The Best State Capitals to Call Home

Capital idea!

A lot happens in a state’s capital city. It’s where the local government governs, but these centers of activity are usually so much more. Most are cities full of opportunity and infrastructure that make an effort to honor local history and culture.

Highlighting the best state capitals in America

Should you shoot for a capital city when thinking about making a move? Maybe. Especially if you’re interested in local politics or want to live in an area that’s guaranteed to have a lot to do, it’s probably worth taking a look.

There is a lot to consider when selecting the best state capitals where you should live, but we’re making the decision a little easier for you. From economic factors such as cost of living and median income to professional considerations like overall business counts and commuting time, we created a formula that looks at all 50 state capitals in the U.S. and measures in terms of overall livability.

We then scored each city to rank the capitals in every state from 1 to 50. Without further ado, we give you the best state capitals to live in our country.

Main

The 10 best state capitals in the U.S.

While all of the state capitals are the best in their own way, there are 10 that stand out from the pack. These cities are located all across the country — from the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains to the South and from New England all the way to Hawaii (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love a tropical paradise?).

These state capitals really do have it all, so if you’re considering a move, think about one of these cities that cracked our top 10 list.

They’re truly some of the best state capitals to call home.

10. Honolulu, HI

honolulu hawaii

Long before Hawaii was part of the United States, Honolulu became its capital. In 1850, King Kamehameha III gave the city its status in honor of the previous King, Kamehameha I, who moved his court thereafter conquering Oahu in 1804. However, between the two kings, Russia, Britain and France all occupied the area, each at a different time.

The beauty of Honolulu back then, is still very present today, even among the modern buildings and resorts. That’s thanks to the world-famous Waikiki Beach and Leahi, the 760-foot tuft crater you’re able to climb.

Drawing in the majority of Oahu’s population, this scenic capital city has a business score of 9, which puts it toward the top. Residents also bring in a relatively high median income of $71,247. Top industries in the area include food service, healthcare and retail.

Living in Honolulu will cost you about $1,918 per month for a one-bedroom, which is a nice deal to call this laidback, diverse city home. Where else can you tour Pearl Harbor, walk on an extinct volcano, go surfing and grab an authentic poke meal all in a single day?

9. Des Moines, IA

des moines iowa

When Iowa first became a state, Des Moines wasn’t the capital. That happened 11 years later after over a decade of debate. Originally, the capital was Iowa City, but lawmakers believed the capital belonged in a more central location, which is why in 1857 it moved to Des Moines.

Calling Des Moines home today is a very budget-friendly choice. The city is one of the most affordable in the U.S. Rent averages at about $1,168 per month for a one-bedroom and the overall cost of living here is 12 percent below the national average.

Residents get a lot out of living in Des Moines. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest, it’s the food, the culture and the natural surroundings that draw in people.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails to explore. You’ll also find four colleges and universities within the city limits including Drake University and Grand View University.

Working in Des Moines means having the opportunity to dabble in a variety of industries including insurance, government, manufacturing, trade and healthcare. Just remember, if you’re relocating to the city, don’t pronounce the S’s in Des Moines.

8. Columbus, OH

columbus ohio

Named after that famous explorer, Columbus became the capital of Ohio in 1816. This was the third capital city in the state’s history, but thankfully it stuck. Before that, Ohio’s capitals were Zanesville and Chillicothe.

Today, Columbus is a diverse town with lots of fun waiting around every corner. A highly walkable and bikeable city, it’s easy to get around as you check off all the must-see items on your list. These should include trips to the German Village, the Botanical Gardens and the city’s array of cultural and historical museums. There are also plenty of trails and parkland to explore.

With a highly-developed economy, most locals find jobs in education, insurance, banking, fashion and more. The city ranks first in job growth in the Midwest as well. Seventeen Fortune 1000 companies call Columbus home thanks to the affordability of the city. Living here will cost you $1,201 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

7. Boston, MA

boston massachusetts

With a long history as one of the oldest cities in the country, Boston earned its capital status way back in 1632. This was while Massachusetts was still a colony. Boston would have to wait over 100 years before it became the capital of a state.

History continues to come alive in this city, where you can easily walk from one end to the other in a single day. Along your trip, you can see Paul Revere’s house, tour the graveyard where Sam Adams and Mother Goose lie and revisit the site of the Boston Tea Party. Even the architecture speaks to the history of the city, with beautiful brownstones sitting beside each other on tree-lined streets.

Boston is a busy town with accessible public transportation on top of being easy to walk through. The city’s walk score of 89 puts it at the top of our list. It also means you’ll often see people on foot whether rain or shine. This includes tourists walking through Boston Common, commuters rushing to the office and even children on their way to school.

Although the cost of living here is almost 50 percent higher than the national average, Boston does have the highest median income, $71,834, of our top 10. This comes in handy since rent here is also on the higher side. Expect to pay an average of $3,461 per month to rent a one-bedroom.

5 (tied). Denver, CO

denver colorado

Denver found its way to Colorado’s capital city in 1867, while the state was still a territory. Colorado wouldn’t join the union until 1876, but Denver stuck since it was already where the governor lived and all the important government meetings took place.

The Mile High City has continued to grow and attract more residents since back then. With its proximity to picturesque, snow-capped mountains, and plenty of sunshine, Denver today is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are more than 200 parks within the city limits and 20,000 acres of parkland in the nearby mountains. The city even has its own herd of buffalo.

The largest city in Colorado, Denver serves as a central hub for industry and transportation. Primary businesses include telecommunications and biomedical technology in addition to tourism, mining and construction. It’s also worth mentioning the fast-growing cannabis industry (in the city and the entire state) too.

With plenty of culture and a lot of sports, living in Denver combines natural beauty with plenty of activity. There’s also thriving nightlife and amazing restaurants. To rent a one-bedroom apartment here will set you back about $1,928 per month, on average.

5 (tied). Boise, ID

boise idaho

Location is what made Boise the obvious choice for Idaho’s state capital. Sitting at the crossroads of the Oregon Trail and routes to the Boise Basin and Owyhee mines, it became the capital in 1864. Technically though, it wasn’t the state’s first choice, and the capital moved from Lewiston to Boise after only a year.

Boise is both urban and outdoorsy, with a comfortable cost of living, less than a percentage point below the national average. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here averages out to about $1,340 per month.

Opportunities abound here in technology, manufacturing, food production, energy and outdoor recreation, giving the city a business score of 9, a second-place rank.

Nicknamed The City of Trees, Boise takes a portion of the state’s 4.7 million acres of wilderness for its residents to use. On nice days, you’ll find people out biking, horseback riding, fishing and even skiing. There are plenty of hiking trails, boat docks and more.

Adding to the activities in Boise are the museums, theaters and energetic downtown area. It’s a city with a small-town feel that’s not lacking in any big city amenities.

4. Madison, WI

madison wisconsin

Wisconsin became a state in 1848, the same year Madison got named the capital. The debate over this selection lasted for two days, and even then it wasn’t a unanimous pick. It may seem silly to us now, but locals took their selection seriously. The final vote passed in a close call of 15 to 11.

Locals will tell you Madison is one of the happiest cities in the country — thanks to the weather. Situated between two lakes, Madison enjoys a constant breeze of fresh air. That’ll get you outside quick, but the miles of biking and hiking trails will keep you outdoors. In fact, Madison has the third-highest bike score at 75.

Downtown, you’ll find a centralized hub for both work and play. Primary industries in the city include manufacturing, government and agriculture. Nearly one-sixth of the state’s farms are within the Greater Madison area, and diversified farming is a primary contributor to the local economy. After a long workday, the same area offers up plenty of shopping, culture and restaurants.

Living here mixes the outdoors with urban amenities to fit any agenda. To rent a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll pay an average of $1,223 per month.

3. Cheyenne, WY

cheyenne wyoming

Wyoming set Cheyenne as the state capital in 1869. The city itself got its name from the Cheyenne Indians who lived in the area.

If you’re looking for a city with a solid cost of living and easy commute time, Cheyenne is for you. The cost of living is 8.2 percent below the national average and rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages out at $930 per month.

Getting to work is easy, too. The city has an average commute time of just under 16 minutes, putting it in third place.

Major industries here include light manufacturing, agriculture, military and government and tourism. Sitting in the southeast corner of the state, you’ll find the F.E. Warren Air Force Base here along with plenty of train-centric attractions. After all, Cheyenne is sometimes known as the Railroad Capital of the country.

Many who come to visit imagine a place full of rodeos and cowboys, but really Cheyenne is both a rugged and modern city.

2. Austin, TX

austin texas

A year after Texas’ annexation into the United States, Austin became its capital. Originally, the capital of the state was Houston, but in 1839 it moved to a city named Waterloo. In 1846, that city’s name got changed to Austin in honor of the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin.

There are plenty of good neighborhoods to call home within the modern city of Austin, many of which surround the University of Texas. Between the college, the rivers and the music and bar scene, there’s a lot to bring people to this state capital.

Austin received the highest business score on our list at 9.3. With the nickname, “Silicon Hills,” the city offers up a lot of opportunities in technology and innovation. You’ll find a lot of startups call Austin home as well. Even Apple is getting in on things, creating a campus in this Texas town.

A mild climate, and about 300 days of sunshine per year, make Austin a great place to have fun both inside and out. There’s also plenty of amazing Tex-Mex to chow down on when the craving for tacos hits.

Living here will set you back about $1,417 per month if renting a one-bedroom apartment but luckily it’s also an affordable city with the cost of living just a touch over the national average and a median income of over $71,500.

1. Salt Lake City, UT

salt lake city utah

Earning the distinction of state capital when Utah joined the union in 1896, Salt Lake City has long had a reputation of acceptance. The city itself was a popular choice for the capital because its ideals aligned with the country at the time — growth, expansion and religious freedoms.

Today, you’ll find Salt Lake City an active community with a lot of potential for professional growth. It earns near-top scores in its walkability, bikeability and business opportunity.

With an urban center invigorated by a buzzing tech scene, the downtown area is where you’ll find a lot of the action. From craft beer to theater, amazing dining to culture, Salt Lake City provides eclectic fun.

The outdoor recreation of the area is also worth mentioning. Living in Salt Lake City, you’re not only close to some incredible skiing, but also within reach of five national parks. The city itself also draws residents outdoors with a festive atmosphere you can walk through all year long.

Calling this part of Utah home means plenty to do and even more to see. It’s a perfect combination of natural beauty and urban design. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here means budgeting for about $1,233 on average, per month.

The best state capitals by rank

We’ve given you a taste of what some of our state capitals have to offer, but see how all 50 of them rank. Check out the complete chart below.

Methodology

To find the best state capitals in America, we used the following data points:

  • Median household income reported by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Cost of living reported by the Council for Community and Economic Research
  • Average commute times reported by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Walk Score
  • Bike Score
  • Overall business score determined by the number of variety of business listings in a particular city compared to other cities of similar size across the country

We ranked each city from 1 to 50 (with 1 being the best) in each of these six categories. We allowed ties in these rankings. Then, we added up the rankings for each of the six categories to determine a final score for each city. The cities with the lowest overall score were determined to be the best state capitals.

Rent prices are based on a one-year rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments as of April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

The Best Places to Live in Wisconsin in 2021

When people think of Wisconsin, they usually think of cheese, the Green Bay Packers or its largest city, Milwaukee.

The best places to live in Wisconsin are scattered throughout the state and include communities both big and small. After all, this Midwest state is home to 777 cities, each with its own strong community and unique personality.

So, whether you’re looking for an apartment while attending one of their excellent universities or colleges, making a move for a new job or looking for something new and different, there is a city and community waiting for you.

Here are 10 of the best places to live in Wisconsin.

Appleton, WI.

Photo source: Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau / Facebook
  • Population: 73,637
  • Average age: 40.8
  • Median household income: $58,112
  • Average commute time: 22.3 minutes
  • Walk score: 41
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: $918
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,281

Creative outdoor murals line the buildings, while cute boutiques, cozy coffee shops, and delicious food is found throughout historic downtown Appleton.

The city is among more than a dozen that make up the Fox Cities community and overlooks the Fox River.

It’s family-friendly and has a dense suburban feel with highly-rated schools. It’s also home to Lawrence University, a residential liberal arts college and conservatory of music.

Eau-Claire, WI, one of the best places to live in wisconsin

Photo source: Visit Eau-Claire / Facebook
  • Population: 67,250
  • Average age: 40
  • Median household income: $55,477
  • Average commute time: 20.9 minutes
  • Walk score: 47
  • Studio average rent: $608
  • One-bedroom average rent: $722
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $844

Whether it’s gathering with friends and neighbors to enjoy some of the many live music options throughout the city, including the Jazz Fest in the spring, followed by Country Fest, Rock Fest and Blue Ox Music Festival in the summer, or taking in some local art or walking along the historic bridges, Eau Claire is known for its welcoming vibe.

It’s especially welcoming to independent artists who create art installations, building murals and more.

According to a study released by Smart Asset, Eau Claire is also the third most livable small city in the country.

Fond-Du-Lac, WI.

  • Population: 43,145
  • Average age: 42.8
  • Median household income: $52,724
  • Average commute time: 22.4 minutes
  • Walk score: 49
  • Studio average rent: n/a
  • One-bedroom average rent: $822
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $895

Fond du Lac is a family-friendly community with a strong sense of history. The Fond du Lac County Historical Society connects residents to the local history of the town.

The public library and several sporting centers offer programming year-round and there is no shortage of restaurants and bars to enjoy dining and imbibing.

Green Bay, WI, one of the best places to live in wisconsin

  • Population: 104,984
  • Average age: 39.8
  • Median household income: $49,251
  • Average commute time: 22.8 minutes
  • Walk score: 45
  • Studio average rent: $955
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,152
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,252

Most people know Green Bay for its football team (Fun fact: the Green Bay Packers football team is the only NFL team owned by its fans) but there is more than football in this northeastern part of Wisconsin and at the mouth of the Fox River.

While it can get cold during the winter months, Green Bay residents love spending time outdoors whenever possible. Easy access to the Fox River also means water-based activities such as fishing.

As the state’s oldest settlement, it’s also known for its family and business-friendly community.

Kenosha, WI.

  • Population: 98,545
  • Average age: 40.5
  • Median household income: $55,417
  • Average commute time: 29.2 minutes
  • Walk score: 51
  • Studio average rent: $1,254
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,344
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,581

Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan and at the northern border of Illinois, Kenosha is sometimes called a bedroom community between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Outdoor activities are popular, whether it’s water-based activities on Lake Michigan or playing a round of golf at one of the Kenosha County golf courses.

Kenosha is also home to Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

La Crosse, WI, one of the best places to live in wisconsin

  • Population: 51,965
  • Average age: 39.1
  • Median household income: $45,233
  • Average commute time: 19.2 minutes
  • Walk score: 60
  • Studio average rent: $773
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,100
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,245

Nestled along the Mississippi River, La Crosse is the largest city on Wisconsin’s western border. It’s home to a few colleges, including the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Western Technical College and Viterbo University.

La Crosse has charming historic homes that have since been converted into bed and breakfasts, such as the Castle La Crosse Bed and Breakfast, while the Dahl Auto Museum pays tribute to the eight oldest Ford dealership under continuous family ownership in the nation.

Nature lovers can enjoy scenic views from 600-foot-high Grandad Bluff which overlooks the city of La Crosse.

Madison, WI.

  • Population: 249,409
  • Average age: 39
  • Median household income: $65,332
  • Average commute time: 23.7 minutes
  • Walk score: 64
  • Studio average rent: $969
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,350
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,935

Madison is the home of Wisconsin’s state capital as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It’s also one of the best cities for millennials.

The second-largest city in the state, Madison is a progressive urban city that is both affordable and offers great employment opportunities.

Outdoor lovers will appreciate the hiking and biking trails and the walkable downtown has bookshops, coffee shops and restaurants around every corner.

Milwaukee, WI, one of the best places to live in wisconsin

  • Population: 599,058
  • Average age: 37.8
  • Median household income: $41,838
  • Average commute time: 27.5 minutes
  • Walk score: 70
  • Studio average rent: $1,276
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,428
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,803

Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s largest and most populated city, with almost 600,000 residents calling it home.

Located in the southern part of the state and along Lake Michigan, it’s known for its many cultural offerings, from the architecturally significant Milwaukee Art Museum to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater to its wildly popular annual Summerfest, one of the largest music festivals in the world.

It’s also home to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University campus as well as two major professional sports teams: the Milwaukee Bucks and the Milwaukee Brewers. Several Fortune 500 companies have headquarters here too, including WEC Energy Group, Northwestern Mutual and Harley-Davidson.

Wauwatosa, WI.

Photo source: Discover Wauwatosa / Facebook
  • Population: 47,772
  • Average age: 43.9
  • Median household income: $82,392
  • Average commute time: 24.6 minutes
  • Walk score: 57
  • Studio average rent: $1,221
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,504
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,962

Wauwatosa, sometimes called Tosa by locals, is just 15 minutes west of downtown Milwaukee. Residents love the small-town feel and having easy access to independently-owned shops and restaurants.

A major employer is the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and Wauwatosa is home to several colleges and universities.

Tosa Village, originally called Hart’s Mill in the 1800s, is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike as the thriving historic district includes parks, cultural attractions, restaurants, and bars.

Architecture fans will appreciate a trip to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956 and completed in 1961. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places and among Wright’s last works and completed after his death.

Waukesha, WI, one of the best places to live in wisconsin

  • Population: 71,536
  • Average age: 41.3
  • Median household income: $65,260
  • Average commute time: 26.7 minutes
  • Walk score: 33
  • Studio average rent: $898
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,012
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,299

Waukesha is a city of neighborhoods, filled with strong schools, great shops, and an abundance of green spaces to play.

An active farmers market during the summer takes place in downtown Waukesha, where families and friends meet up.

It’s ideal for those who want a suburban environment with access to urban amenities and residents include families as well as young professionals.

The city is also conveniently located close to Milwaukee, just 18 miles west of the largest city in Wisconsin, and 59 miles east of Madison, making it easy to get to either place.

Experience the best cities in Wisconsin

Wisconsin checks off a lot of checkmarks when it comes to living in a vibrant Midwest state with great attractions, schools, outdoor and recreational activities.

Whether you’re looking for a slower pace of life or the energy of a busy city, there is a Wisconsin community ready to welcome you. We hope this list of best places to live in Wisconsin helps you choose your next home.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in March 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Other demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

How Much Auto Insurance Should You Buy?

  • Car Insurance

How much car insurance should I buy? It’s a question on the lips of countless drivers, especially those climbing behind the wheel for the first time. It’s a tricky question, as there are many elements to consider, from state minimum requirements to whether or not you need those optional extras and, if so, how far you can go?

Find your best rate on Car Insurance!

Attention: Still Open During the Financial Crisis…

Tip: Act now to see if you qualify for lower rates!

Compare free personalized quotes from the nation’s top providers.

State Minimum Coverage

Firstly, the bare minimum car insurance requirements are set according to state law and dictate how much auto insurance you need to be legally insured. If you want to be fully covered (and you should, as you could face fines and penalties if you’re not) then you will need to meet these minimums.

We have covered all minimum state auto insurance requirements elsewhere and won’t get into that again here, but generally, you need to have the following types of coverage:

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance

Two types of body injury liability insurance are needed: per person and per accident. This cover will be fixed to a maximum amount, which means the insurer will pay all money up to that point. In most states, the minimum cover is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.

Bodily injury insurance provides cover when individuals (not you) are injured in a car accident.

Property Damage Liability

Property damage liability insurance is required in most states and is often a minimum of $25,000. While bodily injury covers the individuals, property damage covers the vehicle.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP covers you for medical expenses if you are involved in an accident and can also cover you if that accident results in a loss of work. With PIP, you don’t even need to be the driver, as it will cover you if you are a passenger in someone else’s car.

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage

An estimated 13% of US drivers don’t have insurance, leading to all kinds of legal and financial problems if they are ever involved in an accident.

With uninsured and underinsured motorist cover, the insurer will cover the costs that stem from being in an accident with an uninsured driver, while also paying the difference if they don’t have enough insurance.

Medical Payments

Although rare, some states also require medical payments coverage. This works in a similar way to PIP, but there are many more exceptions and it focuses specifically on medical costs. 

The requirements for this type of cover are often much less. In Maine, for instance, the minimum is $2,000, while in New Hampshire it is $1,000, and in no state does it exceed $5,000.

How Much Cover Should You Buy?

The state minimums are important but may leave a lot to be desired if this is the only cover you have. The recommendation is that you either purchase a 25/50/25 split or a 100/300/100 split depending on your situation and your vehicle.

The 25/50/25, in most cases, will be the minimum requirement. This is ideal for drivers with cheaper/older cars, as well as those on a budget that don’t drive a great deal, such as students and seniors. In fact, drivers in this demographic may find themselves being quoted high insurance premiums because of the increased risk, so keeping to these liability limits and skipping additional coverage can help.

As for middle-income earners with some savings and an expensive or new car, the 100/300/100 rule, which means $100,000 for bodily injury per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 for property damage, may be the better options.

This is a significant increase from the minimum liability but doubling the cover doesn’t mean you will double the premiums, and once you get those minimums out the way, additional liability cover is much cheaper than you might think.

Additional Car Insurance Coverage

Once you get the minimum liability cover out of the way, you need to start thinking about optional coverage. As discussed above, some of this is also required by the state, but even if it’s not, there are times when it should be considered:

How Much Collision Coverage and Comprehensive Coverage?

Collision insurance covers you in the event that you hit another vehicle, a tree, a guardrail, and a number of other objects (it does not, however, including collisions involving animals). Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, covers you for everything else, including vandalism, weather damage and accidents involving animals. 

No state requires a minimum amount for either of these options and it’s entirely up to you if you want to add them to your auto policy.

Generally, they should be considered if you have a relatively new car (less than 10 years old) that you can’t easily afford to replace or repair. Comprehensive coverage should also be considered if you live in a state with extreme weather and a risk of hurricanes or floods (New Jersey, California, New York) or a state with a lot of animal collisions (West Virginia, Michigan, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Iowa).

You will be required to pay a deductible on this type of cover, with a higher deductible leading to a lower quote. Just remember that if the cost of repairs is less than the deductible, you will be hit with the entirety of the bill.

How Much Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage?

On average, you can expect to pay just $70 to $90 a year for underinsured/uninsured motorist cover. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, it could help to cover your medical bills and, in such cases, may seem like a wise addition to your policy.

But it’s not essential in all states and it’s entirely up to you whether you want to add it or not. In some states, having health insurance and collision insurance will negate the need for underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, but it can be a useful addition to your policy if you can afford it.

What About Medical Payments and PIP?

If you don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to take time off work following an accident, these additional options should be considered. PIP is especially important if an injury will lead to great financial stress, which is often the case for individuals who need to work to get paid, such as freelancers and contractors.

Medical payments coverage is generally very cheap and could cost you just $20 a year. PIP will cost around 10 times this much, so it’s something you need to consider carefully.

Bottom Line: Try to Save

As outlined above, the extent of cover you need will depend on your state, your income, the value of your assets, the value of your car, your demographic, and your monthly budget. In the end, what matters the most is that you get the best cover for the lowest possible price, so whatever option you choose, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Shop around; compare multiple insurance companies and speak with insurance agents.
  • Look into multi-car policies or bundling if they apply to you.
  • Consider raising your deductibles.
  • Look for car insurance discounts.
  • Save on roadside assistance by getting it from credit cards, bank accounts or membership clubs.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

Credit Cards for Bad Credit: Best of 2019

Having bad credit can feel incredibly limiting, but there
are many credit cards for bad credit that can help you rebuild your credit
moving forward. Many of these cards offer low variable APRs, no or low annual
fees and other credit-building tools. These cards, combined with smart spending
habits, can open up new possibilities and grant you the financial freedom to
meet your goals.

Note: There’s no one
“best” card for everyone. All cards have their perks and quirks. So, you simply
need to choose the card that’s “best” for your needs and spending habits. To
help you figure out which one is the right card for you, here are a few of our
favorite credit cards for bad credit.

/*Chat Animation*/ #animation-wrapper max-width: 450px; margin: 0 auto; margin-bottom: 50px; width: auto; #animation-wrapper .box background-color: rgb(44, 74, 94);color: #fff;text-align: center;font-family: “ProximaNova-Regular”, Arial, sans-serif;height: 153px;padding-top: 10px; .content .box p margin: 0px 0px; .box .btn-primary color: #fff;background-color: #ff7f00;margin: 10px 0px; .chat ul margin: 0px;padding: 0px;list-style: none; .message-left .message-time display: block;font-size: 12px;text-align: left;padding-left: 30px;padding-top: 4px;color: #ccc;font-family: Courier; .message-right .message-time display: block;font-size: 12px;text-align: right;padding-right: 20px;padding-top: 4px;color: #ccc;font-family: Courier; .message-left text-align: left;margin-bottom: 16px; .message-left .message-text max-width: 80%;display: inline-block;background: #e5e6ea;padding: 13px;font-size: 14px;color: #000;border-radius: 30px;font-weight: 100;line-height: 1.5em; .message-right text-align: right;margin-bottom: 16px; .message-right .message-text line-height: 1.5em;display: inline-block;background: #5ca6fa;padding: 13px;font-size: 14px;color: #fff;border-radius: 30px;line-height: 1.5em;font-weight: 100;text-align: left; .chat background: #fff; margin: 0; border-radius: 0; .chat-container height: 450px;padding: 5px 15px;overflow: hidden; .spinme-right display: inline-block;padding: 15px 20px;font-size: 14px;border-radius: 30px;line-height: 1.25em;font-weight: 100;opacity: 0.2; .spinme-left display: inline-block;padding: 15px 20px;font-size: 14px;color: #ccc;border-radius: 30px;line-height: 1.25em;font-weight: 100;opacity: 0.2; .spinner margin: 0;width: 30px;text-align: center; .spinner > div width: 10px;height: 10px;border-radius: 100%;display: inline-block;-webkit-animation: sk-bouncedelay 1.4s infinite ease-in-out both;animation: sk-bouncedelay 1.4s infinite ease-in-out both;background: rgba(0,0,0,1); .spinner .bounce1 -webkit-animation-delay: -0.32s;animation-delay: -0.32s; .spinner .bounce2 -webkit-animation-delay: -0.16s;animation-delay: -0.16s;@-webkit-keyframes sk-bouncedelay 0%,80%,100%-webkit-transform: scale(0)40%-webkit-transform: scale(1.0)@keyframes sk-bouncedelay0%,80%,100%-webkit-transform: scale(0);transform: scale(0);40%-webkit-transform: scale(1.0);transform: scale(1.0); /*Text Ad*/ .ad-container padding: 15px 30px;background-color: #FFFFFF;max-width: 690px;box-shadow: 1px 1px 4px #888888;margin: 20px auto; .ad padding: 10px 6px;max-width: 630px; .ad-title font-size: 20px;color: #0077BB;line-height: 22px;margin-bottom: 6px;letter-spacing: -0.32px; .ad-link line-height: 18px;padding-left: 26px;position: relative; .ad-link::before content: ‘Ad’;color: #006621;font-size: 10px;width: 21px;line-height: 12px;padding: 2px 0;text-align: center;border: 1px solid #006621;border-radius: 4px;box-sizing: border-box;display: inline-block;position: absolute;left: 0; .ad-link a color: #006621;text-decoration: none;font-size: 14px;line-height: 14px; .ad-copy color: #000000;font-size: 14px;line-height: 18px;letter-spacing: -0.34px;margin-top: 6px;display: inline-block; .ad .breaker font-size: 0px; #ad-4 font-family: Arial, sans-serif;background-color: #FFFFFF; #ad-4 .ad-titlecolor: #2130AB; #animation-wrapper .cta-lexcolor: #FFFFFF; width: 80%; #animation-wrapper .lex-logodisplay: inline-block; @media (max-width: 500px) .ad padding: 20px 18px;max-width: 630px;

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit 2020

Here are our picks for the best credit cards for bad credit:

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card: A low APR balances out this card’s $49 annual fee.

OpenSky Secured Visa: There’s no credit check necessary to access the low rates of this card built to help you rebuild your credit.

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

Card Details
Intro Apr:

Ongoing Apr:
9.99% Variable APR for Purchases

Balance Transfer:

Annual Fee:

Credit Needed:
Poor-No Credit

Snapshot of Card Features
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards Are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 — $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI * See Card Terms.

Card Details +

Benefits: The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard also offers a super-low 9.99% Variable APR for Purchases. The card is secured by a fully refundable deposit of $200 to $2,000.

Disadvantages: The main disadvantage to this card is its $49 annual fee. Unfortunately, the card is not yet available nationwide, either. If you live in New York, Iowa, Arkansas or Wisconsin, you’ll need to find another credit card for now.  

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Card Details
Intro Apr:

Ongoing Apr:
17.39% (variable)

Balance Transfer:

Annual Fee:

Credit Needed:
Fair-Poor-Bad-No Credit

Snapshot of Card Features
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card

Card Details +

Benefits: If you’re trying to rebuild your credit, the OpenSky Secured Visa is a great choice. You determine your credit line—submit a fully refundable security deposit between $200 and $3,000—and increase your credit line up to $5,000. There’s no credit check necessary, so you don’t have to worry about another dip to your credit score.

Disadvantages: There is a $35 annual fee, and the ongoing APR is a little high—it’s currently 17.39% (variable).

How
to Choose the Best Credit Card for Bad Credit

Choosing a credit
card for bad credit depends on your financial circumstances. One of
the most important reasons to get a card for poor credit is to rebuild your
credit, so you’ll want to choose a card that can help you do that.

Pay attention to the fees and APR associated with any card you’re
considering. While a security deposit for a secured card may seem like a steep
up-front expense, it might be worth it if you can avoid higher fees later and improve
your credit health overall.

Choose a card that rewards your spending habits and provides incentives for the types of purchases you tend to make. Before you apply, you should know your credit score so you can have a better idea of what cards are right for you. You can check your credit report for free with Credit.com.

Editorial disclosure: Reviews are as determined solely by Credit.com staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on card rates, rewards and fees. Check the issuer’s website for the most current information on each card listed.

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.

Source: credit.com

Can a Homemaker Get Social Security Benefits?

Senior woman at home
Photo by Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to our “Social Security Q&A” series. You ask a question about Social Security, and a guest expert answers it.

You can learn how to ask a question of your own below. And if you would like a personalized report detailing your optimal Social Security claiming strategy, click here. Check it out: It could result in receiving thousands of dollars more in benefits over your lifetime!

Today’s question comes from Jim:

“My wife, Janet, only worked about five years in the last 40 years due to being a homemaker. As a result, she has no Social Security benefits on her own.

Is she entitled to any of my Social Security retirement benefits? I have worked 40 consecutive years and have benefits that should pay approximately $2,400 per month at my full retirement age. I was born in 1956; Janet was born in 1960. I have not yet claimed my retirement benefits.”

Confusion about spousal benefits

Jim, I have encountered many people who are confused about the spousal benefit issue. So, you are definitely not alone here.

Your wife should indeed be eligible for spousal benefits on your Social Security record. The main eligibility requirements are the following:

  • You two have been married for at least a year.
  • Your wife is at least 62.
  • You have started your own retirement benefits.

The maximum spousal benefit is one-half of your full retirement age (FRA) benefit. Thus, Janet could get as much as $1,200 a month if she waits until her FRA of 67 years. If she claims earlier, she gets hit by an early claiming penalty.

For example, if she claims at 62, her spousal benefit will be reduced by 35%, or to $780 a month. If she claims at 64, she will receive $900 a month.

As you can see, the penalty declines as her claiming age moves from 62 to her FRA of 67. Nothing is gained by waiting to claim spousal benefits beyond her FRA. If you are interested in more information about the early claiming penalty for spousal benefits, check out this Social Security Administration calculator.

Note that Janet’s spousal benefits are not affected by when you claim your retirement benefits. You can claim at 62 or 70 or anywhere in between, and her benefit possibilities are unchanged. As noted above, the key is that you need to claim your own benefits in order for her to claim spousal benefits.

Perhaps the main reason that many are uninformed about spousal benefits is the failure of the Social Security statement to say anything about spousal benefits. Each individual’s statement provides information about retirement benefits, survivors benefits, disability benefits and maximum family benefits. Spousal benefits are nowhere to be seen.

Got a question you’d like answered?

You can submit a question for the “Social Security Q&A” series for free. Just hit “reply” to the Money Talks News newsletter and email your question. (If you don’t already receive the newsletter, you can sign up for free, too: Click here, and the sign-up box will pop up.)

You also can find all past answers from this series on the “Social Security Q&A” webpage.

About me

I hold a doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin and taught economics at the University of Delaware for many years.

In 2009, I co-founded SocialSecurityChoices.com, an internet company that provides advice on Social Security claiming decisions. You can learn more about that by clicking here.

Disclaimer: We strive to provide accurate information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is offered with the understanding that we are not offering legal, accounting, investment or other professional advice or services, and that the SSA alone makes all final determinations on your eligibility for benefits and the benefit amounts. Our advice on claiming strategies does not comprise a comprehensive financial plan. You should consult with your financial adviser regarding your individual situation.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com