The average American spends more than 18 hours in an automobile each week, which equates to over 17 percent of his or her waking hours, according to data from Nielsen and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That alone spells risk not only because the odds of an accident increase with the number of miles we drive, but also because the more time-crunched we are, the more likely we are to attempt multitasking or otherwise drive recklessly.
In addition to endangering fellow motorists, bad behavior on the road can have costly consequences for your wallet. So in the interest of encouraging health, happiness and WalletFitness, WalletHub independently assessed how tough states are on DUI, speeding and reckless driving as well as the corresponding insurance cost increases that high-risk drivers can expect. This information enabled us to formulate a hierarchy of state strictness, which you can find below, followed by expert commentary and a detailed methodology.
Women’s rights in the U.S. have made leaps and bounds since the passage of the 19th Amendment. Yet many women still struggle to crack the proverbial glass ceiling. Feminist or not, any American can easily discern the disgracefully wide gender gap in 21st-century America. In 2015, the U.S. failed to make the top 10 or even the top 20 of the World Economic Forum’s ranking of the most gender-equal countries — currently in 28th position and falling eight places behind several developing nations since 2014.
Community colleges want to remind Americans that the road less traveled is not always the worst path. Once disparaged as inferior to four-year institutions, these two-year colleges are finally stepping up their game — at times even outperforming their traditional university counterparts.
Long perceived as the bottom rung of the higher-education ladder, community colleges are often the subject of distasteful college humor. And university elitists aren’t the only ones poking fun. Some of the very students who attend these so-called junior colleges joke about their own schools. Even the popular TV show Community has been criticized for perpetuating the stigma, its promoters reportedly lampooning community colleges as “halfway schools for losers.”
With the third-highest unemployment rate in the U.S. and an infamously incessant budget crisis that recently shut down its state government, Illinois doesn’t appear to be a job seeker’s paradise. But those issues are two sides to a multifaceted story, and the strength of local job markets varies across Illinois, as in any other state.
With certain checking accounts charging close to 50 different fees, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of the growing structural complexity of this supposedly basic banking tool. As a result, the cost of everyday checking can vary by hundreds of dollars per year based on what account you have and the way in which you use it.
In order to more accurately assess the extent of the problem, WalletHub compared the annual cost of each traditional checking account offered by 35 of the largest consumer-facing U.S. banks and credit unions, using five theoretical consumer profiles as our test cases. This report, together with WalletHub’s corresponding Checking Account Transparency Report, will therefore help give consumers a holistic view of both the good and the bad aspects of the checking market.
Checking accounts have become a staple in the average consumer’s financial arsenal, with more than 100 million such accounts in use today, according to the FDIC. Their popularity is unsurprising, given the versatility of this banking version of a Swiss Army knife, which allows consumers to make everyday purchases, directly deposit their earnings, withdraw cash as needed and pay bills online – all with a single account.
But while one might expect a certain amount of uniformity from the market for such a ubiquitous financial instrument – particularly when it comes to account terms and fee disclosures – that’s unfortunately not the case. The opposite actually is true, as consumers face disclosure practices that resemble the Wild West. As a result, the country’s three biggest banks earned more than $6 billion in 2015 from ATM-withdrawal and account-overdraft fees alone, according to SNL Financial.
In the next 7 minutes, a child in the U.S. will be bullied. It may be the son or daughter of someone you know or, worse, it may be your own. Meanwhile, only four in 100 adults will intervene. And only 11 percent of the child’s peers might do the same. The rest — 85 percent — will do nothing.
According to the National Education Association, more than 160,000 children miss school every day out of fear of being bullied. Bullying takes many forms, ranging from the seemingly innocuous name-calling to the more harmful cyberbullying to severe physical violence. It happens everywhere, at all times to the most vulnerable of kids, especially those who are obese, gay or have a disability.
After toiling in the workplace for decades, it seems only natural to expect financial security in our golden years. But not everyone can look forward to a cushy retirement. Americans are actually working more years compared with previous generations yet only grow further from financial freedom. In 2015, 21 percent of workers expected to retire at age 65, but only 9 percent actually were able to do so, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s latest Retirement Confidence Survey.
Why postpone retirement? Many blame the economy. Others point to “inadequate finances” as the other primary hurdle to retiring on schedule. Finally, high debt levels keep 56 percent of workers and 33 percent of retirees on the hamster wheel and prevent them from growing a nest egg.
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.
In an ideal world, children live carefree and have access to their basic needs: nutritious food, a good education and quality health care, for instance. Beyond those, adequate safety as well as the love and support of caring adults. Children often have a strong chance of stability in adulthood when all such needs are met. But these are not the rights of every child; for some, they are privileges. In the U.S., in fact, a baby is born into poverty every 32 seconds, and another 1,836 cases of abuse or neglect will be confirmed by the end of the day, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.
Drunk driving takes a terrible toll on the nation’s roads and highways every year. Also known as “driving under the influence” (DUI) or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI), alcohol-impaired driving was the cause of 31 percent of motor vehicle fatalities in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition to the loss of human life, the government estimates that drunk driving costs Americans more than $40 billion per year in economic losses.
There is good news, though. Since states first began to crack down on drunk driving in the 1980s, the rate of impaired driving and the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers has dropped considerably. This has saved many lives, as drunk-driving fatalities declined by 57 percent from 1982 to 2014, thus removing motor vehicle crashes from the top 10 causes of death in the United States starting in 2009, according to the NHTSA.
To many of us, pets are family — only furrier and slimier. It’s only natural, then, to seek out the places where these relatives of ours can enjoy the best quality of life. According to an American Pet Products Association survey, a record 65 percent, or 79.7 million, American households today own a pet.
What should you expect when you’re expecting? Besides possibly the best thing that could happen in your life, you’ll be taking a huge hit to the wallet because having a baby is expensive. Between one-time expenses such as a crib and stroller and ongoing costs that include diapers and formula — not to mention unexpected financial setbacks — it’s easy to exceed even the most immaculately conceived budget.
Whereas simple inaccuracies on your credit report will be deleted if you successfully dispute them, information that is believed to be fraudulent in nature will be “suppressed.” Far more than semantics, the difference between deletion and suppression is an important one.
Location, location, location are the three most important words in real estate — and in education. Indeed, where you live doesn’t just affect the value of your property; it also reflects the worth of your college degree, the same degree that may have put you in debt. And with 11 percent of all student-loan debts in delinquency or default, graduates need to be selective with where they apply their degrees. New York City, for instance, might boast a high average salary for a certain profession, but the high cost of living could still outweigh the gains, leaving little to pay off student debt.
Although the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have enjoyed wild success as college dropouts, post-secondary education remains the traditional route to professional and financial success for many Americans. Consider the median incomes for workers aged 25 and older in 2015. Those with a bachelor’s degree earned 68 percent more than those with only a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, revealing that income potential grows — and chances of unemployment shrink — as educational attainment improves.
It’s always frustrating when something doesn’t work, but understanding the potential causes can help by giving you a sense of how long the issue might persist and whether the problem demands any action on your part. With that in mind, if you are unable to enroll in WalletHub’s 24/7 credit monitoring service, this is likely due to one of the following four reasons:
Homeownership was once a big part of the American Dream. At least it was until the Great Recession dragged property values to their depths by 2012. And with the stench of the crisis still lingering in the air, inspiring real-estate skepticism among consumers, more Americans these days find renting a far more attractive — better yet “safer” — option.