“Location, location, location” might be the catchphrase of the real-estate profession, but it applies just as much to realtors as it does to their clients. After all, success in the industry hinges on both an agent’s work ethic and area of operation.
Last year’s real estate market was very healthy, with 5.57 million sales of existing homes, the best year for the industry since 2006. And we predict that trend will continue into 2018. But even as the market changes as a whole, certain cities remain hotspots. In the coming year, real-estate agents may want to relocate to places with the highest demand for housing, and that pay the best for their expert guidance.
Small business owners aren’t people. Well, that’s at least how the current regulatory environment treats them. Congress left the small business community out in the cold by excluding business-branded credit cards from coverage under the Credit CARD Act of 2009. And that’s a much bigger deal than you might think, considering all the CARD Act has done to make credit cards safer and less expensive for consumers in recent years.
Most importantly, small business owners still are subject to arbitrary increases in the cost of debt. With a consumer card, credit card companies must wait until payment is at least 60-days past-due to raise the interest rate on an existing balance. But they can do so whenever they wish with a business-card balance. So the more than one-third of small business owners who use credit cards for financing purposes never really know how much their debt will cost. And that prevents them from confidently allocating capital, causing unknown damage to the economy.
Numerous websites, including CreditBoards.com, operate so-called credit-pulls databases. These forums include crowdsourced information about which credit bureaus different issuers check when evaluating applications, what credit scores are needed to obtain various credit cards and the spending limits people are approved for.
Gambling exists in every state, even Hawaii and Utah, where gambling is prohibited by law. But all gamblers are different. “Recreational” or “social” gamblers, for instance, buy the occasional lottery ticket, take the rare casino trip or bet small stakes in fantasy sports. But they also are mentally able to quit at any point and prevent catastrophic financial loss.
But when the business or pleasure gets out of control, gambling becomes a real medical condition. Gambling disorder, as it’s known, affects about 1-3 percent of all U.S. adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gambling can stimulate the brain's reward system much like drugs such as alcohol can, leading to addiction.”
Graduation season is a time of big dreams and high pressure for soon-to-be job seekers across the country. But finding employment is no small task. And what many job-market entrants ultimately seek is a career, not just a job. They want the attractive combination of a high starting salary and high growth for compensation and responsibility. They also want stability while doing what they love. The question is how to go about obtaining such things in this über-competitive job market.
In search of answers and actionable information for the Class of 2018, WalletHub took stock of the first-timer job market by comparing 109 entry-level positions based on 13 key metrics. Our data set ranges from median starting salary to projected job growth by 2026 to median tenure with employer. Check out the complete breakdown of our findings, expert job-hunting advice and a full description of our methodology below.
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
4 / 5
$200 statement credit
Annual fee waived for the first year
2 points per $1 spent at Starwood hotels
$95 annual fee starting year two
Ill-suited for financing
The Verdict: The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express (American Express is a WalletHub partner) is the perfect travel companion for fans of hotel brands such as Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis and the seven other members of Starwood’s luxury lodging portfolio. The most striking feature of this card is the fact that its rewards currency, dubbed “Starpoints,” is worth nearly three times as much as Marriott’s and nearly five times as much as Hilton’s.
All things considered, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express could yield the average person around $1,600 in value over the first two years — according to our calculations — even considering the $95 annual fee that kicks in during year two. However, that assumes use of the card for all purchases, not just for hotel reservations. The card can still be valuable when used more selectively, but infrequent travelers must be careful, as Starpoints expire after 12 months of account inactivity.
Raising a child in America is extremely expensive, costing the average parent over $230k, and health care accounts for a big chunk of the bill. And while more kids are insured today than at any other point in history, the higher coverage rate hasn’t translated to lower health costs for parents. For example, out of pocket costs for patients aged 0 to 18 increased by 18% between 2012 and 2016.
But it’s a different story in every state. WalletHub therefore compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 30 key indicators of cost, quality and access to children’s health care. Our data set ranges from share of children aged 0 to 17 in excellent or very good health to pediatricians and family doctors per capita. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
Eco-friendliness and personal finance are related. Our environmental and financial needs are the same in many areas: providing ourselves with sustainable, clean drinking water and food, for example. We also spend money through our own consumption and taxes in support of environmental security.
In the past year, the U.S. has seen an especially devastating amount of natural disasters. According to National Geographic, 17 storms caused an estimated $200 billion in property damage. Hurricane Maria, for example, left Puerto Rico without power for months and severely hurt the territory’s economy. Experts attribute the high number of hurricanes to unusually warm Atlantic waters, so it’s possible that living more sustainably and using greener energy sources could prevent us from having quite as bad hurricane seasons in the future.
Free credit reports are available from several sources, including WalletHub, which is the first and only website to offer free credit reports and scores that are updated on a daily basis. WalletHub also provides an early-warning system for credit-report changes in the form of 24/7 credit monitoring, plus customized guidance to help you save more money. All you have to do is sign up (it’s 100% free).
Size matters when choosing a city in which to launch a startup. As many veteran entrepreneurs — and failed startups — understand well, bigger is not always better. A city with a smaller population can offer a greater chance of success, depending on an entrepreneur’s type of business and personal preferences.
Every small city offers unique advantages and disadvantages to new business owners. Some benefits include lower overhead costs, stronger relationships with customers and the potential to become a big fish in a little pond. But there are plenty of drawbacks, too. For one, entrepreneurs who want to build a large professional network aren’t likely to make as many connections in a town with fewer residents. Other restrictions might include limited industry options, a less diverse customer base, and difficulty attracting and keeping top talent.
Taking good care of your cash is essential to reaching top WalletFitness®. But with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates from historical lows and the stock market regularly reaching record highs, it’s fair to wonder where to put your money.
To help answer that question, WalletHub analyzed the rates, fees and features associated with more than 2,250 deposit accounts. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs from banks and credit unions across the country. You can check out our findings below.
The Verdict: The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is the best option for saving money on what you eat, provided you have the good or excellent credit needed for approval (Capital One is a WalletHub partner). Savor gives you 3% cash back at restaurants of all types, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on everything else, in addition to a $150 bonus for spending $500 within three months of account opening. It doesn’t charge an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee, either. In contrast, the average cash rewards card offers just over 1% back on all purchases, plus an initial bonus of about $117.
The Capital One Savor Card also provides several other perks, which are somewhat less impressive yet still important. For example, you can simply “tap to pay” at millions of merchant locations, thanks to an RFID chip embedded in the Savor Card. And you get 0% introductory APRs for new purchases and balance transfers for the first nine months your account is open.
Pennsylvania earned its nickname as the Keystone State for a good reason: it’s an economic, political and social powerhouse that is key to the growth of America. In other words, it has all the elements of a family-friendly state.
Solid ongoing rewards for more than just hotel reservations
No annual fee in the first year
Standard $49 annual fee isn't nothing
Note: This card is no longer open to new applications. Information listed here is accurate as of Apr. 10, 2018.
The Verdict: The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is perhaps the best hotel rewards card on the market, offering attractive benefits capable of satiating the appetites of IHG loyalists and people testing the hotel-affinity waters, at a price point neither group can quarrel with.
Loved by marketers yet vilified by media, millennials are at once the most popular and unpopular generation alive. They’re soon to be the largest, too, giving them a huge influence on American culture and consumption. Today, these early-20-to-early-30-somethings who are often depicted through negative stereotypes — entitled, parentally dependent, emotionally fragile — are responsible for 21 percent of all consumer discretionary spending in the U.S.
And yet, despite their trillion-dollar purchasing power and higher educational attainment, millennials are economically worse off than their parents. Why? The financial crisis remains a big part of the reason. Millennials have come of age and entered the workforce in the shadow of the Great Recession, which has significantly reduced their job prospects and earning potential for decades to come. By one estimate, millennials today earn 20 percent less than Baby Boomers did at the same age.
On April 17, Uncle Sam will once again take his cut of the past year’s earnings. And many taxpayers are already wondering how that will affect their finances. However, since the tax code is so complicated and has rules based on individual household characteristics, it’s hard for the average person to tell. And with a new tax code recently signed into law, next year’s taxes will be quite different.
One simple ratio known as the “tax burden” helps cut through the confusion. Unlike tax rates, which vary widely based on an individual’s circumstances, tax burden measures the proportion of total personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes. And it isn’t uniform across the U.S., either.
Traveling by plane costs an average of $370 per trip. And choosing the wrong airline has the potential to take even more from us. For instance, 24 animals died during air transportation in 2017, and four major U.S. airlines had at least one pet fatality.
While critical to consider, such factors often fly under the radar due to our focus on price. But finding the cheapest airfare is now quite easy for anyone with an internet connection. So this report examines those other, overlooked aspects of air travel to help consumers make more-informed decisions.
10,000 more bonus miles for spending $25,000 in a year
No foreign transaction fee
$150 annual fee
No initial bonus
The Verdict: The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® is a solid option for frequent travelers with excellent credit who want one card they can keep for years. But this new offer, which Barclays (a WalletHub partner) calls the “Premier Global Travel Card,” has a lot to live up to. Its predecessor, Arrival Plus, was one of the best rewards credit cards for years.
Arrival Premier is making a name for itself by offering a very different value proposition than much of its travel rewards competition. It replaces the big initial bonus common among rewards cards right now with an annual spending bonus. You get 15,000 bonus miles for spending $15,000 in a year, plus another 10,000 points if you spend $25,000. That means you can score $150-$250 in bonus travel each year you use Arrival Premier, as its miles are worth a penny apiece when redeemed for travel statement credits.