The lifestyle that a $100,000 salary can buy varies significantly across the country, but due to inflation, the quality of life is starting to decline everywhere.
It’s no secret that New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are some of the most expensive cities in the country, but which cities offer the best value for money?
According to a ranking by personal finance advisor SmartAsset, which takes into account state taxes and the overall cost of living, seven of the top 10 best-value cities to live are in Texas.
However, first on the list was Memphis, Tennessee, where the cost of living is almost 14 percent lower than the national average and there is no state income tax.
At the bottom of the list was New York, where a salary of $100,000 feels like only $36,000.
As expected, the cities in the center of the country offered the best value for money, in terms of cost of living and taxes, while the coastal cities were the most expensive.
New York City was the most expensive city in the country, where a combination of state taxes and a high cost of living meant that a salary of $100,000 felt more like $36,000.
The financial comfort that comes with a salary of 100,000 a year is also diminishing.
According to a December 2022 survey conducted by PYMNTS and LendingClub, about 51% of people making more than $100,000 a year were living paycheck to paycheck, up seven percent from the previous year.
The study calculated how much that salary would be in real terms by applying all taxes and then scaling the remaining amount according to the price of housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, etc. using data from the Council for Economic and Community Research.
In Memphis, someone making $100,000 took home about $75,000 after taxes, which then rose to $86,000 to offset a lower cost of living.
El Paso in Texas, which also has no state income tax, was second on the list with an effective salary of $85,000.
The low cost of living, as well as the lack of state income taxes, means that a salary of $100,000 equates to an average of $78,000 across all Texas cities analyzed.
Other Texas cities in the top 10 included: Lubbock, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Arlington. Slightly separated from the rest of the pack was Austin, who was ranked 24th with an effective net salary of $74,000.
Dallas was in the 34th position, where a salary of 100,000 was worth about $72,000.
Memphis is the US city where a salary of $100,000 pays the most. A lack of state income taxes and a low cost of living mean effective take-home pay is around $86,000
“I think it’s intuitive — $100,000, a six-figure income — feels like a huge milestone, but it also feels very different depending on where you live,” said Susannah Snider, financial planner and managing editor for financial education at SmartAsset. Bloomberg.
“But really breaking it down city by city reveals some of the quirks of the difference where you live makes, and how the tax landscape of where you live really affects what a six-figure salary feels like.”
The US economy is especially fragile right now. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine, which sent energy prices soaring, added to the daily burden on ordinary Americans.
In an attempt to combat high inflation in the past year, the Federal Reserve has been gradually raising interest rates. One likely consequence of that was the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last week.
After the collapse of SVB, in which depositors lined up outside bank branches hoping to withdraw their money, concerns have been raised that a shock wave could topple other institutions and ultimately lead to a recession.