Dec 23, 2014Whether 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.
Dec 23, 2014According to a Columbia University researcher each of us knows about 600 people. The same research also indicates that we only know 10 to 25 people well enough to say we trust them. Those two numbers are important because they represent the scale and scope of our individual worlds. While there are billions of people in the entire world, we will never see most of them, let alone know them or trust them.
Dec 23, 2014Three American professors were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science on Monday for their collective body of work on the movement of asset prices. The laureates were honored jointly for their individual research, which is described by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences as having “laid the foundation for the current understanding of asset prices."
Dec 23, 2014I would like to make a confession right here, right now. So if you are squeamish about other people's deepest darkest shortcomings look away so as to avoid irreparable permanent injury. I don't do social media.
Jan 02, 2015If the government shutdown isn’t enough to convince you just how interwoven health care and finances are, nothing will. You can keep your own budget from shutting down in the face of health concerns, however. During the season of sickness, when cold and flu germs lurk all over, it (literally) pays to build up your immune system.
Jan 12, 2016In the next two weeks, the US economy will be facing a real economic threat. If the debt ceiling is not raised by Oct. 17, the US will run out of money and not be able to pay all of its bills. The debt ceiling has been raised 78 times since 1960 but due to the division between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, things aren't looking too good right now. Most people expect Congress to reach a last minute deal but should they fail, the economic consequences could be monumental. But first, what exactly is the debt ceiling and should the average American be worried about it?
Jan 02, 2015Keep 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.
Dec 20, 2016At the beginning of each fall, when thousands of college students are filing into classrooms and dorm rooms across the country, schools and students alike wait in anticipation for the famed U.S. News & World Report College Rankings. The rankings are among the most famous of all the collegiate rankings produced annually but each year there's undoubtedly more and more controversy. Since the rankings fail to take into account a multitude of factors and overweigh certain aspects not everyone thinks they're a very good measure of the quality of a university.
Jan 02, 2015As the economy has recovered over the past few years, so have the wallets of the richest Americans. The top 10 percent of earners took home more than half of the country's total income in 2012. Think about that statistic for a moment and let it sink in. Nearly 50% of all the money made last year in the United States went to only 10% of the population.
Dec 23, 2014Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about the government shutdown. This week the government shutdown because Congress and the President could not agree on the issues surrounding the federal budget and the Affordable Care Act.
Jan 02, 2015It is commonly said that attractive people have a happier, more successful life than their less attractive counterparts – but how does this affect your wallet?
Dec 23, 2014How much do you make? A major concern emerged at the height of the financial crisis and it has consistently been discussed ever since: executive compensation. The fact that many CEOs whose companies were at the center of the financial crisis, were still able to walk away with millions of dollars in compensation, was not lost on many people. Most notably, former Lehman Brother’s CEO, Richard Fuld, received $484 million in salary, bonuses, and stock option between 2000 and 2008. In 2008 the investment bank he ran declared bankruptcy. Five years later, executive compensation is still very much the topic of debate.
Dec 22, 2016The IRS sends out millions of notices every year, that's tens of thousands of letters every day. A typical scenario goes something like this; an IRS computer sends a form letter that has been personalized with your information to a printer. It gets folded, put in an envelope and sent out with the rest of that day's mail.
Dec 23, 2014FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.” Even if we don’t want to admit it, we've all felt it at times. The inter-connectivity of social media is adding a new dimension to how we share our personal lives. When we are sitting at home on a Friday night while others post pictures of fabulous parties and vacation, it often feels like we aren’t doing enough. The "fear of missing out" on a fun night with friends or family can quickly become the "fear of missing out" on a better life. So we say yes to the dinner out we can't afford, take the expensive vacation and generally spend more than we should leading to one big problem: FOMO can get expensive.
Dec 23, 2014One 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.
Dec 23, 2014The 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.
Dec 01, 2016Congratulations 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!
Dec 23, 2014This is a guest post from Bo Lu, CEO of FutureAdvisor, a fee-only registered investment advisor. Even the most amateur investor has probably heard that they should diversify their portfolio. We all know that it's important to diversify, and most investors probably think they're very well diversified. But diversification requires more than just picking a few companies you believe in, and making sure they’re in different industries. It actually requires splitting your investments among different classes of investments (stocks vs. bonds), looking outside the United States (domestic vs. international) and more. Diversifying might seem like a complex topic but here are some key points about it.
Dec 23, 2014The future of health care is here. Regardless of your personal political views or even your opinion of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, the next big phase of the law will go live on October 1 st of this year with the start of open enrollment in the health insurance exchanges. If you don't know or are just not sure how they work you are not alone.
Dec 23, 2014We all love new things and Crowdfunding or Crowd Financing certainly sounds new but is it? What about taxes? Rumor has it that it's tax free! Stop or at least slow down and gather the facts before you run out and get yourself in over your head.
Dec 22, 2014Last week, an unfortunate (and hungry) Seattle Starbucks Employee lost his job for eating an egg sandwich out of the trash. This state of affairs brings up some interesting questions, such as, “does eating marked-out food from the trash constitute theft?” and, “should that really be considered a fire-able offense?” While these important questions are debated in comments sections across the Internet, we at Smartasset will exercise pragmatism by exploring low-cost lunch alternatives that make the waste-bin look less appetizing.
Dec 22, 2014In 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.
Apr 10, 2017Technology has become a way of life for most of us. The convenience of being able to conduct our shopping online, entertain ourselves, communicate with friends and family across state or international borders has given us a reason to spend a great deal of time with our face glued to a screen. Although technology can be extremely beneficial, there are drawbacks to constantly being inundated with online advertisements, work e-mails, and even the constant barrage of tweets and Instagram photos. Not only can being constantly digitally connected impact your overall well-being, it can also do a number on your finances. Given the ease and convenience of online shopping, many retailers have found ways to entice customers to spend more than they originally intended. For example, websites such as Amazon.com use special formulas based on your previous purchases to advertise or recommend books or other items that you may be interested in.
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.
Dec 22, 2014Believe it or not the rich have financial problems too, and Paul Aitken is a man who understands that. He knows that even the wealthiest often find themselves strapped for cash. He has the money they need, but only if he can hold on to something of theirs until they can pay him back. With interest, of course.
Jan 03, 2018It has been a while since our last installment of " How Much House Can You Buy?", and we're excited to pick it up again by bringing you to the heart of New England. That's right–we are heading to beautiful Boston, where the leaves are falling and home values are rising. While still the bustling metropolis pictured above, Boston maintains a New England charm reminiscent of a simpler time; a time before Ben Affleck was Batman, The Town was a movie , and everyone started overusing the term, “wicked.” Its residents enjoy tight-knit neighborhood communities whose diverse cultural influences date back hundreds of years. The city also boasts over 50 colleges and universities, a revamped waterfront, and the Massachusetts healthcare system that ranks 4th in the country.
Dec 22, 2014The cost of higher education has been a hot topic in recent months. Headlines about congressional squabbles regarding student loan interest rates, and reports of student loan debt topping $1 trillion are just the tip of the issues surrounding higher education. According to the non-profit advocacy group CollegeBoard, tuition prices at public colleges have jumped 4.8 percent over the 2011-2012 academic year. Tuition is up by 4.2 percent at private universities. In an effort to address concerns about rapidly soaring education costs, President Obama has proposed a new measure that could make college more affordable for millions of students.
Dec 22, 2014New York City is one of the most expensive cities to visit, and live, in the country and in the fall it's also one of the most beautiful. What a lot of people don’t realize is that for every expensive attraction or show, there are just as many free things to do in NYC as well. In the city that never sleeps, you can find enough activities to keep you busy all day and keep you up all night. When you get to NYC, pick up a Time Out magazine or check out their website. I find it’s a wealth of information when it comes to finding free things to do in NYC. You can find everything from free buffets at happy hour to free classes and more. These activities can vary from day to day. If you can’t find something in there to do, you can always check out these great alternatives.
Dec 22, 2016Knowing that buying a house will most likely be the biggest financial decision you will ever make can be a very daunting concept. For generations, it has been the main goal of many families. Immigrants who came to this country during the Industrial Revolution, had dreams and aspirations of putting their name on something, and being able to pass on a legacy to their children. The home was the first step in that fantasy.
Dec 22, 2014Let's be honest if you saw a headline that said 15 Years of Hard Work and College Degree Lead to Entrepreneurial Success you would probably not read it. If on the other hand you saw the headline "College Dropout Beats IBM at their Own Game" you would devour it! The second headline is my take on the Bill Gates gets rich story. Now is the moment when those of you reading this article will split into two distinct groups, both of which will be loudly exclaiming, Hell Yeah!
Jan 13, 2016With the average yearly cost of attendance approaching $20,000 for public colleges and universities and $40,000 for private schools, more students than ever are financing their education. As a result, student loan debt has hit an all-time high, with recent estimates putting the total at just over the $1 trillion mark. For grads entering the still-recovering job market, paying down a mountain of loans can seem like an impossible feat, but there is hope. Thanks to various student loan forgiveness acts, you could be eligible for student loan relief, which can help you get the student loan debt monkey off your back once and for all.
Dec 22, 2014Bike 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.
Oct 06, 2014Handling your money is a personal endeavor. You are the person in control of what you spend on and how much you allocate to your expenses. The amount of pressure and responsibility is part of what makes budgeting so difficult. How do you decide what to buy, when to buy it, and how much you should spend? Saving money presents challenges all its own. Add to this chaos the confusion of loans, debt, and perhaps mortgages, and crafting a personal budget becomes a near impossible task.
Aug 12, 2013President Obama unveiled a plan to begin shifting the responsibility of mortgage financing away from the government and into the private sector. Effectively this would mean lessening the market share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the financing of mortgage loans.
Dec 18, 2014When financial experts say that your home is an asset, they are not kidding! Imagine turning your home into a pension while still residing in it as long as you can? Well, it’s possible.
Dec 18, 2014Not 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).
Aug 17, 2015There 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.
Aug 12, 2015Trends come and go, but fitness is forever. For many of us, however, staying fit is a constant fight against time, inertia, and boredom, and the various trends that help reinvent fitness are a reliable source of reinvigoration. Fitness trends also offer us new and innovative ways of staying healthy, and the more options there are out there to do that, the better the chances we find one that really suits us. Being healthy can often mean finding a workout that works for you, a fitness trends that just fits.
Dec 18, 2014More 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.
Dec 18, 2014Several major hedge funds have recently begun buying shares of mortgage insurance companies in large quantities. This happened once before, in 2008, right after the first phase of the financial crisis, which is why investors are a bit skeptical this time around.
Dec 18, 2014According 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.
Dec 18, 2014The economy is looking up, so why am I so down? The economic clouds are parting and the sun is finally poking through which can only mean one thing, interest rates are going to go up. Interest rates, like your lawn after a week of clouds and rain, once the sun comes out it can grow overnight to an unruly mess. No one is saying that interest rates are going to sky rocket out of control but they are going up, here's how to cope with the quickly changing market.
Dec 18, 2014The writing has been on the wall for some time now, but some words from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in late June sent housing market analysts into a bit of a tizzy. Everybody is worried about being the last one at the party, but the better question to ask is if the party is actually coming to an end? On Wednesday, June 21 st, Bernanke’s comments suggested that the world is seeing the beginning of the end of the aggressive monetary easing we have all gotten used to. It’s hard to continue to print money when the country is running out of trees. This announcement caused key interest rates to rise.
Jan 02, 2015Remember 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.
Dec 18, 2014If you're in the market for a mortgage and you've opened up the business section of your newspaper recently, then you were likely attracted to headlines screaming bloody-murder over the dramatic rise (relative) in 30 year fixed rate mortgages. The increase on 30 year fixed rate mortgages has gone from a lender average of 3.375 percent in mid-April, to 4.50 percent currently. It peaked at 4.75 percent earlier this month before pulling back slightly. Rates are now the highest they have been in over two years.
Dec 18, 2014Gregory Kloehn of Oakland, California doesn’t pay rent or a mortgage on his second home. His home is located in Brooklyn, one of the most expensive places to own a home in the country. He has a bathroom, kitchen, living room and even a sunroof. Sounds great right? What if I told you that Gregory lives in a dumpster? No he isn’t homeless. Gregory, an artist, lives in his renovated dumpster by choice. He has become one of the pioneers in micro living and lately he isn’t the only one choosing this lifestyle
Dec 18, 2014Unless 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
Dec 18, 2014Did 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!
Dec 22, 2016The global economy has shown signs of slowing. Financial security is not something easy to come by, and if found, should be considered a lucky thing to have. Some could say the same of finding a mate and getting married. It has been long known that marriage is financially beneficial for both parties for a number of reasons.
Dec 17, 2014Moving back home with your parents may be a little embarrassing, but it is an increasingly common choice for American 20-somethings. As recent college graduates they may need a place to stay while they get their feet on the ground. Whether you are waiting for a job, looking for a cheap apartment, or biding time until marriage, use these tips to keep your family from going crazy.
Dec 17, 2014Attitude 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.
Dec 17, 2014When 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.
Jun 16, 2016Continuing our series, we scoured the web once again to bring you a list of the best and worst items to buy in July. July marks the middle of summer, when Memorial Day sales have ended and Labor Day sales are still a couple of months away. Still, certain electronics and home items are as cheap as they can be found at this time of the year. Check out what SmartAsset found to be the best and worst buys for July.
Feb 19, 2016Whether 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.
Sep 25, 2017Rent-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.
Dec 17, 2014What do you do if you are one of the largest governmental agencies, responsible for the millions of records of employee across the country, in addition to sending out millions of payments per month? Well, if you’re Social Security, you create an app for smartphones. It is estimated that Social Security is accountable for the financial records of 160 million workers, and sends more than 55 million payments out each month (Landis, 2013).
Jan 13, 2016According 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.
Dec 17, 2014Just when you thought Google had peaked their technological innovation with Google Glass, they have upped the ante once again. When it was founded in 2011, Google Wallet was the prize pig of the internets most popular search engine. It allows you to compile all of your credit cards into one space, and connect to them through your smartphone. With it’s “Tap and Pay” feature, you can pay at any store where there are Near Field Communications (when smartphones and similar technologies can communicate with one another through touching).
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.
Dec 17, 2014The federal student financial aid landscape is changing for 2014. From next year on students who have cohabiting and unmarried parents will need to include the incomes of both parents on the forms. This includes all cohabiting parents, even those in same sex relationships. This is the first time that these aid forms will collect the income information and other data from the legal parents of a student regardless of their marital status and gender, if they are living together.
Dec 17, 2014According to a national study conducted last year, only 27% of Americans formally volunteer. Unfortunately, in these tough economic times, many social services, community outreach programs, and cultural organizations have suffered cutbacks that make it very difficult for them to provide for the people who need help the most. Now more than ever, charitable organizations need volunteers who can fill the breach opened by years of recession. Volunteering is an act that improves both giver and receiver. Check out this list of volunteer ideas and make yourself and the world a better place.
Dec 17, 2014Homeownership has long been viewed as a sign of health for the economy. That said, there seems to be an ideal level of homeownership in America at around 65-66 percent. That is, roughly two out of three adults should be homeowners. The final third may not be able to afford or qualify to own a home, or may be in a transitional period, either as young adults first entering the workforce, or otherwise. Many working adults in expensive urban areas choose renting over buying simply as the best financial option.
Dec 17, 2014Samoan Air recently announced a new ticketing price scheme that attaches the passenger’s plane ticket price to their weight. At first glance it sounds like another case of discrimination that will end in a law suit leading to increased fares for all travelers. It can't seem fair to make heavier travelers pay extra for their passage, right?
Dec 17, 2014Have you stayed in a hostel lately? If so, you may have noticed something very different from the traditional image of the hostel experience. Hostels are looking and feeling more and more like hotels instead of the low scale, boarding room style accommodations, typically associated with young college students or graduates in their early twenties. According to STAY WYSE, an organization that represents the travel industry’s global youth travel accommodation sector, this sector has reached a value of $34 billion.
Dec 17, 2014If you're a part of the graduating class of 2013 you can consider yourself among the luckiest batch of recent college grads. Why? The job market for new graduates is considerably brighter than it has been in the past few years. A National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) survey demonstrates businesses plan to add between two and 13 percent additional college graduates in 2013 compared to 2012. NACE also reports salary expectations for 2013 grads should see an increase over five percent from previous years.
Dec 17, 2014A recent article in the NY Times pointed out the effect of large Wall Street investors, such as The Blackstone Group and Colony Capital, on the housing recovery. In depressed regions such as parts of Florida and Southern California, institutional investors saw an opportunity as prices bottomed, and have been buying foreclosed homes in large numbers. In some cases, they bought up entire neighborhoods. They are mostly retaining these homes as rentals, with the intention of selling when prices increase.
Dec 17, 2014Car 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.
Dec 17, 2014If you have ever been to a flea market, or lived in a city where people hawk goods on the sidewalk you're well aware of counterfeit luxury goods. Knock offbranded sunglasses, watches, purses, shoes, and hats that are sold daily all over the world. The counterfeit business draws more than $1 billion each year, and would be the world’s largest economic activity if it were legal. There are numerous counterfeit luxury markets including those for rare bottles of wine and liquor, golf clubs, electronics, and even prescription drugs. Although this can be devastating to companies and corporations, it may actually be beneficial for consumers; if they don't mind sporting a copycat.
Dec 17, 2014
As the real estate market heats up across the country, certain markets have really gone into over-drive. Looking at the most recent data from Realtor.com, some of the hottest regions are the ones you would anticipate to lead the housing recovery, but there are also some surprises. Highlighted are five real estate markets where inventory has dropped significantly, leading to a seller’s market and a very competitive environment for buyers.
Dec 17, 2014Ever since Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" the media has always had an appetite for the bizarre, often disgusting, inner workings of the food industry. The higher the gross-out factor, the greater chance of something like the word “horsemeat” becoming a trending topic on Twitter or becoming the buzzword around the office. This sort of thing pops up every so often, but it seems especially relevant these days with so much media, entertainment, activism, and general awareness surrounding the purity and quality of foodstuffs.
Dec 21, 2016It 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.
Dec 17, 2014If you are a homeowner, you are very familiar with the mortgage interest deduction you claim on your taxes each year. No doubt you are a big fan of it as well! But whether you have a mortgage now or are considering buying a home with a mortgage in the next few years, you should be aware of proposed changes in the tax code which may change or eliminate this benefit of home ownership.
Dec 21, 2016Feeding 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.
Dec 17, 2014For many college students, paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks seems like the biggest scam. Probably more so for those students that find that they barely use those said textbooks in their classes. Then the final insult comes when trying to sell those textbooks back to the college bookstore and getting a buyback offer that is hilariously low. For the savvy student there are ways to getting the most back from selling the textbooks.
Dec 17, 2014Hurricane season is here again. With thousands still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many of us are rethinking how to better prepare ourselves for this season. While it’s important to ready your home against disaster we often overlook preparing for the long haul in order to maintain a healthy diet.
Jan 23, 2015It seems things are looking up for the average consumer. According to recent data, the cost of living has gone down. The Consumer-Price Index dropped .2 percent in March 2013, allowing the month to truly go out like a lamb.
Oct 06, 2014Renter’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.
Dec 16, 2014A 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.
Aug 12, 2015Nothing 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.
Dec 16, 2014More 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.
Aug 12, 2015The 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.
Dec 23, 2014If you were to sit and think for a moment, the concept of growth in technology would visually represent the scene in Star Wars when the Millennium Falcon hits light speed. New apps, or updates for old ones, are released almost daily. They are a time suck. Social media apps like Facebook and gaming apps can be addicting.
Apr 10, 2017When it comes to saving money, timing is everything. It takes more to be a super savvy spender and saver than just clipping coupons and comparing prices. The real spendthrifts out there know that in order to maximize savings, you have to time your purchases so you can buy when prices are lowest.
Jan 12, 2017The way food is packaged has much to do with the types of foods we eat, and which brands we buy. Most marketing tactics are fairly obvious, like bright colors and eye-catching logos. What isn't as obvious is that the way our snacks are presented to us can also influence how much we consume. After all we eat with our eyes first, and looks can be deceiving.
Dec 16, 2014According 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.
Dec 16, 2014If you're reading this you may or not have seen "The Great Gatsby" movie starring Leondardo DiCaprio. However, you probably read the book originally penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald in High School. If so you're well aware of the sheer decadence that defines Jay Gatsby's life. But what if Jay Gatsby lived in 2013? It wouldn't be too crazy of a thought exercise. There's no shortage of opulently rich individuals doing incredibly insane things with their money today just like they were in the late 1920's.
Dec 15, 2014The first time I heard of Kickstarter was when a musician friend used it to publicly finance her new album. Using only a webpage, endearing pleas for support and promises of thank-you swag in return, she grew a rally of dedicated financial supporters across the web-o-sphere in the span of weeks.
Dec 15, 2014The 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.
Dec 15, 2014The Obama administration announced on April 10 th its projection that the Federal Housing Administration will require a $943-million bailout at the end of the year. The money will be used to cover estimated future losses on defaulting mortgage loans insured by the FHA during the Great Recession. The FHA has never taken a taxpayer bailout in its 79-year history.
Feb 24, 2016There 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.
Feb 15, 2017Every year, there are more cars on the road. While the mass transit departments of America’s metropolitan areas struggle to keep up with growing population and urban sprawl, long commutes are becoming an ever-present part of daily life. Some have it worse than others, but every rush-hour commute has its own, unique mechanism to aggravate and enrage. Here are America’s worst commutes, broken down by specific brand of hell.
Dec 15, 2014The United States Census Bureau reports that, in 2010, 37.5 million people moved households. Among the most popular reasons for this large migration include change in marital status, employment needs and other family concerns. With this information, we can deduce that people are constantly buying, selling, shipping and moving the contents in their homes, but are they doing it in the most efficient manner? It's possible to break even in a move if you take preparation seriously, do your research and are open to a personal belongings cleanse.
Dec 23, 20142006 may have been a forgettable year for most Americans.Unless you were a homeowner riding high on your ballooning net worth as home prices shot through the roof nationwide. If you were a first time home buyer, you were finally living the American dream of home ownership even if you didn't have a job.
Dec 15, 2014Seniors aged 65 years and older are racking up debt, according to a news release recently issued by the U.S. Census Bureau. Not only is this age group more likely to attach debt to their homes, they are also borrowing more.
Dec 15, 2014Let'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.
Dec 23, 2014For generations past, home ownership was easily accessible to most young people with steady employment. However over the last past 30 years, the 20- and early 30-something demographic has lost a significant amount of its real estate buying power. Currently the majority of millennials face a variety of financial obstacles not limited to soaring college debt, and underemployment. Many have chosen to move back in with, or to rent for longer periods of time compared to previous generations.
Dec 04, 2017If 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.
Dec 15, 2014VantageScore Solutions recently introduced a new credit scoring model. Introduced in March 2013 Vantage Score 3.0 has already established itself as one the most unique credit scoring systems in the country.
Dec 15, 2014Tax 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.
Dec 22, 2014Earlier this week we reported on the White House’s intentions to mortgage- the ummm -White House. The whole thing was a bit of an April Fools joke, but all the numbers we used were very real, and very serious. In the process of researching our attempt at satire, we made some interesting discoveries about Washington DC's real estate market.
Dec 15, 2014Are you thinking of taking out an FHA loan for your new home? Here’s what you should know about upcoming changes that might affect your decision.
Dec 15, 2014Whether 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.
Nov 07, 2017President 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.
Dec 15, 2014When 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.
Dec 12, 2014Fisker, once the darling of America’s green evolution and the twinkle in Hollywood’s eye, is on life support. This comes after purchase talks with Chinese automaker Geely Automotive fell through. It is a sad story filled with tales of mismanagement, too much ambition, bad luck and more bad luck. But there are many lessons to be learned from Fisker’s demise that apply to your own finances.
Dec 29, 2014Americans 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.
Dec 22, 2016The 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.
Dec 22, 2014Happening in Austin this week is everyone's favorite music/film/ tech festival, SXSW. Unfortunately SmartAsset couldn't make it, but Austin remains a great city nonetheless. In fact it's so great that you will not want to leave its warm embrace. An embrace made entirely of Shiner Bock, southern hospitality, liberal ideals (cough, cough), great music, and all things indie.
Dec 21, 2016Who 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.
Dec 21, 2016How much house can you afford? Policy makers in Washington believe they have the answer. Why? Because the US government currently supports 90% of all new home mortgages.
Apr 10, 2017Today 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?”