2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Florida Families

Best-Worst-Cities-for-Florida-Families-BadgeWhen people think of Florida, they probably imagine a sunny paradise with palm trees and white sand along a wraparound coastline. But the Sunshine State attracts folks from across the globe for more than its natural beauty and balmy climate. As the fourth largest economy in the U.S., the second largest job creator after California and the address of the world’s most famous theme park, Florida has also cultivated a reputation as one of the best states in which to raise kids.

In December 2014, Florida surpassed New York as the third most populous state in the U.S. Indeed, more people are choosing not just to visit but also to settle permanently in what traditionally has been a tourist’s haven, with the past year’s massive influx of in-movers including many families with children.

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2015’s Best & Worst Items to Buy on Black Friday

Best-Worst-Items-to-Buy-on-Black-Friday-BadgeAmericans are obsessed with deals. Why else do we camp outside our favorite stores after a big holiday feast or force ourselves awake at ungodly hours to browse the virtual shopping aisles? Truth is, many of us find pleasure in buying merchandise at the deepest discounts and knowing we beat our fellow sale-addicted shoppers to the punch.

But while Black Friday is traditionally associated with the best prices, we should pause from our spending and ask: How good of a deal am I really getting? According to the most recent holiday shopping survey from BestBlackFriday.com, 63 percent of respondents said Black Friday doesn’t offer the most unbeatable bargains of the year.

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2015’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 to conquer one mission: save bigtime. It’s one of our nation’s most sacred holiday traditions. This year, the National Retail Federation expects total retail sales for the holiday season to reach $630.5 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent from nearly $608 billion in 2014.

To help consumers maximize their savings this coming Black Friday, WalletHub surveyed 8,000 deals from 30 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2015 Black Friday ad scans and identified the retailers offering the largest advertised discounts for each product category such as “Jewelry” and “Appliances.” You can find the results, our detailed methodology and additional shopping wisdom from experts below.

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2015’s Rates of Uninsured by State Before & After Obamacare

Uninsured-Rate-Obamacare-Report-BadgeHaving insurance is vital to the health of your family and your wallet. It can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket medical expenses, the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. Today, however, 11.7 percent of all Americans — many of whom earn a low income — remain without coverage.

Across states, rates of uninsured individuals vary dramatically. Yet following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — popularly dubbed “Obamacare” — there was plenty of talk but a shortage of real information consumers could use to compare states by insurance-coverage rates. Why? In part because there was no reliable estimate of the proportion of private health-insurance enrollees under Obamacare who were previously uninsured and became eligible for coverage under the new law.

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2015’s Best and Worst Cities for Veterans

WH Best and Worst Cities for Veterans BadgeFreedom is not free. Protecting that right demands hard sacrifices, including the loss of millions of American lives. Here at home, we have a duty to safeguard the rights of our military personnel by providing adequate benefits — such as health care, housing loans and education assistance — upon their safe return from service.

But those benefits remain in short supply for our veterans. Thousands are still desperate for mental health care when they need it most, many receive subpar-quality education compared with the promises of the GI Bill and full-time jobs are scarce. Of the 21.1 million military veterans residing in the U.S. as of October 2015, about 422,000 are unemployed, many because of disabilities that resulted from active duty. According to PBS, “Almost 60 percent of veterans who were retired from the military in 2012 due to a service-connected disability were under the age of 35.”

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2015’s Fattest States in America

Fattest-States-Badge“Fat” may be the new normal in America. Drawing on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a report from JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than three quarters of American adults today are either overweight or obese. And for the first time in history, the number of obese people has surpassed that of the overweight.

In the past two decades, especially, America’s weight problem has grown dramatically, inspiring a surge of new programs and products designed to promote better health and help Americans shed the extra pounds.

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2015’s Best & Worst Small Cities in America

Small Cities BadgeLeaving home is an American tradition. And the home we leave behind, more often than not, is a small town. But not everyone craves the bright lights and crowded spaces of the big city. For those who are a bit more claustrophobic, appreciate fewer degrees of separation and want more bang for their buck, small-city life is hard to beat.

America’s little towns commonly attract newcomers or returnees for the same reasons: tighter communities, less competition, shorter commutes and an actual backyard with a white picket fence. And from a purely financial standpoint, living in a small city creates a sense of greater wealth because of cheaper cost of living — one of the main draws for in-movers, especially those seeking to raise a family.

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2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Wallet Wellness

Best-Worst-Cities-for-Wallet-Wellness-BadgeThere is a definite correlation between physical, emotional and financial well-being – or, what could be collectively referred as our “wallet wellness.”

Just consider the fact that money, work and the economy – in that order – are our leading causes of stress. Stress, in turn, forces a million people to miss work every day at an average daily cost of $600 to employers and an average annual cost of $15 billion to the economy. Then there’s the $62 billion in productivity that we lose annually to sleep deprivation – a common side effect of stress – and the $200 billion to $300 billion price tag associated with stress-related illness.

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2015’s Best & Worst Texas Cities for Finding a Job

Best-Worst-Texas-Cities-for-Finding-a-Job-BadgeTexas is obsessed with speed. Not only does it have the fastest highways in America, the Lone Star State also creates jobs at a breakneck pace: four times the national rate.

That’s also why the American Enterprise Institute crowned it “The Great American Job Machine” in early 2015. Texas was responsible for much of the net job increase in the U.S. between 2007 and 2014. And as of September, its jobless rate “has been at or below the national rate for 105 consecutive months,” according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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2015’s Best and Worst Cities for Halloween

WH Best Badge HalloweenIt’s that spooky time of year again when everyone gets to play dress-up and devour sweet treats. Indeed, Halloween’s just around the corner, and nearly half of all Americans plan to get freaky with their celebrations this year.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, Americans will spend slightly less on holiday costs in 2015. The average person will shell out $74.34 — down from $77.52 in 2014 — on garb, candy and decorations, among other Halloween-related expenses. Total spending is expected to reach $6.9 billion in 2015, about $500 million less than in the previous year.

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S&P 100 Tax Rate Report – FY 2014

Wallet Hub 2014 Highest and Lowest S&P 100 Tax RatesConcerns over the proper role of taxation lie at the very foundation of American history. They haven’t gone away, either. In fact, matters of tax reform have so far played a central theme in this year’s presidential debates, fueling partisan discussions of economic patriotism as well as debates over whether Main Street or millionaires should foot more or less of the bill.

In the spirit of advancing the discussion, WalletHub analyzed annual reports for the S&P 100 – the largest and most established companies on the stock market – in order to determine the rates at which they pay taxes at the state, federal and international levels as well as how their tax burdens compare to those of American individuals. You can find the results, our detailed methodology and additional expert commentary below.

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2015’s Best & Worst California Cities for Finding a Job

Best-Worst-California-Cities-for-Finding-a-Job-BadgeThings are looking good for job seekers in California. This past August, the Golden State added 36,200 new jobs, the largest increase among 32 states that saw their employment numbers go up. And the state’s come a long way since the financial crisis. The same month six years ago, California’s unemployment rate peaked at 12.2 percent — the highest point in nearly seven decades and far exceeding the national average of 9.7 percent at the time — but has declined to a healthy 6.1 percent today.

Since that precarious time in its history, California has created more than 1.5 million nonfarm jobs, a growth driven primarily by the technology sector and other high-wage industries. In fact, “Nonfarm payrolls in California grew faster than the national average during the last three years, surpassing the state’s pre‐Great Recession peak by 194,100 jobs in December 2014,” according to a Bank of the West report on the state’s economic outlook.

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2015′s Best Cities for Winter Holiday Travel

WH Best and Worst Cities Winter Holiday Travel BadgeWhen the mercury drops, some Americans follow the sun while others welcome the cold. Take it from the nearly 54 million skiers who hit the slopes in the U.S. during the chilly months this past winter. But with forecasts of a much milder, wetter winter ahead, travel options may be more plentiful for warm-weather fans than for their cold-loving counterparts.

Regardless, Americans aren’t cutting back on their winter travel spending this year. In fact, more than a third plan to increase their leisure travel spending, according to the most recent State of the American Traveler survey.

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2015’s Greenest Cities in America

Greenest-Cities-BadgeTree hugger or not, we all have a responsibility to protect our planet. Fortunately, about seven in 10 Americans agree with that statement today. The rest still worry that “going green” would cost the economy some serious green and result in major employment cuts.

On the contrary, “more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. That logic makes sense because, as the UCS points out, fossil-fuel technologies tend to be capital-intensive, whereas the renewable-energy industry is more labor-intensive. This year, for instance, the Solar Foundation reported that the solar industry has created jobs at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the national economy.

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2015’s Best and Worst Foodie Cities for Your Wallet

WH Best Foodies BadgeFor foodies with tight purse strings, good eating also requires smart budgeting. That’s a necessary skill for anyone with strong taste buds, considering Americans today spend nearly 10 percent of their disposable income on food and nearly a third of every food dollar on restaurant services.

And despite the fact that food in the U.S. is currently the cheapest it’s ever been, the National Restaurant Association suggests that a sizeable portion of Americans are still priced out of restaurant dining. According to the report’s findings, 72 percent of consumers would consider eating out more frequently “if menu prices were lower” during less busy hours.

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2015’s Most & Least Ethno-Racially Diverse Cities

Cities with the Most and Least Ethno Racial and Linguistic Diversity BadgeIn many American cities, the grass isn’t just greener — it’s more colorful, thanks to rapid ethnic and racial diversification within the past four decades. High immigration rates, a surge in native births and a rise in the number of interracial partnerships have significantly altered the social fabric and economic landscape of the U.S.

Since 2011, more than half of all U.S.-born children have been identified as ethnic or racial minorities. By 2020, the total minority population will have grown to 40.7 percent from 30.9 percent in 2000. But change isn’t confined to the next four years. By its estimates, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that no single ethnic group will comprise the majority in the U.S. for the first time in 2044.

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2015’s Best & Worst Cities for California Families

Best-Worst-Cities-for-California-Families-BadgeThe famous Gold Rush that drew in legions of economic hopefuls to California in the mid-19th century ended not too long after it started. Nonetheless, a stream of new arrivals flowed incessantly into the aptly nicknamed Golden State, solidifying its spot on the record books as the most populated U.S. state.

So why do people from all over the U.S. and abroad flock to California? Well, it’s rich in square footage, for one, so there’s plenty of breathing room for newcomers. And while few are bound to strike gold in the literal sense, big dreams are known to come true in prominent areas of California like Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

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6 Steps You Should Take Following Identity Theft

Steps To Take After Identity Theft

Identity thieves are opportunistic. They tend to exploit simple vulnerabilities in individuals’ personal information security practices, and each critical piece of information or account they garner access to can help them steal more. Signs of fraud can also take weeks or months to reveal themselves.

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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.