2014′s States with the Biggest Spenders

WH States with the Biggest Spenders BadgeBlowing cash appears to be the new American pastime. Between 2010 and 2020, global spending will increase 43 percent from $28 trillion to $40 trillion, according to a report from consulting firm A.T. Kearney. And the U.S. will account for an entire quarter of the growth pie.

While the Great Recession continues to permeate the air in parts of the U.S., the rest of the country is sweeping away the remaining economic cobwebs from the crisis. This past October, the Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” reported all manner of improvements: jobs expanding, industries growing, consumer spending on the rise.

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2014 Maryland Car Insurance Report

Maryland Car Insurance When it comes to Maryland, big things really do come in small packages. In 2011, the Free State charged the tenth most expensive car insurance premiums in the country. That’s despite having little road to cover (17,000 lane miles), one of the lowest rates (315) of traffic-related fatalities (315) and minimum liability insurance limits just slightly higher than the national average. Maryland drivers must carry at least $30,000 of coverage per person and $60,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 for property damage.

So what’s boosting the cost?

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2014’s Best & Worst Retailers for Black Friday Deals

WH Best Worst Retailers for Black Friday Deals BadgeFollowing a hearty Thanksgiving feast, armies of turkey-stuffed consumers will descend on America’s stores into the wee hours of the night to conquer one mission: save bigtime. It’s one of our country’s most sacred holiday traditions. If you’re familiar with the custom and need a reason to be grateful this year, you can appreciate us for finding the retailers with the best — and worst — Black Friday deals.

And who could blame consumers for their Black Friday enthusiasm? After all, a U.S. economy on the mend appears to be boosting consumers’ confidence and beefing up their wallets. This holiday season, including November and December, the National Retail Federation estimates that total retail sales will reach $616.9 billion, an increase of 4.1 percent from nearly $592.7 billion in 2013.

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2014 Auto Financing Report

WH Study Auto Financing BadgeIs now a good time to buy a car? Well, a lot of people certainly seem to be doing it. Through October, year-to-date new vehicle sales are up 5.4% over 2013 at 13.6 million vehicles sold, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. And through the second quarter of the year, used car sales are at 18.72 million, according to Edmunds.

With the economy improving, the average vehicle at 11.4 years old and a variety of technologically advanced new models hitting the market, it seems that demand is high. Prospective buyers also have near-record-low interest rates on their side, making the purchase decision easier for the roughly 92% of consumers who finance or lease. But where can the best deals be found in this market?

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2014′s Best & Worst States at Combating the High Cost of Lung Cancer

WH Best Worst High Cost of Lung Cancer BadgeLung cancer is a costly disease. It claims more lives in the U.S. than the next three most common types of cancer combined: colon, breast and pancreatic. And the chance of surviving lung cancer is equally disappointing — an underwhelming 16.6 percent, compared with 64.2 percent for colon cancer and 89.2 percent for breast cancer — calling for heightened attention to the deadly disease.

Not only is lung cancer physically and emotionally taxing, it also imposes an astounding financial toll on both the person it afflicts and the rest of society. According to the most recent National Institutes of Health estimates, the disease accounted for $12.1 billion of total cancer care costs in 2010. Five years earlier, premature deaths from lung cancer among adults aged 20 and older resulted in $36.1 billion in lost productivity.

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11 Ways the 2014 Elections Will Impact Your Wallet

2014 Elections And Your Wallet

With the midterm elections over and Congress now firmly in the Republican Party’s control, President Obama must face his final two years in office with little legislative support. While it remains to be seen exactly how the new balance of power will manifest itself in terms of a working relationship in Washington – with a legacy to be cemented, voter promises to uphold and the foundations of 2016 candidacies to be laid – both sides of the isle are currently preaching bipartisanship. That, of course, is standard post-election politics, and it’s fair to wonder how the new dynamic will impact major issues such as health care reform, financial regulation, and the economy once time for governing ultimately commences.

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2014′s Best and Worst Cities for Veterans

WH Best and Worst Cities for Veterans BadgeFreedom is not free. Protecting Americans and their way of life occasionally carries the heavy cost of war. As we go on about our daily lives, our troops sacrifice theirs so we may sleep soundly at night, many of us unaware of the unfortunate events that transpire in distant lands.

In return, it is our duty to safeguard our veterans’ and their families’ rights back home. They deserve to be adequately compensated with quality health care, housing and education among other benefits.

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2014′s Best & Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel

WH Best and Worst Cities Winter Holiday Travel BadgeWhen the mercury drops, some folks welcome the cold with open arms. Take it from the nearly 57 million skiers who hit the slopes in the U.S. during the chilly months between 2012 and 2013. Others do the opposite: Where the sun goes, they will follow. And with forecasts of heavy snowfall and occasional arctic air for the coming winter, expect a mass exodus of both warm- and cold-weather lovers toward their favorite climates.

This year, Americans certainly aren’t cutting back on their winter travel expenses. In fact, nearly a third of them are planning to increase their leisure travel spending, according to the most recent State of the American Traveler survey. And annually, they spend more than $53 billion on cold-weather gear, accessories, vehicles and travel alone.

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What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Taxes

What If I Cant Pay My Taxes

Tax season is a stressful time for most people, but it’s especially difficult for those of us with doubts about our ability to pay the IRS. The good news is there are a number of ways anyone can make an unmanageable tax obligation easier to deal with without drastically driving up the costs. Here are some tips.

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2014′s States with the Most and Least Powerful Voters

WH Powerful Voters BadgeIn case you missed the memo that Nov. 4 is midterm election day in the Land of Liberty, let this serve as a last-minute reminder: Tomorrow, you will decide who calls the shots in government — and on your wallet.

But before you approach the voting booth, ask yourself: How much is my vote worth? Although the U.S. is a democratic nation, ballots carry different weights based on the state in which one lives. Take California, for instance. Its estimated population is nearly 66 times greater than Wyoming’s, yet each state has two seats in the Senate. In this case, less is more: California’s votes are weakened exponentially because each of its senators must represent tens of millions more residents.

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2014′s Best and Worst Cities for Halloween

WH Best Badge HalloweenIt’s that time of year again when everyone gets to play dress-up and devour sweet treats. No, we’re not talking about your company’s annual meeting. Halloween is just around the corner, and no one’s scrimping on costumes — or other holiday costs — this year.

In September, the National Retail Federation released its 2014 “Halloween Consumer Spending Survey.” And the results are freaky, according to the NRF: “More than two-thirds (67.4%) of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes for the holiday, the most in the survey’s 11-year history.”

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2014′s Most and Least Politically Engaged States

WH Best Politically Engaged States BadgeCivic participation is a key ingredient of a well-functioning democracy, and voter turnout is one measure of the public’s trust in government. But with a growing lack of political engagement from its citizens, the United States of America might soon rename itself the United States of Apathy.

Most recently, 15 of the first 25 statewide primary elections this year reported record-low voter turnouts. Overall, only 14.8 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots compared with 18.3 percent in 2010. This downward trend has continued since the 1960s, similar to the trend in presidential elections. And among democratic nations that track turnout at the polls, the U.S. usually ranks near the bottom. That’s no surprise, considering most states don’t emphasize civic education in their schools.

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2014′s Metro Areas with the Best and Worst Budgeters

WH Best Budgeters BadgeThe economic struggles we’ve endured in recent years have placed considerable emphasis on both the importance of budgeting and our overall inability (or unwillingness) to do so. Roughly three in five adult Americans do not maintain a budget, and 13 percent say they don’t even have a good idea of what they spend on expenses such as housing, food and entertainment, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

In the interest of giving the most responsible consumers their just due while putting everyone else on notice, WalletHub searched for the best and worst budgeters in the United States. We did so by examining 16 key metrics, ranging from the average credit score to the percentage of unbanked households. The results of our study, as well as useful budgeting tips, additional insight from experts and a detailed methodology, can be found below.

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2014′s Best and Worst Foodie Cities for Your Wallet

WH Best Foodies BadgeFor cash-strapped foodies, mastering the art of good eating also requires conquering the science of smart budgeting. Today, Americans spend almost 10 percent of their disposable income on food and nearly a third of every food dollar on restaurant services.

But even though the United States currently has the cheapest food in history, a 2014 report from the National Restaurant Association suggests dining out is too pricey for a sizable portion of Americans. According to the association, 72 percent of consumers would consider eating out more frequently “if menu prices were lower during off-peak times.”

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2014′s Best and Worst States for Student Debt

WH Best and Worst States for Student Debt BadgeLocation, location, location. The real-estate industry can stop claiming ownership of the mantra. In the present economic climate, where college graduates choose to put down roots reflects even the value of their degrees. With nearly 11 percent of all student loan debt in delinquency or default and jobs still in short supply, location plays a renewed function in the size of return that higher-education investments can yield.

Save for mortgages, student loans constitute the largest component of household debt for Americans. As of June 30, 2014, total outstanding student loan balances disclosed on credit reports stood at $1.12 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported in August. The latest figure represents an increase of $7 billion from the first quarter and $124 billion from a year ago.

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Guide to SR-22 Insurance: Cost & Quote Comparison, State Info & More

SR 22 Insurance

Certificate of Financial Responsibility (SR-22)

States ensure that risky drivers carry at least the minimum auto insurance required by having them file a certificate of financial responsibility called an SR-22.This is important since high-risk drivers may be more likely to commit other violations in the future. Although sometimes referred to as an “SR-22 insurance” or an “SR-22 bond” it is actually just a form filed with the state on the driver’s behalf by the car insurance provider that verifies state insurance requirements have been met.

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2014′s Richest and Poorest States

Richest and Poorest StatesThe wealth gap in post-recession America can be summarized in one cliché: the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. In 2014, the aid confederation Oxfam International reported that “the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009.” Within the same period, overall income levels declined for the bottom 90 percent.

In even deeper trouble is the middle class, whose incomes “have been either stagnant or declining since peaking in 1999,” according to the Center for American Progress. At an income of $51,939 in 2013, the average middle-class household still earns almost $4,500 less than it did pre-recession. In fact, the median household now makes less compared with how much it earned in 1989.

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2014′s Most and Least Energy Efficient States

WH Best Badges Energy EfficiencyEnergy constitutes one of the biggest expenses for consumers. The average American household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, almost half of which goes to heating and cooling expenses.

For the entire country, energy plays a key role as well. Besides having an impact on our environment, it is essential to our national security and prosperity. And its economic implications are great. A McKinsey & Company report estimated that a $520 billion initial investment on energy efficiency measures could save the economy more than $1.2 trillion. In addition, annual greenhouse gas emissions could potentially be reduced by 1.1 gigatons — “the equivalent of taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the roads.”

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Liability Car Insurance Guide, Requirements, & Quote Comparison

Liability Car Insurance
If you cause a car accident, liability insurance will cover injuries to other people and damage to their property.Liability car insurance is one of the most important types of car insurance. In fact, states typically require drivers to have a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage.

Liability auto insurance comes in two forms. One is bodily injury liability coverage, which covers all expenses related to physical injury to other parties. The other is property damage liability coverage, which pays for repairs to the victim’s damaged property, including a car or a house.

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Collision Insurance Coverage: What it Covers, Cost, Deciding to Buy It

Collision Insurance

What is Collision Insurance and What Does it Cover?

Collision insurance covers some or all of your car repair or replacement costs if you are in an accident with another vehicle e coverage, when to drop collision insuranor drive into an object such as a tree, building, or telephone pole. It also covers damage from accidents where no other car or object is involved, such as if you roll over or flip your car. Collision insurance is one of five basic types of car insurance coverage.

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