• The biggest companies paying the least in wages

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 days ago

    America is the richest nation on Earth! Hurray for us! The average American earns $24.66 an hour. That's better than our neighbors--$22.84 in Canada, or $2.50 in Mexico (and you wonder why everyone wants to come north).

    U.S.A! U.S.A!


    For those of you working in retail, grocery stores, or restaurants, you're probably not making anywhere near $24.66 an hour.  

    The national minimum wage is $7.25, but cities like Seattle and San Francisco are doubling that and then some. Protests around the country have pushed for higher wages, since flipping burgers for $58 a day ain't gonna pay the rent. However, paying more in wages usually means charging more to customers. Finding the right balance can be difficult, as large companies need to keep customers happy, employees happy, and shareholders happy. Sometimes the employees come in third.  

    #3 - Kroger

    #2 - McDonald's

    #1 - ??

    --Comments, Questions, Suggestions? Tweet us   @TopBestMost

  • Can moving solve the student debt dilemma?

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 13 days ago

    Student loan debt has grown so large that it is now the second largest bill many Americans pay after the mortgage or rent. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, debt has ballooned to well over $1 trillion. That's a figure larger than the GDP of all but 15 countries in the world.

    A lot of that debt isn't getting paid--eleven percent is either delinquent or in default.

    According to the Project on Student Debt, the average graduate in 2013 has $28,400 he or she needs to pay off. The good news, that's $1,000 less than the class of 2012 owes.

    In New Hampshire, however, average student loan debt is close to $33,000, and a whopping 76 percent of recent grads there owe something. Meantime, in New Mexico, those same recent grads only owe a bit more than $18,000 on average. (California actually has the second lowest average student loan debt of about $20,000 thanks to its vast system of relatively cheap public universities.)

    The best places to live

    #3 - North Dakota

    #2 -Wyoming

    #1 - Utah

    OF NOTE:

    But the worst place overall for being stuck with a boatload of college loans?


  • Want to make the most money? Don't go to Harvard

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 26 days ago

    College costs are still rising faster than inflation. The College Board reports that while the Consumer Price Index rose about two percent between July 2013 and July 2014, college tuition and fees rose around three percent for public schools, almost four percent at private universities.

    If you're going to spend six figures for a degree, will you earn six figures after graduation? Depends on where you go and what you study. researches salaries and has determined which colleges give you the best bang for your student loan buck. Spoiler - Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are not in the top five for undergraduates.

    Here are the top schools for the best pay after graduation.

    #5 - Stanford University

    #4 - Colgate University

    This is the only New York school in the top 5, and the only school known more for liberal arts than higher-paying engineering and science jobs. Colgate grads can expect a starting median income of $54,000 which grows to $126,600 by mid-career.

  • Growing old sucks...but not everywhere

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 1 mth ago

    We're not getting any younger, and no matter how much Botox you inject, you can't freeze time.

    That said, you can live longer in some countries more than others. More importantly, you can also live well.

    Global AgeWatch looked at data from around the world for the over 60 crowd--things like life expectancy, pensions, access to affordable healthcare and public transport, employment and education for older people, and social connections. As much as everyone on Madison Avenue is always chasing the young man's dollar, we are a graying planet. There will be soon be as many oldsters as youngsters.

    Currently, 12 percent of the world's population is over the age of 60. By 2050, it will be 21 percent. There will be as many people over 60 as under the age of 15, more than two billion aging Millennials! That's a lot of pierced, tatted senior citizens with dreadlocks still working at Starbucks!

    So, where are the top, best, and worst places to grow old? Here are the results from Global AgeWatch:

    Best place to grow old--pack a coat

    #3 - Switzerland

    #2 - Sweden

    #1 - Norway

  • Worst states for women

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 1 mth ago

    It's a man's world. Well, in some places more than others.

    On average, American women make only 79 cents for every dollar American men earn. Yet when it comes to unequal pay, not all states are equal.

    Numbers crunched by 24/7 Wall Street determined which states women may want to avoid. For example, your average working woman in New York makes 86 cents for every dollar a working man makes. But in Louisiana, the pay gap widens to 66 cents for every male dollar. Clearly women are either not getting equal pay for equal work, or not getting equal work in the first place. Louisiana's oil and natural gas businesses often require heavy lifting, literally, and the riskier the job, the higher the pay.

    What about leadership opportunities for women across America? Healthcare? Education? 24/7 Wall Street looked at all of those stats to determine which states are worst for women. Before you say West Virginia or Alaska, wait. Don't burn your bra in Charleston or Anchorage just yet.

    #5-North Dakota





  • Want to find a mate? Location, location, location!

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 1 mth ago

    Americans either don't want to get married or are having trouble finding a mate. Whatever the reason, the percentage of Americans who have never been married is at a record high, 20 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.  

    That’s 1 in 5 Americans and doesn't even count those who are divorced or widowed. That 20 percent is made up of adults who have NEVER been married.

    There have been studies on whether people even want to get married.  For one thing, the average wedding in the U.S. now reportedly tops $25,000.

    But for those who do, if you’re looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, you may want to pack your bags. 

    Here are the best places to head with your U-Haul if you want to find an eligible mate. The best cities for women are the worst for men, and vice versa.


    FOR MEN:


  • Airline fees are nickel and diming you--you wish

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 mths ago

    Airline fees are the industry's first class ticket to profits. I'm sure some retired airline CEO is thinking, "Why didn't we do that back in the day? Who knew people would be willing to pay extra for checked luggage, egg frittatas, and wafer thin blankets? GENIUS!"

    Actually, the airlines claim fees are the only thing standing between them and bankruptcy. It's the cash cow which keeps them flying. A study by IdeaWorks found that so-called "ancillary fees" totaled $42 billion.  In the U.S., the government said baggage fees alone have topped $3 billion a year. 

    They seem to nickel and dime you every chance they get, though I bet you wish it was only nickels and dimes.

    Which airline has the top fees?

    United is tops overall with $5.7 billion just in fees, according to The Motley Fool.  That's nearly 15 percent of the airline's total revenues, or $41 a passenger.

    Here are a few.

  • Think you pay high taxes? Facebook pays high taxes

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 mths ago

    A lot of people believe big companies get away with murder when it comes to taxes. There seems to be a lot of fuzzy math, some Americans reason. And it turns out, they’re right. There is a lot of fuzzy math—some companies do get breaks the average Joe never sees (especially when Joe gets "lucky" enough to qualify for the Alternative Minimum Tax). However, it appears corporate America is not ripping off Uncle Sam as often as a lot of people think. And the 35 percent federal tax rate imposed on companies has become a big enough worry for corporations that some businesses are merging with overseas firms to relocate where rates are lower. Financial advice site WalletHub went through the regulatory filings of the largest 100 companies on the stock market by market capitalization in order to look at what they pay in taxes both in the U.S. and overseas. The results are all over the map. Some companies paid more in taxes last year than they made. Others paid nothing. One even got a refund, despite billions of dollars in sales. Overall, the companies in the S&P 100 saw their tax rates rise 5 percent year-over-year, mostly due to jumps in state taxes. The average company in that  group has a 15 percent higher tax rate than the top 3 percent of consumers.

  • Who wants to be a billionaire?

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 mths ago

    You wanna know a growth industry?

     Money. Lots and lots of money.

    There is a billionaire boom on Planet Earth. Nerdwallet calls this "The Age of Billionaires," and says there are currently 2,325 of them--up 350 percent since the turn of the century.

     Of that group, only 285 are women, or 12 percent.

     Together the world's billionaires are worth a combined $7.3 trillion, reports Nerdwallet, equal to nearly half the U.S. GDP. A study on billionaires by Wealth-X and UBS says growth in the B-club spiked more than seven percent last year.  This shouldn't surprise you, apparently, if you think the economy isn't bouncing back quite as quickly, "because a significant portion of billionaires' wealth is not necessarily correlated to global wealth conditions."

     Here are the top 10 countries for billionaires, and how much the number has grown or fallen in one year:

    1. United States -- 571 (up 11%)

  • U.S. customer satisfaction is far from the world's best

    Jane Wells at Top/Best/Most 2 mths ago

    Americans shop like nobody else. We have the world's largest economy, and 75 percent of that is due to consumer spending. When three quarters of GDP is based on convincing people to buy things, you think we'd be really good at customer service.

    We are not.

    Not by a long shot.

    Finances Online, a personal finance website, points out that American customer satisfaction is falling, while rising in other countries.

    It cites a global survey by Zendesk which breaks down the best and worst satisfaction levels country by country.

    Here's where the happy campers really live:

    #4 - Italy

    #2-#3 - Virtual tie between Norway and Canada

    #1 - New Zealand

    Still, it could be worse. These countries are at the bottom of Zendesk’s list, followed by their customer satisfaction rating:

    Colombia, 71 percent.

    Turkey, 68 percent.

    Last, and least, is India, at 58 percent. Ironic, since the era of call centers and help desks has relied heavily on India.