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The latest news on SmartAsset from Business Insider

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    bank teller

    • Data from the Federal Reserve shows how much money Americans have in their savings accounts.
    • The averages are broken down by income, gender, and race.
    • Americans under 35 have about $1,580 saved, while those making $70,000 to $114,999 have about $5,400 saved.


    Most of us rely on financial instruments to keep our savings safe, but it can be hard to know if you're saving enough.

    Evaluating the average savings account balance across the country is a good start. Using data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, we've broken down the median and the average by age, income, and gender, so you can see how you fare compared with Americans in recent history.

    Note: In this article, mean indicates the total amount of savings divided by the number of savers, while median represents the middle-ground savings amount.

    Median and average savings account balances in the US

    Of the Americans who have savings accounts, the median savings account balance is $5,200. The average, or mean, balance is $33,766.49.

    Households with high incomes seriously skew the numbers when you calculate the mean. To get a better idea of where you stand, you can compare the median savings account balance filtered by demographic.

    Average savings account balance by age

    Unsurprisingly, Americans add more to their savings account as they age. Everyone should aspire to live in such a way that their nest egg grows with time, but that means starting as soon as you're able.

    The median savings account balance for those under 35 years old was $1,580. During the years between 35 and 44, balances grow significantly — the median for this age group is $5,000.

    By the time we reach 75 and above, the median is $11,000.

    Check out the full breakdown of median savings account balance by age:

    • Under 35: $1,580
    • 35-44: $5,000
    • 45-54: $6,500
    • 55-64: $8,500
    • 65-74: $10,000
    • 75+: $11,000

    Average savings account balance by income

    Also unsurprisingly, Americans who make more money are able to save more money.

    Income is the factor that makes the biggest difference in average savings amounts. Low-income earners are also the least likely to have a savings account. Those who make less than $25,000 a year keep only $500 in savings, while those raking in more than $160,000 have a median of $50,000 in savings.

    Even though it can be much more difficult when you aren't bringing home a fortune from your employer, you should base your savings on a percentage of income. Many people rely on the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, which can be a great way to get started and ensure you're putting at least 20% of your take-home pay toward debt repayment and savings.

    Check out the full breakdown of median savings account balance by income:

    • Under $25,000: $500
    • $25,000 to $44,999: $1,500
    • $45,000 to $69,999: $2,200
    • $70,000 to $114,999: $5,400
    • $115,000 to $159,999: $10,000
    • $160,000+: $50,000

    Average savings account balance by gender

    Women earn an average of $0.78 for every dollar a man earns. Certain parts of the country are helping pave the way for a shrinking gender pay gap, but it still persists.

    As we saw how large a difference income can make on savings, it only makes sense that women tend to have less money in their savings accounts. Households led by women are also less likely to have a savings account at all.

    Here's the breakdown of median savings account balance by gender:

    • Men: $7,000
    • Women: $2,000

    Average savings account balance by race

    The pay gap also exists among people of different races in America, with white Americans earning more on average than their black and Hispanic counterparts. Wealth and savings follow suit.

    Take a look at the full breakdown of median savings account balance by race:

    • White non-Hispanic: $7,140
    • Black: $1,000
    • Hispanic: $1,500

    Historical trends

    Despite economic ups and downs, Americans have been depositing more into their savings account every year on average since 1959, when the Federal Reserve started collecting this data.

    The total amount of American savings account deposits has increased since 1959, the earliest year for which the Federal Reserve has data. The median balance, however, has not always followed suit, highlighting the differences in savings discipline across households.

    Tips for saving more

    Of course, no one's aiming for average. No matter how you stack up against these means and medians, there's always more you can be saving.

    • To bump up your savings, take a hard look at your budget. Find any places you can cut costs and redirect those funds to your savings. You can also shop smarter, looking for coupons and finding deals where you can.
    • But you don't want all your eggs in one basket either. If your savings account is creeping much higher than the average, you may consider some other places to park your money that will yield a greater return. This may include a better savings account, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, or bonds.

    SEE ALSO: Here's the average net worth of Americans at every age

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Florida mansion

    • SmartAsset examined the total number of tax returns with an adjusted gross income of at $1 million.
    • They then identified the states that have the most million-dollar earners.
    • Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts top the list. 


    Hollywood and New York City probably come to mind when you think about the places with the most million-dollar earners. While location plays a part in how much money you earn, there are other factors that can help you reach millionaire status. Plenty of patient saving is most likely required. Many people seek professional advice from a financial advisor to help them make the best decisions about their finances. Below, we looked at the unique economic profiles of each state through IRS data to find the states with the most million-dollar earners.

    Specifically, we looked at the total number of tax returns and compared that to the total number of tax returns which had an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million. That means we considered both single filers and married couples filing jointly for this analysis. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together.

    Key findings

    • U.S. millionaires abroad – Just under 1% of American taxpayers filing from abroad had an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million, according to our analysis. If we had ranked Americans abroad as a separate region for this study, it would have ranked first. In fact a taxpayer filing from abroad is about 50% more likely to be a millionaire than a taxpayer from first-ranked Connecticut.
    • High-tax states  – In general the states that top this list have high income tax rates. It is probably not the case that millionaires flock to high-tax states. So it seems that states with higher taxes tend to produce more millionaires.
    • The importance of the cost of living – Many of the states which rank high in this study have high costs of living. Take for example someone who earns $1 million a year and lives in San Francisco. She receives a job offer to move to Minneapolis and earn $900,000. Should she take the job? Going by just cost of living, the answer is yes. The cost of living in San Francisco is roughly 18% higher than it is in Minneapolis. That means someone earning $847,457 in Minneapolis has the equivalent purchasing power of someone earning $1 million in San Francisco.

    1. Connecticut

    The Constitution State takes the top spot. There were just under 11,500 tax returns filed by taxpayers in Connecticut with a gross income at or above $1 million. That means around 0.65% of all tax returns filed were filed by people with an adjusted gross income above $1 million.

    In Connecticut, millionaires lose quite a bit of their earnings to income taxes. According to our data, a married couple earning a combined $1 million would pay $62,982 in Connecticut income taxes.

    2. Washington, D.C.

    The nation’s capital comes in just behind Connecticut in second place. This area had the second-lowest total number of millionaire taxpayers in our top 10. However due to a low overall population, it had a high concentration of millionaires.

    Overall about 0.59% of tax returns in this state were filed by people with an adjusted gross income above $1 million.

    3. New York

    The Empire State comes in third. Connecticut’s neighbor to the west has the second-most millionaires overall. In total there were 50,080 tax returns filed by people with a gross adjusted income of at least $1 million. Only sixth-ranked California had more. In total 9,614,610 tax returns were filed in New York, according to IRS data, meaning 0.52% were filed by millionaires.

    A couple with a combined income of $1 million in the state of New York pays an effective state income tax rate of 6.57%. If they live in New York City, they have to deal with a further effective tax rate of 3.67%. In total, we estimate a couple taking home $1 million could expect to pay $439,191 in income taxes.

    4. Massachusetts

    Another high-tax Northeastern state takes fourth. There were around 16,000 tax returns filed in Massachusetts by taxpayers with an adjusted gross income above $1 million. That is equal to about 0.47% of all tax filers.

    Massachusetts has a flat income tax rate, a good sign for millionaires. However, it is the second-highest flat state income tax in the country, at 5.1%. For millionaires who bought a home in Massachusetts, the state has an average effective property tax rate of 1.15%.

    5. New Jersey

    The Garden State comes in fifth. Like Connecticut, this state likely benefits from its proximity to New York City. Residents who live in New Jersey pay steep state taxes. Married filers taking home $1 million can expect to pay $72,134 in taxes to the New Jersey state government.

    In total, 19,580 New Jersey tax filers took home an income of at least $1 million, equal to about 0.45% of all tax filers.

    6. California

    No state has more millionaires than California, which perhaps makes sense given that it’s the most populated state. There are just under 72,500 tax filers in California with an adjusted gross income above $1 million. Like residents in some other states in the top 10, such as Connecticut and New York, California residents face high income tax rates.

    A couple taking home exactly $1 million in California would pay $94,731 to the California state government.

    7. Florida

    Florida is the first low-income-tax state to crack this top 10. This state would be a great place for a millionaire to retire. It has no state income tax. A couple filing jointly with an income of $1 million would pay only $364,089 in income taxes. In total around 0.34% out of the 9,627,280 tax filers in Florida took home at least $1 million.

    8. Illinois

    Illinois just edges out Wyoming and Texas for eighth. These three states’ scores are separated by just over 0.01%. Around 19,800 of the total 6,161,970 tax filers in Illinois took home an income of at least $1 million. That is equivalent to roughly 0.32%.

    Like Massachusetts, Illinois has a flat income tax. The good news for Illinois residents, especially the millionaires, is that it is relatively low. A couple taking home $1 million could expect to pay $49,280 in state income tax.

    9. Wyoming

    The Cowboy State contains the ninth-highest concentration of millionaires in our study. According to IRS data, about 0.32% of all taxpayers in Wyoming took home $1 million or more. In raw numbers that is only 880 residents.

    Wyoming might be the best state to live in for people who want to lower their tax burden. This state has no state income tax, the lowest sales tax of any state with a sales tax and the ninth-lowest average effective property tax rate in the country.

    10. Texas

    Our list ends in another low-income tax state. There are over 37,000 tax filers in Texas with an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million. That means roughly 0.31% of filers took home at least $1 million in adjusted gross income. While Texas residents don’t have to pay state income tax, they do have to contend with some taxes, like a sales tax between 6.25% – 8.25% and property taxes that are among the highest in the nation.

    Data and methodology

    For this study, we defined millionaire as an individual or couple who earned at least $1 million in adjusted gross annual income. In order to find the states with the most million-dollar earners, we looked at data for all 50 states and Washington D.C. Specifically we looked at the following two metrics:

    • Total number of tax returns with an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million.
    • Total number of tax returns.

    Data for both metrics comes from the IRS and is for 2015.

    We divided the number of tax returns filed by taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million and divided it by the total number of tax returns filed. Using this method we found the the percent of tax filers in each state who are million-dollar earners. We then ranked the states from highest to lowest using this number.

    SEE ALSO: Meet the richest person in every US state

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    travelers millennials happy

    • The millennial homeownership rate in 2016 was compared to the change between the millennial homeownership rate from 2007 t0 2016.
    • We discovered that millennials are not moving to big cities, and that homeownership among this generation is dropping.
    • Kansas and Virginia are the major states that millennials are moving to in droves.


    Millennials, for the most part, are a generation of renters. Only 34.7% of Americans under the age of 35 owned their homes as of 2016, according to a Census Bureau survey. But that's not always by choice. According to a Pew survey, 72% of renters hope to become homeowners one day. One big hurdle, especially for millennials, is that they are unable to buy affordable homes.

    This is especially true in cities like New York or San Francisco. There are some cities however where millennials are overcoming mortgage costs and buying homes. Below we look through the data to find the cities where millennials are buying homes.

    For this study, we looked at two factors: the 2016 millennial homeownership rate and the change between the millennial homeownership rate from 2007 to 2016. We defined millennials as those under the age of 35. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together to create our final ranking.

    This is the third annual edition of this study. Read the 2017 version of Where Are Millennials Buying Homes? here.

    Key findings

    • No big cities – No big city cracks our top 10. The biggest city to crack our top 25 was Las Vegas at 22. In fact, seven of the top 10 largest cities are ranked in the bottom half. New York and L.A. in particular score poorly, ranking 148th and 153rd, respectively.
    • Millennial homeownership dropping – Across the largest 200 cities, only 18 saw millennial homeownership rates increase from 2007. This means in many cities homeownership rates have not fully recovered from the recession.

    SEE ALSO: Forget New York — millennials are flocking to these 11 US cities in droves

    1. Olathe, Kansas

    Last year Kansas had two cities ranked in our top 25, neither of which were Olathe. In fact Olathe was not included in the study due to population filters. But this year it comes out on top.

    Our data shows that over 50% of millennial households in Olathe own their homes, the fourth-highest rate in our study. That is an increase of 4.8% from 2007, the second-largest change in our study.



    2. Chesapeake, Virginia

    Chesapeake, Virginia has a high millennial homeownership rate. As of 2016, 54.4% of millennial households own their homes. What kept Chesapeake from taking the no. 1 spot is the fact that the millennial homeownership rate is down from 10 years ago. In 2007, 55% of Millennial households owned their homes.



    3. Bakersfield, California

    For the second year in a row, Bakersfield takes the third spot. Bakersfield scores better than 85% of cities in both of our metrics. Our data shows that in 2016, 36.7% of millennial households are homeowners. That is a decrease of 1.3% from 2007.

    For millennials who can afford it, buying a home in Bakersfield may not be a bad idea, California has below-average property tax rates.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Brooklyn brownstones.

    • New York real estate has seen huge increases in property prices — particularly in the area known as Williamsburg.
    • The median home value in the North Side-South Side of Brooklyn rose 41% between 2012 and 2016.
    • Six of the top ten New York neighborhoods with rising prices are in Brooklyn. 

    New York real estate has an estimated market value around $1.26 trillion as of 2018, according to the New York Department of Finance. Some New York neighborhoods are more popular than others, putting upward pressure on home values and mortgage costs. Below we look into the phenomenon to find the New York City neighborhoods with the fastest-growing home values.

    We looked at 2012 and 2016 data on median home values for New York City neighborhoods. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together.

    Key findings

    • Brooklyn homes are the hottest — According to our data, homes in Brooklyn are appreciating the fastest. In total six of our top 10 neighborhoods with the fastest growing home values are in Brooklyn.
    • Staten Island falls behind — Staten Island's highest scoring neighborhood was Grymes Hill-Clifton-Fox Hills which ranked 70th and had an 5.8% increase in median home value.

    NYC_Home_values_map 2

    1. North Side-South Side, Brooklyn

    North Side-South Side refers to a portion of Brooklyn's famously gentrified neighborhood of Williamsburg. Located just across the East River from Manhattan, this neighborhood has seen the fastest-growing home values in New York.

    According to our data, the median home value shot up over 41% in the five years between 2012 and 2016. In total the median home was worth $688,433 in 2012 and grew to $971,633 by 2016 — an increase of nearly $300,000 in value.

    2. DUMBO-Vinegar Hill-Downtown Brooklyn-Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

    Another Brooklyn neighborhood takes second. Like North Side-South Side this neighborhood is located on the water facing Manhattan. In 2012, the median home was worth just under $594,000. By 2016 that figure had risen to just shy of $809,300. That is equivalent to an increase of over 36%.

    According to our data, this neighborhood went from having the 50th-highest median home value in 2012 to the 13th-highest in 2016.

    3. East Harlem North, Manhattan

    East Harlem covers the northeastern quadrant of Manhattan running north to south from 96th Street to 140th Street and west to east from 5th Ave to the East River. Residents who have lived in northern part of this area recently will have seen a remarkable increase in property values.

    Census Bureau data shows the median value of homes in this neighborhood increased by about $30,000 per year from 2012 — 2016, for a total increase of $150,000 or 30%.

    4. Ocean Parkway South, Brooklyn

    Located in southern Brooklyn, Ocean Parkway South has seen the fourth-highest increase in median home values. Homeowners should be happy to hear the median home has seen its value increase by $180,000 in this neighborhood. That is equivalent to a 26% increase.

    If you are looking to buy a home here to take advantage of rising property values you will need some serious savings. The median home here is now worth $863,000, meaning for a 20% down payment, you'll need $172,500.

    5. Carroll Gardens-Columbia Street-Red Hook, Brooklyn

    South of the DUMBO-Vinegar Hill-Downtown Brooklyn-Boerum Hill neighborhood is fifth-place Carroll Gardens-Columbia Street-Red Hook. Homes here even in 2012 were pricey. According to Census Bureau data, the median home in this neighborhood was worth $781,300 in 2012. By 2016, our data shows that figure moved up to $978,000.

    That's an increase of over 25% — not a bad return for people who bought a home in 2012, but probably bad news for the area's renters.

    6. Gravesend, Brooklyn

    If you are looking for an affordable home with potential to grow, Gravesend may be your best bet. The average home in this south-central Brooklyn neighborhood was worth $632,500 in 2016.

    However if you bought a home here in 2012, you would have gotten a better deal. Census Bureau data shows the median home was worth $515,000 in 2012. That means from 2012 — 2016 the median home's value increased by 23%.

    7. Midtown-Midtown South, Manhattan

    One of the most touristy and commercial parts of New York, Midtown-Midtown South takes the seventh spot. In total the median home saw its value increase by 23% from 2012 to 2016. The most recent data shows the median home here is now worth $813,600, which would make it the 11th-most expensive neighborhood in the data set.

    8. Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

    The median home in Prospect Heights was worth about $7,000 more than the median home in Midtown-Midtown South (the No. 7 neighborhood) in 2012 and by 2016 the median home in Prospect Heights was worth $6,000 more than the median home in Midtown-Midtown South. In total, the median home in Prospect Heights has seen its value increase by 22% from 2012 to 2016.

    9. East Concourse-Concourse Village, Bronx

    The only Bronx neighborhood to occupy this top 10 is East Concourse-Concourse Village. The median home here was worth $70,000 more in 2016 than it was in 2012, for a total increase of 20%. That is roughly an increase in home values of $14,000 per year.

    The most recent Census Bureau shows that the median home in this Bronx neighborhood is worth $433,300.

    10. Kew Gardens, Queens

    Our list ends in Kew Gardens, Queens. The median home here is worth 20% more in 2016 than in 2012. In total the median home in this neighborhood went from being worth $260,000 to being worth $312,000. That is great news for most homeowners. However an increase in property values comes with an increase in property taxes.

    NYC_Home_values_table 1 1

    Data and methodology

    In order to rank the New York City neighborhoods with the fastest-growing home values, we looked at data for 174 neighborhoods. We came up with the list of neighborhoods by mapping Census Tract data from the 2010 New York City Census. We ranked the neighborhoods using the following two data points.

    • 2012 median home value. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2012 5-year American Community Survey.
    • 2016 median home value. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2016 5-Year American Community Survey.

    We found the percent change in median home values for every Census Tract in the city. To ensure the quality of our data, we excluded any Census Tract which had a standard error above 20%. Then we found the change in median home values in each neighborhood by finding the average percent change in home values for all the Census Tracts in that neighborhood. We ranked the neighborhoods from highest to lowest based on median home value change.

    SEE ALSO: 5 things I wish someone had told me before I took out student loans

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    usa american flag mother baby

    • The American Dream includes homeownership, economic opportunity and diverse communities.
    • To find US cities with these characteristics, SmartAsset used five metrics to rank over 200 cities: homeownership rate, diversity rate, upward mobility rate, median home value and unemployment rate.
    • Key findings include the fact that six of the 10 cities remain the same as the 2017 ranking, and half of the cities in the top 10 are in Texas.

    It is difficult to come up with any one definition for the American Dream that every American will agree on.

    But certainly for many people, it includes homeownership, economic opportunity and diverse communities. For these people, they need to live in a city where homes, and mortgages, are affordable and where it’s possible to climb the economic ladder. Below we look at this special combination of traits to rank the best places for living the American Dream.

    In order to rank the best places for living the American Dream, we looked at data on five metrics. Specifically we looked at the homeownership rate, diversity rate, upward mobility rate, median home value and unemployment rate.

    See the methodology for this ranking.

    Key Findings

    • The dream endures. Six of last year’s top 10 found themselves in the top 10 again this year. Those repeat cities are: West Valley City, Utah; Midland, Texas; Aurora Illinois; Round Rock, Texas; Aurora, Colorado and Rochester, Minnesota.
    • Texas is where the dream lives. Half of the cities in our top 10 are located in Texas. Cities in Texas tend to have affordable homes and plenty of good jobs, driving down the unemployment rate and improving upward economic mobility.

    This is the 2018 edition of this study. Check out our 2017 version here.

    Read on for the 10 cities where the American dream is still alive and well:

    SEE ALSO: 16 signs you've 'made it' in America

    10. Rochester, Minnesota

    Our list ends in Rochester, Minnesota, one of the best cities for working women. Rochester ranks well thanks to high upward mobility and high homeownership rates. In those metrics, Rochester ranks 11th and 22nd, respectively.

    In fact, if it weren’t for the lack of diversity (Rochester ranks 235 out of 256 in diversity), this city would rank higher.



    9. Amarillo, Texas

    Amarillo jumped up nine spots from last year’s study to take ninth this year. Like other Texas cities, Amarillo residents enjoy a plethora of available jobs. The city has an overall unemployment rate of only 3.2%.

    It is also one of the friendliest home-buying markets in the country, judging by the homeownership rate. Over 60% of households in Amarillo own home. For most residents, homeownership should not be an unattainable goal, either. The median home in Amarillo is worth less than $127,000.



    8. San Jose, California

    San Jose scores very well in all metrics bar two — both related to housing. Unfortunately the majority of residents in San Jose are largely unable to afford the median home. According to our data, the median home in San Jose is worth over $800,000 by far the most in our top 10 and one of the highest in the study.

    Balancing out those unaffordable homes however are a low unemployment rate, high amounts of diversity, a lot of economic upward mobility and rising incomes.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    pittsburgh pennsylvania

    • More than 80% of millennials say buying a home is a priority for them.
    • Homeownership is more attainable in some cities than others, especially if you're a first-time buyer.
    • Texas is home to six of the top-20 best cities to buy your first home, while Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, took the No. 1 spot.

     

    Home prices are up and supply is down across the US, but buying a house isn't as tough as it may seem. You just have to know where to look.

    More than 80% of millennials say becoming a homeowner is a priority for them, according to NerdWallet's latest homebuyer report. Many are considering it "the next step in my life" and plan to buy within the next five years.

    Affordable real estate is hard to come by in America's coastal cities. Migrating to the Midwest or the South is a smart bet if you're looking to put down roots at an affordable cost.

    That's evidenced by SmartAsset's annual list of the best places for first-time homebuyers. SmartAsset gathered housing data for 64 metros (the US cities with a population over 300,000) related to securing a loan, the value of the average home, stability of the housing market, and affordability.

    Each city was ranked in seven categories, and then given an average score. We narrowed down the list to feature the cities with a total score of 55 or higher, out of a possible 100. 

    Below, check out the top 17 best places for first-time homebuyers.

    SEE ALSO: Forget San Francisco and New York: These are the 19 best places to live where the typical home costs less than $260,000 and monthly rent is under $1,000

    DON'T MISS: Millennials love this new housing community in a forgotten stretch of California thanks to its ultrafast internet and dirt-cheap home prices

    17. Raleigh, North Carolina

    Loan funding rate: 76%

    Value per square foot: $128.67

    Median listing price: $347,248



    16. Corpus Christi, Texas

    Loan funding rate: 67%

    Value per square foot: $90.33

    Median listing price: $209,900



    15. Denver, Colorado

    Loan funding rate: 76%

    Value per square foot: $322.33

    Median listing price: $485,000



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Brown University graduates

    • A recent report from SmartAsset reveals the 25 best American cities for recent college graduates to live.
    • These cities are affordable, have good job opportunities, and are fun for new college grads.
    • Three Ohio cities made the list, including Columbus and Cincinnati in the top two spots.

     

    Graduation is coming up and many college students may find themselves asking, Where do I go from here?

    SmartAsset recently released a list of the best cities for new college grads — places with ample jobs for college-educated people, affordable housing, and a fun atmosphere.

    To determine the ranking, SmartAsset looked at 10 metrics including the number of Indeed job listings, cost of living in the city, and concentration of entertainment and dining establishments.

    Ohio may be the best state for recent college grads; three Ohio cities make the top 25, including the top two spots. The Midwest is responsible for six of the 10 best cities for college grads. Meanwhile, coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami didn't make the top 25.

    Take a look at the 25 best cities for new college graduates, along with each city's unemployment rate for people with bachelor's degrees, median rent, and the percentage of the city's population that is in their 20s.

    SEE ALSO: Many millennials are itching to become homeowners — here are the 17 best cities to put down roots

    DON'T MISS: The 50 best college majors for finding the highest-paying jobs after graduation

    25. Atlanta, Georgia

    Unemployment rate for bachelor's degree holders: 2.6%

    Median rent: $904

    Population aged 20-29: 20.1%



    24. Seattle, Washington

    Unemployment rate for bachelor's degree holders: 2.8%

    Median rent: $1,360

    Population aged 20-29: 21.3%



    23. Boston, Massachusetts

    Unemployment rate for bachelor's degree holders: 3.3%

    Median rent: $1,369

    Population aged 20-29: 24.1%



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    madison wisconsin

    • Renters have more than high rent costs to think about when finding a place to live.
    • SmartAsset recently released a report on the best places to live in the US for renters based on seven metrics, from unemployment rate to average commute time.
    • The Midwest is a great area for renters — four cities made it into the top 10.

    In a time when the cost of rent is so high that a minimum-wage worker needs 2.5 full-time jobs to afford rent for a one-bedroom apartment in most of the US, finding an affordable place to live can seem like an endless game. 

    But renters, who spent a record amount of money on housing in 2017, don't have just costs to worry about — they also need to look at factors like distance to work and safety.

    SmartAsset took all of this into consideration in its recent report on the best cities for renters. They looked at data for 96 cities, comparing them across seven different metrics: rent-to-income ratio, percent of housing stock dedicated to renting, eviction rate, density of entertainment establishments, crime rate, unemployment rate, and average commute time.

    SmartAsset ranked each city in every metric, then weighted all metrics equally to calculate each city's average ranking, which determined the final list.

    Turns out, the Midwest is a great area for renters, with four cities making the top 10.

    Below, see the best 25 places to live for renters, ranked. All rent prices are sourced from Zillow and are the median for all rentals in the metro area.

    SEE ALSO: The 25 best places to live if you want to save a lot of money

    DON'T MISS: How much renters pay to live in the most expensive neighborhoods in 9 major US cities — and in the most affordable

    25. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Median rent: $1,350

    Renters who spend 30% of income or less on rent: 58%

    Unemployment rate: 5.5%



    24. Los Angeles, California

    Median rent: $3,500

    Renters who spend 30% of income or less on rent: 42%

    Unemployment rate: 5%



    23. Irvine, California

    Median rent: $3,350

    Renters who spend 30% of income or less on rent: 46%

    Unemployment rate: 3.8%



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    Bora Bora, snorkeler, tropical beach

    Using a travel rewards card to pay for your next trip could be a smart move if you want to rack up miles, points or cash back on what you’re spending. The key to getting the most mileage possible out of your travel rewards is avoiding flubs that could diminish their value.

    Here are the most common travel credit card mistakes that could leave you feeling shortchanged.

    SEE ALSO: This woman quit her corporate job at 35 and saved $16,000 to travel the world 'indefinitely'

    1. Not joining travel loyalty programs

    Loyalty programs are designed to reward you for being a faithful customer to a particular brand and they can provide you with a great opportunity to save money on travel.

    For example, if you’ve got an airline-branded credit card, you could earn miles to use towards free flights by linking your card to the airline’s dining program or online shopping portal.

    You can also double dip on rewards if you enroll in a hotel loyalty program and book a room with a card that pays out points for hotel purchases and airline miles at the same time. Signing up for these programs doesn’t take much time, so there’s no reason to miss out on the chance to boost your rewards balance.



    2. Using miles for merchandise or gift cards

    Most credit card companies offer some flexibility in terms of how you can use your travel rewards. But it’s important to be careful about how you redeem your rewards. Generally, you stand to get the most bang for your buck when you use miles to pay for flights versus swapping them out for a gift card or merchandise from the card’s online shopping portal. While your miles may be worth a few cents each for air travel purchase, they could end up being worth less than a penny apiece if you use them for something else.



    3. Not doing the math on rewards transfers

    Some travel credit cards allow you to transfer your points or miles into other frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs. If you’re already a frequent flyer with a specific airline, that might make it easy to use the miles you’ve earned with your card. But it could cost you if your rewards don’t transfer on a 1:1 basis.

    For instance, 50,000 miles on your card may only be worth 40,000 miles with the airline, so it pays to run the numbers before transferring rewards over.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    shattered broken mirror

    If you’re ready to sell your home, it’s important to think carefully about how you’re going to do it.

    Making certain missteps along the way can derail the sale and leave you stuck in a house that no longer fits your lifestyle.

    If you want to find someone who can afford to buy your house and seal the deal as quickly as possible, here are five home selling mistakes it’s wise to try to avoid.

    SEE ALSO: 3 reasons it's better to buy than rent, from a woman who bought her first home at 21

    1. Overvaluing the home

    What you list your home for and what buyers are actually willing to pay for it are two very different things. Just because you’ve spent thousands of dollars on renovations, for example, doesn’t mean you’re going to get the kind of return you’re counting on.

    If you get an offer from a buyer that’s less than your asking price, there’s no need to panic. Getting a second opinion from your real estate agent on how the home should be priced can give you an idea of whether the buyer’s offer is a fair deal.



    2. Refusing to negotiate

    There’s a certain amount of negotiation that goes on in the home buying process. For instance, the buyer may want you to pay a percentage of the closing costs or vacate the property by a certain date. If you’re adamant about not giving an inch for normal requests or contingencies, the buyer may decide to back out.

    While you’re not expected to give in to everything the buyer wants, it’s a good idea to at least be willing to compromise on some things.



    3. Skipping out on repairs

    Buyers are advised to get a home inspection before heading to settlement and sometimes minor issues show up. It’s up to you and the buyer to decide whether you’ll make the repairs or offer a cash credit but either way, repairs can’t be ignored. If you can’t be bothered to replace a few roof shingles or fix a cracked window seal, you might have to say goodbye to the buyer.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    soup kitchen volunteersThe U.S. routinely ranks among the world’s most charitable countries. In the 2015 Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index, the U.S. came in second (to Myanmar). But which states do the most to uphold America’s reputation for generosity? SmartAsset crunched the numbers to find the most charitable states.

    Methodology

    To find out which states are the most charitable, SmartAsset looked at data for four factors: charitable contributions per 1,000 people, the value of volunteer time per capita, the number of non-profits per 10,000 people and the median charitable contribution.

    We gave each state and the District of Columbia a rank on each of the four factors. Next, we averaged those ranks and gave each state a score based on its average rank. The state with the highest average rank got a score of 100 and the state with the lowest average rank got a score of 0. The ten states with the highest average rank appear on the map below.

     



    1. District of Columbia

    The most charitable state in the Union isn’t actually a state. Washington, D.C. ranked highest in our study, in part due to the high number of non-profits headquartered there.

    Charitable contributions per 1,000 residents are a high $1,253.17, the highest in our study. (These are charitable contributions used as tax deductions on federal income tax returns).

    The median charitable contribution in D.C. is $3,734. That’s not the highest in our study, but D.C. boasts some big-ticket donors. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2015 saw 11 charitable gifts of a million dollars or more from D.C. residents.



    2. Wyoming

    Wyoming came in second in our study. It boasts the fourth-highest charitable contributions per thousand people, at $1,054.24. Wyoming’s median charitable contribution is $4,088 and there are 75.9 non-profits per 10,000.

    The nation’s least populous state is doing its part to uphold America’s reputation for a charitable disposition. It’s also one of the best states for an early retirement, in part because it lacks a state income tax.



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    millennials coachella

    If you’re in your 20s, your net worth might be the last thing on your mind. But it’s never too early to start creating long-term wealth. Many twenty-somethings are financially challenged, but it’s possible to maneuver around wealth-blocking obstacles if you know what they are. If you’re trying to boost your net worth, here are five things that could keep you from achieving that goal.

    SEE ALSO: What 20-somethings wish they had known about money before entering the real world after college

    1. Living without a budget

    Budgets get a bad rap because they place restrictions on what people can spend. But that’s not really what a budget’s designed to do. A budget is supposed to help you manage where your money’s going each month.

    If you’re drifting through your 20s without a plan in place for how to spend your extra cash, you could face an uphill battle when it comes to saving. Without savings, your net worth isn’t going to grow.



    2. Paying high interest on student loans

    Student loan debt has become a fact of life for millions of 2o-somethings and for some of them, it’s preventing them from achieving their financial goals. Unfortunately, there’s no way to wave a magic wand and wipe out debt. But you can do something to make it easier to cope with the payments.

    Refinancing your loans and locking in a lower interest rate could make your debt easier to pay off. Once it’s gone, you can put the money you were spending on loan payments into a savings or investment account.



    3. Letting your career lag

    Chances are, by the time you hit your 40s or 50s you’re going to be making a lot more money than you are now. But that doesn’t mean you should just sit around doing nothing until a bigger paycheck starts rolling in. If the job you have isn’t your dream job yet, it’s a good idea to take time to develop your skills or seek out a mentor.

    By putting more effort into your career in your 20s, you’ll be able to see a bigger payoff later on in terms of your net worth.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Los Angeles downtownWe all know that raising a family in this country isn't cheap. According to the USDA, the average cost to raise a child is $233,610. That includes food, shelter, and other necessities. It doesn't include the cost of college or private school.

    Curious about raising a family in Los Angeles? We've got you covered. 

    Childcare costs in Los Angeles

    Unless you (or your partner) are planning on staying home with your kid or have a relative who can provide care, you'll have to pay for childcare, either in the provider's home or at a childcare center.

    According to kidsdata.org, in Los Angeles County, infant care in a childcare center costs an average of $14,309 per year. While infant care in a family home center (a private residence) costs an average of $9,186. Daycare for preschoolers in Los Angeles County childcare centers costs an average of $10,303, while the same care in a family home center costs an average of $8,579.

    The average childcare costs in Los Angeles County are higher than the average costs in California as a whole. The California average for infant care in a childcare center is $13,327, while infant care in a home costs an average of $8,462 in the state. Daycare for preschoolers in a childcare center costs an average of $9,106 in California, with home care costing an average of $7,850.

    Schools in Los Angeles

    Navigating the Los Angeles public school system can be tricky. As in many large cities, there is a wide range of quality in Los Angeles' public schools. There are also 287 private schools in Los Angeles County. But you don't have to go private to get a good education for your children. 

    The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation touts LA County's "Blue Ribbon" schools, including California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson, McGrath Elementary in Newhall, Gertz-Ressler High School in Los Angeles and Merced Elementary in West Covina.

    If you live in Los Angeles County, your kids don't necessarily go to their neighborhood school. You can also try to enroll them in a different school such as a magnet or charter school. Your first step will be to identify your child's resident school. You can then read about the school and, if you deem it necessary, read about other choices available to your child.

    Crime in Los Angeles

    Some people who are considering starting families (or moving with a family) like to know about the crime rates in the cities they're considering. Violent crime was up for the third straight year in Los Angeles as of 2016.

    According to data from the Los Angeles Police Department, homicides are up as of February 2017 compared to this time in 2016. However, total violent crime is down compared to this time in 2016.

    Bottom line

    When looking for a great city to raise a family there are lots of factors that can go into a decision. Some people want to be near relatives or other support systems. Others base their decision on the job opportunities available to them or the cost of living. Though Los Angeles is an expensive city, it has a lot to offer families.

    SEE ALSO: The 22 best places to live in America if you want to make a lot of money

    DON'T MISS: There are two money moves every parent should make before having kids

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Pittsburgh

    Buying a home is no easy task. You'll need to save up for a down payment, make sure your credit is in order, meet with mortgage lenders, and spend time shopping around.

    But first, you'll want to consider where you're buying. After all, real estate agents don't harp about "location, location, location" for nothing.

    New data from SmartAsset shows the best cities for first-time homebuyers — that is, where homes are affordable and it's easy to get a mortgage — considering seven factors:

    • Mortgage lenders: the number of HUD-approved mortgage lenders in each city
    • Value per square foot: the average home value per square foot
    • Loan funding rate: the number of approved mortgage loans originated in 2015
    • Affordability ratio: the ratio of median household income to median annual housing costs (within the first five years of ownership), including property taxes, closing costs, and homeowners insurance
    • Market volatility: the standard deviation of quarterly annual housing price changes from the first quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2016
    • Negative quarters since 2011: the number of quarters where home prices fell on a year-over-year basis, starting with the first quarter of 2011 and ending with the last quarter of 2016
    • Homeowner stability index: the number of years homeowners stay in their homes and the number of homeowners with negative equity

    SmartAsset gathered data for US cities with populations over 300,000 for a total of 64 cities and weighted each category equally to determine the final ranking (read the full methodology here).

    While many cities in the Midwest and South — including San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and others in Texas — proved exceptional for first-time homebuyers, Pittsburgh came out on top.

    Read on to find out the best 15 cities to buy a first home, plus statistics on mortgages, affordability, and home value.

    SEE ALSO: 7 pieces of homebuying advice you can't afford to ignore

    DON'T MISS: You could save $71,000 a year living in a New York suburb instead of the city — here are 9 other places where suburbia could save you thousands

    15. Kansas City, Missouri

    Number of mortgage lenders: 52

    Loan funding rate: 78%

    Average value per square foot: $85.75

    Affordability ratio: 5.06



    14. Corpus Christi, Texas

    Number of mortgage lenders: 27

    Loan funding rate: 66%

    Average value per square foot: $90.33

    Affordability ratio: 5.35



    13. Arlington, Texas

    Number of mortgage lenders: 19

    Loan funding rate: 74%

    Average value per square foot: $94.17

    Affordability ratio: 4.81



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    crowd

    How much money is enough? Some people answer this question by comparing themselves to others in their age group.

    No one likes to feel like they’re at the back of the pack. To help you get a sense of where you stand, let’s take a closer look at the average salary by age for full-time workers in the U.S. 

    Check out retirement calculator.

    The average salary: 16-19

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks Americans’ earnings by several demographic factors, including age. According to BLS data, the average salary of 16- to-19-year-olds is $420 per week, $21,840 per year. That’s the average across all races, genders and education levels.

    The average salary: 20-24

    As you might expect, earnings increase beginning in one’s 20s. The average salary of 20-to-24-year-olds is $528 per week, $27,456 per year. Many Americans start out their careers in their 20s and don’t earn as much as they will once they reach their 30s.

    The average salary: 25-34

    For Americans age 25-34, the mean salary is $758 per week, $39,416 per year. That’s a big jump from the average salary for 20-24-year-olds. Conventional wisdom holds that one’s 20s and 30s are the times when one gets raises. It’s common for earnings to plateau beginning in one’s 40s.

    Related Article: What Is the Income Gap?

    The average salary: 35-44

    The average salary of 35-to-44-year olds is $950 per week, $49,400 per year. However, that’s a number that conceals considerable variation by gender. For example, male 35-to-44-year-olds earn a mean salary of $1,019 per week while women in the same age bracket earn an average of $859 per week.

    The average salary: 45-54

    The average salary of 45-to-54-year-olds is $962 per week, $50,024 per year. That’s the highest average salary of any of the age groups the BLS tracks. Again, the gender income gap is significant in this age group. Men between the ages of 45 and 54 earn an average of $1,102 per week while women in the same age bracket average $840 per week.

    The average salary: 55-64

    The average salary for Americans age 55-64 is $954 per week, $49,608 per year. Earnings in this age bracket are slightly lower than in the 45-54 age bracket. There are also fewer total workers in this age bracket. According to the BLS, there are 22,658,000 full-time workers in the 45-54 age bracket, and only 18,544,000 full-time workers in the 55-64 age bracket.

    The average salary: 65 and older

    Americans aged 65 and older earn an average of $888 per week, $46,176 per year. This average is for full-time workers, so doesn’t take into account the many people in this age bracket who drop out of the workforce. There are 4,114,000 full-time workers in the 65 and older bracket. Some workers over 65 may be in the workforce because they don’t have sufficient retirement savings.

    Related Article: Average Retirement Savings: Are You Normal

    Check out the chart below to see our break-down of the average salary by age.

    smartasset chart

    Bottom line

    Many Americans are unemployed or under-employed – working part-time when they would prefer to be working full-time – so take these BLS stats on average salary with a grain of salt because they only apply to full-time wage- or salary-earners. Within each age bracket, earnings vary widely by gender, race and education level, too. Some people also get income from sources other than salary and wage earnings – sources like investment income.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much millennials are earning annually across the US

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Los Angeles

    One-third of Americans overpay for housing, and renters have it the worst.

    In fact, almost half spend over 30% of their incomes on rent, exceeding the standard measure of affordability, according to the 2017 State of the Nation's Housing report, published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

    In addition to transportation and food, housing is one of the biggest expenses Americans have. Cutting back on these things could mean more savings in the bank and even a ticket to early retirement.

    In its latest report, SmartAsset calculated the income needed to afford rent in 15 major US cities. That is, the salary a household must earn to spend a comfortable 28% of its income on rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Rent prices were pulled from RENTCafé's January 2017 report.

    Below, check out how much you need to earn to pay rent in San Francisco, New York, Boston, and 12 more of America's major metro areas.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much you need to earn to comfortably afford a home in the 25 most expensive ZIP codes in America

    DON'T MISS: The hourly wage needed to rent a two-bedroom home in every state

    15. Phoenix, Arizona

    Average 2-bedroom rent: $958

    Income needed: $41,057



    14. Detroit, Michigan

    Average 2-bedroom rent: $1,087

    Income needed: $46,586



    13. Houston, Texas

    Average 2-bedroom rent: $1,088

    Income needed: $46,629



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    friends

    High rents are forcing more and more people to live with roommates. The Census estimates that 5.8 million Americans currently have a roommate.

    The benefits from living with another person vary from city to city. In some cities, it may not be worth the hassle.

    In other places however, especially where homes are unaffordable, living with a roommate can save you thousands of dollars.

    Below we rank the cities where living with a roommate can save you the most money.

    In order to find the best places to live with a roommate, we compared the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment with the cost of renting a two-bedroom. The difference between them was how we came up with our rankings. See our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together.

    This is SmartAsset's third annual study on how much a roommate saves you. Read the 2016 version here.

    Key findings

    • Big savings — Across our top 10, the average resident could save just under $10,000 per year by switching from living alone to living with a roommate.
    • Costly CaliforniaCalifornia has five of the top 10 cities where it pays to live with a roommate. The Golden State is known for its expensive cities, especially around the Bay Area, so this isn't particularly surprising.
    • Best places to live alone— If you really want to live alone and not feel guilty about the money you aren't saving, look at cities like Tucson, Arizona or Wichita, Kansas. In both those cities you save less than $250 per month by living with a roommate.

    SEE ALSO: 7 essential tips to avoid the 'lifestyle creep' that keeps you from building wealth

    1. San Francisco, California: $1,122 average savings

    San Francisco is the best city in the country to buddy up. According to our data, the average one-bedroom apartment costs $3,420 per month and the average two-bedroom costs $4,597. If you and a friend split the cost of that two-bedroom apartment, you would both end up paying around $2,299 per month. That is $1,122 less per month than paying for the average one-bedroom.



    2. New York, New York: $990 average savings

    New York City properties are notoriously expensive. If you are living in New York and want to rent a one-bedroom apartment, you are looking at paying $2,728 per month. Our data shows that by moving to a two-bedroom and living with someone you could save just under $1,000 per month.

    Finding a roommate in New York shouldn't be too difficult either. There are over 8 million people living in the Big Apple and there are plenty of websites to find roommates.



    3. Boston, Massachusetts: $920 average savings

    Beantown moves up from fourth last year to third this year. We estimate that by living with a roommate you can save about $920 per month. By saving $920 per month you can get a head start on your financial goals, like saving up for a down payment on your home orsetting up a fund for retirement



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    shutterstock_275069369

    • There are a number of towns and cities across the U.S. where a sun-soaked property comes at an affordable price. 
    • The cheapest location is Gulfport, Mississippi, where a beach house costs in the realm of $116,200 — with the added bonus of year-round sunshine. 
    • The property value was ranked not only by property prices, but also by taxes, number of rooms, and monthly housing costs. 


    As winter drags on you may catch yourself wondering if summer is ever coming back. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of towns across America where it's possible to spend a few weeks or, if you're retired, a few months soaking in some warm weather. But, as that year-round warm weather is in demand, affording a home in one of the places can be difficult. With this in mind we decided to find the best beach towns which won't break your account. Below we rank the most affordable beach towns for 2018.

    In order to rank the most affordable beach towns we looked at data on 221 cities. We compared them across four affordability metrics. We looked at median home value, median housing cost, median number of rooms per house and median property taxes paid. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together.

    Key findings

    • No dramatic changes — What was affordable last year remains affordable this year, for the most part. Only one city, Freeport, lost its place in our top 10, dropping to 17th. There is also only one newcomer to the top 10. Melbourne, which was 11th last year, took 10th this year and Fort Walton Beach, which was seventh last year, dropped to 11th this year.
    • More affordable — A few cities in our top 10 are more affordable this year than they were last year. Gulfport, Mississippi; Port Arthur, Texas and Ocean Springs, Mississippi all have lower median home values than last year.

    1. Gulfport, Mississippi

    For the third consecutive year Gulfport is the most affordable beach town in America. If you are thinking about buying a house here, you will need to afford a home worth $116,200. That's not bad when you consider having access to great weather year-round!

    If you are thinking about retiring, Gulfport could be a good place to settle. Mississippi ranks as one of the best states for an early retirement.

    2. Pensacola, Florida

    Pensacola continues to fall just short. For the third year in a row, the city in Florida takes the second spot. The median home here is worth $145,700 and costs $850 per month. For each of those metrics Pensacola ranks in the top 20.

    If you want a little more space for your beach home Pensacola might be a better place than Gulfport. Pensacola homes have an average of 6.4 rooms per home, slightly more than Gulfport homes' 6.1 rooms.

    3. Biloxi, Mississippi

    There is no change amongst our top 3. For another year, Biloxi is the third-most affordable beach town in our data set. The median housing cost in Biloxi is actually lower than the two cities above it. The median home in Biloxi costs about $785 per month.

    However, getting your hands on a home here is slightly more difficult than it is in some other cities. The median home here is worth $149,100, the third-highest in the top 10.

    4. Port Arthur, Texas

    If you're looking for an affordable beach home, it's hard to beat our fourth-ranked city, Port Arthur, Texas. The median home is worth $64,300, meaning a mortgage here should be affordable.

    Long term however, Port Arthur comes with costs you will need to be aware of. Specifically the property taxes here are high, especially compared to home values. The median homeowner here pays around $1,000 per year in property taxes.

    5. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

    Bay St. Louis is the first city in the top 10 to move up or down. The city moved up from ninth last year to fifth this year. The housing costs in Bay St. Louis are a standout metric. The average homeowner pays $729 per month, or $8,749 per year. To afford that and not be considered housing cost-burdened you would need to make $29,160 per year.

    If you are in the market for a big home, you may need to spend a little extra time house hunting in this city. The median home has less than six rooms, a relatively poor score in this study.

    6. Ocean Springs, Mississippi

    Homes in Ocean Springs are pretty affordable. The median home is valued at $151,500, according to Census Bureau data and median monthly housing costs are $920.

    Property taxes, while low nationally, are relatively high for this top 10. The average homeowner pays almost $1,300 per year in property taxes, the highest mark in our top 10.

    7. Freeport, Texas

    For people looking for a bargain, it's tough to beat Freeport. The median home can be had for only $71,000. The average homeowner in the area spends $565 per month on their home. Those are the sort of numbers that make shivering New Yorkers weep!

    Homes here to tend to run on the small side, however, which hurts the city's overall score. The median Freeport home has 5.6 rooms, 163rd-most in our study.

    8. Daytona Beach, Florida

    Daytona Beach is probably better known as a place to hang out during spring break or as a place to catch a NASCAR race. But this is also a great city for thrifty home hunters on the prowl for a place to spend their winter months. The average home is worth about $117,000, a top 10 rate but $5,000 more than last year.

    Low home value typically means your most important housing costs, your mortgage, will be low. Daytona Beach has a median housing cost of $757, fourth-lowest in the top 10. It may be possible to get that number even lower if you have great credit and have access to the lowest mortgage rates.

    9. Fort Pierce, Florida

    Fort Pierce, Florida missed on the eighth spot by only 0.4 points on our index. This could make it tough choice, between buying a beach home in Fort Pierce or buying a beach home in Daytona Beach. The two cities do have some important differences.

    The median home in Fort Pierce is worth a bit less than the median home in Daytona Beach but the homes are also smaller. The average Fort Pierce home is worth $89,000, which ranks third but only 5.4 rooms (it ranks 184th for that metric).

    10. Melbourne, Florida

    Our study ends in Melbourne, Florida a newcomer to this top 10. Homes in this city do well in all of our affordability metrics. Home value in particular stands out. You probably won't make a killing investing in homes around Melbourne, Florida but you will certainly have a place to hang out in the winter. The median home here is worth $125,400. That's $9,000 more than last year. The typical homeowner in the area spends about $850 per month on their house.

    Data and methodology

    In order to find the most affordable beach towns in the country, SmartAsset looked at data for 229 beach towns. Specifically we looked at the following four factors:

    • Home value. This is the median home value in each city. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2016 5-Year American Community Survey.
    • Number of rooms. This is the average number of rooms per house. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2016 5-Year American Community Survey.
    • Property taxes. This is the median property taxes paid. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2016 5-Year American Community Survey.
    • Monthly housing costs. This is the median monthly housing costs. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2016 5-Year American Community Survey.

    We ranked each city in each metric. Then we found each city's average ranking, giving the number of rooms a half weighting and all other factors a full weighting. Using this average ranking, we created our final score. The city with the best average ranking received a 100. The city with the worst average ranking received a 0.

    SEE ALSO: 5 crucial questions a financial planner asks clients before they even consider retirement

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    bank teller

    • Data from the Federal Reserve shows how much money Americans have in their savings accounts.
    • The averages are broken down by income, gender, and race.
    • Americans under 35 have about $1,580 saved, while those making $70,000 to $114,999 have about $5,400 saved.


    Most of us rely on financial instruments to keep our savings safe, but it can be hard to know if you're saving enough.

    Evaluating the average savings account balance across the country is a good start. Using data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, we've broken down the median and the average by age, income, and gender, so you can see how you fare compared with Americans in recent history.

    Note: In this article, mean indicates the total amount of savings divided by the number of savers, while median represents the middle-ground savings amount.

    Median and average savings account balances in the US

    Of the Americans who have savings accounts, the median savings account balance is $5,200. The average, or mean, balance is $33,766.49.

    Households with high incomes seriously skew the numbers when you calculate the mean. To get a better idea of where you stand, you can compare the median savings account balance filtered by demographic.

    Average savings account balance by age

    Unsurprisingly, Americans add more to their savings account as they age. Everyone should aspire to live in such a way that their nest egg grows with time, but that means starting as soon as you're able.

    The median savings account balance for those under 35 years old was $1,580. During the years between 35 and 44, balances grow significantly — the median for this age group is $5,000.

    By the time we reach 75 and above, the median is $11,000.

    Check out the full breakdown of median savings account balance by age:

    • Under 35: $1,580
    • 35-44: $5,000
    • 45-54: $6,500
    • 55-64: $8,500
    • 65-74: $10,000
    • 75+: $11,000

    Average savings account balance by income

    Also unsurprisingly, Americans who make more money are able to save more money.

    Income is the factor that makes the biggest difference in average savings amounts. Low-income earners are also the least likely to have a savings account. Those who make less than $25,000 a year keep only $500 in savings, while those raking in more than $160,000 have a median of $50,000 in savings.

    Even though it can be much more difficult when you aren't bringing home a fortune from your employer, you should base your savings on a percentage of income. Many people rely on the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, which can be a great way to get started and ensure you're putting at least 20% of your take-home pay toward debt repayment and savings.

    Check out the full breakdown of median savings account balance by income:

    • Under $25,000: $500
    • $25,000 to $44,999: $1,500
    • $45,000 to $69,999: $2,200
    • $70,000 to $114,999: $5,400
    • $115,000 to $159,999: $10,000
    • $160,000+: $50,000

    Average savings account balance by gender

    Women earn an average of $0.78 for every dollar a man earns. Certain parts of the country are helping pave the way for a shrinking gender pay gap, but it still persists.

    As we saw how large a difference income can make on savings, it only makes sense that women tend to have less money in their savings accounts. Households led by women are also less likely to have a savings account at all.

    Here's the breakdown of median savings account balance by gender:

    • Men: $7,000
    • Women: $2,000

    Average savings account balance by race

    The pay gap also exists among people of different races in America, with white Americans earning more on average than their black and Hispanic counterparts. Wealth and savings follow suit.

    Take a look at the full breakdown of median savings account balance by race:

    • White non-Hispanic: $7,140
    • Black: $1,000
    • Hispanic: $1,500

    Historical trends

    Despite economic ups and downs, Americans have been depositing more into their savings account every year on average since 1959, when the Federal Reserve started collecting this data.

    The total amount of American savings account deposits has increased since 1959, the earliest year for which the Federal Reserve has data. The median balance, however, has not always followed suit, highlighting the differences in savings discipline across households.

    Tips for saving more

    Of course, no one's aiming for average. No matter how you stack up against these means and medians, there's always more you can be saving.

    • To bump up your savings, take a hard look at your budget. Find any places you can cut costs and redirect those funds to your savings. You can also shop smarter, looking for coupons and finding deals where you can.
    • But you don't want all your eggs in one basket either. If your savings account is creeping much higher than the average, you may consider some other places to park your money that will yield a greater return. This may include a better savings account, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, or bonds.

    SEE ALSO: Here's the average net worth of Americans at every age

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Florida mansion

    • SmartAsset examined the total number of tax returns with an adjusted gross income of at $1 million.
    • They then identified the states that have the most million-dollar earners.
    • Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts top the list. 


    Hollywood and New York City probably come to mind when you think about the places with the most million-dollar earners. While location plays a part in how much money you earn, there are other factors that can help you reach millionaire status. Plenty of patient saving is most likely required. Many people seek professional advice from a financial advisor to help them make the best decisions about their finances. Below, we looked at the unique economic profiles of each state through IRS data to find the states with the most million-dollar earners.

    Specifically, we looked at the total number of tax returns and compared that to the total number of tax returns which had an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million. That means we considered both single filers and married couples filing jointly for this analysis. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together.

    Key findings

    • U.S. millionaires abroad – Just under 1% of American taxpayers filing from abroad had an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million, according to our analysis. If we had ranked Americans abroad as a separate region for this study, it would have ranked first. In fact a taxpayer filing from abroad is about 50% more likely to be a millionaire than a taxpayer from first-ranked Connecticut.
    • High-tax states  – In general the states that top this list have high income tax rates. It is probably not the case that millionaires flock to high-tax states. So it seems that states with higher taxes tend to produce more millionaires.
    • The importance of the cost of living – Many of the states which rank high in this study have high costs of living. Take for example someone who earns $1 million a year and lives in San Francisco. She receives a job offer to move to Minneapolis and earn $900,000. Should she take the job? Going by just cost of living, the answer is yes. The cost of living in San Francisco is roughly 18% higher than it is in Minneapolis. That means someone earning $847,457 in Minneapolis has the equivalent purchasing power of someone earning $1 million in San Francisco.

    1. Connecticut

    The Constitution State takes the top spot. There were just under 11,500 tax returns filed by taxpayers in Connecticut with a gross income at or above $1 million. That means around 0.65% of all tax returns filed were filed by people with an adjusted gross income above $1 million.

    In Connecticut, millionaires lose quite a bit of their earnings to income taxes. According to our data, a married couple earning a combined $1 million would pay $62,982 in Connecticut income taxes.

    2. Washington, D.C.

    The nation’s capital comes in just behind Connecticut in second place. This area had the second-lowest total number of millionaire taxpayers in our top 10. However due to a low overall population, it had a high concentration of millionaires.

    Overall about 0.59% of tax returns in this state were filed by people with an adjusted gross income above $1 million.

    3. New York

    The Empire State comes in third. Connecticut’s neighbor to the west has the second-most millionaires overall. In total there were 50,080 tax returns filed by people with a gross adjusted income of at least $1 million. Only sixth-ranked California had more. In total 9,614,610 tax returns were filed in New York, according to IRS data, meaning 0.52% were filed by millionaires.

    A couple with a combined income of $1 million in the state of New York pays an effective state income tax rate of 6.57%. If they live in New York City, they have to deal with a further effective tax rate of 3.67%. In total, we estimate a couple taking home $1 million could expect to pay $439,191 in income taxes.

    4. Massachusetts

    Another high-tax Northeastern state takes fourth. There were around 16,000 tax returns filed in Massachusetts by taxpayers with an adjusted gross income above $1 million. That is equal to about 0.47% of all tax filers.

    Massachusetts has a flat income tax rate, a good sign for millionaires. However, it is the second-highest flat state income tax in the country, at 5.1%. For millionaires who bought a home in Massachusetts, the state has an average effective property tax rate of 1.15%.

    5. New Jersey

    The Garden State comes in fifth. Like Connecticut, this state likely benefits from its proximity to New York City. Residents who live in New Jersey pay steep state taxes. Married filers taking home $1 million can expect to pay $72,134 in taxes to the New Jersey state government.

    In total, 19,580 New Jersey tax filers took home an income of at least $1 million, equal to about 0.45% of all tax filers.

    6. California

    No state has more millionaires than California, which perhaps makes sense given that it’s the most populated state. There are just under 72,500 tax filers in California with an adjusted gross income above $1 million. Like residents in some other states in the top 10, such as Connecticut and New York, California residents face high income tax rates.

    A couple taking home exactly $1 million in California would pay $94,731 to the California state government.

    7. Florida

    Florida is the first low-income-tax state to crack this top 10. This state would be a great place for a millionaire to retire. It has no state income tax. A couple filing jointly with an income of $1 million would pay only $364,089 in income taxes. In total around 0.34% out of the 9,627,280 tax filers in Florida took home at least $1 million.

    8. Illinois

    Illinois just edges out Wyoming and Texas for eighth. These three states’ scores are separated by just over 0.01%. Around 19,800 of the total 6,161,970 tax filers in Illinois took home an income of at least $1 million. That is equivalent to roughly 0.32%.

    Like Massachusetts, Illinois has a flat income tax. The good news for Illinois residents, especially the millionaires, is that it is relatively low. A couple taking home $1 million could expect to pay $49,280 in state income tax.

    9. Wyoming

    The Cowboy State contains the ninth-highest concentration of millionaires in our study. According to IRS data, about 0.32% of all taxpayers in Wyoming took home $1 million or more. In raw numbers that is only 880 residents.

    Wyoming might be the best state to live in for people who want to lower their tax burden. This state has no state income tax, the lowest sales tax of any state with a sales tax and the ninth-lowest average effective property tax rate in the country.

    10. Texas

    Our list ends in another low-income tax state. There are over 37,000 tax filers in Texas with an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million. That means roughly 0.31% of filers took home at least $1 million in adjusted gross income. While Texas residents don’t have to pay state income tax, they do have to contend with some taxes, like a sales tax between 6.25% – 8.25% and property taxes that are among the highest in the nation.

    Data and methodology

    For this study, we defined millionaire as an individual or couple who earned at least $1 million in adjusted gross annual income. In order to find the states with the most million-dollar earners, we looked at data for all 50 states and Washington D.C. Specifically we looked at the following two metrics:

    • Total number of tax returns with an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million.
    • Total number of tax returns.

    Data for both metrics comes from the IRS and is for 2015.

    We divided the number of tax returns filed by taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million and divided it by the total number of tax returns filed. Using this method we found the the percent of tax filers in each state who are million-dollar earners. We then ranked the states from highest to lowest using this number.

    SEE ALSO: Meet the richest person in every US state

    Join the conversation about this story »

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