20 ZIP Codes With the Highest Real Estate Returns

Although it's a small number, ZIP codes play a large role in the real estate game — especially when it comes to profit.

Your ZIP code is a pretty important piece of an address, especially when it comes to the real estate market. HomeUnion, an online real estate investment management firm, identified zip codes in 20 metros that maximize real estate returns while minimizing risk over a five-year horizon. They examined school quality and neighborhood attractiveness for single-family rentals over five years.

“HomeUnion Research Services looked at more than a dozen attributes that characterize a neighborhood including crime, schools, white-collar jobs, unemployment, homeownership, permitting activity, etc.,” said Steve Hovland, director of research for HomeUnion. “Based on those attributes, we forecast appreciation, vacancy and rent changes over the next five years.”

The study calculated Annualized Total Return, which includes HomeUnion’s projections for how much the value of single-family rentals will appreciate and how much cash flow they’re expected to generate. According to Hovland, HomeUnion’s model can determine the price and rent for every single-family home within a specific zip code and allow them to predict the price and rent in five years.

The Long Haul 

Americans are increasingly investing in real estate to reap the rewards, which makes investing in the right ZIP code crucial. To mitigate risk and earn the highest real estate returns, investors should focus assets that can maintain value even during downturns, Hovland said.

Remember, when it comes to real estate, ZIP codes aren’t the only numbers that matter. Without a good credit score, financing a real estate investment can be difficult and costly. See where you stand and check your credit score for free at Credit.com. Here are the top ZIP codes with the highest real estate returns.

20. 46280

Submarket: North Indianapolis

Metro Area: Indianapolis

Annualized Total Return: 5.4%

19. 91602

Submarket: North Hollywood, California

Metro Area: Los Angeles

Annualized Total Return: 5.4%

18. 73003

Submarket: Edmond, Oklahoma

Metro Area: Oklahoma City

Annualized Total Return: 5.4%

17. 63043

Submarket: Maryland Heights, Missouri

Metro Area: St. Louis

Annualized Total Return: 5.5%

16. 85259

Submarket:  North Scottsdale, Arizona

Metro Area: Phoenix

Annualized Total Return: 5.5%

15. 77059

Submarket: Clear Lake City, Texas

Metro Area: Houston

Annualized Total Return: 5.6%

14. 75022

Submarket:  Flower Mound, Texas

Metro Area: Dallas

Annualized Total Return: 5.6%

13. 44023

Submarket:  Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Metro Area: Cleaveland

Annualized Total Return: 5.6%

12. 34677

Submarket: Oldsmar, Florida

Metro Area: Tampa

Annualized Total Return: 5.7%

11. 97224

Submarket: King City, Oregon

Metro Area: Portland, Oregon

Annualized Total Return: 5.8%

10. 30078

Submarket: Snellville, Georgia

Metro Area: Atlanta

Annualized Total Return: 5.8%

9. 45255

Submarket:  Forestville/Cherry Grove, Ohio

Metro Area: Cincinnati

Annualized Total Return: 5.9%

8. 60016

Submarket: Des Plaines, Illinois

Metro Area: Chicago

Annualized Total Return: 6%

7. 66223

Submarket: Overland Park, Kansas

Metro Area: Kansas City

Annualized Total Return: 6.2%

6. 37062

Submarket: Fairview, Tennessee

Metro Area: Nashville

Annualized Total Return: 6.5%

5. 33327

Submarket: Weston, Florida

Metro Area:  Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Annualized Total Return: 6.6%

4. 33158

Submarket: Palmetto Bay, Florida

Metro Area: Miami

Annualized Total Return: 6.8%

3. 48322

Submarket: West Bloomfield Township, Michigan

Metro Area: Detroit

Annualized Total Return: 6.9%

2. 19035

Submarket: Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

Metro Area: Philadelphia

Annualized Total Return: 6.9%

1. 33434

Submarket: Hamptons at Boca Raton, Florida

Metro Area: West Palm Beach

Annualized Total Return: 8.1%

Image: irina88w

The post 20 ZIP Codes With the Highest Real Estate Returns appeared first on Credit.com.

Is Your Gym Exposing More Than Your Abs?

The gym is a great place to burn off steam — and to get scammed.

When Apple announced a serious hardware flaw last week, and the critical security patch that addressed it, my first thought was perhaps arbitrary: “That exploit would work at the gym.” My next thought: what else would?

The discovery of a zero-day exploit affecting hardware—specifically a WiFi chip embedded in the main processors of Apple devices—was serious news. The vulnerability makes it possible for a hacker within range to “execute arbitrary code on the Wi-Fi chip.” A similar vulnerability was announced and patched on the Android platform earlier in the month.

The gym is often seen as a safe space to burn off steam, clear your head and boost your heart rate but it can also be dangerous. The gym stores a lot of personal information and is filled with strangers in close proximity to one another. Because of this, it’s important to think about more than building physical strength — building cyber strength is crucial to making yourself a harder target to hit.

The gym is often seen as a safe space to burn off steam, clear your head and boost your heart rate but it can also be dangerous. The gym stores a lot of personal information and is filled with strangers in close proximity to one another. Because of this, it’s important to think about more than building physical strength — building cyber strength is crucial to making yourself a harder target to hit.

Here are a few things to make your next trip to the gym as scam-proof as possible.

How Is Your Personal Information Stored?

Your gym can require and request a ton of personal information: your Social Security number, driver’s license number, credit and banking information, your home address, and in some cases your medical or health information. When in the hands of the wrong person, this information can lead to identity theft and major breach of privacy.

Your job is to reduce your attackable surface and watch out for scams.

The first question you should ask is how your information is stored, and who has access to it. Don’t accept a vague answer unless it is the correct answer. “I’m not sure,” might indicate an ill-informed point of contact at the front desk or, worse, a total lack of data security. Don’t be surprised if everyone who punches the clock at your gym has access to your information.

Because of this, it’s important to think about what kind of information your gym has and why they need it. Try to limit what information they get, even if it is “required.” While the gym needs to identify you, they don’t need much data to do that. It’s your job to give them the bare minimum they need.

Juice Jacking

Be wary of charging your devices at the gym. Simply plugging your phone into the wall can make you vulnerable to juice jacking, a cyberattack where a charging port does double duty as a data connection that either steals user data or downloads malware to steal it at a later time.

Though it seems unlikely, if your gym’s owner isn’t up to date with scams, the gym may unwittingly allow a hacker to install a data-stealing kiosk for members to use.

Always pay attention to phone pop-ups. Both Apple and Android now have stopgaps to avoid juice jacking exploits, but the warning screen can be distractedly tapped away and ignored, thus opening the door to an intruder.
If you want to reduce the risks while charging your devices at the gym, look into USB cords without data transporting cables. You can also make juice jacking impossible by using the AC adapter your device came with or a back-up battery device.

Public Wi-Fi

Here’s another way your devices can leave you vulnerable to attack. Signing on to your gym’s public Wi-Fi can be risky — such is the case whenever you log on to a public Wi-Fi network. Another thing to remember: Hackers may not always ask for the gym owner’s permission to set up the Wi-Fi network that’s labeled with the gym’s name.

In addition to the fake Wi-Fi set up, there’s the threat of a man-in-the-middle attack. This attack can secretly alter the communication between two parties and even lead to eavesdropping by an unknown third party.

If you are going to log on to the Wi-Fi at your gym, always look for HTTPS in the address and the green lock near the URL of the sites you visit and think long and hard before visiting destinations like banks, credit cards and the like that require or provide access to sensitive information.

Remember, if you ever have any suspicion your information has been compromised, always contact your credit card providers ASAP. It’s also helpful to check your credit for any sudden changes (You can get a free credit report snapshot at Credit.com) While knowing the latest threats out there, and utilizing security updates the moment they are issued is great and absolutely necessary, it’s important to bear in mind that there is no anti-fraud silver bullet. Gyms are neither better nor worse than anywhere else when it comes to data security practices, but they are definitely places where you can be harmed.

If you assume your information is vulnerable, at the gym or anywhere else, and you take the effort to limit your data exposure and minimize your attackable surface, you have the best shot at staying in good shape. If you do find a security problem at your gym, maybe it’s time to demand solutions. At the very least, if you see something, say something. And if you’re really worried, find a new gym that practices better cyber and data hygiene.

Image: BraunS

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Here’s Proof You Don’t Need to Go to College to Land a Good Job

Michelle Laydon earns $80,000 per year as a senior network engineer in Santa Paula, Calif. She’s been working in the IT field for close to 20 years without a college degree, instead working her way up in the field through a mix of on-the-job training and a number of professional certificates, which she has actively renewed throughout her career.

“I’ll be quite honest, we have folks who come in to interview who may have a college degree and claim to know this stuff, but who’ve honestly never had their hands on it,” says Laydon, 50. “When they sit down in my department, it’s very intimidating because if you don’t know it, you don’t know it. With IT, there’s just so much to be gained by that hands-on experience.”

Workers without a B.A. currently make up about 64% of today’s workforce, spanning across a number of industries that go beyond traditional blue-collar jobs. And, despite popular belief, there are plenty of good jobs to be had that don’t require a bachelor’s degree — about 30 million, to be precise. The news comes from fresh research released Wednesday by Georgetown University and J.P.Morgan Chase & Co., which sought to find out how many workers are in good jobs (defined as those that pay at least $35,000) that don’t require a B.A.

The “New Collar” Job Market

The “Good Jobs That Pay Without a B.A.” report found that while manufacturing jobs on the whole are declining, they’re being more than made up for by good jobs in other skilled-service industries like health services, information technology, and financial services; the report’s lead author Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, refers to these as “new collar” jobs.

“The dominant narrative was that the American economy was hollowing out, that we were losing all the jobs in the middle, that in the end we’re going to end up with an economy that only hired brain surgeons and pool cleaners,” Carnevale told MagnifyMoney.

It turns out there is some truth to that — the abundance of blue-collar manufacturing jobs is indeed decreasing — but we’re simultaneously seeing a spike in these “new collar” jobs that pay well without requiring a B.A. The takeaway?

“The hollowing-out story, in a way, is being oversold,” says Carnevale.

To be certain, college experience does matter in the job market these days.

For the most part, Carnevale says that having some college experience will likely give you a leg up in the job market — professional certificates, some college, associate’s degrees, two-year degrees, etc.

“That’s where the most striking growth has been,” he says. “In a sense, for a lot of these jobs that used to require only high school, there’s been an upward shift in the education requirements for these jobs now.”

How to Get a “Good Job” These Days

Despite suffering major job losses, blue-collar industries continue to represent the greatest source (55%) of good jobs for folks without a B.A., according to the report. And while there has been a slight increase in good jobs that pay without a four-year degree, their overall share of good jobs has actually dropped from 60% down to 45%. According to Carnevale’s findings, this is because B.A.-holders are still scooping up more and more of these gigs.

This may be the case, but as “new collar” jobs grow and evolve, workers without a B.A. can still earn a solid living. In some cases, they can even out-earn their higher-educated colleagues.

“You can get a one-year certificate in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and you’ll make more than 30% of the people who get A.A.s, and a fair percentage of the people who get B.A.s, actually,” says Carnevale. “In the old days, it was: go to college, get a B.A., earn more money. It’s more complicated now. It’s more about the field of study.”

He adds that the idea that more education translates to more money is still generally true — but there’s a whole lot of variation.

“If you get a certificate in engineering or computers, for instance, you’ll make more than somebody who gets an A.A. in an academic subject,” he says.

There’s a wide range of good jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, from nurses to police officers; electricians to plumbers; bookkeepers to customer service representatives. The report points to a computer support technician earning $60,000 as a perfect example of this new worker demographic.

College Debt vs. Career Prospects

Matt Eyre, an assistant manager at a Tampa, Fla., restaurant, still carries student loan debt from the associate’s degree in music engineering and production he earned a decade ago. But he has no plans to return to school to complete his four-year degree.

“I switched career tracks and have been in restaurant management for about six years now, earning more than I think I’d get in music production,” says Eyre, 35. “I honestly don’t think having a degree would unlock any new opportunities for me; if anything, it would drive me further into debt.”

Eyre made the career jump in New York City, where his entry salary landed at $50,000. After three years of positive reviews from employers and consistent raises, he was earning $60,000 by the time he moved to Tampa in 2014. Despite taking a pay cut (he now earns $48,000 per year), he is still earning more than the $41,250 average salary of assistant managers in the U.S., according to Glassdoor’s estimate.

“In my field, performance speaks louder than degrees,” says Eyre. “I’ve worked with managers who had bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management, and I actually made more than they did because of my experience.”

Location Matters

When it comes to his career, Eyre has fortunately lived in states ripe with “new collar” job opportunities; according to Carnevale’s team, both Florida and New York are among the top four states that offer the largest number of good jobs that don’t require a B.A. degree. Texas and California take the top spot on the list, which is good news for Laydon, who works in the Golden State.

According to career resource Glassdoor, the average salary for a senior network engineer like Laydon in the U.S. is just over $104,000. Could Laydon hit that number if she had a B.A.? Maybe, but at this point in her career, like Eyre, she has no interest in taking out loans to pursue a higher degree.

The larger your state’s population, the better odds you might have of landing a good job without a B.A. According to the report, California, Texas, Florida, and New York, which happen to be the more populous states, offer up most of these jobs. Illinois and Pennsylvania are right behind.

The post Here’s Proof You Don’t Need to Go to College to Land a Good Job appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

These Credit Cards Can Help You Save for Holiday Gifts

Holiday gifts can be expensive,let these credit cards help you get the best possible deals.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Discussions of the winter holidays in July may cause you to react with groans or eye-rolls. But if you find yourself struggling to afford gifts for your loved ones every year when the holidays roll around, you could benefit from starting a holiday savings plan early.

Cash back credit cards put money back in your pocket so you can save for the holiday season. Here are five credit cards that may be able to help you afford this year’s holiday gifts.

1. Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Rewards: 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in annual spending at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations and certain department stores and 1% cash back everywhere else
Signup Bonus: $100 bonus cash back when you spend $1,000 in the first three months (offer may vary)
Annual Fee: None
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% for 12 months, then variable 13.99% to 24.99%
Why We Picked It: Everyday purchases can earn you cash back, and there’s a nice little signup bonus to boot.
For the Holiday Season: Commonplace purchases such as groceries and gas earn special cash back rates, with everything else earning 1% cash back. Plus, you’ll get a bonus cash back just in time for the holidays.
Drawbacks: If you don’t spend much at supermarkets, gas stations or participating department stores, this card won’t hold as much value.

2. Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Rewards: 3% back at Amazon.com (5% if you also have Amazon Prime), 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, 1% back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $50 Amazon gift card (upon approval)
Annual Fee: None
APR: Variable 15.24% to 23.24%
Why We Picked It: This card earns extra rewards when you shop at Amazon.com and more, and rewards can be redeemed for future gifts.
For the Holiday Season: The card earns a percentage back on all purchases, with special rewards rates at Amazon.com, restaurants, gas stations and drug stores. Your rewards come in the form of points, which can be redeemed for future Amazon.com purchases and gift cards. You’ll also get a bonus $50 Amazon gift card right out of the gate that you can use to order those gifts.
Drawbacks: If you don’t do much shopping at Amazon.com, or don’t plan on doing so, this card probably isn’t ideal for you.

3. Chase Freedom

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter for rotating spending categories, unlimited1% cash back on everything else
Signup Bonus: $150 bonus cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% APR for 15 months, then variable 15.99% to 24.74%
Why We Picked It: Spending categories that earn 5% cash back and a signup bonus can help you save fast.
For the Holiday Season: You’ll earn 5% cash back on spending categories that rotate each quarter; past categories include gas stations and grocery stores. You can also earn a $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in three months, which is a fairly low spending threshold.
Drawbacks: You have to do the work of tracking and activating bonus spending categories with this card.

4. Citi Double Cash

Rewards: 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 1% on payments
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: None
APR: 0% for 15 months, then variable 14.49% to 24.49%
Why We Picked It: By the time you pay off your purchases, you’ll have earned a flat 2% cash back on everything you buy. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
For the Holiday Season: All purchases earn 2% cash back by the time they’re paid off, so you’ll be earning a great cash back rate on everything on this card.
Drawbacks: You won’t get your full cash back until you pay your balance.

5. QuicksilverOne From Capital One

Rewards: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Signup Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $39
APR: Variable 24.99%
Why We Picked It: Consumers with average credit can still get in on cash back savings.
For the Holiday Season: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back, which can help you save up a decent holiday fund.
Drawbacks: There’s an annual fee and an above-average APR with this card.

Choosing a Credit Card to Save for the Holiday Season

Shoppers can use cash back rewards to start saving for holiday gifts. When choosing a card to help you save, you’ll want to pick one that rewards the types of purchases you make. If you mostly spend at a few specific types of merchants, you may want a card that offers special cash back rates at those merchant types. However, if you tend to spend at a wide variety of merchants, you may want a card with rotating purchase categories or a solid flat cash back rate on everything.

Cash back rewards can usually be redeemed for statement credits, but some cards also offer redemption options for gift cards, bank account transfers and merchandise. Make sure to pick a card with redemption options that will most benefit your holiday savings plan.

Remember, a cash back card earns the most value when you pay your balance in full each month.

What Credit Is Required for a Card That Helps Save for Gifts?

Cards with cash back rewards usually require good to excellent credit (although there’s at least one card on this list available to consumers with average credit). Before you apply, you’ll want to check your credit score to be reasonably confident in your chances of approval. You can check two of your credit scores free on Credit.com.

Image: andresr

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, Chase Freedom, Citi Double Cash, and QuicksilverOne From Capital One credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post These Credit Cards Can Help You Save for Holiday Gifts appeared first on Credit.com.

18 Cheap Social Activities That Don’t Involve Spending Money on Food

Your social life doesn't need to revolve around food. See friends without spending on food with these cheap hangouts.

Grabbing dinner, meeting for lunch or even visiting a hot new dessert place are often at the heart of anyone’s social calendar. Food and friends are a winning combination, but it can certainly add up. Next time you want to hang out with friends, propose something new. There are plenty of cheap things to do with friends that aren’t focused on food. Here are some affordable ideas for your next hangout.

1. Take a Hike

Experience nature, exercise and spend time with friends by going on a hike. You can find local trails with websites like Trail Finder. Money doesn’t need to be spent on food. If you’d still like something to nosh on, bring a protein bar and water bottle from home.

2. Go for a Bike Ride

Go for a ride around your neighborhood or in a local park. Even if you don’t own a bike, you can borrow one or even rent one for an affordable price. Although, a bicycle can actually make you wealthier if you use it enough, so it might be worth investing in.

3. Attend an Outdoor Movie or Concert

These are almost always free, just check your local community event calendars. You can even opt to bring your own drinks and snacks if you’d like to add some budget-friendly pizzazz to your night.

4. Visit the Zoo or Aquarium

Many zoos and aquariums have days where you can donate the amount of your choosing instead of buying full-price tickets. Keep in mind that these pay-what-you-can days are often crowded — if a crowd doesn’t bother you, taking advantage of these days is a great way to stay on budget. Most places also offer picnic areas for you to eat lunches you’ve brought from home. (And we have a lot of great tips for having a picnic on a budget!)

5. Head to the Beach

This is a perfect summer activity and it doesn’t have to cost a thing. Remember to stick to public beaches unless you’re willing to pay the fee to access private ones. You could even just opt for a walk on the beach or nearby boardwalk, which is simpler and still free.The only food a trip to the beach involves are optional snacks.

6. Host a Craft Night 

Buying craft supplies and a bottle of wine can result in a fun night in. There are a lot of ways to save at Michaels and other craft stores, making supplies fairly affordable. Plus, there are plenty of free craft tutorials and projects on Pinterest and YouTube that can help you create anything.

7. Go Camping

Enjoy a taste of the outdoors at no cost. No state or national parks nearby? Or maybe you’re not much of an outdoors person. No worries — you can also camp in your own backyard. You’ll experience the great outdoors without being too far from running water and electricity.

8.Try a Fitness Class

Classes like barre, yoga or even kickboxing will help you and your friends get into shape while having fun. Often you can find great deals on your first few classes when you use sites like Groupon. Also, check your local community center or parks — often they offer yoga classes for free.

9. Watch the Sunset or Sunrise

This is free to enjoy and you can choose the location. Look up the sunrise and sunset times online, spread out a blanket at a great lookout spot or enjoy from your porch.

10. Visit a Museum

There’s a museum for everyone and everything — from modern art to sex. A lot of museums offer free admissions or pay-what-you-can entry fees. Not only can this be an educational experience, but also you’ll save by not needing to purchase food.

11. Host a Bonfire

Bonfires are the perfect way to warm up and get together with friends on a chilly autumn or summer night. Just be sure to follow local fire ordinances to avoid a fine.

12. Tour a Brewery or Vineyard

These tours often provide samples or you can purchase drinks at the end. Some breweries and wineries even offer tours for free. This is a nice way to combine a fun experience with the classic hangout of grabbing drinks.

13. Host A Video Game Tournament

Indulge in a childhood favorite pastime with a fun night in with friends. Dust off your old GameCube or bring out the newest gaming system and challenge friends to a tournament.

14. Visit a Botanical Garden or Wildflower Field

This, of course, depends on your location. Enjoying flowers is perfect for the nice weather and is sure to result in beautiful photos. Visiting is free, though some gardens might charge a small entry fee. Always check calendars for times or dates when the garden might be open for free or have a discounted rate.

15. Check out a Comedy Club

Save by visiting new talent showcases and day time shows. You also generally get better deals when you visit a show during a weeknight rather than the weekend.

16. See a Matinee Movie

These are a lot more affordable than evening films and food is not required. If you do wish to spend a bit on snacks there are a lot of ways to save on movie concessions.

17. Volunteer

Chances are there’s an animal shelter or soup kitchen in your town that could use some help. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and it’s more fun when doing so with friends.

18. Have a Board Game Night

Indulge in some nostalgia with a good old-fashioned game night with friends. Play some old school games like Monopoly and Uno or play new ones, like Cards Against Humanity or Catch Phrase. By staying in, you can enjoy affordable snacks, home-cooked food or even a potluck style meal, meaning you spend little to no money on food.

Remember to stay budget conscious while doing these activities. Saving by not spending on food could make you feel extra frivolous in other ways. For example, since you’re not buying food at the zoo you might decide to buy extra souvenirs. This defeats the purpose of saving on food in the first place. Swipe your card with caution and use rewards cards when possible. Most rewards cards require a decent credit score, so before applying see where you stand. You can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: hobo_018

The post 18 Cheap Social Activities That Don’t Involve Spending Money on Food appeared first on Credit.com.

Why Banks Are Still Being Stingy With Savings and CD Rates

Mike Stuckey is a classic “rate chaser,” moving money around every few months to earn better interest on his savings. Lately, that has meant parking cash in three-month CDs at a rather meager of 1% or so, then rolling them over, hoping rates sneak up a little more each time.

“It’s at least something on large balances and keeps you poised to catch the rising tide,” says the 60-year-old Seattle-area resident.

Rate chasers like Stuckey still don’t have much to chase, however. The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rates four times since December 2015, and banks have correspondingly increased the rates they charge some customers to borrow, but many still aren’t passing along the increases to savers.

Why? There’s an unlikely answer: Banking consumers are simply saving too much money. Banks are “flush” in cash, hidden away in savings accounts by risk-averse consumers, says Ken Tumin, co-founder of DepositAccounts.com. Bank of America announced in its latest quarterly earnings report its average deposits are up 9% in the past year, for example – despite the bank’s dismal rates.

“In that situation, there’s less of a need to raise deposit rates,” Tumin says. “In the last couple of years, we are seeing deposits grow faster than loans.”

Banks don’t give away something for nothing, of course. They only raise rates when they need to attract more cash so they can lend more cash.

As a result, savings rates remain stubbornly slow to rise. How slow? Average rates “jumped” from 0.184% in June to 0.185% in July, according to DepositAccounts.com. (Disclosure: DepositAccounts.com is a subsidiary of LendingTree Inc., which is also the parent company of MagnifyMoney.com.)

And while the average yield on CD rates is the highest it’s been in five years, no one is getting rich off of them. Average one-year CD rates have “soared” from 0.482% in April 2016 to 0.567% in July. Locking up money long term doesn’t help much either – five-year CD rates are up from 1.392% to 1.504%.

There’s another reason savings and CD rates remain low, something economists call asynchronous price adjustment. That’s a fancy way of saying that companies are more price-sensitive than consumers.

It’s why gas stations are quicker to raise prices than lower prices as the price of oil goes up or down. Same for airline tickets. Consumers eventually catch on, but it takes them longer. So for now, banks are enjoying a little extra profit as they raise the cost of lending but keep their cost of cash relatively flat.

Holding Out for 2%

There have been some breakouts, however, most notably among internet-only banks. They have traditionally offered higher rates than classic brick-and-mortar banks, and now, they are more sensitive to rate changes, Tumin says. Goldman Sachs Bank USA, the Wall Street firm’s push into retail banking, announced in June it would offer 1.2% interest to savings depositors. The bank is working hard to attract new customers. Soon after, Ally Bank announced higher rates at 1.15%.

“Internet banks are always more sensitive to changes in the economy and at the Fed. Also, internet bank account holders tend to be more rate sensitive,” Tumin says.

“I remember in 2005-2006 we were seeing a 25 or 50 basis point upward movement,” says Tumin. Now we are looking at a 5 or 10 basis point improvement.” He expects that trend – stingy rate increases – to continue for the foreseeable future.

When will more consumers sit up and notice higher savings rates – and perhaps start pulling cash out of big banks, putting pressure on them to join the party?

“I think 2% will be a big milestone,” Tumin says. “That will be a big change we haven’t seen in five years.”

If you’re really frustrated by low rates from traditional savings accounts and CDs, Tumin recommends considering high-yield checking accounts, a relatively new creation. These accounts can earn consumers up to 4%-5% on a limited balance – perhaps on the first $25,000 deposited. The accounts come with strings attached, however, such as a minimum number of debit card transactions each month.

“If you don’t mind a little extra work … you are rewarded nicely,” Tumin says.

Time to Ditch Your Savings Account?

For that kind of change, is rate chasing worth it?

For perspective, a 0.1% interest rate increase (10 basis points) on $10,000 is worth only about $10 annually.

It’s, of course, up to consumers whether or not the promise of a little more cash in their savings accounts is worth the effort of closing one account and opening another.

Stuckey says rate chasing doesn’t have to be hard.

“I don’t really find it anything to manage at all,” he says. “(My CDs) are in a Schwab IRA, so I have access to hundreds of choices. They mature at various times, and Schwab always sends a notice, so I just buy another one.”

The low-rate environment has impacted Stuckey’s retirement planning, but he’s philosophical about it.

“I have mixed feelings. In 2008, as I planned to retire, I was getting 5.5% and more in money market accounts. High-quality bonds paid 6 and 7%. So lower rates have had an effect on my finances,” Stuckey says. “But … it has been nice to see young people able to afford nice homes because of the low rates. My first mortgage started at 10.5%.”

The post Why Banks Are Still Being Stingy With Savings and CD Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

11 Tips for Budgeting Monthly Bills on a Weekly Paycheck

While Chelsea Jackson finished her Early Childhood Education degree at Georgia Gwinnett College in 2016, she took a job as a cashier at a local grocery store. The 23-year-old earned $9.25 an hour and was paid on a weekly basis, bringing in about $250 with each paycheck.

Getting paid on a weekly basis, she says, came with its own set of challenges. She needed to figure out how to save enough from each paycheck to cover bills due later in the month while also meeting her immediate needs (food, gas, etc.) at the same time.

“When you get paid weekly you don’t really have a snapshot of what your true income is because it’s gone so fast,” says Jackson, who now works as a first grade teacher. “It’s such a little amount, you really don’t see how much you make until the end of the month when you add up your paychecks.”

More than 30% of U.S. businesses pay workers on a weekly basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cashing a paycheck every week might sound like a great deal, but it can actually make budgeting for bills more challenging.

Exacerbating matters is the fact that workers who are paid weekly are already at a financial disadvantage, as they are more likely to earn less than their counterparts who are paid biweekly or monthly. Employees on weekly pay schedules earn an average of $18.62 per hour versus $24.81 (workers paid biweekly) and $28.45 (workers paid monthly), according to the BLS.

There are ways to adjust to a weekly pay schedule and still meet your financial obligations at the same time.

Here are some tips:

Change your bill due dates if you can

If you can, ask whatever entity is sending you a bill each month if you can move your due date to one that’s more convenient for your budgeting purposes.

“You kind of have to have one thing pushed back so it doesn’t hit you all at once,” says Shannon Arthur, 22, who receives a weekly paycheck as the assistant manager for a department store in Suwanee, Ga.

Arthur says her credit card bill comes during the second week on purpose. She called her credit card company to change the bill’s due date to better fit her payment schedule.

Work with your lenders when you can’t meet your due dates

If two bills overlap and there isn’t enough money in the bank for both, workers are left with a hard choice. Arthur found herself in that situation, and she knew she was going to be late paying her phone bill. She found that honesty worked in her favor.

“I just explained to [T-mobile] my situation,” she says. They allowed her to pay $20 of the bill that week, then pay the remainder the following week.

But she stresses making a good-faith effort to pay your bill on time if you’re going to ask for extra time as you’ll likely need to show you have a good payment history or the company may not allow you to pay later.

Save your “extra” check

When you’re paid weekly, you’ll have some months when you’ll receive five paychecks instead of four. “Those months should be used strategically,” says behavioral economist Richard Thaler.

He advises workers to budget based on receiving four paychecks each month and then use the the fifth, or “extra” paycheck to boost or address your financial goals.

“When it comes around, or if, perish the thought, there are outstanding credit card bills, pay them down,” says Thaler.

Chart your cash flow

Know exactly what money you have coming in and how much you have going out each month. Lauren J. Bauer, a financial adviser based in Greensboro, N.C., recommends creating a list of all of your bills. From there, calculate how much you need to withhold from each paycheck in order to cover those bills by their due date.

“It makes it easier than just writing down a total for all your bills and trying to get them paid when you think about it,” says Bauer. She says the chart makes it easy to see what you’ll spend by check, so that you know how much money you’ll have coming in and what you’re able to pay for that week.

Set aside money to cover bills in advance

“If you’re getting paid weekly, you need to develop a discipline to save for things that you pay for on a monthly basis,” says Peter Credon, a New York, N.Y.-based financial planner.

Jackson says she relied on a simple strategy to make sure her bills were paid on time. She strove to save up three months’ worth of expenses. Once her savings fund goal was met, rather than paying her bills with a bit of each paycheck, she used her savings to pay bills as they came. Then, she replenished some of the funds each time she was paid.

This strategy is all about taking back control of your budget.

“If you have enough money [set aside], you can prefund things in many aspects and have control,” Credon says. “You’re controlling your finances and how you spend your money.”

Set aside funds for emergency expenses

No matter how often you’re paid, you should build an emergency fund that holds enough money to cover about three to six months’ worth of your fixed expenses. It can help cover irregular or unexpected bills that don’t line up with your pay schedule, like an emergency dentist visit or a trip to the auto shop.

“The emergency fund helps keep you out of long-term debt,” says Credon. “Focus on building up a little more cash on the side to get yourself through the tougher times. He says you may even want to save a little more if you’re a shift worker and your hours fluctuate.

Keep your spending money in a separate account

An easy self-hack that helps combat overspending is to transfer funds you need to cover your expenses for the month to a designated checking account and restrict yourself to using only those funds each month. Automatically transfer the amount you wish to save to a separate savings account, so you’ll be less likely to spend it.

Putting the extra money in savings can help prevent you from getting used to a larger budget. It stops you from seeing you have more money in your budget for the next week and thinking you can overspend. You take that money out of the equation to keep your spending habits tamed.

Make partial bill payments with every paycheck

If you know the date and amount of an upcoming bill, you can get ready for the payment ahead of time to lessen your financial burden during the week when the bill arrives.

For example, let’s say your rent payment is $700 per month, but you receive only $400 per week. Each week, set aside $175 for your rent and reserve the leftover funds for other expenses.

This way, a large, recurring bill like a mortgage or student loan payment won’t eat up the majority of your paycheck the week the bill becomes due. Plus, you’ll already know you have the money to cover the bill.

Try not to splurge

When you’re paid weekly, you’re paid quite frequently, so it can be easy to feel like your next payday is right around the corner. But you may run out of money faster than you imagine. When Jackson was paid weekly, she was forced to be strict with herself because she wasn’t paid that much at a time.

“There were definitely weeks or months when I would splurge,” says Jackson. “Those six days [till the next paycheck] can feel like a really long time.”

Use apps to track your spending and saving

You can set bill reminders on your banking or budgeting applications to remind you when a bill will be due in the coming week or set alerts to let you know when you’re overspending in a category you’ve budgeted a limit for.

Jackson says she used the budgeting app Mint to reign in her spending on food since she realized she was overspending at the grocery store.

Don’t forget to check your credit report from time to time if you use credit cards or have loans you’re paying off. “If you’re paying your bills on time and promptly, you’re also building your credit score,” says Credon.

Keep your goals in mind

Admittedly, if you’re already struggling to live paycheck-to-paycheck, saving up can be tough, but it’s not impossible.

“Watching a budget isn’t fun because most people want to be able to do what they want when they want to,” adds Credon. He suggests building in some rewards — like getting to go on a date night once a month — to help stay on course. He says to think of longer-term goals to keep you going, like the ability to buy your own place or take a trip for a few weeks overseas.

The post 11 Tips for Budgeting Monthly Bills on a Weekly Paycheck appeared first on MagnifyMoney.