The Places Where $100,000 Goes The Furthest - InvestingChannel

The Places Where $100,000 Goes The Furthest

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The Places Where $100,000 Goes The Furthest

In Wednesday’s Juice, we looked at the 16 metropolitan areas where LendingTree estimates the typical $100,000-a-year earner would end up in the red at the end of the month. Finally a list where it’s better to be at the bottom. Today, we focus on the places where you might have cash left over at the end of the month on a 100K salary. 

We already expressed our issues with LendingTree’s methodology for the priciest places. Now, the penny pinchers at The Juice take exception with the numbers we see in the least expensive enclaves. 

One reason we like relaying this type of research is because, too often, in the popular media, you see stories about how far $100,000 goes (or whatever) minus context. Without the explanation that we’re typically dealing with averages or medians. Basic math tells us outliers can pull averages way up or down and half of the population falls below the median. 

Think about that, then we’ll address it after you see the top ten places where LendingTree thinks a $100,000 salary will keep you well in the green come month’s end. 

Before we reveal the list, be sure to check out the ETFs investors search for most in Trackstar, our proprietary sentiment indicator. We love covering the ETF space at The Juice and will continue to do so. For our most recent ETF articles, see What Is A Thematic ETF and How To Find And Assess An ETF’s Holdings. 


Now, the top 10 places where LendingTree says you’ll crush it on $100,000. The number in parentheses represents the anticipated monthly surplus. 

  • Jackson, MS: (+1,394)
  • Birmingham, AL: (+1,307)
  • Little Rock, AR: (+$1,294)
  • Oklahoma City, OK: (+1,289)
  • Toledo, OH: (+1,288)
  • Dayton, OH: (+1,270)
  • Tulsa, OK: (+1,269)
  • Cleveland, OH: (+1,211)
  • Memphis, TN: (+1,211)
  • Akron, OH: (+1,172)

If you come from a big city or one of the coasts, you might have to sacrifice. However, to snag a cost of living deal this is to be expected. But if your vibe leans more southern or medium to small sized city and you want to make your money go further, a move to one of these places could make sense. 

Plus, we think you could have even more money left over if you move a family of three to, say, Toledo, Ohio. 

As we noted Wednesday, LendingTree assumed the hypothetical $100,000 household rents a two-bedroom apartment. Because housing tends to be most people’s biggest expense, we focus on it. 

As of May 16, the median rent on a two-bedroom in Toledo is just $825. This represents a mere 10% of the $100,000 earner’s $8,333 monthly gross income. You could go big and rent a $2,000 apartment in Toledo and still only spend 24% of your monthly income on housing. 

But, screw that!? The average cost of a house in Toledo right now is about $109,000. Put 10% down, secure a 6.6% interest rate on a 30-year mortgage and you’re only dropping about $818 a month, including taxes and insurance. 

Find a way to not have a car payment and, suddenly, after scratching on the back of an envelope, we think your housing and transportation costs (utilities, maintenance, gas, auto insurance) would total $1,500 in a bad month. This leaves you with $6,833 left over. 

Deduct another $1,600 for federal and state taxes (we did the math on this!) and the $500 LendingTree set aside for savings and you’re left with $4,733. 

We found a well-rated childcare facility in Toledo that’ll mind your preschooler for about $1,000 a month, if you need it. This leaves you with $3,733. 

If you have solid healthcare benefits at work, look out

You can do the rest of the math. 

To have $3,733 to play with at this point in our calculation, in the current housing and inflationary environment… well, we can only say one thing:

Holy Toledo! 

The Bottom Line: There’s lots of talk about the lack of housing affordability and all around inflation in America these days. And it’s absolutely warranted. That said, if you’re trying to make your nest in San Jose, San Francisco or the Big Apple, you might be biting off more than you can chew, even on earnings of well over $100,000. For some people, the answer might be the slower pace of a smaller town or city in a more sparsely populated part of the nation. 

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