Retirement is typically viewed as the end of the line — a time for rest, relaxation and the pursuit of interests long ago put on the back burner. But the narrative is far different for military retirees who must deal with the trials of reassimilation to civilian life. For starters, the average officer is only 45 years old — 42 for nondisability enlisted personnel — upon retirement from service. Many of those who reenter the job market face tough challenges during the transition while others struggle with more difficult problems, such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, disability and homelessness.
As such, military retirement can be a far more complicated issue than one might assume, given the extent to which state tax policies on military benefits vary, the relative friendliness of different job markets toward veterans, and a variety of other socioeconomic factors. This year especially is one of significant change for our troops, as the military pension system undergoes a major overhaul to include a “blended” benefits package that combines a smaller pension check with an IRA contribution.
Converting U.S. dollars into a foreign currency is necessary for most trips abroad. And we generally have two options for doing so: 1) automatically with a credit card and 2) by converting hard currency at a bank or airport kiosk. But which is the better deal?
You may not think this is worth worrying about, but there are actually hundreds of dollars at stake for most international travelers. So a strategic approach to currency exchange could be the difference between flying first class or coach, for example.
School’s out, the mercury’s rising, and some folks have yet to spend their tax refunds. In short, it’s time to plan the perfect summer getaway. The only question is: Where should you go? You might have a few destinations already in mind, but your travel budget might not agree. Regardless, you want to have fun while keeping your spending in check.
So which places offer the most bang for the buck? To find out, WalletHub’s data team compared 80 of the most popular U.S. vacation spots across 38 key indicators of a wallet-friendly and Instagram-worthy summer vacation. Our data set ranges from cost of the cheapest flight to number of attractions to weather. Read on for the full ranking, money-saving travel advice and our methodology. As you plan your trip, make sure to check out WalletHub’s Best Travel Credit Cards and Currency Exchange reports.
Deciding where to lay the foundation for a long and prosperous career can be a daunting task, especially for recent graduates entering the job market for the first time. After all, there are numerous factors — job-market saturation, housing affordability and commuter-friendliness, for instance — to consider about each prospective area.
But the process needn’t be that difficult or intimidating. WalletHub’s data team compared the relative market strength and overall livability of the 150 largest U.S. cities to help recent college graduates find the best cradles for their burgeoning careers. We examined each city based on 23 key metrics that range from the availability of entry-level jobs to monthly average starting salary to workforce diversity. A complete breakdown of our findings, a detailed methodology and expert career advice can be found below.
Drug abuse has a long and storied history in the United States. It progressed from “a serious national threat” in 1969 to “public enemy No. 1” when President Richard Nixon declared war in 1971. That didn’t quite work out, so Nancy Reagan told us to “just say no” in 1984. And her husband began to implement policies that would disproportionately criminalize “crack” cocaine and send prison populations skyrocketing.
Since then, George H.W. Bush tried to take a “child by child” approach. His son subsequently admitted to cocaine use. Bill Clinton “experimented with marijuana a time or two” but “didn’t inhale.” Barack Obama “inhaled frequently” because “that was the point.” And from 2013 through 2016 alone, American taxpayers spent roughly $327 billion on drug-control efforts.
Law enforcement is one of the least glamorous jobs, made even less so in recent years by high-profile scandals of police brutality, especially toward unarmed minorities. But to serve and protect remains a necessary, and often thankless, public service. It’s a calling that more than 900,000 Americans have answered, knowing full well the hazards associated with their occupation. In the past 10 years, for instance, more than 1,500 police officers, including 143 in 2016 alone, died in the line of duty. Tens of thousands more were assaulted and injured.
Because of such dangers and risks, law-enforcement agencies must offer enough incentives to attract and retain cops. So what qualities define a good place to live and work for those donning their blue uniforms? Besides a $61,600 mean annual wage that exceeds the $49,630 for all occupations, a generous benefits package can include retirement-contribution matches, tuition assistance, ample leave time, a take-home vehicle, and access to health and fitness facilities. Officers also may begin drawing full retirement benefits as early as age 40, depending on when they entered the force.
Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and more than 70 percent of moms with children younger than 18 are working. Yet women earned only 83 percent of what men made in 2015 and have far less upward mobility, as evidenced by the fact that only 5.8 percent of S&P 500 companies’ chief executives are female.
Such obvious inequality has spawned a great deal of debate about gender roles in a shifting socioeconomic environment. Workplace inequality is important not only in the spirit of a merit-based economy but also for deeply ingrained social reasons. For instance, should women have to choose between career and family?
Parsing Americans by economic class is simple: You’re either one of the wealthiest 1 percent or the bottom 99, thanks to an ever wider wealth gap. Indeed, the rich are richer and the poor even poorer today, but how? Between 2009 and 2012, the top 1 percent of earners captured 95 percent of all post-recession income growth. That raised this group’s collective share of total U.S. wealth to more than 40 percent, compared with just nearly 26 percent in 1982. As a result, poverty today reflects the same levels seen during the financial crisis and has reached communities it historically did not afflict.
But some experts argue that the complete absence of poverty is not necessarily ideal. Unequal distribution of income can actually create advantages, too. As one financial analyst explained, “An economy that has no wealth inequality will, most certainly, stagnate and die leaving widespread poverty behind. We want and need the right amount of wealth inequality to fuel the creative ambition that leads people to seek a better financial future.” Education, which generally diminishes unemployment odds and raises income potential, is often considered one of the best ways to move up the economic ladder.
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” say the wisest investing experts. But that wisdom applies to the economy, too. During the Great Recession, local economies that diversified, tapping into new ideas and innovations, proved to be more resilient than the cities that stuck to their old tricks.
Some researchers have found that greater professional and industrial variety increases a city’s productivity, a pattern in growing and large urban areas in the U.S. and around the globe. “More diversified economies are less volatile in terms of outputs, and lower output volatility is associated with higher economic growth,” according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
America is undergoing an extreme makeover, thanks to rapid demographic diversification. By 2050, you won’t even recognize her. But America’s transformation is more than skin-deep — it’s economic, too. Not only have waves of immigration changed the face of the nation, they’ve also ushered in fresh perspectives, skills and technologies to help the U.S. develop a strong adaptability to change.
Economies generally fare better when they openly embrace and capitalize on new ideas. Conversely, those relying on old ways and specialized industries tend to be more susceptible to the negative effects of market volatility.
Like most segments of the economy, the nursing industry is in a state of significant transition under the weight of major socioeconomic dynamics — from the aging U.S. population to the student-loan crisis to concerns about the future of key entitlement programs. But such concerns are not unique among recent graduates, regardless of industry.
More specific to nursing professionals are the various day-to-day demands placed on them, such as mandatory overtime, overstaffing, unionization and allegations of systemic disrespect. Despite those challenges, however, aspiring nurses have much to look forward to upon certification. Nursing occupations are some of the most lucrative careers with the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. In fact, the industry is expected to grow at more than double the rate of the average occupation through 2024.
We all define “fun” a bit differently. And hopefully the place in which we live caters to our personal ideas of entertainment. But that’s not always the case. Otherwise, none of us would ever venture outside of our home state’s borders.
There are certain states, however, where fun is not just an option but also a way of life. These states offer enough variety of activities for everyone that you won’t have to use much of your imagination.
Americans are born with an entrepreneurial streak. It’s in our DNA. From Manifest Destiny and the Gold Rush to the Industrial Revolution and the Internet Age, intense periods of innovation have molded our economy and sparked important societal advancements.
Today, more than 15 million people in the U.S., or about 10 percent of the labor force, work for themselves. And there is always room in the market for new ideas, products, services and multi-million-dollar success stories — if one knows where to look.
Traveling abroad can be taxing, especially on our wallets. We spend more than $245 billion on international travel each year, which works out to roughly $3,390 for each of the 72 million Americans in on the action.
Whether you travel by plane, train, bus, car or boat, having the right plastic in your pocket can make life a whole lot easier. The best travel rewards credit cards offer people with good or excellent credit hundreds of dollars in savings per year. And the best international credit cards provide a range of travel benefits, such as insurance for lost luggage, free overnight replacement cards and worldwide acceptance.
Expect the Hispanic and Latino community’s contributions to the U.S. economy to be nothing short of monumental in the coming decades. Not only is this demographic expected to make up a third of the U.S. population by 2050 — translating into immense buying power — this group is also creating businesses at 15 times the national rate, according to one report.
The timing therefore could not be more appropriate for Hispanic entrepreneurs to bring their business ideas to fruition. But where is the most fertile ground for a Hispanic-owned enterprise? To answer that question, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 largest U.S. cities across 21 key indicators of business friendliness toward Hispanic entrepreneurs. Our data set of 21 key metrics ranges from Hispanic entrepreneurship rate to median annual income of Hispanics to share of Hispanics with at least a bachelor’s degree. Read on for our findings, expert business insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
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 scratcher, take the rare casino trip or bet small stakes in fantasy sports. But they also possess the mental capacity to quit at any point and prevent catastrophic financial loss. “Professional” gamblers make up another group — the likes of math genius Edward Thorp and high-stakes sports bettor Bill Krackomberger — who gamble well enough to make a living out of it but are able to separate work from personal life.
But when the business or pleasure gets out of control, gambling becomes a real medical condition. Gambling disorder, as the affliction is known, affects slightly more than 2 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.”
Small business owners aren’t people. Well, at least that’s how the current regulatory environment portrays 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 while that may not seem like a big deal at first, the CARD Act has done a great deal 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 existing debt. Credit card companies must wait until a cardholder is at least 60 days delinquent to raise the interest rate on a consumer-card balance. But they can do so with a business-card balance whenever they wish. 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.
Raising a child in America is more expensive than ever, 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. Per-capita spending on children’s health care in 2014 reached $2,660 — having increased by more than 5 percent every year since 2010 — due mainly to rising health costs, according to a recent report from the Health Cost Institute.
But it’s a different story in every state. WalletHub’s data team therefore compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 28 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.
Graduation season is a time of big dreams and immense pressure for soon-to-be job seekers across the nation. 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 potential in terms of compensation as well as 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 2017, WalletHub’s analysts took stock of the first-timer job market by comparing 109 entry-level positions based on 12 key metrics. Our data set ranges from median starting salary to projected job growth by 2024 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.