For all the moms who work outside the home, the work-life balance can be burdensome and the struggle is real. And depending where you live, working moms may have things better than average, or sadly worse, due to factors such as day care availability and cost, the gender pay gap, the male-to-female executive ratio, and more.
WalletHub, the personal finance website, conducted an in-depth analysis of the best and worst states for working moms in 2017. According to WalletHub, "Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and more than 70 percent of moms with children younger than 18 are working."
The ongoing issue of workplace inequality continues to make headlines, and although changes are coming about in some respects, "in 2015, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent," as per The American Association of University Women (AAUW), and this gap is worse for mothers, according to AAUW.
Using 13 key metrics, WalletHub compared and contrasted the attractiveness of all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C., resulting in their findings for which fared the best and which are the worst for working moms. Using 3 key dimensions, child care, professional opportunities, and work-life balance, WalletHub further broke down those areas into specifics and rated their merits on a 100-point scale. Factors including commute time, parental-leave policies, hours worked per week, salary, female unemployment rate, and more were all studied and graded.
WalletHub determined the top 5 best states for working moms to be Vermont, Minnesota, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, and the worst 5 were Alabama, Louisiana, Nevada, Arizona, and Alaska.
While New York wasn't one of the top 5, the state ranked best for day care systems. Idaho was at the bottom of the list. Hawaii had the lowest gender pay gap with Wyoming the highest. Childcare costs are lowest in Mississippi and highest in D.C.
To see the complete rankings and more details on the study, visit the WalletHub site for an in-depth look.
Do you live in one of the top or bottom 5 states? If you're a working mom, or plan to become one, this information is crucial when it comes to considering a relocation or assessing your family's needs. In a related study, be sure to consider the 10 most expensive cities to raise a child in the U.S.
Some may argue that being a mom is one of the most challenging jobs one could have. Being in the right state (and state of mind) can make a big difference in the success of a working mother.
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.