Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance you or someone you know has been to San Francisco – the City By the Bay is among the most visited cities in the United States. For international tourists, whose entry and travel patterns are easier to track, it’s the country’s fifth-most popular urban destination, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office‘s 2013 report – behind only New York City, Miami, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and Orlando.
Thanks to Capital One for sponsoring this post. This is a paid endorsement. However, the opinions and tips mentioned in the editorial content below were not directed by Capital One in any way.
How much money are you leaving on the table?
Even if you maintain strict budgetary discipline and consider yourself a frugal person who resists the temptation to splurge, you probably still spend more than you should – or could – to get by comfortably.
Do you use credit cards regularly? Perhaps you have a favorite cash back rewards credit card that offers a small but meaningful return on every dollar you spend. Or maybe you use a travel rewards credit card to earn points or miles that can be redeemed for free or reduced-cost flights, hotel stays, or car rentals.
Whether you’re a habitual credit card user whose wallet is stuffed with plastic, or a judicious spender who keeps a single, lonely square on hand for emergencies only, you’ve probably received correspondence from your issuers about the switch to EMV (chip) technology. You’ve probably received new cards in the mail too, complete with little circuit-like chips on the front face.
Whether you’re earning your degree at a local community college or living halfway around the world to save money attending a foreign university, you’ve probably considered pursuing internship opportunities in your field.
You’re not alone. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Class of 2015 Student Survey, 62.8% of students in the class of 2015 participated in an internship at some point during their college careers. That represented an uptick from the previous year.
At some colleges and universities, internship participation is much higher. U.S. News identified 10 American institutions where “almost everyone gets internships.” Even at the lowest-ranked school, 94% of students wore the “intern” badge during their college careers.
How’s your commute?
If you’re like most Americans, it probably involves a single-occupancy vehicle that you own or lease and takes a little less than 30 minutes each way. You spend at least some of that time in slow or stopped traffic.
The vast majority of Americans commute in private vehicles – 85.8%, according to the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey. That figure accounts for both driving alone (76.4%) and carpooling (9.4%). Some commuters use multiple modes – for instance, driving to their a nearby commuter rail station, taking the train into the city, and walking to the office once there. In such cases, the primary mode of commuting is rail, because it’s the longest leg of the trip.
$1.2 million is a lot of money. According to The Hamilton Project, that’s about what the typical four-year degree holder earns over the course of their career. Some majors earn more – up to $2 million or so. Others earn less – just $800,000. Other factors, including geography and career trajectory, obviously factor into these calculations as well.
$1.2 million in career earnings might be enough to support a comfortable family life through three to four decades. However, for most celebrities who’ve achieved household-name status, it’s pocket change. A-list film stars earn 20 times the lifetime earnings of the average bachelor’s degree holder – for a single film. Top athletes can easily pull down $20 million or more per year, depending how their contracts are structured. After accounting for endorsements and business ventures, their earnings can be much higher.
What happens when you swipe your credit card at the checkout counter or insert it into the chip reader (also known as “dipping”)? What about when you tap its digits into an online field?
A lot. More than you imagine, probably. Each and every electronic transaction is a delicate ballet between cardholders, merchants, and a host of intermediaries. This dance is repeated billions of times a day, all across the world, and forms the basis of the global economy. Without a secure and reliable system for transmitting payment information electronically, our lives would be vastly different.
Actually living off the grid is rare, but millions of American homeowners can truly call themselves homesteaders. That’s because the Federal Government – and most state governments too – extend special legal protections to homeowners’ primary residences.
Generally known as “homestead exemptions” (and the properties they protect generally known as “homesteads,” or “homesteaded properties”), these statutes exist to protect owner-occupants from excessive taxation, provide shelter for surviving spouses after their partners pass on, and shield some or all homestead equity from certain types of creditors. The federal homestead exemption applies specifically to homeowners filing bankruptcy. State homestead exemptions tend to be broader, with provisions that shield homeowners from some property taxes and, following death, provide their surviving spouses and dependents with protections against unsecured creditors and other claimants trying to seize their primary residence.
Travel rewards credit cards fall into several broad categories. First, airline rewards credit cards are designed to reward spending with specific airlines or airline partnerships. When purchasing airfare, in-flight incidentals, and possibly other travel-related items, cardholders earn points at accelerated rates. Once enough points are racked up, they can be redeemed for free or discounted flights, free or reduced baggage fees, and other goodies. Some airline rewards cards offer additional perks and benefits, such as airport lounge access, discounts with hotel partners, and bonus miles for reaching certain travel milestones.
Small business credit cards are increasingly popular business financing options, particularly for entrepreneurs who don’t qualify for traditional business loans and don’t have access to networks filled with deep-pocketed family members, friends, and colleagues. No matter what your business does, a credit card can probably help – as long as you use credit wisely and avoid making purchases your company can’t afford.
Small business credit cards typically have higher spending limits and more generous rewards programs than consumer cards. Some have additional benefits, such as low APRs, attractive balance transfer promotions, personalized concierge service, and fringe benefits. However, many also come with annual fees and require very good or excellent credit to qualify.