California once drew legions of fortune seekers to its short-lived Gold Rush. Although few newcomers are likely to strike gold in the literal sense today, the Golden State continues to charm big dreamers — and not just aspiring actors and tech developers, either. California’s many other riches are a magnet for families in search of opportunity.
There’s no shortage of economic activity in the state, for one. California’s GDP of over $2.7 trillion in 2017 exceeded those of all but four countries. That’s due in part to its way of setting kids up for success, by establishing some of the best universities in the world. And once employed, workers benefit from a comprehensive paid family-leave program. California was the first state to offer that incentive to American families and remains one of only a handful of states to implement such a policy.
The American narrative is a story of diversity. Our history tells of many different peoples coming together from every walk of life to form what is today a complex tapestry of backgrounds.
And our story will continue to advance that narrative in the decades to come. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2044 the U.S. will no longer have a single ethnic majority, currently non-Hispanic whites, and will grow increasingly more diverse in the years to follow.
Everyone likes to have fun. But we all prefer our personal brand of a good time. Some people like trying new restaurants, traveling, going to bars and clubs or playing outdoor sports. Others enjoy riding roller coasters, going to the movies, or playing video games. But having fun can be expensive – the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American spends nearly $3,000 on entertainment per year.
With such different preferences, what, then, makes a fun city? At WalletHub, we define such a place as one that packs a little bit of everything for everyone — except maybe people seeking the most extreme of thrills. In a city with enough variety, you won’t have to compromise with your friends, your family or even yourself about the next fun activity to do alone or together.
Illinois has been locked in a financial struggle for years, with Governor Bruce Rauner only signing his first state budget in June 2018 after taking office in 2015. One of the big issues in negotiations was the governor’s stance on not raising taxes. Now that the budget is approved, Illinois workers can feel a little more confident, especially if they work for the state. The signed plan includes wage increases for state workers.
But despite its difficulties, Illinois shines in a few key financial areas. Illinois boasts the fifth-largest state economy by GDP, for one. And while its public sector is hurting, its private sector is accelerating. This year, 37 Illinois companies made the Fortune 500 list and far many more grace the most recent Inc. 5000 ranking. However, not all Illinois local job markets are the same. Their strength varies significantly.
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 $40.6 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2018 – the second-largest quarterly payoff ever. But we added almost $30 billion back to our tab in Q2 2018. We also began the year owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt for the first time ever, after adding a post-Great Recession record of $91.8 billion to our tab in 2017.
Americans have much to thank the Germans for: BMW, bratwursts and hard syllables for letting off steam, for instance. Another of the Germans’ most famous contributions to our society is Oktoberfest, a weeks-long festival with beer as one of its centerpieces.
Oktoberfest often lasts from mid-September to the first Sunday in October. It originated in early 19th century Munich. It was only a matter of time before the Oktoberfest madness would find its way to U.S. soil, where nearly 46 million German-Americans make up the largest single ethnic group. A typical Oktoberfest in the U.S. includes many varieties of beer, live music, folk dancing, German fare and elaborate parades. Some American cities have even added their own traditions, like the “Running of the Wieners” race in Cincinnati or “Keg Bowling” in Denver.
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 seven rate hikes since Dec. 2015 have cost credit card users an extra $9.65 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 September 26, as expected. One more rate hike is expected from the Fed in the final quarter of 2018, too.
The Verdict: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Chase is a WalletHub partner) is one of the best rewards credit cards on the market, yielding the average person roughly $1,300 over the course of two year’s use. The core of this offer is the combination of a $500 to $625 initial rewards bonus and a first-year fee waiver, which makes the card somewhat akin to an open house that you get paid to attend. If you enjoy your experience and are a frequent traveler who doesn’t mind booking accommodations through Chase, a $95 annual fee starting in year two shouldn’t scare you away from keeping your account open past the 12-month mark.
Sapphire Preferred pays for itself — or at least it has the potential to — providing two points per dollar spent on travel and dining as well as one point per dollar spent on everything else. When redeemed for cash back, these points are worth a penny each but jump to 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Happiness comes from a combination of internal and external factors. We can influence it somewhat by approaching situations positively or choosing to spend time with people we love, doing activities we enjoy.
One thing that doesn’t drive happiness is money. Happiness only increases with wealth up to an annual income of $75,000. But one thing that can have a big influence on how we feel about life is where we choose to live.
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. It may even be your own child. 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 CDC’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 19% of students in grades 9-12 said they were bullied on school property in the previous 12 months. 14.9% of students surveyed said they were cyberbullied. Bullying takes many forms, and technological advances have opened new ways for bullies to hide behind anonymity.
Whether you’re joining the real-estate business or just looking for a place to call home, it’s important to get a handle on the housing markets you’re considering before investing in a property. With unemployment falling and house prices rising, the market as a whole has been in a boom. But while home values are rising, up almost $16,000 on average just in the first quarter of 2018, fewer homes are being built and bought because mortgage rates are rising. However, home prices and rental rates vary widely across the U.S. based on supply and demand.
If you aim for long-term growth, equity and profit, you’ll need to look beyond tangible factors like square footage and style. Those factors certainly drive up property values. From an investor’s standpoint, though, they hold less significance than historical market trends and the economic health of residents.
Families move often and for various reasons. In fact, the average American can expect to move an estimated 11.4 times during his or her lifetime. Moving can be a sign of opportunity, such as a new job or long-term wealth accumulation. But also move because of instability such as foreclosure or job loss. The key in either case is to choose an area that’s both economically prosperous and a pleasant place to live.
With that in mind, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 46 key metrics that consider essential family dynamics, such as the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation. While obviously not perfect — given personal preferences and the limitations of publicly available data — our findings will hopefully give movers a sense of the areas that offer the greatest opportunity to achieve Wallet Fitness and live a long and happy life. Read on for the results, additional insight from experts and a detailed description of our methodology.
Visa Signature benefits include rental car insurance, roadside dispatch, extended warranties and special hotel discounts. Visa Signature benefits are also better than the perks on standard Visa cards, but they’re not as good as those on Visa Infinite cards. Almost any Visa card can be Visa Signature, depending on your overall creditworthiness and the credit limit you’re approved for. If you’re assigned a limit of $5,000+, you’re likely to get the Visa Signature version of your chosen credit card.
Unfortunately, a few of the best credit card perks don’t always come with Visa Signature: travel insurance, purchase protection and return protection. It’s possible for a Visa Signature card to have these benefits, but it’s 100% up to the issuer. All three perks are standard with Visa Infinite cards.
Net demand for allocating to hedge funds is at 28%, the highest in the past 3 years, according to Bloomberg. Currently, there are over $3 trillion in hedge funds. To put that in perspective, only four countries, including the U.S., have a GDP higher than that. Furthermore, the median yearly earning for a hedge fund manager is now just under $350,000, but there are many who are billionaires.
So it makes sense that people pay attention to what hedge fund managers are buying, selling and holding. We want to replicate their success. Hedge funds’ quarterly public disclosures, mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, give us a window into their recent activity.
The Verdict: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offers elite terms on up to $6,000 in purchases per year but is fairly average otherwise. The gems of the offer are a pair of bonus cash back earning rates: 5% back on a total of $3,000 in gas and military purchases each year, plus 2% back on $3,000 in supermarket spending annually. When you consider that the average cash rewards card offers just over 1% back on purchases, it's clear just how generous Cashback Rewards Plus can be - at least while its bonus rates last.
Consumer research and ratings firm J.D. Power has released its July auto sales forecast, and the trends aren’t looking great for the industry. Monthly new-vehicle retail sales had increased for the previous 54 months compared to the same months in the previous year. However, July’s sales were projected to have a 3.2% decrease compared to July 2017. But with dealers offering even bigger savings during Labor Day weekend, especially on older models, potential buyers will certainly be asking if now is a good time to purchase a car.
At the moment, the market appears to be tilting in favor of the consumer. But there are more questions than just whether or not to buy. Should buyers apply for financing from banks, credit unions or manufacturers? Which manufacturers offer the best financing and leasing terms? How do interest rates compare for new versus used vehicles?
Americans are hard workers, putting in an average of 1,783 hours per year, according to the World Economic Forum. That’s about 300 hours per year more than Germans work, but about 450 less than Mexicans do.
Even when given the chance to not work as hard, many Americans won’t. In fact, 52% of Americans didn’t use all of their available vacation days in 2017. However, while it may seem as if workers are happily pursuing the American Dream, many individuals’ reasons for working hard may not be so pleasant. Some fear that if they take time off they will look less dedicated to the job than other employees, risking a layoff. Others worry about falling behind on their work or worry that the normal workflow will not be able to function without them.
The term “business credit cards for new businesses” is actually a bit misleading. The age of your business doesn’t really matter. Your odds of approval mostly depend on your personal credit standing. That’s why issuers request your Social Security Number, and it’s why you can’t get a new business credit card without a credit check. With that in mind, you can find small business credit cards for new business owners of all credit levels displayed below (including some from WalletHub partners). Customizing the offers based on your credit standing as well as your desired rates and rewards will make it easier to find the best card for your needs.
Business credit cards are great for earning rewards in key spending categories, such as office supplies and telecommunication services. They also help track company expenses and let you give employees cards with custom spending limits (some offers are from WalletHub partners). You’ll even earn rewards on employees’ purchases. Those are all reasons why small business credit cards are ideal for purchases that you’ll pay for in full by the end of the month. But they aren’t so great for financing. Because the Credit CARD Act only applies to consumer credit cards, business cards are subject to arbitrary interest rate increases.
Wells Fargo credit cards have been around for a long time. In fact, the company (a WalletHub partner) has been a pillar of the American West since 1852. It played a key role in the Gold Rush as well as Hollywood’s development. And now it’s one of the country’s biggest banks, offering numerous credit cards with competitive rewards, rates and fees. You can compare some of the most popular Wells Fargo credit card offers below. If you’re an existing Wells Fargo cardholder and want to contact the company’s customer service department, it can be reached at 800-642-4720.