If there’s one thing that’s not bigger in Texas, it’s the cost of living, according to new research from jobs database CareerCast.com.
But that doesn’t stop Texans from overspending: CreditCards.com also has a new study showing they have some of the worst money managers in the country. With a median income of more than $52,000 and an unemployment rate below the national average at 3.5 percent, Dallas-Fort Worth residents have it pretty good. CareerCast.com says it’s one of the highest-paying cities in America for a wide range of professions.
Yet the same metro area ranks 7th-worst in the nation for managing all that extra cash, according to CreditCards.com, which looked at credit factors to figure out which cities are the best and worst at handling their money. Baltimore and Washington D.C. were named the worst offenders.
“Just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you know how to manage it,” says CreditRepair.com expert Kristy Welsh. “Maybe people with more money feel like it’s always going to be coming in and they can just charge up.”
We put the data from both studies on a map, which you can play with below. Big circles means higher income, and colors indicate which study the city was mentioned in.
The best bang for your buck cities
While Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth are some of the best cities for return on salary, there are two other Texas cities that join them: Austin and Midland.
“Texas is one recurring theme you’ll find on this list,” CareerCast.com says. “Throughout the Lone Star State, there are attractive destinations both in terms of pay, diversity of career options and living expense. Austin and Midland have cost-of-living averages 6 percent and 3 percent below the national average.”
Austin is experiencing a huge boom in tech and music courtesy of the annual South By Southwest Festival. Being the Texas capital helps, too. The median household income is more than $63,000 and it’s the top city for return on salary.
Other cities with low cost of living and high median incomes include: Columbus, Ohio; Durham, North Carolina; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Pittsburgh.
The best cities for money management
In fact, Pittsburgh made it on both lists in a positive light. Residents there have a low credit card utilization rate (27 percent) and a low average balance (less than $3,800), which is why creditcards.com ranked them as the 10th best money managers in the country.
But it’s LA residents that manage their finances best, and it might be because money is so tight. With high unemployment, high cost-of-living, and low education, creditcards.com says the economic recovery hasn’t been nice to Los Angeles residents. “Its population is also on the younger side, which makes it harder to achieve a long track record of steady bill payment,” the report says. And yet, it manages to rank at the top of the list!
Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Chicago, and Boston rounded out the top 5 best cities for money management.