Finding love can be tough — if you look for it in all the wrong places. Some cities might encourage dating by offering plentiful nightlife options and daytime attractions. But going on dates can be costly, with the average cost of a date at $102.32. It certainly pays to live in a place where dating activities, such as dining out or watching a movie, are relatively cheaper.
More entertainment choices and low cost of living don’t matter much, however, if the number of potential mates to meet are limited in your area. Around 45 percent of the U.S. adult population is unmarried (never married, divorced or widowed), according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates. But the share may be higher or lower in every city, and the ratio of women to men also will differ in each.
Gift cards are supposed to make gift-giving simpler, reducing the need to worry about the recipient’s tastes and what specific items he or she might already have. But not all gift cards are created equal, which might help explain why nearly $1 billion in value went unused in 2015, despite gift cards being the most popular type of present for the 12th consecutive year.
So in the interest of helping you find the best gift cards for any occasion – whether a birthday, holiday, graduation, etc. – we compared the 50 most popular options across five major categories: 1) how popular the cards are; 2) how much of a discount you can buy them for; 3) how much you can sell them for; 4) how much people like the retailer; and 5) shipping fees. Below, you can check out the resulting top picks.
Concerns over the proper role of taxation lie at the very foundation of American history. They haven’t gone away, either. In fact, President Donald Trump signed a new overhauled tax plan into effect in December 2017, which will affect earnings in the 2018 fiscal year. One of the largest changes in the plan is that the federal corporate income tax rate was permanently lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent. Republicans champion the tax plan as beneficial to business and consumers and Democrats claim it will only increase the wealth of the already wealthy.
With businesses looking forward to a large tax cut in the future, WalletHub analyzed annual reports for the S&P 100 — the largest and most established companies on the stock market — in order to determine the federal, state and international tax rates they paid in 2017. You can find the results, our detailed methodology and additional expert commentary below.
For the 37th time in the past 40 years, charitable giving increased year over year in 2017, according to Charity Navigator, with Americans giving a total of $410.02 billion – nearly $287 billion of which came from individual donors. And while some forecasts call for a drop in charitable giving in 2018, much depends on how generous we feel this holiday season. ’Tis indeed the season for generosity, as a significant portion of all charitable donations are usually made in the month of December.
There is no shortage of noble causes in need of support this year. But no one wants their money to go to waste. So it’s fair to wonder which charity will make the best use of your donation.
“Fat” is becoming the new normal in America. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than seven in 10 U.S. adults aged 20 and older are either overweight or obese. Rates are lower for children and adolescents but have risen drastically in the past few decades. So prevalent has America’s obesity problem grown that the weight-loss industry continues to expand. In 2017, the U.S. weight loss and diet control market was valued at $66 billion. The U.S. spends in total nearly $200 billion in annual health care costs related to obesity.
New findings by the Physical Activity Council suggest a need for more aggressive efforts to combat the issue. According to the report, 82.4 million Americans aged 6 and older were completely inactive in 2017. Lack of physical activity is a leading cause of obesity, in addition to genetics, emotional instability and sleeplessness.
According to the Veterans Association, there are over 19.6 million veterans currently living in the U.S. These veterans often face a host of challenges when re-entering civilian life. Despite Uncle Sam’s promises to provide health care as well as housing, employment and educational assistance upon their return from service, some cannot secure healthcare, jobs or shelter.
Where veterans live can contribute to the problem. Although unemployment and homelessness have declined nationally for this group, such issues are simply worse in certain parts of America. Throughout the U.S., 40,000 veterans still find themselves without a home. However, there is some good news on the healthcare front. 71 percent of V.A. hospitals have improved their conditions over the past year. Plus, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently ruled that chronic pain without a clear medical diagnosis still qualifies veterans for disability benefits. This will provide over 11,000 veterans previously denied coverage with some much-needed assistance.
With the expensive holiday shopping season fast approaching and credit card debt again reaching historical levels, financing offers figure to be especially tempting in the weeks to come. And that makes “deferred interest,” a feature commonly found in the fine print of retailer payment plans, particularly dangerous. Deferred-interest financing is like a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, pairing an enticing offer – something like “no interest if paid in full” or “special financing” – with a clause that allows the deal to turn ugly if you make the slightest mistake.
Deferred interest means you pay no interest or a reduced rate for a period of time, but allows for the possibility that a high regular APR could retroactively apply to your entire original purchase amount – as if the low intro rate never existed. Paying one month’s bill a day late or owing even $1 when the promotional period ends could trigger the deferred interest clause, activating high interest charges. Deferred interest is common with 0% store financing offers. And since many retailers don’t disclose deferred interest clearly enough, it can lead to some expensive post-holiday shopping season surprises.
Store cards occupy a very interesting niche within the broader credit card market. For one thing, they tend to have more lenient approval requirements than general-use cards with comparable terms. That’s largely because they can only be used to make purchases with the retailers they represent, which limits the risk for the issuer. As a result, store credit cards are a great way to build credit at a low cost.
But store cards aren’t only for the limited-and-fair credit crowd. Their sign-up bonuses and ongoing rewards provide savings at affiliated stores that even the market’s best overall rewards cards can’t match. So they’re especially attractive to people with good and excellent credit who employ the Island Approach, which involves using multiple cards for various specific purposes.
Discover’s new-look credit card rewards program – branded Cashback Bonus – offers members the ability to earn cash back on every purchase, as well as to choose from a variety of redemption options, ranging from statement credits to gift cards and online merchandise.
When the mercury drops, some Americans welcome the chill while others follow the sun. But fewer travel options may be available to cold-weather fans this winter season — at least domestically — considering forecasts of above-normal temperatures across the country, along with higher than normal rain levels but less snow than usual.
To help Americans plan their travels over the colder months, WalletHub developed a ranking of the cheapest U.S. destinations that are also the easiest to reach. In total we analyzed nearly 70 of the largest metro areas — grouped as “warm” or “cold” — based on 36 key metrics, including two weeks of flight data, safety indicators and weather predictions.
We’re each projected to spend about $1,007 on presents this holiday season. Plus, the average household already owes more than $8,000 in credit card debt – nearly a record amount and still rising. So it will be very important to keep a watchful eye on your wallet during this expensive time of year.
With that in mind, WalletHub’s editors prepared six holiday shopping tips to help you give more, spend less and worry about money as little as possible.
The holiday season has become a commercial bonanza in which billions of dollars are spent on gifts and billions are added to our credit card debt tab. But that’s not what it’s really all about, and there’s no reason to feel pressured into spending more than you can afford. Because if your holiday budget isn’t as big as you’d like, there are plenty of presents you can give that cost absolutely nothing or close to it.
Below, you can find 16 low-cost or free holiday gift ideas that are sure to spread cheer without giving your wallet anything to fear. Happy holidays!
Tuesday, November 6 is midterm election day in the U.S., and it’s your chance to have a say in who calls the shots in government— and on your wallet.
With the population of the U.S. eligible to vote estimated at over 227,000,000, it’s easy to wonder how much your individual vote counts. Although the U.S. gives all citizens age 18 or older the right to vote (aside from felons in most states), ballots carry different weights based on the state in which one lives. Take California, for instance. Its estimated population is nearly 66 times greater than Wyoming’s, yet each state has two seats in the Senate. In this case, less is more: California’s votes are weakened exponentially because each of its senators must represent tens of millions more residents.
Urbanization might be the trend for much of the population, but not everyone craves the bright lights and crowded spaces of big cities. Small-city life can be best for those who appreciate more wiggle room, fewer degrees of separation and shorter commutes, to name just a few of its advantages. Granted, these little urban areas demand some tradeoffs, too, such as fewer restaurant options or shorter business hours.
But one of the best perks of living in a city with a relatively smaller population? Affordability. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living for a two-parent, two-child family in Hanford, California, for instance, would be $6,221 per month, compared with nearly double at $12,370 for the same family in San Francisco.
What does it take to be a true baseball fan? Mostly a lot of patience and sometimes a lot of money, depending on how closely you want to follow the sport. In this slow-paced ballgame, hits and home runs are less frequent than strikes and misses. Yet baseball claims the title of Americans’ third most popular sport, after football and basketball.
Fans are willing to pay top dollar to see a game, too, especially during the highly anticipated World Series that kicks off every October. Of course, tickets are kinder to the wallet during the regular season. But to see Game 1 of the 114th World Series on Oct. 23, for instance, the cheapest seat at Fenway Park in Boston would cost $375, according to TicketIQ. For Game 7 on Oct. 31 at the same stadium, the damage would range from a starting price of $875 all the way to a whopping $29,785, as of Oct. 23. That doesn’t leave much room for peanuts and cracker jacks. And that’s not mentioning the hundreds of millions of dollars wagered by the betting market every year.
2 points per $1 spent on dining and entertainment (1 point per $1 on everything else)
No foreign-transaction fees
No initial rewards bonus
$95 annual fee starting year two
No 0% intro rates
Above-average regular APR
The Verdict: Whether it’s truly a premier option is a matter for debate, but the Citi Premier℠ Card certainly represents a solid way to subsidize your travel expenses, assuming you have excellent credit.
The $95 annual fee doesn’t kick in until year two and your earnings will always be worth 25% more when redeemed for airfare.
People love Halloween for a number of different reasons: candy, costumes, horror films, haunted houses, parties and more. If you’re one of the many Americans who count down to this holiday from the beginning of autumn, then you’ll want to make sure you’re in the most spook-tacular part of America on Oct. 31.
How your Halloween night will turn out depends on your plans and budget. This year, the average U.S. household is expected to spend $86.79 on Halloween expenses, from decorations to treats to costumes. Collectively, that’s over $9 billion. And if you’re counting on getting more free treats in return for your investment, you’ll definitely want to be in a place with the most activities.
In a fierce global economy, a college degree can help secure employment and keep you ahead of the competition. And though success ultimately rests on students’ own determination and performance, the quality of the schools they choose can certainly have an impact. However, attending higher education requires more than just the grades to get in. You’ll also need the financial resources to attend. On average, tuition and room and board at a four-year college costs around $21,000 - $47,000 per year. It varies depending on the school’s public or private status and whether it’s in-state. For those prices, students want to know they are getting a good deal.
To determine the top-performing schools at the lowest possible costs to undergraduates, WalletHub compared nearly 1,000 higher-education institutions in the U.S. across 30 key measures. The data set is grouped into seven categories, such as Student Selectivity, Cost & Financing and Career Outcomes. The metrics range from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.
When deciding where to pursue higher education, the choice between attending a university versus a college can be tough. For those who prefer widely diverse academic and social opportunities, university is often the answer. Universities boast many advantages over colleges. Besides having larger enrollment numbers that promise a dynamic campus life, universities offer both undergraduate- and graduate-level programs that lead to bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees. Students with an appetite for different subjects can even pursue multiple degree tracks at once.
But university students also give up certain privileges afforded to their peers at smaller colleges. For instance, university students in lower-level courses often receive classroom instruction from teaching assistants instead of professors, who may spend more time researching than teaching. Large, crowded lecture halls can also make learning more of a challenge.