Analysts lay out what Dems’ victory in Georgia means for mortgage and real estate industries
Analysts lay out what Dems’ victory in Georgia means for mortgage and real estate industries
2020 was a crazy year for many people, but it turned out to be a good year for us business-wise. I had many goals in 2020 including flipping 15 houses, buying 50k square feet of rentals, writing 2 books, possibly buying another car, and more! We did not accomplish all of the 2020 goals but … Read more
The best credit cards for international travel can make traveling a more comfortable and rewarding experience, and in more ways than one.
The right rewards credit card can help you score valuable travel perks like airport lounge access and expedited airport security. Some cards even let you avoid unnecessary foreign transaction fees. The top travel cards in the market also let you earn points and miles you can redeem for free flights, hotel stays and more.
If youâre in the market for a credit card for international travel, youâll want to compare all the top cards to see how they might work for your travel style and goals. Keep reading to learn about the best credit cards for travel overseas, what they offer in terms of perks and rewards and how you can sign up.
Chase Sapphire ReserveÂ®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is frequently listed as the top travel credit card on the market today, and for good reason. This card gives you 3X points on travel and dining purchases plus 1 point per $1 on everything else you buy. Through March 2022, you will also earn 10 points each dollar you spend on rides with Lyft. As an added bonus, you will earn 3X points on up to $1,000 per month in grocery spending through April 30, 2021 as well.
New cardholders are also eligible to earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. Thatâs worth $750 in travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Redemption options are very flexible: You can redeem rewards as statement credits toward any travel purchase, or for travel through the Chase portal to get a 50% redemption bonus (making your points worth 1.5 cents apiece). Also, you can transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to 11 travel partners, including United MileagePlus and Southwest Rapid Rewards.
In exchange for the $550 annual fee, youâll also receive excellent travel benefits like a TSA Precheck or Global Entry credit and a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership. Furthermore, the card comes with some of the best travel protections around, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance and primary car rental insurance.
The card also offers a $300 annual travel credit that applies to most travel purchases. So, if you make at least $300 in travel purchases each year, youâll cancel out most of the cardâs fee.
if you do the math, youâll find that the Sapphire Reserve is usually the better value if you travel often, despite its higher fee.
Frequent travelers who want superior perks should also consider The Platinum Card from American Express. This card gives you 5X points on up to $500,000 in airfare booked annually with airlines or through AmexTravel.com as well as 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com. You also get 1 point per $1 on everything else you buy as well as 75,000 points when you use your card for $5,000 in purchases within six months.
Amazingly, you can also earn 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases) in the first six months.
While you may not want to go solo with the Platinum card due to its more limited acceptance in foreign countries, youâll find that the card is a great choice for getting comfortably to your destination. The Platinum card is piled with perks, including access to one of the largest and lushest lounge networks in the world, encompassing Amex Centurion lounges, Delta SkyClub lounges and the Priority Pass network.
Furthermore, the card is laden with valuable travel credits, including an airline fee credit of up to $200, up to $200 in Uber credits each year, a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership and a $75-$100 hotel credit.
The credits can be trickier to apply than the Sapphire Reserveâs travel credit (the airline fee credit, for instance, only applies to incidentals on one airline that you must designate at the start of each year). However, if you know how to use the Platinum cardâs perks, you can easily outmatch the $550 annual fee.
See related: When is a credit card annual fee worth it?
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers an interesting rewards proposition and miles you can use in more than one way. Once you sign up, youâll rack up a flat 2X miles for each dollar you spend. The card also offers 60,000 bonus miles worth $600 in travel when you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening.
Redemption is simple and straightforward: You can redeem Capital One miles for any type of past travel on your credit card statement at a rate of 1 cent per mile using. Or, if youâre a bargain hunter and want to get a little extra value out of your miles, you can transfer them to a number of airline and hotel partners at a transfer ratio that varies based on the program.
If you decide not to travel, you can even redeem your miles for purchases made through PayPal.com or Amazon.com.
The card also offers a couple of features that make it a great choice for taking it abroad: It doesnât charge any foreign transaction fees, and youâll get up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership, which can help you get through customs and security much faster. A $95 annual fee applies.
If you want to earn rewards for international travel but you don’t take many trips abroad, it can make sense to sign up for a premier travel credit card that offers fewer international travel perks with a lower annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire PreferredÂ® cardÂ is one of the best options out there due to the fact you can transfer your points 1:1 to popular airlines for international travel, including Emirates, United Airlines, British Airways and more. You can also book international travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and you’ll get 25% more value when you do.
This card starts you off with 60,000 points worth $750 in travel when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening, but you’ll also earn 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 2X points on travel and dining and 1X points on all other purchases. Through April 30, 2021, you’ll also earn 2x points on up to $1,000 per month in grocery spending.
While you won’t get perks like airport lounge access or Global Entry membership, you’ll only pay $95 per year to keep this card.
See related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access
While we generally prefer premium travel cards over no-annual-fee travel cards, you should check out the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card if youâre trying to avoid an annual fee. For international trips, the Bank of America Travel card is a great choice â it doesnât charge foreign transaction fees, plus you can add a PIN number to your card.
A PIN number is a convenient option for foreign countries where chip and pin cards are standard â you can use your card in more places, including unattended terminals that require PIN numbers.
The Bank of America Travel card also offers a solid rewards program: You get 25,000 points when you spend $1,000 on your card within the first 90 days, plus an unlimited 1.5 points for each dollar that you spend. When it comes to redeeming your rewards, you can cash them in for travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per point, or for gift cards, merchandise and more.
As a nice bonus, you’ll qualify for 0% APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99% to 22.99%. This perk can help you finance a large international trip then pay it down without interest for the first year.
If youâre a student with no credit history trying to qualify for a travel card, you should check out the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students. The card offers a couple of key advantages: It doesnât charge an annual fee, and it doesnât charge any foreign transaction fees.
It also offers an exceptionally good rewards program for a student travel card. You get the same 25,000-point sign-up bonus as the regular Bank of America Travel card and the same 1.5-point earning rate, allowing you to rack up lots of points that you can use to fund your travels.
Redemption is just as easy and flexible as the regular Bank of America Travel card â you can redeem points as statement credits to cover any travel purchase. And like you would with the regular card, you’ll get 0 percent APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99% to 22.99%.
See related: What happens when your 0% introductory APR ends?
|Chase Sapphire ReserveÂ®||
|The Platinum CardÂ® from American Express||
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||
|Chase Sapphire Preferred card||
|Bank of AmericaÂ® Travel Rewards credit card||
|Bank of AmericaÂ® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students||
When choosing a card for international travel, youâll want to look for rewards and benefits that match your travel plans and preferences. Most importantly, you need a card that you can use where youâre planning to travel. Here are the key features to consider:
Picking a credit card for foreign travel can be an especially complicated choice. While you may have your eye out for a card with a large sign-up bonus and lots of points, you should have some travel goals in mind before you choose a card. If you know where and how you intend to travel, youâre more likely to find a card that can take you far in your journeys.
All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card for StudentsÂ has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.
For most people, working is inevitable: You need a job to afford your lifestyle. The trick, of course, is to find a balance where you can earn the money you need without spending all of your time in the workplace. Some of that depends on what the work culture is like in your city, how much you need to earn to pay for housing and how long you have to spend getting to work. To that end, SmartAsset analyzed 100 of the biggest cities in the country to find the best cities for work-life balance for 2021.
To do so, we considered data on the following metrics: walk score; arts, entertainment and recreation establishments as a percentage of all establishments; restaurants as a percentage of all establishments; housing costs as a percentage of income; average weeks worked per year; average hours worked per week; average commute time; percentage of workers with a commute longer than 60 minutes; October 2020 unemployment rate and labor force participation rate. 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 SmartAssetâs fourth study on the cities with the best work-life balance. Read the 2020 version here.
1. Madison, WI
For the second year in a row, Madison, Wisconsin is the best city in America for work-life balance. Madison doesnât lead in any categories, but it does finish in the top 10% of the study for six out of 10 metrics. This includes coming in second-lowest for average hours worked per week (36.4), third-lowest for October 2020 unemployment rate (3.9%) and sixth-highest for labor force participation rate (73.2%).
2. Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach, Virginia ranks in the top 10% of this study for two metrics: fourth-highest for restaurants as a percentage of all establishments (10.10%) and sixth-lowest for October 2020 unemployment rate (4.7%). The beach town also ranks in the top 20% of the study for two other metrics: 14th-best for labor force participation rate (71.9%) and 17th-best for arts, entertainment and recreation establishments as a percentage of all establishments (1.88%).
3. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis is the first Minnesota city to make this list, and it does so on the back of finishing in the top five for two different metrics: third for a strong labor force participation rate (74.9%) and fifth for a low October 2020 unemployment rate (4.5%). Minneapolis also places 12th-best in terms of housing costs as a percentage of income at 29.43%.
4. Lincoln, NE
Lincoln, Nebraska has the lowest October 2020 unemployment rate in the study, just 2.7%. Lincoln also finishes second for the best commute time, an average of just 18.4 minutes, and places sixth-lowest for the percentage of commuters with a commute of longer than 60 minutes, just 2.7%. Lincoln finishes near the bottom of the study, though, in terms of the average weeks worked per year, at 39.65.
5. Omaha, NE
Another Nebraska locale is next â Omaha. The unemployment rate there in October 2020 was 3.3%, the second-lowest in the study â giving the top two spots in that metric to Nebraskan cities. Omaha also places eighth-best in terms of average commute time. The average commuter in Omaha spends just 20.1 minutes in transit, a far cry from the traffic-packed streets of some bigger cities. Omaha residents do work much of the year, finishing in the bottom quartile with 38.47 weeks worked per year.
6. Arlington, VA
Arlington, Virginia is a suburb of Washington, D.C., and it has the highest labor force participation rate in this study, 78.0%. Arlington also ranks second-lowest in the study for housing costs as a percentage of income â housing costs make up just 26.14% of income on average. People do work a lot in the town, though. Arlington ranks dead last in both the metrics measuring how much people work â an average of 41.3 hours per week and 41.80 weeks per year.
7. St. Paul, MN
St. Paul, Minnesota joins its twin city, Minneapolis, on this list and ranks in the top 10% percent of this study for three different metrics:
8. Columbus, OH
Columbus, Ohio comes in sixth for housing costs as a percentage of income, at 27.53%. That is the only metric for which Columbus places in the top 10, but it does finish 11th-best for labor force participation rate (72.4%) and 20th-best for October 2020 unemployment rate (5.4%). Columbus finishes in the bottom quartile of this study for the metric measuring how many weeks per year people work on average, at 38.16.
9. Durham, NC
In Durham, North Carolina, just 2.7% of workers have a commute of at least an hour, the sixth-lowest total for this metric in the study. The average commute in Durham is 22.6 minutes, the 25th-lowest time spent traveling to work that we observed overall. Durham is not a particularly walkable city, however, finishing in the bottom 10% of the study in terms of walk score.
10. Lexington-Fayette, KY
Lexington-Fayette is the final entry into our top 10, and it finishes in the top 15% for three metrics:
Lexington suffers when it comes to walkability, though, finishing in the bottom quartile of the study in terms of walk score.
Data and Methodology
To find the best cities for work-life balance, we compared 100 of the largest cities in America across the following metrics:
First, we ranked each city in each metric. We then found the average ranking for each city. Walk score, concentration of arts and entertainment establishments, concentration of restaurants, housing costs as a percentage of income and labor force participation rate received a full weight. Weeks worked per year, hours worked per week, average commute time and percentage of workers with a commute of more than an hour each received a half weight. Unemployment rate received a double weight. We then ranked the cities based on this average. The top city received an index score of 100 and the bottom city received an index score of 0.
Tips for Finding a Healthy Financial Balance
Questions about our study? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/MundusImages
The post Cities With the Best Work-Life Balance â 2021 Edition appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Credit cards for foodies are the latest trend, with more and more rewards programs and additional card benefits catering to both dining in and eating out. Restaurant and grocery bonus categories are becoming commonplace â letting cardholders rack up a few extra points or cash back on those purchases.
But what about those who prefer to order delivery? If you like to take advantage of popular food delivery services like DoorDash or Uber Eats or simplify cooking with a meal kit subscription, there are plenty of credit card rewards and benefits you can leverage to save a little money.
Finding the best card for your favorite food delivery or meal kit service depends on a variety of factors, including the cardâs yearly credits, special perks or rewards rate. For example, many dining cards offer bonuses that are tailored to a specific delivery service, as a monthly Uber credit.
See Related: Food delivery perks on luxury travel cards
For meal kit services, matching rewards is a little more complicated. You could opt for a rewarding grocery card, as many meal kit brands are now partnered with major supermarkets â so you can buy them in the store.
merchant category code that qualifies for a point or cash back bonus. You can test it by making a small charge to your card and seeing what rewards you earn.
Online shopping rewards, on the other hand, are much more flexible. They apply to both web and app purchases, so whether your order from your phone or computer, you can rack up bonus points or cash back.
See Related: Make the most of an online shopping bonus category
With all this in mind, here are some of our favorite cards for some of the most popular food delivery and meal kit subscription services.
|Delivery service||Card||Rewards rate||Why we like it|
|DoorDash||Chase Sapphire Reserve||
|Uber Eats||The Platinum CardÂ® from American Express||
|Instacart||Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card||
|Grubhub/Seamless/Boxed/Instacart||American ExpressÂ® Gold Card||
|HelloFresh||Blue Cash PreferredÂ® Card from American Express||
|Home Chef||Blue Cash EverydayÂ® Card from American Express||
|Other delivery services||Bank of AmericaÂ® Cash Rewards credit card||
If you donât have a delivery service you prefer â or if you like to switch back and forth based on restaurant availability â a card with rewards on online shopping is your best bet.
Ordering food can be expensive, but using the right rewards card can help you alleviate some of that cost by racking up points or cash back. With some cards, you might even get a few extras that cover your next couple of meals.
New Year's resolutions. According to Inc. Magazine, 60% of us make them. But many of us know that when it comes to actually keeping New Year's resolutions, the odds aren't exactly in our favor. Research shows that, despite our best intentions, only 8% of us accomplish those annual goals we set for ourselves.
If you're anything like me, 2020 has left you hungrier than ever for fresh starts and clean slates.
What keeps us coming back every year? Well, as PsychCentral tells us, it’s partly tradition (we are creatures of habit!) and partly the allure of a fresh start, a clean slate. And let’s be honest, if you're anything like me, 2020 has left you hungrier than ever for fresh starts and clean slates.
That fresh start can apply to your professional life just as easily as it applies to dropping a few pounds, quitting your Starbucks habit, or taking up hot yoga. So, let's talk about some strategies to help you set career resolutions and, most importantly, actually keep them.
Every year I hear people say “My New Year’s resolution is to lose 20 pounds.” But technically speaking, that’s not a resolution, it’s a goal. It’s an outcome that you either do or don’t achieve.
A New Year's resolution is “a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year” according to the Cambridge English Dictionary.
Two things I love most about resolutions are that I have a chance to win every day, and I have complete control over my success.
A goal might be to achieve a revenue target, land an interview with someone you admire, or strike up a coveted partnership.
A resolution defines the experience you want to have. It’s about the how not the what. When I think of resolutions, I think of habits that will bring out the best version of myself—something like a promise to plan my day the night before so I'm ready to jump in fresh first thing in the morning.
The two things I love most about resolutions are that I have a chance to win every day, and I have complete control over my success.
Resolutions begin with an honest look at the year closing behind you. For me, 2020 has had some highs, but on balance, it wasn’t my cutest. There’s a lot I’d love to change next year. And my resolutions focus on a few key areas that live within my locus of control.
There is no shame or blame here; there is only space for reflection.
So where am I choosing to focus? For me, there are three distinct experiences I had this year that I plan not to repeat in the one upcoming.
Overwhelm. That not-so-adorable feeling that the world is sitting on my shoulders—that my clients’ success and my kids’ education and my aging parents’ welfare are all relying on me. Can’t do it again next year.
Reacting from a place of fear. Holding my breath, taking on more work than I know I should because what if the economy doesn’t bounce back? Will not repeat this one in ’21.
Loneliness. Hi, I’m Rachel, and I’m an extrovert! (Here's where all you fellow extroverts respond with, "Hi, Rachel!") If travel and face-to-face meetings won’t be an option for a beat, then I’ve got to be intentional about finding ways to bring more connection into my life.
These three experiences put a damper on my 2020. Note there is no shame or blame here; there is only space for reflection.
Be thoughtful about what aspects of the year felt heavy for you and commit to changing your experience next year.
Maybe your experience of 2020 was grounded in anxiety, or you’ve felt job-insecurity, or maybe just boredom. There are no wrong answers, so be thoughtful about what aspects of the year felt heavy for you and commit to changing your experience next year.
Ask yourself: If these are the experiences I don’t want to have again, what would it feel like to be on the other side?
Here’s what I came up with.
Shedding overwhelm would mean having a clear plan of attack each day. Rather than scrambling and juggling, I’d have a set of daily priorities ensuring clients, kids, mental health, and all significant constituents have what they need from me. The most critical things get done each day, and if nothing else gets done, I’ve still won.
Not feeling reactive and fearful? That will mean a shift in mindset from “What if the market doesn’t need what I offer?” to “How am I evolving my products and solutions to meet the changing needs of the market?”
And finally (sigh …) the loneliness. I talked about this in a quick video on my Modern Mentor page on LinkedIn. I miss the energy I take, the creativity I see triggered by moments of collaboration and brainstorming. It’s that very sense of ideas building on ideas that I want to recreate in 2021.
Now it’s your turn. What would your “better” look like in 2021?
If you’re job-insecure, maybe "better" means adding skills or certifications to your resume. If it’s anxiety you're wrestling with, maybe your “better” includes more self-care and relaxation.
The only wrong answers here are the ones that don’t resonate with you. You’re less likely to stick with a resolution that isn’t personally meaningful.
The words “sustainable” and “practices” are key here.
“Lose 20 pounds” doesn’t qualify as a resolution because it’s an outcome you can’t fully control. What you can control are the habits designed to get you there, like eating better or exercising. And if exercising every day feels unsustainable, then shoot for twice a week to start. Make it an easy win for yourself!
I’ll take the three experiences I want to have and translate those into habits and practices I can control.
So how does this translate into the professional realm? I’ll take the three experiences I want to have and translate those into habits and practices I can control. Here’s my working list.
In 2021 I will:
Choose my One Thing
I'll begin each day by identifying the one thing I need to achieve in service of:
Once I get all that done, whatever else I do that day is gravy.
Make weekly client connections
I will schedule one call per week with a past or current client for the sole purpose of listening. I won't be there to sell or help, but just to hear what’s on their minds, and what needs they've anticipated for the near future. This will allow me to be more planful and proactive in designing my offerings.
Set up virtual office hours
I will host bi-weekly office hours. I’ll share a Zoom link with a dozen of my friends and colleagues and invite people to pop in … or not. No agenda, no one in charge, just an open space for sharing ideas, challenges, and even some occasional gossip.
Pay attention to the fact that all of these resolutions are within my control. I’m not waiting for circumstances to change, and I’m not holding myself accountable to an outcome, I'm just committing to doing these things.
And finally, the fun part. Each resolution gets a page of its own in my Bullet Journal, which means lots of colorful checks and boxes! I keep track of how many days or weeks per month I stick with my resolutions. I set small goals for myself, and I give myself little rewards for hitting milestones. My reward might be an afternoon off, an extra hour of Netflix (do not tell the kids!), or an outdoor, socially distanced coffee with a friend. Celebration is so important. It motivates me to repeat the habit and have a better experience.
So there you have my secrets to setting and keeping my resolutions. I would be so grateful if you’d share yours with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. I’d be delighted to be your accountability buddy!
If youâve yet to enter the housing market, but are thinking of buying a home in 2021, thereâs a lot you need to know. As I once pointed out, this isnât your older siblingâs housing market. Not just anyone can get a mortgage these days. You actually have to qualify. But weâll get to that [&hellip
The post Buying a Home in 2021? 11 Tips to Get It Done! first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.