The issue of widespread financial illiteracy garnered significant attention in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The housing-market collapse and ensuing financial crisis served as a stark reminder of our societal obsession with debt as well as the dangers of fingertip financial access in the hands of under-informed consumers.
But how much have we learned since, and what are we doing to help future generations avoid repeating our mistakes?
Tax Day can be a painful reminder of our large investment in the operation of federal, state and local governments, though many of us are unaware of their precise roles in everyday life. As a result, this creates a disconnect in the minds of taxpayers between the amount of money we should fork over every April and how much we ultimately deserve in return from our government.
Perhaps that’s why nearly three out of five U.S. adults feel they pay too much in taxes and why Americans estimate that Uncle Sam wastes slightly more than half of every tax dollar — higher than what they approximate state and local governments squander. We do know, however, that taxpayer return on investment, or ROI, varies significantly based on simple geography. Federal income-tax rates are uniform across the nation, yet some states receive far more federal funding than others. But federal taxes and support are only part of the story.
Doctors are among the highest-paid and most educated professionals in the U.S. Just consider the fact that “physician” is the most popular profession within the top 1 percent of earners. Doctors are deserving, after all, given the importance of their life-saving work and the struggles associated with life in the medical profession.
Not only did the average medical-school graduate leave campus with more than $189,000 of debt in 2016, but the medical profession has also been undergoing intense transformation in recent years. Health-care reform, the rise of branded hospital networks and the retirement of Baby Boomers are all complicating the lives of doctors and warranting pause from potential whitecoats.
Innovation is a principal driver of U.S. economic growth. In 2016, the U.S. spent an estimated $514 billion on research and development — more than any other country in the world — helping the nation rank No. 4 on the Global Innovation Index. According to the results of the ranking, knowledge and technology outputs are America’s particular strengths.
But certain states are due more credit than others for America’s dominance in the tech era. These states continue to foster innovation through investments in education, research and business creation, especially in highly specialized industries.
Americans are the fattest people in the world. By one measure, more than 70 percent of the U.S. population aged 15 and older is overweight or obese. But such a finding should come as no surprise, considering the proliferation of fast-food establishments and increasingly cheaper grocery items that have negatively altered our diets. Unfortunately, the extra pounds have inflated the costs of obesity-related medical treatment to nearly $316 billion a year and annual productivity losses due to work absenteeism to more than $8.6 billion.
But certain places are more responsible than others for tipping the scale in favor of bad health. To identify them, WalletHub’s analysts compared 100 of the most populated U.S. metro areas across 17 key indicators of weight-related problems. Our data set ranges from share of physically inactive adults to projected obesity rates by 2030 to healthy-food access. Read on for our findings, expert advice on tackling America’s growing obesity problem and a full description of our methodology.
The extent to which the average American’s tax burden varies based on his or her state of residence represents a significant point of differentiation among state economies. But it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
What if, for example, a particular state can afford not to tax its residents at high rates because it receives disproportionately more funding from the federal government than states with apparently oppressive tax codes? That would change the narrative significantly, revealing federal dependence where bold, efficient stewardship was once thought to preside.
The long-awaited Republican health-care plan has finally arrived, but certain key differences with the Affordable Care Act — more widely known as “Obamacare” — are likely to affect Americans’ wallets.
According to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the recently proposed American Health Care Act — unofficially going by the names “Trumpcare” and “Ryancare” — would raise the average health-insurance premium for an individual policyholder by 15 to 20 percent just one or two years from now and lower federal subsidies. However, the CBO projects that average individual Trumpcare premiums would decrease 10 percent by 2026 compared with premiums under the current health law.
The Verdict: The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card 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. So while the SPG Credit Card’s 25,000-point initial bonus might not seem all that impressive, it’s actually worth an average of almost $650 in SPG reservations, according to WalletHub’s analysis of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.
Gun sales are down since Donald Trump won the White House. And while that’s good news to some, it could be a bad sign for state economies relying heavily on the firearms industry. By one estimate, guns contributed more than $51 billion to the nation’s coffers and generated nearly $7.4 billion in federal and state taxes in 2016.
In light of the recent developments in the firearms industry, WalletHub’s analysts compared the economic impact of guns on each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine which among them leans most heavily on the gun business both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through ownership. Read on for our findings, methodology and expert commentary from a panel of researchers.
Tax season can be stressful for many Americans, especially those who owe money to Uncle Sam. Every year, the average U.S. household pays more than $5,700 in federal income taxes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while we’re all faced with that same obligation, there is significant disparity when it comes to state and local taxes. Taxpayers in the most tax-expensive states, for instance, pay three times more than those in the cheapest states to meet their civic burden.
As this year’s tax-filing deadline, April 18, looms closer, it’s fair to wonder which states have the most and least burdensome tax rates. WalletHub’s analysts searched for answers by comparing state and local tax rates in the 50 states and the District of Columbia against national medians. To illustrate, we calculated relative income-tax obligations by applying the effective income-tax rates in each state and locality to the average American’s income. Scroll down for the complete ranking, commentary from a panel of tax experts and a full description of our methodology.
Tax season is a stressful time for everyone. But it’s especially difficult for those unable to pay the IRS. Fortunately, there are many ways to make an unmanageable federal tax obligation easier to handle without drastically driving up the costs.
The best approach largely depends on the length of time you’ll need to come up with the cash due to Uncle Sam. As you’ll see below, the options for people with short-term cash-flow issues are far more attractive than those available to folks with more fundamental financial difficulties. Read on to learn more.