Moving across state lines to start a family can be challenging. But if you’ve chosen Massachusetts for putting down roots, you’ve won the hardest part of the battle. This historically rich, academically prestigious and generally progressive New England state counts among the most family-friendly in America.
In WalletHub’s analysis of the Best & Worst States to Raise a Family, Massachusetts ranked No. 6 overall and earned particularly high marks in four out of five categories, including “family fun,” “health and safety,” “education and child care,” and “affordability.” But even in “socio-economics,” the final category, it outranked 28 states. Education and technology are unsurprisingly Massachusetts’ biggest industries, considering the state is the No. 1 most educated and third most innovative. Parents with high family standards therefore have little to sacrifice — and much to gain — by relocating to the Bay State.
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 instill in our children, employees, 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 balmy, and the possibilities are endless. The only dilemmas? Deciding on a destination and somehow affording everything you want to pack into your itinerary.
Fuel, at least, is one expense that won’t drain your wallet. Gas prices are down from a year ago, possibly marking this summer as the cheapest to fill up since 2005, according to GasBuddy. But you’ll still need to consider accommodations, activities and dining. All of these certainly contribute to the more than $683 billion we spend on leisure travel each year.
Credit inquiries, which are also known as credit “checks” or ”pulls,” are basically records of someone checking your credit report. But not all credit inquiries are the same. There are two different types: hard inquiries and soft inquiries.
Everyone has three major credit reports: from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, respectively. And it’s extremely important to make sure that yours are accurate. All credit scores are based on these reports, which means mistakes can impact the credit card and loan terms you’re able to qualify for, not to mention where you live and what kind of car you drive. They can even affect your job prospects, too.
VantageScore 3.0 is one of the most popular credit scores on the market, both among lenders and consumers. It’s used by more than 2,400 lenders, for example, including 20 of the top 25. And over 8 billion VantageScore 3.0 credit scores are issued per year.
Gaming is serious business. Globally, it represents nearly a billion players contributing to an over $100 billion industry. To put that in perspective, video games in 2016 dwarfed total movie-ticket sales around the world by a good $62.5 billion. But it’s just as lucrative of a cash generator in the U.S., where revenues are expected to exceed $25 billion this year.
Today, about half of U.S. adults play video games, and nearly two in three households are home to at least one gamer who plays an average of three to four hours per week. For some players, however, gaming is more than a hobby; the virtual world forms part of their identity. In fact, about 10 percent of adult players would label themselves “gamers,” according to the Pew Research Center. And while arguments can certainly be made against the negative effects of gaming, many players value the social aspect of the activity, evident in the gaming groups, forums and conventions sprouting online and across the country. Pro gaming, or “esports,” itself is growing into a popular career choice.
Using a credit card responsibly is the best way to build credit. After all, credit cards are easy to get, they don’t require you to incur debt, and they report information to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis.
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.
Fatherhood is not what it used to be. Back in the 1960s, 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 male 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 where economic opportunity abounds and quality of life is emphasized —have it better than others.
Illness and natural disasters disrupt 1 in 6 Americans’ travel plans. But only 22% of those affected have travel insurance. And given that travel insurance packages typically inflate the cost of a trip by 4% to 8%, it’s no surprise that most people are content rolling the dice.
Fortunately, the solution might already be in your wallet. Credit card travel insurance can reimburse cardholders in the event of cancelled trips, missed connections, lost or delayed luggage, or even death. But coverage amounts and restrictions vary widely based on the type of card you have, the company that issues it and the card network it’s affiliated with. So you don’t want to exclusively rely on plastic before looking into the details of your policy.
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.
Credit card debt statistics speak to the financial health of American households. And they can foretell overleveraging bubbles that may trigger constriction across lending markets. From that perspective, the $89.4 billion in new credit card debt that we added to our tab in 2016 represents serious cause for concern. And the fact that we repaid $31.5 billion of our debt during the first quarter of 2017 actually provides little reason for comfort.
First-quarter debt reduction is customary because people generally receive annual salary bonuses (and make New Year’s resolutions) early in the year. And while this year’s Q1 payment was 14% higher than the previous year’s, that is still nearly 9% shy of our effort in 2015.
So for all the diehard and rookie fans, WalletHub crunched the numbers to determine the best places for hockey enthusiasts. We ranked 72 U.S. cities based on 19 key indicators of a good hockey city. Our data set ranges from ticket prices to stadium capacity to the performance level of each city’s teams. Read on for the winners, commentary from a panel of sports experts and a full description of our methodology.
With every new headline about a mass shooting, terrorist attack, hate crime or natural disaster, many of us fear for our safety and that of our loved ones. Safety is a fundamental human need. And we require some form of it, such as personal and financial protection, in every setting of daily life. But we’re likely to feel more secure in some states than in others.
In order to determine the safest states in America, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states across 37 key safety indicators grouped into five different categories. Our data set ranges from assaults per capita to unemployment rate to total loss amounts from climate disasters per capita. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
Credit scores have many enemies — from late payments and collections accounts to tax liens and court judgments. Each takes a toll on your credit standing to varying degrees. And the damage unfortunately comes far faster than any resulting recovery.
U.S. economic growth depends heavily on the performance of individual states. But some contribute more than others. California, for instance, blossomed in 2016 as the sixth largest economy in the world, boasting a GDP that’s comparable in size to the U.K.’s and even larger than those of France and India. Meanwhile, Illinois continues to be in a fiscal free fall, with a record $14.5 billion in unpaid debt — imperiling its schools and social programs — as well as the second-highest unemployment rate in the Midwest.
In order to determine which states are pulling the most weight, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 key indicators of economic performance and strength. Our data set ranges from GDP growth to startup activity to share of jobs in high-tech industries. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
You don’t need the highest possible credit score (850) to have perfect credit. Rather, a perfect credit score is anything above 799. Some experts even say that perfect credit begins at 751. But our research into credit card approval rates indicates the bar is a bit higher.
It can take as little as one month to build a credit score from scratch, once you get your first credit card or loan. And your first credit score could be anywhere from bad to excellent, depending on whether you pay your bills on time and borrow responsibly. The exact timeframe, however, depends on the company calculating your score and the scoring model they’re using. For example, VantageScore 3.0 is capable of generating a score with just one month of credit history. But it can take three to six months to get a score from other models, including FICO’s.