Is the war in Ukraine changing how Americans view money?


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Americans returned to their pre-pandemic spending habits, but the war in Eastern Europe could change that.


When personal finance site WalletHub surveyed people about their spending habits, about half of respondents said they started using their credit cards more in 2022. Most are feeling anxious since inflation rates are the highest they’ve been in decades and the war in Ukraine has led to rapidly rising gas prices.


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Now, Americans are reconsidering the financial freedoms they enjoyed at the beginning of the year.


“The transportation and travel industries will most likely be hit the hardest as a result of the oil price volatility,” Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, told “Higher energy prices will also impact consumer spending.”


The Federal Reserve has a meeting on March 16 and they could decide to raise interest rates.


“Higher interest rates could slow post-pandemic recovery. However, because the labor market is strong right now, the impact of a Fed rate hike might be minimal on the overall economy,” Gonzalez said. “Plus, a rate hike would curb spending and consequently, inflation.”


Even though the increase in gas and grocery prices has been swift and obvious, some Americans are more scared of rising interest. Some experts say it’s about time for the Fed to raise interest rates and war won’t change that.


Christine Sauer, an economics professor at the University of New Mexico, told WalletHub that before the war began, she expected to see between three and five smaller interest rate hikes in 2022. But the conflict in Ukraine has made economics a lot more unpredictable.


“There is so much uncertainty right now regarding Ukraine and future sanctions/actions by the U.S. and its allies,” Sauer said. “I think we need to wait and see how the U.S. economy fares over the next few weeks and months.”


Oscar Brookins, an economics professor at Northeastern University, has his own theory.


“The raging war will certainly exacerbate inflation because the energy sector will be under increasing pressure as Russia, essentially an oil and gas economy, prosecutes its war and oil and gas supplies are disrupted,” Brookins told WalletHub.


He sees the interest rate rising a total of 75 basis points this year if the war continues – meaning that if a rate starts at 5 percent, it’ll become 5.75 percent.


Higher interest rates could slow down inflation, but 55 percent of Americans see it as a bad thing for their wallets. People with good credit are much more likely than people with bad credit to see the positive effects of higher interest rates can have on the economy.


“An increase in interest rates from the Federal Reserve will hurt Americans who are already in debt. If the Fed raises interest rates, the interest rates consumers pay on loans will also rise, as will the overall cost of borrowing,” Gonzalez said. “Mortgages will also be more expensive for new borrowers, and the average APR on auto loans will be higher as well.”


It’s possible that the Fed will approve a 25-basis point increase this week which would increase credit card rates and cost consumers an extra $1.6 billion this year.


“Americans are worried about the cost of their credit card debt increasing due to interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve,” Gonzalez said in a press release. “People are having trouble making ends meet as-is, and they know rising rates will only increase the cost of their debt.”



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These 2 Western cities are the most financially fit in the US


Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Financial fitness has little or nothing to do with how much you spend on gym memberships each month. But there are plenty of ways to measure financial fitness, from monitoring personal bill-paying activity to tracking cost of living regionally.


LendingTree researchers devised financial fitness scores for the 100 largest U.S. metros, taking into account five individual factors (such as the percentage of income that goes toward owning or renting a home and the percentage of people with at least one maxed-out credit card) and four community factors (such as unemployment rates and real personal income).


Two Utah metros come out at the top, while the two largest metros in the U.S. come out at the bottom. Here’s what else researchers learned.


AaronAmat / istockphoto


  • Utah steals the show when it comes to financial fitness, with Ogden and Provo taking the first and second spots with final scores of 81.4 and 77.5, respectively. Salt Lake City makes a respectable showing at No. 8 with a final score of 70.2.
  • Madison, Wisconsin rounds out the top three, with a final score of 76.5. Madison has one of the lowest unemployment rates — 3.5% — across the 100 metros examined.
  • The two largest metros in the U.S. — New York and Los Angeles — finish at the bottom, with financial fitness scores of 32.5 and 34.6, respectively.
  • McAllen, Texas, comes in third to last with a final score of 36.3. Despite being the cheapest place to live, this Texas metro has the lowest real personal income and the highest unemployment rate, so it’s no surprise that personal struggles with bills and debt follow.


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LendingTree analysts scored the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) across two categories — community score and individual score — to determine the overall financial fitness of those MSAs.


These two scores were averaged to create a final score, upon which the MSAs were ranked from highest to lowest. The highest possible scores for each category and the final score was 100, and the lowest was zero.


Each metric was first scored according to its relation to the best value (100 points) and the worst value (0 points) among the metros. These metrics were then averaged according to the weights below to create the category score. The final score was equally weighted between the community and individual scores.


In addition to publicly available sources, researchers reviewed more than 300,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree app users. The composite metrics represent the latest data available.


nortonrsx/ istockphoto


  • Final Score: 59
  • Community Score: 56.6
  • Individual Score: 61.4


  • Final Score: 59
  • Community Score: 55.9
  • Individual Score: 62


  • Final Score: 59.2
  • Community Score: 51.6
  • Individual Score: 66.8


  • Final Score: 59.7
  • Community Score: 58.3
  • Individual Score: 61.1


  • Final Score: 59.7
  • Community Score: 59.6
  • Individual Score: 59.8





  • Final Score: 60.7
  • Community Score: 61.4
  • Individual Score: 60



Kruck20 / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 60.8
  • Community Score: 51
  • Individual Score: 70.6



tonda / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 60.9
  • Community Score: 49.5
  • Individual Score: 72.2


  • Final Score: 60.9
  • Community Score: 50.2
  • Individual Score: 71.6


  • Final Score: 61
  • Community Score: 52.6
  • Individual Score: 69.3


  • Final Score: 61.2
  • Community Score: 57
  • Individual Score: 65.4



felixmizioznikov /istockphoto


  • Final Score: 61.9
  • Community Score: 56.2
  • Individual Score: 67.6





  • Final Score: 62.6
  • Community Score: 53
  • Individual Score: 72.2



aiisha5 / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 62.7
  • Community Score: 61.7
  • Individual Score: 63.6



Johnny Warrior / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 62.9
  • Community Score: 59.3
  • Individual Score: 66.5





  • Final Score: 63.3
  • Community Score: 62.3
  • Individual Score: 64.3


  • Final Score: 63.3
  • Community Score: 60
  • Individual Score: 66.5



RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 63.4
  • Community Score: 64.8
  • Individual Score: 61.9



istockphoto/Vito Palmisano


  • Final Score: 63.4
  • Community Score: 55.8
  • Individual Score: 70.9



Kruck20 / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 63.7
  • Community Score: 57.3
  • Individual Score: 70.1



Jacob Boomsma / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 64.1
  • Community Score: 63.3
  • Individual Score: 64.8





  • Final Score: 64.3
  • Community Score: 55.3
  • Individual Score: 73.2


  • Final Score: 64.4
  • Community Score: 56.6
  • Individual Score: 72.2



Deposit Photos


  • Final Score: 64.5
  • Community Score: 61
  • Individual Score: 68


  • Final Score: 64.7
  • Community Score: 56.8
  • Individual Score: 72.5



Sean Pavone / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 64.8
  • Community Score: 62.2
  • Individual Score: 67.3





  • Final Score: 65.2
  • Community Score: 60.9
  • Individual Score: 69.4



Nicholas Smith / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 65.5
  • Community Score: 55
  • Individual Score: 75.9


  • Final Score: 65.8
  • Community Score: 61.7
  • Individual Score: 69.8


  • Final Score: 66
  • Community Score: 61.1
  • Individual Score: 70.8



Deposit Photos


  • Final Score: 66.1
  • Community Score: 57.1
  • Individual Score: 75



benkrut / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 66.9
  • Community Score: 60.7
  • Individual Score: 73



SeanPavonePhoto / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 67
  • Community Score: 62.1
  • Individual Score: 71.8


  • Final Score: 67.6
  • Community Score: 58.4
  • Individual Score: 76.7





  • Final Score: 67.7
  • Community Score: 54.4
  • Individual Score: 81





  • Final Score: 68.1
  • Community Score: 61.4
  • Individual Score: 74.8





  • Final Score: 68.2
  • Community Score: 64
  • Individual Score: 72.3





  • Final Score: 69.1
  • Community Score: 63
  • Individual Score: 75.2



f11photo / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 69.2
  • Community Score: 59.8
  • Individual Score: 78.5



Sean Pavone / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 69.4
  • Community Score: 63.5
  • Individual Score: 75.3


  • Final Score: 69.9
  • Community Score: 64.4
  • Individual Score: 75.4


  • Final Score: 69.9
  • Community Score: 61.9
  • Individual Score: 77.9



aceshot / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 70.2
  • Community Score: 72.3
  • Individual Score: 68


  • Final Score: 70.8
  • Community Score: 69.8
  • Individual Score: 71.7



dangarneau / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 71.6
  • Community Score: 72.5
  • Individual Score: 70.6



Deposit Photos


  • Final Score: 72
  • Community Score: 65.1
  • Individual Score: 78.8





  • Final Score: 73.2
  • Community Score: 64.7
  • Individual Score: 81.6



Sean Pavone/istockphoto


  • Final Score: 76.5
  • Community Score: 73.1
  • Individual Score: 79.8


  • Final Score: 77.5
  • Community Score: 75.6
  • Individual Score: 79.3





  • Final Score: 81.4
  • Community Score: 81.8
  • Individual Score: 80.9



Scott Catron from Sandy, Utah, USA


Location can certainly help you maintain financial fitness, but your personal habits will follow wherever you go, so make sure yours are helping you meet your financial goals.



Rawpixel / istockphoto


Achieving overall financial fitness often means addressing several different problem areas. Maybe you don’t have credit card debt but you struggle to keep a solid emergency savings.


“Knowing what you want most from your money is the vital first step,” LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz said. “You have to know where you want to go before you can figure out how to get there.”


Cn0ra / istockphoto


Once you’ve identified your goals, you’ll want to lay out a plan of how to achieve them.


“If you don’t know exactly how much money is coming in and going out of your household each month, it’s really tough to make a meaningful plan for your financial future,” he said.


Lyndon Stratford / istockphoto


Life can often impede on your budget, whether that means a sudden loss of income or another major unexpected expense. Financial fitness won’t stop those things from happening, but it can help mitigate the effects if you’re consistently working to improve your situation.


“Financial fitness is about good habits done over a long stretch of time,” Schulz said. “It is absolutely a marathon rather than a sprint.”


You might not think taking out a personal loan can help you get out of debt, but Schulz said debt consolidation loans can work for people juggling multiple payments.


“Not only can it knock down your interest rate, it can streamline your payments,” he said. “Instead of dealing with three or four different creditors, you can consolidate them into one loan, make one single payment and simplify your financial life tremendously.”

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Deposit Photos


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