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Atlanta ranked as one of the top cities to work from home

If working from your home, avoiding traffic jams and dodging endless meetings sound ideal, you're living in the right city. Atlanta has been ranked No. 5 on Realtor.com's list of top cities for freelancers and telecommuters in the U.S.

»RELATED: 7 work-at-home jobs that pay $50k or more

To come up with the rankings, the site considered several factors that affect the finances of telecommuters, including median home prices, one-bedroom rental prices and the cost of state and local taxes.

Since freelancers need to cover their own health care costs, the affordability of individual health care plans was considered along with the cost of Internet. And finally, some livability components, such as the city's walkability, the number of coffee shops with free Wi-Fi and the number of bars open at 3 p.m. per capita, were also measured.

»RELATED: These 6 companies offer legitimate work-from-home jobs

Atlanta's Freelance Forum, a group that helps freelancers network, find jobs and collaborate with each other, was cited by Realtor.com as a great resource. Additionally, the city was recognized for being one of the top 10 U.S. cities where renters can afford to buy a home, and Google Fiber's work on high-speed Internet service in parts of Atlanta was also praised.

The top 10 cities to work from home:

1. Las Vegas

2. Salt Lake City

3. St. Louis

4. Pittsburgh

5. Atlanta

6. Orlando, FL

7. Knoxville, TN

8. Cincinnati

9. Minneapolis

10. New Orleans

More Than Half of Americans Making Less Than $40,000 Annually Have No Retirement Savings

MoneyTipsIt should not come as a surprise that people with lower incomes have lower levels of retirement savings. However, many people with lower incomes have no retirement savings at all – and a recent Federal Reserve report suggests that far too many Americans across all age groups fall into that category. The Federal Reserve's Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016 found that 56.4% of Americans making less than $40,000 per year have no retirement savings. This includes defined benefit plans (traditional pensions), defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans or IRAs, or liquid accounts (cash, CDs, etc.) that could be devoted to retirement. Younger respondents making less than $40,000 annually were more likely to have no retirement savings. Just over 60% of lower-income respondents below age forty reported having no retirement savings – an unfortunate statistic because saving for retirement at an early age allows you to benefit from the magic of compound interest. Lack of retirement savings is prevalent among all ages of low-income Americans, even those nearing retirement age. A shocking 42.7% of lower-income respondents age sixty or older have no retirement savings at all, making them completely dependent on Social Security. These respondents will likely need to put off retirement to maximize their benefits, which increase 8% annually for every year you delay benefits beyond your full retirement age until age seventy. Even respondents with retirement accounts are tempted to borrow from those accounts or cash them out entirely. The survey found that 13% of non-retired respondents with retirement accounts had either borrowed from their retirement funds or cashed them out completely within the last twelve months – likely incurring early withdrawal fees as well as not compounding on those withdrawn assets. Leisa Peterson, Certified Financial Planner® and Life Coach at WealthClinic®, points out that while it may be necessary to withdraw from retirement accounts for valid reasons such as paying off debt, she suggests that "you need to be very, very cautious...are you going to sleep better at night because you've done that? And at the same time, if you do it, then now you need to make a really high priority to restore that savings back into your retirement account." Peterson's advice is especially pertinent to lower-income Americans. Granted, retirement savings is very difficult at the lower end of the earnings spectrum, but it's even more important because of Social Security benefits. Your benefits are based on a formula that incorporates your top 35 years of earnings. The average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,342, and if you spend many years at $40,000 or below – well below the $48,098 that served as the national average wage index for 2015 according to the Social Security Administration – your benefits will be significantly below average. How do you start a retirement savings fund? Create a budget that sets aside a certain amount automatically for retirement, and then stick to that budget. If your employer offers a 401(k) with matching contributions, adjust your budget to take advantage of it to the extent you can afford – otherwise you are basically refusing free money. Even putting aside a small amount regularly helps, because you establish savings as a habit. After a while, you will have adjusted your spending to the point where you don't even think about your retirement savings as a burden cutting into your discretionary income. If you are among the 56.4% of lower-income Americans that do not have any retirement savings, we urge you to start today. Even if you are approaching retirement age, it is not too late. Every dollar that you save now lessens your burden in retirement – and you have better things to do in retirement than constantly worry about your income. Let the free Retirement Planner by MoneyTips help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/goldfinch4ever Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/more-than-half-of-americans-making-less-than-40000-annually-have-no-retirement-savings/46810 Ways To Increase Your 401(k)80 is the New 605 Ways to Save More for Retirement

Don't Let Anyone Cancel Your Credit Card!

MoneyTipsWhy should you hang on to a credit card that you don't use very often? MoneyTips will give you two very good reasons: it serves a suitable source of emergency credit if needed, and it raises your credit score by keeping your credit utilization low. Your credit utilization is the total amount of your credit in use to your overall available credit (the sum of all your credit limits). As you get closer to using all of your available credit, lenders and credit-scoring systems consider you to be at higher risk for non-payment and eventual default — and as a result, your credit score will drop. Unfortunately, the potential consequences of not using your credit card can be worse than that. If you don't make charges on the card periodically and carry no balance, the credit card issuer may think that you no longer plan to use the card and can declare the card inactive, cancelling your account. The credit card company incurs some costs to keep your account open and it recoups those costs through your use of the card. If you don't use the card enough to cover those costs, the card issuer may make a simple business decision to cancel your account and free up that available credit for a customer who is more inclined to use it. Card issuers vary on their policies for declaring an account inactive, and those policies are not always public. A good rule of thumb is that somewhere between six and twelve months with no signs of credit activity can result in a cancellation. A cancelled account may not only drop your credit score through raising your credit utilization, it may also impact another factor. Adam Carroll, Founder and Chief Education Officer of National Financial Educators, explains: "What most people don't understand is that when you have a long-standing trade line, which is what a credit card is considered on your credit report, and you cancel that card for whatever reason, your score will actually go down as a result, because one of the main impacts on your credit score is the length of your credit history." If the cancelled card is relatively new compared to your other accounts, there will be no significant impact on your average age of credit accounts ­– but if you have used a card for many years and decided to shift it to an emergency backup card, it's especially important to keep that account active. How do you prevent cancellation of your card? Obviously, you have to pay your bills and avoid default on that card, but you should also keep your credit score as high as you can. For example, if your credit score plummets because of a student loan default or maxing out a separate credit card, the card issuer may consider you too risky even if your record on that particular card is spotless. If your card is cancelled, follow up with the issuer to find out the reason why. The reason could be something beyond your control, such as the card issuer discontinuing that particular card or no longer offering the same terms. There could also be an error in your credit report, or fraudulent use of your account, that is giving the card issuer an incorrect view of your risk. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips. Aside from those steps, the best way to maintain a card is to make a small charge – perhaps $10 every few months – and then pay the bill off promptly each month. Follow the old axiom "Use it or lose it" – just don't use it very much. If you want more credit, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/fotumOriginally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/do-not-let-anyone-cancel-your-credit-cardCanceling Credit CardsVideo: Should You Cancel Your Old Credit Card?Higher Credit Limits Help Improve Credit Scores

Recall issued for hummus sold at Walmart

Multiple brands of hummus sold at Walmart and other stores have been recalled because of potential contamination.

>> Read more trending news

An announcement from the Knoxville, Tennessee, based company House of Thaller says it is recalling packages of Hummus with Pine Nut Topping “because an ingredient supplier notified us that their ingredient has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.”

The announcement has been posted on the FDA website since June 19 as a public service. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of listeria infection include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever and muscle aches. 

The affected products were sent to multiple grocery stories, such as Target, Kroger, Walmart, Fred Meyer and others, from April 18, 2017 to June 13, 2017. Products include Fresh Foods Market’s Artisan Hummus - Pine Nuts; Lantana brand White Bean Hummus with Pine Nut & Herb Topping; and Marketside Classic Hummus with Pine Nuts.

Each product comes in clear, round plastic 10-ounce cups. 

No illnesses have been reported in relation to the recall.

Customers who have the products listed should not eat them and contact the House of Thaller Customer Service Center Monday through Friday at 855-215-5142.

The full list of products, including photos of the affected products and expiration dates and lot codes for each, are at the FDA website.

Denver restaurant charging customers 'livable wage' surcharge

Customers at Duo Restaurant in Denver have mainly been supportive of the new surcharge appearing on their bills.

Restaurant owner Keith Arnold told Denver7 that the surcharge is designed to address the wage gap between the servers and the kitchen staff. Servers can make 50 to 100 percent more than kitchen staff, Arnold said.

>> Read more trending news

The 2 percent surcharge is applied to all bills, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the kitchen staff, Denver7 reported.

Customers have mainly given positive feedback about the surcharge, Arnold said. 

Duo's chef hopes the surcharge catches on nationwide.

Video: 2 Biggest First-Time Home Buying Mistakes

MoneyTipsAre you thinking of buying your first home? Watch this video as Jordan Goodman, America's Money Answers Man, describes the two biggest mistakes to avoid. Another big mistake before you apply for a mortgage is not checking your credit reports for errors that could raise your interest payments. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips. Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/video-2-biggest-first-time-home-buying-mistakesToday's Headlines: Housing Market MomentumToday's Headlines: A Full Housing RecoveryMore Americans Looking To Purchase Homes

Nearly Half of Indebted Americans Spend Half Their Income on Debt Repayment

MoneyTipsDebt is not necessarily a bad thing – it allows us to acquire large and valuable assets like homes and cars. However, debt is also supposed to be manageable and temporary. According to a recent study, too many Americans are expecting their debt to become a permanent condition. The 2017 Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Study found that 14% of Americans expect to be in debt for the rest of their lives, and another 36% expect to be in debt between six and twenty years. Debt levels are so high that 45% of respondents with debt devote up to half of their monthly income to debt repayment. Almost half (47%) of Americans have at least $25,000 in debt and over 10% have debts in the six figures. Given that 29% of respondents list mortgages as a top source of debt, $25,000 sounds reasonable – until you consider that the average debt is $37,000 without consideration of mortgage payments. Credit card debt can play a large role in the feeling of debt hopelessness, and 19% of survey respondents listed credit card bills as one of the largest sources of debt. Thanks to the ease and convenience of credit cards, excessive spending can be difficult to resist. According to the survey, Americans said that after covering necessary bills, discretionary spending on items such as leisure travel, hobbies, and entertainment still consumes 40% of remaining monthly income. Almost 25% of Americans list "excessive/frivolous" spending as a financial pitfall. How can you avoid permanent debt? The best way is to set up a realistic budget and control your spending to avoid frivolous expenses and keep debt more manageable. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst with Bankrate.com, calls a budget "your score card to tell you whether or not you're living within your means." McBride adds that a budget forces you to "…keep track of your expenses, calibrate the amount you're bringing in on your net income with what's going out the door." As you set up your budget, be sure to put aside some amount to build an emergency fund, even if that amount is small. McBride refers to your emergency savings as "the buffer between you and high interest debt." If you already have excessive debt, the repayment strategy is similar, but your budget must be even tighter with respect to spending. You can't afford to just break even. You must have a surplus to apply to your debts, even if that surplus is small. What is the best way to apply that surplus? There are two basic strategies, says LaTisha Styles, Founder and Millennial Finance Expert of Financial Success Media, LLC. "In the first way, what you do is pay off the debts with the smallest balance... In the second way, you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate – and that could be the debt that has the highest balance." The second way is the most economically sound method of paying down bills, because you will save the most on interest charges. However, momentum and a sense of accomplishment are also important. If it gives you the proper motivation to see a bill completely paid off, even if it's the smallest bill, that may be the best path for you. It doesn't matter which path you take toward debt reduction and elimination, as long as you choose one and stick with it. Don't give up and just assume debt will be a permanent part of your life. Just because many Americans (and possibly our government) seem to be headed toward permanent debt doesn't mean that you have to follow suit. If you want to reduce your interest payments and lower your debt, try the free Debt Optimizer by MoneyTips. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/siphotography Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/nearly-half-of-indebted-americans-spend-half-their-income-on-debt-repayment/611Can You Afford Your Monthly Mortgage Payments?Today's Headlines: Household Debt Approaching Record LevelsChange The Dates Your Bills Are Due To Improve Your Credit Score

8 Easy Businesses to Start

Sam Walton was an ex-retail employee who got the idea to buy a little five and dime store in a small town in Arkansas. That small beginning eventually became Walmart, a global giant that today has...

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick resigns as CEO, report says

The co-founder of ride-sharing company Uber has reportedly resigned as CEO.

According to The New York Times, Travis Kalanick is stepping down “after a shareholder revolt made it untenable for him to stay on at the company.”

>> Read more trending news

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5 Reasons Why Retirees Need To Know Their Credit Score

MoneyTipsYou've entered your retirement years. Finally, you no longer have to worry about getting up early in the morning for work, dealing with traffic, job stresses, or worrying about your credit score. We were with you until that last one. Statistics suggest that you will enter retirement with a higher than average credit score. A December 2016 report from Experian shows the average VantageScore credit score of Americans aged 70 and above was 730, while Baby Boomers (ages 50 to 69) averaged 700. Both compare well to the overall average score of 673. However, you shouldn't take your score for granted. MoneyTips wants to give you five good reasons why your credit score is just as important in your retirement years as it was in your working years. 1. Existing Debt – Are you still paying on your mortgage? Do you have an outstanding auto loan, or even a student loan where you are a co-signer? Do you continue to use a credit card? Creditors periodically assess your situation and retain the right to raise your interest rate, lower your credit limit, or otherwise alter your credit terms on existing accounts based on a lower credit score, among other factors. 2. Reduced Insurance Rates – The same credit report information that is used to calculate your credit score is also used by insurance companies to help determine your insurance rates (based on the risk that you present). Gerri Detweiler, Head of Marketing Education for Nav, relays the story of her fiscally responsible father: "He got a notice from his insurance agency that he didn't get the best rate on his auto insurance because of his credit score. And it wasn't because he doesn't pay his bills on time; it's just that he doesn't have much credit." Don’t let that happen to you! 3. Moving/Downsizing – Even if you own your home outright and are happy living there, circumstances may change as you age. You may have difficulty maintaining your home, decide to move closer to your grandchildren, or you may need to take out a loan to renovate your home and make it more senior-friendly. In any of those cases, you will need a decent credit score to qualify for the loan that you will need. 4. Traveling – Do you plan to see the world upon retirement, or will you be making frequent trips to see the grandchildren? Regardless of your reason for travel, a good credit score will be required for you to qualify for credit cards that offer the best travel perks along with a low interest rate. You may find that it pays to upgrade your credit card. 5. Emergency Expenses – At some point during your retirement, you may face a large and unexpected expense – and cash reserves only go so far. Uncovered medical expenses are especially troublesome as you age. It's wise to have available credit to serve as a buffer to absorb that expense, and since you are likely to carry a balance for some time, you need a good credit score to qualify for the lowest possible interest rate on that balance. MoneyTips hopes that you are entering retirement with reasonably good credit and all you have to do is continue with the responsible financial behavior you normally exhibit. If not, it's even more important that you work on your credit score in retirement. Check your credit score regularly, keep a few lines of credit open (but not too many), keep your credit utilization low, and make sure that you make your payments on time – and enjoy your retirement while you are at it. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/stevecoleimages Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/5-reasons-why-retirees-need-to-know-their-credit-score5 Things You Don't Know about Your Credit ScoreHow To Boost Your Credit Score FastHigher Credit Limits Help Improve Credit Scores
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