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Oct 25, 2021 One of the draws of investing is the money you could potentially make in a relatively shorter amount of time than earning it through a part-time or full-time job. But what some investors may initially neglect to take into account is the fact that investment gains mean investment income, and investment income means taxes on investment income. A financial advisor could help you create a tax plan to maximize your investments. Let's break down the tax rates for your capital gains in 2021. Read More...

Oct 08, 2021 If you have a new baby in your household, you know that the first few months of your baby's life are chaotic. There are so many decisions to make and life has just gotten more complicated. Many new parents start thinking about their baby's education in the future and may already have done some planning for a college fund. The average amount of student loan debt for a student graduating in 2021 is $39,351. Compare that to an average student loan debt for 2000 graduates of $17,297. Parents should start planning and saving early. Read More...

Oct 06, 2021 When someone passes away, what the person passes down to his or her beneficiaries may be subject to federal estate taxes. If the decedent "skips" a generation in passing along assets then it may trigger a tax bill. IRS Form 706 is used to calculate the potential tax liability from these so-called generation-skipping gifts. In this article, we'll define what Form 706 is, explore how to calculate taxes owed and explain how to file the form. Try using  SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool to get paired with advisors in your area. Read More...

Sep 14, 2021 Probating an estate is an expensive, time-consuming and sometimes adversarial affair. It is possible, and sometimes advisable, to avoid probate. With the help of an estate planner and, perhaps, an attorney, you can learn how to avoid probate for your estate. Remember, too, that estate laws vary by states and even jurisdictions. Estate planning is best done with the insight and guidance of a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 09, 2021 Real estate and stocks are two of the major classes of assets available to investors. They each offer returns on your investments, but for different reasons. Their risk factors are different as well. In the real estate vs. stocks debate, should you invest in one and not the other, or should you invest in both? We will take a look at the risks and rewards of investing in real estate vs. stocks. Consider working with a financial advisor regarding which asset classes make the most sense for you given your goals, risk profile and timeline. Read More...

Apr 26, 2021 The IRS has already sent out more than 156 million third stimulus checks, worth approximately $372 billion. President Joe Biden's  American Rescue Plan pays individual taxpayers earning less than $80,000 a maximum of $1,400 and couples making under $160,000 up to $2,800. Let's break down what this means for you – who is eligible for the third stimulus payment, how it is calculated, and how soon you will get it. (Note: This is a developing story, and we will continue to update the article as more information becomes available.) If you do not have to spend your stimulus check on immediate needs, consider working with a financial advisor to strategize how best to use or invest this money. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 The  Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is closed again. This is the third time since its inception. The first time was when it ran out of its $349 allocation; an  interim stimulus bill gave it another $310 billion (with $30 billion set aside for small lenders and $30 billion for midsize lenders to help ensure that more rural, women-owned and minority-owned small businesses get loans). The second time was when the original June 30 deadline passed. Now the extended August 8 deadline has passed, too. That said, the PPP still has roughly $134 billion in unused funding, so if you missed out on a PPP loan the first, second or third time, you may get another chance when Congress eventually passes another stimulus bill. We'll update this story if that happens. In the meantime, you may want to  calculate how much you can borrow, find a bank and start the application process. Read More...

Feb 08, 2020 Not every charitable organization qualifies as a public charity according to government standards. However, a private foundation earns that distinction. A private foundation is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization set up for charitable purposes. Here's how it works and where it does the most good. Read More...

May 30, 2019 Some people just have creative juices flowing through them. They need to use their creative instincts all the time, and some are lucky enough to use those talents to make their living. After all, you have to be able to work to build up your savings account, but many creative jobs aren’t as high-paying as jobs in other fields. Some places, though, are more suitable to creatives than others. A combination of lots of job opportunities in creative fields and a low cost of living combine to make a great metro area for creative types. SmartAsset has combined these two metrics to come up with a list of the best metro areas in the U.S. for creatives. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 If there’s nothing keeping you in the U.S., why not retire abroad? You have a ton of options from the standard destination of Mexico to a colder retirement in Iceland. Somewhere in between those is Spain, which offers both great mountain and beach experiences. But before you start packing your bags, check out what it takes to retire in Spain, including the costs and residency requirements. And if you need help strategizing your retirement abroad, consider enlisting the help of a financial advisorRead More...

Dec 23, 2016 2016 was quite a year. To help you regroup and prepare for 2017, we've rounded up the top 10 personal finance reads of this year, on topics ranging from the safest cities in the country to monetizing your social media following. Check out our list of the top 10 personal finance reads of 2016.  Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 You may have heard the term "fintech" but not really known what it meant. Not to worry. What do you get when you combine "financial" and "technology"? Fintech. It's a term that's generally applied to start-ups that are using technology to change the way people and businesses approach finance. Read on to learn more.  Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 Many of us get caught up in the chaos of planning parties, buying gifts and visiting friends and relatives during the months of November and December. It’s easy to forget that the holidays are also about helping others. If you're not sure how you can give back, we've listed some simple ways to volunteer and donate during the holiday season. Read More...

Dec 05, 2016 The holidays are always a busy season for charities around the world. Many people save their giving for the end of the year, or make charitable contributions in lieu of buying holiday presents. If you're in the market for charity ideas for holiday giving, check out the list below. There's not a dud charity in the bunch.  Read More...

Nov 30, 2016 There have been 70 total NBA championships since the league's inception and 44 of those have been won by the same four teams - the Celtics, the Lakers, the Bulls and Spurs. The Boston Celtics alone have won a mind-boggling 17 championships. This lack of parity is something of a curiosity as the current draft system rewards the worst teams in the league with the highest draft picks. Yet year after year, it's often the same handful of teams contending for the title. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 You hear a lot about income inequality in the U.S. (particularly in election years), but there's a wealth gap in this country that some analysts say is even more concerning than the income gap. Let's take a look at the wealth gap and why it's an important tool for understanding Americans' financial lives.  Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Our incomes, the money we receive as compensation for the paid work we do, varies according to several factors. The type of job we do, the amount of training and experience we have, the resources of our employers and the extent to which we negotiate our salary can all affect our income. But so can factors like race and gender. Let's take a closer look at the income gap in America. Read More...

Nov 03, 2016 Baseball may be America’s pastime but football, and the NFL in particular, is the most popular sport in America today. Last season the NFL made over $13 billion in revenue and 111.9 million people tuned in to watch the Denver Broncos defeat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 this past February. But what makes football truly special is the passion of the fans. NFL fans are famous for braving bad weather and outrageous beer prices in the hopes of cheering their team to victory. We at SmartAsset thought it would be interesting to measure the fan experience in order to determine which NFL teams have the most die-hard fans.  Read More...

Oct 11, 2016 Looking back at 2005, it's amazing to see how much the world has changed. Facebook was still in its infancy, iPhones didn't yet exist and dial-up was still clinging to a dominant market share of the internet industry. In light of the seismic shift in how we interact with technology (and each other), we at SmartAsset were curious about whether the ways in which Americans use their time may have changed over the past decade. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Do you recycle in your home or office? How about when you're out on the street or in a park? The recycling rate in the U.S. is around 34% and has been for years. The country has struggled to reach recycling rates seen in other developed countries. For a detailed look at the issue, let's examine some of the pros and cons of recycling.  Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Maybe you're stuck on a business trip that happened to fall on voting day. Or maybe you're a college student who doesn't have time to go home and vote. The good news is that even if you can't make it to your designated polling place, you can still cast your vote by mailing in an absentee ballot. Here's a breakdown of how absentee voting works and how it benefits voters. Read More...

Oct 29, 2020 When you go to the polls to vote for a president every four years, you're participating in an indirect vote. Why is it indirect? Well, because of the electoral college. Some say the electoral college is key to maintaining what's good about U.S. politics, while others want to abolish the institution in favor of a more direct system. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of the electoral college in the context of modern American politics. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 If you follow politics you might have noticed the phrase "means tested." It's used to describe certain government programs and benefits, but what does it mean? The short answer is that "means tested" programs are only available to those whose incomes (a.k.a "means") are judged sufficiently low. In other words, a wealthy person wouldn't be able to access means-tested benefits. Here's why that's controversial.  Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 By almost any measure, income inequality in the United States has grown steadily over the past few decades. According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, between 1979 and 2012 the top 1% saw incomes rise over 200%, while everyone else saw income growth of just 18.7%. Those are certainly dramatic figures, but what do they mean for the lives—and paychecks—of actual income earners? To answer that question, SmartAsset developed an alternate measure of income inequality, based on the money earned by workers at the top and the bottom of the income ladder. Read More...

Feb 12, 2015 It's nearly impossible to have a discussion about the economy or politics without someone mentioning the national debt. There are billboards and websites that feature endlessly advancing numbers to show the growing total and every once in a while a lot is spoken of the debt ceiling. But what exactly is the national debt and what does it mean to the average person? The short answer is, the national debt is the accumulated difference between what the government takes in and what it spends. In simple household terms, the national debt is the amount of money we have borrowed to keep the lights on. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 Over the past five years, thanks to advances in data storage and computer processing, our capacity to make use of the massive quantities of data we produce each day has erupted. Today, government and industry are just starting to explore the new world of information that has opened up since the turn of the millennium, a world that’s been assigned a misleadingly simple name: Big Data. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 In the United States, flu season typically stretches from November to April, peaking in January or February. Each year, somewhere between 5% and 20% of the population will come down with influenza, and around 200,000 people will be hospitalized because of the virus. Read More...

Jan 09, 2015 According to the Self Storage Association, a trade organization for the self storage industry, total rentable self storage space in the US hit 2.3 billion square feet as of the end of 2013. That's over three times the size of the island of Manhattan, aka the place SmartAsset calls home. What's behind the success of this booming industry, and how much is it costing us? Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 We've all observed at some point that the cost of everything is going up. Most of us have either said or been told, "When I was a kid you could buy a loaf of bread for…" followed by a price that seem incomprehensibly low by current standards. Everyone knows prices go up because of inflation, and we shake our heads and curse it as though it's something tangible that we can sit down and talk some sense into. The reality, however, is that raising prices is what inflation does, but it says nothing about what it is, what causes it or even how it's measured. Read More...

Jan 15, 2016 Every year it’s the same story: the holidays arrive, the weather gets ugly and thousands of Americans find themselves stuck in airport terminals across the country, waiting for flights that are delayed or canceled. At some airports, over ten percent of all flights suffer significant delays during the holiday season, and in 2013, over a third of flights departing from major airports in November and December were delayed to some degree. Read More...

Aug 05, 2015 There are many reasons to choose a city to live in, but most of them revolve around our basic needs: employment, cultural stimulation and education. But sooner or later, we all need healthcare, whether it’s a routine doctor’s visit or a trip to the emergency room. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 If you watch the news reports on the economy or business and finance, you have likely heard the acronym GDP, but do you know what it means? Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The number of people shopping online is at an all-time high. While the rest of the retail economy is still dragging in its recovery from our economic crash, the online retail market continues to grow at a rapid pace. Not only is online shopping gaining momentum, but mail order businesses have expanded in the retail sector as well. Does this mean online retail might one day edge out the traditional in-store shopping experience? As the online market grows, and the ease and convenience of shopping online has more appeal to a greater audience, online shopping may one day take over the retail market. Read More...

Dec 08, 2014 More people want to live in the south and west. At least that's the news out of a recent government report on the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Once upon a time, chocolate was unheard of across most of the world. From the 1800s BCE to the 16th century CE or so, it was exclusively consumed by a small group of people - Aztec nobles in what is now Mexico. Nowadays, $20.6 billion worth of chocolate is sold in the United States each year alone, and the worldwide market is projected to approach $100 billion annually in two years. And indeed, Americans love their chocolate fix, as they have for decades. But the ways we’re getting our dose of chocolate are becoming more diverse. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 As the last traces of the long and brutal winter disappear across the country and the weekends start to get warmer and sunnier, people of a certain mindset - let’s call them history nerds - start to get the idea to recreate centuries past, even if only for a few days and only within the confines of a local park or field. Yes, late spring and summer are prime renaissance fair season, when organizations like the Society for Creative Anachronism put on reenactments of royal courts, jousts, feasting, bards’ performances, and other aspects of medieval life for the entertainment of all and sundry… often at a cost of upwards of $10,000.  Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 They’re as much of a holiday obligation as a card, a fancy dinner, or a phone call, de rigeur for certain people in our lives, as well as the go-to gesture for congratulations or apologies. And they constitute an industry that commands close to $34.3 billion in yearly revenue. Not bad for plant reproductive systems. But do you really need to buy your mother flowers on Mother's Day? Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Ilse Blansert rearranges her stick-straight brown hair so that it’s out of her face and puts on a couple dabs of makeup to even out her pale complexion. Satisfied after checking her appearance in her webcam’s display, she gingerly attaches her microphones to her blouse lapels, careful not to let her fingertips touch the sensitive inputs. She gauges the sound levels that the microphones are picking up with a nearly silent “Testing-one-two-three.” Then, a sphinx-like smile on her face, she begins to whisper. Read More...

Feb 10, 2020 Thousands of fans attending in person, as well as millions more watching at home, strike up a cheer as the teams make their entrances for the playoff match. There’s been a bitter rivalry between the two sides for years that has come to the forefront all season. They line up and take their places, the referees vigilant for cheating in such an important and hotly-contested game, and then the battle begins, the teams battering each other in a beautifully-executed offensive and defensive back and forth for sixty tense minutes. And when the winners are crowned, they rise from their computers. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Wall Street bigwig Bernie Madoff became infamous about five years ago when a fraudulent securities operation he was running collapsed and cost his investors, including hospitals and charities, $17.3 billion. While Madoff’s crime may have been the largest-ever scam of its type, he certainly didn’t invent the method–he ran a Ponzi scheme, named for 1920s swindler Charles Ponzi. Nor was the Madoff scandal by any means the greatest damage a single individual has ever done to an economy - while those billions were a relatively small share of the $14.2 trillion GDP of the United States in 2008, other crises set off by one person ruined whole countries for years. Here are the stories of Ponzi and three others who brought down economies by sheer force of will. Read More...

Feb 24, 2016 This article is written by Kristin Tablang. Winning an Oscar is a big deal—there’s no doubt about that. It’s pretty much considered the same as adding a magnificent plume to an actor’s otherwise drab cap. Immortalized in the form of a foot-tall knight poised atop a film reel, gallantly gripping a sword, the prized trophy is bestowed solely upon Hollywood’s crème de la crème: film industry fellows who are recognized for their unparalleled skill and talent. But as much as we’d all like to think Hollywood’s finest stars rightfully command the highest salaries in the acting industry, these days, that’s just not the case. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Don’t let the rainbow fool you. This picture was taken after the apocalypse. But these people apparently had all the necessary provisions and survived. You can too for the bargain price of $137,000. That's how much it will cost you to properly prepare for the end of days including where you will live and how you will feed your family. So you may want to add an apocalypse fund to your list of financial goals.  Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Bitcoins have been making headlines lately, most recently when a UK man threw out a hard drive containing approximately $9 million worth of the digital cash. In certain arenas, the bitcoin is being hailed as the currency of the future. But many people are still in the dark over what exactly it is. If you're having trouble wrapping your head around the concept of the bitcoin, here's a breakdown of what you need to know. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Landing an internship can be excited an important part of moving forward on your career path. If you get lucky, you might even be able to get a paid internship. Yes, it may sound too good to be true, but those coveted spots are out there. Getting experience in the field is important, but so is eating and paying your bills. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Netflix, ShoeDazzle, Citrus Lane, Petflow, Birchbox. It seems that subscription services are popping up everywhere these days. And it makes sense. These companies sell you something once and the revenue doesn't stop. It's also easy to see the appeal of these services: monthly surprises in a curated box of  stuff. Whether the 'stuff' is shoes, TV and movie streaming, baby products, pet food, make-up, clothing, or any other product for that matter, it's nice to get things sent to you! Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 We are in the midst of the holiday shopping season. There are lots of options out there but you want something really good for those on your nice list! SmartAsset is here to help put a smile on the face of the tech lovers in your life. Read More...

Nov 12, 2015 Black Friday has traditionally marked the start of the holiday shopping season.  In order to get the biggest and best deals, shoppers must trudge out early in the morning to battle the crowds and cold in order to get a jump start on their Christmas shopping.  This might seem like an archaic ritual of decades past to some, but there is still a devoted percentage of the population who like sport of shopping early every Friday after Thanksgiving. Lately though, there's been a shift in the way we do our shopping.  More and more people are staying home on that infamous Friday and doing their shopping online on another day instead. Read More...

Apr 21, 2016 Millions of people fly over the holidays and particularly during the week of the Thanksgiving holiday. If that's one of your Thanksgiving traditions, it's a good idea to prepare yourself for the potential chaos and stress of airports, luggage and the inevitable crying babies. Keep these tips in mind and it'll be easier to keep your cool. Read More...

Nov 17, 2017 Welcome to SmartAsset's first video blog. I'm AJ Smith, the new managing editor here at SmartAsset. With a decade of journalism experience mainly in television, I'm excited to bring video blogs to the website. We will be using them to help enhance the SmartAsset experience- with interviews, introductions to new products and general tips for making smarter financial decisions. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 As the US economy was smarting from the housing crash of 2008, the anticipated “next shoe to drop” was supposed to be in commercial real estate. While foreclosures on individual homes measure in the hundred thousands of dollars, foreclosures in commercial properties such as hotels and shopping malls measure in the millions! Widespread commercial foreclosure would have been another disaster to the US economy. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The days are now shorter. It's inevitable - winter is coming! Maybe you've already turned the heat on for one or two nights. Or maybe you're trying to tough it out. A big concern for many of us is the increased cost of heating and our electric bills in the colder months. For help, we can look to a perhaps strange source - cities. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 We all understand it: Bring Your Own Beverage. Choosing to BYOB to a restaurant – with a beverage license or not - can be a wonderful way to eat out while cutting costs. There’s a reason Zagat added “BYOB” to the “special features” section of their newest editions. Bringing your own beer and wine for a night out is a favorable factor for restaurant-goers. But before you start swigging Three Buck Chuck at the nicest restaurants in town, learn how to BYOB properly. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 30.7 billion dollars. $30,700,000,000.  That's the richest endowment of any U.S. university and it belongs to Harvard.  It's no big surprise that Harvard sits at the top of the list for university endowments but $30 billion is pretty astounding.  That's $10 billion more than the next highest endowment which belongs to Yale University(again, big surprise). Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Five years after the Great Recession and resulting financial crisis, the economy still has not recovered to the degree that economists and policy makers had hoped. Unemployment is on the decline, the threat of deflation has abated, and the stock market is at all-time highs. Yet Americans are not spending. Consumer spending is the final piece to an economic recovery. Without it, the present recovery has remained tenuous, fueled as much by Federal Reserve action as by true growth. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 If you've ever been out to eat with a group of people, you're probably aware that many restaurants have an automatic gratuity policy when it comes to large parties. Now the IRS is planning to change the way that automatic tips are handled and it could have negative tax implications for restaurant employees... and customers! Read More...

Jan 29, 2015 Being environmentally friendly has grown into more than just a trend over the past several years. Beyond basic energy-saving steps, consumers are now demanding greener homes. Often they want entire communities with resource efficient, environmentally sound features. Since green properties have an increased value to customers, energy saving buildings are more attractive for buyers, sellers and businesses. If you still aren't convinced, check out some of the best aspects of green living. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Whether you have a yoga class on the Upper East Side, hair appointment in Soho, or dinner in Flatiron, it's not always easy to navigate New York City. Made for travelers and locals alike, we have a round-up of the top apps for getting around the Big App-le. Some are for avid public transit users, cab takers, the growing cyclist crowd, and one solely focused on Central Park. Check out what you need to survive in this city - or at least get from one side to the other. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Keep it clean and you'll succeed. That was once advice young comedians received as the best path to success. It seems that business may be taking that same advice to heart as more and more companies, including many large cap companies, are turning to sustainability as part of a policy that promotes good corporate citizenship. The interesting thing is that it appears that doing the right thing is also good for the bottom line. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 It is commonly said that attractive people have a happier, more successful life than their less attractive counterparts – but how does this affect your wallet? Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 One of the most time-consuming aspects of visiting a new doctor or changing your health insurance is filling out your medical history. After you've filled out a mountain of forms, you'll be asked to sign a Notice of Privacy Practices, which is required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. If you're concerned about who has access to your medical records or how they can be used, you need to understand what protections HIPAA provides. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 The ramen burger tried to do it. The Japadog tried to do it. Even Dominique Ansel tried to repeat his own success with the frozen s’more. But nothing can surpass the food fad glory that is the Cronut. And Shake Shack proved this week it’s not just a summer fling. New Yorkers and tourists alike are in a serious love affair with this croissant-donut concoction. The desire seems to know no bounds: cutting class, skimping on the sights, even missing work to get a bite of the illustrious pastry. But why are we so willing to give all this- and a lot of our time – for the tasty treat? What does the Cronut have that other bakeries don’t? I had to find out for myself. Read More...

Dec 01, 2016 Congratulations you're engaged! Tell your parents. Text your friends and tweet and post the happy news so that everyone can share in the happy occasion. Pick a date, pick a hall, book a honeymoon, and start picking baby names! What? Choosing baby names seems a little premature? Ok, you can do the rest, right? Wrong! Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 In the U.S., there is growing national concern over the obesity epidemic. According to public health workers, anyone with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 is considered obese. Nearly, one-third of Americans are obese today, and it is estimated that by 2030, 42% of Americans will be obese. Obesity is a major concern for a number of reasons, many of which center around the healthcare costs associated with obesity. Read More...

Sep 02, 2015 With Labor Day behind us and the summer unofficially officially over, the great fall sales beckon shoppers to dole out some cash on end-of-the-season sales. The transition into fall makes it  possible to find deals on summer products and snatch up last year’s models before the new ones are unveiled. Here is a quick guide on what to look for while shopping this September. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 Bike sharing is a new phenomenon in the United States that has its roots in Europe and in a city that is legendary for its canals and its bicycle culture Amsterdam. Modern bike sharing got its start in the Dutch capital in 1965 has since evolved into a world wide trend since. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Not all insurance policies are created equally, and not all things need to be insured in this day and age, yet you can get a policy for just about anything. One type of policy that has been around for some time, but with very little fanfare is Tuition Refund Insurance (also known as Tuition Insurance). Read More...

Aug 17, 2015 There are few things as stressful, annoying, and inconvenient as home repair. Whether it’s a busted pipe, leaky roof, or storm-damaged fence, fixing issues like these are always unwelcome additions to the myriad of other daily problems. To make matters worse, it is usually necessary to go through a landlord in order to resolve these problems. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014   More than one third of  American adults are obese. With their average medical costs being $1429 higher than someone who is not overweight, it was about time that the government took notice and did something about it. The Affordable Care Act is doing just that. In the past there were a small handful of insurance companies that helped those who were trying to lose weight, however with Obamacare, most insurance plans are now required to help obese patients lose weight. The methods they cover may vary from plan to plan but one thing is for sure – we are finally getting the help we need to fight the war on obesity. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 According to  Statisticsbrain, data compiled from the Federal Reserve, the US Census Bureau, and the IRS the average American household has approximately $3,800 in a savings account, 40% are not saving for retirement, and 25% have no savings, at all. These numbers should alarm us all, as they reveal that Americans are in real trouble with our finances. Some of this lack of savings can be attributed to the impact the financial crisis has had on us all. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Remember being a kid in grade school or high school as the weather began to warm up, the days got longer, and you became antsier? The anticipation of summer vacation was near, and whether you had no plans or big plans, the freedom to spend time with friends, sleep in, and even travel without having to do homework, was great. Now just because you are a responsible adult, does not mean that feeling has to go away. Enter vacation time! So how do you go about saving for vacation? Simple planning goes a very long way. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Unless you have been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Independent artists, movie makers and musicians have been using it to varying levels of success, and charities have flocked to it in order to raise funds. Kickstarter recently dropped kicked its way into the internet zeitgeist when Zach Braff, of “Scrubs” fame, used it to raise over $3 million for his follow-up to the movie “Garden State.” Kristen Bell also used the site to raise over $5 million for a Veronica Mars movie Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Did you know that most people have over $1000 worth of extra “stuff” in their house? There are treasures hiding in every nook and cranny of your house, you just have to find them. Before you throw anything away, research to see if it has value. Did you know that expired Polaroid film is a hot seller on Ebay? I once sold a pack that I was ready to throw away for $30. Do you have old knickknacks hanging around the house? Check to see if they are selling on ETSY. Vintage is hot right now and those little trinkets your grandparents sent you as a small child may be worth money! Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Attitude has a lot to do with an individuals’ financial decision making and their financial  situation. However, there are a ton of factors that influence a person’s attitude including their emotions and environment. People who are impatient tend to have quick and snappy attitudes that are horrible for good decision making because often that person will act on impulse instead of rational thinking. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 When a mortgage lender or lien holder enlists the court to seize possession of a distressed property that is three or more months in delinquency, a foreclosure happens. These troublesome scenarios create an inventory of “shadow” properties, which are not on the real estate market during court proceedings. A foreclosed home exists in a kind of limbo — vacant, neglected, even subject to vandalism. Read More...

Feb 19, 2016 Whether applying for a home mortgage, buying or leasing a car, or even getting a new cell phone plan, odds are good that a credit check is going to be run. The basic idea is to see how likely it would be for the borrower or customer to not pay their bills. Easy enough, right? Getting to that determination is rather extensive, and it all starts with a credit report. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 Rent-to-own businesses are not new. This $8.5 billion industry has been out there targeting the not-so-rich since long before Troy Aikman and Hulk Hogan started hawking for them. In these stores, you can “rent” furniture, that big screen TV you’ve always wanted, computers, big appliances, the list goes on. The options for payments include 90-day same as cash, and fixed weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payments. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 According to financial calculators on www.finaid.org, the tuition for a public 4-year college when a child born this year enrolls, will cost well over $50k a year. Even in this financial environment, it is not only possible, but extremely helpful to invest in a 529 Plan, which is one of the best college savings plans. Used correctly, it can be a very useful tool for college planning and reaching your long-term goals. Read on to learn about 529 plan rules. Read More...

Jan 13, 2015 The internet has been a major source of disruption for a number of industries from retail to banking. Publishing is no exception with eBooks accounting for 23% of all publisher revenues. That’s a gain of 22% since 2008. However, many still argue that book and music publishing are among the biggest losers in this technological upheaval. Though writers and musicians have historically never been rich by any sense of the word, there was a structure that existed for most of the 20 th century- a neat, and orderly hierarchy of publishers, agents, retailers and artists. Many talented writers led healthy middle class lives for themselves, publishers made millions, retail sales exploded, and agents were the happy go-between. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Car sharing services such as Zipcar, RelayRides and Getaround are all the rage around college campuses and among urban dwellers in crowded cities. In 2012, reports show some 800,000 belonged to car-sharing services, in which members pay a small annual fee to join and can rent cars on an hourly basis using a smart phone app or going online. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 It is a sad day when a debt settlement company is charged with the same type of fraud perpetrated by the creditors with whom they are pledging to define agreements with. This is exactly what happened recently when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a civil suit against Mission Settlement Agency, a debt settlement company based in New York. While hardly surprising—debt settlement companies have earned an increasingly predatory reputation—this incident highlights how careful consumers need to be when considering enlisting help from a debt settlement company or credit counselor. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 Feeding your self can be a tedious task. With all of our deadlines, and meetings picking what to food hardly makes it on to the to-do list. Consequently, we end up picking up something on the way to and from our appointments, causing us to spend unnecessarily. Since these on-the-go meals are usually packaged and processed foods, we are missing out on key nutrients found in whole, unprocessed fruits and veggies. We also miss out on one of the best parts of changing seasons, which is eating produce at its ripest- and also cheapest. Foods that are in season typically cost less, can be found at local grocers and farmer’s markets, and are beneficial to everyone’s health. Read More...

Oct 06, 2014 Renter’s insurance is one of the most ignored types of insurance. Mostly because  many never stop to think about what would happen if they lost their prized possessions in a fire, break-in or natural disaster. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 A hobby can be a wonderful and fulfilling use of your free time.  However, sometimes your recreation budget can get a bit out of control, and going overboard on hobby-related spending can get expensive.  Here are a few tips on how to have fun without breaking the bank. Read More...

Aug 12, 2015 Nothing burns more than when you’re shopping for things and when you “Proceed to Checkout,” suddenly your balance balloons with shipping charges and other fees.  You always feel a bit cheated, and you ask yourself, “How could I have avoided these horrible charges?!” Here are eight shopping sites that will help ease your shipping burden. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 More households than ever spend over half their income on housing. Rental housing costs increased by six percent from 2008 to 2011, while renters’ incomes dropped by over three percent during the same time. Financial experts recommend spending less than 30 percent of income on housing, including utilities. Mortgage lenders cap the combined cost of mortgage payments plus taxes and insurance at 28 percent. No significant change in monthly payments or incomes occurred for homeowners during that time. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 The Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco is one of the world’s most expensive and glamorous events. It is the one race on the Formula One calendar that epitomizes the excessive splendor of the sport. For one weekend in May the world’s most advanced and expensive speed chariots descend on the tax haven by the sea, towing billions of dollars in technical support, advertising revenue and adoring fans. This year 11 Formula One teams will make their way to the sea side municipality of Monaco for the 6th race of the 2013 Formula One season. The Monaco Grand Prix is the second longest running race in Formula One history after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The street race in Monaco has been held without interruption since 1955. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 According to the 2010 Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 53 million people had trouble paying or were unable to pay their medical bills.  Of that 53 million, 30 million had been contacted by a collections agency over unpaid medical debt.  Medical debts can have a severely negative impact on your credit score for several reasons, and there has been debate over whether they should be as credit-impairing as they currently are.  Here’s our breakdown of the situation. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 The most complete way to measure a nation's economy is through its gross domestic product (GDP). America's GDP is comprised of four major components: personal consumption, business investments, government spending, and net exports of good and services. There is one constituent, however, that is not factored into the equation: the U.S. shadow economy. SmartAsset dug deep to uncover details, and evaluate the impact of these elusive economic loopholes. Read More...

Feb 24, 2016 There is some debate on which factors determine what makes the best mass transit, and which cities deserve the title. So we picked the cities that offered the best walkability, towns where a car is about as necessary as a pager, and cities with the overall best mass transit systems. Quality is based on how expansive the transit system is, how many riders use it, and how convenient it is for customers. The answers may surprise you. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Let's face it you work hard and put in a lot of time to earn your money. With all that effort going into generating income, you might want to know where it all goes. Hidden charges, erroneous errors, misleading solicitations and flat out fraud are just some of the activities that companies use to unjustifiably deplete our bank accounts. SmartAsset has rounded up six of the most widely used deceptive bill charges swindling money from consumers. Read More...

Dec 04, 2017 If you’re looking for a reminder that tax day (April 15 th) is right around the corner, turn on your television. As soon as there's a commercial break you will be assaulted by a never ending stream of ads from H&R Block, TurboTax and other tax services.  While the nation is fixated on their own personal taxes, one contentious question continues to rise to the surface: do the rich pay their fair share in taxes? It doesn't make for polite dinner conversation, or particularly captivating bar banter. But we'll take a look at the three main aspects of the current tax environment to see where the truth lies. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Tax season is more than upon us, the official deadline is just one week away on April 15. While some can expect returns upon filing, there are others who have a tax liability — an amount owed by an individual to the government. Depending on your income level and assets, including investments, properties, etc., the amount you are obligated to pay the IRS may be more than you have at your disposal. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate owner, now is the best time to invest in a new property.  A perfect storm is brewing for individuals and families to make the most of their money through home ownership. Here are five key factors contributing to this trend. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 President Barack Obama announced Monday morning his intentions to mortgage the White House. The announcement  followed a closed  meeting with congressional leaders and executives from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase. The plan also outlines provisions to mortgage  Camp David, and Number One Observatory Circle. Read More...

Dec 15, 2014 When you close on a property there are administrative costs that need to be covered before you can call yourself the owner.  These are closing costs, and where there is a large financial transaction paperwork will surely follow. First time home buyers may have a number of questions concerning the closing process. SmartAsset can help guide you through labyrinth of fees and checks. Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 Americans on both coasts often believe they live in the most expensive cities in the world. They will complain, groan about the exorbitant costs of living,  and document how gentrification is ruining their lovely city. SmartAsset sought to address those pleas with our series on homes costing $350,000. As it turns out, the burden of living in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York pales in comparison to living in most major metropolises in the rest of the world. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 The F-bomb has become a pernicious problem for many Americans. No, not the F-bomb that makes a PG-13 movie rated R. We're talking exclusively about foreclosures. Though home values have risen substantially across the country since the summer of 2012, there are still many Americans dealing with the threat or reality of foreclosure. Foreclosures rose by 25 percent in North Carolina last year alone, according to Journalnow.com. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 Who you are is important, and your identity is directly connected to your credit score- the single most important three digit number in personal finance. If you’re  looking to buy your first home, looking for a new home mortgage, insurance or a credit card, nothing is more crucial than what your credit report says about you. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 Today we launched SmartAsset.  It's only been a few weeks since our first office hours at YCombinator this summer, where Paul Graham took a long look at our beta designed to provide personalized advice to first time home buyers, furrowed his brow and asked, “So how is this better than a financial calculator?” Read More...