These Are the Best Cities to Live In When You’re in Debt —and Here’s Why

published Nov 14, 2017
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(Image credit: Leszek Glasner)

Folks, I’m here with some revolutionary news. Eating well and exercising is the best way to get in shape, and the secret to paying off debt is having extra money.

But as simple and, yes, obvious as those solutions are, they’re actually really tough to put into practice. So if you’re someone living with debt, and looking for a way to make “extra money” come easier, you may want to consider a move.

Student Loan Hero recently completed an assesment of the best and worst cities to live in when you’re paying off debt. But they only used a single criterion: disposable income. The idea is that the cities where residents have the most money after they pay taxes and fulfill basic living expenses is the best place to be when you need to pay down your debt fast.

The Top Cities for Paying off Debt

1. Durham, North Carolina

Average disposable income: $21,975

2. Kennewick, Washington

Average disposable income: $20,938

3. Houston, Texas

Average disposable income: $20,422

4. Des Moines, Iowa

Average disposable income: $20,094

5. Austin, Texas

Average disposable income: $20,027

To round out the rankings, Student Loan Hero also compiled other data about the 159 cities in their study, including the average wage, unemployment rate and average credit score. While they weren’t a part of the ranking, the extra data did help reveal a few truths about the best places to live with debt.

In the top 20 cities ranked by most disposable income:

  • Only six have wages that beat the national average of $49,630
  • Nine have a cost of living that’s more than 10 percent cheaper than the national average
  • Half are in states with no income tax

So basically: The secret to finding extra money in your budget isn’t making more, it’s spending less.

To check out the full ranking of 20 cities and all of the data for each city assessed, visit Student Loan Hero.