2021’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family

best places

With families looking for a fresh start once the COVID-19 pandemic dies down and moving becomes practical, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family, as well as accompanying videos.

To determine the best states in which to put down family roots, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 52 key indicators of family-friendliness. The data set ranges from the median annual family income to housing affordability to the unemployment rate.

Best States for Families Worst States for Families
1. Massachusetts 41. Nevada
2. Minnesota 42. Arizona
3. North Dakota 43. South Carolina
4. New York 44. Alabama
5. Vermont 45. Arkansas
6. New Hampshire 46. Oklahoma
7. New Jersey 47. Louisiana
8. Washington 48. West Virginia
9. Connecticut 49. Mississippi
10. Utah 50. New Mexico

Best vs. Worst

  • Minnesota has the highest median annual family income (adjusted for cost of living), $85,473, which is 1.5 times higher than in New York, where it is lowest at $57,450.
  • Utah has the lowest separation & divorce rate, 15.74 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in Nevada, where it is highest at 26.07 percent.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest share of families living in poverty, 4.60 percent, which is 3.4 times lower than in Mississippi, where it is highest at 15.50 percent.
  • South Dakota has the lowest average annual cost of early childcare (as a share of median family income), 7.22 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in Nebraska, where it is highest at 13.19 percent.
  • Maine has the fewest violent crimes (per 1,000 residents), 1.15, which is 7.5 times fewer than in Alaska, the state with the most at 8.67.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raise-a-family/31065

Mistakes You Should Avoid When Relocating Your House

Stress situations often push us into paranoia and we end up making mistakes. One of the most stressful feats that we have to pull off often is relocating to a new house. The entire process from winding up the house to moving and resettling is draining. However, you can ease up the pressure by avoiding a few common mistakes.

Last Moment Pack Up

One of the gravest mistakes that most people make is procrastinating and delaying their preparations. At times they are just lazy because it is still a few months before they finally have to leave, and at times the daily hectic schedules do not allow them much time. However, sooner or later you will have to get on to work, and the later you do it, the more stressful and exhausting it will be. You can ease up the pressure by starting as early as possible. Take out a little time every day to do some research, making plans, lists, sorting clutter, etc. As a result, a major chunk of your work will already be done by the time you will finally start to wind up. 

No Notes

As easy and simple as it may sound, moving is a complex process. There are dozens of little things that you need to focus on at the same time and it is very easy to forget or overlook a few important things. However, if you go to the old school way and keep notes and lists, it will be much easier to keep a track of things. Regardless of how sharp your memory is, do not rely on your mental notes and do take physical notes.

Not Hiring Professionals

One of the most common and major blunders that people make is to try and DIY their moving process. Even if they do hire any help, they tend to rely on random unskilled freelance labor and van services. This is usually done in a bid to cut down on costs since it is a general perception that professional services are expensive and the costs can be cut down by avoiding them. What you fail to factor in is the fact that professional movers in Los Angeles offer you a lot more security and coverage with professional labor. As a result, there is a negligible risk of loss, theft or damage to your inventory. A bit of research will also help you find movers that can give you plans to fit your budget. 

Taking Everything Along

Whatever logistic service you will hire, they will charge you according to the volumetric weight of your packages. That means that the weight will also factor in the dimensions of your boxes. You can cut down this cost by leaving behind as many bulkier items as possible. For example, you can check local flea markets or garage sales for the prices of a bed set. If purchasing a new bed set at your new location is cheaper than transporting your current one, you should consider buying a new one. You can sell off the inventory that you are not taking along in a garage sale and add to your liquid funds. This will ease your financial pressure significantly.

Pro’s of Investing in a Condominium

Condominiums are the epitome of modern living. It has many perks that include modern facilities and amenities, great views, security, and some privacy. But if you are looking to buy a condo as an investment, you must consider the potential gains that you can get. 

 

Below are some of the reasons why investing in a condo would be a profitable choice: 

Market Value

The main criterion in determining that you are making a good investment is the property’s market value. Thus, if it’s market value is higher than the purchase price, you are in good hands. This remains applicable and true when it comes to condo investments. 

 

There is a higher appreciation rate for condo units. You should expect that its value grows from the moment you purchase it. It gives you plenty of opportunities to reap the benefits of your investment. You can opt to rent it out so you can have a sustainable source of monthly income from the rental. 

 

Also, you can choose to resell it later. The longer you hold on to your property, the higher its appreciation value. This will enable your money (investment) to multiply without working too hard. 

Profitability

Condos are easy to rent out. A lot of people who opt to live in cities would prefer to rent a condo unit because of its facilities and amenities. If you choose a condo that is within a prime location (such as within the business district or city center), the demand for your condo rental will grow even more. Therefore, it is important to consider the location of a condo unit by the time of your purchase. 

 

The initial investment required for a condominium can be easily afforded by potential investors. This makes it a better investment because the cost of acquisition is lower than the potential resale value. There are many condo developments that are in a pre-selling stage that offers lower prices. Make sure you take advantage of them if you have decided on investing in a condo.

Maintenance 

It is easier to maintain a condominium because there is your utility staff whose primary role is to help with the upkeep and maintenance. You can also rent out your condominium for business use. Who says that condominiums are only suitable for residential use? The ability to rent out your condo for commercial use will help expand the potential income of your investment. 

 

Investing in condominium units offer better liquidity as an investment (compared to apartment buildings). You can easily sell the unit when you want to (whereas it would be more difficult to find a buyer for an apartment building). 

 

If you would like to pursue the idea of buying a condo as your next investment, you need to see this. It is not just a matter of investing in a condo, but where you choose to invest in that truly matters. 

Con’s of Investing in a Condo

There are a few things you need to know about before investing in a condo unit. These are risk factors that you must be prepared for so that you can mitigate the risks:

Restrictions 

Depending on which condo you invest in, there might be certain restrictions. The homeowner’s association within a condominium building might impose a lot of rules and regulations for owners to live by. They might even put restrictions on when, how, and to whom you may rent out your condominium unit. Make sure you check out the rules in your specific condo before you pursue the investment.

Monthly Fees

The monthly fees on the homeowner’s association and any other maintenance fees can potentially lower your return of investment. Make sure you choose a condo that is centrally located so you can keep the rental prices up. This is how you can optimize the return of investment so you can cover other maintenance fees. 

Pro’s of Investing in an Apartment

Aside from a condo, an apartment is another good real estate investment. Learn about the advantages of this type of investment: 

Level of Demand

The level of demand for apartment rentals is steadily high, especially among families looking to rent a single-family home. It is a good investment because you can expect a low vacancy rate (especially if your apartment is in a central location).

Cost

The cost of maintenance in an apartment is considerably low. There is also no need to pay any monthly fees because you own the entire apartment building (whereas condos have multiple owners). 

Con’s of Investing in an Apartment

While there are many benefits to investing in an apartment, there are potential downsides. Here are some of them: 

Ownership Expenses

The cost of ownership for an apartment building is substantially higher than other real estate investments (such as condominium). Depending on where you live, not all individual investors can afford to purchase the apartment building. This puts a limit on your buying market for that property. 

Rental Income

It puts all of your income potential solely reliant on the rental income. It is, therefore, important to attract renters and lower the vacancy rate if you want to maintain you’re your profit. In this regard, it makes maintenance of an apartment building entail more work. You need to address the needs of your existing tenants to keep them happy. Otherwise, you could lose tenants if they are unsatisfied with the quality of living in your apartment. 

The Bottom Line

There are certain benefits and drawbacks with each option – condo or apartment as an investment. Use the information above so you can weigh the pros and cons of each option. In the end, your investment goals and strategy are different. 

 

If you want to make money through the rental income, then both condos and apartments are a suitable choice. But when it comes to the resale value, condos might have an edge as it is easier to liquidate than apartments. Either way, you need to match these investments with your long-term goals so you can make the right choice. 

 

Key Points When Renting a New Home

Moving to a new rented home can be stressful – there is little doubt about that. Many people dread having to move because there is so much to organize and plan. However, this is not the only daunting part about moving. You also have to think about starting afresh in a new home, in a new area, and with new neighbors, all of which can be quite scary.

When you are moving to a new rented home, there are various factors you need to consider. If you look into these before you make any solid decisions about the property you plan to rent, you can avoid making potentially costly mistakes that could lead to a heap of stress and misery. In this article, we will look at some of the key things you should look into before you take the plunge and make the move.

3 Factors to Look into Before You Move

Before you get the movers booked, uproot yourself and your worldly belongings, and plunge headfirst into the unknown, it is always wise to do a little digging first and find out more about the area where the new rental property is situated. There are various factors that you should investigate, and we will look at three of the main ones.

First off, try to find out more about your new neighbors. It is important to get along with your neighbors, and the last thing you want is to live near people with whom you do not get along with or who have undesirable backgrounds. There are a number of ways in which you can do this. You could pop and knock on the door prior to moving to simply introduce yourself or ask about the area. This will give you the chance to meet them and see how you get on. You can even do a criminal record check online to see if there is anyone next door who is best avoided.

The second thing to do is to find out more about the area in general. Again, just because your new neighbors are not criminals, it doesn’t mean that there are not loads of other dubious individuals in the area. The best way to determine this is to look at the general crime rate in the neighborhood or area, which is something you can easily do online. You will find plenty of statistics that will give you a better idea of the crime rate, so you can make sure you do not move into a crime hotspot.

Finally, take some time to look at the amenities and facilities in the area, as this will help you to decide whether this is a convenient area to move to. Look at things like how close the shops, public transportation, medical and dental facilities, schools and colleges, and entertainment venues are.

These are all points that you should look at before you decide whether you are renting the right house in the right area. Taking the time to check things out beforehand can save you a huge amount of trouble in the long run.

Five Step Guide for Moving to a New Home

 

Moving to a new home is never an easy task. There are a lot of little things that you need to take care of – like packing, cleaning and getting the new home ready – and it seems like there is never enough time to do them all. This process can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you have never gone through it before. To help you out, here are the five steps you’ll need to follow when moving to a new home. By following this guide you can hopefully make your transition a little easier and a little smoother.

Make a Checklist

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a checklist for yourself. You can do this by either grabbing a piece of paper or you can create it on your phone. On this list you’ll want to keep a running tally of all the things you need to do, and the things you have already done. As something new pops into your brain, jot it down before you forget. Then, once you complete something, make sure you cross it off. Organization is the key to an easier move, and the checklist is an integral part.

To get started, here is a checklist you can use that includes many of the things you’ll need to do for a move.

Decide What’s Going

Next, you need to think about which items are moving over to your new home. Over the years we all accumulate some junk and now is the perfect time to get rid of it. Go through your things and decide which items you want to keep. For the rest of your stuff, think about either selling it, donating it, or simply tossing it away. The less things you have to bring with you to your new home, the faster moving day will go, and you may even save some money on moving costs.

During this stage you may also realize that you don’t have enough space in your new home for everything. In this situation many people choose to rent out a storage locker. These places will keep your stuff safe until you can find something else to do with it. To make your life easier you can even use a service like this storage company in Portland, which will transport your stuff back and forth to the storage locker for you.

Find a Good Mover

After that you’ll want to find a good mover to help you out. Unless you’re only moving from one small apartment to another, you’re likely going to need some help moving. Friends and family are great, but a professional mover is recommended if you have a lot of stuff – especially larger furniture items.

When looking for a mover, you’ll want to look for a few specific things. First, make sure that they are insured. If they break something of yours, you’ll want it covered. Next, make sure the moving team has experience. You don’t want someone who has never done this before, as moving furniture and loading up a truck are not as easy as it looks. Finally, find a mover with a good rate. Talk to different movers and ask them to give you a quote. This will help you to determine the average cost, and then you can choose a mover based on their other qualifications.

Start Preparing Early

One of the worst things you can do is start preparing for your move at the last minute. These things take time, and the more time you give yourself, the less stressful your moving experience will be. Mark the date of your move on the calendar, then give yourself a few weeks prior to start preparing. During this time you’ll want to start gathering packing supplies, making sure the new home is ready, and cleaning out your home.

You’ll likely still need a lot of your stuff until you actually move, but the things you don’t need should be packed away. Packing takes a while, so try to do it in little chunks. For instance, if you’re moving in the Summer, you likely don’t need your holiday decorations or Winter clothing. These can be packed away early so that they’re ready to go.

Plan Out the Day Of

Finally, have a plan in place for the day of the move. What time are the movers coming? What time can you get into your new home? If you have kids, what are they going to do all day? The same goes for your pets. Leave some room for flexibility, as things likely won’t go exactly according to plan.

If you can do all of the above, you should find your moving day to be a little easier. You’ll likely still face some stress, and you’ll be exhausted when the day ends, but you can at least make it easier on yourself. We hope that this guide was some help to you, and that your moving day goes as smooth as possible.

What Military Families Should Know about moving to Hawaii

From its peaks and craters to the picturesque beaches, Hawaii is one of the best places to live. Moreover, your family will enjoy all that the island has to offer when it comes to exploring.

 

Here are some things that you need to know:

 

Climate

Thanks to the trade winds, the temperatures in Hawaii average about 85 degrees all year round. However, the landscape in this place varies depending on where you are. For instance, the west side of Oahu is drier than the east side. The North Shore is mostly made up of a rocky shoreline and many surfing events take place there, while Central Oahu is mostly a farmland.

 

Traveling to Hawaii

Moving to this state is more complicated than your average Permanent Change of Station because you have to plan everything, including the shipping of cars and pets in advance.

 

Unaccompanied Baggage

Service members who are relocating to Hawaii are usually allowed to ship a few household goods before they send their regular shipment. Known as the express shipment, this shipment will count towards your household weight limit and usually includes things like clothing, small appliances and kitchen items. You should take this opportunity to ship outdoor kids toys and scuba gear for yourself.

 

Depending on where you are moving from and the moving company you will use, unaccompanied shipments might arrive after the HHG shipment, so you should be ready.

 

Vehicle Shipping

When it comes to cars, the military usually pays to ship just one car to Hawaii. Also, check with your shipping company whether it is possible to ship motorcycles with your other household goods. When it comes to shipping a second vehicle, you can either pay out of pocket or sell it. You can ship your car to Hawaii with Executive Auto Shippers for example, if you are willing to pay out of pocket.

 

Pets and Lodging

If you want to move to Hawaii with your pets, you should look at Hawaii’s website for animal quarantine regulations. If your pet qualifies, you can pick it up from the airport’s quarantine station and take it home. However, if your pet does not qualify, it will have to complete the standard quarantine time of 120 days before you take it home.

 

You also have to look for temporary housing that allows animals before you get a house. Remember that fees and weight limits might apply, so be sure to double check.

 

Housing

You will get a house depending on whether you are in the army, navy, coast guard, air force, or Marine Corps. You should also consider living off base as long as there is a reasonable commute to your military base. The most popular off-base places to live include Salt Lake, Hawaii Kai, Ewa Beach, and Windward Side.

 

Schools

If your children are of school-going age, the best place that you can start is by contacting a School Liaison Officer from your branch. This person can help you to register your child. Although there are no DoD schools in this state, Hawaii has many good charter, public, and private schools.

 

If you prefer homeschooling for your kids, there is a large homeschooling community at this place. Before your child can be enrolled in any school, he/she should submit a negative tuberculosis test.

 

The Beaches are Amazing

Lanikai Beach – known for its beautiful blue water and white sands, this beach is ideal for boogie boarding and sunbathing. Moreover, your kids can surf here thanks to the low surf.

 

Hanauma Beach – this is the most popular spot for snorkeling on the island. You can pay several dollars for a shuttle ride down the hill to the parking lot.

 

Packing up your whole life to start over afresh is never easy, even if you have a new job assignment. Hopefully, the above tips will make your move much smoother and easier on you and your family.

 

Moving Home? Here’s How To Save Money Before You’ve Even Received The Keys

moving day

photo credit CubeSmart

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or not, buying a property is a major life moment that comes with huge excitement. Nonetheless, it’s also probably the biggest financial decision of your life. This is why you must take a responsible approach along every step of the journey.

Homes don’t come cheap, and there will be various other costs to consider once you’ve moved in. Reducing the costs throughout the process can free up more cash for future upgrades and additions. Here are just three simple ways to make it happen.

Get The Property Checked For Damage

Unless the property is a new build, there’s a good chance that something will be wrong. Those issues could be quite minor now, but overlooking them can allow the damage to grow. Meanwhile, some homeowners may try to sell their properties without disclosing issues that they are highly aware of.

Small checks will be made to tick the legal boxes. In truth, though, you must go the extra mile by surveying the land as well as the property itself. Being aware of any potential issues may save you from buying a home that isn’t fit for purpose. Even if the issues aren’t serious, it can put you in a stronger position when it comes to negotiating on the price.

There is always a possibility that surveys will come back without any noteworthy issues. Although this may feel like you’ve wasted money, it’s better to have that emotional security than not.

Hire A Moving Firm

After spending thousands on agents, surveys, and the property itself, you’ll want to save money. Therefore, taking on the expense of a moving firm can seem pointless. On the contrary, it’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

First and foremost, the time saved will compensate for any additional costs encountered at this moment. More importantly, it ensures that your possessions reach the destination in good health. This’ll save you a lot of money in the long run. Experts at https://www.mybekins.com/location/sarasota-fl-movers/ will show you the options. Aside from the financial benefits, it’ll work wonders for your sanity.

Taking the DIY option may sound appealing, but petrol and other hidden costs mean that you’re better off with the professional touch.

Find Better Service Deals

Once you’ve moved in, the list of potential money-saving investments is huge. This can include adopting eco-friendly items and improving the insulation. However, you can successfully start the savings ahead of moving day.

The choice of energy provider can make a world of difference. Likewise, running a quick price comparison could reduce the cost of your broadband or TV bills. Visit https://www.highspeedinternet.com/providers to learn more about the best options for your location. On a similar note, finding better deals on items like home insurance will work wonders.

Those savings aren’t only instant. They’ll also continue to follow you for months or even years, ensuring fantastic long-term results. If that doesn’t leave you smiling as you collect the keys, what will?

How to Move Home Stress Free

Moving house is regularly considered to be one of the most stressful and frustrating events. The process involves buying packing materials, hiring a moving truck, making the actual move and arranging your belongings in your new home. With the many activities involved, failure to prepare and plan properly is bound to make the experience even more stressful.

Considering the frustration and challenges that come with such times, most people neglect their needs and health. However, moving home does not have to be stressful. By following the tips below, you will make the entire process manageable and stress-free.

Give yourself time

While sometimes you may be forced to move last minute, most of the time people plan before moving house. In order to make the process stress-free, it is important to plan ahead.

This means that you start preparing at least eight weeks before moving. Giving yourself ample time to plan and organize all activities will increase the chances of having a seamless process. Maybe a Transport Executive will help! 

Budget

Whether you hire a professional moving company or do it yourself, moving is likely to be a costly undertaking. You may also incur additional expenses that you had not planned for.

Since such unplanned expenses can be frustrating, you should come up with a budget well before the day of the move. It is also important to ensure that your budget is flexible enough to accommodate all the important costs.

Start packing early

Even the most organized person will have a lot more to do than they had anticipated. If you are to avoid a mad rush, you should start packing early.

This will not only help to ensure that everything is packed in an orderly manner, but will allow you time to rest in between the packing session. You will also have time to buy the necessary packing materials, depending on the shape and size of your belongings.

Get organized

Being organized will go a long way in ensuring that all the activities are done and completed in good time. Getting organized will involve making a list of all tasks to be done as well as the items to be packed. The different tasks should be divided into weeks so that you have an easy time tracking progress.

Depending on the distance to be covered, you may want to downsize. This will involve giving away or selling what you do not need.

Label all your boxes

Labeling all boxes before they are loaded onto the truck will offer you many advantages. When the boxes are well-labeled, it will be easy to track your stuff, a factor that will make the process stress free.

Proper labeling will also make it easy to arrange the boxes both when loading them onto the track and when you arrive at the new home. When you are able to identify what is contained in the different boxes, you will be in a better position to ensure that the process moves according to plan.

Be flexible

The reality of moving house is such that things will not always go to plan even with proper planning. If you want to keep your stress levels down, it would be important to be flexible. This will allow you to handle any obstacles that you will face in a calm and collected way. You should also consider having a backup plan just in case things go awfully wrong.

Ask for help

There are several people who have been through at least one move in their lives. Since such people understand the challenges and frustrations of the process, they may be in a position to advise you on how to prepare for a move. They will also offer tips on what to do and what to avoid so that you keep your stress levels down.

Hire a professional removal company

If you need help moving the bed, refrigerator, washing machine and other furniture, you should consider hiring a professional moving company. Professionals from a moving company will have the expertise and equipment required to move heavy stuff safely.

Staying healthy and happy will help you to deal with the pressure associated with moving. This is why it is important to eat well and get enough sleep before the moving day. Being healthy will keep you energized, helping you to achieve a stress-free move.