A car insurance deductible is the amount of money you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurance company pays the rest of a claim, up to the policy’s pre-set coverage limit. For example, imagine that you have a $500 deductible and a claim for $1,500 to repair your car after you hit someone’s mailbox. You file a claim with your insurance company, which reviews and (hopefully) approves coverage for the full amount, minus your deductible. Then you pay the $500 deductible, and your insurance company covers the remaining $1,000 balance.
The same is true if your claim is $5,000 – you pay $500, and your insurance company pays for the rest. If your claim is $400, however, the whole repair bill is your responsibility. Your insurance company isn’t responsible for paying any bills that don’t exceed your deductible. In most cases, the insurance company will write you or your mechanic a check for the claim amount minus the deductible.
Hunger, poverty and homelessness affect every nation — even the richest and most powerful.
According to Feeding America, food insecurity plagues every U.S. county, with 37 million individuals lacking access to adequate food. 11.8 percent of the U.S. population lives in poverty. And in the absence of more affordable housing or accommodations provided by relatives or friends, many must take to the streets or shelters. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, shows that nearly 553,000 people — many of them children — had been homeless at one point in January 2018.
Times Square might be the most hashtag-worthy spot for ringing in the new year, but it's certainly not the best if you're a frugal partier seeking an equally grand experience.
Local businesses are notorious for hiking up their prices when big crowds are in town for a major event. That’s especially true for hotels, which can experience price increases of several hundred percent over the rest of the year. The last thing you want to do in the final hours of 2019 is ruin your finances over one night of entertainment.
High school seniors face a laundry list of tasks when getting ready for college. Between standardized tests, essays and financial-aid applications, the final months before orientation can be difficult. One of the most important steps in the process is the campus visit, which often includes a tour of the city or town that will serve as the student’s home for the next several years. Experts have argued that a school’s geographical location is just as important as a strong curriculum and supportive school environment to a student’s academic success and personal development. As student living expenses can reach up to $27,200 for a 12-month period, students should try to find the most bang for their buck.
To help prospective college students narrow down their school choices and to follow up our report on 2020’s College & University Rankings, WalletHub compared more than 400 U.S. cities of varying sizes based on 31 key indicators of academic, social and economic opportunities for students. Our data set ranges from cost of living to quality of higher education to crime rate. Below are our findings, additional expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.
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.
Americans began 2019 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt. Although the forecast initially appeared brighter, thanks to consumers repaying $38.2 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2019, poor second-quarter results nearly erased that effort. U.S. consumers added $35.5 billion in new credit card debt during the second quarter of 2019 – the largest second-quarter build-up ever. And in the third quarter, total debt went up by another $21.5 billion. As a result, WalletHub now projects a $80 billion net increase in consumer credit card debt for 2019 overall.
You can’t get an accurate sense of the consumer debt situation without considering credit card delinquency and charge-off rates. These metrics speak to the sustainability of consumer spending habits, indicating the ability of credit card users to stay current on their bills. For example, high delinquency rates may foreshadow a rash of defaults as well as the potential for a downturn in the economy, while a downward trend in default rates could indicate economic or habitual improvement.
Furthermore, consumers continue to owe charged-off debt for years, which means ignoring such sums will paint a misleading picture of the debt landscape.
A virtual credit card is a service that allows online shoppers to mask their credit card’s sensitive information by using a uniquely generated card number, expiration date and security code as a proxy. Virtual credit cards are not an alternative to a traditional credit card account. Rather, they are connected to a traditional account as a free add-on for improved security. You can create as many virtual card numbers as you want, without affecting your credit score or account standing.
Virtual credit cards decrease the likelihood of credit card fraud because the virtual card information isn’t as useful to a fraudster if stolen. Depending on your credit card issuer, you’ll be given either a separate virtual card number for each merchant or virtual card numbers that work for all merchants. If it’s the latter, you can request a new number whenever you want. That makes it more difficult to hack your account. The information you enter is only good for a limited time and doesn’t show up anywhere permanent.
After experiencing a record high in the first half of 2019, total hedge fund capital decreased slightly in the third quarter to $3.245 trillion, a dip of $5.5 billion. That’s still a massive amount, though. To put it 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 they’re 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.
Unless states take action to prevent further abuse, the problem will grow as America becomes an increasingly aging nation. The U.S. Census Bureau expects the population aged 65 years and older to nearly double from 43.1 million in 2012 to 85.7 million in 2050, much to the credit of aging Baby Boomers who began turning 65 in 2011. And by just 2030, 1 in 5 U.S. residents will be retirement age.
’Tis the season for giving. And the latest World Giving Index shows that the United States has been the most generous country over the course of the last ten years. U.S. donors in 2018 gave more than $427 billion to charity, with 68 percent of the funds coming directly from individuals, according to the National Philanthropic Trust.
But Americans do more than reach in their pockets to help others. They also contribute their time — and plenty of it. Nearly 63 million people volunteer in the U.S., serving a combined total of 7.9 billion hours per year, the equivalent of $184 billion of service.
The best hotel rewards programs provide a wide range of free perks. Members receive special amenities such as free Wi-Fi, late check out and bar credits. But that’s just the beginning. Most importantly, the top hotel rewards programs let you quickly earn free nights, redeem them with ease, and go about your business without worrying about fine-print restrictions.
Every major hotel chain has its own loyalty rewards program, which anyone can join for free. But these hotel rewards programs are not equally rewarding for everyone. They all have different rules, earning rates and point values, plus a variety of other benefits. And much ultimately depends on where you travel, how often you stay in hotels, and how much you’re comfortable spending per night.
$20 statement credit bonus for a 3.0+ GPA for up to 5 years
0% APR on purchases for the first 6 months
No annual fee
No foreign-transaction fee
No initial bonus
High regular APR
The Verdict: As a student (or perhaps a concerned parent) looking for a credit card, your top priority should be to find a no-annual-fee offer for which you have a high likelihood of approval. Beyond that, some rewards for using the card or 0% financing would be nice.
Well, the Discover it® Student Cash Back and its sibling, the Discover it® Student chrome, check all those boxes. In addition to their lack of annual membership fees, these Discover student credit cards offer at least 1% cash back on all purchases and 0% interest on all new purchases for the first six months your account is open. Both will also double whatever rewards you earn during the first year.
The Verdict: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is an attractive everyday spending vehicle for people with excellent credit. Things begin on a positive note, with no annual fee to worry about and the ability to earn a $200 initial bonus for spending just $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card even supplements its base 1% cash-back earning rate with 2% back on groceries and wholesale clubs and 3% back on a category of your choosing. But there’s a catch. Those bonus earning rates apply to only the first $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale clubs and gas purchases each quarter. So if you spend more than $833 a month on such everyday necessities, you will wind up hitting that limit and earning only 1% back — slightly less than the market average of 1.07% — on all your purchases for the rest of the quarter.
The Verdict: The BankAmericard® credit card is a very good tool for avoiding interest on credit card debt, whether you’re planning a big purchase or need a way to reduce the cost of an existing balance. The stars of the show are BankAmericard’s $0 annual fee and its 0% introductory APRs, which apply to purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 billing cycles. If you transfer a balance, you just have to do so within 60 days of opening an account to get that rate.
Those features compare favorably to most competing offers. The average 0% purchase APR lasts for about 11.26 months. And the average 0% balance transfer deal gives you about 12.81 months. But that is not to say BankAmericard’s financing offer is flawless. The most important imperfection for folks with expensive debt is the card’s 3% balance transfer fee. Not only is that above average for a balance transfer credit card, but it’s also a distinguishing factor between the BankAmericard credit card and its biggest competitors.
People encounter hazards every day, some serious, others rare and innocuous. But we fear certain kinds more than others. According to Gallup, nearly half of Americans fear being a victim of a mass shooting or a terrorist attack. Many also worry about falling victim to hate crimes or sexual assault. The list goes on, and these sentiments often are expressed in response to recent headlines.
But people can feel unsafe in other ways, too. Besides the types of hazards that can cause bodily injury or other physical harm, taking out an unaffordable second mortgage, forgoing health insurance or even visiting unsecured websites are also ways people run into danger. At the top of the list of worries is the availability of affordable healthcare, which 80 percent of Americans worry about either a “great deal” or a “fair amount.”
The Verdict: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card is a very good option for people with excellent credit who want to reduce the cost of travel without paying an annual fee. But it’s only a truly great choice for fairly low-spending Bank of America banking customers with a lot of cash saved.
The party starts with a 25,000-point initial rewards bonus, worth $250 in travel, when you spend $1,000 or more within 90 days of opening your account. That’s well above average for a card offering a points-based bonus. Still, if you’re someone who spends $1,000 per month, rather than every three months, you can get at least twice as much dollar value from competing offers.
The Verdict: The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card is one of the best rewards cards for people with excellent credit who like to travel and dine out. In fact, it ranked 9th overall in WalletHub’s 2019 Credit Card Rewards Report for the net value that the average person can expect to earn in two years: $1,534.
The premium rewards start with an initial bonus of 50,000 points after you spend at least $3,000 within 90 days of opening your account. That’s worth $500. And the perks keep coming, with 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining, plus 1.5 points per $1 on everything else. The average points card gives you just 1.17 per $1.
Car insurance provides financial protection for drivers in case of injury or property damage. Each driver buys a policy from a car insurance company, which promises set levels of coverage in the event of an accident. Car insurance may provide payouts for the driver’s vehicle repairs and medical bills, along with any damage that the insured driver or vehicle might cause to other people or property. The policy’s coverage requirements and costs vary by state and from driver to driver, depending on certain factors like the person’s age, zip code and driving record.
There are many types of car insurance available to drivers, but most of them are optional. You pick the areas of coverage that you want and the amount of coverage in each category. You also choose your deductible, which is the amount that you’re responsible for paying when you make a car insurance claim (your insurance company pays whatever is left). Most policies offer coverage for six months or one year at a time, and you can pay for them in a variety of ways: up front, on a monthly basis, or in several installments over the course of your policy.
Average car insurance rates range from $1,424 per year for drivers who are 65 years old to a high of $7,001 per year for drivers who are 16 years old. Car insurance rates vary so much by age group because some groups are statistically more risky to insure than others, due to a higher likelihood of accidents and expensive claims.
The youngest drivers tend to have the most traffic incidents and display more reckless behavior than older drivers. They are the most expensive to insure, on average, as a result. Prices drop off for adults all the way into middle age, as they gain more experience behind the wheel and get into fewer accidents compared to teenagers. This trend continues until drivers reach their seventies, at which point costs begin to rise again.