Americans have been battered by two years of negative real wage growth as personal savings are depleted while credit card debts jump to record highs. Shelter inflation continues to soar while housing affordability is at its lowest in decades.
Homeownership has become unattainable for folks who earn below $100k due to elevated mortgage rates and high home prices, forcing many buyers to stay on the sidelines this spring season.
For those with economic mobility and remote work capabilities, a new report via the fintech website SmartAsset shows the top cities where a $100k household income no longer means living from paycheck to paycheck.
SmartAsset analyzed the after-tax income of 76 major cities and then adjusted those figures for the cost of living in each place. What they found is $100k might go the furthest in Memphis.
Here are the key findings from the report:
$100K goes furthest in Memphis. The city may be known as the “Home of the Blues,” but Memphis’ low cost of living surely won’t make you sing them. A $100,000 salary is worth more here ($86,444) than in any other city in our study after subtracting taxes and adjusting for the cost of living.
Texas cities dominate the top 10. Thanks to no state income tax and the low cost of living, the Lone Star State looms large in our study. Seven out of the 10 cities in our top 10 are located in Texas. After deducting taxes and adjusting for the cost of living, a $100,000 salary on average is worth $77,885 across the 10 Texas cities that we analyzed in our study.
Oklahoma City has the lowest cost of living. A $100,000 goes a long way in the Sooner State’s largest city, considering that the cost of living is only 83.2% of the national average – the lowest out of all 76 cities in our study. A $100,000 salary is worth $84,498 in Oklahoma City after adjusting for the cost of living.
In New York City, $100K amounts to just $35,791 when you consider taxes and the cost of living. Taxes and cost of living take a big bite out of a $100,000 income in the Big Apple, which ranked last in our analysis. After adjusting for those factors, $100,000 is worth just $35,791.
And the top ten places in the US where $100k goes the furthest:
1. Memphis, TN
A person earning $100,000 per year in Memphis takes home $74,515 after federal and local taxes (the state of Tennessee doesn’t tax earned income). Considering the city has a cost of living that’s almost 14% lower than the national average, those after-tax earnings are actually worth $86,444 when adjusting for the cost of living.
2. El Paso, TX
A $100,000 salary in El Paso is worth $84,966 after subtracting taxes and adjusting for the local cost of living. A person who makes $100,000 a year in this West Texas city of over 678,000 residents takes home $74,515 after taxes. El Paso’s cost of living is just 87.7% of the national average.
3. Oklahoma City, OK
Someone making $100,000 in Oklahoma City will take home $70,302 after taxes. But thanks to the lowest cost of living in our study, those after-tax earnings are worth considerably more: $84,498.
4. Corpus Christi, TX
A $100,00 annual salary is worth $83,443 in Corpus Christi after deducting taxes and adjusting for the local cost of living. Located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Corpus Christi’s cost of living is 10.7% lower than the national average.
5. Lubbock, TX
A person who earns $100,000 per year in Lubbock can expect to take home $74,515 after taxes are deducted from their paychecks. Since the cost of living in Lubbock is just 89.4% of the national average, that person’s take-home pay is actually worth $83,350 after adjusting for the cost of living.
6. Houston, TX
Like the other Texas cities in the top 10, a $100,000 salary in Houston is reduced to $74,515 after taxes. Those earnings, however, are worth $81,350 when adjusting for Houston’s cost of living, which is 91.8% of the national average.
7 (tie). San Antonio, Fort Worth and Arlington, TX
A $100,000 salary is worth the same amount of money in three Texas cities: San Antonio, Fort Worth and Arlington. Thanks to identical tax treatment and no state income tax, a person earning $100,000 takes home $74,515 in each city. That money is worth $80,124 when you adjust for the cost of living in all three cities, which is 7% lower than the national average.
10. St. Louis, MO
St. Louis rounds out the top 10. While taxes reduce a $100,000 salary to $69,531, the city’s low cost of living (87% of the national average) makes those after-tax dollars go even further. As a result, a $100,000 salary in St. Louis is worth $79,921 after subtracting taxes and adjusting for the cost of living.
One potential solution for those aiming for financial independence and reduced reliance on the government could be a move to one of the ten cities SmartAsset listed.