Texas is one of the largest states in the country, both in terms of square mileage and population, which should be no surprise considering everything is supposed to be bigger there. That’s certainly true as far as the steaks, cowboy hats and football stadiums are concerned. But what about the homes, school systems, salaries and all of the other important factors that truly make life larger in a given place?
As a whole, Texas is an economically strong state. It has the second largest state economy in the U.S., behind only California. And its unemployment rate of 4.1% is only a bit higher than the national average of 3.8%.
Americans value independence. We fought hard for it during the American Revolutionary War. Today, however, we celebrate not only our freedom from the British crown but also our strong ability to rely upon ourselves as individuals. It’s a virtue we bring up in our children, employees and organizations.
But what does it mean for whole populations to be “independent” in the modern sense of the word?
Summer is the perfect time to hit the open road: School’s out, the weather’s warm, and the possibilities are endless. The only dilemmas? Deciding on a destination and somehow affording everything you want to pack into your itinerary.
Gas prices might be one thing to worry about. They’ve recently spiked due to rising oil costs, and were 31% higher this Memorial Day than last year. On top of that, you’ll need to consider accommodations, activities and dining. All of these certainly contribute to the more than $718 billion we spend on leisure travel each year.
The highest credit score you can have is 850. That’s the maximum credit score used by all of the most popular credit-scoring models today. While less than 1% of people have that highest possible credit score, according to score providers, far more of us can claim to have perfect credit.
Once you get a credit card, you can build credit by using it every month, paying off your purchases on time and keeping a low credit utilization (less than 30%). But there are many ways to build credit with a credit card other than making purchases and payments. For instance, you could lock your credit card in a drawer, and your score would still improve.
Airline miles, also known as frequent flyer miles or just miles, are a type of travel reward that you get for making purchases through an airline or by using a miles credit card. Some credit cards are tied to certain airlines, while others offer general miles that can be used for all kinds of travel. You can use miles to buy airfare or, in some cases, exchange them for things like cash back or gift cards.
The standard Chase Ultimate Rewards points value is 1 cent per point, but it can vary based upon which card you have and what you spend the points on. Unlike some credit card companies, Chase (a WalletHub partner) doesn’t discourage certain types of redemption, such as cash back or gift cards, by making points worth less when you choose them (e.g. half a cent instead of one cent). Rather, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are always worth at least 1 cent apiece when redeemed through Chase, and certain cards offer extra value when used for travel.
Credit card points are one of the three main types of credit card rewards, the others being cash back and miles. Cardholders can earn points in many ways, including making purchases, spending a certain amount within a few months of opening an account, or referring a friend (some cards are from WalletHub partners).
Online store credit cards with guaranteed approval don’t exist. No credit card company can guarantee approval for every single person who applies for one of its cards, as there are always some minimum standards to meet (some cards are from WalletHub partners). You also need to be a U.S. resident with a U.S. mailing address and either a Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to be eligible, in most cases. Being in active bankruptcy will automatically disqualify you for most cards, too.
The Sunshine State’s economy has seen its fair share of storm clouds in recent years, with the Great Recession taking a significant toll on both the housing market and tourism industry. And it took another huge hit in 2017, as hurricane Irma cost the state 1.8 million out-of-state visitors. But things are looking brighter of late, despite the natural disaster’s impact.
Florida’s economy is expected to reach $1 trillion in 2018, a number greater than that of all but 15 countries. And the unemployment rate is at just 3.9%, below the national average of 4.1%.
Americans finally have found their own soft spot for the world’s most beloved professional sport. After what seemed an eternity of low popularity among U.S. fans, soccer — better known as “football” to the international community — has gained admiration and respect here at home.
Much of the credit for the sport’s growing domestic acceptance goes to the U.S. Women’s National Team, who made us proud with its record-breaking victory in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Part of the glory is also owed to COPA América Centenario, the world’s oldest soccer competition, held the following year on U.S. turf for the first time in its 100-year history.
Getting a driver’s license is considered a rite of passage in American culture. But this exciting coming-of-age has instead become a death sentence for thousands of teens each year. Motor-vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among the population aged 16 to 19, which also happens to be the age group with the highest risk of crashes.
And the financial implications are staggering. Although 15- to 19-year-olds made up only 7 percent of the population in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they racked up 11 percent of all costs resulting from motor-vehicle injuries. That’s not counting the costs of auto maintenance, insurance premiums, possible traffic citations and other vehicular incidents — expenses that can pile up over time.
In order to build a good credit score, you must first establish credit. Establishing credit means beginning your credit history by obtaining a loan or line of credit. That’s all you need to get your first credit report and score. And it’s the first step toward one day qualifying for a decent mortgage, car loan, etc.
Fatherhood is a responsibility which changes over time. Back in 1960, 75% of American families relied on a single income, that of the dad, who spent much of his week at work while mom stayed home with the kids. Today, two-thirds of family households depend on two incomes. And the contemporary dad no longer fits neatly into the standard of the married breadwinner and disciplinarian.
Regardless of the changing identity and priorities of the modern dad, fatherhood remains an undisputedly tough job. And a father’s ability to provide for his family is central to his role. In fact, nearly 93 percent of dads with kids younger than 18 are employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But some working dads, those who live in states with greater economic opportunity and quality of life, have it better than others.
Federal Reserve rate hikes can send shockwaves through stock markets and put many people to sleep. But just because the nitty-gritty of the country’s fiscal policy isn’t exciting to most does not mean we’re unaffected.
For one thing, the Fed’s six rate hikes since Dec. 2015 have cost credit card users an extra $8.23 billion in interest to date. That figure will swell by at least $1.6 billion this year if the Fed raises its target rate on June 13, as expected. And even more rate hikes are projected for the final two quarters of 2018.
Credit card debt statistics speak to the financial health of American households. They can also foreshadow over-borrowing bubbles, changes to lending standards, and other trends with the potential to impact our wallets. That’s important because the latest news may seem encouraging, but the complete picture is not pretty.
Americans repaid $40.3 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2018 – the second-largest quarterly payoff ever. However, we began the year owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt for the first time ever, after adding a post-Great Recession record $91.6 billion to our tab in 2017.
The Myth: Many people assume we each have three, and only three, credit scores, one from each major credit bureau: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. After all, anyone with a Social Security number who’s ever possessed either a credit card or a loan also has a credit report from each of these bureaus. So it would seem only logical for there to be three corresponding credit scores. But that, as it turns out, isn’t true.
There are very few store credit cards for bad credit. Nearly all store cards require at least fair credit for approval, according to WalletHub’s database of 1,000+ credit card offers. But there are exceptions from time to time. Right now, the best store credit card for bad credit is the Fingerhut Credit Account. You can get it with a poor score and there’s no annual fee. Plus, it reports to the credit bureaus every month, which will allow you to build credit if you pay your bills on time.
Gaming is serious business. Globally, it’s an over $100 billion industry. One estimate puts combined gaming revenue between software and hardware at $149 billion, on par with that of the sports industry. That’s unsurprising with the number of ways there are to enjoy video games in the present day, from consoles by Nintendo, PlayStation and Microsoft to gaming PCs and mobile devices to simply watching others stream on a platform like Twitch or YouTube.
According to a 2017 Pew research poll, 60 percent of Americans aged 18-29 play video games “often” or “sometimes,” as do 53 percent of Americans ages 30 to 49. And pro gaming, or “esports,” is growing into a viable career choice for those with the best mechanical skills. For example, the Overwatch League, run by Blizzard Entertainment, carries a $1 million prize pool and a minimum $50,000 salary for each player.