It’s Not Just You: 10 Cities Where $100K Doesn’t Feel Like A Lot of Money

published Sep 7, 2017
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While a six-figure salary might offer more than enough income to most households, believe it or not, there are still cities in the U.S. where $100K-a-year won’t get you far. For a recent report, “The Best and Worst Cities to Live On Six Figures,” Magnify Money analyzed 381 major cities across the country to see which ones offered the least financial wiggle room for two-earner households (with two adults and one child) with a gross annual income of $100K. Read ahead for a breakdown of Magnify Money’s more interesting discoveries, including ten pricey metropolises where despite a six-figure income, you’ll still be broke.

(Image credit: Magnify Money)

1. Washington, D.C.

Per Magnify Money’s findings, in the greater Washington D.C. area, housing and childcare alone consume a staggering 60% of the monthly household budget.

2. Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut

Although slightly less expensive than Washington D.C, housing costs still devour 43% of the household budget every month in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Metro area. Not so surprisingly, these pricey cities are part of the Greater New York metropolitan area, where housing costs run high.

3. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, California

Turns out that despite all the high-paying jobs in Silicon Valley, $100K-earning families still wind up spending 99% of their total income on basic expenses, including housing, food, childcare, and transportation.

4. San Francisco, California

Perhaps a tad less shocking to hear is that, per Magnify Money’s report, roughly 43% of 100K-earning household budgets in the pricey San Francisco area are drained by high housing costs. No wonder 96% of their family earnings are devoted solely to basic expenses.

5. New York, NY

Oh, New York: The city that never sleeps because everyone’s hustling to pay the bills. Housing costs alone consume almost 42% of 100K-earning families total monthly income. Throw childcare in the mix and you’re looking at approximately 57% of your overall budget going straight to those two necessities.

6. California/Lexington Park, Maryland

Thanks to high transportation costs, 100K earners in the California-Lexington Park region spend nearly a quarter of their monthly income (23%) on expensive commuting costs.

7. Kahului/Wailuku/Lahaina, Hawaii

Due to Hawaii’s notoriously high tax rates, Magnify Money reports that married couples making $100,000 a month devote 8.25% of their earnings to state income tax alone.

8. Honolulu, Hawaii

Considering how high income tax rates are in Hawaii (8.25%), we weren’t all that surprised to hear that over 95% of six-figure household incomes in the capital city go straight to basic expenses.

9. Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts

Th report shows that Boston families earning $100,000 in the Boston area spend well over half their household budget on housing and child care. While almost 15% of these family’s total earnings go solely to transportation fees.

10. Santa Cruz/Watsonville, California

Despite their location, the cost of living in the Northern California region of Santa Cruz is anything but breezy. According to Magnify Money’s research, households making $100,000 devote over half of their income to food and housing.

(Image credit: Magnify Money)

Some Other Interesting Takeaways…

1. Housing is a budget buster. In nearly 17% (64 out of 381) of the metro cities surveyed, six-figure households are spending more than one-quarter of their monthly income on housing. Translation: depending on where you live, housing costs and taxes can truly make or break your budget.

2. Childcare is too. In almost half of all the metro cities analyzed (42%), childcare expenses consumed 10% or more of household budgets (161 of 381). Proof that no matter where in the country you reside, childcare doesn’t come cheap.

3. The best and worst cities for $100K budgets aren’t all that different. According the study, the best place in the U.S to live on a $100,000-income is Johnson City, Tennessee. However, when compared to the worst city, Washington D.C. nearly every monthly expense is comparable, except for those big-time budget busters: housing and childcare.