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Data Studies

Jun 24, 2022 Life is tough for working moms and dads, and the pandemic has exacerbated the stress that parents in the workforce face. A new report from The Ohio State University shows that roughly 66% of working parent respondents met the criteria for burnout. Financial concerns are top of mind for many parents, especially as the prices of goods and services rise rapidly and the stock market enters bear market territory. However, in some cities, housing and childcare costs are lower and parental leave is available to all workers, creating a more favorable environment for working parents. Read More...

Jun 24, 2022 The U.S. tech industry has steadily grown year-over-year and is projected to see another 178,000 tech jobs enter the market in 2022. But while the industry's median income continues to skyrocket above the national median income, women only make up 26.1% of all tech workers and earn just 84% of what men do. Depending on the city, however, some women fare better than others and represent a larger portion of the tech workforce. Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank the best cities for women in tech. Read More...

Jun 22, 2022 After months of climbing gas prices, the national average has hit new highs, reaching $5 per gallon of regular gasoline in June. According to recent data from AAA, the national average for regular gasoline was $4.98 per gallon on June 20, 2022. With these significant increases, Americans across the country are looking for new ways to adjust their budgets and stretch paychecks. Read More...

Jun 21, 2022 Rent prices are rising rapidly in many of America's largest cities. Nationally, average rent increased by 11.3% between the start of 2021 and 2022. To more comfortably afford housing costs, some renters opt to share a space. The Pew Research Center reports that nearly one in three adults have a roommate. However, many people prefer living alone, if it fits in their monthly budget. Read More...

Jun 15, 2022 As of April 2022, the 12-month inflation rate is 8.3% and the highest it has been in over 20 years. Among other things, this has translated to a higher cost of living for many Americans. According to a report from the Capital One Insights Center, only  18% of consumers said their wages kept up with the rising cost of living. With a tightening wallet, Americans across the country are looking for ways to stretch their income and some places offer a better opportunity to do so than others. Read More...

Jun 09, 2022 As home prices continue to skyrocket, it has become increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to afford a home. In April 2021, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) sponsored federal legislation that would create a refundable tax credit of up to $15,000 for first-time homebuyers, similar to the one included in the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act. This bill, however, has languished in the House of Representatives and is yet to be voted on. Read More...

Jun 08, 2022 American seniors have many financial considerations to take into account as they navigate their golden years. Retirement income, savings, tax burdens and inflation are a few common examples. The Global Retirement Index from the French investment manager Natixis says that 41% of American respondents believe a miracle would need to happen in order to be financially secure in retirement. Read More...

Jun 08, 2022 Outdoor activities can add up quickly when you consider equipment, gear and apparel. For instance, the average bicycle costs upwards of $300, with some bikes costing thousands of dollars, depending on make and model. Similarly, skiing is a particularly expensive outdoor activity, with most annual ski passes costing nearly $1,000. Other outdoor activities, such as hiking, are more affordable. An annual pass to the U.S. National Parks costs just $80. Read More...

Jun 08, 2022 When it comes to housing costs, a general financial rule says not to spend more than 30% of your pre-tax income on this inevitable expense. But though the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that Americans paid roughly 25% of their income on housing expenses in 2020, residents in larger cities generally have to put in more working hours to afford housing. Read More...

Jun 08, 2022 Many Americans agree that amid rising prices and economic uncertainty today, it takes a six-figure salary to get by. However, women continue to be underrepresented in higher-paying jobs. According to 2020 Census data, women make up less than 30% of six-figure earners in the U.S. And while this figure marks progress from a decade prior when only 23% of six-figure earners were women, women continue to face tighter budgets than men generally.  Read More...

May 26, 2022 Make no bones about it: 2022 has not been kind to investors. Persistent inflation, rising interest rates and the Russia-Ukraine War have all driven major stock market indexes down through the first four-plus months of the year. Read More...

May 26, 2022 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many betrothed couples delayed their nuptials out of caution or in adherence to safety guidelines. Because of this, the wedding industry saw a dramatic fall in revenue (-35.7%) from 2019 to 2020, and average wedding costs fell 21.6% simultaneously.  However, spending has since normalized. In fact, average wedding costs are on the rise and with 2.5 millions weddings predicted for the year, 2022 is expected to be historic. Read More...

May 23, 2022 Even though the median home price in the U.S. has soared to new heights, some housing markets are rising faster than others. The temperature of a housing market can heat up and cool down based on a variety of factors. Places where the population is growing faster than the development of new housing units are hotter markets, and so are cities where median incomes and home values are increasing most rapidly. Keeping these factors top-of-mind, SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank the top 10 rising housing markets in the U.S. Read More...

May 19, 2022 The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new stressors into daily life as employees try to balance potentially longer hours, increased demands at home and continued uncertainty regarding work culture looking forward. As a result, a healthy work-life balance has become increasingly difficult to achieve. A 2021 survey from Indeed says that 52% of workers report feeling burned out, an 11% increase since before the pandemic in 2019. With employee stress and exhaustion on the rise, some states and businesses are taking action to address this issue and help employees to establish a positive work-life balance. In early 2022, the California legislature proposed shortening the traditional 40-hour work week down to 32 hours, essentially creating a four day work week. While talks on this particular proposal have stalled, it certainly has opened the door to further conversation on work-life balance. Read More...

May 31, 2022 Fewer Americans plan to work past the age of 62. In a March 2022 survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 49.2% of Americans plan to work past the age of 62, a figure that is 6.2% lower than two years prior. However, it can be difficult to make early retirement a reality. Stretching retirement savings long enough to live comfortably is challenging, but some cities are better than others for bringing early retirement plans to fruition. Read More...

May 13, 2022 The time that follows college graduation can be an exciting period in the life of a recent graduate. This is when they enter the workforce, take on new responsibilities, and perhaps, move to a new city. A college diploma can also start to pay off almost immediately. In 2021, full-time workers between 22 and 27 years old with bachelor’s degrees earned a median annual wage of $52,000, while those with only high school diplomas made roughly $30,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read More...

Jun 01, 2022 Transitioning from renting to  buying a home is a major financial milestone. But rising prices have made home buying more challenging for millions of Americans. The  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says that the median home sales price increased 30% between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2022, reaching $428,700. And rents are shooting upward as well. Zumper's National Rent Report shows that the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment rose 13.2% between April 2021 and April 2022, while two-bedrooms spiked 14.6% during the same period. Read More...

May 05, 2022 Buying a home in 2022 has become very expensive. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index, which tracks the purchase prices of single family homes, says that prices rose 19.2% in the one-year period ending in January 2022. When you add in proximity to the water, prices can be even more discouraging. However, there are some cities that are more affordable than others when it comes to owning a beachfront property. Read More...

May 09, 2022 Asian Americans make up just under 5% of the total adult population in the U.S., but own roughly 10% of all U.S. businesses. And as the Asian American population is expected to more than double from roughly 22 million in 2019 to over 46 million in 2060, many more Asian American entrepreneurs across the country will be seeking to make their mark. Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank the best places for Asian American entrepreneurs in 2022. Read More...

May 02, 2022 During times of economic instability, financial advice is often in high demand. As increased inflation and the Russia-Ukraine War continue to shake financial markets, many individuals working with financial professionals may rely more heavily on them for advice and planning. Read More...

Apr 29, 2022 Despite the perception that the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a mass migration out of cities, the data simply does not support that narrative. According to Pew Research, fewer people moved out of cities in 2020 compared with the years leading up to the pandemic. Approximately 4.9 million people left cities in 2020, which is less than the 5.4 million people who moved out of cities each year between 2016 and 2018. But while the mass exodus from large cities may have been overstated, many small cities are growing. A recent SmartAsset study found that five of the top 10 boomtowns in America have fewer than 100,000 residents. Keeping this in mind, we set out to identify the most livable small cities in the nation. Read More...

Apr 27, 2022 No sector of higher education has been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than community colleges. While enrollment across all higher education institutions fell 5.1% between fall 2019 and fall 2021, public two-year colleges have suffered the steepest drop in enrollment during that time, falling by 13.1%, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Yet, community colleges remain an affordable alternative to four-year institutions. Some students choose to begin their college education at a public two-year school and then transfer to a four-year institution, where they can get their bachelor’s degree. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees at a private, nonprofit four-year school was nearly 10 times that of a public two-year college. Read More...

Apr 26, 2022 Historically, the middle class has been the largest economic group in the U.S. and currently remains so. However, it is an economic group whose numbers have steadily declined year-over-year. More families are renting than buying homes in recent years and the number of families considered cost-burdened (paying more than 30% of their income for housing) has steadily increased - up to approximately 27% of the middle class in 2018. However, some states are better than others for middle class residents and we set out to uncover them. Read More...

Apr 21, 2022 Retirement can often be daunting because it means a shift from traditional income to a reliance on savings, investments and government programs such as Social Security. However, for most Americans, the government safety net is not enough to live on. While the Social Security program in 2022 has seen the largest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase in four decades (5.9%), many retirees are still looking for ways to supplement their income. Read More...

Apr 20, 2022 Billions of dollars are at stake each year for individual states when lawmakers in Washington D.C. negotiate the following year’s federal budget. For 2023, President Biden is calling for a 7% increase in federal spending as part of his $5.8 trillion budget proposal. While this money will ultimately play a major role in how states fund themselves, some states are more reliant on federal dollars than others. For example, Wyoming gets over 56% of its revenue from federal sources, but only 27% of Hawaii's revenue comes from the federal faucet. With this in mind, SmartAsset took a closer look at individual states to determine which ones are most dependent on the federal government. Read More...

Apr 15, 2022 While the U.S. is not directly involved in the Russia-Ukraine war, Americans are seeing an impact at home. The prices of commodities and products in the U.S., and worldwide, have increased above the norm. While spending on some commodities such as gasoline can be greatly minimized or avoided, depending on lifestyle, food spending is unavoidable. Consumers across the nation are experiencing higher prices on wheat and corn-based products, among other food items. And farmers are also experiencing higher prices for basic trade tools like fertilizer, which is needed to grow crops for consumers. Read More...

Apr 13, 2022 Most financial advisors fall in the 90th percentile of U.S. workers according to average annual earnings. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average financial advisor made about $120,000 in 2021, more than double the income of the average worker who earned $58,300 in the same year.  Though the advisory career sets many individuals up for financial success, some places are more favorable for pay than others. Read More...

Apr 13, 2022 Renewable energy will play a pivotal role in the world’s attempt to curb the effects of climate change. The landmark Paris Agreement signed by 196 countries seeks to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To do this, global emissions of carbon dioxide must fall 45% by 2030 and be virtually eliminated by 2050. Read More...

Apr 08, 2022 For the first time in four years, violent crime in the U.S. increased in 2020. A steep rise in murders fueled this overall uptick in violent crime, as homicides surged 22% from a year earlier, according to FBI crime data. Unfortunately, that trend continued in 2022, as major cities recorded an additional 5% increase in homicides, a report from the Council on Criminal Justice found. Read More...

Apr 06, 2022 Between 2020 and 2021, the number of fraud reports filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) increased by 27.3%, from 2.2 million to 2.8 million. Total reported monetary losses saw a bigger spike over the same time period (78%), jumping from $3.3 billion to $5.9 billion. Over the past 10 years, there was a 154.5% increase in monetary losses. Read More...

Apr 07, 2022 While most borrowers get a 30-year mortgage and methodically pay off the loan by making regularly-scheduled monthly payments, there is another repayment option. Rather than making 12 monthly payments per year, some borrowers arrange with their mortgage lender to pay half of their monthly bill every other week. As a result, they make the equivalent of 13 monthly payments per year. A financial advisor can help you figure out just how much you should spend on a home. Find a trusted advisor today.  Read More...

Mar 31, 2022 The cryptocurrency industry is currently worth more than $1.8 trillion globally, compared to its value of  roughly $200 billion two years ago. In the U.S., consumers and businesses are latching onto virtual currency and blockchain technology in droves; however, federal guidelines are only beginning to take shape. Most recently, President Biden signed an executive order to examine the benefits and risks of virtual currency. Read More...

Mar 30, 2022 A 2022 study from the  Bank of America says that 30% of current women homeowners bought their home while single. And almost two-thirds of women surveyed said they would buy a home before getting married. As more women poise themselves to become homebuyers, SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank the metro areas where they were approved for the most mortgages. Read More...

Mar 23, 2022 The rising cost of a college education has been well documented over the last 30 years. In that time, average tuition and fees for in-state students at four-year universities has more than doubled, according to the College Board. However, in-state tuition still remains significantly more affordable than out-of-state tuition. In 2020-2021, average published tuition and fees for in-state students were $10,740 compared to $27,560 for out-of-state students. Read More...

Mar 23, 2022 As inflation continues to send the cost of goods and services higher and higher, there’s one place where price spikes have been especially acute: the gas pump. The  consumer price index says that the price of gasoline surged 6.6% in February 2022, pushing costs 38.0% higher than one year earlier. And if rising inflation wasn't enough of a concern, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has added more uncertainty and volatility to energy markets. By March 11, the national average for unleaded gasoline peaked at $4.33 per gallon, according to AAA data. Read More...

Mar 23, 2022 As of 2020, there are 10.7 million single parent households in the U.S. and 80.5% of them are headed by single mothers. Single mothers have also seen a decrease in their income over the past several years and nearly half of them (47.5%) are living in poverty. In some cities, single mothers tend to face more economic hardship when working to meet the extra demands of parenting without spousal support. Read More...

Mar 18, 2022 Though the Equal Pay Act (EPA) passed in 1963, pay equity issues still exist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2020, women made 82 cents for every dollar a man earned. Depending on race and ethnicity, this figure varies. Asian women earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to Asian men and Black women have median earnings that are 92% of Black men's. Recently, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) made headlines for settling their equal pay dispute with the U.S. Soccer Federation: a dispute that pushed the conversation around the wage gap back into the spotlight. Read More...

Mar 16, 2022 Often when we think about the finances of older Americans, a couple of words come to mind: investments and retirement. Student debt among older Americans is a less typical conversation. However, about 6% of Americans ages 50 and older carry an average of $45,641 in student debt in addition to potential other debt. That’s $333.2 billion dollars spread across 7.3 million people ages 50 and older, according to Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. Read More...

Mar 14, 2022 With rapidly climbing food, rent and gas prices, inflation is the highest it has been in four decades. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the  Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the change in prices paid by urban consumers for goods and services, increased 7.9% during the 12-month period that ended in February 2022. Read More...

Mar 10, 2022 Since 1990, average childcare costs in the U.S. have more than doubled while the median household income has increased by just 35%. With childcare costs outpacing incomes, childcare alone can account for more than 10% of one’s pre-tax income. However, in some states childcare is more affordable than others. Read More...

Mar 09, 2022 Though financial advisors expertly help clients plan for their future, they sometimes neglect to apply the same forethought to their own firms. In fact, only 27% of financial advisors have a succession plan or any formal preparations to transition their business, according to a 2018 Financial Planning Association (FPA) report. The need to have such arrangements in place is all the more urgent since the average age of financial advisors is 55, and about one in five financial advisors is aged 65 or older, according to a 2019 J.D. Power study. The fact that so many financial advisors are near retirement age begs the question: What is their legacy strategy? Read More...

Jun 24, 2022 When applying for a  mortgage, one of the most consequential decisions homebuyers make is choosing the term of their loan. While most buyers opt for a 30-year mortgage, a small percentage purchase their home using a 15-year mortgage because of the long-term savings a shorter duration loan offers. Read More...

Mar 03, 2022 Home prices shot up an average of roughly 17% during 2021 and continued to rise during the first month of this year, according to Freddie Mac data. This spike has led some researchers to hypothesize that the housing market could overheat, especially as the Federal Reserve looks to raise rates. However, most industry experts continue to think this possibility is unlikely. “While it's impossible to predict what the future holds, much of what caused last year's significant house price growth will continue into the next,” licensed real estate broker Kris Lippi told SmartAsset. Read More...

Mar 08, 2022 In a 2021 modern wealth survey, Americans told Charles Schwab that they need an average net worth of $934,000 to be financially comfortable. Another survey by Personal Capital says that Americans believe that they need to save an average of $516,000 to maintain financial health. The huge difference in these figures indicates that financial comfort is ultimately a relative figure and depends on one's household size, life stage and other personal factors. Read More...

Mar 01, 2022 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that household debt went up roughly $1 trillion in 2021, which is the highest annual increase since 2007. Other studies estimate that the average household now owes more than $155,000. As Americans struggle to keep up with bill payments and afford basic necessities like food and housing, SmartAsset has analyzed data to identify and rank the states where residents are financially hurting most. Read More...

Feb 24, 2022 Many Americans choose to buy used cars as a cost saving mechanism rather than investing in a new vehicle. In fact, in 2020, over 40 million used cars were sold in the U.S. compared to 14.6 million new cars. But even with a used vehicle, the first year of car ownership can be a pricey endeavor when factoring in purchase costs as well as recurring costs. Read More...

Feb 23, 2022 With average housing costs adding up to almost 35% of all household expenditures in 2020, many renters nationwide are looking for roommates so they can afford short-term financial obligations, save for long-term financial goals or both. Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank cities according to where living with a roommate saves you most. Read More...

Feb 22, 2022 Behind housing and transportation, food and alcohol is the third-largest spending category for the average American - totaling upwards of $7,000 per household in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This figure differs wildly across generations, though. Average food and alcohol spending for Generation X tops $9,000 while the average Generation Z household spends the least, with about $4,500 outlaid annually on food and alcohol combined. Read More...

Feb 17, 2022 Nationally, less than 3% of businesses are Black-owned. However, over the past two years, the number of Black-owned businesses has grown by 8.52%, according to Census Bureau data. This exceeds the rate at which all businesses are growing (0.46%). Some parts of the country provide a more favorable environment for Black entrepreneurs to set up shop. Read More...

Feb 15, 2022 A college degree is an important professional milestone that can boost your finances. According to data from Indeed.com, the average yearly earnings for someone with only a high school diploma is $37,024, while someone with a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $60,996. Keeping that in mind, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to identify and rank the best U.S. states for higher education in 2022. Read More...

Feb 10, 2022 The low interest environment during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a boon for the vacation real estate market. While millions of Americans took advantage of low interest rates and bought their first homes, others capitalized on the cheap money and purchased vacation homes. Read More...

Feb 09, 2022 The IRS says that the number of million-dollar taxpayers has gone up in five years. In 2014, there were 410,110 taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $1 million or more, filing 0.28% of tax returns. In 2019, there were 554,340 million-dollar earners, filing 0.35% of tax returns. Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset took a closer look at the states where the number of million-dollar earners is growing the fastest.  Read More...

Feb 04, 2022 Finding an affordable home has become an increasingly daunting endeavor. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S., home prices soared while incomes remained stagnant. In fact, Zillow and Census Bureau data shows that between 2019 and 2020, the average home value rose at a rate more than double the median household income (5.09% vs. 2.48%). And while most experts recommend that a home's sale price not exceed 2.5 times your household income, that rule of thumb is growing difficult to follow as homes grow less affordable. Read More...

Feb 02, 2022 Over the next 10 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be 821,300 new openings for STEM jobs, according to recent estimates. This represents a roughly 9% increase in the number of STEM jobs in the U.S. However, not all STEM jobs are projected to grow at the same rate. Read More...

Feb 01, 2022 Is tax season a time when you look forward to an eventual refund or dread a looming tax bill that could cost you thousands of dollars? Taxpayers who owed the IRS money when they filed their 2019 federal tax return faced an average tax bill of $5,893. That’s $272 more than one year earlier when those who underpaid their taxes during the year ended up owing $5,621. Read More...

Jan 28, 2022 As federal efforts to increase the minimum wage have stalled, many states and cities are paving the way to pay workers more than $7.25 an hour. On January 1, 2022, a total of 20 states raised their minimum wage, with the largest increases taking place in Virginia (from $9.50 to $11) and Delaware (from $9.25 to $10.50). Additionally, many cities and counties are implementing pay increases. According to findings from the National Employment Law Project, 35 cities and counties increased their minimum wage beginning 2022. Read More...

Feb 02, 2022 In 2019, the Census Bureau reported that just 32% of the population ages 25 and older has a bachelor’s degree. With 216.1 million people aged 25 and older in the United States, that leaves 147 million without a college degree. Read More...

Jan 25, 2022 Even if your wedding was all about eternal love, companionship and mason jars wrapped in twine, don’t fool yourself: at the end of the day, your marriage is essentially a tax arrangement in the eyes of the state. When two people become one unit, the way they pay into our society changes, as their income, investments and property starts being viewed differently by the powers that be. Whether or not your marriage works out in your favor or not financially, though, could depend on how much money each individual makes and where you live. A trusted financial advisor can help you be strategic about your finances and explore ways to lower your tax liabilities. If you'd like to match with a financial advisor in your area, get started here. Read More...

Jan 21, 2022 Social Security benefits and housing expenses are two of the most important elements of a successful financial plan in  retirement. While Social Security is the primary source of income for many retirees, housing can be their biggest monthly expense. Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 Census Bureau data from 2019 to 2020 shows the largest single-year drop in national employment. There were roughly 5.7 million fewer Americans employed in 2020 when compared with the prior year. Relative to total employment, the number of workers fell by an average of 3.58% from 2019 to 2020. Some industries were more affected than others, however. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 An American family needs an income of $597,815 to be considered in the top 1% of earners nationwide. This, however, varies from state to state. In Connecticut, a family needs almost $900,000 in annual income to be in the top 1% of earners in their state, whereas a family in the top 1% of West Virginia needs only an average of just over $350,000. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 Not all couples can afford to  buy a home and have the wedding of their dreams. Some must choose between the two or postpone one in favor of the other. The Netflix reality series "Marriage or Mortgage" explores this dynamic, as a couple decides between buying a home or having their dream wedding in each episode. Nationally, the average down payment (13%) on the median home sales price was $39,026 in 2020, close to double the average wedding cost, at $20,286. That means in most places, having a wedding takes far less cash than buying a home. But that isn’t the case everywhere. Read More...

Jan 06, 2022 In 2021, millions of Americans voluntarily left their jobs every month in what is now called the "Great Resignation." Some were burnt out, while others quit to look for  better pay or new careers. A total of 4.4 million people left their jobs in September alone, raising the quit rate to 3%, the highest it's been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics first published the figure in 2000. Read More...

Apr 26, 2022 While many people look to sunny skies and year-round golf when picking a place to retire, there are also those who want to maintain a connection to all four seasons in their golden years, or perhaps those who want relatively easy access to all corners of the country. For these folks, a retirement in the Midwest probably makes sense. With that in mind, SmartAsset has crunched the numbers to find the best cities to retire in the Midwest. Read More...

Dec 16, 2021 Research has shown that the COVID-19 recession was particularly harmful for working women. A recent report from the Brookings Institution highlights two primary reasons why this was the case. Firstly, the COVID-19 recession had an outsized impact on low-wage jobs and women are disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs. According to their findings, 46% of working women earn low hourly wages compared to 37% of men. Secondly, many working women shouldered an outsized portion of the burden stemming from disruptions that COVID-19 caused in childcare and school systems. Read More...

Dec 15, 2021 Layoffs and unemployment were early economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. But 20 months after the pandemic shut down large swathes of the economy, businesses are contending with a new challenge: a larger percentage of people are quitting their jobs in 2021 than ever before and many employers are struggling to hire. In September 2021, there were over 10 million jobs available across the economy. That's 4 million more open jobs compared with a year earlier, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Read More...

Dec 14, 2021 As the holidays approach, some workers may look forward to a bump in their paychecks with employers paying out bonuses. Across the many different types of bonuses allotted to workers (i.e. referrals, cash profit-sharing, etc.), data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that end-of-year bonuses - which are generally determined by hard work and performance throughout the year - are the most common. In 2020, about one in 10 workers received an end-of-year bonus. Workers may also be eligible for a holiday bonus. Compared to end-of-year bonuses, holiday bonuses are token gestures, and all employees usually receive the same amount. In 2020, only 5% of workers received a holiday bonus, indicating that even around the holidays employers are likely to prioritize rewarding and compensating hard work and performance. Read More...

Dec 10, 2021 Many homeowners were incentivized to  refinance their homes after mortgage rates reached historic lows in 2020. And  Freddie Mac data shows that this caused mortgage refinancing activity to hit its second-highest milestone since peaking in 2003. For a comparison, there were about $2.6 trillion in inflation-adjusted refinance originations for the year 2020, compared with $3.9 trillion in 2003. Read More...

Dec 15, 2021 The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for people to stay fit. While gyms have reopened in many places around the country, the pandemic interrupted many daily routines and this can make it difficult to work fitness back into your schedule. That said, fitness is important, and SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank where in America are the most fitness-friendly places in 2022. Read More...

Dec 07, 2021   Powered by a craft beer boom, the beer industry has undergone a renaissance in recent years. The number of craft breweries in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2015 and 2020, reaching 8,764 as of last year, according to the Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers. With so much new beer being brewed in the last decade, some cities have become synonymous with their local breweries and beer culture. It begs the question: what are the best cities for beer drinkers? Read More...

Dec 06, 2021 The current residential real estate market in the U.S. looks nothing like it did just a few years back. While it was tough for homebuyers to find affordable housing in certain markets—take New York City or Los Angeles, for example—housing was still somewhat accessible in many other markets across the nation. Read More...

Dec 01, 2021 Americans are spending slightly less of their pre-tax income on utilities when compared with a decade ago. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the average American household spent 4.93% of income on utilities, which includes electricity, gas, telephone services, water and other public services such as waste pickup. This is down from 5.86% in 2010. However, some researchers expect an uptick in heating and cooling costs with rising energy prices. Inflation data from the BLS shows that the energy index rose 30% from October 2020 through October 2021 and the total consumer price index rose 6.2% over the same period. Read More...

Nov 30, 2021 It’s no secret that manufacturing isn’t the economic force it once was in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 7.5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since the peak in 1969. A variety of factors account for this, notably companies moving manufacturing to other countries where labor costs are significantly lower. That said, there are still some cities where manufacturing is a big part of the economy. SmartAsset analyzed data to identify and rank the best places to work in manufacturing. Read More...

Nov 18, 2021   Whether they'll use savings, tax refunds or credit cards, Americans are poised to spend big once again this holiday season. According to an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, consumers anticipate spending nearly $1,000 on gifts, holiday items and other non-gift purchases. Despite supply chain challenges that continue to plague the economy, the $997.73 that American adults will drop on the holidays this year is on par with last year's average. Read More...

Nov 17, 2021 Strains on consumer finances during the COVID-19 pandemic have increasingly pushed Americans to seek assistance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which serves as an intermediary between consumers and financial companies. Consumers can file complaints on consumer financial products or services through the CFPB, which relays these concerns to financial institutions and also publishes anonymized data on all these submissions. This data shows that across the 50 states and District of Columbia, the CFPB received 62% more consumer financial complaints in 2020 compared to 2019. Moreover, the CFPB reports that “beginning in April 2020, consumers began to submit more than 3,000 complaints mentioning coronavirus keywords nearly every month.” Read More...

Nov 16, 2021 Not everyone retires in Florida. For some, the Northeast is a preferable retirement destination for its seasonal changes, blend of cities and countryside, and rich history. Despite generally high costs of living when compared with other regions of the country, a comfortable retirement in the Northeast is possible if you know where to look. Read More...

Nov 11, 2021 Your health status, anticipated longevity and retirement cash needs all factor into when it makes sense to claim Social Security. Of course, you’re eligible to start taking Social Security at 62. But the longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be, and conventional wisdom says that you should hold out as long as you can to ensure more robust checks. Your patience, in other words, is rewarded in the long run. But pop open the hood to get a more granular look at the numbers, and the virtues of delaying diminish. To investigate, we used SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator to examine how total earnings add up when claiming at ages 62, 67 and 70. For the purposes of this hypothetical, we’re considering a person born in 1960 - who will reach his or her first year of eligibility next year, and whose full retirement age is 67 - making $60,000 a year. As you make the decision of when it's best for you to claim Social Security, be sure to consult with a trusted financial advisor to determine what best suits your situation. Read More...

Nov 11, 2021 Charitable giving increased by 5.1% in 2020, as Americans donated $471.44 billion during a year defined by COVID-19. Of those donations, 28% went to religious organizations, 15% to education and 14% to human services, according to the National Philanthropic Trust. Giving to charity not only allows a person to support the causes they value, it can also serve as a shrewd financial move. Qualifying charitable contributions are tax-deductible and lower one's  tax bill. Read More...

Nov 10, 2021 For young professionals looking to kickstart their career, the current labor market offers many jobs, with companies taking steps to attract new workers into the fold. Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset wanted to look at the past few years to see which types of jobs have big gains among young professionals between the ages of 25 and 34. Read More...

Nov 09, 2021 Credit cards can be useful, especially if you use them responsibly to gain points, airline miles and other perks. That said, it is easy to let your credit card debt get out of control and end up in serious trouble. For the second quarter of 2021, Experian says that the average card balance was $5,525 nationally, which is actually down from three years ago from when it stood at $6,505. Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset ranked the states where debt is becoming more manageable for consumers. Read More...

Nov 05, 2021 When the time comes for members of the American military to hang up their uniforms for good, they’ll inevitably face the same question anyone else asks themselves when nearing retirement: Where will I live? There are a number of factors that make a city or town a good place to retire. But which cities are best for military retirees? Read More...

Nov 03, 2021 The U.S. recently hit a large milestone on the road to recovery from the economic fallout of COVID-19. In the second quarter of 2021, real gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded its pre-pandemic level, according to Bureau of Economic Analysis data. This rebound comes exactly a year after real GDP hit its lowest point during the COVID-19 crisis when it was down by more than 12%. National signs of growth are apparent at local levels. While some cities are still struggling with high unemployment rates and depressed economic growth, many are growing again. Read More...

Oct 28, 2021 Historical returns and underlying investments aren’t the only metrics to consider when selecting mutual funds. A fund’s expense ratio, the internal operating costs paid by investors, is also an important component to keep in mind. Expressed as a percentage, an expense ratio is the portion of your total account value removed annually in fees. The difference between small percentages often appears innocuous, so we too seldom take action to move our money to investments with lower expense ratios. But here's a huge wake-up call: those built-in fees could be costing you thousands of dollars in the long run. If you need help picking cost-efficient investments, a financial advisor can help. Find an advisor todayRead More...

Oct 27, 2021 Over the past decade, the total number of U.S.-based registered investment advisors (RIAs) has increased by 20.29%. Total assets managed by RIAs have grown at an even steeper rate, more than doubling over the same period. Assets managed by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) RIAs rose from $43.8 trillion in 2010 to more than $110 trillion in 2020, according to figures reported by the Investment Advisory Associations. Read More...

Oct 26, 2021 The first year of homeownership can often be the most expensive, especially when paying a sizable down payment and taking closing costs into account. More times than not, the most affordable places to buy homes are smaller and more rural. But how much does the first year of homeownership cost in America's largest cities? Read More...

Oct 22, 2021 According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, in January of 2021 the labor force participation rate for women dropped to 57%. This was the lowest it had been since 1988, when it fell to less than 58% (compared to when it reached above 60% in the late 90s and into the aughts). It is believed that the childcare crisis, driven by pandemic-related daycare and school closures, has caused many women with children to leave their jobs. Some jobs, though, are seeing an increase. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to see which professions are gaining in their ranks of women workers. Read More...

Oct 20, 2021 Listen up, ladies and ghouls - it’s Spooky Season once again. Get out your favorite decorations, figure out your costume ideas and get ready to eat more candy than you should, because Halloween is upon us. While the COVID-19 pandemic may still put a bit of a damper on the holiday once again this year, hopefully many people, especially those with kids, will be able to celebrate. SmartAsset crunched the numbers to identify and rank the best cities in America for Halloween (though unfortunately, we couldn’t confirm how many houses hand out full-size candy bars vs. how many hand out raisins). Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 Nearly 400,000 people moved for retirement in 2020, a study conducted by HigherAHelper found. While the study's data showed that retirees are twice as likely to move to a new state than all other movers, more than a quarter of retirees who moved in 2020 chose to leave larger cities and metropolitan areas. Smaller cities often have lower costs of living than big cities, making them ideal for retirees on fixed incomes. Read More...

Jun 24, 2022                   When you put 20% down on the purchase of a home, you don't have to borrow as much money as someone whose down payment is only 5% or 10%. And as a result, your monthly mortgage payment may be considerably lower. But 20% down payments, while common, are by no means mandatory or the norm. In fact, the National Association of Realtors says the median down payment in 2020 was just 12%. So if you are hoping to save for retirement in addition to buying a home, you could opt for a 10% down payment and invest the remaining cash. Your monthly payments and interest will be higher, but your invested assets will grow into a substantial nest egg over the next 30 years. Let's compare how a 10% and 20% down payments could affect your retirement. If you need to figure out how big your down payment should be, a financial advisor may be able to help you decide. Read More...

Oct 14, 2021 Divorce can be a pricey proposition - according to a 2019 survey by the legal website Nolo, the average cost of a divorce is around $12,900, including more than $11,000 in attorney’s fees. Divorce at ages 50 and older - often known as gray divorce - may especially lead to various levels of financial insecurity. Nationally, the divorce rate has remained flat over the past several years. This isn't the case in all cities, however, so with that in mind, SmartAsset set out to identify where divorce rates have been rising in recent years. Read More...

Oct 13, 2021 As the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life and caused nationwide shutdowns, more people participated in outdoor recreation in 2020 than ever before. More than 50% of Americans ages 6 and older participated in outdoor recreation (like biking or hiking) at least once, according to the 2021 Outdoor Participation Trends Report commissioned by the Outdoor Foundation. The outdoor recreation boom resulted in 7.1 million more people getting outside in 2020 than in 2019. In light of this uptick, SmartAsset set out to find the places that are best for outdoor enthusiasts to live and work. Read More...

Oct 13, 2021 Socially responsible investing - commonly referred to as  environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing - is gaining traction among institutional investors as well as individuals. According to a recent Natixis report, the percentage of institutional investors that implement ESG approaches increased by 18% from 2019 to 2021. Similarly, Natixis reports that a growing number of individual investors are interested in ESG. Though the names of large institutional investors adopting ESG approaches are often widely publicized, there is less research surrounding the question of which individual investors are driving this interest (and therefore increase in assets). Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset took a closer look at the characteristics of individual investors who are interested in ESG. Read More...

Oct 07, 2021 While inflation continues to linger, the price of food is among the few commodities that hasn’t skyrocketed in the last year. According to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which tracks the price of goods and services, food prices were just 3.7% higher in August than they were 12 months earlier. That may sound like a lot, but when compared to the 25% increase in the energy index, food prices have been far more stable. Read More...

Oct 12, 2021 Hispanic and Latino Americans have seen some of the highest unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic of any race and ethnic group for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports data. In the second quarter of 2020, the Hispanic and Latino unemployment rate was 16.7%, the highest unemployment rate in that period compared to that of white, Black and Asian Americans. More recently, in the second quarter of 2021, the Hispanic and Latino unemployment rate was 7.2% - 2.1 and 1.6 percentage points higher than the white and Asian unemployment rates, respectively, and 2 percentage points lower than the Black unemployment rate. Read More...

Oct 05, 2021 Though the COVID-19 pandemic has financially impacted Americans in many ways, the homeownership rate has risen and stayed elevated. Census Bureau data shows that the homeownership rate actually hit 67.9% in the second quarter of 2020, up from 64.1% from a year before. More recently, the national homeownership rate was 65.4% in the second quarter of 2021, which is slightly higher than pre-COVID-19 rates. Read More...

Oct 01, 2021 There are 218,100 personal financial advisors in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that there are 9.70 financial advisors for every 10,000 adults ages 25 and older. Of course, financial advisors are more concentrated in some areas than others. To find where Americans may have the largest selection of experts to guide them in their money matters, SmartAsset conducted a study to examine the states with the most and fewest financial advisors per capita. Read More...

Sep 28, 2021 An increasing number of nurses are trading in traditional hospital-staffing positions for higher-paying temporary jobs with traveling nurse agencies. The difference in pay is often significant. The Associated Press reported in September 2021 that nurses working for traveling nurse agencies make $70 to $90 per hour on average, which is two to three times higher than what most hospitals pay their staff nurses. Though looking into an agency may be a great opportunity for some nurses, not all may be willing to travel on a regular basis. For nurses that are looking to put down roots in one area and want to see where they can earn the most, SmartAsset identified the best-paying places for nurses.  Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 While the COVID-19 pandemic hit millions of Americans in their wallets, it also created a surge of new retail investors looking to capitalize on stock market volatility. A survey conducted by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found that 57% of respondents opened a taxable investment account in 2020. Those who never had an investment account before were generally younger, earned lower incomes and were more racially or ethnically diverse than established investors. With retail investing becoming more popular, SmartAsset used the most recently available data to identify and rank the top places in the U.S. where people have been investing more. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 Hispanics and Latinos make up almost 19% of the U.S. population (or 62.1 million out of more than 332 million), according to the 2020 Census. And according to data from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, they are becoming an increasingly important economic force, with almost  9 million homeowners nationwide, after growing by more than 700,000 homeowner households in 2020. Furthermore, the Urban Institute says that the net growth of homeowners between 2020 and 2040 will be driven by people of color, and Hispanics are poised to take the lead with an expected growth of 4.8 million. Read More...

Sep 21, 2021 Homeownership is often viewed as a fundamental pillar of investing and building wealth. While real estate markets vary from city to city, home values have historically risen over the decades. In fact, home values across the U.S. have increased by nearly 17% over the last year, rising to $298,933 by the end of July 2021, according to Zillow. But appreciation is just one financial component of homeownership. Closing costs, property taxes and insurance also factor into whether homeownership is a good investment for a prospective buyer. Read More...

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