Best and worst US metros to live in to save money

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Saving money can be hard: While key expenses like housing and student loans continue to rise, wages have remained mostly stagnant for many American workers.

Depending on where you live, however, it can be easier — or harder — to stash away more.

To determine where Americans are able to save the most, personal finance website Bankrate calculated how much money residents in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas would need to build a six-month emergency fund, factoring in costs such as median income, monthly mortgage payments, taxes, groceries, transportation, health care and utilities. Data was collected from ATTOM Data Solutions, the Council for Community and Economic Research, Insure.com, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the U.S. Census Bureau.

From there, the site found how much the typical household could potentially save each year after covering necessities, and therefore how many months it would take to build an emergency fund.

Here are the top five metros where it’s easiest to save:

5. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan

Annual savings potential: $15,302
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $16,915
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: 13.3 months

4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Annual savings potential: $15,376
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $16,771
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: 13.1 months

3. Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio

Annual savings potential: $14,922
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $15,954
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: 12.8 months

2. Cincinnati (covers parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana)

Annual savings potential: $16,801
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $17,612
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: 12.6 months

1. Memphis (covers parts of Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas)

Annual savings potential: $15,761
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $15,208
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: 11.6 months

Here are the top five best metros where it’s hardest to save. In some California cities, residents earning the median income would be in the red after monthly expenses, meaning they would likely never be able to build an emergency fund, Bankrate reports. 

5. New York-Newark-Jersey City (covers parts of New York and New Jersey)

Annual savings potential: $695
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $30,136
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: 520.6 months

4. San Diego-Carlsbad, California

Annual savings potential: -$4,449
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $32,849
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: N/A

3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California

Annual savings potential: -$11,348
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $34,376
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: N/A

2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

Annual savings potential: -$17,283
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $47,159
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: N/A

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

Annual savings potential: -$31,119
Recommended six-month emergency fund: $58,580
How long it could take to reach emergency fund goal: N/A

It’s no surprise that it’s hardest to save in notoriously pricey metros. Four of the top places where it takes the longest to build an emergency fund are in California, where the median home costs nearly $550,000, which is more than $300,000 above the national median. California also ranks No. 11 among states where residents pay the most taxes.

“People living in areas with high housing costs could forgo all nonessential expenses for three years, religiously saving their extra dollars month after month, and still not accumulate enough cash for their recommended emergency fund,” Bankrate says.

As noted above, households in certain California metros could earn the median income for their areas, make monthly mortgage and other necessary payments, and still finish each month in debt.

On the other hand, it could be a lot easier to save for the future in a less expensive place like Memphis, Tennessee, or Cincinnati, Ohio, where housing costs and taxes are generally lower.

No matter where you live, though, it’s helpful to have a budget. If you’re looking to put away more money, experts recommend you start by re-evaluating how you spend and by putting away small amounts of money with each paycheck into some sort of interest-earning account.

Check out these additional budgeting tips, too.

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Man sitting on bench in Detroit, Michigan.

Twenty20

2019-05-23 11:31:00

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