and downs. This article will explain in-depth what bonds and CDs are, their benefits and risks and which type of investors they may benefit the most in any kind of market. Read on if you're weighing the bonds vs. CDs decision. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 Amid rising healthcare costs, Americans are taking a closer look at their health insurance and savings options. As you look to sign up for a health plan that best suits your needs, you may be intrigued in particular by the health savings account (HSA). It’s a special type of savings vehicle designed to help you pay for future medical expenses. It also offers unique tax breaks. However, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) to open an HSA. That's good news for many: an HDHP paired with an HSA makes healthcare very affordable for the right person. So read on to learn all about HSAs, their benefits, risks and who should get one. 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...

Sep 04, 2018 The minimum wage has become a hot topic of debate in the U.S. The fight for $15 has become a popular rallying cry for advocates of a higher minimum wage. And many cities have answered the call, especially those with the highest costs of living. In fact, some cities like Seattle and Belmont, California have gone a step further by planning to extending their minimum wage past $15 per hour. In doing so, they hope to improve the fortune of minimum wage workers'  saving accounts. However, with costs of living rising in step with minimum wage increases, the places with the highest nominal minimum wage may not have the highest real minimum wage. Below we look at the cities with the highest and lowest real minimum wage. Read More...

Aug 13, 2018 How much is higher education worth? Judging by Census Bureau data quite a bit. The average associate's degree holder earns 18% more than the average high school diploma holder. In dollar terms, that’s a difference of $5,400 per year. And while $5,400 may not seem like a life-changing amount, over time $5,400 per year can mean extra money in your savings account which can then be invested, either on your own or with a  financial advisor. With the costs of four-year colleges rising, affordable community colleges are becoming increasingly attractive. But not every community college offers the same value. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 If you're looking for the best bank account to meet your needs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are all going to be excellent options. But how are you supposed to pick a winner? We make it easier with exhaustive comparison of America's three largest banking institutions. Read on as you make the Bank of America vs. Chase vs. Wells Fargo decision. Read More...

Jul 18, 2018 Picking the right bank to work with is an integral part of managing your financial life. Two of the largest banks in the country, U.S. Bank and Bank of America, are both excellent options if you prioritize accessibility. Whether you choose to open a checking account with U.S. Bank or with Bank of America, you will find impressive variety and breadth in account options along with a list of other perks. With nearly 7,000 FDIC-insured commercial banks in America, narrowing the decision down to U.S. Bank vs. Bank of America already puts you ahead. But the two corporations have several key similarities and differences, and it's best to know how they measure up before making the leap to choose one.  Read More...

Oct 01, 2018 One piece of advice every good financial advisor gives to customers is to build an emergency fund. An emergency fund allows you to weather any unforeseen emergencies, whether you lose your job, require an extended hospital stay or total your car. If you have the right-sized emergency fund, you can get through those emergencies without having to take out costly loans which will hurt your savings account in the future. Read More...

Jul 13, 2018 Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, better known as U.S. Bank, are ranked third and seventh as biggest banks in America, so if you're looking for prestige and confidence in opening a reliable checking account, you can't go wrong either way. But, of course, if you're looking to understand the nuanced differences between the two big banks, we've got you covered. Here is a definitive guide to the U.S. Bank vs. Wells Fargo decision so you can choose which is better for your personal financial situation. Read More...

Nov 29, 2018 When you're deciding whether to open a savings account with Chase or Capital One, you should look at the rates and perks each offers and whether they'll meet your financial needs. Both Chase and Capital One are two large banks that offer you widespread access to your money. They additionally offer extensive ATM accessibility and convenient mobile apps, but the prices at which their primary products are provided aren't entirely the same. Below, we take a closer look at the accounts, rates and fees each of the banks offer and how they differ. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Millions of Americans attend state fairs across the country every year. From rides and concerts to games and fried food, there's something for everyone at a state fair. And with rising costs of living, state fairs are one of the few entertainment options which the majority of Americans can afford without breaking into their savings accounts. However state fairs vary widely by location. Some state fairs last for weeks and are attended by large chunks of the state's population. Others are only a few days and go by almost unnoticed by the state’s residents. Read More...

Jul 11, 2018 Both PNC and Chase Bank offer a long list of banking products that can be conveniently accessed across the nation. Whether it's checking and savings accounts, or branches, ATMs and mobile apps, both banks provide users access to relatively similar products. However, the details of those products are different at each institution. Below, we take a closer look at the accounts, rates and services provided by PNC vs. Chase Bank to help you choose the bank that’s best for you. Read More...

Jul 10, 2018 TD Bank and Chase are two large financial institutions that provide an extensive range of products both through online services and numerous branches. If you're looking to put your hard-earned paycheck into a savings account at TD Bank or Chase, it's important to first understand what the two banks offer and how they differ. Read on to learn more about how the accounts, fees and rates for each vary. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 When it comes to choosing a bank, TD Bank and Wells Fargo are two excellent picks. Both boast competitive benefits and accessibility. But before you choose to open a checking account or  savings account with either bank, it's best to compare TD Bank vs. Wells Fargo side by side on a number of factors. Read on below to see which bank would best fit your needs. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 Citibank and Chase Bank are two of the biggest names in the banking industry today. Both financial institutions provide easy access with online and mobile banking, plus thousands of branches and ATMs domestically and abroad. These banks also offer a variety of products from a simple savings account to an IRA CD. If you’re unsure about how these banks differ or which you should choose, we’ve highlighted some of the key features that distinguish the two. Read More...

Jun 27, 2018 JPMorgan Chase is the largest and most powerful bank in America, holding nearly $3 trillion in assets. Its unlikely competitor, U.S. Bancorp, takes seventh place. But bigger doesn't always mean better when it comes to where you're looking to open an account. Both U.S. Bank and Chase Bank offer a long list of perks and benefits, but it's important to find out which one best suits your needs. Here, we uncover the pros and cons of banking at giant Chase versus with consumer-oriented U.S. Bank. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 Online banks offer some of the best interest rates in the industry. They also tend to raise a few eyebrows. In most cases, they’re just like any other bank only without physical branch locations. Entirely online, Ally Bank fits this description, with competitive rates and around-the-clock support. Still, many wonder: Is Ally Bank safe? Read on to learn how Ally Bank works, what makes it a safe place to store your cash and how to decide if you should make the switch. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 Credit card debt can destroy anyone’s finances if it is mishandled. According to data from TransUnion, the average credit card debt holder had $5,644 worth of credit card debt. While that number may not seem like a ton of debt, paying it off can be difficult due to high interest rates. Long-term credit card debt can not only hurt your credit score, it can also stop you from building your savings account. Read More...

Jun 21, 2018 Finding the best bank in America to fit your specific needs is crucial for building a solid foundation in your financial life. But with dozens of different banks operating in the U.S., how can you know which one is best suited for you? The answer is to compare each bank on the metrics that matter most: account options, fees and interest rates. Below you'll find a comprehensive side-by-side analysis of TD Bank vs. Bank of America so you can make a smart, informed decision about where you should consider opening an account. Read More...

Jun 18, 2018 A checking account provides a great tool for money management, keeping your money both safe and easily accessible. However, many banks and credit unions charge a fee to own a checking account. These fees generally range from $4 to $20 although they can reach higher depending on your bank and account type. This is in addition to other bank fees for transactions like wire transfers and overdrafts. Read More...

May 24, 2018 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...

May 22, 2018 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...

Jun 25, 2018 Having a savings account is incredibly important to your financial health. It keeps your money safe and grows your savings according to set interest rates. Typically, you can have a savings account alongside your checking account for automatic transfers and overdraft protection. But there’s also another type of account that works like a hybrid of savings and checking accounts. This is the money market account, which earns at favorable interest rates and can include an ATM card. In this guide, we'll break down the difference between a money market account vs. a savings account. Read More...

May 10, 2018 Whether you'll be making a number of international money transfers or it's a one-time transaction, it's important to know the best ways to send money internationally. Maybe you need to put down a deposit for a vacation rental, send money to family living abroad or make a foreign purchase. Whatever the case, you have several options for sending money internationally. From Western Union to your bank, the post office or online services, it's important to compare fees, transfer minimums and currency exchange rates before sending money. Read More...

Nov 29, 2018 When choosing whether to open a bank account with Ally Bank or Capital One, it really comes down to whether you want access to physical branches when you bank. Ally Bank is an entirely online operation, limiting you to its website and mobile app. Capital One also offers those convenient features, but with the added benefit of brick-and-mortar branches throughout the country. Below, we take a closer look at each bank and what they can offer. Read More...

May 08, 2018 When it comes to accessing your various bank accounts, ATMs offer a big convenience. This is especially true when you bank with an institution that offers thousands of ATMs all over the world. According to data from the World Bank, there were around 47 ATMs per 100,000 adults in the world in 2016. Despite their geographic convenience, using an ATM can actually cost money, depending on your bank and the ATM you use. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 There are special banking opportunities for those who have served our country in the military, are currently serving or for the families of these individuals. Two such options are Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA Bank. Below, we look at who qualifies for each institution, their account offerings, fees, rates and more, to help you find the right bank for you. Read More...

May 03, 2018 Despite the ease it provides, paying in cash isn't always the most secure form of payment. Instead, you may be asked to pay with a money order. You can get a money order almost anywhere, like banks, post offices and even Walmart. After that, it's as easy as filling out the order, keeping the receipt and handing it over to the person you're paying. Let's take a closer look at the process of filling out a money order. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 The main plus of having a bank account with a big bank is the widespread access you have to your money. Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America provide their customers with thousands of ATMs and branches throughout the country. Both banks also offer a range of bank accounts, from a simple savings account to IRA CDs. But which bank is better? Read on to find out more about each bank and their fees, rates and more. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Opening a checking account, whether a personal or business checking account, is a relatively easy process as long as you're prepared with the right information. It becomes even easier when you know what to expect. To open a checking account, you can head over to your bank or credit union of choice. Even better, you can open an account online from the comfort of your own home. This option has become increasingly popular among financial institutions. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 At some point, you may end up receiving money in the form of a check. This could be your paycheck, your tax refund or a personal check from a friend. Unlike cash, you can't turn around and spend the check on a purchase immediately. However, no matter where the check comes from, cashing it is an easy process. This gives you more immediate access to cash than depositing the check. Read on to learn how and where to cash a check. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 Traveling abroad can be expensive. Besides renewing your passport, booking your flight and arranging accommodations, you have to pay for transportation, food and all those incredible experiences you left home for. Even if you have reliable credit cards or a debit card tied to your checking account, you’ll probably have to exchange currency at some point during your trip. Rule of thumb says you should always have at least $50 worth of local currency on hand. In that case, you'll need to know where to get that cash without losing too much to fees. Read More...

Apr 02, 2018 Few things are more frustrating than trying to get in touch with your bank when something has gone wrong with your checking account or savings account. But when handling bank account-related problems, whether it's an issue like identity theft or something as simple as needing to change account information, some banks handle their customers' requests better than others. Below we look at the banks with the best customer service records when it comes to handling bank account disputes. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 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...

Mar 16, 2018 Many of us have experienced that heart-sinking moment when you get to the ATM or cash register only to discover you don't have your debit card. Perhaps you dropped it in the parking lot or someone snagged it from your wallet. Either way, your missing debit card could pose some problems like missed rent payments and fraudulent charges. There's no need to panic, though. Follow these steps to ensure your finances stay safe. Read More...

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