Is a Warehouse Store (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s) Membership Worth It? – Costs, Pros & Cons

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Smart-shopping blogs and magazines teem with stories about the great deals you can get at warehouse stores. Shopping experts say joining a warehouse club can save you money on nearly everything — groceries, tires, even vacations. 

But there’s one obvious snag. Before you can fill up your cart with these bargains, you have to pay an annual fee of around $50 just to get in the door. How can you tell if your annual savings will be enough to offset this membership fee? 

To answer that question, you need to delve into the murky depths of warehouse store shopping. That means getting the details on how warehouse clubs work, what they cost, and how good the prices are on the items you buy most.

How Warehouse Stores Work

Warehouse stores use a different pricing model from other retail stores. Regular retailers, such as Walmart, make their money from the markup they charge. That’s the difference between the wholesale price they pay to their suppliers and the retail price they charge to customers.

According to Entrepreneur, the markup at a typical retail store is around 50%. In other words, the price you pay is twice what the store paid.

By contrast, warehouse stores charge a much lower markup. For instance, Costco’s markup is only 14% to 15%, according to Forbes. They make up for the lost profits by charging a fixed yearly fee to each customer. 

That’s why these stores sometimes refer to themselves as buying clubs. You pay upfront to become a member, and in return, you get to buy products at rock-bottom prices. In addition, you gain access to various other special deals on everything from health care to travel.

Top Warehouse Store Chains

There are three major warehouse chains in the United States. The biggest is Sam’s Club. Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, started this store in 1983 as a supplier for small businesses.

Today, Sam’s Club is a nationwide chain with nearly 600 stores in the U.S. and millions of members. Its products range from groceries and office supplies to big-ticket items like jewelry and furniture.

The closest competitor to Sam’s Club is Costco. This chain started in Seattle in 1983. Ten years later, it merged with another club store called Price Club, which had been catering to business owners since 1976. 

Today, Costco boasts over 100 million members and has hundreds of stores stretching across the United States and beyond. The chain sets itself apart from other warehouse stores with its focus on high-end goods, such as organic food and designer jeans.

The third major chain is BJ’s Wholesale Club. BJ’s is a smaller chain than its competitors, with 200-plus stores in the eastern U.S., Michigan, and Ohio. But like Sam’s Club and Costco, it offers a wide range of goods and services, from groceries to vacation packages.

Warehouse Stores Work

People who love warehouse stores really love them. Forbes reports that Costco members are extremely loyal, with more than 9 out of 10 choosing to renew their membership each year.

And they have many good reasons to feel this way. Warehouse stores offer a plethora of benefits, including the following:

1. Low Prices — At Least on Certain Items

The main reason shoppers love warehouse stores is their low prices. Independent studies have found that warehouse clubs really do offer great bargains in certain areas, such as:

  • Groceries. In 2018, Consumers’ Checkbook went grocery shopping at warehouse clubs and supermarkets. It found that prices at both Sam’s Club and Costco beat major supermarket chains by 17% to 41%. (However, BJ’s prices failed to beat Walmart’s.)
  • Gasoline. A 2020 analysis by CSP compared prices across gas stations around the country. Costco was the winner, beating the national average price by nearly $0.25 per gallon.
  • Prescription Drugs. In 2018, Consumer Reports checked retail prices on five drugs at over 150 U.S. pharmacies. The complete set cost over $900 at CVS, but only $153 at Sam’s Club and $105 at Costco. And some generic drugs at Sam’s Club are only $4.
  • Car Tires. In a 2021 analysis by Clark Howard, Sam’s Club was second only to Walmart for the lowest average price on car tires. All three warehouse clubs were in the top six.
  • Booze. According to Spoon University, Costco offers the lowest unit prices on all types of alcohol. For those willing to buy in bulk, the club charges significantly less for Skyy vodka and Blue Moon beer than other retailers.
  • Pet Food. In a 2019 analysis of name-brand pet food prices by Consumers’ Checkbook, Sam’s Club and BJ’s topped the list for lowest average prices. (Costco, which mainly sells its own Kirkland Signature brand, was not covered.)

2. Access to Services

When you join a warehouse club, you don’t just get access to its products. These stores also offer a variety of services exclusively for members.

For instance, a Costco membership gives you access to Costco’s car-buying service. It provides haggle-free low prices on new and used cars and RVs from approved dealers. It also gives you 15% off car parts and services from participating providers.

Costco members can also save on vacations with Costco Travel. It provides special deals on airfare, hotels, auto rentals, cruises, and travel packages. The store also offers photo printing, banking services, insurance, home renovation, eye care, and bottled water delivery.

Other warehouse clubs offer a similar menu of services. Sam’s Club doesn’t provide banking or insurance services, but it gives members discounts on concert and theater tickets, theme parks, and attractions. 

Sam’s Club also offers discounts on various subscription services. Members can get lower prices on music streaming, video streaming, educational apps for kids, and fitness apps.

Likewise, BJ’s offers travel, vision care, home improvement, and photo services for members. One special perk it provides is free technical support for all its electronics.

3. High-Quality Store Brands

Shoppers are impressed with the quality of warehouse stores’ house brands — especially at Costco. In a 2019 Consumer Reports survey, Costco was one of only three out of 96 grocery chains to earn top marks for the quality of its store brands. 

The magazine’s editors get more specific in a 2017 article. They call several Kirkland products  as good as or better than name-brand competitors. These include laundry and dishwasher detergent, batteries, toilet paper, bacon, mayonnaise, and organic chicken stock. 

Another product that gets high marks from reviewers is Kirkland Signature dog food. According to DogFood.Guide, this brand has “surprisingly high quality” for a store brand. It’s made by Diamond Pet Foods, a leading manufacturer of high-end foods like Taste of the Wild.

Both Kirkland and Member’s Mark, the house brand from Sam’s Club, get good reviews for some wines and liquors. The Beverage Tasting Institute gives ratings of at least 90 points out of 100 to several Kirkland wines and to Member’s Mark tequila, vodka, and gin.

4. One-Stop Shopping

Warehouse stores allow you to condense many errands into one. You can pick up your glasses, shop for shoes, get new tires, book a vacation, and buy groceries all in one trip.

5. Free Samples

On weekends, shoppers at warehouse stores can stroll through the aisles noshing on samples of assorted food items. Naturally, the stores hope that trying the products will inspire you to buy them, but there’s no obligation. You’re perfectly free to chow down and walk away.

6. A Pleasant Shopping Experience

On the whole, warehouse club members are satisfied shoppers. In a survey by Consumer Reports, Costco shoppers reported being more satisfied with their experience than shoppers at nine other major retail chains. 

A 2021 report by the American Customer Service Index found similar results. Costco topped a list of 20 retailers, with 81% customer satisfaction. Sam’s Club and BJ’s came in a bit lower down the rankings, with a respectable 79% and 77% respectively.

7. Good Returns Policies

One likely reason why warehouse store shoppers are so satisfied is that if they’re ever unhappy with a purchase, it’s easy to return. Both Costco and Sam’s Club offer an absolute 100% money-back guarantee on virtually everything they sell.

If you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can return it with your receipt at any time. One exception is electronic items, which can’t be returned after 90 days. BJ’s policy is a bit more restrictive, allowing returns only up to one year.

Costco Warehouse Good Returns Policies

Although warehouse stores have undeniable benefits, they have their drawbacks too. Here are a few good reasons not to do your shopping at a warehouse store:

1. Membership Fees

The most obvious downside of warehouse club membership is the membership cost. The standard annual membership fee for a household or a business is $45 per year at Sam’s Club, $55 per year at BJ’s, and $60 per year at Costco. 

In addition, all three of the major warehouse chains offer higher-tier memberships. They’re called Executive Membership at Costco, Plus at Sam’s Club, and Perks Rewards at BJ’s.

These tiers cost roughly twice as much as a regular club membership. In exchange, they give you 2% back on nearly everything in the store. That means you have to spend between $2,750 and $3,000 per year before the higher-level membership will pay for itself.

2. Oversized Packages and Quantities

Warehouse stores are known for their jumbo-size packages. Buying in bulk to save money makes perfect sense with nonperishable goods, such as soap or paper towels. You can safely stock up on these bulk items as long as you have the space to store them. 

However, bulk buying can be a problem with products that don’t keep well. A five-pound bag of shredded cheese is no bargain unless you can (and actually want to) eat that much cheese before it goes bad.

3. Limited Selection

Warehouse clubs are good for grocery shopping, but you can’t always buy everything on your shopping list there. In the 2018 Consumers’ Checkbook study, the three warehouse stores only carried about half the items in a standard basket of groceries.

BJ’s was the best of the lot, with about 57% of the items available. Sam’s Club had 52% of them, and Costco had only 44%. Moreover, most of the items at all three stores were only available in bulk containers, not standard sizes.

4. Impulse Buys

Warehouse stores are huge and crammed with an incredible variety of goods. Even if all you need is cereal, milk, and toothpaste, you’ll probably have to walk past jewelry, clothes, and toys to get to those three staples. 

This makes it very easy to fall victim to the temptation of impulse buys. You could easily go in with your three-item shopping list and walk out with a whole cart full of unplanned purchases. Worse, some of these could be big-ticket items like a TV set.

5. Restrictions on Coupons

If you’re in the habit of using coupons to save money on groceries, the warehouse store isn’t the place to do it. Neither Costco nor Sam’s Club accepts manufacturer’s coupons at all. BJ’s takes them, but it only accepts select coupons in digital form.

5. Deals That Aren’t So Great

With such a vast assortment of goods gathered together in one store, warehouse stores seem ideal for one-stop shopping. However, if you buy everything on your list there, you’ll probably spend more than you need to.

My local Costco has great prices on a few staple foods, such as nuts. But its fresh foods, such as produce and eggs, are nearly always more expensive than the ones at nearby supermarkets.

Even paper goods like paper towels and toilet paper aren’t such great deals. Two dozen rolls of toilet paper at Costco cost more per roll than one dozen of the store brand from Trader Joe’s.

Warehouse stores also tempt buyers with big-ticket items like appliances, furniture, and electronics. But these products are almost never bargains. 

For instance, the current Costco savings brochure advertises LED TV sets for $700 to $3,000. But the top-rated LED TV in the same size range at Best Buy costs just $600. And a laptop Costco advertises for $700 is similar to one Lenovo sells for $565.

Deals That Arent Great

Deciding Whether It’s Worth It

The best way to figure out whether a warehouse club membership is worth it for you is to check it out in person. Scout up and down the aisles, check prices on the items you buy regularly, and  compare them to the prices at your local supermarket.

There’s just one problem with this plan. Most warehouse stores won’t even let you in the door to check prices without a membership card. One way to get around this problem is to ask a friend who’s a member to let you tag along on their next trip. 

Also, nonmembers are allowed to shop at Costco with a store gift card. However, only Costco members can buy these cards. To get around that rule, ask a friend to buy one for you or buy one secondhand through a gift card exchange site.

Two Real-Life Examples

Back in 2006, my husband and I took advantage of a free day pass to check out the prices at our local BJ’s Wholesale Club. We found that for most items we buy, BJ’s didn’t have lower prices than other stores. 

For instance, the $18 DVDs and $700 laptops in the electronics section couldn’t beat online deals. A 12-pound bag of baking soda cost more per pound than a supermarket store brand. And 24-roll packs of toilet paper cost nearly twice what we paid per roll at Trader Joe’s.

We still found good deals on a few items, like cereal, rice, and chocolate chips. But crunching the numbers, we found that we wouldn’t save enough on these items in a year to pay for the club membership.

But in 2017, we decided to give Costco a try. My husband needed new glasses, and we found the savings on those would more than pay for the $60 membership cost. 

Once we were inside the store, we started finding deals on all sorts of other things we buy regularly. Organic sugar, raisins, nuts, oatmeal, milk, and olive oil were all cheaper at Costco than at local supermarkets.

Here’s a sample of our savings from a single Costco trip. For each item, I’ve listed the amount we bought, the price, and what the same amount would have cost at the next cheapest store.

Product Costco Price Competitor’s Price Savings

Raisin Bran (14.34 pounds) $21.87 $24.38 (Aldi) $2.51

Brussels Sprouts (2 pounds) $4.99 $4.99 (Trader Joe’s) $0

Clementines (5 pounds) $5.49 $5.49 (supermarket sale) $0

Birdseed (80 pounds) $27.98 $31.96 (Lowe’s) $3.98

Organic Raisins (4 pounds) $10.79 $11.96 (Trader Joe’s) $1.17

Walnuts (3 pounds) $10.89 $14.97 (Aldi) $4.08

Canola Oil (6 quarts) $7.69 $9.00 (Shop-Rite) $1.31

Organic Sugar (10 pounds) $7.99 $17.45 (Trader Joe’s) $9.46 (less packaging waste as well)

On this one trip, we saved a total of $22.51 on a bill of $99.54. That means we saved about 22% off our entire bill. According to our credit card statement, we spent a total of $723.50 at Costco in 2018. If we saved 22% on everything we bought there, that’s a savings of $159.17.

In addition, by becoming members, we qualified for a Costco credit card. It offered 4% cash back on gas, 3% on restaurants and travel, and 2% on everything at Costco. Those rewards save us another $34 per year or so.

So, all told, our Costco membership is saving us over $193 per year. That’s more than three times the cost of the membership card. 

Factors That Affect Your Choice

As you can see from our experience, warehouse stores aren’t all the same. BJ’s Wholesale Club definitely wasn’t a money-saver for us, but Costco definitely was.

However, what works for our family isn’t necessarily what will work for yours. It depends largely on what you buy and how much you pay for it.

Based on our experience, these are the factors most likely to make a warehouse club membership a good deal for you.

Bulk Buying

On our initial trip to BJ’s, we had to pass up a lot of deals because the containers were too big. A 30-pound sack of rice cost less per pound than a 10-pound bag, but it would have taken us years to go through it all.

However, if you have a large family or a small business, you probably go through supplies faster. That makes these jumbo-sized packages a more reasonable deal for you. All you need is enough storage space to hold them and keep them fresh.

Brand Loyalty

My husband and I usually prefer to buy store brands rather than name brands. For most products, we find their quality is just as good and their price is much lower. Most of the products we buy at Costco are the ones that come in the Kirkland store brand. 

That’s one reason we didn’t have much luck at BJ’s on our first trip. Most of its products, at least at the time, were name brands. The store’s price for Star-Kist tuna was cheaper than the price for Star-Kist at our local Stop & Shop, but no cheaper than the Stop & Shop store brand.

However, many people are loyal to specific brands. For instance, your family may insist on Heinz ketchup or Downy fabric softener. If so, there’s a good chance that a warehouse store can offer you a better price on it than your regular supermarket. 

But before you sign up for a membership, make sure the warehouse store actually stocks the specific brands you want. If you shelled out $50 for a membership card and then find out the store doesn’t carry Heinz ketchup, you’re out of luck.

Few Local Supermarkets

Nearly all our food savings from Costco come from just a few items. On most foods, especially fresh foods, the warehouse can’t beat the prices at our area supermarkets. Even if their regular prices are higher than Costco’s, we can always wait for a sale.

However, in some areas — especially rural areas — there are no big supermarkets. The main food sellers are local grocery stores and convenience stores with high prices and few great sales. If you live in an area like this, the regular prices at warehouse stores look a lot more appealing. 

A Convenient Location

Finally, location matters. If the nearest warehouse store is 50 miles away, it isn’t practical to shop there more than once or twice per year. That hardly gives you a chance to get your money’s worth out of your membership. Plus, the cost of gas will eat into your savings. 

But if the distance to the store is less than 10 miles, regular trips become practical. You can visit every few weeks to stock up on everything you need. 

Factors Affect Choice

Avoiding the Pitfalls

If you decide to invest in a warehouse club membership — or you already have one — use it wisely. To get the most for your money, maximize the benefits of warehouse shopping and minimize the drawbacks.

Don’t Give In to Temptation

Impulse buys are one of the biggest hazards of the warehouse store. This can happen at the supermarket too, but Costco and Sam’s Club have a much wider array of shiny toys to tempt you. 

However, you can avoid them the same way you would in any other store. Make a shopping list and stick to it. If you see something that looks irresistible, don’t stick it right in your cart. Instead,  jot down the item and the price and walk away. 

The next day, take another look at your note. If you still want the item, you can go back to the store and get it. But chances are, by the time you’ve had 24 hours to cool off, the new toy will have lost a lot of its appeal.

Check Unit Prices

Warehouse stores don’t always beat the supermarket on price. However, comparing prices is tricky because the containers at the warehouse store tend to be so much larger. 

To be sure you’re getting a good deal, compare unit prices. That’s the cost per ounce, quart, or whatever unit the product is measured in. 

Some stores have the unit prices of different products marked on the shelf. However, if your warehouse store doesn’t, it’s easy to calculate. Just whip out your phone and divide the total price by the container size. 

Then compare this number to the price you’re used to paying at your regular store. It helps to keep a grocery price book that lists each store’s unit prices for items you buy often. That way you don’t have to try to remember one number while staring at another.

Don’t Overbuy

When you compare unit prices, the biggest container often looks like the best deal. However, a five-gallon tub of mayonnaise is no bargain if it goes bad before you use it up. 

If you’re buying something with an unlimited shelf life, such as shampoo, then buying by the case is no problem. But when you’re shopping in the food department, try to be realistic. Go for a size you can handle, even if the unit price is a bit higher.

Focus on the Best Deals

It’s tempting to take advantage of the warehouse’s store’s variety and do all your shopping in one trip. But if you do this, you’re almost sure to overpay for something. To get the most bang for your buck, focus on the items that are great deals at your particular store. 

This goes double when you’re shopping for a big-ticket item, such as jewelry or electronics. Don’t assume the warehouse store’s prices are lowest. Take the time to shop around and look for the best deal.

Focus Best Deals

Final Word

A single visit may not be enough to figure out whether a warehouse club membership is a good deal for you. If you’re still on the fence, try signing up on a trial basis. 

From time to time, BJ’s Wholesale Club offers a free 90-day membership to give shoppers a chance to get to know the store. Keep your eyes out for these offers in your mailbox and in coupon circulars.

If you don’t want to wait, try BJ’s discounted membership offer. It gives you all the benefits of membership for $25 — less than half the regular price. It’s not free, but it’s a chance to try the store without risking the full $55.

Moreover, all three warehouse chains — BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club — promise a full refund of your membership fees at any time if you’re not satisfied. You can give any of these stores a try for a month or two, then cancel if you decide it’s not for you.

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Amy Livingston is a freelance writer who can actually answer yes to the question, “And from that you make a living?” She has written about personal finance and shopping strategies for a variety of publications, including ConsumerSearch.com, ShopSmart.com, and the Dollar Stretcher newsletter. She also maintains a personal blog, Ecofrugal Living, on ways to save money and live green at the same time.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Best Online Life Insurance Companies for 2022

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In the old days, applying for life insurance was tedious, time-consuming, and stressful. The process took weeks to complete, much of that spent waiting on the results of a medical exam. And you didn’t know how much your policy would cost until everything was said and done — or even if you’d qualify for a policy at all.

Fortunately, the old days are over, at least for life insurance applicants who apply online. Also known as algorithmic underwriters or algorithmic insurance companies, online life insurance companies give you an up-or-down decision within minutes, often without a medical exam or many questions about your medical history. You can apply over lunch or dinner and then get on with life.

Best Online Life Insurance Companies

Not all online life insurance companies are created equal, of course. These are among the very best.

Each of the companies on this list does at least one thing really well, and our top pick offers the best overall value for the widest number of potential applicants. Here’s what you need to know about each.

Best Overall: Ladder

Ladder Life Insurance Logo

Ladder is one of the best life insurance companies. It tops our list of the best online life insurance companies thanks to a potent collection of strengths:

  • Up to $3 million in term life insurance coverage without a medical exam — double what most competitors allow
  • In-home medical exams for policies larger than $3 million — the application process remains all-online otherwise
  • Choose from 10- to 30-year term coverage options
  • Option to scale down coverage over time without reapplying
  • Approval within minutes for many applicants
  • Backed by national insurers with strong financial strength ratings

Best for Fast Approval: Bestow

Bestow Life Insurance Logo

Bestow earns its spot as one of the best no-exam life insurance companies thanks to a streamlined digital application and underwriting process that produces results in as little as five minutes. If Bestow doesn’t need any additional information from you, you can apply for life insurance and get an up-or-down approval decision during your coffee break.

Its features include:

  • Term life insurance only
  • Term lengths from 10 to 30 years
  • Policy death benefits as low as $50,000
  • Coverage up to $1.5 million per policy with no medical exam required
  • Open to applicants ages 18 to 60
  • A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from A.M. Best

Best Premium Membership Rider: Haven Life

Haven Life Logo 1

Haven Life is one of the best online term life insurance companies around, but it really shines for a reason that’s not directly related to insurance. Haven Life offers the best premium membership rider — an optional add-on filled with potentially valuable features.

That rider is Haven Life Plus. It’s free to policyholders wherever it’s offered and provides at least $150 in annual value to policyholders. It includes:

  • A customizable and legally binding will that you can store online
  • A subscription to Adaptiv, a workout video and music library
  • A subscription to Timeshifter, an app designed to fight jet lag
  • A subscription to Lifesuite, a secure digital storage vault
  • A 15% discount on eligible MinuteClinic products and services

Haven Life has some additional features worth noting, including:

  • Term life coverage up to $3 million with a medical exam
  • No-exam coverage up to $500,000 through Haven Simple
  • AgeUp, an annuity product that can supplement your retirement income after you turn 90

Best for Nontraditional Underwriting: Sproutt

Sproutt Life Insurance Logo

Sproutt is an online life insurance broker that uses an innovative model called the Quality of Life Index (QL Index) to assess life insurance applicants’ risk. 

While it doesn’t completely replace traditional considerations in Sproutt’s application process — or in the underwriting processes of the insurers Sproutt works with — the QL Index goes beyond the usual medical and lifestyle information to consider factors like:

  • How often you exercise and what kind of exercise you do
  • How much and how well you sleep
  • Your emotional health
  • Your eating habits and overall nutrition
  • Your work-life balance

Additional features:

  • Access to fully medically underwritten term life, no-exam life (simple issue life insurance), and guaranteed issue life insurance
  • Multiple types of permanent life insurance available, including whole, universal, and variable universal
  • Get quotes within minutes
  • Apply directly with the insurer with help from Sproutt agents 

Best for Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: Ethos

Ethos Life Insurance Logo

Ethos is rare among online life insurance companies because it offers permanent life insurance. Most competitors stick with term life.

Ethos’ permanent life insurance offering is a low-value whole life insurance policy for people between the ages of 66 and 85. Its features include:

  • Death benefit between $1,000 and $30,000
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance, meaning you can’t be turned down for medical reasons
  • No expiration, meaning the policy is effective until you die or stop paying premiums
  • Guaranteed level premiums, meaning your premiums won’t increase over time
  • Accidental death is covered right away
  • Nonaccidental death coverage kicks in two to three years after the policy effective date in most cases

Ethos’s term life offering is no slouch either. Its benefits include:

  • Amount of coverage ranges from $20,000 to $1.5 million
  • 10- to 30-year terms
  • Guaranteed renewable after the term ends, albeit at a higher premium

Best for Higher Coverage Limits: Fabric

Fabric Life Insurance

Fabric offers online life insurance policies with coverage up to $5 million. That’s an unusually high limit for a streamlined, all-online application process. And Fabric offers a no-exam option for applicants with uncomplicated health histories, although not up to the $5 million coverage limit.

Additional features:

  • Accidental death coverage available up to $500,000
  • A+ (Superior) financial strength rating
  • Low pricing, with monthly rates starting as low as $1 for $1 million in coverage
  • Will-making services available
  • Secure online vault for financial and personal documents at no additional cost

Best for Price Transparency: Walnut

Walnut Life Insurance Logo

Walnut sets itself apart with what it calls “price-first” term life insurance. Basically, you know how much you’ll pay for 10-year term coverage before you apply, making it easier to fit a new monthly payment into your budget (or decide to go a different direction). You never have to take a medical exam as a condition of coverage.

Walnut also offers a broad lineup of value-adds through a premium membership program included in the cost of insurance. Starting at $10 per month, this includes subscriptions to:

  • Headspace Plus, an app offering guided meditation and self-directed therapy
  • ClassPass Digital, a library of home workout videos
  • Dashlane Premium, a password manager and auto-fill app

According to Walnut, this package is a $25 monthly value. If you want even more, upgrade to a Digital Protection membership for an additional monthly fee and enjoy:

  • 24/7 access to a cyber support helpline
  • Up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement if you’re the victim of identity theft

Best Online Broker for Life Insurance Only: Quotacy

Quotacy Life Insurance

Quotacy is an online insurance broker specializing in life insurance quotes. In fact, a life insurance quote is the only type of insurance quote you can get through Quotacy. 

Quotacy’s narrow focus on life insurance gives it some advantages over other online insurance brokers:

  • Access to term life policies as long as 40 years — elsewhere, policies generally top out at 30 years
  • Access to a variety of types of life insurance, including term life
  • Multiple permanent life insurance options, including whole life policies and universal life policies
  • A five-minute, all-online quote creation process
  • Dedicated agents who understand life insurance
  • A vast insurer network that ensures competitive life insurance rates

Best Online Broker for Other Policy Types and Bundles: Policygenius

Policygenius Logo

Policygenius is an all-purpose online insurance quote aggregator. Unlike Quotacy, it focuses on a variety of different types of insurance, including: 

If you’re shopping for more than one type of insurance right now, Policygenius is your best choice for fast answers. And if you’re paired with a life insurance provider that offers other types of insurance too, there’s a good chance Policygenius can hook you up with a money-saving bundle discount. 


Methodology: How We Select the Best Online Life Insurance Companies

We use several criteria to evaluate online life insurance companies and select the very best for our readers. Some relate to the application process or policy underwriting, while others speak to the overall user experience and quality of the insurers themselves.

Financial Strength and Customer Satisfaction

Third-party financial strength ratings assess insurers’ ability to pay out death benefits in the future. When possible, we use ratings from A.M. Best, a highly respected rating agency that specializes in the insurance industry.

Customer satisfaction is another important measure of insurer quality. The top authority for customer satisfaction ratings in this industry is J.D. Power, which ranks life insurance companies and life insurance products annually.

Policy Types Available

Many online life insurance companies offer term life insurance only. Those insurers that also offer permanent life insurance coverage generally require medical underwriting for it, lengthening the application process.

That said, if you prefer to have both options available when you apply, you’ll want to focus your attention on insurers that can accommodate.

Term Options

Online term life insurance policies typically range from 10 to 30 years. Some insurers offer shorter-term policies, down to five or even two years. 

Unless otherwise specified in the terms of the policy, you can renew your policy once the initial term expires. However, this may require another round of underwriting and will definitely involve a higher premium.

No-Medical-Exam Options

One of the core benefits of online life insurance is the seamless application process. This process is helped along in many cases by a lack of medical underwriting. 

The insurer might ask some basic questions about your personal and family medical history and lifestyle. It’ll check your answers against your health records as well. But it won’t require you to undergo a medical exam as a condition of coverage.

No-medical-exam coverage costs more than fully medically underwritten coverage because it provides less information about your risk of premature death. However, this is a price many would-be policyholders are willing to pay, especially if they have reason to believe a medical exam would turn up health-related red flags.

The best insurers for no-exam coverage have high coverage limits — above $1 million — and terms of at least 20 years for younger and middle-aged applicants.

Coverage Amount (Death Benefit)

Online life insurance death benefits typically range from as low as $25,000 to $50,000 for final expenses insurance to upwards of $1.5 million. If you have higher life insurance needs, look to an insurer that can accommodate — Haven Life’s coverage amounts range up to $3 million, for example.

Policy Add-ons (Riders)

Many online life insurance companies offer policy add-ons, also known as riders. Some of the most common include:

  • Return of premium riders, which reimburse the policyholder for premiums paid during the policy term
  • Accelerated death benefit, which allows terminally ill policyholders to claim a portion of the death benefit before they die
  • Accidental death rider, which pays out an additional death benefit if the policyholder dies in an accident covered by the rider

Online Life Insurance FAQs

You have questions about getting life insurance online. We have answers.

Do You Need to Get a Medical Exam When You Apply for Life Insurance Online?

Often, no. If you’re applying for a life insurance policy worth less than $500,000, you probably won’t have to get a medical exam if you don’t want to. Many insurers offer no-medical-exam coverage as high as $1 million or $1.5 million, and a few go higher still — up to $2 million or $3 million.

That said, if your top concern is paying as little as possible for coverage and you have no known health issues, opt for the medical exam. As long as the exam doesn’t raise any red flags about your health, you’ll pay less for a policy that requires one.

How Much Does Online Life Insurance Cost?

How much you pay for an online life insurance policy depends on a number of factors:

  • The policy value — coverage amount or death benefit
  • The policy term — the longer the term, the higher the premium
  • The type of policy — term life is always cheaper than permanent life
  • Your personal medical history
  • Your family medical history
  • The results of your life insurance medical exam if you take one
  • Your age when you apply
  • Your lifestyle, including whether you use or have ever used tobacco and whether you have any risky hobbies

The best way to estimate your life insurance cost is to use an online quote aggregator like Policygenius or Quotacy. 

What Do You Need to Apply for Life Insurance Online?

To apply for life insurance online, you’ll need some or all of the following:

  • A good idea of how much life insurance you need
  • Basic personal information, like your address and Social Security number
  • Basic financial information, such as your annual income
  • Your height and weight
  • Your recent medical history
  • Information about your lifestyle and personal habits

If required, you’ll need to take a medical exam in the days or weeks after you send in your initial application for coverage. Many insurers offer in-home exams, but some ask you to visit a testing facility. 

You’ll also need to give your consent for the insurer to pull your Medical Information Bureau file. This file contains important information about your medical history and previous insurance applications, helping would-be insurers check the information you provide on your application against the public record.  

Is Life Insurance Worth It?

Often, yes. One of the most harmful myths about life insurance is that only certain people need it, such as parents of young children or people with lots of debt. In fact, there are many reasons to buy life insurance:

  • Covering final expenses, such as funeral and burial costs
  • Preventing major debts from passing to a surviving spouse or partner
  • Covering higher costs borne by survivors, such as child care and health insurance
  • Covering future education expenses for your children
  • Protecting your business partners’ financial interests
  • Maintaining your survivors’ standard of living
  • Creating a store of cash value that you can borrow against during your lifetime

Chances are, at least one of these reasons applies to you. And if that’s the case, some form of life insurance is probably worth it.


How to Choose the Best Online Life Insurance Company

These are the best online life insurance companies on the market right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable. The best choice for your life insurance needs might not be the best choice for your neighbor — or even your spouse.

To choose the best online life insurer for you, think about why you’re applying for life insurance in the first place.

Do you want an affordable term life policy that lasts until you pay off your house in 15 years? Do you want to make sure your future kids’ college education is paid for, 20 or 25 years down the road? Do you want a policy that lasts indefinitely, creating a cash value reserve that you can tap as you age and possibly establishing generational wealth for your heirs?

Likewise, think about what you want out of your relationship with your insurer, beginning with the application process. Are you willing to pay more to forgo medical underwriting? Or do you prefer a seamless, super-fast application process that produces an answer — and an active policy — within minutes?

It’s your call. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on this list.

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Source: moneycrashers.com

What Careers Make the Most Money: 75 Jobs for Fuller Pockets

Deciding what career to pursue can be difficult when you don’t know where to start or don’t have a passion for a particular field yet. However, planning early on and researching things such as potential salary can help you feel eager to get your future started.

Choosing to follow a career field that pays a lot can be a difficult but rewarding process. Whether you’re a recent grad or changing careers, learning more about jobs that can help you live a comfortable life is the first step. In this guide, you’ll find out what careers make the most money and what you need to get started.

See Average U.S. Salaries

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The Benefits of a High-Paying Job

Choosing a career that pays well can be very beneficial for your future. If you are looking to start a family, build retirement savings, or travel around the world, finding a high-paying career can get you a step closer to your goals.

Although some people may say that money doesn’t bring you happiness, knowing that you have enough money for all your necessities, such as rent, bills, and groceries, can bring you peace of mind. A recent study shows that larger incomes are associated with a greater well-being and a higher level of satisfaction with life overall​​. In addition to that, it can also make you more productive and help you succeed at work.

the benefits of a high-paying career

What Careers Make the Most Money?

If you’re ready to find a career that will bring you financial security and are willing to persevere and work hard, here are the 75 best-paying jobs in the U.S. according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics National Occupational and Wage Estimates:

1. Anesthesiologist

An anesthesiologist is a doctor that administers anesthetics and analgesics before, during, or after surgery. They are critical to surgery procedures since they allow the surgeon and other physicians to complete invasive procedures with no discomfort to the patient. In addition to administering general and regional anesthesia, they also closely monitor the patient’s vitals. Due to the risk involved, anesthesiology can be a stressful but rewarding career to follow.

  • Average Annual Salary: $271,440
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Internship (one year)
    • Residency (three years)
    • Obtain a state license

2. Surgeon

Working together with anesthesiologists, surgeons* operate on patients who have suffered from injuries or diseases. Surgeons are also leaders of the surgical team, so they have to make important decisions quickly, sometimes involving life or death. There are many different kinds of surgeons, and you can train to become a general surgeon or have a specialization such as neurology or cardiology. If you plan to become a surgeon, it’s necessary to understand the gravity of the job and have a passion for the STEM field.

  • Average Annual Salary: $251,650
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Residency (three to seven years)
    • Obtain a state license

See the Average Salary for Surgeons

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3. Obstetrician and Gynecologist

From providing reproductive system care to bringing a new life into the world, obstetricians and gynecologists play an important role in women’s health. They help prevent, diagnose, and treat conditions affecting the female reproductive system. As a gynecologist, you would primarily handle women’s reproductive health, and as an obstetrician, you would also deal with childbirth in the surgical field.

  • Average Annual Salary: $239,120
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Residency (four years)
    • Pass a written board exam
    • Practice (two years)
    • Pass an oral board exam

4. Orthodontist

If you’re amazed by how braces can help fix teeth irregularities, a career as an orthodontist may be for you. Orthodontists diagnose, examine, and treat imperfect positioning of teeth and oral cavity anomalies. By prescribing and installing braces, orthodontists help improve not only mouth and teeth function but also the appearance of patients’ smiles.

  • Average Annual Salary: $237,990
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (four years)
    • Pass a national board exam
    • Residency (two to three years)

5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

If you’ve ever seen yourself as a dentist but you’re also amazed by how surgery procedures can better someone’s life, becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a great option for you. These surgeons are dentists with additional training who perform surgeries on the mouth, jaw, and face. They may also diagnose and treat problems in that area, as well as perform surgery to improve the function and appearance of the patient’s facial structure.

  • Average Annual Salary: $234,990
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (three to five years)
    • Residency (four to six years)
    • Board Certification

6. Physician

Just like surgeons, physicians* diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries and help maintain the patient’s overall health. There are two main types of physicians: doctors of osteopathy, who specialize in preventive medicine and holistic care, and doctors of medicine, who take a more scientific approach to diagnosis and treatment. However, within these types, you could choose to have a specialty such as urology, immunology, or radiology, to name a few.

  • Average Annual Salary: $218,850
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Internship
    • Residency according to specialization (three to eight years)

See the Average Salary for Physicians

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7. Psychiatrist

Mental health is as important as physical health, so if you’re fascinated about how the mind works, becoming a psychiatrist* will help you understand the relationship between the mind and body. Psychiatrists diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. They can also prescribe medications and recommend a patient be hospitalized.

  • Average Annual Salary: $217,100
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Obtain a license
    • Certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
    • Residency (four years)

See the Average Salary for Psychiatrists

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8. Prosthodontists

Prosthodontists specialize in improving the function of your mouth. They diagnose and treat complex issues, as well as design and rehabilitate prostheses for patients who have trouble with their bite, missing teeth, or who want to improve their appearance. If you have a passion for physics, medicine, and have great attention to detail and some artistic skills, prosthodontics may be a great fit for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $214,870
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (four years)
    • Post-doctoral residency (three years)
    • Obtain a state license

9. Family Medicine Physician

If you don’t want to be tied to diagnosing and treating a particular health condition, becoming a family medicine physician can be a good career option. They diagnose, treat, and provide preventive care to families of all ages. As primary care providers, they are very versatile and can treat anything from a simple cough to a broken bone.

  • Average Annual Salary: $214,370
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Family medicine residency (four years)
    • Pass board exam

See the Average Salary for Physicians

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10. General Internal Medicine Physician

General internal medicine physicians diagnose and treat a variety of injuries and diseases relating to the internal organs. Commonly referred to as general internists, they primarily treat adults and adolescents and are trained to handle a broad spectrum of illnesses. If you enjoyed your anatomy science class in high school, this may be a good career path for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $210,960
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Internal medicine residency (three years)
    • Obtain board certification

11. Chief Executive

If leadership is your forte and you thrive by helping others achieve their goals, becoming a CEO can help you put your skills into action. At the highest level of management of a company, chief executives decide and formulate company policies according to the guidelines set up by a board of directors. They are not only tied to planning, directing, and coordinating operational activities within the company, but also act as a leader to help the company meet its goals.

  • Average Annual Salary: $197,840
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Business and industry experience

12. Dentist

Similar to orthodontists, dentists* also diagnose and treat issues with the mouth, gums, and teeth. Dentists treat more than just cavities — they extract teeth, perform teeth cleaning, and fit dentures. Another benefit of being a dentist is being able to build relationships with patients and see improvement with their teeth over time.

  • Average Annual Salary: $194,930
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Dental school (four years)
    • Pass National Board Dental Examinations

See the Average Salary for Dentists

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13. Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists* administer anesthesia on patients as well as monitor their vital signs and their recovery. They are registered nurses who specialize in anesthesiology and assist surgeons and physicians to help them complete procedures. If you want to meet patients of all ages and from all walks of life and make them feel secure and calm before surgery, becoming a nurse anesthetist might be just right for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $189,190
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Registered nurse licensure
    • Experience in critical care (one year)
    • Nurse anesthesia program
    • Pass the national certification exam

See the Average Salary for Nurse Anesthetists

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14. Pilot

Are you an adrenaline junkie with a head for heights? If so, becoming an airline pilot can be a great way to make a living off your passion. Pilots* operate and fly airplanes that transport passengers and cargo. As a pilot, you can fly aircraft regionally, nationally, and internationally or even become a flight instructor. In addition to flying, pilots also make sure the aircraft is functioning properly, checking for malfunctions and needed maintenance, as well as ensuring the weather conditions and routes are safe.

  • Average Annual Salary: $186,870
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Military, college, or civilian flight school
    • Federal Air Transport certificate
    • ATP license (1,000-1,500 hours of flying)
    • Pass a medical exam

See the Average Salary for Pilots

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15. Pediatrician

If seeing children develop their skills and grow strong sounds fascinating to you, you can be part of their journey as a pediatrician*. Pediatricians diagnose, treat, and help prevent injuries and diseases in children from infancy to adulthood. For more specific treatment, they might also refer them to a specialist. Pediatricians tend to love being around children and can also acquire a subspecialty, such as oncology or developmental-behavioral pediatrics.

  • Average Annual Salary: $184,570
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Medical school (four years)
    • Pass a licensure exam
    • Residency (three years)
    • Obtain American Board of Pediatrics certification

See the Average Salary for Pediatricians

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16. Computer and Information Systems Manager

Technology is a big part of our lives these days, and if you’re good with computers and data, you might find a passion for this career. Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct activities in electronic data processing, computer programming, information systems, and systems analysis. They are there to help companies and organizations navigate technology. In addition to supervising workers, they also help install and upgrade systems and protect them from potential threats.

  • Average Annual Salary: $161,730
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Industry certifications and experience

17. Architectural and Engineering Manager

From a small coffee shop to a huge skyscraper, do you ever wonder how buildings come to life? As an architectural and engineering manager, you would plan, direct, and coordinate architectural and engineering activities or work on research and development. Some managers work in offices designing and coordinating the creation of buildings that are safe and purposeful. Others may also work in research laboratories and construction sites.

  • Average Annual Salary: $158,100
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Industry certifications and experience

18. Natural Science Manager

If science was your favorite subject as a kid and you loved to do experiments, becoming a natural science manager might make your younger self very happy. Natural science managers supervise scientists such as chemists, physicists, and biologists by planning, directing, and coordinating activities in those fields. They may spend their time in labs or in the office coordinating production, testing, and quality control of research projects.

  • Average Annual Salary: $154,930
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Experience as a scientist

19. Marketing Manager

Are you a creative person with a love for problem-solving and communicating with others? If so, becoming a marketing manager* might be what you’re looking for. Marketing managers supervise the whole process of creating and implementing marketing campaigns. They determine the demands of products and services and identify potential customers and opportunities. In addition to developing strategies to maximize profits, they also provide help with hiring staff and team-building.

  • Average Annual Salary: $154,470
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Graduate degree (recommended)
    • Industry certifications and experience

20. Petroleum Engineer

Becoming a petroleum engineer* is the right path for you if you want to help provide the world with energy. Petroleum engineers design equipment to help extract oil and gas from the earth and determine the need for new tools and equipment. To do this, they spend a lot of time researching, studying, and analyzing data to find the safest and most cost-effective way to perform the extractions.

  • Average Annual Salary: $154,330
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Professional engineering license
    • Society of Petroleum Engineers certification (recommended)

21. Financial Manager

Financial managers* are responsible for the finances of a company by planning and directing accounting, insurance, securities, banking, and any other financial activities. Their tasks can range from creating financial reports, developing long-term financial goals, and directing investment activities. If you have a love for numbers and have great attention to detail and communication skills, this is the job for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $151,510
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Master’s degree (recommended)
    • Obtain some certifications and licensures

See the Average Salary for Financial Managers

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22. Podiatrist

If you want to join a critical field and make an impact in people’s lives by relieving their pain, becoming a podiatrist* might be the right step for you. Podiatrists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and deformities of the human foot, ankle, and lower leg. They are able to perform surgeries and transplants, and can also prescribe medications and braces for less complex cases.

  • Average Annual Salary: $151,110
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Podiatric medical school (four years)
    • Residency (three years)
    • Pass American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam

See the Average Salary for Podiatrists

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23. Lawyer

Representing clients in civil and criminal legal issues and disputes, lawyers can also advise clients on legal transactions and prepare legal documents. As a lawyer, you may work in the private sector for big firms and even small businesses, or work in the public sector for the government as a district attorney or public defender. If you have a passion for helping people and solving conflicts, this might be the right path for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $148,910
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (four years)
    • Law school (three years)
    • Pass a state-specific law exam
    • Internship experience

24. Sales Manager

Sales managers* direct an organization’s sales team by planning, directing, and coordinating the distribution of a product or service. Some duties may include establishing sales territories, setting quotas and goals, analyzing sales statistics, and training sales representatives. If you want to become a sales manager, you have to not only be great at selling but also making strategic decisions and motivating people.

  • Average Annual Salary: $147,580
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Master’s degree (recommended)
    • Industry experience and certifications

See the Average Salary for Sales Managers

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25. Advertising and Promotion Manager

As an advertising and promotion manager*, you would plan and coordinate advertising programs and policies. They build interest in purchasing products or services from their organization, as well as create marketing materials such as posters, giveaways, brochures, and coupons. If you want to have a job in which you can put your creativity to action, this is the right career for you.

  • Average Annual Salary: $147,560
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree (recommended)
    • Master’s degree (recommended)
    • Industry experience and certifications

50 Additional High-Paying Careers

If the careers mentioned above are not a fit for you, there are plenty of other jobs that pay a lot of money. Here are 50 additional careers that make the most money, listed by average annual salary:

  • Physicist* – $137,700
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager – $137,160
  • Astronomer – $136,480
  • Public Relations and Fundraising Manager* – $135,580
  • Law Teacher – $134,760
  • Human Resources Manager* – $134,580
  • Purchasing Manager* – $132,660
  • Judge* – $131,850
  • Computer and Information Research Scientist – $130,890
  • Air Traffic Controller* – $127,440
  • Computer Hardware Engineer – $126,140
  • Training and Development Manager* – $125,920
  • General and Operations Manager* – $125,740
  • Pharmacist* – $125,460
  • Optometrist* – $125,440
  • Nuclear Engineer – $125,130
  • Health Specialties Teacher – $124,890
  • Political Scientist – $124,100
  • Personal Service Manager – $123,980
  • Economics Teacher – $123,720
  • Actuary* – $123,180
  • Personal Financial Advisor* – $122,490
  • Aerospace Engineer* – $121,110
  • Economist* – $120,880
  • Computer Network Architect – $119,230
  • Medical and Health Services Manager – $118,800
  • Industrial Production Manager – $118,190
  • Sales Engineer* – $117,270
  • Physician Assistant* – $116,390
  • Nurse Midwife* – $115,540
  • Education Administrator* – $115,200
  • Chemical Engineer* – $114,820
  • Nurse Practitioner* – $114,510
  • Art Director* – $114,490
  • Software Developer* – $114,270
  • Engineering Teacher – $114,130
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist – $112,690
  • Mathematician – $112,530
  • Electronics Engineer* – $112,320
  • Geoscientist – $112,110
  • Air Transportation Worker – $111,420
  • Physical Scientist – $110,100
  • Veterinarian* – $108,120
  • Administrative Services and Facilities Manager – $108,120
  • Information Security Analyst* – $107,580
  • Business Teacher – $107,270
  • Construction Manager* – $107,260
  • Electrical Engineer* – $105,990
  • Biochemist – $104,810
  • Microbiologist* – $91,840

Deciding your future is never easy, but planning in advance can not only give you peace of mind but help you achieve your goals faster. If having financial freedom and emotional well-being is a priority to you, having a high-paying job can help you achieve that. It’s not always easy to do, and having a job with a high salary will be demanding. Now that you went through the list of careers that make the most money, you can feel inspired to begin following your dreams.

How to Land a High-Paying Career

Methodology

In order to find out the top 75 careers that make the most money, we used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics National Occupational and Wage Estimates from May 2020. The average annual salary is the data provided under annual mean age and sorted from highest to lowest. To calculate the average of what Americans spend their yearly salary on, we used the average expenditure per consumer unit research. To achieve the percentages, we added up the income quintiles percentages provided in Table C for each category and divided them by 5, which resulted in the average percentage spend.

*The salaries in Mint’s Salary tool have a different source and might differ from the ones listed from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Indeed | Monster | BLS Expenditures | PNAS | AmeriTrade

The post What Careers Make the Most Money: 75 Jobs for Fuller Pockets appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

Stock Market Today: Tech Leads on Turnaround Tuesday

Markets opened Tuesday in the red, suggesting another day of selling on Wall Street ahead, but bounced off their mid-morning lows to blaze a trail higher into the close.

One potential catalyst for the rebound in stocks was Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s reconfirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee this morning, where he told lawmakers that the central bank is prepared to “raise interest rates more over time” if inflation continues to run high.

Powell’s testimony comes ahead of the latest inflation update: December’s consumer price index is due out tomorrow morning. Gargi Chaudhuri, head of iShares Investment Strategy, Americas, thinks the data will show a broad-based increase in prices and come in well above the Fed’s comfort level.

“We expect to see core inflation breach 5% – the highest in 30 years – as well as headline inflation above 7%, the highest in almost 40 years,” she adds.

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The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite led the charge higher, gaining 1.4% to end at 15,153 – thanks in part to a big earnings boost for genome sequencing stock Illumina (ILMN, +17.0%). The S&P 500 Index rose 0.9% to 4,713, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5% to 36,252.  

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Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 gained 1.1% to end at 2,194.
  • U.S. crude oil futures jumped 3.8% to $81.22 per barrel, sparking gains in the likes of Exxon Mobil (XOM, +4.2%) and APA (APA, +8.8%).
  • Gold futures also finished solidly higher, up 1.1% to $1,818.50 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin spiked 2.6% to $42,818.79. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.) 
  • International Business Machines (IBM, -1.6%) was off Tuesday following a downgrade from UBS analyst David Vogt. Despite the company’s spinoff of its legacy IT lines in Kyndryl Holdings (KD, +0.7%) to focus on higher-growth businesses, Vogt says “our detailed bottom-up analysis of IBM’s remaining segments supports our view that roughly 50% of IBM’s top line is unlikely to grow long-term and could decline.” The analyst also cited “an elevated valuation that leaves the shares vulnerable over the next 12 months” in cutting the stock to Sell from Neutral (equivalent of Hold) and dropping his price target to $124 per share from $136.
  • E-commerce stocks, which have largely been battered over the past few months, enjoyed a brisk relief rally on Tuesday. Amazon.com (AMZN, +2.4%) was the largest such name with the wind at its back; PayPal (PYPL, +4.7%), Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com (JD, +10.3%) and Latin American marketplace MercadoLibre (MELI, +10.7%) were among other notable industry names making advances.
  • A day after Moderna (MRNA, -5.3%) popped after its CEO said the biotech firm was working on a vaccine booster targeting the omicron variant, the stock suffered a bout of outsized profit-taking on no other news.

Keep an Eye on Chip Stocks

One of the biggest pockets of strength today was in semiconductors, which surged 1.7%, and there could be more where that came from. 

True, chipmakers have sold off alongside their fellow tech stocks in 2022, but several Wall Street firms see big things for the industry.

iShares’ Chaudhuri, for one, says “Investors may need to be increasingly selective in their equity allocations, with a preference for value and quality, as well as industries with pricing power, such as semiconductors,” adding that “semiconductors are the backbone of powerful emerging technologies including artificial intelligence and digital payments, and the subsector offers a relatively high free cash flow yield.”

Meanwhile,  BofA Global Research strategists “see a worthwhile 2022 setup” and highlights several “top themes” to watch out for, including cloud – gaming and the metaverse, for instance – and automotive, namely electric vehicles (EVs).

For those looking for opportunity among semiconductor stocks, consider this list of names that are poised for growth this year and beyond. While some are established leaders, others offer investors the chance to find under-the-radar gems.

Source: kiplinger.com

Wells Fargo Stock: Earnings Season Kicks Off With WFC in Focus

Here we go again. The earnings calendar is set to start filling up, with travel name Delta Air Lines (DAL, $41.76) and big banks BlackRock (BLK, $890.90) and Wells Fargo (WFC, $55.01) among the first companies slated to report fourth-quarter results.

“Earnings are expected to grow 20% in the fourth quarter – which, while down from prior quarters, is still quite strong – and end the year with nearly 40% growth,” says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network.

And if this metric exceeds that 20% estimate in Q4, it will mark the fourth straight quarter of earnings growth above 20%, according to John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet Research Systems.

Still, “Analysts and companies have been less optimistic compared to recent quarters in their earnings estimate revisions and earnings outlooks for the fourth quarter to date,” Butters adds. As of mid-December, 56 S&P 500 companies had issued negative earnings per share (EPS) guidance, compared to 37 that had issued positive guidance, on average, for the quarter.

Analyst Sees Solid Q4 Earnings for Wells Fargo

Big banks will dominate the earnings calendar early on, and these lower earnings estimates are found throughout the industry. 

“All the large banks show the upcoming fourth quarter as the lowest estimated revenue and EPS to date in 2021,” says CFRA Research analyst Kenneth Leon. “We are likely to see continued low-to-moderate credit risk to credit cards, commercial and industrial loans, commercial real estate and trading and counterparty losses.”

However, for Wells Fargo, which is slated to unveil its fourth-quarter results ahead of Friday’s open, Leon is confident the big bank will deliver a turnaround that will result in higher capital returns. 

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“We think WFC should benefit from favorable industry trends, and management’s focus on execution has improved. While the pandemic remains uncertain, we expect Q4 2021 and 2022 to show improved loan activity and higher net interest income than the first half 2021.”

Leon also expects “a rebound in consumer loan demand, card activity, and higher loan balances, as well as personal and small business loans,” and points to Wells Fargo’s technological innovations, including its mobile, cloud-based consumer banking platform, as reasons to be upbeat toward the big bank. 

He has a Buy rating on the financial stock and he’s certainly not alone. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, 11 analysts say Wells Fargo is a Strong Buy and five call it a Buy. This compares to 11 Holds and not a single Sell or Strong Sell.

As for WFC’s fourth-quarter results, the Wall Street pros, on average, are targeting a 4.3% year-over-year (YoY) improvement in revenues to $18.7 billion. Earnings are expected to arrive at $1.09 per share, up 70.3% from the year prior.

BlackRock Stock Choppy Ahead of Earnings

BlackRock is another large financial institution set to report ahead of the Jan. 14 open. Shares of the world’s largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) operator have been choppy over the past six weeks or so, but still remain up roughly 22% on a 12-month basis.

Can a strong earnings report be the catalyst for BLK stock’s next leg higher?

Analysts are a little scattered on the subject. On average, the pros expect BLK to report fourth-quarter revenues of $5.1 billion, a 14.5% YoY improvement. Earnings, on the other hand, are expected to decline 1.4% from the year-ago period to $10.04 per share – though analysts’ Q4 EPS estimates range from a low of $9.50 to a high of $10.45.

Still, there are several analysts who see reason for optimism. “BLK remains well-positioned for growth across a broad array of products (ETFs, Aladdin and Private Markets) and themes (sustainability, China, retirement gap and democratization of alternatives),” says BMO Research’s James Fotheringham. He has a Market Perform rating on the financial stock, which is the equivalent of a Hold. 

“We expect BLK to continue to steal share from its traditional asset management peers,” he adds.

And CFRA Research’s Catherine Seifert (Strong Buy) thinks favorable fund flow trends, like the nearly $328 billion of net inflows BLK recorded in the first nine months of 2021, will lead to a 15% rise in revenues for fiscal 2021. 

“BLK shares trade at a premium to peers and we expect the firm’s dominance in the asset management industry, coupled with its solid execution, and growing technology services division, to enable the shares to retain this premium,” she adds.

Analyst Estimates Vary for Delta Air Lines Earnings

It’s not only about big banks this week. Airline giant Delta Air Lines will unveil its fourth-quarter results ahead of the Jan. 13 open.

DAL stock sold off sharply in late 2021, falling from its mid-November peak around $45.50 to an early December low near $33.50, though it has since recovered back up to the $42 per-share price point.

This selloff was in part related to uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant of COVID-19. However, Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth believes “the indiscriminate selling” created buying opportunities for investors looking to “gain exposure to high-quality airline stocks,” such as Strong Buy-rated DAL.

For DAL’s fourth quarter, Syth is expecting the airline to record a per-share loss of 40 cents – a vast improvement over the $2.53 per-share loss it suffered in Q4 2020. 

The consensus estimate among Wall Street pros, though, is for DAL to swing to a fourth-quarter profit of 12 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, is expected to land at $9.1 billion (+130% YoY).

Source: kiplinger.com