Forbes – Go west, young people. Just be wary of California. Think about Nebraska, Texas or Wisconsin – your savings are at stake.
All the cities that both bolster your saving power and drain you dry are either in the Midwest and West, with the exception of New York City, the city that never sleeps — or saves.
When it comes to saving money, residents of Portland, Ore., will have the easiest time, while people in San Francisco and Los Angeles will have the hardest, according to a new GOBankingRates study that assessed the best and worst cities for saving money in 2015.
It’s hardly a secret: Portland is the city of our time. Not only is it a lush, verdant city with access to rivers and mountains and such an artistic hipsterville that it inspired its own television show, it also tops the list of the best cities for saving money. It’s a dream date that would make an ideal life partner — beautiful, edgy and smart.
If, however, you’re living in California, you may want to think seriously about your relationship with a place that keeps asking for more from you. Chances are you’re only dreaming about saving money: 9 of the top 10 worst cities for saving money are in the Golden State. Residents there may be getting gorgeous skies and cheerful weather, but at what sacrifice to their financial goals? The other — New York City — is no surprise to anyone who has lived there and felt fistfulls of cash leave their pocket every time they step out the door.
Yet these rankings aren’t based on how much is spent on nightlife, restaurants and culture. GOBankingRates assessed the 100 most populous cities in the United States on the factors that affect savers most: sales tax, home values, monthly rent, income, unemployment rate and gas prices.
“If the last decade has shown us anything, it’s that saving money is hard work – even when you’re motivated to do it,” said Casey Bond, GOBankingRates’ managing editor.
“Our study proves that it’s even harder in some places than others,” Bond said. “Living expenses, taxes and the local job market have a huge impact on how much money you’ll be able to keep in your savings account — if you’re ignoring these factors, you’re not giving yourself the best chance to be financially healthy.”
This study shows the cost of housing varies the most widely of the cities’ assessed attributes. San Francisco (the worst city for saving) had the highest housing costs of the 20 cities the study showcased, with a median home value of $727,600. Fort Wayne, Ind., (the eighth best city for saving) offered the cheapest housing options, with a median home value of $98,900.
Those who live in these California cities will pay more in taxes and rent, spend more on their houses, earn less and be less likely to be gainfully employed, according to the study. While income is high in some of these cities (Fremont, CA, with its Silicon Valley connections, has the highest of these 20 cities with a median income of $100,000) so is sales tax, housing costs and the rates of unemployment.
It isn’t necessarily higher incomes that make the Best cities good for saving. With the exception of Anchorage, with a median income of $72,000, all the cities that are good for saving have incomes between $42,000 and $52,000. It’s the lower employment rates, low or absent taxes and housing costs that are in proportion to wages that makes the difference between saving and dreaming about it.
10 Best Cities for Saving Money:
Fort Wayne, IN
Corpus Christi, TX
10 Worst Cities for Saving Money:
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
San Jose, CA
Long Beach, CA
Santa Ana, CA