The 5 Best Business Checking Accounts in 2021

Starting a business is an opportunity to be your own boss, make money and grow your skill set.

There are also the not-so-great, somewhat messy and complicated parts about operating a business. If you start off solo or small, you’ll be tackling a lot of tasks yourself.

But don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to address something relatively simple in the business world: the best business checking accounts.

We’ll go into why you need one, what you should look for and several of the best ones available, both in-person and online-only.

Wait, Do I Really Need a Business Checking Account?

The purpose of a business checking account is to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances.

Technically, you might not need one depending on the legal structure of your business.

For example, if you’re a freelance writer who established a sole proprietorship and is starting slowly, you could use your personal checking account to get off the ground. But you’ll want to be extremely organized about keeping track of your business money for tax time. (Nothing will damper your momentum like getting audited.)

The type of business you’re running makes a difference here. If it’s transaction-heavy — or a particular legal structure, like a limited liability company — you might need a business checking account, full stop.

But if you’re starting any kind of business, it’s probably in your best interest to open one.

Business checking accounts make it easier to track profits, expenses and deductions, and help establish your operation if you file for business credit cards or loans down the line.

What You Need to Open a Business Checking Account

To open an account, you’ll typically need the following:

  • Social security number (SSN) or employee identification number (EIN)
  • Valid driver’s license or state ID
  • An initial deposit

How easy it is to open a business checking account will depend on your business. If you’re a sole proprietor, the process might feel similar to opening a personal checking account. If you have a different legal business structure, you’ll likely have to provide additional documentation (like your articles of incorporation). Requirements will vary from bank to bank.

What You Should Look for in a Business Checking Account

Before you peruse accounts, get a handle on your business needs and wants. For instance, do you make a lot of transactions? Do you want a business credit card ASAP? Do you prefer a big bank where you can pop into a different branch every half mile?

There are other considerations. Do you want your bank, credit union or financial institution to…

  • Offer free bank statements?
  • Have an app?
  • Offer free online banking and/or bill pay?
  • Have in-person locations?
  • Offer comprehensive customer service, i.e., allow you to talk to someone online and on the phone 24/7?
  • Have integration with tools, like invoicing software?
  • Offer multiple products, such as business credit cards, small-business loans, etc.?

There are lots of banks for small businesses to choose from, but you want one that will give you the most options. And ideally, save you some money and headaches in the process.

To choose the best business checking accounts, we focused on accounts that:

  1. Require a low minimum initial deposit ($1,000 or less — most require only $25).
  2. Offer a certain number of transactions for free.
  3. Either have no monthly service fee or make it easy to have the fee waived.

We also focused on checking accounts for small and medium businesses. If you’re looking for accounts to manage a higher volume, many of the traditional institutions on our list have them, too.

Pro Tip

Check out our current list of bank promotions for a chance to gain a monetary bonus when signing up for a new business checking account.

The 5 Best Business Checking Accounts for May 2021

We chose five institutions and a couple of different checking account options for each where available.

1. Chase: Best for 24/7 Customer Service and Overall Accessibility

Chase is a well-known brand with many physical branches and flexible options for business owners. It’s a good choice if you want to be able to find a chain easily and talk to someone in person. Chase also offers 24/7 support, so you can call and email them anytime of day. From personal experience, if you send them a secured online message, they typically follow up within 24 hours. To learn more, read our Chase Bank review.

  • Number of branches: Approximately 4,700
  • Number of ATMs: 16,000

Here’s the lowdown on Chase Business Complete Banking and Chase Performance Business Checking.

Chase Business Complete Banking

Chase Business Complete Banking (for small businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: $300 for new customers who meet certain criteria

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $15; waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,000 or link a qualifying Chase account

Cash deposits per month: Up to $5,000 without an additional fee

Free transactions per month: 100

Other benefits:

  • Access to Chase online and mobile banking
  • Get same-day deposits 
on card payments at 
no additional cost

Chase Performance Business Checking

Chase Performance Business Checking (for medium-sized businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $30; waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $35,000 or more in qualifying accounts

Cash deposits per month: Up to $20,000 without an additional fee

Free transactions per month: 250

Other benefits:

  • No charge for all incoming wires and two outgoing domestic wires per statement cycle

Interest-bearing option availableChase has business saving account, lending and credit card options, too. Chase offers several small-business credit cards, all with new card member bonuses, which include $750 cash back to 100,000 bonus points depending on the card.

A man rides a bike past Wells Fargo in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

2. Wells Fargo: Best for Small Business Owners Just Getting Started

Wells Fargo is another strong choice for your business checking account needs. It has many branch locations and you can call them 24/7. Its website is also easy to navigate and lets you find answers to your questions without clicking on a ton of links. Check out our Wells Fargo Bank review for more information.

  • Number of branches: Approximately 7,200
  • Number of ATMs: Over 13,000

Wells Fargo Initiate Business Checking

Initiate Business Checking (for new and small businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $10; waived by having a minimum daily balance of $500

Cash deposits per month: Up to $5,000 for free

Free transactions per month: 100

Other benefits:

  • Customized business debit card
  • 24/7 fraud monitoring
  • Mobile deposit

If you’re just getting started with your small business and don’t expect to scale right away, Initiate Business Checking is a solid, affordable account to open.

Wells Fargo Navigate Business Checking

Navigate Business Checking (for small- to medium-sized businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $25

Monthly service fee: $25; waived by having a minimum daily  balance of $10,000 or an average combined business deposit balance of $15,000

Cash deposits per month: Up to $20,000 for free

Free transactions per month: 250

Other benefits:

  • Customized business debit card
  • 24/7 fraud monitoring
  • Mobile deposit

Wells Fargo also offers small-business lending and credit card options.

3. U.S. Bank: Best for Simple, Fee-Free Banking

While primarily located in the Midwest, this chain has lots of locations across the country. That’s great news if you’re a small-business owner looking for a simple checking account.

U.S. Bank has no monthly service fees for its Silver account, so no worries about meeting certain criteria to have the fee waived. You can also go to its website and take a short quiz to determine which account would work best for your needs.

  • Number of branches: 3,106
  • Number of ATMs: 4,842

U.S. Bank offers Silver, Gold, Platinum and Premium business checking accounts, and we’re going to outline the first two.

U.S. Bank Silver Business Checking

Silver Business Checking (best for newer or smaller businesses) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $100

Monthly service fee: $0

Cash deposits per month: 25 for free

Free transactions per month: 120 per statement cycle; 50 cents per excess transaction

U.S. Bank will charge you $5 for paper statements, so stick with online ones to save money and the planet.

Other benefits:

  • Online and mobile banking
  • Discount on first check order
  • Small Business Visa credit card
  • Card payment processing

U.S. Bank Gold Business Checking

Gold Business Checking (for businesses with moderate transaction levels) at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $100

Monthly service fee: $20; waived by satisfying one of several criteria listed on its website

Cash deposits per month: 100 for free

Free transactions per month: 300 per statement cycle; 45 cents per excess transaction

Other benefits:

  • Online and mobile banking
  • Remote check deposits
  • Discount on first check order
  • Small Business Visa credit card
  • Card payment processing

Silver and Gold are good options for small businesses looking for free business checking accounts (as long as you stay within the limits). And in general, Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank are all good options for an LLC.

4. BlueVine: Best for Fee-Free, Online-Only Banking

Want to open an account on your phone and manage it entirely online? Welcome to 2021… and to BlueVine.

BlueVine boasts no hidden fees and unlimited transactions. Members can pay vendors, schedule one-time and recurring payments, and earn an impressive 1.0% on their checking account balance up to $100,000. Deposits are FDIC-insured (up to $250,000) through The Bancorp Bank.

  • Number of branches: 0
  • Number of ATMs: Users can withdraw cash fee-free at over 38,000 MoneyPass® locations in the U.S.

BlueVine at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: None specified

Minimum initial deposit: $0

Monthly service fee: $0

Cash deposits per month: Unlimited. You can deposit cash at close to 100,000 retail locations through a partnership with Green Dot. A $4.95 fee, per deposit, applies.

Free transactions per month: Unlimited

Other benefits:

  • A BlueVine Business Debit Mastercard®
  • Access to a business line of credit
  • Two free checkbooks
  • Phone and email customer support
A black man with a bald head looks forward while working on his laptop.
Getty Images

5. Axos Bank: Best for Business Interest Checking

Axos Bank is another online-only bank. In addition to business checking accounts that earn interest, customers can take advantage of surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S.

  • Number of branches: 0
  • Number of ATMs: You can use any ATM in the U.S. and you’ll be reimbursed for the fees

Axos Bank offers Basic Business Checking, Business Interest Checking and Analyzed Business Checking. We’re going to look at the first two.

Axos Basic Business Checking

Basic Business Checking at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: $!00 if you incorporated after June 1, 2020

Minimum initial deposit: $1,000

Monthly service fee: $0

Cash deposits per month: Up to 60 items with remote deposit

Free transactions per month: 200; afterward, 30 cents each

Other benefits:

  • Pay bills with no charge through the app
  • First set of 50 checks is free
  • Compatible with QuickBooks

Axos Business Interest Checking

Business Interest Checking at a glance:

Sign-up bonus: $100 if you incorporated after June 1, 2020

Minimum initial deposit: $100

Monthly service fee: $10; waived if there’s an average daily balance of $5,000

Cash deposits per month: Up to 60 with remote deposit

Free transactions per month: 50; afterward, 50 cents each

Other benefits:

  • Earn up to 0.81% APY
  • First set of 50 checks for free

Axos Bank also offers saving accounts and Business CDs, but no credit cards.

Regional Business Checking Account Options

Here’s a glance at three smaller, regional options for business checking accounts. If your area isn’t listed, you can research credit unions and banks near you.

America First Credit Union

This institution has branches in Nevada and Utah. America First offers four types of business checking accounts: Basic, Premier, High-Yield and Non-Profit.

The Basic Business Checking offers 250 free monthly transactions, free online bill pay, access to money market savings, lines of credit and Business Visa credit card.

First Horizon

This bank has branches in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas. First Horizon offers BizEssentials Checking (Value, Basic, Standard and Interest) and Business Interest Checking Account, which combines the benefits of a checking and interest-earning savings account.

The Business Interest Checking Account has no minimum balance requirements, plus you’ll earn interest on your balance and have access to a Visa Business debit card.

SunTrust, Now Truist

This bank has branches in Alabama, Arkansas, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. SunTrust offers three types of business checking accounts: Simple Business Checking, SunTrust Primary Business Checking and SunTrust Business Advantage Plus Checking.

SunTrust Primary Business Checking has a $15 monthly fee that’s waived in the first two statement cycles and after that when you have a $1,000 minimum daily balance. Each month, you’ll get 150 free transactions and $5,000 cash processing.

What’s the Right Business Checking Account for You?

The best business checking account for you will depend on your business and needs. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to level up, there are plenty of options out there, online and off. Start your search now, so your future self — and CPA, come tax time — will thank you later.

Contributor Kathleen Garvin (@itskgarvin) is a personal finance writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and former editor and marketer at The Penny Hoarder. She owns a content-writing business and her work has appeared in U.S. News, Clark.com and Well Kept Wallet.

<!–

–>



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Choosing the Best Savings Accounts for May 2021

Storing your cash in a duffel bag under the bed has its perks — immediate access when you need it and the feeling of completely controlling your own finances.

But hoarding hard-earned money in your own home puts it at risk of theft or loss to natural disasters, and it’s doing you no favors in terms of interest.

Savings accounts at an FDIC-insured bank, on the other hand, keep your money secure and can earn you more money in the process.

Nowadays, the best savings accounts are typically with online banks due to higher interest rates, but brick-and-mortar banks still have some (though not many) benefits.

So which savings account should you choose? We’ve ranked the very best savings accounts available today to get you started.

What is a Savings Account?

A savings account is a bank account where you store your money until you need it. To see a detailed explanation to how it differs from a traditional checking account, visit our checking vs savings account comparison.

The best savings accounts are secured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000. That means that if you store your money with a bank and it goes under, you won’t lose your money.

Savings accounts are perfect for achieving your savings goals — for a car, a house, a wedding, vacations, you name it. More importantly, they are the best tool to build your emergency fund.

Most experts agree your emergency savings should total six months’ worth of necessary expenses in the case of job loss or another unpredictable emergency. Necessary expenses might include rent/mortgage, car payments, insurance, medical bills, utilities and groceries.

Don’t sweat it if you don’t have six months’ worth saved up. It takes time to build up your savings. Even if you can deposit $50 a month, you will eventually reach your goal.

One thing a savings account is not is an investment account. Savings accounts have historically low interest rates (or APY — annual percentage yield), but they are inherently low risk.

Pro Tip

After you have padded your savings account with enough cash to cover emergency expenses and your other savings goals, you’d be better off opening an IRA or 401(k) or investing in stocks.

Common alternatives to savings accounts include certificates of deposit (CDs), where you store your money for a fixed term for a slightly higher interest rate, and money market accounts, which typically offer a higher APY but have significantly higher minimum balance requirements.

So just how much interest will you earn in a savings account? That depends on the amount you’ve saved and your APY.

Online Banks vs. Brick-and-Mortar Banks

Before the advent of the internet, brick-and-mortar banks (and credit unions) were the only place to store your money, if not in your duffel bag.

But over the last couple decades, online banks have transformed the way we think of safely storing our money, and because of their low overhead (fewer staff and few or no physical locations), they can offer much better interest rates on savings accounts.

Pros of Online Savings Accounts

Two women smile as they withdraw money from the ATM.
Getty Images

When online savings accounts first surfaced, bank customers were hesitant to store their money with companies they had never heard of and were fearful of internet security issues.

Today, many of these same customers now see far more pros to online savings accounts than their traditional physical banks.

Higher Interest Rates

This is easily the most important distinction between brick-and-mortar banks and online banks. The national average APY for a savings account is 0.70%, but many brick-and-mortar banks offer just 0.01% interest rates on their savings accounts.

Online banks, on the other hand, tend to offer savings rates that are better — sometimes a lot better

Availability

Online banks are always open. The most competitive online banks offer around-the-clock service over the phone or online, and typically have more user-friendly apps and websites.

Some national banks and credit unions may offer 24/7 service, but their physical locations are typically limited to the 9-to-5 business hours.

Pros of Brick-and-Mortar Savings Accounts

There are advantages to brick-and-mortar banks. However, if these benefits do not hold massive weight for you, we highly recommend an online savings account.

Easy Access to Account Funds

Emergencies wait for no one. If you have an unexpected need for $10,000, it would be nice to be able to immediately access that.

Many online savings accounts take several days to get you your funds via ACH deposit or a written check, though wait times for ACH deposits have dramatically decreased in recent years.

(You can also speed up the process by opening a checking account with your online bank or choosing an online savings account with ATM benefits. Prioritize online banks that offer free checking accounts or ATM convenience cards.)

Brick-and-mortar banks, however, can allow major withdrawals at any of their locations. No waiting necessary.

In-Person Support

Some people prefer to resolve their issues over the phone or online, but many others find comfort in face-to-face communication. By opening a savings account with a bank that offers physical locations, you’ll be able to get in-person help from financial experts during regular business hours.

… And a Toss-Up

When it comes to access to ATMs, there is no clear winner. Obviously, brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions offer ATMs at all their locations, where you can easily withdraw your money.

Many online banks, however, offer fee-free withdrawals at select ATMs, and the best online banks will reimburse you for fees incurred out of network.

Best Savings Accounts of May 2021, Ranked

So what are the best savings accounts of May 2021? That depends on what you value most.

In determining our top nine, we reviewed more than 20 popular savings accounts and considered what elements seem to be most universally important:

  • Best savings rates
  • Stellar mobile app and/or web experience
  • Convenience of transfers (easy access to funds)

We considered only savings accounts that were FDIC-insured or NCUA-insured and had no monthly fees.

Because physical branch access is becoming increasingly less important, all accounts on our list are online or hybrid (online with some brick-and-mortar bank locations).

So what didn’t we consider when making our list that you might also want to look for?

Bonuses: Because banks regularly add, remove or replace their bonuses, we did not include them in our criteria. If you’re stuck between two or three comparable savings accounts, see which one offers the best sign-on bonus. We highly recommend checking out our current bank promotions list to help earn bonus cash or incentives when signing up for a new savings account.

Customer service: Quality of customer service is subjective. Read reviews and ask friends and family about their experiences when considering banks.

To truly determine how you feel about the level and quality of customer service, give the bank a call and ask some questions about the account. From that interaction, you should be able to feel out how much each bank values customers and prospects.

1. Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account

We ranked Synchrony’s account as the very best savings account of May 2021 because it has the perfect combination of the most important elements of a bank.

APY: 0.40%.

Monthly fees: None.

Minimum balance requirement: None.

Additional fee for withdrawals: None.

ATM card: No fee for in-network ATMs, $5 monthly reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Access to funds: ATM, electronic transfer to an external account, wire transfer or a paper check in the mail.

Mobile app: Yes. At the time of this writing, the app has a 4.5 rating on the App Store and 3.7 on Google Play.

Details: Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings account.

2. CIT Savings Builder Account

CIT Savings Builder is another solid account option,  but you have to meet certain conditions to earn it:

APY: To earn up to  0.40% APY, either your account needs $25,000 in it, or you must make a monthly minimum deposit of $100 to the account. The latter option should be more feasible and is a good incentive to save each month.

Minimum balance requirement: $100.

Additional fee for withdrawals: None.

ATM card: None.

Access to funds: Electronic transfer, wire transfer (free if you have $25,000 or more in the account) or paper check.

Mobile app: Yes. At the time of writing, the app has a 4.6 rating on the App Store and 4.2 on Google Play.

Details: CIT Savings Builder.

A woman smiles as she checks her phone at night in her bed.
Getty Images

3. Ally Online Savings Account

Though savings accounts are different from checking accounts — and thus should not be thought of as a place to quickly and easily get money — Ally does make it easier than most to access your funds when you need them. Just open a free checking account (ranked 5th in the best online checking accounts of 2020), and you can easily transfer your money over.

APY: 0.50%.

Minimum balance requirement: None.

Additional fee for withdrawals: After the six permitted withdrawals a month, you’ll pay $10 per transfer with Ally.

ATM card: None.

Access to funds: You can transfer money via direct deposit, electronic transfer, wire transfer or paper check.

Mobile app: Ally’s mobile app is highly rated at 4.7 stars on the App Store and 3.7 on Google Play.

Details: Ally Online Savings account.

4. Alliant High-Rate Savings Account

The Alliant High-Rate Savings account is offered via the Alliant Credit Union, so instead of FDIC insurance, it carries insurance through the National Credit Union Administration, but the benefits are the same.

Because it is a credit union, joining Alliant can be a little more challenging. You need to fulfill one of these four requirements:

  • Be a current or retired employee of a business that is partnered with Alliant.
  • Have an immediate family member or domestic partner who banks with Alliant.
  • Be a member of an Alliant-related organization/association.
  • Become a member of Foster Care to Success, Alliant’s partner charity.
  • Live in one of the communities near the Alliant headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

APY: 0.55%. You need an average daily balance of $100 for the APY to kick in.

Minimum balance requirement: $5.

Additional fee for withdrawals: Hard limit on six federally regulated withdrawals.

ATM card: Money access is super convenient with a free ATM convenience card that qualifies at more than 80,000 ATMs nationwide.

Access to funds: If you live in the Chicago area, you’ll even have access to brick-and-mortar locations.

Mobile app: It’s got a solid app (4.7 on the App Store and 4.6 on Google Play)

Details: Alliant High-Rate Savings account

5. Discover Savings Account

The Discover Savings account offers a substantial APY and easy access to funds via a rewards checking account.

APY: 0.40%.

Minimum balance requirement: None.

Additional fee for withdrawals: The bank may refuse to pay transactions that exceed the six monthly permitted withdrawals.

ATM card: While Discover doesn’t offer an ATM card for its FDIC-insured savings account, you can sign up for the Discover Cashback Debit (it’s free!), which earns up to 1% cash back on up to $3,000 a month.

Access to funds: The linked debit account provides an easy way to transfer funds; otherwise, you can rely on electronic transfers, wire transfers and paper checks.

Mobile app: Discover’s app has a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a 4.5 rating on Google Play.

Details: Discover Savings account

Learn more: Discover Bank review

6. Capital One 360 Savings Account

While it’s certainly not the savings account with the best interest rate, it makes up for it with no monthly fees, easy integration with other Capital One 360 accounts (including a checking account for easy funds transfer) and a killer app.

APY: 0.40%.

Minimum balance requirement: None.

Additional fee for withdrawals: Hard limit on six federally regulated withdrawals.

ATM card: None.

Access to funds: If you don’t open a linked checking account for the easy ATM access, you can still access your funds via the traditional (but slower) means.

Mobile app: In 2018, the Capital One 360 mobile app was ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction in the banking category for the second year in a row in J.D. Power’s U.S. Banking App Satisfaction Study.

The app has a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a 4.7 rating on Google Play.

Details: Capital One 360 Savings account

7. Barclays Online Savings Account

Barclays has its cons, like challenging access to funds, but its high APY and strong mobile app earned it a spot on this list.

APY: Barclays is one of three banks on this list to offer the competitive 0.40% APY.

Minimum balance requirement: None.

Additional fee for withdrawals: Withdrawals that exceed the monthly limit will result in a fee.

ATM card: None.

Access to funds: You can deposit and withdraw funds in a number of ways, through direct deposit, an electronic transfer, paper check and more.

Mobile app: Yes, but the Barclays US Online Savings mobile app is not the most user-friendly based on its  ratings: a 3.7 on the App Store and a 2.4 on Google Play.

Details: Barclays Online Savings account

Learn more: Barclay’s Bank review

A woman works on her laptop while dipping her feet into a pool.
Getty Images

8. American Express Personal Savings Account

You might rely on American Express for your credit card, but the bank offers an online savings account worth your consideration as well.

APY: 0.40%.

Minimum balance requirement: $1.

Additional fee for withdrawals: Hard limit on nine withdrawals, though this is more than most of its competitors.

ATM card: A major drawback of the American Express account is the lack of ATM card.

Access to funds: Electronic transfer, wire transfer and paper check are the only ways to access your money.

Mobile app: It currently has a 4.9 rating on the App Store and a 4.2 rating on Google Play.

Details: American Express Personal savings account

9. Marcus Online Savings Account by Goldman Sachs Account

Our final online savings account is by Goldman Sachs. It offers a competitive APY and fairly new mobile app.

APY: 0.50%.

Minimum balance requirement: None.

Additional fee for withdrawals: Due to a change in federal law, Goldman Sachs currently doesn’t impose a limit on withdrawals.

ATM card: None.

Access to funds: Withdrawals are limited to electronic transfer and wire transfer (you also cannot deposit checks via the app).

Mobile app: Yes. It has a 4.9 rating on the App Store and a 3.9 rating on Google Play.

Details: Marcus Online Savings Account

6 Tips for Choosing a Savings Account

You should be aware that banks can change interest rates, develop better apps and update their bonuses, so it is important to understand how to determine the best savings account for yourself.

Here are a few tips:

1. Consider Your Needs

We prioritized high savings rates, ease of funds transfer and mobile apps in our rankings, but maybe for you, two-factor authentication and customer service are top considerations.

Build your own ranking system based on your top two or three criteria. You won’t find a perfect bank that offers everything, but at the very least, you’ll find banks that can meet all of your top needs.

2. Stick With Online

Put your money in an online savings account, unless you have a good reason not to, such as a high interest savings account at a brick-and-mortar credit union or a regular need to get in-person help.

3. Save Only With Insured Banks

Do not put your money into any bank that is not insured by the FDIC. Or, if you go the credit union route, make sure it is insured by the NCUA. We did not include any banks on our list that were not insured.

4. Don’t Be Tempted by Sign-on Bonuses Alone

Earning cash for starting an account with a bank feels awesome, but don’t let the appeal of $100 now prevent you from putting your savings into an account that will earn you $500 over a couple years.

5. Find a No-fee Account

Be wary of accounts with monthly maintenance fees, statement fees or any other miscellaneous charges. You’re more likely to find these fees with a brick-and-mortar bank.

Ideally, find a bank that has an associated free checking account for easy and fast funds transfers.

6. Read the Fine Print

Know what you are signing before you sign it.

If an APY sounds too good to be true, it’s possible there are strings attached — or that the rate is only temporary.

Ask questions and do research when you are confused by any of the terms and conditions, and don’t deposit your savings until you are satisfied with the agreement.



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Best Places to Get Out of Credit Card Debt – 2021 Edition

Best Places to Get Out of Credit Card Debt – 2021 Edition – SmartAsset

Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

The Federal Reserve says that revolving consumer credit debt (for credit that is automatically renewed as debts are paid off) went up to $974.4 billion in February 2021 -and that this marked an increase at an annual rate of 10.1%. This is almost one-third of all consumer debt – which also includes student and car loans – and adds up to a grand total of $4.2 trillion. With so many people trying to pay off credit card debt, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to identify and rank the best cities where it’s easiest to do so.

To do so, we considered unemployment rate, median post-tax income, lower-quartile rents and disposable income to find where debt could be paid off the fastest, assuming average interest rates and a total debt of $7,935. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s 2021 study of the best cities to get out of credit card debt. Read the 2019 version of the study here.

Key Findings

  • Timelines can vary widely. Debt in the top 10 cities of our study can be paid off in just over 10 months, while the average for the bottom 10 is almost 18 months. Frisco, Texas is the city where debt can be paid fastest – under nine months. And Arlington, Virginia takes more than four times longer – a little over 36 months.
  • Residents in smaller cities can pay debt faster. Small and mid-sized cities in this study can pay debt off quickly. All of the top five cities have fewer than 250,000 residents. Affordable rent and a sizable disposable income (which is the money you take home after taxes) are key factors for residents in these cities to pay off debt.

1. Frisco, TX

Frisco, Texas residents can pay off a credit card debt of $7,935 in 8.59 months. The post-tax income for high-school graduates in this city is just over $37,000. And with a lower-quartile rent (the most affordable unit one could reasonably acquire) of $1,126 per month, residents can afford to make monthly debt payments of $979.

2. Reno, NV

Reno, Nevada residents can get out of $7,935 debt in 9.43 months. The post-tax income for high school graduates is around $31,000 and the lower-quartile rent is $787 per month. This means that if they apply 50% of their disposable income after rent to paying down credit card debt, they can afford a monthly payment of $896.

3. Gilbert, AZ

The median post-tax income for high school graduates in Gilbert, Arizona is $35,463. Residents in this city can pay off a credit card debt of $7,935 in 9.60 months. And with a lower-quartile rent (the lowest number under which 25% of renters pay for rent) of $1,192 per month, monthly debt payments of $882 are possible.

4. Anchorage, AK

Anchorage, Alaska residents can pay off a credit card debt of $7,935 in 10.04 months. The median post-tax income for a high school graduate is $30,650 and the lower-quartile rent is $863 per month. If a resident applies half of their disposable income to paying down debt, they could make monthly payments of $846.

5. Chesapeake, VA

Chesapeake, Virginia residents can pay a debt of $7,935 off in 10.11 months. The median post-tax income for a high school graduate is $29,087, Furthermore, the most affordable rental unit, at the lower-quartile mark, costs $744 per month. With just over $20,000 in disposable income after rent, residents can apply half to monthly debt payments of $840.

6. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, Missouri’s median income for high school graduates is just under $26,000 and the lower-quartile rent total is $519 a month. If someone with that income and rent adopted a relatively aggressive repayment strategy and put half of their disposable income towards paying a credit card debt of $7,935, they would be free of credit card debt in 10.37 months.

7. Fort Wayne, IN

Fort Wayne, Indiana’s median post-tax income for high school graduates is $24,881 – the lowest in the top 10 of this study. The lower-quartile rent (the most affordable unit one could reasonably acquire) in this city is $496 a month. Someone with almost $19,000 in disposable income after rent could pay off a total credit card bill of $7,935 in 10.81 months.

8. Lincoln, NE

The median post-tax income for a high school graduate in Lincoln, Nebraska is $25,828. And the lower-quartile rent in this city is $589. If residents were able to afford to put half of their disposable income after rent towards repayment, they could pay down a credit card bill of $7,935 in 10.91 months.

9. Tulsa, OK

Residents in Tulsa, Oklahoma could pay off a credit card debt of $7,935 in 10.98 months. This is based on a median post-tax income of $25,038 and a lower-quartile rent payment of $532, which means that they could afford a monthly debt payment of $777 using a relatively aggressive repayment strategy.

10. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is the most-populous in the top 10 of this list and it has a median post-tax income of $25,125 for high school graduates. The lower-quartile rent payment is $558 a month. Using a relatively aggressive repayment strategy, a resident who puts half of all disposable income after rent towards debt could pay a credit card bill of $7,935 in 11.12 months.

Data and Methodology

In order to find the best places to pay off credit card debt, we created a credit card debt payment model for 56 cities. To determine our list of cities, we excluded cities with a population smaller than 200,000 and those with a below-average unemployment rate.

To complete the analysis, we first calculated the amount of disposable income a high school graduate could have in each city, assuming he or she earned the median salary for high school graduates with no further education. Using SmartAsset’s income tax calculator, we found the after-tax income for local high school graduates. We then subtracted the annual lower-quartile rent to get how much disposable income the average high school graduate would have. Lower-quartile rent is the lowest number under which 25% of renters pay for rent.

We then assumed that high school graduates would dedicate half of their disposable income to credit card payments. Using that figure, we calculated how long it would take to pay off $7,935 of credit card debt, determined by dividing the estimated outstanding credit card debt by the number of households in the U.S. in February 2021. We also assumed consumers would be paying interest of 15.91%, which was the estimated average credit card interest rate, according to the Federal Reserve.

Data for population, median income for high school graduates and lower-quartile rent comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey. February 2021 unemployment figures come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and are measured at the county level.

Credit Card Tips

  • Consider consulting an expert. A financial advisor can help you plan so that you don’t find yourself in debt. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with financial advisors in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with advisors, get started now.
  • Budgeting can go a long way in minimizing or even preventing debt. A budget is another way to make sure you don’t end up with too much credit card debt. Use SmartAsset’s free budget calculator to plan how much to spend on various categories so you don’t end up owing more than you make.
  • Choose the right card for you. If you do use a credit card, use SmartAsset’s Best Credit Cards rankings to find one that is best for your lifestyle.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com. 

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Farknot_Architect

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
Read next article

Categories

Source: smartasset.com

Where Women Are Most Successful – 2021 Edition

Where Women Are Most Successful – 2021 Edition – SmartAsset

Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

While there is still a long way to go, women have made significant strides over the last few decades to achieve greater equality in education, earnings and business ownership. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, 57.4% of adult women participated in the workforce, which is still much less than 69.2% of men, but a big jump nevertheless over the 51.5% of participating women workers in 1980. It’s important to note that this rate has gone down since 2000, when women’s workforce participation reached 59.9%. Keeping this in mind, SmartAsset took a closer look at the U.S. cities where women are particularly successful in the workplace, and crunched the numbers to identify and rank them for the 2021 edition of this study.

To find where women are most successful, we compared the 200 largest cities in the country across the following metrics: percentage of women with a bachelor’s degree, median earnings for full-time working women, percentage of business owners who are women, housing costs as a percentage of women’s earnings and the percentage of full-time working women earning at least $75,000 per year. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s fourth study on the cities where women are most successful. You can read the 2020 study here.

Key Findings

  • Western cities rank at the top. Five out of the top 10 cities in our 2021 study are in Western states, and three of those are in the top five. They include Bellevue, Washington; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; and Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year, only four western cities were in the top 10, and only one of those had made it into the top five.
  • Women lead in education. More than one in three women, an average 35.52% across our study, have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. This means that women are outpacing the national overall percentage of 33.12%.

1. Washington, DC

Washington, D.C. ranks in the top quartile of the study for all five of our metrics. The median earnings for full-time working women in the city is $72,750, the eighth-highest total overall. It also has the eighth-highest percentage of full-time working women earning at least $75,000 (49%). Additionally, 58.82% of the capital’s women older than 25 also have at least a bachelor’s degree, the 10th-highest percentage in our study.

2. Bellevue, WA

This Seattle, Washington suburb ranks second in our study for education, with 67.31% of Bellevue’s women older than 25 having at least a bachelor’s degree. The city also has the fourth-highest median earnings for full-time working women, $78,880. Bellevue ranks in the top quartile of the study for four out of five metrics. The city ranks within the top half of our study for affordable housing, with median housing costs amounting to 33.12% of the median earnings for women in Bellevue.

3. Seattle, WA

Women in Seattle, Washington have the sixth-highest education rate in our study, with 66.12% of those who are older than 25 having earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Full-time working women in this city earn $71,733, and 47.21% earn at least $75,000.

4. Portland, OR

Almost half of the businesses in Portland, Oregon (48.9%) are owned by women entrepreneurs, the 12th-highest rate for this metric in our study. This city also has the 18th-highest rate for our education metric, with 55.95% of women older than 25 having earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Portland ranks 79th out of 200 for affordable housing, as women there spend 32.46% of their earnings on housing costs.

5. Overland Park, KS

Overland Park, Kansas is the only Midwestern city in the top 10 of our study. Women in this city have the 13th-highest percentage for education, as 58.46% of those older than 25 have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. Overland Park also has the 24th-highest median earnings overall, with full-time working women making $56,570. The city ranks 66th out of 200 for women entrepreneurs, with 39.7% of Overland Park businesses owned by women.

6. San Francisco, CA

Full-time working women in San Francisco, California earn $80,163, the highest median earnings in our study. More than half of full-time working women (53.64%) earn at least $75,000, also ranking at the top of our list for this metric. While San Francisco falls to 76th place for affordable housing (women spend 32.23% of their income on housing costs), the city has the 12th-highest rate for the percentage of women older than 25 with a bachelor’s degree (58.47%).

7. Alexandria, VA

This suburb of Washington, D.C. has the fifth-highest percentage in the study of full-time working women earning at least $75,000 (50.83%). Full-time working women in Alexandria, Virginia also have the fifth-highest median salary, earning $75,803. Women in this city have the seventh-highest percentage for our education metric, with 65.94% of women older than 25 having earned a bachelor’s degree.

8. Pittsburgh, PA

Women in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania spend only 24.4% of their income on housing, the fifth-best ranking for this metric in the study. This city ranks 28th for women entrepreneurs, with 44.0% of all businesses owned by women. Pittsburgh places 46th out of 200 for education, as 43.78% of women older than 25 have a bachelor’s degree.

9. Scottsdale, AZ

The median earnings for women working full-time jobs in Scottsdale, Arizona is $60,723, the 20th-highest in the study. The city also has the 15th-highest education rate overall, with 57.25% of women older than 25 having earned a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, Scottsdale has the 19th-highest percentage of full-time working women earning at least $75,000 (37.14%).

10. Madison, WI

Almost half of the businesses in Wisconsin’s capital city are owned by women – at 49.5%, this is the 11th-highest ownership percentage in our study. Madison also ranks 11th for education, with 58.59% of women older than 25 having earned a bachelor’s degree. The city ranks 72nd out of 200 for the percentage of full-time working women earning at least $75,000, at 20.27%.

Data and Methodology

To find the cities where women are most successful, SmartAsset analyzed the 200 biggest U.S. cities in the country across the following five metrics:

  • Percentage of women with a bachelor’s degree. This is the percentage of women older than 25 who have a bachelor’s degree.
  • Median annual earnings for full-time working women. This amount is the median earnings for women who work full time.
  • Percentage of business owners who are women. This is the percentage of self-employed people who are women working in their own incorporated business.
  • Housing costs as a percentage of earnings for full-time working women. This is the median annual housing costs divided by the median earnings for full-time working women.
  • Percentage of full-time working women with earnings of at least $75,000. This is the percentage of full-time working women who earn $75,000 or more per year.

Data for all metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.

First, we ranked each city in each of the metrics. We then found the average ranking for each city, giving all metrics equal weight except for the percentage of full-time working women earning at least $75,000 per year, which was given a half weight. We then ranked each city by that weighted average. The city with the highest average ranking received a score of 100 and the city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

Tips for Staying on Track to Financial Success

  • Consider seeking expert advice. Everyone, regardless of age, gender or income, could potentially benefit from professional financial help from a financial advisor. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with advisors that may be able to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Don’t make taxes more taxing. Keep in mind that financial success may lead to an increased tax burden. Use SmartAsset’s free income tax calculator to see what you’ll owe Uncle Sam.
  • Think about homeownership carefully. Looking to put down roots in one of the above cities? You’ll want to start by looking for a home. Be honest with yourself about how much house you can afford so that you can plan your search accordingly.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com. 

Photo credit: © iStock/Mikolette

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
Read next article

Categories

Source: smartasset.com

Highest-Paying Jobs in the U.S. and Largest Metro Areas – 2021 Study

Highest-Paying Jobs in the U.S. and Largest Metro Areas – 2021 Study

Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

IRS data shows that roughly 6% of American taxpayers earn $200,000 or more annually. While that figure includes income from investments, most reported income comes from salaries and wages. Across all occupations, the average worker earns $56,310 annually. In some of the highest-paying occupations, however, the average worker makes nearly three, four or even five times as much each year. These kinds of earnings in turn affect adjusted gross income (AGI), taxes and potentially savings. With that in mind, SmartAsset decided to take a closer look at some of the highest-paying jobs in America.

In this study, we identify the jobs with the best pay both nationally as well as across the 15 largest metro areas. Specifically, we look at average earnings data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics to determine rankings at the national and metro area levels. For details on our data sources and further information about how we put together our findings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • Specialty healthcare jobs stand out for their high pay. Data shows that 12 out of the 15 best-paid jobs in the U.S. are in specialty healthcare. Furthermore, eight of the highest-paying jobs in the largest metro areas are also in healthcare. Notably, national average earnings for each of these eight healthcare occupations exceed $220,000.
  • Chief executives earn the most in four out of the 15 largest metro areas. Chief executive is the highest-paying job in the New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston metro areas. On average, they also make at least 22% more in those areas than the national average for this occupation, $197,840.

A National Look

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the highest-paying job in the U.S. is that of anesthesiologist. In 2020, average earnings for anesthesiologists were $271,440. Surgeons (excluding ophthalmologists) follow closely behind with average earnings of almost $251,700 in 2020. Earnings for both occupations are more than four times higher than average earnings for all workers ($56,310).

Average earnings exceed $200,000 for seven additional healthcare roles:

  • Obstetricians & gynecologists
  • Orthodontists
  • Oral & maxillofacial surgeons
  • Psychiatrists
  • Prosthodontists
  • Family medicine physicians
  • General internal medicine physicians.

Of those, the largest occupation is that of family medicine physician. BLS data shows that there are about 98,600 family medicine physicians nationally, while there are less than 600 prosthodontists.

Other highest-paying jobs in the U.S. include:

  • Chief executives ($197,840)
  • Airline pilots, copilots & flight engineers ($186,870)
  • Computer & information systems managers ($161,730)

The occupation of computer & information systems manager employs the most workers (457,290), while that of airline pilot, copilot & flight engineer is the smallest of the three (employing less than 83,600 workers in 2020). The chart below compares the 15 highest-paying jobs in the U.S. to average earnings for all workers.

Highest-Paying Jobs in the 15 Largest Metro Areas

While specialty healthcare jobs rank at the top of the list nationally, data shows regional differences in some of the 15 largest metro areas where other occupations are the best paid.

This is the case with chief executives. Nationally, they have the 10th-highest paying job. But as we referenced earlier, this occupation ranks at the top in four of the 15 largest metro areas. Average earnings for chief executives exceed $242,000 in the following metro areas: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston. Chief executives in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas metro area earn the most on average ($260,450), but they are the most prevalent in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, with roughly 9,830 employees in the field (amounting to almost 169 per every 100,000 workers).

The airline pilot, copilot & flight engineer job similarly ranks as the 12th-highest-paying job nationally, but is the top paid job in three metro areas:

  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida

In all three of those areas, average earnings for airline pilots, copilots & flight engineers are at least 29% higher than the national average for these workers ($186,870). In fact, average earnings for airline pilots, copilots & flight engineers in the Detroit metro area are 38.60% higher than the national average for those in this occupation.

The table below shows the highest-paying job in all 15 largest metro areas; metro areas are ranked according to average earnings figures.

Data and Methodology

Data for this report comes from the IRS and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics data release. To find the highest-paying jobs in the U.S. and the 15 largest metro areas, we compared average (or mean) earnings across all occupations. We filtered out any occupation with “other” or “miscellaneous” in the title to maintain occupation specificity.

Note: We looked at mean earnings rather than median earnings, as median earnings data is not available for many occupations.

Tips for Maximizing Your Savings

  • Invest early. Many high-paid workers may be able to have an early retirement. To do this, it is important to take advantage of compound interest by investing early. Take a look at our investment calculator to see how your investment in a savings account can grow over time.
  • Contribute to a 401(k). A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan in which you divert pre-tax portions of your monthly paycheck into a retirement account. Some employers will also match your 401(k) contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary, meaning that if you chose not to contribute, you are essentially leaving money on the table. Our 401(k) calculator can help you determine what you saved for retirement so far and how much more you may need.
  • Consider professional help. A financial advisor may be able to help you create a financial plan for your needs and goals. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with advisors, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Andrey Shevchuk

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.
Read next article

Categories

Source: smartasset.com

5 Ways to Splurge On Something Without the Guilt

Speaking of overpaying for things, when’s the last time you checked car insurance prices? Paying less for mandatory bills like that will get you closer to your splurge.
Speaking of overpaying for things, when’s the last time you checked car insurance prices? Paying less for mandatory bills like that will get you closer to your splurge.
Then, on the first of every month, PrizePool enters your tickets into its monthly drawing. (The more tickets you have, the better your chances of winning!)
In the last year, this has saved people 0 million.

You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something.

Cut Down These 5 Bills and Save $2,579

Bills, bills, bills. They never seem to end, do they? They take more and more out of your account each month before you even realize it.

You can’t escape them entirely (wouldn’t that be great?), but you can stop them from being so darn painful every month. All it takes is ending your loyalty to a few companies you currently use for bills and fees that come every month.

Trust us, they won’t miss you. And you definitely won’t miss them — especially when you realize how much money you’ve been needlessly throwing away every month.

1. Your Credit Card Bill: Save Up to 10x on Interest Payments

If you’re reading this, there’s a 50% chance you have credit card debt — nearly half of U.S. adults do. And if you don’t pay it off every month, you’re draining your bank account with unnecessary — and terribly high — interest payments.

And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates — some up to a whopping 36%! But a website called AmOne wants to help.

If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster.

With a $5,000 balance this month, that could be an extra $150 to your credit card company, or about $15 to a personal loan matched by AmOne. That’s $1,620 going down the drain every year.

AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.

2. Your Car Insurance Bill: Save $489/Year

When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices?

You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.

A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.

Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $489 a year.

Yup. That could be nearly $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.

3. Your Credit Monitoring Service: Cut $240 Down to $0

When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car.

But there’s no need to spend $19.99/month on a credit monitoring service, when you can get the same protection for $0.

So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.

Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.

Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.

4. Your Investment Broker: Never Pay Unnecessary Fees Again

Investing in the stock market is a great tool to grow your net worth. And for a while, it seemed like it was only available to the upper class — the people who didn’t mind paying up to $50 for each trade. What’s $50 when your investment broker is making you millions?

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, smartly investing in the market can sound totally out of reach.

But with an app called Stash, it doesn’t have to be. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — on Stash you can buy pieces of other companies for as little as $1.

That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and more for as little as $1. The best part? If these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.1

It takes two minutes to sign up, and it’s totally secure. With Stash, all your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money’s safe.”2

Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.*

5. Your Banking Account: Skip the $15 Monthly Fees

The monthly fee your bank is charging you is a huge account-drainer. Especially because some banks charge when you don’t have enough money saved. We’re the people who need that $15 the most!

If you’re just looking for a place to safely stash it away but still earn money, a fancy account isn’t necessary. Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.06% is nothing these days.)

But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cash back and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account.

Not too shabby!

Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash.

Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. 

***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.

1Not all stocks pay out dividends, and there is no guarantee that dividends will be paid each year.

2To note, SIPC coverage does not insure against the potential loss of market value.

For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05.

*Offer is subject to Promotion Terms and Conditions. To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must successfully open an individual brokerage account in good standing, link a funding account to your Invest account AND deposit $5.00 into your Invest account.

The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. 

Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk. 

<!–

–>

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Where Americans Are Most and Least Financially Literate – 2021 Edition

Where Americans Are Most and Least Financially Literate – 2021 Edition – SmartAsset

Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

Individuals with higher levels of financial literacy tend to adhere to better financial practices – such as having an emergency fund and planning for retirement – and are also more likely to build wealth further by investing in the stock market. Many Americans, however, lack financial knowledge and do not follow financial best practices. Less than 50% of American adults have set aside three months’ worth of emergency funds, only 41% have tried to figure out retirement savings needs and just 32% have investments apart from retirement accounts.

In light of Financial Literacy Month this April, SmartAsset took a closer look at financial literacy in the U.S. In this study, we discuss the growing number of states with financial education standards along with how adults fare when asked a series of economics and personal finance quiz questions. Using data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation, the Council for Economic Education and Experian, we then identify the states where residents are most and least financially literate. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our findings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • A mismatch exists between perceived and tested financial literacy. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation said in a recent national financial capability survey that roughly 71% of American adults believe they have a high level of financial literacy. However, when tested on personal finance topics, respondents struggle. On average, adults surveyed were able to answer only half of the literacy questions correctly.
  • Midwestern states perform well while Southern states fall behind. More than half of the 10 most financially literate states are in the Midwest: North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Wisconsin. All of them rank in the top 10 states for our financial knowledge & education index. At the other end of the study, Southern states rank in the bottom 10: West Virginia, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and Delaware. All of these except Tennessee rank in the bottom 20 states on our financial knowledge & education index.

Financial Education and Literacy in the U.S.

The number of states requiring that personal finance be included in their standards has grown substantially over the past two decades. According to data from the Council for Economic Education, only 21 states included personal finances in their K-12 standards in 1998, relative to 45 states in 2020. Notably, only some states additionally require that these standards be implemented by individual districts within the state. In 1998, 14 states required that personal finance K-12 standards be implemented, compared to 37 states in 2020.

Though the prevalence of financial education in the U.S. is growing, many adults struggle when asked to respond to questions covering fundamental concepts of economics and personal finance. The FINRA Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study asks respondents a series of six quiz questions, shown below. Multiple choice answers are shown below the questions. Correct answers are listed at the end of the study in the Data and Methodology section.

  • Mortgage Question: A 15-year mortgage typically requires higher monthly payments than a 30-year mortgage, but the total interest paid over the life of the loan will be less.
    a) True
    b) False
  • Interest Rate Question: Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?
    a) More than $102
    b) Exactly $102
    c) Less than $102
  • Inflation Question: Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1% per year and inflation was 2% per year. After 1 year, how much would you be able to buy with the money in this account?
    a) More than today
    b) Exactly the same
    c) Less than today
  • Risk Question: Buying a single company’s stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.
    a) True
    b) False
  • Compound Interest in Debt Question: Suppose you owe $1,000 on a loan and the interest rate you are charged is 20% per year compounded annually. If you didn’t pay anything off, at this interest rate, how many years would it take for the amount you owe to double?
    a) Less than two years
    b) At least two years but less than five years
    c) At least five years but less than 10 years
    d) At least 10 years
  • Bond Price Question: If interest rates rise, what will typically happen to bond prices?
    a) They will rise
    b) They will fall
    c) They will stay the same
    d) There is no relationship between bond prices and the interest rate

On average, adults surveyed were able to answer only half (i.e. 3.0) of the above questions correctly. In fact, only 7% of adults were able to correctly answer all six questions. About 34% and 40% of surveyed adults were able to answer five and four questions, respectively. The compound interest in debt and bond price questions were the most difficult for respondents. Less than one in three respondents were able to correctly answer either question. Meanwhile, more than 70% of adults correctly answered both the mortgage and interest rate questions.

Notably, there are distinct differences in performance on the financial literacy quiz questions across different demographics according to education, income and race. The average number of correct quiz questions among individuals earning $75,000 or more and college graduates is 3.6 and 3.8, respectively. In contrast, individuals earning less than $25,000 and those with a high school education or less answered an average 2.2 and 2.3 questions correctly. The chart below breaks out survey respondents by race, showing the average number of correct answers for each group.

States Where Residents Are Most Financially Literate

North Dakota ranks as the state where residents are most financially literate, taking the top spot on our financial knowledge & education index and the third spot on our financial practices index. According to the Council for Economic Education, the state of North Dakota requires that personal finance coursework be integrated into another course in the K-12 curriculum. In 2018, residents correctly answered about 55% of the National Financial Capability quiz questions discussed previously – almost five percentage points higher than the national average.

Minnesota and New Hampshire follow closely behind North Dakota. Minnesota is the top-ranking state on our financial practices index and ranks fifth on our financial knowledge and education index. Minnesota residents have the highest average credit score (739) of any state and the eighth-highest percentage of adults who report paying their credit card bill in full monthly (58.04%).

Six of the remaining seven states where residents are most financially literate are located in the Midwest and West. They include Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Wisconsin in the Midwest, plus Utah and Colorado in the West. All of these states require that personal finance be included in K-12 standards and survey adults rank within the top 12 of the study on FINRA’s financial literacy six-question quiz.

States Where Residents Are Least Financially Literate

West Virginia ranks as the state where residents are least financially literate, with the lowest financial knowledge & education index and third-lowest financial practices index. West Virginia ranks in the bottom five states for three of the seven individual metrics we considered: percentage of adults that believe they have a high level of financial knowledge (67.37%), average percentage of personal finance quiz questions answered correctly (46.79%) and percentage of adults with a three-month emergency fund (42.53%).

Like in West Virginia, Nevada residents fall particularly far behind on our financial knowledge and education index. Though the state includes personal finance in its K-12 standards, only about two in three adults believe they have a high level of financial knowledge, the ninth-lowest of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, the average percentage of correctly answered economics and personal finance quiz questions for Nevada is 49.14%, ranking within the bottom 15 of the study.

Across the eight other states where residents are least financially literate, three are not in the South: Indiana, Alaska and Pennsylvania. Of those three, Indiana ranks lowest for both the financial knowledge and education category as well as the financial practices category. Across the seven metrics, Indiana ranks in the bottom five states for its percentage of adults with a three-month emergency fund (44.05%) and percentage of adults paying their credit card bill in full monthly (49.82%).

Data and Methodology

To find the states where Americans are most and least financially literate, we examined data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia across two categories that include seven individual metrics:

  • Financial knowledge and education. For our financial knowledge and education index, we analyzed the state’s financial education score, percentage of adults that believe they have a high level of financial knowledge and percentage of correctly answered personal finance quiz questions. The state’s financial education score comes from the Council for Economic Education. Data for the other two metrics comes from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation’s 2018 National Financial Capability Study.
  • Financial practices. For our financial practices index, we analyzed average credit score, percentage of adults with a three-month emergency fund, percentage of adults paying their credit card bill in full monthly and percentage of adults regularly contributing to an IRA or 401(k). Average credit score figures come from Experian. Data for the other three metrics comes from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation’s 2018 National Financial Capability Study.

We created our final rankings by first ranking each state for each individual metric. Then we averaged the rankings across the two categories listed above. For each category, the state with the highest average ranking got a score of 100. The state with the lowest average got a score of 0. Finally, we created our final ranking by finding each state’s average score across the two categories.

The answers to the FINRA Foundation NFCS quiz questions are as follows:

  • Mortgage Question – a) True
  • Interest Rate Question – a) More than $102
  • Inflation Question – c) Less than today
  • Risk Question – b) False
  • Compound Interest in Debt Question – b) At least two years but less than five years
  • Bond Price Question – b) They will fall

Tips for Improving Your Finances

  • Take advantage of compound interest. One of the most important things to note about saving is that it helps to start early. Waiting to invest can potentially decrease your total return on a potential investment. Compound interest is interest that’s generated from existing earnings. In other words, when you put money into a savings account earlier, the interest compounds. As a result, you earn interest on the money you initially invested as well as the interest that money has already made. To see how this works, take a look at our investment calculator.
  • Some kind of retirement account is better than none. If a 401(k) is not available through your job, consider an IRA. 401(k)s are often valued more than IRAs since there is a possibility that your employer will match your contributions to the plan up to a certain percentage of your salary. This means that if you choose not to contribute, you are essentially leaving money on the table. However, if your employer does not offer a 401(k) plan, an IRA is another great option. In 2020, the IRA contribution limit is $6,000 for people under 50 and $7,000 for people age 50 and older.
  • Consider working with a financial advisor. Investing and planning for retirement are complicated and difficult tasks. A financial advisor could help you manage your money smartly. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that may be able to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Damir Khabirov

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.
Read next article

Categories

Source: smartasset.com

Fastest-Growing and Fastest-Disappearing Jobs in Each State – 2021 Edition

Fastest-Growing and Fastest-Disappearing Jobs in Each State – 2021 Edition – SmartAsset

Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

It’s no secret that the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak — up from a pre-pandemic rate of just 3.5% in February 2020. As the job market continues to rebound with the vaccine rollout and the recent wave of federal aid, which could help many Americans prepare for financial emergencies and boost their savings, Americans looking to be strategic about their job searches would do well to examine employment trends over the last few years to see where the most robust opportunities may exist. Given that some sectors have seen more expansion while others shrank — with varied changes depending on location — SmartAsset took a closer look at the fastest-growing jobs and the fastest-disappearing jobs in each state.

This is the fifth version of SmartAsset’s study of the fastest-growing jobs in each state. Check out the 2020 version here.

To do this, we looked at information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2016 and 2020 for all 50 states. It should be noted that the 2020 data only partially accounts for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as responses were collected from November 2019 to May 2020. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our analysis, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • Education jobs are both increasing and disappearing, depending on location, but growth is more robust than decline. Jobs that fall within the broader category of education, training and library occupations comprise many of the fastest-growing and the fastest-disappearing jobs across the 50 states. These jobs are the fastest-disappearing job type in eight states and the fastest-growing job type in seven states. In the states where these are the fastest-disappearing jobs, they saw an average decline of 71.57% (with the steepest decrease at 82.61% for secondary school career/technical education teachers in Montana). In states where these are the fastest-growing jobs, they saw an average increase of 276.75% (with a high of 466.67% for postsecondary agricultural sciences teachers in Illinois).
  • Jobs are growing almost 4.5 times faster than they are shrinking. The average increase for the growing jobs in this study is 333.00%, while the average rate of shrinkage was only 74.89%.

The Fastest-Growing Jobs in Each State

Education is the leading industry for growing occupations nationwide (even though it is an industry that has seen steep decline in particular states). All told, seven states in this study have occupations in education at the top of their list. As an example, postsecondary nursing instructors make up the fastest-growing occupation in Alaska. In Nebraska, foreign language and literature teachers have grown faster than any other occupation, and in Oklahoma, archivists have outgrown all other jobs.

There are two different job types that are the fastest-growing occupations in multiple states. Bailiffs are the fastest-growing job in both Kansas and Maryland, while psychiatric technicians are the fastest-growing occupation in Nevada and New Jersey (as well as the District of Columbia).

The state with the top fastest-growing occupation is California, where the number of hoist and winch operators (who use these machines to lift and pull loads using power-operated cable equipment) has grown by more than 1,487%.

The Fastest-Disappearing Jobs in Each State

Office and administrative support occupations are the fastest-shrinking jobs in 10 different states. Some of the specific occupations that are shrinking include:

  • Meter readers for utilities in California
  • Word processors and typists in Delaware
  • Correspondence clerks in Florida
  • Proofreaders and copy markers in Washington
  • File clerks in New Hampshire

There are five other occupations which are the fastest-shrinking jobs in more than one state:

  • Photographic process workers and processing machine operators in Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania
  • Word processors and typists in Delaware, Missouri and Mississippi
  • Career/technical education teachers in Arizona and Montana
  • Bailiffs in Colorado and Utah
  • Library technicians in Vermont and Rhode Island

In Idaho, the number of demonstrators and product promoters has shrunk by more than 88%, the biggest drop in this study.

Data and Methodology

To find the fastest-growing and fastest-disappearing occupations for each state and the District of Columbia, we looked at employment data from 2016 and compared it to 2020. The 2020 data only accounts for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in part as responses were collected from November 2019 to May 2020. We filtered out any occupation for which the standard error for the estimated number of people employed in the occupation was greater than 20. We also filtered out any occupation with “other” in the title. To rank the occupations, we considered the percentage change in people employed in each occupation during this period.

All data, including earnings data, comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupation Employment Statistics.

Financial Planning Tips for Workers 

  • Need advice for a career change? If you are thinking about changing jobs, a financial advisor can help you manage multiple retirement accounts from different employers and create a financial plan to keep your retirement and investing goals on track. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with financial advisors in five minutes. If you’re ready to be connected with  advisors get started now.
  • Taxes don’t have to be taxing. A career change may end up being what is best for some people. With that, you’ll likely have a new salary. See how much of it you can expect to give to the government using SmartAsset’s free tax calculator.
  • Use your budget to prepare for hard times. A budget can be a great tool for planning for unexpected expenses. You can use the budget to set up an emergency fund you can rely on if you lose your paycheck for a period of time.

Questions about our study? Contact press@smartasset.com. 

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/ablokhin

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
Read next article

Categories

Source: smartasset.com

Even 6-Figure Earners are Living Paycheck to Paycheck. How to Break the Cycle.

When your salary finally tips over $100,000, all your worries about living paycheck-to-paycheck should be gone, right?

Not necessarily. In fact, 16% of six-figure earners said they have difficulty covering basic expenses, such as food, rent or mortgage and car payments, according to a November 2020 survey by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

They’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.

How is that possible? Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter how much money you make if your expenses outweigh (or are equal to) your income. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid plan for your budget. Otherwise, you could end up with no savings and in debt.

No matter how much you earn, here’s how to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

Make a Budget and Stick to It

It’s no question that the cost of living is going up at a rapid pace — not just in big, growing cities, but all around the country.

Yet slowly rising wages can’t take all the blame for our $0 balances at the end of the month. Poor budgeting — and lack of budgeting education — is holding millions of us back. So if you don’t have a budget or haven’t updated yours in a while, get one together.

If you don’t know where to start, a simple and straightforward approach is a good way to begin your budget overhaul. We like the 50/30/20 method. You map out all your expenses like this:

  • 50% of your monthly take-home goes to what you need. That includes rent, groceries, utilities, minimum debt payments, childcare, etc.
  • 30% goes to your wants — like your Netflix subscription, dinners with friends and travel costs.
  • 20% is earmarked for financial goals, like paying down debt, growing your savings and adding to your retirement fund.

If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, that last 20% likely isn’t getting the attention it needs from your bank account. And while the “wants” can easily get out of hand, it’s your “needs” that can be the biggest culprits.

So, how do you fix that? Here are some secrets to help you regain control of your spending and put more money in your savings:

Cut Costs and Bills Where You Can

Usually, your biggest monthly expense is your rent or mortgage payment. And unless you’re living the #vanlife or have a sweet month-to-month set up, chances are finding a cheaper place to live next month is out of the question.

But there are some necessary bills you can cut down significantly, without sacrificing the services you need.

  • Car Insurance: Shop around for new car insurance every six months, and you could save some serious cash. Compare car insurance prices on a website called Insure.com and you could save an average of $489 a year. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options. 
  • Homeowners Insurance: Homeowners insurance can be a huge waste of money if you get the wrong coverage. Luckily, an insurance company called Policygenius makes it easy to find out how much you’re overpaying. It finds you cheaper policies and special discounts in minutes. Plus, it saves users an average of $690 a year.

Eliminate Credit-Card-Debt Payments

If you have credit card debt that you’re just paying the minimum on, chances are you’re paying a ton in interest. And why would your credit card company care? They’re getting rich by ripping you off with those high interest rates — some up to 36%.

Credit card payments alone could keep you in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle for years. That means it’s time to get rid of those payments for good. A website called AmOne wants to help.

If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.

The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.

AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.

Create a Separate Account for Savings

Once you’ve cut down your monthly costs, make sure you’re prioritizing your savings. Whether that’s contributing to your retirement plan, investing in the stock market or building up an emergency fund — you did it! Congrats on breaking the cycle and cleaning up your spending habits.

But speaking of emergency funds, many Americans don’t even have $400 saved in case their car breaks down or their kid ends up in the ER.

Where should you start saving for one? A typical savings account won’t earn you much interest.

That’s why we like a free account from Aspiration. Its Spend and Save account could earn you up to 16 times the national average interest on your money, plus up to 5% cash back, if you use Aspiration’s debit card. It’ll help grow your emergency savings fund that much faster.

Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash. Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

Follow these secrets, and you’ll be well on your way to breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

Kari Faber is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. 

Source: thepennyhoarder.com