2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycations

2014 Best and Worst Cities for StaycationSummer hasn’t even officially started, and travel is already trending upward, as Americans can’t seem to wait for an escape. More than 37 million people ventured at least 50 miles from home throughout Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA, and 81 percent of Americans are planning a summer vacation this year.

The 2015 summer travel season is also expected to be rather less expensive – with 42 percent of vacationers spending more than $1,500, whereas 10 percent are spending more than $3,000, down from 46 percent and 13 percent, respectively, in 2014 – due in part to a decrease in hotel and airfare costs in popular destinations.

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ChexSystems: What It Is & How Long Info Stays In It

What isChexsystems

Most consumers aren’t familiar with ChexSystems until they’re denied a new bank account or a merchant declines to accept their check. Briefly, ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency (CRA) that tracks your checking and savings account activity. It’s similar to credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, which collect data on consumers’ loan and credit card history. A ChexSystems record doesn’t affect your credit score and doesn’t factor in to banks’ decisions to extend credit, but it can impact your ability to open a bank account or write checks.

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Chase Slate Review: King of Balance Transfers

Chase Slate

The Chase Slate Card is the undisputed champion of the balance transfer market. No card even comes close to its free balance transfer offer:  0% for 15 months with no annual or transfer fees.  If, for example, you’re the average household and owe a bit more than $7,100 to credit card companies, the Slate Card will save you $478 and help you get out of debt two months earlier compared to even the average 0% credit card (0% for 11 months, 3.03% transfer fee and 17.16% regular rate).

But that, apparently, was not enough. Reinforcing a strength with more strength, Chase recently gave the crown jewel of its credit card portfolio a facelift.

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2015’s Insurance Premiums By Car Type

2015-Car-Insurance-by-Auto-Type-New-BadgeIn addition to being the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day is also the year’s busiest weekend for car sales and the kick-off to a three-month period in which 27 percent of all annual car sales are recorded. That number may be even bigger this year, given record-low interest rates according to WalletHub’s Q2 Auto Financing Report. With that in mind, WalletHub continued its analysis of the car insurance landscape in search of insights that may help consumers make more informed decisions when they hit the car lot.

As we reported in our California Car Insurance Landscape Report, car insurance premiums are driven by a number of factors — including your driving record and experience, city of residence, the historical characteristics of drivers in your area and even your choice of vehicle. This report focuses on how car insurance premiums vary depending on the type, age, cost and make of the car you buy. You can check out our findings and the methodology we used to conduct this report below.

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2015’s Best & Worst States for Military Retirees

Wallet Hub Best Worst States for Military RetireesRetirement is typically viewed as the end of the line – a time for rest, relaxation and the pursuit of interests long ago put on the back burner. But the narrative is far different for military retirees.

For starters, the average officer is only 47.1 years old – and enlisted personnel even younger at 43.2 – upon retirement from service. Most re-enter the job market. Military retirees, veterans in particular, must also deal with the trials of assimilation, which have proven especially difficult in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rising numbers of young vets have encountered hardship and homelessness.

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2015 Auto Financing Report

2015-Auto-Financing-New-BadgeIs it a good time to buy a car? Well, April witnessed a 4.6% year-over-year increase in U.S. car sales, bringing annualized projections to 16.5 million – equal to last year’s output and encroaching on record territory. Both General Motors and Ford enjoyed strong showings, particularly from SUVs, with the former posting a 14.5% annual increase in its utility vehicle category and the latter enjoying the growth of sub-brands like Buick, whose Encore recently posted its 16th consecutive year-over-year sales increase and topped April 2014 numbers by 29%. Domestic lenders also seem to be accommodating the evolving needs of car buyers, with the average loan term approaching six years as the average sale price continues to rise – up 3% so far this year to $33,189, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

It is thus clear why such a simple query – is now the right time to buy? – demands the consideration of such wide-ranging factors, from your monthly disposable income and what type of car you’re interested in to whether you should buy or lease and from where you’ll get the best financing. The data provided in this report, along with our panel discussion featuring top industry experts, will help you make those decisions. This information is based on a detailed analysis of financing offers from a diverse group of 158 lenders.

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Auto Insurance Claims: Step-By-Step Guide & Advice

Car Insurance Claims

After a car accident, the prospect of dealing with insurance adjusters and claim forms can be more stressful than the accident itself. Be patient and optimistic. Filing claims and waiting for decisions can be a battle of attrition, but in many cases the process is faster and smoother than you might think.

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ChexSystems Dispute: Request Removal of Errors

Chexsystems Removal

If you were denied a bank account — or if a retail business refused your check — because of your negative banking history, don’t lament the rejection right away. You may simply be the victim of inaccurate information being relayed to ChexSystems, the consumer reporting agency that keeps tabs on checking and savings account activity.

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2015’s Most Diverse Cities in America

2015-Most-Diverse-Cities-in-America-WH-Best-BadgeAmerica is undergoing an extreme makeover. By 2050, you won’t even recognize her. But rapid diversification is one of the main drivers of our economic success. In recent decades, waves of immigration as well as financial and social mobility have not only changed the face of America but also ushered in a wealth of fresh perspectives, skills and technologies.

And thanks to its ever-expanding diversity, the U.S. remains forward-looking and extremely adaptable to change. According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, economies generally fare better when they openly embrace and capitalize on new ideas. Conversely, those relying on old ways and specialized industries tend to be more susceptible to the negative effects of market volatility.

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2015’s Best & Worst Cities to Start a Career

The struggles endured in recent years by America’s young people pale in comparison to those suffered by their peers in Spain and Greece, where youth unemployment in excess of 50 percent has spawned great social unrest. Still, finding a job in the U.S. — let alone laying the foundation for a long and prosperous career — is far from simple.

But there’s reason for optimism among the graduating class of 2015 and the scores of young people so disillusioned with the job market that they’ve given up their search for employment. Not only do more employers plan to hire recent college grads in 2015, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, but hiring in general is also on the rise.

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2015’s Best & Worst Cities to Work for a Small Business

Wallet Hub 2014 Best Worst-Cities-to-Work For a Small Business
Small businesses collectively make up 99.7 percent of all U.S. employer firms, employ nearly 49 percent of the private workforce, pay about 42 percent of the private payroll, and created 63 percent of all new jobs added during the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Considering their omnipresence alone, it’s no wonder these job creators merit a five-day national recognition each year.

But with no shortage of commentary on the best cities to start a small business, we turned the tables and asked which cities are best to work for one. WalletHub analyzed the small business environment within the 100 most populated U.S. metro areas to assess their friendliness toward employees and job seekers. We did so using 11 key metrics, ranging from net small business job growth to industry variety to earnings for small business employees. The results of our study, as well as expert commentary and a detailed methodology, can be found below.

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2015’s Best & Worst States for Nurses

WH-2014-Best-Worst-States-for-NursesThe nursing industry – like most segments of the economy – is in a state of significant transition under the weight of major overarching socioeconomic dynamics, from the aging U.S. population and the Affordable Care Act to the student loan crisis and concerns about the future of key entitlement programs. It’s therefore understandable if recent nursing school grads aren’t sure where to turn once they receive their diploma.

That concern is not unique among recent graduates, regardless of industry. However, both the magnitude of the issue – the nursing industry is expected to grow far faster than the average occupation through 2022 – and the various day-to-day demands placed on nursing professionals – from overstaffing and mandatory overtime to unionization and allegations of systematic disrespect – are indeed profession-specific.

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Driver’s License Check: What’s On Your Driving Record

Drivers License Check

Few things are as important to your insurance rates as your driving record and the points against you. Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute points out that your driving record is an important factor in how much you pay for auto insurance, and he advises drivers to periodically obtain a copy. A driver’s license check is easily obtained, often for about $10 or less. It’s usually accessible online, and checking your record may reveal errors.

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2015’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms

Wallet Hub Best Worst States for Working MomsAlthough women now comprise roughly half of the American workforce, they still earn about three-quarters as much as men do and have far less upward mobility, as evidenced by the fact that less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies have female chief executives. Even the new crop of high-profile female CEOs seems to be drastically underpaid compared with their male peers.

Such obvious inequality has spawned a great deal of debate about gender roles in a shifting socioeconomic environment. Workplace inequality is important not only in the spirit of a merit-based economy, but also for deeply ingrained social reasons. For instance, should women have to choose between career and family?

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2015’s States With The Highest & Lowest Insurance Premium Penalties for High Risk Drivers

Hig Risk DriversIt pays to be a safe driver. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it’s costly to be a high risk driver.

People cited for things like DUI and reckless driving can find their finances drained by heavy fines, but that’s only where the costs begin. Since your insurance company will regard you as a higher risk, your car insurance premiums can rise over two times higher than the premiums a safe driver would pay, and it takes 3-5 years to clean your record.

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Wire Transfers & ACH Transfers: Sending Funds Fast

Wire Transfer

When you need to send funds to another person’s bank or credit union account fast, you have three options for bank-to-bank transfers: Wire transfers, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers, and third-party money transfer services offered by your bank.

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2015’s Best Cities to Start a Business

Best-Worst-Cities-to-Start-a-Business-BadgeAmericans are born with an entrepreneurial streak. It’s in our DNA. From Manifest Destiny and the Gold Rush to the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Age, intense periods of innovation have molded our economy and sparked important societal advancements.

Innovation is never easy, though. Hardship and necessity underpin much of our entrepreneurial progress, largely because the motivation to enter the unknown in the face of bleak odds simply is not in abundance when more comfortable avenues remain to be explored. Driven by a dearth of traditional job opportunities and a reenergized hesitancy to put one’s fate in the hands of others, somewhere between 15 million and 53 million Americans are now working for themselves. There is always room in the market for new ideas, products, services and multi-million-dollar success stories — if one knows where to look.

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2015’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 14 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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What to Do After a Car Accident: Checklist & Tips for Drivers

At the Scene of the Accident

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There are over 10 million motor vehicle accidents every year, according to Census Bureau estimates, so even if you’re a safe driver, it pays to plan ahead and be prepared. The most important rules: Keep your cool. If there is any chance of serious injuries, call 911.

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Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.