&)78'6)(-8'%6(7&)786);%6(7 3 ' 83 & ) 6 3 1 3 2 ) = ' 3 1 &)7840%')7 83 0-:) 3 3+VIEX %QIVMGER 8S[RW 'MXMIW 78%687324 HOME FOUND ON 4-'896)( *MWLIVW-RHMERE 6IXMVIQIRX8MTW*VSQ7YGGIWWJYP-RZIWXSVW 1EVME7LEVETSZE;LEX1SRI]1IERWXS1I ;E]WXS7GSVIE*MVWX'PEWW9TKVEHI DREAMING ABOUT A Ƭ%('Ƭ%$7+:,7+ CENTRAL AIR AND +$5':22')/2256 21$&8/Ƭ'(Ƭ6$&1($5$ *22'*5$00$56&+22/ ,1),6+(56,1',$1$" You can search for that home on realtor.com. With more homes for sale, updating LQUHDOWLPHUHDOWRUFRPZLOOKHOS\RXƋQG\RXUGUHDPKRPHEHIRUHDQ\RQHHOVH* REALTOR.COM/BESTPLACES *“Before anyone else” claim is that realtor.com has more MLS-listed for-sale homes nationwide than any competing real estate portal (“more homes”) and updates its listings at least every 15 minutes on average in most areas (“in real time”). © 2017 realtor.com. With the Global Dining Collection, you can enjoy special access to reservations and experiences with some of your favorite chefs. Get a taste of Business Platinum Membership at americanexpress.com/exploreplatinum Reservat Rese rvations rvat ions an and ndd exp exper e nces aree bas erie eri based eed on a Ɠrsst come, co Ɠrst serve basi s s and and su subjec bject bjec j t to lim limited ited ed ava availab ililabilit ilab ility. y In the th evvent of a reserva erva rv tion on ca cancell cellatio ati n, the Card Member will be subjject ttoo the he resta est uran urant’s t’s canc cancellation on ppol policy, icy, y whi h ch will will bee commu m nica icated ic ated e to the the Card Card Memb Member err bbyy CConcie ncierge rge rg g aat the time of booki oo ng. ooki g Conc onc ncie nc ierg ie ierge ergge is not respons p ible for informingg the h rest reestaura estau aurant nt of of your your dieta dieta etary restrictions on or for ons for the the resta resta estaura ura rant beingg able ble too acco bl a mmod mmodate ate the rest estrict rictions rict ions;; w ions we do d ask thatt yyou o provide vide thi hiss inform hi inform formatio atio i n di d rect rectly ly to to tthe restaurant rant ntt. F E AT U R E S 8LI&IWX4PEGIW XS 0MZI MR %QIVMGE Choose the cards that offer low rates, great rewards, and generous ﬁnancing terms. A surge in new programs has made it easier than ever to get a free ride. Here are your options. Fifty towns and small cities that deliver quality of life, economic opportunity, and affordability. BY MARTHA C. WHITE AND KIM CLARK BY KAITLIN MULHERE ' 3 : ) 6 7 83 6= 8LI&IWX 'VIHMX'EVHW ;LIVIXS+SXS 'SPPIKIJSV*VII BY KERRI ANNE RENZULLI A N D I S M AT S A R A H M A N G L A 3YV2Sc&IWX 4PEGIXS0MZI *MWLIVW -RH PHOTOGRAPH BY TY COLE OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M EIGHTY SEVEN The Fidelity Retirement Score. Another way we’re making retirement planning clearer. We introduced the Fidelity Retirement Score to make it easy to know where you stand. But getting your score is just the beginning. If you move your old 401(k) to a Fidelity Rollover IRA, you’ll get: • Clear, transparent language to help you understand your options • A one-on-one assessment of your plan to help you determine what to do next, and why • Simple, straightforward pricing with no fees to open or maintain your account It’s your retirement. Know where you stand. 800.FIDELITY | Fidelity.com/score Be sure to consider all your available options, including staying in plan, and the applicable fees and features of each before moving your retirement assets. There is no opening cost or annual fee for Fidelity’s traditional, Roth, SEP, and rollover IRAs. A $50 account closeout fee may apply. Fund investments held in your account may be subject to management, low-balance, and short-term trading fees, as described in the offering materials. For all securities, see Fidelity.com/commissions for trading commission and transaction fee details. IMPORTANT: The projections or other information generated by the Fidelity Retirement Score regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reﬂect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time. The Fidelity Retirement Score is a hypothetical illustration and does not represent your individual situation or the investment results of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is not a guarantee of future results. Your score does not consider the composition of current savings and other factors. Guidance provided by Fidelity through the Fidelity Retirement Score is educational in nature, is not individualized, and is not intended to serve as the primary basis for your investment or tax-planning decisions. Investing involves risk, including the risk of loss. The trademarks and/or service marks appearing above are the property of FMR LLC and may be registered. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC. © 2016 FMR LLC. All rights reserved. 773775.14.0 'SRXIRXW 40%2 ;IIOIRHYTHEXI 8YVRX[SHE]WSJJ MRXSEVINYZIREXMRK QMRMZEGEXMSRTEKIc &PSGO 8LSWI6SFSGEPPW Here’s how. 6IGPEMQ =SYV;IIOIRH Use these tips to recharge. 7GSVIER9TKVEHI Nine secrets from frequent ﬂiers. 6)8-6) 8LVII8MTW*VSQ XLI:IV]6MGL A study of wealthy investors offers lessons for all. 8LI)RHSJ# There are more ﬂexible ways to tap your nest egg. ;VMXI-X(S[R One surprising way people can guarantee a richer retirement. *-678 Airbnb’s Hottest Spots Uber Drivers’ Income Favorite Productivity Apps IN THIS ISSUE Editor’s Note Letters & Comments The Numbers J W LT D — G E T T Y I M A G E S Cover photograph by TY COLE -2:)78 THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR MY MONEY STORY ;LIRXS7XIT &EGO*VSQ7XSGOW %1EXGL 1EHIMR*PSVMHE It’s never a good idea to time the market, but you may want to trim stock exposure, based on your life stage. We arrived in the U.S. with just $700. The next few years taught me some lessons about the payoff of hard work. BY J O H N WAG G O N E R BY M A R I A S H A R A P OVA 7XYGOEX,SQI A NOTE FROM OUR PARTNER The home featured on the cover is represented by Nicole Peters of Century 21 Scheetz. As of press time, the home was listed for sale on realtor.com. In theory this should be a seller’s market. But things are getting tricky. &EGOMRE&YFFPI Tech stocks ﬁnally rebounded— but trouble awaits. 7XSGO<6E] 4VMGIPMRI Shares hit $2,000. Now what? MONEY (ISSN 0149-4953) is published monthly (except one in January/February) by Time Inc. PRINCIPAL OFFICE: 225 Liberty Street, New York, N.Y. 10281-1008. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y. and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 507.1.5.2). NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Send address corrections to MONEY Magazine, P.O. Box 62120, Tampa, FL 33662-2120. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40110178. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Postal Station A, P.O. Box 4326, Toronto, Ontario M5W 3H4. GST No. 888381621RT0001. © 2017 Time Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. MONEY is a registered trademark of Time Inc. U.S. subscriptions: $15 for one year. BACK ISSUES: Back issues are available for $5.95 for the current year and $6.95 for prior years (or at quantity rates for more than 10 copies). Call 800-633-9970 or visit backissues.money.com. REPRINTS: To order 1,000 or more custom reprints, or for photocopy permission, call 212-221-9595, ext. 437, or go to timeincreprints.com. Reprints reproduced by others are not authorized. SUBSCRIBERS: If the Postal Service alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within two years. Your bank may provide updates to the card information we have on ﬁle. You may opt out of this service at any time. CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUBSCRIPTIONS: For 24/7 service, go to MONEY.COM/CUSTOMERSERVICE. You can also call 800-633-9970; write MONEY, P.O. Box 62120, Tampa, FL, 33662-2120; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. MAILING LIST: We make a portion of our mailing list available to reputable ﬁrms. If you would prefer that we not include your name, please call or write us. PRINTED IN THE U.S. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M Introducing the all-new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek. ® The all-new 2018 Subaru Crosstrek. The forecast is for safe and sound, with road-gripping Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive + 33 mpg.* Crosstrek also keeps you connected to conditions along the way with updated SUBARU STARLINK ™ Multimedia with Apple CarPlay™ and Android™ Auto integration. Crosstrek. Well-equipped at $21,795.† Subaru and Crosstrek are registered trademarks. *EPA-estimated highway fuel economy for 2018 Subaru Crosstrek CVT models. Actual mileage may vary. †MSRP excludes destination and delivery charges, tax, title, and registration fees. Retailer sets actual price. Certain equipment may be required in specific states, which can modify your MSRP. See your retailer for details. 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited shown has an MSRP of $26,295. )(-836Ş7 238) (IEV6IEHIVW P H O T O G R A P H S B Y J OYC E K I M ; TAY L O R J E W E L L ( A U R I E M M A ) THERE’S A PIECE OF PAPER in my office that’s become special to me. It’s a faded printout of a blog post published in 2011, written by a woman who had just lost her mother and her baby daughter. She and her family needed to make a change, so they moved to Louisville, Colo.—the town named that year as MONEY’s best place to live. “We’re chasing our dreams,” she wrote. I kept that story in mind as I worked on this issue. Where you choose to live is an important decision, one that inﬂuences your life in every way. So we had to make sure to consider as many factors as possible. This year, our methodology is as robust as ever. We gathered 170,000 data points about 2,400 places. And for the ﬁrst time, we partnered with realtor.com, leveraging its rich data and understanding of every E XPLO RE T H E 10 0 PL AC E S 'LIGOSYXSYVJYPP PMWXSJ&IWX4PEGIW EXQSRI]GSQ FIWXTPEGIW &IPS[SYV2Sc TMGO1SRXIVI] 4EVO'EPMJ housing market in the country. I’m proud that our ﬁnal list, which begins on page 54, represents the best of America’s towns and cities: places that offer economic opportunity, a sense of community, and access to amenities that make life more enjoyable. But ultimately, your best to place live is up to you. I hope the list inspires you to think about your own dreams, and what moves you can make today to help achieve them. While you’re thinking about your future, check out our annual review of the best credit cards on page 72. MONEY editors scoured the market for the cards with the best rewards, lowest fees, and most generous ﬁnancing terms. As long as you’re responsible with your spending and pay off your bills on time, these cards can be great tools to help you reach your ﬁnancial goals. And if you’re keeping an anxious eye on stocks like we are, John Waggoner offers some level-headed advice on page 51 about when it makes sense to rebalance your portfolio. Thanks for reading. Keep in touch. Adam Auriemma EDITOR-IN-CHIEF @adamauriemma Write the Editor: email@example.com OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Rich Battista CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER Alan Murray EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, NEWS GROUP Nancy Gibbs DIGITAL DIRECTOR, NEWS AND LIFESTYLE Edward Felsenthal SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EDITORIAL OPERATIONS Clare McHugh MONEY EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Adam Auriemma DEPUTY EDITORS Rachel F. Elson, Paul J. Lim MANAGING EDITOR Tari Ayala SENIOR EDITOR Mike Ayers AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Matt Bemer SENIOR WRITERS Kim Clark, Elizabeth O’Brien, Brad Tuttle WRITERS Alicia Adamczyk, Kristen Bahler, Jennifer Calfas, Megan Leonhardt, Kaitlin Mulhere, Kerri Anne Renzulli, Ian Salisbury SOCIAL MEDIA WRITER Veronica Quezada DIGITAL PRODUCER Cortni Spearman COPY EDITORS Maria Carmicino, Judith Ferbel, Lauren Goldstein, Kathleen Kent CREATIVE DIRECTOR Paul Martinez DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Mia Diehl LEAD ART DIRECTOR Peter Herbert ART DIRECTOR Josue Evilla SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Julia Bohan PHOTO DEPARTMENT Sarina Finkelstein, Armin Harris, Kristen Hom, Shayla Hunter SENIOR VIDEO PRODUCER Kate Santichen ASSOCIATE VIDEO PRODUCERS Mercedes Barba, Katie Meyer PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Walter Kelly, Will Linendoll, Claire Nolan CONTRIBUTORS Carla Fried, Ismat Sarah Mangla, Maria Sharapova, Walter Updegrave, Katie Van Syckle, John Waggoner, Martha C. White, Rob Wile EDITORIAL INTERNS Gabriela Fernandez, Sergei Klebnikov, Annie Nova ART INTERN Amy Wang PHOTO INTERN Alexandra Scimecca NEWS AND BUSINESS GROUP SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER Meredith R. Long VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, NEWS DIGITAL Kurt Fulepp TIME INC. ADVERTISING SALES Karen Kovacs (GROUP PRESIDENT); Andrew Reedman, Thu Phan Rodriguez (DIGITAL STRATEGY) BRAND SALES VICE PRESIDENT, SALES, NEWS AND FINANCE Jorg Stratmann EXECUTIVE BRAND SALES DIRECTOR, NEWS AND BUSINESS Jody Reiss BRAND SALES DIRECTOR, NEWS AND BUSINESS, N.Y. Will Cusack VICE PRESIDENT, BRAND SALES DIRECTOR, NEWS AND BUSINESS, L.A. Farhad Fozounmayeh BRAND SALES DIRECTOR, NEWS AND BUSINESS, CHICAGO Leah Root BRAND SALES DIRECTOR, NEWS AND BUSINESS, DETROIT John Wattles CATEGORY SALES Lauren Newman (BEAUTY); Ellie Duque (ENTERTAINMENT); Matt Rice (FASHION AND RETAIL); Michael Schneider (FINANCE); Heidi Anderson (HEALTH CARE); Alex DeSanctis (HOME); Nate Stamos (INDUSTRY/GOVERNMENT/TOBACCO/GOLF); Scott Kelliher (TECHNOLOGY/TELECOMMUNICATIONS/AUTO); Jay Meyer (TRAVEL AND LUXURY) INTERNATIONAL Marty Gardner (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE AND OPERATIONS); Jennifer Savage (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, PARTNERSHIPS, LICENSING AND SYNDICATION); John Marcom (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, BRANDS AND SALES, INTERNATIONAL) INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES Khoon-Fong Ang (VICE PRESIDENT, NORTH ASIA); Tim Howat (VICE PRESIDENT, SOUTHEAST ASIA); Rupert Turnbull (VICE PRESIDENT, EMEA) MARKETING SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ADVERTISING AND BRAND MARKETING Susan Parkes-Cirignano CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, NEWS AND BUSINESS Michael Joseloff INTEGRATED MARKETING Sheyna Bruckner (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR); Julie Gu-Scallen (SENIOR MANAGER) ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT Lisa Horstmann CREATIVE SERVICES Orville Clark (CREATIVE DIRECTOR, BRAND MARKETING, NEWS, BUSINESS & SPORTS), Jess Harrison, Mario Paulis (SENIOR INTEGRATED GRAPHIC DESIGNERS) LIVE MEDIA Lisa Cline (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT); Delwyn Gray (VICE PRESIDENT); Jennifer Current, Birgit Kiernan, Kim Lovett, Cindy Shieh, Kristin Smith, Virginia Slattery, Amy Winiker CONSUMER MARKETING AND REVENUE Eunice Chi (DIRECTOR); Chris Gaydos, Beth Gorry (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTS); Ann Marie Doherty, Melissa Mahoney, Karan Simoneau, Eric Szegda (VICE PRESIDENTS); Nicole Felix (SENIOR MANAGER); Yuri Kim (ASSOCIATE MANAGER) CONSUMER INSIGHT Andrew Borinstein (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR); Joel Kaji (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR); Rachel Lazarus (SENIOR RESEARCH MANAGER) COMMUNICATIONS Kerri Chyka (VICE PRESIDENT); Ashley Calame (DIRECTOR); Kristin Matzen (SENIOR MANAGER); Raina Dembner (MANAGER); Hailey Murphy (PUBLICIST) FINANCE Maria Beckett (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT); Wajeeha Ahmed (VICE PRESIDENT); Arbena Bal (DIRECTOR); Paula Esposito, Catherine Keenan (MANAGERS); Christopher Santigate (ASSOCIATE MANAGER); Jessica Piro BRANDED CONTENT SOLUTIONS Carolina Stavrositu (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR); Gregory Leeds, Jamie Waugh Luke, Ron Moss, Cindy Murphy, Christiaan Rizy (DIRECTORS); Joel Baboolal, Melissa Brice, Blair Stelle DIGITAL PRODUCT, DESIGN, AND ENGINEERING Shameel Arafin, Aleksander Mielczarek, Sean Villafranca PRODUCTION Valerie Langston (DIRECTOR); Mieko S. Calugay (SENIOR MANAGER); Sara Decker (ASSISTANT MANAGER); Vishal Prasad (SPECIALIST) PREMEDIA Richard K. Prue (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR); Angel Mass (SENIOR MANAGER) TIME INC. CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AND PRESIDENT Jennifer L.Wong CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Sue D’Emic EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENTS Leslie Dukker Doty, Brad Elders, Lauren Ezrol Klein, Greg Giangrande, Steve Marcopoto, Erik Moreno SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES Roxanne Flores SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTAND DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL Steven Weissman ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL Andrew Goldberg DIGITAL PRODUCTAND ENGINEERING Nicholas Butterworth (SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT) GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES Kurt Rao (CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER) M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 Even a small donation can make a big difference HurricaneHarveyAid.org 0)88)67 '311)287 RE: WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET MEDICAL BILLS YOU CAN’T PAY … [SEPTEMBER] %QIHMGEPFMPP EHZSGEXIWEZIH QI XLSYWERHW of dollars, not to mention the stress, when my insurer began rejecting payments for legitimate medical bills. She met with me (our ﬁrst meeting was free), ﬁlled out and submitted paperwork, and handled all the frustrating, time-consuming phone calls. Her fee, much less than an attorney’s, was tax-deductible and amounted to a very small percentage of the medical bills. Search “medical advocates” by state, and ﬁnd one that is association certiﬁed. BONNIE BRUCCOLERI, SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. HONORING MERCHANT MARINERS I could not agree more with reader Robert Blanck’s recent concern that you did not include our nation’s service academies [in “The Best Colleges for Your Money,” August]. All his points are valid. However, he mentioned only four academies. In fact there are ﬁve: For the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. They all deserve equal respect. D AV I D B E L A N G E R Northampton, Mass. OUR FAVORITE COMMENT D O U G W E I S S , L A K E M O N T, G A . I’m disappointed only 18% of millionaires with up to $5 million and 48% with more than $5 million donate more than $5,000 to charity in a year [“The Millionaires Club,” September]. Although my wife and I are not millionaires, we plan to be there someday. My wife (who has a much larger heart than I do) challenges me to invest not only in our family but also in meaningful charity. We need to remember those who have helped us along the way and those who are in need. LUCAS DIERINGER M O N E Y. C O M Write to MONEY: firstname.lastname@example.org “People Think Teachers Are Underpaid—Until You Tell Them How Much Teachers Earn” For those who believe that teachers are overpaid, spoiled with summer vacations and beneﬁts, I invite you to switch professions and become a teacher yourself … After all, managing a room full of teenagers should be fairly easy. chuong vü So many educational materials you see in your child’s room are paid for by the teacher not the school. Posters, markers, ﬂash cards, books, construction paper, glue, and a ton of other stuff. And for older teachers, working in the summer isn’t always an option. I’ve heard some teachers bartend in the summer, which is great if you’re 29, but not when you’re 60. edward guillen CORRECTION [SEPTEMBER] In “How to Get to $1 Million,” we misquoted Spanx founder Sara Blakely, who said,“What I did was start small, think big, and scale fast,” not “scale back.” O R I G I N A L P H O TO, C A R D : YO U N G I D — G E T T Y I M A G E S -KEZIQ]GLMPHVIREREPPS[ERGIIEGL[IIO 8LI]LEHXLVIIWEZMRKWNEVWPEFIPIHŠ'SPPIKI 1SRI]šŠ&MK1SRI]šJSVEPEVKITYVGLEWI ERHŠ7TIRH1SRI]šJSVXVIEXWIXG8LIMV EPPS[ERGILEHXSFIHMZMHIHIUYEPP]EQSRK XLINEVW1]GLMPHVIREP[E]WLEHQSRI]XS WTIRHEWXLI][MWLIHERHLEHSZIV MR'SPPIKI1SRI]%KVIEXW]WXIQ GIVING BACK RESPONSES TO A RECENT STORY ON MONEY.COM WHY BE AVERAGE? COUNT ON MORE. GO BEYOND AVERAGE WITH OUR CONSISTENTLY GREAT RATES. Choose Synchrony Bank and enjoy award-winning rates— above the national average*— along with the safety of FDIC insurance and the rewards of our Perks program. Whatever you’re working forward to, why settle for average? With Synchrony Bank, you can count on more. What are you working forward to? 24-Month CD High Yield Savings Account % 1.65 % 1.20 $2,000 minimum opening deposit no minimum balance APY * APY * Visit us at synchronybank.com or call 1-800-753-6592. * Annual Percentage Yields (APYs) are accurate as of 8/1/17 and subject to change at any time without notice. Fees may reduce earnings. Visit synchronybank.com for current rates, terms and account requirements. Offers apply to personal accounts only: CDs: A minimum of $2,000 is required to open a CD and must be deposited in a single transaction. A penalty may be imposed for early withdrawals. After maturity, if you choose to roll over your CD, you will earn the base rate of interest in effect at that time. HIGH YIELD SAVINGS: Rates are variable and subject to change any time without notice after the account is opened. No minimum opening deposit required. NATIONAL AVERAGE: 1DWLRQDO $YHUDJH $3<V DUH EDVHG RQ VSHFL¿F SURGXFW W\SHV RI WRS 86 EDQNV UDQNHG E\ WRWDO GHSRVLWV SURYLGHG E\,QIRUPD5HVHDUFK6HUYLFHV,QFDVRI&'5DWHV$YHUDJH$3<VDUHEDVHGRQFHUWL¿FDWHRIGHSRVLWDFFRXQWVRI+LJK<LHOG6DYLQJV E\,QIRUPD5HVHDUFK6HUYLFHV,QFDVRI&'5DWHV$YHUDJH$3<VDUHEDVHGRQFHUWL¿FDWHRIGHSRVLWDFFRXQWVRI+LJK<LHOG6DYLQJV 5DWHV$YHUDJH$3<VDUHEDVHGRQ+LJK<LHOG6DYLQJV$FFRXQWVRI$OWKRXJKWKHLQIRUPDWLRQSURYLGHGE\,QIRUPD5HVHDUFK 6HUYLFHV,QFKDVEHHQREWDLQHGIURPWKHYDULRXVLQVWLWXWLRQVDFFXUDF\FDQQRWEHJXDUDQWHHG FDIC INSURANCE: )',&,QVXUDQFHXSWRSHUGHSRVLWRUSHULQVXUHGEDQNIRUHDFKRZQHUVKLSFDWHJRU\ ©6\QFKURQ\%DQN COLORADO $133 per night 8LIWI%VI %MVFRFŞW1SWX ;MWLIH*SV 6IRXEPW Travelers bookmark their favorites, from city lofts to secluded tree houses. BY J E N N I F E R CA L FAS on the Columbia River or a pool house overlooking L.A., vacationers all seem to want the same thing: privacy, beauty, and affordability. That’s according to data from Airbnb, the popular website that allows travelers to veer off the beaten path—and save a buck—by renting rooms or entire houses from homeowners across the U.S. and the world. Airbnb users have the option to put listings on a personal wish list, enabling them to bookmark favorites for a future trip or maybe just to daydream. Always curious to understand what travelers, especially the budget-conscious, really value, we asked Airbnb to compile a list of the most wished-for Airbnb listings in each state. You can view the full list at money.us/airbnb, and a selection of our favorites are pictured here. M O N E Y. C O M While some listings drew far more attention than others, several shared themes of seclusion, easy access to nearby wilderness, and unique architecture. Many Airbnb users seem to want to get off the grid— whether that’s by climbing up to a tower surrounded by 160 acres of private land in Oregon or spending the evening in a tree house just outside Atlanta. Another major draw for Airbnb users: affordable options in expensive areas. Travelers’ Pennsylvania favorite—a Philadelphia guest room with outdoor patio space—rents for just $41 a night. In the Big Apple, they singled out a Brooklyn loft with 12-foot ceilings that costs $98 a night and in Denver an 1880s carriage house for $133. But book early. While many rentals are regularly available, some are reserved months in advance. OCTOBER 2017 CALIFORNIA $125 per night P H O TO G R A P H S C O U R T E S Y O F A I R B N B WHETHER IT’S A CABIN OCTOBER 2 0 1 7 WASHINGTON OREGON $200 per night $175 per night GEORGIA $375 per night Prices, as of Aug. 28, 2017, do not include fees and are subject to change. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M *MVWX THE GIG ECONOMY ;LEX9FIV(VMZIVW 6IEPP] 1EOI You can earn your living driving an Uber, but most drivers don’t. BY R O B W I L E Uber Lyft Airbnb Postmates Etsy TaskRabbit Average earnings per month $364 Average earnings per month: $377 Average earnings per month: $924 Average earnings per month: $174 Average earnings per month: $151 Average earnings per month: $380 Share making >$1K per month: Share making >$1K per month: Share making >$1K per month: Share making >$1K per month: Share making >$1K per month: Share making >$1K per month: 6% 9% 26% 4% 3% 12% SOURCE: Earnest Operations HOW MUCH MONEY M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 45%—take home less than $100, suggesting that for most drivers Uber is more about beer money than making the monthly rent. Earnest did not ask drivers whether totals were before or after Uber’s 20% cut. (Uber didn’t respond to a request for comment, but its website stresses drivers can work as much or as little as they want.) Uber earnings appear more or less in line with other sharing-economy jobs—especially if you don’t own a home to rent out on Airbnb. In all, Uber drivers’ average earnings ranked fourth out of the nine gig-economy jobs Earnest reviewed. P H O TO G R A P H B Y I ST O C K P H O TO/G E T T Y I M A G E S do Uber drivers actually earn? Since launching in 2009, the ride-sharing company has frequently changed up fares in the cities where it operates—making drivers’ pay something of a mystery. Yet with Uber becoming so large, a clearer picture is emerging. A driver’s location, hours (including the time of day and week), and personal expenses can all affect how much he or she will earn picking up rides for Uber. But a new study by online lender Earnest Operations offers what may be the best guess yet. Earnest studied tens of thousands of loan applications that included earnings from Uber and other popular side gigs and found that the average Uber driver makes $364 a month. A handful of drivers clear more than $1,000. But almost half—about Pearl Seas Cruises® Call for your free Cruise Guide! Great Lakes Cruises EXPERIENCE IT WITH THE BEST Explore charming towns and quaint villages as you delight your senses in the natural splendor that surrounds you. On this captivating 8 to 12-day journey, travel in the sophisticated comfort of our modern fleet and experience the most personalized service in small ship cruising. Lake Sault Sainte Superior Marie Little Current Mackinac Island Georgian Bay Parry Sound Midland Lake Huron Lake Michigan Muskegon/ Holland Windsor TORONTO Lake Ontario Lake Erie Niagara Falls CHICAGO Call for a FREE Cruise Guide 1-888-595-8280 PearlSeasCruises.com *MVWX SAVING TIME %TTWXS 1EOI=SY 4VSHYGXMZI CEOs reveal their favorite smartphone-enabled office shortcuts. BY K AT I E VA N SYC K L E FOR TO-DO LISTS WorkFlowy “I schedule two ‘open door’ blocks every day so my team can come in and strategize about our business. WorkFlowy is my go-to, and I can keep track of the speciﬁc things I want to cover with each person. Other note-taking apps are overcomplicated and have unnecessary in-app purchases and upgrades. With WorkFlowy, I can make whatever list I want—long or short— and it organizes my brain seamlessly across all my devices.” SCOTT SANBORN, CEO LendingClub Trello to your job around the clock—but it can also help you manage your work more efficiently. We asked 10 CEOs to share their favorite productivity-boosting apps. From digital “Post-it wall” Trello to news curator Flipboard, these tools will help you stay on top of it all. Even better: Except where noted otherwise, basic versions are free. M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 LEA VON BIDDER, CEO, Ava Science FOR EMAIL MANAGEMENT Boomerang “My all-time favorite for staying on top of correspondence is Boomerang. I don’t know where I would be with following up, closing deals, and making sure our craziest ice cream dreams happen without it. With Boomerang, I feel like I will never miss anything: I can mark it to send me reminders if responses I’m waiting for don’t happen, I can schedule follow-ups in advance, and I can ping emails that are not urgent to come back to my in-box whenever desired. It’s also good to use for East Coast correspondence where I want an email to be received at a more strategic time if I’m getting to it late in the day Paciﬁc Time.” NATASHA CASE, CEO, Coolhaus Ice Cream O L I V E R B U R STO N — G E T T Y I M A G E S FOR BETTER OR WORSE, your smartphone keeps you connected “My most important app to organize my daily life is Trello. I have tried every kind of to-do list app and ﬁnally went back to just using a book that I would constantly carry around. Then I found Trello. It’s nothing more than a typical Post-it wall in an app format. So it requires a bit of setup time. I organized mine along the days of the week. I have a “to do this week” list, a “to do next week” list, and so forth. Since I have Trello I never forget deadlines anymore, and I have less weight to carry around.” SAVING TIME all ambient sounds and creates a continuity of mental soundscapes so that wherever I am, I feel like I’m at home in my head so that I can get work done.” that it allows me to mix personal and professional goals, and as any busy person knows, the two wind up overlapping quite a bit.” FOR MEETINGS MANAGEMENT GoToMeeting “The app that transformed my day and productivity is GoToMeeting. It makes it easy to set up and conduct conference calls with global participants instantly over Wi-Fi or [mobile] data, which is critical when trying to get teams and partners in different locations to meet at short notice. The ability to communicate across borders at short notice has also saved us signiﬁcant costs by reducing the need for travel.” EDWIN HAGANEMMIN, CEO, Aztec Exchange JEREMY GOLDMAN, CEO, Groupmuse FOR MINDFULNESS FOR EXERCISE Headspace Sworkit $12.99 A MONTH “I use the Headspace app once or twice a day to help me operate at my best. Yoga and meditation create important moments to regroup, even when working against the clock. Meditation yields perspective and humor, and focuses the mind so you can not only save time— but use the time well.” MARCELA SAPONE, CEO, Hello Alfred FOR GOAL TRACKING Productive “The app I recommend is, ﬁttingly enough, called Productive. It has a nice, simple user interface and is elegantly designed. I can build out custom goals that are speciﬁc to my life, or I can choose from some preselects. One of the best things about Productive is SAM BODKIN, CEO, Firebrand Group Simply Noise “Simply Noise is a white-, pink-, and brown-noise app that I plug into whenever I’m traveling, or working in a busy café on the road, or sleeping somewhere that’s noisy in an unfamiliar way. The wash of steady noise blocks out ;-8, %008,) 13:-2+ 4-)')7 -21= &97-2)77 %2( 4)6732%0 0-*)033/*36 %4478,%8 7-140-*= 1=(%=š —BOB D’LOREN, CEO, XCEL BRANDS Sworkit is indispensable in helping me stay on top of my game while keeping tension levels down. As an entrepreneur, busy mom, and cancer survivor, incorporating exercise into my daily routine, eating unprocessed foods, and drinking plenty of water keep me energized and healthy. When my busy schedule does not allow for time at the gym, or even to think about it, Sworkit is my coach. It not only provides exercise ideas and instructions, it sends helpful reminders throughout the day to do stretching exercises at my desk or a round of tensionrelieving breathing techniques en route to my next appointment. Having exercise plans at my ﬁngertips leaves little room for excuses to not work out.” DALE NOELLE, CEO, True Model Management OCTOBER 2017 *MVWX FOR MEDIA Flipboard “With all the moving pieces in my business and personal life, I look for apps that simplify my day. Flipboard curates news based on my interests and delivers it in real time. It saves a lot of time that I would have spent combing through the news and ensures I don’t miss crucial articles … It’s one of the most efficient ways to read the news that matters most.” BOB D’LOREN, CEO, Xcel Brands Audible $14.95 A MONTH “I love to listen to books on the go, so Audible is great for helping me process information during my commute. I ﬁnd that listening to books helps me become a better leader. I’ve been listening to Tribe by Sebastian Junger most recently, which has been incredibly eye-opening.” CHRIS O’NEILL, CEO, Evernote M O N E Y. C O M 4PER M E N N O VA N D I J K — G E T T Y I M A G E S -XŞW2SX.YWX =SY6SFSGEPPW ERH7GEQW%VI SRXLI6MWI New cell phone apps and age-old common sense can protect you. BY M EG A N L EO N H A R DT IF YOU THINK YOU’VE BEEN getting more calls from strangers asking for money, you’re not imagining it. About 95% of people say they’ve gotten a call from a telemarketer in the past six months, according to a survey of over 1,000 Americans by telecom service company First Orion—up from 84% in 2015. While some unwanted calls may be from legitimate companies, there’s also been a 13% surge in phone scams, with 69% of respondents saying they’ve gotten at least one scam call over the past six months. And one in eight people reports receiving over 20 scam calls in that same period— a whopping four times the number of people who reported that volume of scam calls in 2015, First Orion found. Regular sales calls are annoying, but the OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M 4PER TECHNOLOGY scammers are downright dangerous. When it comes to parting you from your money or your personal information, these scammers are inventive. Fraudsters posing as IRS agents have netted $54 million since October 2013, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The Federal Trade Commission also warns about callers posing as debt collectors, employment agencies, or sweepstakes companies. Recently, the FTC even posted information about callers claiming to be with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, demanding “fees” for routine services. The FTC and other consumer advocates offer these ﬁve tips for squelching unwanted calls: 1. DON’T ANSWER The simplest way to avoid getting caught up in a scam is to ignore calls from unknown numbers. It won’t cut the number of calls you get, but at least you won’t waste any time and won’t be talked into wasting money. “If I don’t recognize who is calling, I allow it to go to voicemail. If it’s someone who needs to talk to me, they will leave a message; and if it’s a scammer, I will then block their number,” says Amy Nofziger, regional director for the AARP Foundation and a member of the organization’s AARP Fraud Watch Network. and quiet if you also use technology to screen your calls. For landlines, Nomorobo is a wellreviewed free screening service for voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems. Most cell phone call-blocking apps use crowdsourcing to identify numbers associated with scam callers, Nofziger explains. For Android cell phones, the free Should I Answer? app displays a rating when an unknown number calls, and enables you to block numbers. For iPhones, the free Hiya app is designed to identify and block a variety of robocalls, including telemarketers, debt collectors, and scammers. If you’re willing to pay, Nomorobo charges $1.99 a month for its iPhone app. The TrapCall and Truecaller apps (both available for iPhone and Android) get high Robocall Complaints Skyrocket Complaints about robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission now top an average of 13,000 per day. AVERAGE NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS A DAY 15,000 13,020 12,000 9,000 2. BLOCK AUTOMATICALLY The easiest defense is to enter all your phone numbers in the FTC’s free Do Not Call Registry. But since a growing number of scammers are sidestepping the FTC’s rules, you’ll have more peace 9,715 6,032 6,000 4,720 3,000 2014 2015 2016 2017 SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 marks from users. TrapCall services start at $3.95 a month, while Truecaller charges $1.99 for an ad-free experience. 3. BLOCK MANUALLY If you don’t want to download another app, you can manually block numbers on most smartphones. On iPhones, look up your recent calls. At the bottom of the caller information, you’ll see the option to block that number. Various Android models also let you block (or “auto-reject”) numbers from your log of recent calls. 4. PLAY HARD TO GET If you do answer, remember that scammers want you to say yes as quickly as possible. So never give in to callers who pressure you to make up your mind on the spot, the FTC warns. If you’re tempted by their pitch, hang up and check their bona ﬁdes by calling the organization’s number as it is listed on your credit card, your bills, or on a veriﬁed site on the Internet. 5. DOUBT FREELY Be wary of callers who promise “free” bonuses, services, or vacations. Question fees, such as shipping and handling, charged for the “freebies.” “Free is free. If you have to pay, it’s a purchase—not a prize or a gift,” the FTC says on its website. Finally, “Regardless of how you handle these calls, remember to never give personal or private information to anyone over the phone,” Nofziger says. “Never give your bank account number or credit card number, or buy a prepaid gift card for anyone who claims you owe them money.” THAT DINNER WON’T PAY FOR ITSELF. Switch to GEICO and save money for the things you love. Maybe it’s that high-end client dinner. Or the last-minute flight overseas. Doing business is what you love – and it doesn’t come cheap. So switch to GEICO, because you could save 15% or more on car insurance. And that would help make the things you love that much easier to get. Auto • Home • Rent • Cycle • Boat geico.com | 1-800-947-AUTO (2886) | local office Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Homeowners and renters coverages are written through non-afﬁliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2017 GEICO 4PER CAREERS 6IGPEMQ=SYV ;IIOIRHW These four activities can turn two days off into rejuvenating mini-vacations that ease the Sunday-night blues. BY M A RT H A C . W H I T E 1. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE You need to fully unplug to really unwind, Onstad says. Worried that could hurt your career? Lots of successful people—such as Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and TV producer Shonda Rhimes—avoid answering work emails on weekends. So you can probably ignore your in-box too. 2. GO OUTSIDE Spending time in nature elevates your mood, improves concentration, and boosts diseaseﬁghting vitamin D. Better yet: exercising outdoors. Researchers at the University of Essex in Britain found that while exercise in any setting improved ﬁtness, the same routine performed outside made people happier and more energized.“All ages, genders, and social classes respond positively to green exercise,” they conclude. 3. HANG WITH FRIENDS M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 4. DO GOOD DEEDS A survey from HR consulting ﬁrm Robert Half found that more than 60% of workers who volunteer regularly say that doing so enhances their well-being. “Everyone wants to do things they’re passionate about,” notes Andy Decker, regional president at Robert Half. Unfortunately, our everyday jobs don’t always afford us that opportunity. Volunteering can also help your career, since it builds skills and networks, Decker adds. So who knows, maybe having more fun on the weekends can help you land a job you look forward to on Sunday nights. J W LT D — G E T T Y I M A G E S DO YOU SPEND your Sunday evenings feeling tired and dreading the coming workweek? Welcome to the club. More than three-quarters of us suffer from Sundaynight blues as we face returning to the office, a poll from Monster.com found. One key reason, experts say: our lack of a mental “reset” during the weekends. For example, more than a third of working parents report checking work email “often or constantly” on their days off, according to the American Psychological Association. The failure to take a break is bad for your body, mental health, family, and even career, says Katrina Onstad, author of The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Beneﬁts of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork. “Most people ﬁnd their good ideas and have their epiphanies during down time,” she notes. Luckily, there are solutions. Here are four techniques to turn your weekends into rejuvenating breaks, recommended by Onstad and other experts: Research increasingly shows that friendships are key to our well-being. “Times spent with friends are associated with a better mood, and we know that defends against stress,” says William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University and author of a recent study on the subject. “In some ways, it’s a real escape.” EVERY AMERICAN WASTES 290 POUNDS OF FOOD A YEAR 4PER TRAVEL A 7IGVIXW XS 7GSVMRK *MVWX'PEWW 9TKVEHIWSR XLI'LIET Dress well and bid smartly: Frequent ﬂiers reveal little-known tricks to ﬁnding cheap ﬁrst-class seats. BY J E N N I F E R CA L FAS M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 B C D TRAVELING ECONOMY class just keeps getting worse. Seating is more cramped. You have to bring your own food and entertainment. And the airlines keep dreaming up new surprise fees. But it’s hard to justify spending an extra $1,000 (or more) for a wider seat and a little “free” Champagne. How about, say, $59? While bargain ﬁrst-class upgrades are rare, they are possible. Veteran travelers say that if you act on the following tips, you’ll greatly increase your chances of enjoying an ice cream sundae from a fully reclining seat—without maxing out your credit cards. ILLUSTRATION BY TRES COMMAS The card that takes you there. It’s Simple: Get the Capital One® Venture® card to earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, every day and redeem those miles ĞħĪęĦıǎġğĠĬħĦęĦıęġĪĤġĦĝ āĪĝĜġĬęĨĨĪħĮęĤĪĝĩĭġĪĝĜĐĝĜĝĝĥĥġĤĝīĞħĪĬĪęĮĝĤħĦęĦıęġĪĤġĦĝĚęīĝĜħĦęěĬĭęĤĬġěģĝĬĨĪġěĝęĬĬġĥĝħĞĨĭĪěĠęīĝčǉĝĪĝĜĚıāęĨġĬęĤčĦĝĀęĦģÕēđÿÖČÿƣ! &āęĨġĬęĤčĦĝ 4PER TRAVEL ARRIVE EARLY Try being one of the ﬁrst passengers at the gate so you’ll have ample time to schmooze with ﬂight staff and ask about potential options for upgrades. At the very least, you’re more likely to stand out among the other passengers. “ ‘Early bird gets the worm’ works here,” says Carolyn Paddock, a former ﬂight attendant and founder of Life in Flight, a travel coaching website. BE KIND No matter how frustrated you are, or how justiﬁed your anger is, a tirade probably won’t win you many points with frazzled gate agents. Instead, to stand out from the other passengers, go out of your way to be nice to the airline employees, experts advise. At the very least be courteous and respectful to the ﬂight attendants and gate agents. Better yet, consider a special gift if the moment feels appropriate. Edward Pizzarello, who writes for InsideFlyer, typically carries several $5 Starbucks gift cards when he travels. (His father, he says, would often carry chocolates to hand out to ﬂight staff.) “It’s a great thing to hand to somebody when you’re having a discussion, and they’re trying to help you,” Pizzarello says. “More often than not, I’m going to get a desirable outcome.” the vouchers or checks offered to those who volunteer to give up their seats on crowded ﬂights, it doesn’t hurt to ask for an upgrade on your new ticket. STICK TO ONE AIRLINE Elite-status members of an airline’s frequent-ﬂier club typically get offered upgrades ﬁrst, and often at a discount. While the perks come more easily for business travelers who ﬂy tens of thousands of miles a year, holiday travelers can raise their chances of an upgrade by using the airline’s credit card to build up miles. DRESS WELL If you’re a gate agent with a ﬁrst-class seat open, are you going to give it to the teen wearing pajamas? Or to the gentleman wearing a nice blazer and pressed slacks? “If they have to upgrade someone, they’re not going to put some slob up in ﬁrst class,” says Johnny DiScala, who runs the travel website JohnnyJet.com. You don’t have to wear a suit. These days, just wearing clean, tailored, casual business attire can make you stand out, he says. CARRY ON ONLY “Don’t check your bag,” advises Pizzarello. “If you’re carrying on a bag, you have more ﬂexibility to move around the ﬂight. And more ﬂexibility will yield more beneﬁts from the airline.” BE FLEXIBLE If you’ve arrived early, politely approach the ﬂight attendants and volunteer to move to a different ﬂight if there’s a better seating option, experts recommend. And ask about bumping. In addition to M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 TRAVEL ALONE It’s much more likely for one seat to be open instead of two or more. “It’s so much easier when you travel by yourself,” DiScala says. “There are so few seats these days.” BID Many international airlines allow you to bid on empty premium seats ahead of time. The auctions typically run for several weeks and end 72 to 24 hours before takeoff. Bidding for medium-haul ﬂights across Europe generally starts at about $200, says Richard Kerr, senior points and miles contributor for ThePointsGuy.com. The best bargains are generally found on ﬂights to tourist destinations, since business travelers often get automatic upgrades. Kerr’s strategy: Bid a hair above the minimum. SPEND AT THE LAST MINUTE Check your email and the airline’s website a few days before your ﬂight for last-minute upgrade deals. And ask again at the gate. Some empty premium seats are released only shortly before takeoff. United Airlines recently offered late upgrades on short domestic ﬂights for as little as $59. But the best bargains are often reserved for those who have followed the other tips listed here. Recently, while Paddock was waiting to board a 12½-hour ﬂight from Rio de Janeiro to London, a gate agent offered her the option to pay a nominal fee to upgrade to business class. “The person before me in line wasn’t offered the same upgrade deal,” she recalls. The difference: Paddock had followed her own advice about arriving early, dressing well, and being nice. As a result, she snuggled under a quilt in a reclining seat and sipped on Champagne. “I remember distinctly being sad that the ﬂight ended—even after 12 hours,” says Paddock. You can wish for retirement. Or you can plan for retirement. Let’s get started. Call 1-866-954-4321, or visit mutualofamerica.com Mutual of America® and Mutual of America Your Retirement Company® are registered service marks of Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, a registered Broker/Dealer. 320 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6839. You were looking to retire by the water. Better yet, above it. Captain of your own Ŵoating home. That would be retiring like a boss. That would also be tough without a plan. U.S. BONDS AGG INT’L STOCKS WHEN INSPIRATION HITS, MAKE YOUR MONEY MOVE. IEFA U.S. STOCKS IVV Build for your future with iShares Core ETFs. At 1/10th the cost of typical mutual funds, iShares Core ETFs can help you keep more of what you earn.1 INSPIRED TO BUILD. iShares.com/build 1. Source: BlackRock and Morningstar, as of 12/31/16. Comparison is between the average Prospectus Net Expense Ratio for the iShares Core Series ETFs (0.08%) and the average Prospectus Net Expense Ratio of active open-end mutual funds (1.17%) available in the U.S. on 12/31/16. Visit www.iShares.com or www.BlackRock.com to view a prospectus, which includes investment objectives, risks, fees, expenses and other information that you should read and consider carefully before investing. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Buying and selling shares of ETFs will result in brokerage commissions. The iShares funds are distributed by BlackRock Investments, LLC (together with its afƓliates, “BlackRock”). © 2017 BlackRock. All rights reserved. iSHARES and BLACKROCK are registered trademarks of BlackRock. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. 242264 H U LT O N A R C H I V E /G E T T Y I M A G E S 6IXMVI 8MTW*VSQ 1MPPMSREMVIW 8LEX'ER -QTVSZI=SYV 6IXMVIQIRX The wealthy may have an easier road to retirement, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from their journey. BY WA LT E R U P D EG R AV E PHOTOGRAPH BY S LIM AARONS THE PLAYWRIGHT Oscar Wilde said that “No man is rich enough to buy back his past.” Yet wealth can help you secure your future. And a new UBS Wealth Management Americas survey of more than 2,000 wealthy investors (mostly people 50 or older with $1 million or more in investable assets) suggests the affluent may know a thing or two about preparing for retirement. Here are three lessons culled from the survey that, wealthy or not, you can put to work to boost your own odds of achieving a more secure and fulﬁlling retirement. 1. IT’S ABOUT FINANCIAL READINESS, NOT AGE. Many of us believe the trigger for retiring is hitting a certain age, whether it’s 62, when we become eligible for Social Security; 65, OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M 6IXMVI RETIRE LIKE THE RICH the age of eligibility for Medicare; or 66, when many baby boomers qualify for full Social Security beneﬁts. But the rich know that age isn’t what matters most. It’s whether you’re ﬁnancially capable of maintaining your standard of living without those regular paychecks coming in. This is why 66% of wealthy pre-retirees said their decision to leave the workforce hinges not on how old they are, but on reaching a certain level of assets. That hurdle will be lower for most people than for affluent retirees. For example, 86% of those polled for this survey said they’d need at least $1 million before retiring, and 41% said they wouldn’t leave their job until they had accumulated $3 million or more. Most Americans will be able to retire on considerably less than that. Whatever size nest egg is appropriate for your situation, you want to be sure you’re on track to achieving it well in advance of retiring rather than discovering on the eve of your hoped-for retirement date that you’re coming up short. The best way to gauge whether the projected value of your nest egg combined with Social Security will provide sufficient income is to perform regular checkups. You can use a free tool like T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Calculator. Just plug in the amount you already have saved, the percentage of salary you’re contributing to retirement accounts now, and the age at which you would like to retire. Then the calculator will estimate the probability that you’ll be able to retire on that schedule with enough income to support you for the rest of your life. You can also see how changes like saving more might M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 improve your outlook. Before you retire, you’ll also want to make sure you have a comprehensive retirement plan that details the amount of income you’ll be relying on from such sources as Social Security, pensions, withdrawals from savings, home equity, a reverse mortgage, etc. Nine in 10 of the UBS survey participants said they’re not only conﬁdent that they’ll have enough money saved for retirement, but that they also have a clear idea of where their income will come from once they retire. Without such clarity, you can’t really know whether you’re prepared to maintain your standard Their Secret to Success The rich are more conﬁdent about retiring in part because they’ve studied the ins and outs of their own plans. PERCENTAGE OF WEALTHY WHO … 89% 89% Are conﬁdent in their retirement readiness Know all their sources of income in retirement 74% 59% Know how long their savings will last Know it will take time to adjust to retired life NOTE: Based on a survey of 2,028 affluent and high-net-worth investors with at least $1 million in investable assets. SOURCE: UBS Wealth Management Americas of living after you retire or if you’re engaging in wishful thinking. 2. YOU STILL NEED TO INVEST FOR GROWTH. It’s understandable why many retirees invest more conservatively after leaving the workforce. After all, severe stock market setbacks are more unsettling when you have less time to rebound from them. At the same time, your portfolio also has to grow enough to generate income that can last the rest of your life. Which is why after retiring, you still need a healthy dose of stocks. If anything, this is even more true today, considering the anemic yields currently available in the investments retirees have traditionally gravitated toward, such as bonds, CDs, and money-market funds. Wealthy retirees clearly understand this dynamic. More than 60% of those surveyed said they disagree with the adage that the percentage of stocks in your portfolio should equal 100 minus your age—i.e., 40% at age 60, 30% at 70, 20% at 80, etc. Instead, these retirees reported they were holding upwards of 50% or more of their assets in stocks on average even into their seventies and eighties. That’s not to say you should automatically follow their lead. After all, with a larger nest egg and more resources to fall back on, wealthier investors generally are better able to ride out severe market downturns with less concern about having to scale back their standard of living because of investment losses. You may not have that luxury. So you’ve got to come up with a stock-andbond mix that’s right for you given your ﬁnancial circumstances. So what’s that right balance? That is, how much exposure to equities is enough to produce the returns you need while also providing sufficient protection against market setbacks? One way is to go to a risktolerance asset-allocation tool like the free version Vanguard offers online (personal.vanguard.com/ us/FundsInvQuestionnaire). After answering questions about your appetite for risk and when you expect to start drawing money from your portfolio, the tool will suggest a blend of stocks and bonds that’s appropriate for you. By plugging that mix into the American Institute for Economic Research’s Retirement Withdrawal Calculator (ﬁnd it in RealDealRetirement.com’s Retirement Toolbox section), you’ll know whether a portfolio invested in such a mix may be able to generate the income you need as long as you’ll need it. 3. A “SUCCESSFUL” RETIREMENT REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST MONEY. While going into retirement with a hefty savings balance may increase your odds of having a secure and fulﬁlling post-career life, wealthy investors know that doesn’t guarantee that making the adjustment from the workaday world to retirement will automatically be seamless. The survey found that more affluent pre-retirees were more concerned about not having a regular schedule (64%) than they were not having a regular paycheck (36%), and more than a third said they were worried about how they’ll ﬁll their free time and about losing their sense of purpose in life. To address those concerns and OTHER LESSONS FROM THE RICH -REHHMXMSRXSKIXXMRKXLIFMKXLMRKWVMKLXQMPPMSREMVIWERHYPXVELMKL RIX[SVXLLSYWILSPHWHSWQEPPIVXLMRKWXLEXXLIVIWXSJYWGERIQYPEXI ,IVIEVIEJI[I\EQTPIWJVSQVIGIRXWYVZI]WSJXLIEJƚYIRXF]XLI 7TIGXVIQ+VSYT ŜBY PAU L J . L I M THINK GLOBALLY. Among Americans with at least $100,000 in assets but who aren’t yet millionaires, only 28% say they are willing to invest outside the U.S. But among the ultrahigh-net-worth crowd (those with at least $5 million in net worth, not including their primary homes), half are willing to invest abroad. This isn’t an insigniﬁcant point, as foreign stocks are considerably cheaper than domestic shares after this eight-year-old bull market. Overseas shares trade at a price/earnings ratio of 16, based on the past 10 years of averaged proﬁts. That’s a 36% discount to the historical median. By comparison, U.S. stocks are trading at a P/E of 30, nearly double their historic level. KEEP THINGS SIMPLE. Conventional wisdom says the rich employ sophisticated strategies and rely on exclusive investments such as hedge funds to keep their money growing. In reality, the vast majority rely on plain-vanilla better prepare for a successful transition, it’s important in the years leading up to retirement to do a little lifestyle planning. Among the issues you should explore: Do you have the kind of network of friends and family that research shows is important to staying socially engaged? Will you stay in your home, downsize, or perhaps even relocate to an area with lower living costs? Have you considered steps you can take to ensure this ﬁnal phase of your life will be meaningful and fulﬁlling—perhaps by immersing yourself in a new hobby or venture or working for a cause or charity that represents values that you truly admire? For what it’s worth, the retirees queried for this survey mutual funds and ETFs to anchor their portfolios. Meanwhile, only 6% of the highnet-worth crowd even invests in a hedge fund or venture capital. DROWN OUT THE NOISE. Wealthy investors are good at ignoring distractions. Only a quarter of the rich planned to change their investing strategy in response to the presidential elections, Spectrem found. And only a quarter listen to friends or coworkers for ﬁnancial advice. seem to have taken to retirement pretty well, with half saying they felt happy with their new lives right away, while another third or so saying they adjusted to retired life within a year. Just 19% said that if they had the chance to do it over again that they would have delayed retiring. Bottom line: The rich may very well be different from the rest of us. And the fact that they have more money than the average American family is a deﬁnite advantage in retirement. But if you plan diligently and take your cues from the wealthy in the areas above, you should be able to have a retirement that, even if not as ﬁnancially secure as an affluent retiree’s, can be just as enjoyable and rewarding. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M 6IXMVI LOOKING FORWARD THE S&P 500 DIDN’T GAIN GROUND Hard-and-fast rules for tapping retirement funds are giving way to more ﬂexible—and irregular— approaches. BY E L I Z A B E T H O’ B R I E N M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 SKIP RAISES IN DOWN YEARS Under the 4% rule, retirees with $1 million would take out $40,000 in the ﬁrst year. Then they’d typically boost that dollar amount in subsequent years based on the consumer price index (CPI), a common gauge of inﬂation. So if CPI rises 2%, they’d take out $40,800 in year two. But to play it safer, you could choose to skip those raises in years following negative returns for your portfolio. David Blanchett, Morningstar’s head of retirement research, says if you skip the inﬂation bump in down years, the chances your money will last until age 90 will go up P L AT E : N I C H O L A S E V E L E I G H — G E T T Y I M A G E S : D O U G H N U T: L A R R Y WA S H B U R N — G E T T Y I M A G E S 8LI)RHSJ# 7QEVXIV;E]W XS+IRIVEXI -RGSQIJSV0MJI in 2015, so neither did retiree Bruce Stanton’s spending money. That summer, the former teacher in Washougal, Wash., dialed back what he withdrew from his retirement account to reﬂect the lackluster market. Fluctuations in income aren’t that rare. During his career as a chemistry teacher, Stanton would sometimes get a big raise and other times get none. “I’m used to going without them,” says Stanton, 63. A challenge for all retirees is creating an income stream that will last a lifetime even if a downturn takes a big bite out of their savings. Some, like Stanton, are tackling this by adjusting withdrawals based on the market’s performance. But market-linked approaches run counter to the long-standing 4% rule, which holds that your money will last for a 30-year retirement if you withdraw 4% of your nest egg the ﬁrst year and adjust that dollar amount annually for inﬂation. Some experts are now arguing for a lower initial rate—such as 3%—since stocks and bonds may deliver belowaverage returns over the next few decades. Yet for much of history, 4% has been conservative, according to ﬁnancial adviser Michael Kitces. So what’s a retiree to do? As an alternative to withdrawing a ﬁxed percentage, here’s a look at four “dynamic” withdrawal strategies. by nearly 11 percentage points, assuming an initial 4% withdrawal. RATCHET HIGHER IN UP YEARS What if you care about ﬂexibility, but instead of sacriﬁcing after down years, you want to reap the rewards of a strong market? Kitces says if your account ever grows 50% above its starting value after initiating withdrawals—say you retired with $1 million but your balance rises to $1.5 million— you can go ahead and boost your withdrawals by an additional 10% above any inﬂation adjustments in perpetuity. Assuming you were going to withdraw $45,000 this year, you’d actually be able to tap as much as $49,500. And you wouldn’t have to slash withdrawals after subsequent downturns. According to Kitces, this strategy won’t deplete your account under any scenario. The higher spending, though, makes this less than ideal if you want to leave legacies to your heirs. SET A FLOOR AND A CEILING This hybrid approach, pioneered by Vanguard, starts out by establishing an annual rate of withdrawals—say, 4%. Then you set a ceiling that’s no more than 5% higher than the prior year’s income level, and a ﬂoor that’s no more than 2.5% lower. Here’s how that would work: Assume you start with $1 million, and say you plan to withdraw 4%, or $40,000, at year’s end. But market forces boost the value of your nest egg by 20% to $1.2 million. How much would you be able to tap at the end of year two? Well, you’d start by applying that 4% rate again to your new balance, which comes to $48,000. Then you’d see if that amount falls within your ceiling and ﬂoor. In Sustainable Withdrawals The old 4% rule isn’t the only safe income strategy. These results are for a 65-year-old couple with $1 million: NOTES: Median results are based on Monte Carlo simulations over 30 years based on a 50% stock/50% bond strategy. Each strategy allows for a 10% chance real wealth falls below $150,000 after 30 years. SOURCE: Wade Pfau WITHDRAWAL STRATEGY MEDIAN WEALTH AFTER 30 YRS. OF WITHDRAWALS Skip the raise in down years $953,77O Ratchet higher in up years $935,10O Set a ﬂoor and ceiling $528,1OO Use RMDs, but boost by 10% $346,4OO this case, a 5% ceiling on $40,000 would be $42,000, which is below the $48,000 mark—so you’d go with the lower ﬁgure. This ceiling-and-ﬂoor approach had a 92% success rate, meaning in more than nine out of 10 possible scenarios, retirement funds aren’t depleted even after 35 years, according to Vanguard. By contrast, the traditional 4% rule with annual inﬂation adjustments resulted in a 78% success rate. This also mimics human behavior: People tend to splurge when the market is up, and dial back when it’s down, says Francis Kinniry, a principal in Vanguard Investment Strategy Group. USE RMDs AS YOUR GUIDE Once you reach age 70½, you have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRAs. It’s Uncle Sam’s way of getting his hands on money that’s been tax sheltered for years. To calculate your RMD, you divide your IRA balance by an IRS-provided ﬁgure that represents an actuarial estimate of the remaining life span of someone your age. At 70, your denominator is 27.4, meaning that under certain circumstances someone your age may live until nearly 97½. As it happens, you can “take advantage of the actuarial strategy behind RMDs to guide your spending,” says Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at the American College of Financial Services. No one under 70½ must take RMDs, but there are equivalent lifetime expectancy ﬁgures. For a 65 year old, it’s 31.9. If you retire at 65, you’d divide your nest egg by 31.9. With a $1 million account, that’s $31,350, meaning rather than tapping 4% of your nest egg, you’d be taking 3.1%, a relatively conservative approach. Investors who aren’t looking to leave a lot in their accounts for heirs might alter the formula slightly to boost their income. For instance, you might modify your RMD amount by a factor of 1.1. Here, you’d multiply that $31,350 ﬁgure by 1.1, and at 65 you could withdraw close to $34,500 on that $1 million account. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M TOGETHER WE CAN BUILD A BETTER US From safe spaces to academic achievement to family well-being and more, when you donate to the Y, you’re giving those in need the opportunity to thrive. ymca.net/forabetterus MIND OVER MONEY %7MQTPI,EFMX ;MXLE&MK4E]SJJ No matter how wealthy you are, there’s one thing you can do to boost your chances of retiring well. BY WA LT E R U P D EG R AV E WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT if there was an easy thing you could do to better prepare for retirement and make you feel more conﬁdent about your prospects for ﬁnancial security? There is: Put your retirement plan in writing. People with a written plan are 60% more likely to increase 401(k) contributions and twice as likely to stick to monthly savings goals than people without such a plan, a Schwab study found. “Putting your plan in writing makes planning less intimidating,” says Joe Ready, head of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. “It helps you see what steps you need to take, which builds conﬁdence and makes it more likely you’ll follow through.” Yet only 24% of Americans have put pen to paper (or ﬁngers to keyboard), Schwab found. Which is a shame, because you Do the Math As you write down your retirement plan, also calculate how much you’ll need to save. Here’s why: SOURCE: Employee Beneﬁt don’t need a magnum opus. You can reap the beneﬁts of a written plan with these three basic elements: 6IXMVI 2. AN INVESTING STRATEGY You want to set a stock and bond mix that can generate the returns you’ll need while offering protection in a downturn. Rev up a tool like Vanguard’s Investor Questionnaire, which suggests a stock/ bond mix based on your risk tolerance and how long you intend to keep your money invested. Don’t feel up to it? If you must, go with a target-date fund or managed account, options that set and manage an asset mix for you. 3. A REGULAR MONITORING PLAN 1. A TARGET SAVINGS RATE Many pros recommend shooting to save 15% of your income a year, including employer matches. But the amount you should be saving in your 401(k)s, IRAs, and other accounts depends on how much you earn, how much you’ve already saved, and the age at which you plan to retire, among other things. Search online for the Boston College Center for Retirement Research’s Target Your Retirement tool, and use it to help you ﬁgure out the right savings rate for you. If you can’t hit your target now, make sure your plan includes a way to reach your goal, say, by saving a portion of each pay raise. CONFIDENT IN BEING ABLE TO RETIRE COMFORTABLY 52% 77% Workers who haven’t calculated their needs Workers who have It’s not enough just to have a plan; you have to make sure it’s working. Annual reviews should suffice, though you may want to do an occasional spot-check if the market appears vulnerable to a pullback or has actually sustained a loss of, say, 10% or more. Among the questions you’ll want to ask yourself during these periodic reviews: Are you hitting your savings target or making acceptable progress? Can you afford to raise that target? Have stock gains or losses thrown your allocation out of whack? Do you need to rebalance to bring your portfolio back in line? Do you need to change your asset mix as you draw closer to retirement? Also, make sure that you haven’t larded up your portfolio with new funds or ETFs that don’t really ﬁt into your long-term strategy. None of this is to say that a written plan is a silver bullet. You still have to do the heavy lifting— the actual saving and investing. But by putting your steps in writing, you’re more likely to keep your eyes on the real prize. Research Institute M O N E Y. C O M Fiduciary: It’s the word independent advisors live by. Independent Registered Investment Advisors are held to the highest standard of care. As fiduciaries, they are required to act in the best interests of their clients at all times. That’s why we support independent financial advisors. And why we think it’s worth your time to learn more. FindYourIndependentAdvisor.com Annette B. | Independent financial advisor since 2006 Charles Schwab is committed to the success of over 7,500 independent financial advisors who are passionately dedicating themselves to helping people achieve their financial goals. This content is made available and managed by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”). The purpose of this information is to educate investors about working with an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). The RIAs and their representatives featured here use Schwab Advisor Services™ for custody, trading, and operational VXSSRUW,QFOXVLRQVKRXOGQRWEHFRQVWUXHGDVDUHFRPPHQGDWLRQDQHQGRUVHPHQWRUDVSRQVRUVKLSE\6FKZDE0DQ\LQGHSHQGHQW5,$VDQGRWKHU÷QDQFLDOVHUYLFHV professionals receive compensation for services in a variety of ways. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. It is the responsibility of each investor to determine which method of compensation offers the lowest total costs and best serves the interests and needs of the investor. ©2017 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC. (0416-F1LX) (ADP92136-00) (06/16) -RZIWX *IIPMRK 8VETTIH# ,S[XS7IPP MR8LMW8VMGO] 1EVOIX Before you can move on to greener pastures, you’ll have to sell your home wisely. Here’s some advice. BY CA R L A F R I E D A N D TAY LO R T E P P E R ILLUSTRATION BY JASON SCHNEIDER IN THEORY, SELLING A HOME should be easy right now. Real estate has been rebounding for more than half a decade, and home prices are climbing at a healthy 6% annual clip. The improving economy is creating a slew of would-be buyers, and there’s a dearth of homes for sale. On paper, this has all the makings of a classic seller’s market. And that should be good news for Americans who have been stuck in their homes since the mortgage crisis—or who are simply looking to move to more vibrant communities and economies, such as the towns on MONEY’s 2017 Best Places to Live list (see page 54). Yet selling isn’t so simple. Just ask Ligiah Villalobos. In 2006 the television and ﬁlm writer bought a $499,000 condo in Culver City, Calif., four blocks away from Sony OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M -RZIWX REAL ESTATE studios. At the time, she was head writer for the children’s show Go, Diego! Go! She assumed she’d live in the three-bedroom, two-bath condo for a few years and then use the proﬁts to trade up to a larger, single-family home closer to the ocean. But those plans were dashed less than a year after moving in, thanks to the real estate crash. Today things are looking up. Housing in the Los Angeles metro market has come roaring back. Her mortgage is back above water. And if she sold today, she’d make a proﬁt on her condo. Yet Villalobos still feels trapped. That’s because while her home is gaining value, so are all the ones around her. If she sold, where could she afford to live? “In Los Angeles, it’s very difficult to ﬁnd a nice house for less than $750,000. I still have a goal of moving, but it’s not going to happen for at least two or three years,” Villalobos says. This is becoming a common refrain throughout the nation. “For some time we have been hearing from sellers that are not listing because they are worried they won’t be able to buy their next home in that market,” says Redﬁn chief economist Nela Richardson. Don’t abandon hope. There are plenty of moves you can make to sell while improving the chances you’ll be able to afford to move to your next Best Place. Be willing to put in some elbow grease. In this market, you need to make the most of the asset you currently own. And selling your home in “as is” condition could mean leaving money on the table, making it harder to afford your next place. M O N E Y. C O M Don’t automatically jump on outlier bids. It’s natural to want to accept whichever bidder waves the highest price under your nose. But assuming that all of your home’s bidders will be using a mortgage on the purchase, the offer price isn’t the end of the story. Their mortgage lenders will require an appraisal. If the appraisal comes in below the offer price, the lender will nix the deal unless the buyer coughs up more money to make up the difference—or you drop the price. If no one budges, you’ll have to start all over again, setting your sale back. To avoid this happening, work with a seasoned agent and listen to his or her guidance on which bid has the smoothest chance of sailing through the closing process. You’re still likely to ﬁnd a buyer— eventually—even if you don’t put in any effort. But “you will likely lose some bidders, and you may give back some on price,” says Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. The key is not to go overboard. A large-scale remodel may be costly and may not recoup as much as a smaller, targeted project, studies show. In addition to general decluttering, where should you start? Focus on curb appeal. Among the small projects that retain the most value at resale, according to a survey by Remodeling magazine, are replacing your front entry door and garage door. Those are likely to be the ﬁrst things a potential buyer will notice when pulling up to your house. Average cost: around $1,400 and $1,700, respectively. Also, you’ll recoup a far greater percentage of your costs on a minor kitchen remodel—think replacing old appliances, and refacing cabinets and surfaces—than on a gut renovation. Moreover, you’re likely to spend around $20,000 on a minor touch-up, which is about a third of what a typical major kitchen remodel costs on average nationally. Fixer-Upper Sell your property and lease it back immediately. The old rule of thumb in real estate: location, location, location. The new rule: timing, timing, timing. “Before we list we need to have a strategy for where the seller will go. Brokers are becoming relocation experts,” says principal broker Sam Schneiderman Small projects can sell your home while paying for themselves, especially in strong housing markets. EXPENSES RECOUPED Attic insulation Minor kitchen remodel National avg. 80% San Francisco 179% Memphis 227% 108% New entry door 91% 133% 148% 105% 146% SOURCE: Remodeling magazine of the Greater Boston Home Team. You can buy yourself time by making your sale contingent on the buyer leasing the home back to you. Having another few months to stay can be just the breathing room you need to ﬁnd and close on your next home. This strategy works best in ultracompetitive seller’s markets. “A buyer dealing with competition from other multiple bidders may be willing to do it, as a way to get your home,” says Redﬁn’s Richardson. Be willing to make a pit stop in a rental. Schneiderman says some of his clients are moving into rentals or temporary housing after a sale. That’s to better position themselves as buyers who don’t have to sell when they’re making an offer on their next house. In the hot Boston market, you may lose out on four or more bids before landing your next home. To make this less of a hassle, get a furnished rental and leave your possessions packed and in storage until you are ready to move into your permanent home. Steer clear of bidding wars on your next home. You can do this in a number of ways. First, a good agent should know everything that might appeal to a seller, like a fast close, a super-slow close, adopting their cat. Your bid should include any contingencies that speciﬁcally address stress points for the seller. Also, consider a ﬁxer-upper for your next home. Most buyers today want as close to a turnkey situation as possible. So if you shop for homes that need some work, you will likely face less competition. And don’t forget new construction. “Signing a contract with a builder avoids having to deal with bidding wars,” says Sarah Staley, a housing spokesperson for realtor .com (MONEY has partnered with realtor.com for this year’s Best Places to Live feature). This works if you can sit tight in your current home until your new home is ready. Can’t sell your home in a timely fashion? Become a landlord. During the housing crisis, many homeowners who couldn’t sell because they were underwater on their mortgages became landlords out of necessity. These were people like Alex Caffarini. In the aftermath of the ﬁnancial crisis, the then-thirtysomething was ready to move on from his Schaumburg, Ill., condo. He was offered a job to work for a consulting ﬁrm almost 700 miles away in Carlisle, Pa. The catch: Caffarini was still underwater on his mortgage, and he was unwilling to lose money on a short sale. So Caffarini rented his place out, covering most of the mortgage and taxes, and moved. With lower expenses in Carlisle, he could afford to make extra mortgage payments to improve his equity. He eventually returned home to Schaumburg (which ranks ninth on our Best Places list; see page 65)—but under much better ﬁnancial circumstances. Caffarini became a landlord during difficult economic times. Yet this strategy remains relevant in today’s healthier economy, even after the market has been rebounding. Turn your current home into the best place to live. In 2011, Avik Chopra and his family bought a three-bedroom home in Milburn, An Uneven Market (IWTMXIEPP]SYLIEVEFSYXXLI VIEPIWXEXIVIGSZIV] Ŧ Only 34% of houses in the U.S. have seen their prices recover to their pre–mortgage crisis levels, according to Trulia. “Broad measures to gauge the housing recovery aren’t that good for measuring how well individual markets or individual properties have done,” says Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin. Trulia compared current home values with prerecession highs in the nation’s 100 biggest metro areas. Only a tiny fraction of homes in some major markets have fully recovered. In Las Vegas, less than 1% of homes are back to pre-crisis prices. Things aren’t much better in Tucson, where the median home is $179,200, down from $236,200 before the meltdown. By comparison, 99% of homes in the hot Denver market have fully recovered. —TAY LO R T E P P E R N.J. Today it’s worth $250,000 more than what they paid. But that’s not money in the bank. “It feels good to see the value rise, but we’re still stuck in a home we’ve out grown,” says Chopra, who has two young children. “All the other houses in our area have gone up too.” But with more value comes more equity, which means Chopra has options. He’s planning to borrow from his home to ﬁnance a second-ﬂoor addition. If you’re far along in paying off your mortgage, staying put can be wiser than taking on a new loan, especially if your mortgage is below the current 3.9% average for a 30-year ﬁxed-rate loan. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M -RZIWX TECH BUBBLE 2.0 8IGLWLEVIWPMOI XLIFVSEHWXSGO QEVOIXEVIFEGO XSXVEHMRKEX VIGSVHLMKLW 8IGL7XSGOW%VI &EGO Ŧ MR E &YFFPI Nearly two decades after the dotcom crash, the sector is getting frothy again. Yet there are simple ways to hedge the rising risks without selling in a panic. BY PAU L J . L I M M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 B R YA N R . S M I T H /A F P — G E T T Y I M A G E S IT TOOK 17 YEARS, but technology stocks ﬁnally recovered all the losses they suffered in the dotcom crash. But just as soon as the S&P 500 information technology index returned to its March 2000 highs, investors began to worry about whether another bubble may be forming in the sector. Take a look at the so-called FANG stocks—today’s leading tech names including Facebook (social media), Amazon.com (e-commerce), Netﬂix (streaming video), and Google parent Alphabet (search, social, and mobile). Collectively these stocks have gained more than 1,300% on average in this bull market and now trade at an average price/earnings ratio of 130, based on the past 12 months of operating proﬁts. What’s more, the total market value of just these four companies and iPhone maker Apple is greater than the gross domestic product of the United Kingdom. “We have a tech bubble,” says Rob Arnott, chairman of the investment management ﬁrm Research Affiliates. “It’s certainly less dramatic than the one we had back in 2000. Valuations aren’t as high as they were in 2000—but that doesn’t mean they’re sustainable.” To be sure, in the late ’90s, tech was not only in a ﬁnancial mania but a cultural one too—something you’re not seeing as much of today. For instance, “people aren’t quitting their jobs to day-trade,” notes Terri Spath, chief investment officer of Sierra Investment Management. Pankaj Patel, head of quantitative research at Cirrus Research, adds that two decades ago, “your taxi driver would tell you why he’s buying Yahoo shares. Or you’d go for a shoe polish at Penn Station, and the shoe shiner starts talking about tech stocks. When my Uber driver starts talking tech, I’d worry,” he says. Still, there have been several disquieting developments within the tech sector. Among them: Overall, the average P/E for tech companies in the S&P 500 is now 26% higher than its long-term historical average, according to FactSet. That may not seem so worrisome, given that in the late ’90s some tech names traded at triple-digit P/Es. But you can ﬁnd plenty of such examples today too. Salesforce.com stock trades at 496 times the company’s earnings. Yelp sports a P/E ratio of 248. Amazon’s P/E is 241. Netﬂix is at 204. And you can’t even calculate a P/E for Tesla, the electric-auto maker, because it generated no earnings over the past year. Despite being a proﬁtless startup, Tesla is the most valuable car company in America, valued by Wall Street at $58 billion. By comparison, General Motors, which generated more than $9 billion in proﬁts in the past 12 months, is worth $52 billion. Tech is back to being the biggest sector in the market, representing nearly a quarter of the S&P 500. While that’s below the one-third market share that tech stocks enjoyed in the late 1990s, this ﬁgure does not include several big names that the public regards as “tech” but the S&P classiﬁes as consumer stocks. They include Amazon, Priceline, and Netﬂix. Moreover, Tesla isn’t even in the S&P 500 yet. “Between you, me, and the fence post, I’m nervous as hell,” says James Stack, president of InvesTech Research. Even if you Tech’s Long Road Back Though the sector has been thriving for a while, these stocks only just returned to their dotcom bubble levels of March 2000. :%09%8-327%6)2Ş8%7,-+, %78,)=;)6)-2Ŝ&98 8,%8(3)72Ş81)%28,)=Ş6) 7978%-2%&0)š —ROB ARNOTT, CHAIRMAN OF RESEARCH AFFILIATES LOOK ABROAD don’t think this is a bubble, “tech will carry a valuation risk going into the next downturn,” meaning these stocks are likely to fall more than the broad market, he says. How can you reduce that risk, without selling in a panic? The rising risk in U.S. tech shares is yet another reason to make sure you have ample exposure overseas, Arnott says. He notes that European equities trade at a P/E of around 15, based on the past 10 years of averaged proﬁts. That’s about half the valuation level of U.S. shares in the S&P 500 index. Plus tech represents just 5% of the European stock market. “The U.S. market acts like a big tech ETF,” says Jeffrey Kleintop, chief global investment strategist for Charles Schwab. “By contrast, Japanese stocks track ﬁnancial stocks. Canada tracks energy. So it makes sense to have international exposure.” THINK SMALL “Part of underweighting technology is avoiding the downside risk of large stocks,” says Sierra’s Spath. So hedge your bets by making sure you’re diversiﬁed in stocks of all sizes. Outside of the S&P 500 index, tech plays a decidedly more muted role. For instance, the sector makes up only about 15% of small-company stocks. S&P 500 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INDEX 1,000 index level The 2000s represented a lost decade, until social media and smartphones came along. 800 600 400 Before the 1990s boom, tech took a back seat to consumer stocks like Walmart. 200 September 1989–2000 2000–2010 2010–2016 Ζ͊͊͊Η SOURCE: S&P Dow Jones Indices OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M Money Management Skills Taught by Professor Michael Finke TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY LIM D TIME OF LECTURE TITLES R FE E IT Understanding Your Financial Brain 2. Managing Money with Life Cycle Theory D ER OR off ER 31 80% 1. BY O C TO B 3. Basic Investing—Keep It Simple 4. The Key Financial Instruments 5. How to Use Credit Optimally 6. Investing in Education 7. The Economics of Home Ownership 8. Managing Risk with Insurance 9. Essential Tax Principles 10. Saving for Retirement 11. Fundamentals of Estate Planning 12. Putting Your Financial Plan Together Enjoy a Worry-Free Approach to Finances Money management can be intimidating. Fortunately, most of us only need to know a few basic principles to get our financial houses in order. Learn these principles in Money Management Skills, a comprehensive overview of what everyday people need to know to make good financial decisions. Using a scientific, evidence-based approach, Professor Finke shows how humans are hard-wired to make emotional decisions that often run counter to the best course of action when it comes to finances—and gives tips for how to avoid these common mistakes. Whether you are starting your first job or contemplating retirement, this course is an excellent primer for making successful financial decisions at every stage of your life. You’ll tour some of the most widely available financial products and tools, including stocks and bonds, credit, mortgages, and insurance, and you’ll come away with all the information you need to build a financial plan to achieve your goals. Offer expires 10/31/17 THEGREATCOURSES.COM/4 MONEY 1-800-832-2412 Money Management Skills Course no. 5231 | 12 lectures (30 minutes/lecture) SAVE UP TO $180 DVD Video Download CD Audio Download $199.95 $169.95 $134.95 $89.95 NOW $19.95 NOW $17.95 NOW $14.95 NOW $12.95 +$5 Shipping & Processing (DVD & CD only) and Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee Priority Code: 151187 For over 25 years, The Great Courses has brought the world’s foremost educators to millions who want to go deeper into the subjects that matter most. No exams. No homework. Just a world of knowledge available anytime, anywhere. Download or stream to your laptop or PC, or use our free apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, or Roku. Over 600 courses available at www.TheGreatCourses.com. THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR -RZIWX ;LIRXS7XIT&EGO*VSQ7XSGOW While you shouldn’t try to time the market, there are good reasons to reduce your exposure to stocks based on where you are in life. BY J O H N WAG G O N E R IN MOST CASES, you shouldn’t listen to those little voices in your head, especially when they tell you to sell long-term holdings. But “with valuations where they are, and with the world in the condition it’s in, I don’t know any investor who isn’t asking whether they shouldn’t move at least a portion of their assets outside of the stock market,” says Fidelity Investor editor Jim Lowell. If you’re investing for goals that are more than a decade away, the answer to that question is a deﬁnite “no.” But there are times when it’s perfectly reasonable to take some chips off the table. IF YOU HAVEN’T TOUCHED YOUR ACCOUNT IN YEARS. Let’s say you put $60,000 in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund (VTSMX) and $40,000 in Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX) eight years ago, having decided back then that a 60% stock/40% bond mix was appropriate for your goals. You then spent the next eight years in a cave in Nepal. Upon your return, your portfolio shifted to 80% stocks/ 20% bonds. At this point, it’s time to rebalance, or sell enough from your stock fund to replenish your bond stake to get back to your original 60/40 approach. You may lose something in future gains, but you’ll be at a risk level that keeps you from waking up at night shouting, “I’m ruined!” As a rule, rebalance when your mix shifts by 10 percentage points or more. IF YOU’RE WITHIN FIVE YEARS OF HITTING A GOAL. Another reason to take chips off the table: You’re closing in on The Five-Year Rule In 2008, older workers learned why you must dial back your equity exposure. 401(k) investors 56 to 65 whose portfolios held: How much a $1 million portfolio shrunk in 2008: 80% stocks/20% bonds 32% 22% $714,000 90% stocks/10% bonds 80% or more in stocks in 2008 90% or more in stocks in 2008 $672,000 your goals. Let’s say you need $2 million to retire comfortably, and ﬁve years out, you’re at, say, $1.9 million. If you’re 80% in stocks, you can probably cut your exposure and still make your goal. Even if you’re not that close, you still must take your foot off the pedal. Don’t and you’ll fall further back in a downturn, with too little time to recover (see chart). IF YOU’RE FEARFUL, BUT DON’T FALL INTO THESE CAMPS. It never makes sense to sell in a panic. But you don’t have to quit stocks altogether. A well-diversiﬁed portfolio holds different types of equities, including unloved shares. “Lower prices are one way to mitigate investment risks,” Lowell says. So go with “deep value” funds that invest only in extremely low-priced stocks (that are likely to lose less in a pullback) and that let their cash levels rise if they can’t ﬁnd good shares to buy. One good example: American Beacon Bridgeway Large Cap Value (BWLIX), which holds more cash than its peers but still ranks in the top 10% of its category over the past ﬁve years. The worst reason to sell? Some friend tells you to. “Going to cash is one of the holy grails of the investment bible,” Lowell says. “But there’s no Holy Grail in the real Bible, and any claim I’ve seen about going to cash and getting back in hasn’t been true, either.” SOURCES: EBRI and Morningstar M O N E Y. C O M -RZIWX STOCK X-RAY 7XSGO<6E] 4VMGIPMRI A ’90s-era icon emerges as a new tech leader. BY PAU L J . L I M THE PRICELINE GROUP, the online travel company that became famous in the late 1990s for using William Shatner (RIGHT) as its pitchman, boldly went where no tech stock had ever gone before: above the $2,000-a-share mark. To be sure, the shares slid back below that level in mid-August—and a stock’s price per share alone says very little about how valuable the underlying company is. Nevertheless, this milestone casts a spotlight on an online pioneer that remains synonymous with the dotcom bubble—along with bygone names such as Pets.com, GeoCities, and Webvan—and has been overshadowed by Amazon.com. AMAZON HAS GOTTEN ALL THE BUZZ, BUT PRICELINE HAS BEEN THE BETTER INVESTMENT. DESPITE ITS SIZE, PRICELINE’S ONLINE BOOKING GROWTH IS STILL OUTPACING THE INDUSTRY. PRICELINE IS MORE PROFITABLE THAN ITS PEERS—YET ITS STOCK IS MUCH CHEAPER. ANNUAL TOTAL RETURN PAST 15 YEARS, THROUGH AUG.31 ANNUAL GROWTH IN ONLINE BOOKINGS 2014–17 * OPERATING PROFIT MARGIN, PAST 12 MONTHS THROUGH AUG. 31 38% 10.2% 32% 9.8% 17.7% 6% 11% Priceline Priceline Amazon Tech sector M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 Online travel industry The biggest player in online travel is growing fast. Cowen & Co. forecasts hotel room nights booked via Priceline will jump from 557 million last year to 1.05 billion by 2020. Priceline, which did not comment for this story, is leveraging that growth to challenge Expedia in onestop shopping. Booking.com is testing links in which hotel customers can reserve ﬂights via Kayak (acquired in 2012), rental cars via Rentalcars.com (2003), and restaurants via OpenTable (2014). Morningstar’s Dan Wasiolek expects “Priceline’s global online travel agency leadership position to expand over the next decade, driven by a superior position in China, continued leadership in Europe, and expanding presence in vacation rentals and restaurant bookings.” 1.5% Priceline TripAdvisor Expedia Trivago Priceline enjoys another competitive advantage: It’s actually proﬁtable. The company’s $2.4 billion in net income over the past 12 months was ﬁve times what rivals Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Trivago earned combined. What’s more, Priceline is more efficient at generating proﬁts, based on a widely followed measure called return on equity. In general, companies with an ROE above 15% are considered highly proﬁtable. Priceline has an ROE of 23%, according to Morningstar, compared with 8% for Expedia and 10% for Amazon. Yet surprisingly the stock commands a lower price/earnings ratio than its peers. At a P/E of 38, based on trailing operating proﬁts, Priceline looks cheap vs. Amazon’s 241 P/E or Expedia’s 67. NOTE: *2017 ﬁgures are based on full-year forecasts. SOURCES: Morningstar, Cowen & Co., Statista B R YC E D U F F Y While Amazon has been trouncing the market over the past 15 years, Priceline shares have been lapping Amazon. Had you invested $10,000 in the online retailer on July 31, 2002, you’d have nearly $700,000. If you invested the same amount in Priceline, you’d be sitting on about $1 million more. You can thank smart acquisitions (a rarity in tech) for that. After the 2000–02 tech wreck, Priceline bought the European travel site Booking.com for just $135 million. Not only is Booking .com bigger than Priceline rival Expedia, it also accounts for 80% of Priceline’s reservations. Even better, it gave the company a leg up in the key European market, where workers have about twice as many vacation days as do Americans. 26.8% WHEN THE BELL RINGS, COME OUT SWINGING. E*TRADE was created so you could do just that. We always believed in the democratization of investing. That’s why we made trading technology available to everyone. And we haven’t let up — The Original Place To Invest Online is all about giving you access, tools and support you need to make Wall Street your street. That bell? That bell is an invitation. Ding. Ding. Ding. Securities products and services are offered by E¼TRADE Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. © 2017 E¼TRADE Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. MONEY 8,) &)7840%')7 830-:) -2%1)6-'% &]/IVVM%RRI6IR^YPPMERH-WQEX7EVEL1ERKPE ;MXL+EFVMIPE*IVRERHI^7IVKIM/PIFRMOSZERH%RRMI2SZE M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 6IWMHIRXWXEOIMR ERSYXHSSVGSRGIVX EX'SRRIV4VEMVMI %QTLMXLIEXVI MR *MWLIVW-RHŜ XLI2ScWTSXSR XLMW]IEVŞW&IWX 4PEGIWXS0MZIPMWX &)78 40 %')7 830-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 that speak to the good life, including growing jobs, quality schools, cultural and recreational resources, and affordable homes. To help hone our search, MONEY teamed up with realtor.com to leverage its knowledge of housing markets throughout the country. The traits fell into eight broad categories: cost of living (how steep are local taxes, for instance?), the economy (how many jobs are being created?), education (what’s the graduation rate?), housing (is real estate appreciating, and are homes affordable?), crime (how’s the crime risk?), convenience (are commutes onerous?), cultural and recreational amenities (do you have access to libraries, museums, and entertainment?), and an overall sense of pleasantness (are the skies sunny?). These efforts helped us identify this year’s No. 1 city: Fishers, Ind. This Indianapolis suburb is no stranger to Best Places. In 2010, Fishers ranked No. 8 on our list. And in 2012 it came in at No. 12— the same year that its neighbor to the west, Carmel, Ind., was named the Best Place to Live in America. Yet Hamilton County, Indiana, isn’t the only place where you can ﬁnd your bliss. Our Best Places list is as diffuse as ever, with our top 10 communities scattered throughout every U.S. region—the West Coast, the Rockies, the Great Plains, the Midwest, the Northeast, the Southwest, and the Deep South. The point isn’t to thrust our deﬁnition of what the good life is onto you. It’s to help you ﬁnd the right town that ﬁts your own hopes and goals—and your budget. 6SHISGSQTIXMXSV MR(MGOMRWSR2( %WXVIIXTEVX]MR &IEZIVXSR3VI ;MHISTIRWTEGIW EVIETVMQIHVE[ MR3VIQc9XEL 1SRXIVI]4EVO SJJIVWKVIIRWTEGI IZIRMRXLIQMHHPI SJ0SW%RKIPIW *EQMPMIWGVEJX XSKIXLIVMR 7X4IXIVW1S O P E N I N G S P R E A D : P H O TO G R A P H B Y T Y C O L E . T H I S S P R E A D, C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T: C O U R T E S Y O F D I C K I N S O N ; C O U R T E S Y O F B E AV E R TO N ; C O U R T E S Y O F O R E M ; J OYC E K I M ; C O U R T E S Y O F ST. P E T E R S THE BASIC ELEMENTS that make somewhere a great place to live rarely change—good schools, a good economy, good neighbors. Yet around the edges, preferences tend to shift over time. When MONEY launched its inaugural Best Places to Live list in 1987, for instance, crime was still rising nationally—so interest in personal safety was at a high. Later, when unemployment was soaring during the global ﬁnancial crisis, access to good job opportunities was considered a big priority. Today, more than eight years into this economic recovery and ﬁve years into the national real estate rebound, there are different concerns. While home prices have come back in general, the recovery has been uneven. Rising demand for urban living from millennials and their baby boomer parents—some of whom are downsizing—has pushed up prices for homes and condos in city centers. That has created an opportunity, “driving a lot of people to look at the suburbs,” said realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale. “It’s not only the price difference, but all the other things that you get for the money, like school quality.” Being the contrarians and bargain hunters we are, the journalists at MONEY jumped on this trend. For this year’s Best Places to Live list, we chose to focus on towns with a population of 10,000 to 100,000, to avoid the biggest cities while shining a light on smaller towns and affordable suburbs. From that starting point, MONEY sifted through data at a granular level. We examined dozens of different variables 1 2 3 5 4 &)78 40 %')7 830-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 *-7,)67 -2(-%2% WHEN ROCKY WALLS, M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 1)(-%2 ,31)46-') 1)(-%2 ,397),30( -2'31) 463.)'8)( .3&+63;8, ś %:)6%+) '31198)8-1) 1-298)7 growth through entrepreneurs,” says Schoenrock. “It was incredibly unique and certainly not something I’d seen on the West Coast.” Don’t expect all work and no play in this vibrant city. The redeveloped downtown boasts several restaurants and boutiques and a farmers’ market that was recently voted one of Indiana’s best. (It doesn’t shut down in the winter, either— it just shifts indoors.) The Nickel Plate District Amphitheater hosts summer concerts and movies, and cold-weather festivals in fall and winter. And participating businesses display the work of local artists for an annual arts crawl. Fishers has emphasized its green space too, and features 24 parks and 104 miles of nature and multiuse trails. Flat Fork Creek Park offers the highest peak in Hamilton County—perfect for sledding during Indiana’s snowy winters. And while some residents complain that there aren’t enough independent eateries, the city is planning to remedy that with the Yard, a $40 million development that will include up to 18 new restaurants, plus entertainment venues and a 3,000-square-foot culinary incubator for food entrepreneurs. Jennifer Vail, a human resources manager who lives here but commutes to Indianapolis for work, says she and her husband chose Fishers in 2005 because it offered a low cost of living alongside high community standards, good schools, and “top-notch” local services. During her 12 years in Fishers, Vail says she’s seen a lot of positive change and growth. Of course, growth has its own issues: “Traffic has become a noticeable challenge in the past 15 years,” she says. “However, they are constantly widening roads, putting in roundabouts, and making infrastructure improvements to ease some of the congestion.” The increased traffic is a small price to pay, she adds. “It’s a wonderful place to live. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do. It’s kind of anything anyone would want, aside from having a mountain range or beach in your backyard,” says Vail, 36. “A small part of me doesn’t want the secret of Fishers to get out.” P H O TO G R A P H S B Y T Y C O L E ( F I S H E R S ) ; I C O N S : O K S A N A L AT Y S H E VA , T H E N O U N P R O J E C T 34, was looking for a new home for his video production company, Fishers—a small city just 16 miles from Indianapolis—was at the top of his list. His company of 20 employees had outgrown its space in another Indianapolis suburb, and he and his partner craved an environment that would nurture the team’s creative spirit. “We wanted to be in Fishers because of the energy and momentum we saw coming there,” says Walls. “So I met with the mayor, and he showed us the space we’re in now. A month and a half later, we moved in.” That was in 2015, when Walls’ 12 Stars Media relocated to the Nickel Plate District, the downtown area of Fishers that has been developed as a walkable destination for dining, shopping, and working. Today, Walls says his team loves their loftlike space and the ability to walk to nearby restaurants for lunches and meetings. And Walls himself lives within minutes of the office, often jogging to work. “Fishers is safe and quaint and full of young families,” says Walls, who has three boys with his wife, Jessica. “But what makes it unique is this huge emphasis on Fishers as a place with an entrepreneurial spirit.” That startup energy is no accident. Several big companies already have operations within the city’s borders, including student-loan provider Navient and Roche Diagnostics, but local leaders have emphasized creating more jobs and inviting more employers to the community. Major redevelopment projects totaling $90 million downtown have made Fishers attractive to businesses looking to relocate. The city has also invested in Launch Fishers, a 52,000-square-foot coworking space aimed at giving entrepreneurs and tech startups a place to grow. The efforts are paying off: Moody’s Analytics projects 11.6% job growth in the area by 2021. Stanley Security just relocated to Fishers in August, bringing 350 jobs, while high-tech ﬁrm Memory Ventures moved to Fishers from California in 2015. Memory Ventures CEO Anderson Schoenrock says he was impressed by the tour community leaders gave him. “It gave me a sense that the city was very committed to this vision of building a city around entrepreneurship and driving economic 43490%8-32 2 1 7YVI7LSX'SJJIIMWPSGEXIHMRWMHIXLI:EVHEKIRGPSXLMRKWLSTMRXLI2MGOIP4PEXI(MWXVMGX 8LIHS[RXS[R*MWLIVWVEMP[E]WXEXMSR ,YPE,SSTMRKEXXLI7EXYVHE]JEVQIVWŞQEVOIX /MHWTPE]SRXLIWLSVIWSJEGSQQYRMX]TSRH 3 4 &)78 40 %')7 830-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 %00)2 8)<%7 1YWMGEP EGGSQTERMQIRX EX,IHEV]ŞW EcVIWXEYVERX MRc%PPIR around Allen, an affluent suburb just north of Dallas. The city of 96,000 residents has worked to actively create economic opportunities within its borders, and the efforts are bearing fruit: Allen expects a whopping 17% job growth by 2021 and has seen $1.6 billion of development breaking ground in 2017 alone. A number of tech and cybersecurity companies have recently committed to the area, bringing with them hundreds of jobs. Data company CyrusOne purchased 66 acres of land to support an expected $1 billion data campus in Allen in the coming years. M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 1)(-%2 ,31)46-') 1)(-%2 ,397),30( -2'31) 463.)'8)( .3&+63;8, ś %:)6%+) '31198)8-1) 1-298)7 A $91 million convention center and hotel complex will start serving patrons in 2018, while international real estate ﬁrm Hines recently announced plans for the Strand, a 135-acre mixed-use development that will bring office space, retail outlets, residential options, and a greenbelt and waterway. Chanda Reddy, a physician who lives and works in Allen, says the growth has also attracted a more diverse population—something she appreciates. “It’s become a lot more multicultural in the last 12 or 13 years,” says Reddy. “I absolutely love Allen. A lot of the Dallas suburbs don’t have all the restaurants, shopping, and things to do right in town. Allen does.” Reddy, 41, and her husband especially enjoy taking their kids to Watters Creek, a scenic shopping center that features restaurants and boutiques surrounding a green area where families can relax. “The adults all sit on the patio, drink wine, listen to live music, while the kids can play on the green, and we can keep an eye on them,” she says. Indeed, there are plenty of attractions for families, including the impressive Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium, a fully enclosed indoor water park that also a features a rock-climbing wall; a brand-new park for wakeboarding; and one of the largest outdoor skate parks in Texas. The Courses at Watters Creek offers an 18-hole golf course for traditional golfers, along with a family-friendly six-hole course. The school system is also a big draw; the district has been ranked as one of the best in the state of Texas, and Allen students routinely outperform the state averages in both reading and math. There is only one high school in town, with more than 5,000 students; it also boasts one of the largest high school football stadiums in the country. The size can be daunting, but Reddy says she’s excited for her kids to have “lots of opportunities you don’t get in some of the smaller high schools. They can really do anything they want.” P H O TO G R A P H S B Y N A N C Y N E W B E R R Y ( A L L E N ) ; J OYC E K I M ( M O N T E R E Y PA R K ) GROWTH IS THE BUZZWORD 43490%8-32 1328)6)= 4%6/ ,MPPWMHI WXVIIXWMR 1SRXIVI] 4EVO '%0-*362-% HENRY LO, 42, moved to Monterey Park, Calif., eight years ago—and he’s never looked back. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lo’s work as a ﬁeld representative for a California state assembly member frequently takes him to various locations throughout the San Gabriel Valley, and he was seeking a place to settle that was central to a number of destinations in the area. Monterey Park, situated eight miles east of downtown L.A., ﬁt the bill. 43490%8-32 1)(-%2 ,31) 46-') 1)(-%2 ,397),30( -2'31) 463.)'8)( .3&+63;8, %:)6%+) '31198)8-1) 1-298)7 “Monterey Park is a hub in every sense of the word. It’s a transportation hub because we abut three different freeways and are close to both the local light rail and the regional Metrolink train,” says Lo. Indeed, Monterey Park’s enviable location makes it relatively easy to commute throughout the relatively pricey L.A. area. But this small &)78 40 %')7 830-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 8LI:MRGIRX4VMGI%VX1YWIYQ JSYRHIHF]XLIEGXSVMWETEVXSJ )EWX0SW%RKIPIW'SPPIKI %TPE]WTEGIMR)PHIV4EVO 2 city of just eight square miles also offers plenty of recreational opportunities within its borders, especially for families who want to unwind after work and school. Residents enjoy a weekly farmers’ market, more than a dozen parks, and the Barnes Park Amphitheater, which hosts a number of free concerts and an annual Fourth of July ﬁreworks and live entertainment event. Monterey Park is a crossroads in other senses as well. “We’re a cultural hub because we have a number of immigrant communities in the area,” Lo says, referring to the mishmash of the city’s population, which includes not only a large Chinese community but also Latinos, Japanese, Vietnamese, and others. “And we’re an educational hub because we have a community college within our borders, are 10 minutes from Cal State–L.A., and 20 minutes from USC.” WHAT MAKES YOUR TOWN GREAT? Tell us at email@example.com. Thanks to its ethnically diverse population, Monterey Park is a foodie haven—you’ll ﬁnd everything from dim sum to tortas to Hong Kong– style cafés within minutes of one another. The city also honors the cultures of its residents by hosting several events throughout the year, including its annual cherry blossom festival, as well as Cinco de Mayo and lunar new year celebrations. Lo says that visitors might be surprised to see how many signs in town are in Chinese. And indeed, the city plans to capitalize on those ethnic ties in the coming years, by banking on the hospitality industry. It has already approved the development of several hotels for the area and expects to cater to a number of tourists from Asia. P H O TO G R A P H S B Y J OYC E K I M ( M O N T E R E Y PA R K ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C I T Y O F F R A N K L I N 1 6IWMHIRXWKEXLIV EXXLI1EMR 7XVIIX*IWXMZEP MRc*VEROPMR *6%2/0-2 8)22)77)) JUST 21 MILES SOUTH of Nashville, Franklin is heavy with culture, Southern charm, and hospitality. Founded in 1799, the city has preserved its history through its Main Street—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—and a number of Civil War– era homes. But don’t get stuck in the past: Franklin has balanced the traditional with the modern, offering plenty of jobs and amenities within its borders. While you’ll see few chain stores as you stroll through Franklin’s downtown, just minutes away is the CoolSprings Galleria, a major shopping center. Several health care–related employers are here in town, including Community Health Systems, Optum, and Healthways. You’ll also ﬁnd Nissan’s North American headquarters here, along with outposts for other big companies such as Verizon and Mars Petcare—helping keep unemployment low. Denise Mitchell, a chemist at Mars, has lived in Franklin since 2005 and says the presence of so many 43490%8-32 1)(-%2 ,31)46-') 1)(-%2 ,397),30( -2'31) 463.)'8)( .3&+63;8, ś %:)6%+) '31198)8-1) 1-298)7 businesses helps keep property taxes low. More important, the city offers excellent schools—something her two teenagers have beneﬁted from. Her 17-year-old daughter is a senior in Franklin High School’s International Baccalaureate program, while her 16-year-old son has received specialized services to help manage dyslexia. “The schools are incredible,” says Mitchell. “If there’s something a kid wants to do, they will ﬁnd a way to provide it.” Mitchell adds that the cultural scene in Franklin has exploded in the past decade. “When I ﬁrst moved here, I’d go to Nashville to do something fun on the weekends. Now I almost always stay in Franklin,” she says. The music scene is a big draw—you can ﬁnd live performances every night of the week at local bars and restaurants, while the renovated Franklin Theatre draws major acts and even served as the ﬁlming site for a number of concerts on the TV show Nashville. The Pilgrimage Music Festival, a new annual event that began in 2015, celebrates the area’s culture and cuisine while attracting stars like Justin Timberlake. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M &)78 40 %')7 830-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 43490%8-32 1)(-%2 ,31)46-') 1)(-%2 ,397),30( -2'31) 463.)'8)( .3&+63;8, ś %:)6%+) '31198)8-1) 1-298)7 1-77-77-44- SITUATED ON THE TENNESSEE state line, the city of Olive Branch offers an escape from neighboring Memphis, with a high quality of life, a historic small-town atmosphere, and a moderate commute. “Olive Branch is so different from Memphis, which is just across the state line. We don’t have the crime or the hustle and bustle of the city—it feels like you’re much further away from Memphis than you really are,” says Jay Nichols, who was born and raised in Olive Branch and now works for the city. Nichols, 45, says Olive Branch has experienced incredible growth from when he was a kid. The population has exploded, rising from 3,567 in 1990 to 37,500 today, and residents no longer have to leave town for basic amenities. “There’s a level of comfort and safety here in Olive Branch that’s unique. It’s just a great place to raise your kids,” says Nichols. Indeed, families are drawn to Olive Branch for its good schools, safe streets, and family-friendly activities, and its affordability—the median home price is just $185,092. There’s a 7YRWIXSZIVE FEPPƙIPHMR3PMZI &VERGL weekly farmers’ market at the city hall, and the city hosts outdoor movies on the lawn of Wesson House, a Mississippi landmark that anchors Olive Branch’s Old Towne area. Brussel’s Bonsai, a 175,000-square-foot nursery dedicated to the miniature trees, attracts visitors from outside Olive Branch as well—especially during its annual bonsai celebration every Memorial Day weekend. While there aren’t many independent restaurants, Olive Branch has been attracting some new businesses—like Mississippi Ale House, a craft-beer taproom, and Board & Brush, a studio where patrons can learn woodworking and painting while sipping wine with friends. The city also prides itself on serving people from all walks of life. It recently opened an allinclusive playground whose amenities include a wheelchair-accessible swing set. P H O TO G R A P H S C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C I T Y O F O L I V E B R A N C H ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C I T Y O F D I C K I N S O N ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C I T Y O F S C H A U M B U R G ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C I T Y O F L O N E T R E E 30-:)&6%2', (-'/ -2732 (-'/-2732 2368,(%/38% 7',%91&96+ 032)86)) '3036%(3 032)86)) 2368, %60-2+832 7',%91&96+ -00-23-7 2);.)67)= 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) THANKS TO the North Dakota oil boom, Dickinson has become one of the fastestgrowing towns in the U.S. It boasts an unemployment rate of 4% and a strong economy centered on the energy industry as well as agriculture and manufacturing. Yet Dickinson had attractions of its own even before the shale-oil frenzy upended its economy. Long known as the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the town is also home to Dickinson State University and the Dickinson Museum Center, a complex whose holdings range from Jurassic-era ﬁndings to artifacts from the American settlers. There’s also the Ukrainian Cultural Institute, which hosts workshops on traditional Easter egg decorating. Dickinson’s real draw, however, is the amazing breadth of available outdoor activities: from ﬁshing and big-game hunting to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Residents can ride or trek the 144-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail, and sometimes even catch the aurora borealis coloring the night sky. DENVER SUBURB Lone Tree is a quick drive or light-rail ride into the city, making for easy work commutes or nights out—but there is plenty to keep residents occupied within their own boundaries. Despite its relatively small size, Lone Tree boasts its own arts center, which hosts frequent music and dance performances, and the state’s biggest shopping center, the Park Meadows Mall. It’s also home to numerous parks and running and biking trails, including the Bluffs Regional Park and Trail, which delivers great views of the Colorado Front Range mountains and 3.5 miles of trails to explore. The town’s main hospital, Sky Ridge Medical Facility, recently underwent an expansion and serves as one of the largest local employers, helping to fuel one of Lone Tree’s top draws: its steady economy. The town has an unemployment rate of only 2.7%, and residents here earn a median income of more than $116,000 a year. FOR THOSE wanting a small-town feel while still enjoying the perks of a big city, North Arlington delivers. Located less than 15 miles from New York City’s Financial District, this spot gives commuters an ideal home base, with excellent schools and low crime. Sports fans will enjoy easy access to the nearby Meadowlands Sports Complex, which contains MetLife Stadium, home to the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets teams, as well as the Meadowlands Racetrack, which hosts the annual Hambletonian Stakes. In good weather, residents can stretch out and enjoy the outdoors at the 85-acre Riverside County Park, which has tennis courts, bocce, a dog park, a ﬁtness center, and a playground. On cold or rainy days, take a shopping trip to the nearby Secaucus outlets. SCHAUMBURG holds a ﬁrm place in Chicago’s so-called Golden Corridor, a stretch northwest of the city that is known as an economic and manufacturing powerhouse. While the region hosts several Fortune 500 companies, Schaumburg itself claims it is home to more businesses than any other place in Illinois, outside of the Windy City. Residents beneﬁt from the town’s resources. You can take in a performance at the Prairie Center for the Arts or visit the Trickster Art Gallery. Families will enjoy the Legoland Discovery Center, while shoppers can stroll Woodﬁeld Mall, one of the largest in the country, with nearly 300 stores and restaurants. The village’s facilities are also a point of pride. A stroll through the Town Square may take you past a concert or a farmers’ market, depending on the day. Schaumburg’s district library is one of the largest in the state, with more than a million visitors each year. Investment in the town’s parks shows too: Its newest children’s space, Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground, opened this spring. (-'/-2732(%8%6)*0)'871)(-%20-78-2+46-')%0038,)640%')77,3;1)(-%27%0)46-') %PJVIWGSHMRMRK MRHS[RXS[R &S^IQER &3>)1%2 1328%2% 43490%8-32 1)(-%2 ,31) 46-') 1)(-%2 ,397),30( -2'31) 463.)'8)( .3&+63;8, ś %:)6%+) '31198)8-1) 1-298)7 COU RT ESY O F T H E C I T Y O F B OZ E M A N ; COU RT ESY O F T H E C I T Y O F N EW B E R L I N IT DOESN’T GET much more scenic than Bozeman, a picturesque college town nestled among four mountain ranges and located just 90 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, Bozeman boasts easy access to world-class skiing, ﬁshing, hiking, rafting, and more. It also offers a charming downtown area and a surprisingly vibrant cultural scene, thanks to the presence of Montana State University and arts and music events like the annual Sweet Pea Festival. But it’s also a destination for urban refugees seeking a higher quality of life—some 14% of residents walk or bike to work, and the average commute time is just 13 minutes—with access to great jobs. In the past two decades, the city has become a booming hub for high-tech companies and entrepreneurs. Oracle bought local tech giant RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion in 2011, enabling many former employees (and newly minted millionaires) to launch their own startups. The Bozeman Technology Incubator offers free mentoring to all local tech and manufacturing businesses. The economy is expected to keep expanding; Moody’s Analytics predicts 11.4% job growth over the next ﬁve years. &)78 40 %')7 83 0-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 0SGEPWXEOIMRER SYXHSSVGSRGIVX MR2I[&IVPMR &)%:)6832 36)+32 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) 2); &)60-2 ;-7'327-2 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) 463.)'8)(.3&+63;8,ś %:)6%+)'31198)8-1)1-298)7 A WESTERN SUBURB of Milwaukee, New Berlin is home to outposts of several multinational corporations: Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen, along with robotics maker ABB and SoftwareONE, both Swiss companies. And aerospace industry supplier B/E Aerospace Lighting & Integrated Systems (formerly Emteq) is headquartered in New Berlin. It’s no wonder the local unemployment rate is just 3.6%. But this previously agricultural town also honors its past. While the city was incorporated in 1959, its pioneer history dates back to the early 1830s—and New Berlin is committed to remembering it. An active historical society helps preserve a 4.5-acre park with buildings from the 1800s, including the Meidenbauer Log Cabin, the WintonMartin House, and a little red schoolhouse. New Berlin is also home to Weston’s Antique Apple Orchards, the oldest active orchard in Waukesha County. The orchard and its red-roofed barn were among the ﬁrst Wisconsin landmarks to appear on the National Register of Historic Places. Residents also enjoy good schools: New Berlin West High School was ranked 11th in the state, boasting a 98% graduation rate. The city also offers plenty of family activities, screening movies outdoors during the summer and hosting an annual family campout: Residents pitch tents in Malone Park to enjoy a scavenger hunt, s’mores, and a night under the stars. THOUGH IT’S LOCATED a mere seven miles west of Portland, in the Tualatin Valley, don’t think of Beaverton as just another cookie-cutter suburb. The city of 97,000 has its own personality, thanks to a thriving restaurant scene, one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the area, and big local employers like Nike (which is headquartered here) and IBM. Quality of life ranks high: Commutes average a relatively modest 22 minutes, and residents enjoy more than 100 scenic parks. Beaverton also offers easy day trips to breathtaking recreation options—like the Oregon coastline, just 90 minutes away, or Mount Hood, a premier skiing destination. There are 77 vineyards in the Tualatin Valley; Cooper Mountain Vineyards and the Ponzi Historic Estate are two popular destinations in town for wine tasting and other events. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M &)78 40 %')7 830-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 ;%08,%1 ;%08,%1 36)1 784)8)67 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) 43490%8-32 1)(-%2,31)46-') 1)(-%2,397),30(-2'31) ONE OF THE OLDEST cities in America, Waltham is located on the Charles River, 10 miles from central Boston. Its easy access to Route 128, the Massachusetts Turnpike, and Route 2—not to mention an MBTA station—makes commuting relatively easy. But residents don’t necessarily have to “head into town” for work; there are plenty of big employers within Waltham, including defense contractor Raytheon, pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca, and Dutch printing company Cimpress (formerly Vistaprint). It’s also the home of both Brandeis and Bentley universities. The presence of both jobs and academia spells good news for the city’s tax base. Diversity is also a plus here: Approximately one in four residents was born outside the U.S. That’s reﬂected in the area’s restaurants, especially along Waltham’s renowned Moody Street, where you can dine on everything from pho to tapas to tandoori kebabs. LOCATED 45 MILES south of Salt Lake City, Orem is safe, affordable, and friendly. Crime is low, and average commutes (often to nearby Provo) are a breezy 16 minutes. Home prices are relatively modest, while property taxes average $1,392 a year. The city has invested in family-oriented amenities: A brand-new water playground features waterfalls designed to resemble the nearby landscape. Last year the city debuted its All-Together Playground, the ﬁrst in Utah County to feature accommodations for specialneeds children, including ramps; rides for wheelchairbound kids; and a safe, soft foam ﬂoor. The community also offers programs like CoderDojo, a weekly coding club for kids. Because it sits between Utah Lake to the west and the regal Wasatch Mountains to the east, there’s no shortage of scenic views or outdoor activities. The 17-mile Murdock Canal Trail connects Orem with a number of cities to the north, while Mount Timpanogos Park is a beautiful site for hiking and picnics. ST. PETERS IS an ideal place to start a family in the St. Louis area—it’s just 25 miles from downtown (commutes average 25 minutes), and housing is very affordable, with median home prices clocking in at $208,666. While St. Louis provides plenty of arts and dining opportunities, St. Peters aims to bring some culture closer to home. The St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre is devoted to promoting the arts through classes, day trips, art shows, and events like its Time for Tea speaker series. The Celebrate St. Peters festival, meanwhile, features live music, ﬁreworks, carnival games, and rides at Lakeside Park. Prefer to be active? The city offers more than 1,200 acres of parkland in 25 parks, along with 20 miles of paved pedestrian trails, 12 pavilions, and dozens of playgrounds, baseball diamonds, and soccer ﬁelds. Amateur and serious athletes alike ﬂock to St. Peters’ state-of-the-art 236,000-square-foot Rec-Plex, a ﬁtness and recreation center that hosted the 2004 Olympic Diving Trials. 1%77%',97)887 M O N E Y. C O M 98%, OCTOBER 2017 1-77396- ,3;;) (-(-8 TO CREATE MONEY’S Best Places to Live ranking, we looked only at places with populations between 10,000 and 100,000. We eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity. This gave us 2,400 places. We then collected about 170,000 different data points to narrow the list. Our partners at realtor.com contributed data on housing market costs and growth. We also considered data on each place’s economic health, cost of living, public education, crime, ease of living, and amenities, all provided by research partner Witlytic. We put the greatest weight on economic health, cost of living factors, and public school performance. Finally, reporters researched each spot, interviewing residents, checking out neighborhoods, and searching for the kinds of intangible factors that aren’t revealed by statistics. To ensure a geographically diverse set, we limited the list to no more than four places per state and two per county. In the top 15, we allowed only one place per state. Rankings derived from more than 70 separate types of data. For full methodology and sources, go to money.com/ BPLmethodology. T H I S PA G E : P H OTO G R A P H S C O U R T E SY O F T H E C I T Y O F WA LT H A M ; C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C I T Y O F O R E M . O P P O S I T E PAG E , F R O M L E F T: P H OTO G R A P H B Y R O B H O WA R D ; G E T T Y I M A G E S ( 3 ) 36)1 =)%67 OVER THE 30 YEARS SINCE MONEY’s Best Places to Live ﬁrst launched, the deﬁnition of a Best Place has shifted repeatedly. In its ﬁrst year, New England life dominated the top of the list: Nashua, N.H., took the No. 1 slot, with two Connecticut towns in the top ﬁve. A few years later, Western cities were in favor: 1990’s top ﬁve included Seattle, Tacoma, and Bremerton, Wash., plus San Francisco and—a nod to the Midwest—Columbia, Mo. Two U.S. cities have made it into the top ﬁve slots a halfdozen times: San Francisco, which dominated during the list’s early years, and Louisville, Colo., a Rocky Mountains suburb that has beneﬁted from Denver’s recent boom. The pairing reﬂects one of the list’s broadest changes. In many big cities, soaring housing prices have sent residents looking for better value in suburbs and between the coasts—exactly the kinds of spots that dominate this year’s list. —Rachel F. Elson 3*6%2/-2+ 8,) &)7840%')7 830-:) 6)4)%84)6*361)67 Over three decades, these spots have made the most appearances at the top of MONEY’s Best Places to Live. HOW MANY TIMES IN THE TOP FIVE? \ Louisville, Colo. The suburb has beneﬁted in recent years from its hot job market and outdoorsy culture. \ San Francisco Last appeared atop the list in 2002, in the wake of the dotcom bust. \ Rochester, Minn. Home of the Mayo Clinic, this town dominated during the 1990s. \ Seattle A recent boom has pushed housing out of reach for many people. &)78 40 %')7 830-:) -2 %1)6-'% 3 &)7840%')7 6%2/ 1 2 3 4 &=8,) 291&)67 5 6 8,)&)78 40%')7830-:) 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 7XMPPLEZIRŞXTMGOIH]SYVRI\XLSQIXS[R# +IXQSVIMRJSVQEXMSRERHERI\XIRHIHPMWXSJ &IWX4PEGIWEXQSRI]GSQFIWXTPEGIW 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 P H O TO G R A P H C O U R T E S Y O F T H E C I T Y O F R O G E R S 'ERSIMRKSR 0EOI%XEPERXEMR 6SKIVW%VOŜ 2SSRXLMW ]IEVŞWPMWX M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 03'%8-32 Fishers Indiana Allen Texas Monterey Park California Franklin Tennessee Olive Branch Mississippi Dickinson North Dakota Lone Tree Colorado North Arlington New Jersey Schaumburg Illinois Bozeman Montana New Berlin Wisconsin Beaverton Oregon Waltham Massachusetts Orem Utah St. Peters Missouri Carmel Indiana Avon Indiana Santa Monica California Grapevine Texas Wylie Texas Brentwood Tennessee Greenwood Indiana Bedford Texas Saddle Brook New Jersey Bismarck North Dakota Newton Massachusetts Wheaton Illinois Villa Park Illinois Reston Virginia Ashburn Virginia Smyrna Tennessee Fond du Lac Wisconsin Parsippany–Troy Hills New Jersey Lebanon Tennessee Des Plaines Illinois Clifton New Jersey Wooster Ohio Concord North Carolina Rockville Maryland Howard Wisconsin Mequon Wisconsin O’Fallon Missouri Fayetteville Arkansas Bend Oregon Rogers Arkansas Lower Merion Pennsylvania Midlothian Virginia Meridian Idaho Superior Colorado Louisville Colorado 43490%8-32 86,357 96,045 62,630 72,955 37,504 24,771 14,733 15,563 77,557 42,435 40,243 97,229 63,053 95,742 57,278 90,238 18,490 93,974 51,286 46,235 42,319 1)(-%2 ,31)46-') $236,167 $323,676 $533,083 $433,996 $185,092 $227,417 $411,333 $446,500 $246,500 $313,525 $255,633 $353,316 $456,666 $282,173 $208,666 $236,167 $184,359 $533,083 $206,541 $323,676 $433,996 463.)'8)( .3&+63;8, ś 1)(-%2 ,397),30( -2'31) 11.6% 17.0% 4.7% 12.3% 11.8% 8.9% 7.9% 3.9% 3.0% 11.4% 4.6% 8.7% 4.6% 12.5% 10.2% 11.6% 8.5% 4.7% 10.6% 17.0% 12.3% $87,043 $104,524 $57,419 $82,334 $62,958 $71,866 $116,761 $73,885 $73,824 $49,303 $74,983 $58,785 $75,106 $54,515 $71,718 $108,349 $78,915 $82,963 $80,812 $82,763 $136,383 '0)%6(%=7 4)6=)%6 3983* %:)6%+) '31198)8-1) 1-298)7 187 232 278 208 214 200 245 205 189 186 190 142 201 226 202 187 187 263 232 232 208 24 29 27 22 23 12 24 28 28 13 20 22 23 16 25 23 24 23 24 32 22 ,-+,7',330 +6%(9%8-32 6%8) 95.0% 96.9% 92.3% 96.0% 90.0% 92.0% 90.0% 95.0% 93.0% 86.0% 98.0% 81.0% 83.0% 92.0% 88.7% 97.0% 97.0% 92.0% 96.2% 94.9% 96.0% 57,389 $141,110 7.6% $54,564 187 24 91.4% 49,016 13,818 71,211 86,175 53,957 22,371 61,319 51,357 46,434 42,835 53,223 31,019 59,971 85,229 25,936 89,301 65,215 18,556 23,558 86,094 85,793 84,505 62,837 59,668 68,156 92,657 13,410 20,661 $206,541 $446,500 $255,000 $456,666 $262,666 $262,666 $463,149 $478,533 $202,145 $130,900 $397,341 $267,250 $246,500 $293,000 $117,166 $196,083 $425,333 $152,750 $250,549 $208,666 $165,166 $320,383 $167,133 $277,833 $245,500 $242,893 $396,095 $396,095 10.6% 3.9% 3.5% 4.6% 3.9% 3.9% 3.1% 14.7% 11.1% 4.4% 2.2% 10.5% 3.0% 2.1% 4.4% 8.3% 5.8% 4.0% 4.6% 10.2% 6.1% 9.8% 8.8% 4.5% 5.1% 9.2% 7.1% 7.1% $61,579 $77,289 $60,971 $121,126 $86,875 $69,033 $112,722 $120,837 $52,882 $47,942 $87,057 $43,761 $65,387 $71,172 $43,054 $54,579 $100,158 $60,010 $106,350 $77,258 $40,835 $55,893 $54,750 $117,438 $77,158 $62,899 $116,312 $95,091 232 213 200 201 189 189 197 197 208 187 205 208 189 205 167 214 202 187 190 202 218 157 218 205 206 210 245 245 24 23 14 24 27 25 25 30 27 17 25 24 27 24 16 26 29 17 21 27 16 15 17 24 24 20 24 21 94.0% 92.0% 86.0% 96.0% 91.1% 89.0% 87.0% 93.0% 94.0% 89.0% 97.0% 96.0% 87.8% 84.0% 95.9% 90.0% 89.0% 92.0% 98.0% 90.9% 81.4% 77.0% 91.5% 97.0% 88.0% 84.0% 92.0% 92.0% NOTES: MEDIAN HOME PRICE REFERS TO MEDIAN SALE PRICE FOR THE COUNTY EXCEPT IN DICKINSON, N.D., WHERE IT DENOTES THE MEDIAN LISTING PRICE. SOURCES: WITLYTIC, REALTOR.COM, SYNERGOS TECHNOLOGIES, MOODY’S ANALYTICS, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION MONEY &= 1 % 68 ,% ';,-8) % 2( / - 1 '0%6/ 72 M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL CHINI—TIME INC. STUDIOS ś &)78 '6)(-8 '%6(7 ;,)8,)6=39Ş6)033/-2+*36 63'/&388316%8)736'%7, &%'/368386%27*)6&%0%2')7 ,)6)%6)8,)&)78'%6(7*36=39 OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M 73 I &IWX'EWL&EGO'EVH T’S BEEN EIGHT YEARS since the end of the Great Recession, and credit cards are back. Today, 171 million Americans have at least one card in their wallet, the highest number since 2005. Consumers also owe more than $1 trillion in revolving credit card debt, an all-time record. Even the percentage of consumers with less-than-stellar credit who have access to plastic is nearly back to pre-crisis levels. A strengthening economy and rising demand means one thing: increasing competition for your business. “It’s a really good time to be a credit card customer,” says Jim Miller, senior director of J.D. Power’s banking practice, adding that a growing number of card issuers are coming out “with new products that offer rich sign-up bonuses, increased cash back rewards, and new beneﬁts.” With more features, though, comes more confusion. Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed by Experian are “overwhelmed” by all the card options now available to them. To help you cut through the clutter, MONEY teamed up with NerdWallet to identify the best cards for you. We considered several factors, including, How widely accepted is the card? What’s the overall cost when all fees and the annual percentage rate (APR) range are factored in? And how good are all the perks and rewards? There’s no such thing as a single card that’s best for everyone. That’s why this year, MONEY picked the best offerings in 10 categories. You may use one card for most of your transactions, in which case a cash back option may be your best bet. But you may also turn to a smallbusiness card for nonpersonal expenditures, or an airline card if you’re planning a big trip; or a balance transfer card if you’re seeking to reduce your debt. “You can maximize your beneﬁts and rewards based on which cards you use for which purposes,” Miller says. All within reason, of course. Because ultimately, the best use of your card—no matter which one you choose— is to pay off your balances in full every month. 74 M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 Cash back credit cards are popular for obvious reasons. Yet whenever someone promises you money for nothing, it’s time to read the ﬁne print. While these cards give you points on purchases that can be redeemed for cash, in some cases entire categories of spending may not qualify. Conversely, some cash back cards offer accelerated rewards on certain categories like travel, dining out, or warehouse club purchases. But if that’s not where you do the bulk of your spending, you won’t see a big payoff. Also, check to see if you have to meet a minimum spending threshold before you begin earning points toward getting cash back. And since you’ll want to earn points quickly, make sure you understand the card’s earnings rate formula. Finally, avoid cards that cap or restrict the amount of rewards you can earn, or make it complicated to earn additional points—for instance by routinely switching up spending categories that garner a bonus. ;MRRIV CITI DOUBLE CASH REWARDS Two points for every $1 spent and paid off ANNUAL FEE $0 APR RANGE 14.49%–24.49% loo tk logo tk MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: The best cash back cards let you earn points with few restrictions. And that’s the case for Citi Double Cash, which gives you points worth $2 back for every $100 you spend—on anything. There are no category restrictions. No rotating categories to keep track of. And no caps on the amount of rewards you can earn. This Citi Mastercard also has no annual fee and offers a belowaverage APR if you have good credit. THE CATCH: The way Citi Double Cash shows you the money is a bit complicated. You don’t get it all at once. Instead, you get half upfront and half when the purchase is paid off. But that can be used as motivation to pay off your purchases quickly rather than letting them rack up interest. &IWX6I[EVHW'EVH Credit card reward programs can put serious money back in your pocket. But their rules can also be a confusing jumble of miles, points, and redemption options you have to sift through. The best cards are the ones that make it simple both to earn and redeem your rewards. The best programs also offer you more than one point or mile per dollar spent, with no cap on the amount you can earn and no expiration dates for points or miles already earned. This is actually a good time to be looking for a new rewards card. As competition heats up, the best ones are sweetening the pot with buckets of bonus points just for signing up. One caveat: Though you may prefer no annual fees, don’t make that a deal breaker here. Many good cards in this category charge annual fees. ;MRRIV 50,000 “ultimate rewards” points if you make $4,000 in purchases within the ﬁrst three months. That’s a high threshold, but if you hit it, those points could be worth as much as $750 toward booking travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. This makes Chase Sapphire Reserve ideal if you’re planning for a big trip. CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE REWARDS Three points for every $1 spent on travel and dining out One point for every $1 spent on everything else $300 annual travel credit Access to 900-plus airport lounges worldwide ANNUAL FEE $450 APR RANGE 16.99%–23.99% MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: Despite an ex- tremely high annual fee, this Chaseissued Visa actually has a lot going for it. For starters, it gives users a very good return on basic spending and accelerated rewards in many common categories, including airfare, hotel stays, and dining out. And if you’re a frequent global traveler, there are plenty more valuable perks. For instance: free rental car insurance; access to more than 900 airport lounges worldwide; a $100 credit if you enroll in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry; and no fees on transactions made while overseas. THE CATCH: The sticking point is obvi- ous: the $450 annual fee. However, the $300 annual travel credit—which can be used to cover costs like baggage fees or seat upgrades—goes a long way toward offsetting that annual fee if you’re a globe-trotter. Plus, there’s a sign-up bonus of &IWX'EVHWJSV &EPERGI8VERWJIVW If you’re paying off credit card debt at a high interest rate, balance transfer cards with a low APR can buy you ﬁnancial breathing room. In fact, cards that offer 0% interest on balance transfers are a responsible way to tackle your debts—but only if you resist the temptation to turn around and load them up with new purchases (which could be charged a much higher APR). The best credit cards for balance transfers will offer you 0% rates for an extended stretch of time—at least more than a year—combined with no fees on that balance transfer. ;MRRIV BANKAMERICARD REWARDS This card has no rewards. ANNUAL FEE $0 APR RANGE 0% on transfers and purchases for the ﬁrst 15 billing cycles, then 12.99% to 22.99% OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M 75 MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: BankAmericard’s introductory 0% APR on transfers and purchases lasts 15 billing cycles, making it ideal if you need more than a year to pay down your debt. While that’s not the longest 0% window available—Citi Simplicity’s 0% rate on purchases and balance transfers, for instance, goes on for 21 months—the BankAmericard credit card doesn’t charge any fees on those transfers. Some credit cards will impose balance transfer fees as high as 5%, which can really add up if you’re planning on shifting a large amount of debt to the new card. This makes BankAmericard a good option if you’re seeking to transfer balances with a good to excellent credit score. THE CATCH: Balance transfers are feefree only if you move your debt within 60 days of opening your account. After 60 days, the card will impose a 3% fee on balance transfers. And Bank of America will not allow you to make balance transfers from another Bank of America account. HONORABLE MENTION: BarclayCard Ring Mastercard. If you have balances on an existing Bank of America card and are looking for a balance transfer, go with the BarclayCard, which offers 0% on transfers for 15 billing cycles coupled with no transfer fees for the ﬁrst 45 days. And after its 0% window ends, the card’s regular APR is a belowaverage variable 13.99%. That makes this card a good choice for folks who plan to carry a balance after the introductory period ends. However, you will need good to excellent credit to qualify. 76 M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 &IWX0S[-RXIVIWX 6EXI'EVH While all credit card users covet the lowest interest rates they can get, low-rate cards are particularly useful for consumers who plan to carry a balance from time to time. Keep in mind, though, that a low APR isn’t the only criteria you should consider when you evaluate these cards. For instance, the annual fees that some low-rate cards charge can eat into the money you save on interest. And while credit cards with 0% interest may seem tempting, keep in mind that those 0% offers are advertising teaser rates. And “no interest” credit cards can sometimes have quite high interest rates after the promotional periods end. What’s more, if you accrue or transfer a balance that you fail to pay off before the end of the promotional period, some cards will hit you with deferred interest charges, meaning you’re liable for all the interest as if there had never been a teaser rate. MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: A big reason why we like this Visa card, issued by the Lake Michigan Credit Union, is that applicants with excellent credit (typically deﬁned as having FICO scores of 720 or higher) can get an APR of just 7.25%. That means this credit card’s interest rate is competitive with that of personal loans, which is unheard of. Slightly lower rates may be available from credit unions with very specialized memberships (credit unions in general can offer low rates because their banking tends to be more community based, reducing the cost of gathering assets). However, the lowest rate you can expect from cards issued by credit unions serving a broad audience is usually in excess of 9%. THE CATCH: This card is issued by a credit union for residents of the Lake Michigan area, and you probably don’t live there. No worries: Anyone can join the credit union by donating $5 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association of Michigan. Then you can apply for the card. &IWX'EVHJSV 7QEPP&YWMRIWWIW ;MRRIV LAKE MICHIGAN CREDIT UNION PRIME PLATINUM REWARDS This card has no rewards. ANNUAL FEE After making a one-time $5 donation to join the credit union, this card has no annual fee. APR RANGE 7.25%–15.25% If you run your own business, you’ll want a credit card that ﬁts your company’s needs. For one thing, business owners are likely to require much higher spending limits than a personal card can offer. Plus, a credit card tailored for small businesses can make bookkeeping and billing easier, while giving you better information about your ﬁrm’s spending patterns. Another advantage: A small-business credit card loo tk logo tk will help you keep your personal and business ﬁnances separate. What should you look for in a small-business card? The best ones make it easy to break out and see where your money is going each month with web or app-based tools. And since your business expenses are likely to be substantial, look for a credit card that can help you take advantage of that higher spending rate with generous points or miles through a rewards program. gram giving you 1.5% cash back on every dollar spent, regardless of where you spend your money. That makes this Capital One smallbusiness card particularly attractive to entrepreneurs who spend across a wide variety of categories. THE CATCH: You will need excellent credit (a FICO of 720 or higher) to obtain this card. However, Spark Cash Select charges no annual fees, and the card’s cash back program places no cap or expirations on rewards. &IWX'EVHJSV 7XYHIRXW ;MRRIV CAPITAL ONE SPARK CASH SELECT REWARDS 1.5% cash back on all purchases $200 cash bonus if you spend $3,000 in ﬁrst three months after opening the card ANNUAL FEE $0 APR RANGE 0% introductory APR for the ﬁrst nine months, then 13.99% to 21.99% MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: Spark Cash Select tops this category for several reasons. For starters, it offers you excellent business-friendly beneﬁts like quarterly and year-end spending summaries, downloadable purchase records for importing into Quicken or Excel, and auto-rental collision damage waivers through Visa. Capital One will also allow you to add employee cards onto your account for free. Plus the card offers a simple yet generous cash back rewards pro- cards have mechanisms by which cardholders can see their limits grow as they build a positive credit proﬁle. College students with plastic get a bad rap. Student credit cards, if used responsibly, can be one of the best ways to help young adults establish credit and then build a credit history that will beneﬁt them later in life. But while issuers are eager to extend credit cards to college students—who they hope will become their next generation of loyal customers—there are restrictions. If you’re under 21, for instance, you’ll be required to prove that you can make the minimum payments on your cards. And if you don’t have a job or some other source of income, you will be required to ﬁnd a cosigner to qualify. The best cards for students are ones that don’t charge any annual fees, encourage the formation of good credit habits, and offer rewards. A good student card will also teach college kids how credit scores work and how they affect your ability to borrow. Most student cards start out with lower credit limits than their “grownup” counterparts. But student ;MRRIV CAPITAL ONE JOURNEY STUDENT CREDIT CARD REWARDS 1% cash back on purchases An additional 0.25% cash back for paying your bills on time that month No caps on rewards you earn and no expirations ANNUAL FEE $0 APR RANGE 24.99% variable MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: This Capital One offering is one of the few “student” cards that doesn’t require you to be enrolled in college. It has a generous 1% cash back and lets young adults boost that rate to 1.25% if they pay their bills on time each month. So Capital One Journey relies on positive incentives to instill good ﬁnancial habits. Another way it does this: by offering cardholders a quick transition to a higher credit limit after ﬁve months of on-time payments. The lessons don’t stop there. For college students, credit can be a complicated concept. This Capital One student card tries to help students cut through that confusion by giving them access to credit education tools and credit score OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M 77 monitoring through Capital One’s CreditWise program. Capital One Journey is also the best credit card for students who are planning to travel or study abroad, since it charges no fees on foreign transactions. THE CATCH: If there’s a knock on this card, it’s that the 24.99% variable APR is high relative to other offerings in this category. Discover it for Students, for instance, starts out with a 0% introductory APR for six months then goes to a range of 13.99% to 22.99%. Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card for students begins with a 0% rate for 12 billing cycles for new purchases and balance transfers. And then it shifts to an APR range of 13.99% to 23.99%. However, if the point of getting a student card is to introduce your child to good credit habits—by paying their bills on time and off completely—then the APR shouldn’t be a deal breaker. The easiest cards to obtain if you have bad credit are so-called secured cards, where you have to put money down as a security deposit. And that deposit is generally your credit limit. (Be careful: If a card issuer tells someone with bad credit that there’s no deposit needed, it’s probably a marketing hook. Carefully read the ﬁne print on any unsecured credit cards for bad credit; they are likely to carry very high fees in addition to having high interest rates.) A good issuer will let cardholders know in advance how they can get a higher limit down the road or eventually transition to an unsecured card—say, by making a certain number of consecutive monthly payments on time. Provided you pay on time and keep your account in good standing, you will eventually get your deposit back when you close the card or switch to an unsecured card. &IWX'EVHJSV 'SRWYQIVW;MXL &EH'VIHMX It can be hard to ﬁnd good credit cards for people with bad credit. If you have a limited credit history or a poor track record in handling credit (in general, a FICO score of 600 or lower, though this can vary a bit based on the lender) getting credit isn’t as simple as instant approval. But cards for folks with bad credit aren’t impossible to obtain; the process just takes a little more work. And these cards come with more restrictions—such as lower credit limits—and often charge more in fees. No surprise. 78 M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 ;MRRIV CAPITAL ONE SECURED MASTERCARD REWARDS This card has no rewards. ANNUAL FEE $0. But Capital One charges a $49, $99, or $200 refundable deposit—the amount depends on your creditworthiness. APR RANGE 24.99% variable MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: Capital One Se- cured Mastercard charges no annual fee and comes with helpful features aimed at getting people with poor credit back on their ﬁnancial feet. For instance, a good card for people with bad credit will report their activity to at least one of the three major credit bureaus, which will help you build or reestablish good credit. Capital One Secured Mastercard will report your activity to all three of the major credit bureaus. Moreover, Capital One offers incentives for cardholders to act responsibly. You can obtain access to a higher credit line, for example, by making your ﬁrst ﬁve monthly payments on time—and without having to increase the amount of your deposit. The maximum credit line for this card is $3,000. In addition, this card will help you keep track of your credit score through access to Capital One’s CreditWise suite of creditmanagement tools. THE CATCH: This card offers no rewards or cash back. By contrast, rival Discover it Secured offers 2% cash back for spending at restaurants or gas stations and 1% on other purchases. Of course, if you’re starting off with a $200 spending limit, even a 2% cash back offer probably won’t move the needle. Another caveat: Capital One requires that you have a bank account to fund this card, so you won’t be approved if you don’t have a traditional checking or savings account. &IWX7XSVI'EVH Department stores and specialty retailers that offer their own credit cards often push their plastic like an impulse buy—offering instant loo tk logo tk approval and discounts for signing up at the register. But it pays to slow down and read the ﬁne print. For instance, the average credit card in general sports an APR of 16.67%. Yet many store cards charge far more. The Best Buy credit card has an APR of 26.24%; Walmart’s card carries an interest rate of 23.9%; and cards offered by Old Navy and the Gap (both owned by the same company) charge 25.99%. What’s more, instant approval for store cards often translates into lower credit limits—sometimes as low as just a few hundred bucks. This means even a moderate purchase may put you near or at the credit limit of that card. This is important because the percentage of the credit limit you use on each card and across all your cards can be a factor in your FICO score. card sports an APR lower than that of most store cards while offering tons of rewards. Assuming you shop regularly at Amazon.com, the cash back value for each $100 you spend there comes to an estimated $5—a generous redemption rate that rivals many general-purpose rewards cards. Amazon’s almost endless breadth of merchandise adds to this card’s value, as it’s far more versatile than a department store or shoe-store card. THE CATCH: You have to be an Amazon Prime member, which means the effective annual fee is $99. But that fee is generally in line with many other cash back cards. Plus Prime membership comes with loads of other beneﬁts, such as free two-day shipping on eligible products and access to streaming movies and TV shows via Amazon Prime Video. ;MRRIV STARWOOD PREFERRED GUEST CREDIT CARD FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS REWARDS Five points per $1 spent at Starwood properties, such as Westin, Sheraton, and W Hotels Double points for spending at Marriott Rewards hotels 30,000 bonus points for signing up if you spend $3,000 within the ﬁrst three months ANNUAL FEE $0 for the ﬁrst year, then $95 annually APR RANGE 16.24%–20.24% MONEY’S REVIEW. &IWX,SXIP'EVH ;MRRIV AMAZON PRIME REWARDS VISA REWARDS $70 Amazon gift card for new cardholders 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases 2% cash back on purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores 1% cash back on all other purchases ANNUAL FEE $0. But you must have an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $99 a year. APR RANGE 15.24%–23.24% MONEY’S REVIEW. WHY IT’S A WINNER: This Chase-issued Hotel cards can be a great way to rack up rewards when you hit the road. But are they really worth it? That depends on how much you travel and if you shop for rooms mainly by price or brand. If you are loyal to a particular chain, hotel cards can be a twofer: They offer the best rewards for spending at their affiliated properties as well as status in the brand’s loyalty program. Because of their rewards packages, though, don’t expect these cards to come with zero annual fees. Just make sure the card’s other beneﬁts and perks—for instance, free in-room Wi-Fi or no fees on transactions made abroad—are worth the annual costs. WHY IT’S A WINNER: This American Express card is incredibly versatile. The card offers a generous earnings rate worth approximately $2.30 in value per $100 spent. Points can be redeemed for stays at Starwood’s 11 brands. Plus SPG members who link their accounts to Marriott Rewards (Marriott International bought Starwood last year) can transfer points between the two programs or to a frequent-ﬂier program. Points can be redeemed for ﬂights on 150 airlines with no blackout dates. Also, as a cardholder and an SPG member, you’ll get free premium-speed Wi-Fi in your hotel room. THE CATCH: After the ﬁrst year, the card levies an annual fee of $95, which is higher than what some other hotel cards charge. Plus, you really have to be a frequent traveler to Starwood properties to make this worth it. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M 79 loo tk logo tk &IWX%MVPMRI 1MPIEKI'EVHW Airline cards can help you supplement the frequentﬂier miles you earn when you ﬂy. Choosing an airline card is, to some degree, a simple exercise: The best miles card for you is likely to be the one whose airline you ﬂy most frequently. Many airline cards charge annual fees, and they come with similar APR ranges and mileage redemption values. But you still want to examine the fees and look at other criteria. Among the best perks: free checked bags and access to airline lounges, which can help offset the cost of the annual fees. &IWX'VIHMX'EVH -J=SY*P]%QIVMGER &IWX'VIHMX'EVH -J=SY*P]9RMXIH &IWX'VIHMX'EVH -J=SY*P](IPXE spend $2,000 in ﬁrst three months 3,000 bonus miles on the anniversary of opening your account ANNUAL FEE $69 APR RANGE 16.99%–23.99% GOLD DELTA SKYMILES FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS REWARDS $1.30 per $100 spent, according to BoardingArea.com 50,000-mile sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in ﬁrst three months $50 credit if you make a Delta purchase in ﬁrst three months MONEY’s REVIEW. Earn double points on Southwest tickets or car rentals or hotels through Rapid Rewards partners. &IWX'VIHMX'EVHJSV %PP3XLIV%MVPMRIW ANNUAL FEE $0 ﬁrst year, then $95 APR RANGE 16.74%–25.74% CITI AADVANTAGE PLATINUM SELECT WORLD ELITE MASTERCARD REWARDS $1.30 per $100 spent, according to BoardingArea.com 30,000-mile sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in ﬁrst three months ANNUAL FEE $0 ﬁrst year, then $95 MONEY’s REVIEW. Earn double miles on AA ﬂights and get 25% off in-ﬂight purchases. With mileage discounts, you can get a free ﬂight for as little as 7,500 miles. You also get a free checked bag on U.S. ﬂights and priority boarding for up to four people. M O N E Y. C O M REWARDS $1.40 per $100 spent, according to BoardingArea.com 40,000-mile sign-up bonus if you spend $2,000 in ﬁrst three months ANNUAL FEE $95 &IWX'VIHMX'EVH -J=SY*P]7SYXL[IWX APR RANGE 16.99%–23.99% APR RANGE 16.99%–24.99% 80 UNITED MILEAGEPLUS EXPLORER MONEY’s REVIEW. Earn double miles on Delta purchases and get a free checked bag and priority boarding. Miles can be used on Delta and more than 15 partner airlines. MONEY’s REVIEW. Earn double miles on United purchases, and get one free checked bag and priority boarding for you and a companion. If you spend $25,000 in a year, you’ll get 10,000 bonus miles, great for business travelers on expense accounts. OCTOBER 2017 ALASKA AIRLINES VISA SIGNATURE REWARDS $1.80 per $100 spent, according to BoardingArea.com 30,000-mile sign-up bonus if you spend $1,000 in ﬁrst three months Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees if you make $1,000 in purchases in ﬁrst three months. ANNUAL FEE $75 APR RANGE 13.24%–20.24% SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS PLUS REWARDS $1.40 per $100 spent, according to BoardingArea.com 60,000-mile sign-up bonus if you MONEY’s REVIEW. Get triple miles on Alaska and Virgin America purchases, and a free checked bag on Alaska and Virgin America ﬂights for you and up to six companions. Picture those perfect days at the beach . But without your youth. Or your hair. LIVE LIKE A 20 YEAR OLD. INVEST LIKE A 50 YEAR OLD. There was a time to live your youth. Now, may be the time to invest for your retirement. The Main Advantages of Municipal Bonds Investors are attracted to municipal bonds for three reasons; safety of principal, regular predictable income and the tax-free beneﬁts. Together, these three elements can make a compelling case for including tax-free municipal bonds in your portfolio. Potential Safety of Principal When investing in municipal bonds, investors are paid back the full face value of their investment at maturity or earlier if called, unless the bond defaults. This is important because many investors, particularly those nearing retirement or in retirement, are concerned about protecting their principal. In May of 2016, Moody’s published research that showed that rated investment grade municipal bonds had an average cumulative 10-year default rate of just 0.09% between 1970 and 2015.* That means while there is some risk of principal loss, investing in rated investment-grade municipal bonds can be an important part of your portfolio. Potential Regular Predictable Income Municipal bonds typically pay interest every six months unless they get called or default. That means that you can count on a regular, predictable income stream. Because most bonds have call options, which means you get your principal back before the maturity date, subsequent municipal bonds you purchase can earn more or less interest than the called bond. According to Moody’s 2016 research,* default rates are historically low for the rated investment-grade bonds favored by Hennion & Walsh. Potential Tax-Free Income Income from municipal bonds is not subject to federal income tax and, depending on where you live, may also be exempt from state and local taxes. Tax-free can be a big attraction for many investors in this time of looming tax increases. About Hennion & Walsh Since 1990 Hennion & Walsh has specialized in investment-grade tax-free municipal bonds.The company supervises over $3 billion in assets in over 16,000 accounts, providing individual investors with institutional quality service and personal attention. Our FREE Gift To You We’re sure you’ll want to know more about the beneﬁts of tax-free Municipal Bonds. So our specialists have written a helpful Bond Guide for investors. It’s free and comes with no obligation whatsoever. FREE Bond Guide Without cost or obligation Call (800) 316-1837 © 2017 Hennion and Walsh. Securities offered through Hennion & Walsh Inc. Member of FINRA, SIPC. Investing in bonds involves risk including possible loss of principal. Income may be subject to state, local or federal alternative minimum tax. When interest rates rise, bond prices fall, and when interest rates fall, bond prices rise. *Source: Moody’s Investor Service, May 31, 2016 “US Municipal Bond Defaults and Recoveries, 1970–2015. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. MONEY %008,) 40%')7 =39'%2+3 83'300)+) *36*6)) M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 If you’re not an athlete or A student, you can still win free tuition— if you live in the right hometown. &= /%-80-2 190,)6) ILLUSTRATIONS BY SHAW NIELSEN HERE’S SOME SURPRISINGLY GOOD NEWS about college costs. It’s actually getting easier to ﬁnd free tuition in some places. New scholarships in New York and Rhode Island bring the number of full-tuition programs to at least 43, up from a handful a decade ago. And similar plans have been proposed in places like Arizona and Baltimore. These are a welcome addition to the traditional ways of going to college for free. Colleges have long offered full-tuition scholarships to top students and athletes. Students from families earning less than about $40,000 a year typically get federal Pell Grants that can cover community college tuition. The military academies charge no tuition (and even pay their students). And more than 700,000 soldiers, veterans, and members of military families get tuition assistance annually. But the easiest way to get free tuition these days is to live in a community that offers one of the new “promise” programs. Some fund students who earn good grades, or who study in-demand majors, or whose families buy homes in certain areas, for example. True, there have been cutbacks in many of the older lottery-funded state scholarships. Florida, Georgia, and New Mexico have slashed their scholarships for good students. Yet other communities are making different tuition promises, says Morley Winograd, president of the Campaign for Free College Tuition. The best programs are the simplest and broadest, says Michelle Miller-Adams of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. So here is MONEY’s list of the communities with near-universal eligibility for scholarships and enough funding to cover at least an associate’s degree. We included programs that prorate their beneﬁts based on the years students live in the community, and so pay full tuition only for longtime residents. If you don’t see your community on this list, ask a local college’s ﬁnancial aid office about specialized tuition offers, such as Arkansas’s for students in high-demand majors or California’s many one-semester community college tuition plans. Two important notes: Most of these scholarships are “last-dollar” awards, meaning they cover whatever is owed after federal and other state grants are applied. So you’ll have to ﬁll out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). And these programs cover only tuition and mandatory fees. You’ll still need to pay for books and supplies (typically about $1,400 a year), as well as living expenses and transportation to and from campus. 8,) ;)78 %6->32% Pinal County: Promise for the Future pays for Pinal County graduates to attend Central Arizona College. The program covers tuition and fees after federal and state aid is used. Students need a 2.75 GPA in high school and must complete 20 hours of community service, and then enroll in college the semester after graduating high school. '%0-*362-% Oakland: The Oakland Promise pays tuition for low-income graduates of Castlemont High School, Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, and Oakland High School. Recipients need at least a 2.0 GPA and 90% attendance. They can use the money at any accredited twoor four-year college. Award amounts vary depending on the type of college, but scholarships range from $1,000 to $16,000 and average about $10,000. Ontario: Students who have lived in Ontario for at least two years before high school graduation can receive fulltuition scholarships to any California community college. To maintain eligibility, students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete community service hours. San Francisco: The new Free City program will pay tuition (but not fees) for residents to attend City College for two years. Unlike many programs, San Francisco’s isn’t strictly tied to high school enrollment. Recipients just need to have lived in San Francisco for at least a year. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M WEST CONTINUED Santa Barbara: The Santa Barbara City College Promise covers two years of costs, including mandatory fees, books, and supplies, for students who complete high school in the college’s district. Recipients must enroll full-time in SBCC and be in good academic standing. Benton Harbor: High school graduates from Benton Harbor can get two years of tuition and fees covered at any instate community college or technical school. Detroit: Residents are eligible for free tuition and fees at local two-year campuses, as well as at a list of 17 four-year partner colleges. There are no GPA or test requirements to use the scholarship for two-year programs. But students must have a 3.0 GPA and a 1060 SAT to receive one of the four-year scholarships. San Marcos: The Palomar Promise awards two years of free tuition at Palomar College for graduates of the San Marcos Uniﬁed School District. Recipients must earn a 2.5 GPA and take placement tests in core subjects. Additional aid is available for students who transfer after two years into California State University San Marcos. Siskiyou and Modoc counties: The Siskiyou Promise is a twoyear scholarship for graduates of Siskiyou and Modoc county high schools that covers all tuition and mandatory enrollment fees. Recipients must enroll in courses worth at least 12 credits and earn a minimum 2.0 GPA to continue receiving the award, which kicks in after federal aid. 36)+32 Statewide: The Oregon Promise covers most tuition costs for recent high school graduates at community colleges. The maximum for this last-dollar program is set at the average community college tuition for 12 credits per semester ($3,540 in 2017–18). Recipients need a 2.5 GPA to qualify and can get funding for six to 12 credits per semester. The program started without an income cutoff, but facing budget pressures, lawmakers this year limited eligibility to those with expected family contributions of up to $18,000, which generally works out to an income of about $100,000 for a family of four. M O N E Y. C O M 8,) 1-(;)78 -00-23-7 Galesburg: The Galesburg Promise covers tuition after other ﬁnancial aid for up to 16 credits per semester for two years at Carl Sandburg College. Recipients must maintain a 2.0 GPA and pass at least two-thirds of their classes. / %27%7 McPherson and Saline counties: The Bethany Good Life Scholarship will pay tuition for graduates of McPherson or Saline county high schools who are attending Bethany College starting in fall 2017. The scholarship doesn’t carry many requirements beyond getting accepted and living on campus. This is the ﬁrst year the program will be in effect, and funding is available for ﬁve years. 1-',-+%2 Baldwin: The Baldwin Promise pays up to $5,000 annually for four years, based on what is owed for tuition and fees after federal and state grants are applied. Recipients must have attended high school in Baldwin since ninth grade. The money can be used at any public or private college in the state. Battle Creek: Students who graduate from one of the city’s two public high schools can take up to 62 credits’ worth of courses at Kellogg Community College—enough to earn an associate’s degree. The amount of the award is based on a student’s length of residence in the city. OCTOBER 2017 Grand Rapids: Students who attend one of two qualifying middle schools and then graduate from the city’s Union High School can qualify for the Grand Rapids Challenge Scholars program. Recipients have to sign up as middle schoolers, maintain good academic standing, and attend Scholars events to qualify. They’ll receive aid that covers whatever tuition and fees bills remain after other ﬁnancial aid at any in-state public college. Kalamazoo: The Kalamazoo Promise covers between 65% and 100% of tuition and fees based on a student’s length of enrollment in Kalamazoo public schools. The money can be used at any public college in Michigan, as well as at a list of Michigan private colleges. Unlike most other free-tuition programs, Kalamazoo is a ﬁrst-dollar award, meaning recipients can use federal grants and other scholarships to pay for other costs, such as room and board. Recipients have access to the aid for a comparatively long 10-year window. Lansing: The Lansing Promise is a last-dollar program that covers tuition and fees for up to 60 credits at Lansing Community ALL THE PLACES YOU CAN GO TO COLLEGE FOR FREE College, or the equivalent dollar value at Michigan State University or Olivet College. Pontiac: Pontiac-area high school graduates can receive up to 65 credits’ or three years’ worth of tuition and fees at Oakland Community College. The program kicks in after other forms of ﬁnancial aid; it also will cover the equivalent of an associate’s degree at any public Michigan college. Saginaw: Students in the Saginaw Promise zone can receive last-dollar support to cover tuition and fees at any two-year program in the state—or $8,000 if they attend a four-year college. 3/0 %,31% Statewide: Oklahoma’s Promise pays tuition at any Oklahoma public university for up to ﬁve years. It will also cover a portion of tuition at in-state private colleges. To be eligible, students must apply during the eighth, ninth, or 10th grade. Their family’s annual income must be under $50,000 at the time of application and cannot exceed $100,000 by the time the student goes to college. Tulsa County: Tulsa Achieves covers the amount owed for tuition and fees for three years or 63 credits at Tulsa Community College. Recipients must be from Tulsa County high schools, enroll right after high school, and earn a 2.0 GPA. ;-7'327-2 Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties: The Gateway Technical Promise will cover tuition costs after federal and state grants have kicked in for any of about 50 associate’s degree programs, as well as certain diploma programs in technical ﬁelds such as welding. Recipients must have earned a minimum 2.0 GPA in high school, enroll full-time, and meet income cutoffs. Mississippi County: The Great River Promise covers Arkansas Northwestern College tuition and fees left over after federal and state grant aid. The program is for graduates of Mississippi County public high schools and covers four semesters for students enrolled full-time. Recipients must have lived in the county for four years and have a 95% attendance rate. 1-22)738% *036-(% Minneapolis/St. Paul: The Power of You scholarship covers tuition and fees at two community colleges in the metro area. Recipients must have a family income below $75,000, graduate from a list of approved high schools, and meet other requirements, including taking placement tests and ﬁling a FAFSA. Tangelo Park: Though it covers one of the smallest geographic areas on this list, the Tangelo Park program is also the oldest. Since 1994, the Rosen Foundation Scholarship has ﬁlled in ﬁnancial gaps to cover the full cost of attendance at Florida public colleges for students who have lived in the Tangelo Park community (outside Orlando) for at least two years, attended an eligible high school, and applied for ﬁnancial aid. 1-77396Statewide: The A+ Scholarship covers community and technical college tuition and fees (after other ﬁnancial aid is applied) for graduates of more than 500 high schools. Recipients need a 2.5 GPA and 95% attendance rate and are required to receive 50 hours of tutoring or mentoring. The maximum amount is set based on the standard per-credit charge at the State Technical College of Missouri. 2368,(%/38% Williams County: Graduates of Williams County high schools are eligible for a last-dollar scholarship to cover tuition and fees at Williston State College for four consecutive semesters. Recipients must enroll full-time. /)289'/= Hopkinsville: Hopkinsville high schoolers can attend Hopkinsville Community College tuitionfree, thanks to the local Rotary Club. Students need a 2.5 GPA and 95% attendance rate. 8,) 7398, %6/ %27%7 El Dorado: The El Dorado Promise is a comparatively generous program. Graduates of El Dorado High School can get money to pay tuition at any accredited college in the country. Public colleges in Arkansas are fully covered. For private or out-of-state colleges, students can get an amount equal to the highest in-state Arkansas charge. The program, funded by Murphy Oil Co., is one of only two ﬁrst-dollar scholarships in the country, meaning it pays tuition bills before other scholarships and grants are counted. McCracken County: High school graduates from the city of Paducah and McCracken County are eligible for up to 60 credits tuition-free at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. To receive the money, students must commit to the program as ninth-graders and maintain a 2.5 GPA and 95% attendance rate during high school. OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M ALL THE PLACES YOU CAN GO TO COLLEGE FOR FREE Buffalo: Graduates of Buffalo’s public schools—of any income level—can receive tuition (after state, federal, and institutional aid) at the state’s public colleges from Say Yes Buffalo. Students from families earning less than $75,000 may receive scholarships to partner private colleges ranging from tuition-only to full cost of attendance. SOUTH CONTINUED 2368,'%630-2% Cleveland County: The Cleveland County Promise pays for any accredited two- or four-year college in the country. The dollar amount is based on tuition and fees at the most expensive North Carolina public college and is applied after federal ﬁnancial aid but before university or private scholarships. Recipients must complete a personal ﬁnance course, maintain good attendance, and enroll full-time. Guilford County: Students who have lived in Guilford’s school district since ninth grade and have family incomes under $40,000 get tuition and fees covered by the Say Yes Guilford program. The scholarship can be used at in-state two- and four-year colleges and at a list of private college partners. 8)22)77)) Statewide: The Tennessee Promise scholarship pays tuition and mandatory fees not covered by other ﬁnancial aid. Recipients have to complete eight hours of community service each semester, maintain a 2.0 GPA, and receive mentoring. This year a similar program, called Tennessee Reconnect, was launched for adult students. :-6+-2-% Bland and Wythe counties: The Wythe-Bland Foundation Scholarship Program covers tuition and fees at Wytheville Community College. Recipients must graduate from schools in Wythe or Bland counties. ; 6- 8)9 7 ,S[WLSYPH[IQEOI GSPPIKIQSVIEJJSVHEFPI# 7IRH]SYVMHIEWXS PIXXIVW$QSRI]QEMPGSQ 8,) 2368,)%78 ()0 %;%6) Statewide: High school graduates use this state’s Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) program to pay for two years of tuition at Delaware Technical Community College or the University of Delaware’s associate degree program. The SEED Scholarship requires a 2.5 GPA. 1%6=0 %2( Garrett County: High school graduates from Garrett County are eligible for the full cost of tuition at two-year Garrett College. Recipients must have lived in the county for at least two years and have to enroll as full-time students. 1%77%',97) 8 87 Boston: Residents attending Bunker Hill, MassBay, or Roxbury community colleges can get tuition and fees covered after federal grants are applied. To participate, students must qualify for a Pell Grant—a federal grant reserved for low-income students—and earn at least a 2.0 GPA during high school. 2) ;=36/ Statewide: New York’s new Excelsior Scholarship covers tuition and fees of up to $5,500 a year at all two- and four-year public instate colleges. The scholarship kicks in after other federal and state ﬁnancial aid. Students from families earning less than $100,000 qualify this year. (The cap will be raised to $125,000 in 2019.) The ﬁrst statewide free-tuition program for four-year colleges comes with a catch: After leaving school, recipients must live and work in New York for the amount of time they receive the scholarship, or the money will be converted into a loan. Syracuse: Say Yes Syracuse is a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition and fees for eligible Syracuse City School District graduates. It ﬁlls in all the tuition gaps at State University of New York and City University of New York campuses. At selected private college partners, the scholarships cover tuition gaps for students with family incomes of less than $75,000. It is capped at $5,000 for higherearning families. 4)227=0:%2-% Philadelphia: Philadelphia’s low-income high school graduates can enroll at the Community College of Philadelphia tuition-free. Recipients must be eligible for a federal Pell Grant, enroll full-time, and maintain a 2.5 GPA. Pittsburgh: Graduates of Pittsburgh public schools who have a 2.5 GPA and 95% attendance rate can get tuition at any twoor four-year college in Pennsylvania. Recipients must have attended Pittsburgh schools since kindergarten to receive full funding, which is $7,500 per year and $30,000 total. 6,3()-70 %2( Statewide: Rhode Island’s program pays for two years of tuition and fees at the state’s community college system. There’s no income cutoff, but students must have a 2.5 GPA, enroll full-time, and earn 30 credits per year. SOURCES: List compiled from information from the W.E. Upjohn Institute, the Campaign for Free College Tuition, and the College Promise Campaign. MONEY included programs with income cutoffs and eligibility requirements such as community service hours, but excluded programs with GPA cutoffs above 2.75 or minimum standardized test scores. advertisement When you buy a home, you aren’t only buying the square footage within. You’re buying the lot, and you’re buying into the community. You may fall in love with an all-white open kitchen and a luxurious master bedroom suite, but the key buying decision boils down to location. So what makes location so important? It’s because it’s the one thing you can’t change once the purchase closes. While it may be relatively easy to add another bathroom or EHGURRPWR\RXUKRPHLWŒVGLƍ FXOWWRFKDQJH local economic conditions, zoning rules, or school quality. Home renovation projects do bring surprises that require changes to original plans, but political and economic changes can EHPXFKPRUHGLƍ FXOWWRDƊHFW This is why realtor.com partnered with MONEY on this year’s Best Places to Live list, helping to provide you with in-depth insights into the best neighborhoods across the U.S. Realtor.com supported Best Places to Live with proprietary GDWDRQSULFHVDQGDƊRUGDELOLW\KRXVLQJ growth, and housing market conditions. Maybe the Best Places to Live list has inspired you to pick up and move to one of these top DUHDV2UPD\EH\RXŒYHMXVWGHFLGHGWRƋQGWKH best place that’s still within a decent commuting distance of your current job. No matter what you’re looking for, realtor.com arms you with the information you need to understand not only characteristics of the home but also the location that comes with your home. I n h a W y t ’re concerned about commuting from a ocation, each home listing’s detailed page ommute times listed. If you’re looking for me and the local school system is crucial, DUFKLQJIRUKRPHVE\VSHFLƋFVFKRRO,I e searching for homes on the go, be sure wnload the realtor.com app. W ever you’re looking for your next place t e, make it your best place to live by u g realtor.com. ©UHDOWRUFRP 0DUNHWGDWDVKRZQƌXFWXDWHVDQGPD\QRZEHGLƊHUHQW THE NUMBERS 783'/7 *92(7 &-++)781989%0*92(7&='%8)+36= CATEGORY &PYI'LMTW+EMR %HZERXEKI AT THE END of bull markets, investors view large stocks as safer bets in rocky times. That’s where the market may be now, with the blue-chip ﬁlled Dow Jones industrial average up 1.4% in the month ended Aug. 23, while the Russell 2000 index of small stocks fell 4.5%. 7 46%8-37 2.3% 2.1 ONEYEAR RANGE 2.03 ONEYEAR RANGE 20.1% 16.4 18.9 10.8 13.6 11.0% 10.0 8.0 7.7 8.5 0.68 0.66 0.52 0.60 0.58 10.6 12.7 12.0 11.1 11.6 7.6 6.4 6.6 8.0 7.1 0.06 0.88 0.08 0.07 0.18 9.7 12.1 9.7 11.5 14.2 6.5 6.7 6.9 6.6 8.1 0.06 0.07 0.07 0.34 0.92 9.8 10.2 8.0 10.4 10.6 7.2 6.6 6.5 6.0 6.8 0.60 0.55 0.07 0.32 0.56 16.1 30.0 11.4 17.9 26.1 2.7 6.5 1.4 5.4 7.8 0.18 1.00 0.79 0.85 0.33 16.8 18.2 22.9 23.3 21.6 3.4 1.4 5.7 5.1 1.9 1.08 0.14 1.26 1.01 0.31 –0.7 0.4 –1.0 –0.1 –0.6 2.0 1.8 1.5 1.3 2.1 0.45 0.65 0.88 0.80 0.75 –0.2 0.0 2.4 1.4 0.3 2.5 2.6 3.1 2.1 2.4 0.09 0.05 0.43 0.10 0.54 Vanguard High-Yield Corporate (VWEAX) 7.1 American Funds American High-Income Trust (AHITX) 8.1 Fidelity Capital & Income (FAGIX) 10.0 Fidelity High Income (SPHIX) 8.8 Northern High Yield Fixed Income (NHFIX) 8.1 4.8 2.9 5.2 4.2 3.0 0.13 0.72 0.73 0.72 0.81 3.1 1.4 0.3 0.8 0.2 0.09 0.09 0.15 0.09 0.41 MIDCAP Vanguard Mid-Cap Index (VIMAX) Fidelity Low-Priced Stock (FLPSX) Vanguard Extended Market Index (VEXAX) Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index Fund (VMVAX) Vanguard Strategic Equity Fund (VSEQX) SMALL-CAP Vanguard Small-Cap Index (VSMAX) Fidelity Extended Market Index Fund (FSEVX) Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund (VSIAX) Vanguard Explorer (VEXRX) T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Value (PRSVX) 20.0 American Funds New World (NEWFX) Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index (VEMAX) T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Stock (PRMSX) Fidelity Emerging Markets (FEMKX) Northern Emerging Markets Equity Index Fund (NOEMX) 1.9 U.S. GOVERNMENT BONDS &)2',1%6/7 TOTAL RETURN O E ONE MONTH MO H INDEX S&P 500 Nasdaq2 Russell 2000 Morgan Stanley EAFE Dow Jones industrial average Barclays U.S. aggregate bond index ONE YEAR – –1.0% –1.77 – 5 –4.5 ––0.11 1.4 4 0 0.4 14.1% 19.4 11.2 15.3 20.5 0.2 5.11 3.22 3 0 0.2 0 0.2 – 2 –0.2 –1 –1.6 –2 1 –2.1 – 8 –2.8 – 8 –2.8 –3 6 –3.6 –3.8 13.5 3.9 28.1 29.1 12.5 15.0 10.2 7.4 –8.4 THREE YEARS1 9.4% 11.4 7.2 2.9 11.4 2.7 SECTOR Telecom services Utilities Consumer staples Information technology Financials Basic materials Industrials Consumer discretionary Health care Energy 5.2 13.0 10.1 16.1 11.8 4.7 9.7 10.7 9.5 –10.6 NOTES AND SOURCES: Stock index data as of August 23 from Lipper, New York; 877-955-4773. Sector returns from Bloomberg. Bond index data from Barclays. Monthly S&P 500 ratios are from Standard & Poor’s. P/E ratios are based on previous four quarters of operating earnings. Biggest funds ranked by total net assets. 1Annualized. 2Price change only. M O N E Y. C O M Vanguard Total International Stock Index (VGTSX) Oakmark International Fund (OAKIX) Harbor International (HAINX) American Funds EuroPaciﬁc Growth (AEPGX) Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWILX) EMERGING MARKETS 2.0 CURRENT Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX) American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX) Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX) American Funds Investment Co. of America (AIVSX) American Funds Wash. Mutual Investors (AWSHX) INTERNATIONAL 2.2 22.0 21.0 EXPENSES (AS % OF ASSETS) LARGE-CAP STOCKS American Funds American Balanced (ABALX) Fidelity Balanced (FBALX) Vanguard Balanced Index Fund (VBIAX) Vanguard STAR Fund (VGSTX) Fidelity Puritan Fund (FPURX) DIVIDEND YIELD 23.0% 21.0 THREE YEARS1 BALANCED P/E CURRENT TOTAL RETURN ONE YEAR OCTOBER 2017 Fidelity Government Income (FGOVX) American Funds U.S. Government Securities (AMUSX) MFS Government Securities (MFGSX) Sit U.S. Government Securities (SNGVX) JPMorgan Government Bond (OGGAX) INVESTMENT-GRADE Vanguard Total Bond Market II Index (VTBIX) Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBTLX) Dodge & Cox Income (DODIX) Vanguard Short-Term Investment-Grade (VFSUX) T. Rowe Price New Income (PRCIX) HIGH YIELD TAX-EXEMPT Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt (VWIUX) Vanguard Limited-Term Tax-Exempt (VMLUX) Vanguard Tax-Exempt Money Market (VMSXX) Vanguard Short-Term Tax-Exempt Fund (VWSUX) Fidelity Municipal Money Market (FTEXX) 0.7 0.9 0.6 0.9 0.4 THE NUMBERS MONEY 50 7XSGOW,MXE 7QEPP+PMXGL TOTAL RETURN FUND (TICKER) Vanguard Inﬂation-Protected (VIPSX) Vanguard Short-Term Inﬂ.-Prot. (VTIP) Vanguard Total Intl. Bond Index (VTIBX) took it on the chin in the four weeks ended Aug. 23, as investors started to lose faith in the “Trump Bump.” Small stocks surged when Donald Trump was elected last November. Investors assumed the new President would reignite U.S. economic growth by cutting corporate tax rates, a move that would beneﬁt smaller ﬁrms in particular. Unlike large multinationals, which may realize half or more of their sales abroad, smaller companies’ fates are more closely tied to economic conditions at home. Seven months into the new administration, however, the President’s relationship with Congress has descended into bickering, and those hopes are fading. In our recommended list of mutual and exchange-traded funds, the biggest loser was iShares Core S&P Small Cap, which fell 5.2%. —IAN SALISBURY ,3;8397)3966)'311)2()(0-78 Building-block funds: For broad exposure to core asset classes Custom funds: Specialized investments that can tilt your strategy One-decision funds: If you want stocks and bonds in one portfolio TOTAL RETURN FUND (TICKER) EXPENSES (AS % OF ASSETS) PHONE NUMBER (800) ––1.0% 14.0% 9.3% ––1.3 3 13.7 8.8 0.03 0.03 435-4000 435-4000 ––3.9 9 –5 –5.2 10.0 10.2 7.7 8.7 0.07 0.07 474-2737 474-2737 0.0 0 0 0.22 0.1 0 22.3 3 15.5 16.1 14.9 17.9 2.9 2.7 3.5 1.2 0.19 0.18 0.27 0.32 544-8544 662-7447 662-7447 662-7447 –0.1 – 1 –1.9 7.2 0.26 662-7447 0 0.4 4 0 0.3 3 –0.1 0.6 2.5 1.4 0.15 0.15 662-7447 662-7447 ONE YEAR THREE YEARS 1 BUILDING-BLOCK FUNDS Large-Cap Schwab S&P 500 Index (SWPPX) Schwab Total Stock Market Index (SWTSX) Midcap/Small-Cap iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap (IJH) iShares Core S&P Small Cap (IJR) Foreign Fidelity Spartan International (FSIIX) Vanguard Total Intl. Stock (VGTSX) Vanguard FTSEA/W ex-U.S. Small (VFSVX) Vanguard Emerging Markets (VEIEX) Specialty Vanguard REIT Index Investor (VGSIX) Bond Vanguard Total Bond Market (VBMFX) Vanguard Short-Term Bond (VBISX) ONE YEAR THREE YEARS 1 EXPENSES (AS % OF ASSETS) PHONE NUMBER (800) 0.20 0.07 0.15 662-7447 662-7447 662-7447 0.8% –0.3% 0.8% 0.3 0.8 0.3 0.6 –0.8 3.4 CUSTOM FUNDS SMALL-COMPANY STOCKS ONE O MONTH MO H ONE O E MONTH O H Large-Cap Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX) PowerShares FTSE RAFI U.S. 1000 (PRF) Sound Shore (SSHFX) PowerShares S&P High Qual. Port.(SPHQ) Primecap Odyssey Growth (POGRX) T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth (TRBCX) Midcap Vanguard Mid-CapValue Index ETF(VOE) WisdomTree MidCap Dividend (DON) T. Rowe Price Div. Mid Cap Gro. (PRDMX) Small-Cap PowerShares FTSE RAFI U.S.1500 S-M(PRFZ) Vanguard Small-Cap Value (VBR) WisdomTree SmallCap Dividend (DES) T. Rowe Price QM U.S. Small-Cap Gr.(PRDSX) Specialty PowerShares Intl. Div.Achievers (PID) SPDR S&P Dividend (SDY) Cohen & Steers Realty Shares (CSRSX) SPDR Dow Jones Intl. Real Estate (RWX) iShares N.American Nat. Resources (IGE) Foreign Oakmark International (OAKIX) Vanguard International Growth (VWIGX) T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets (PRMSX) Bond Dodge & Cox Income (DODIX) Fidelity Total Bond (FTBFX) Vanguard Short-Term Inv. Grade (VFSTX) iShares iBoxx $ Inv. Grade Corp.(LQD) Loomis Sayles Bond (LSBRX) Fidelity High Income (SPHIX) Vanguard Intm.-Term Tax-Ex. (VWITX) Vanguard Limited-Term Tax-Ex. (VMLTX) Templeton Global Bond (TPINX)3 Fidelity New Markets Income (FNMIX) –2.0 –1.2 –2.5 –1.3 –3.9 –0.6 18.9 11.7 13.2 10.8 16.8 24.5 8.0 7.2 6.0 10.9 10.7 12.7 0.52 0.39 0.91 0.29 0.66 0.72 621-3979 843-2639 551-1980 983-0903 729-2307 638-5660 –2.2 –2.9 –2.1 11.1 7.0 11.9 8.0 8.5 9.0 0.07 0.38 0.87 662-7447 909-94732 638-5660 –4.0 –3.8 –4.9 –3.4 10.6 9.7 5.7 12.3 6.5 6.9 7.2 8.9 0.39 0.07 0.38 0.81 843-2639 662-7447 909-94732 638-5660 –0.4 –1.5 0.6 –0.1 –3.2 10.5 6.3 –0.4 –1.4 –8.2 –3.3 10.2 8.2 0.1 –11.8 0.58 0.35 0.96 0.59 0.48 983-0903 787-22572 437-9912 787-22572 474-2737 0.7 2.7 3.1 30.0 26.0 22.9 6.5 7.7 5.7 1.00 0.46 1.26 625-6275 662-7447 638-5660 0.3 0.4 0.3 –0.1 –0.4 –0.4 0.6 0.4 –0.8 0.7 2.4 1.7 1.3 0.9 5.3 8.8 0.6 0.8 11.1 6.9 3.1 3.3 2.0 3.7 1.6 4.2 3.0 1.3 0.7 5.7 0.43 0.45 0.20 0.15 0.91 0.72 0.19 0.19 0.93 0.86 621-3979 544-8544 662-7447 474-2737 633-3330 544-8544 662-7447 662-7447 632-2301 544-8544 0.55 1.02 0.25 544-8544 544-8544 662-7447 0.60 0.66 638-5660 638-5660 0.14 0.15 662-7447 662-7447 ONE-DECISION FUNDS Balanced Fidelity Balanced (FBALX) –0.6 10.2 6.6 Fidelity Global Balanced (FGBLX) 0.3 6.6 3.1 Vanguard Wellington (VWELX) –0.4 9.8 6.8 Target Date T. Row Rowee Pric Pricee Reti Retirem rement ent se serie riess (STO (STOCK/ CK/BON BOND D ALLOC ALLOCATI ATION ON N) Example: 2005 Fund (45%/55%)(TRRFX) –0.1 6.0 4.0 Example: 2020 Fund (68%/32%)(TRRBX) –0.3 9.8 5.5 Vanguard Target Retirement series Example: 2025 Fund (70%/30%) (VTTVX) –0.3 9.3 5.5 Example: 2035 Fund (84%/16%) (VTTHX) –0.5 11.5 6.0 NOTES: As of Aug. 23, 2017. Load funds are included for those who prefer to use a broker. 1Annualized. 2Phone numbers are 866. 34.25% sales load. SOURCES: Lipper, New York, 877-955-4773; the fund companies OCTOBER 2017 M O N E Y. C O M MY MONEY STORY The author as a young girl with her father, Yuri. %1EXGL1EHIMR*PSVMHE BY M A R I A S H A R A P OVA WE ARRIVED garage sales, and all those things. Getting a tennis skirt was a huge deal. When you’re training at an academy, a tennis skirt is like a schoolbook—it’s a necessity. It was a special gift and a special thing. In Russia, it felt like everyone in tennis clothes was wearing pieces of cloth stitched together. But then I came to America, and I’d go to a mall, and there’d be all these brands and variety. Whoa. The lesson my father taught me was that hard work ultimately gets you rewards. When we think about rewards, they can be achievements, they can be ﬁnancial, or they can be personal. I’ve been very fortunate in the things that I have been a part of where I earned money—that I did something for it. I did it physically, I did it mentally, I was there, and I contributed to that payment. It’s so much more rewarding that way, and that was something my father taught me from a very young age. —As told to Mike Ayers Maria Sharapova is a five-time tennis Grand Slam champion. Her memoir, Unstoppable, is out now. M O N E Y. C O M OCTOBER 2017 Do you have a story about money you’d like to share? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. C O U R T E S Y O F M A R I A S H A R A P O VA at the Miami airport in the middle of the night. Someone was supposed to pick us up, but didn’t. My father had no idea how to get in touch with them, he didn’t speak the language, and he didn’t know anyone in Miami. We had only about $700 in our pockets. I was 7 years old then, and I didn’t know anything about money. The life my parents had in Russia was normal—we had a little apartment, and we’d take public transportation. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner. By no means did we feel that we were struggling. But when we landed in Miami with just a tennis dream, $700 dollars was clearly not enough. There weren’t a whole lot of gifts. I’d get a chocolate bar at the end of practice, or at the end of a good week. My father made sure that everything we bought was a necessity vs. something that was used for a day and then thrown away. We also relied on hand-me-downs, A new way to plan for tomorrow, today. Managed portfolios from TD Ameritrade Investment Management. TD Ameritrade offers a variety of portfolios that can help you meet your goals now and as life changes. While there are plenty of things you can’t plan for, staying invested won’t be one of them. Start a conversation with a TD Ameritrade Financial Consultant about investing today. Call (800) 454-9272 or visit tdameritrade.com/portfolios to learn more. Advisory services are provided by TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor. All investments involve risk, including risk of loss. TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. © 2017 TD Ameritrade. THIS MAGAZINE HAS 50 OF THE BEST PLACES TO LIVE. WE’LL HELP YOU FIND THE BEST HOME FOR YOU. Dream Home Search REALTOR.COM/BESTPLACES © 2017 realtor.com.