Where do you live if you want $100,000 to go furthest?

Posted By on April 6, 2023

There is probably a new survey or report out every month or so comparing the cost of living in different areas of the country. I usually gloss over them for one reason or another. Some exclude income taxes, state and local taxes or hefty property taxes. Others ignore lower SmartAsset Logosalaries and some just don’t factor in the unattractiveness of living in a particular area.

For most of us though, we prioritize living in a city or state based on our job and providing for our families … although often are required to compromise when it comes to career opportunities in a two income family. Once a person or a couple are empty-nesters or entering retirement, there are a few other criteria that factor in: interests, weather, activities, health care … as well as being close to grown children and growing grandchildren. Still it is interesting to know where money goes a bit further.

In any case, here is a current look at where $100,000 goes furthest. A SmartAsset article reprinted in  the Cincinnati Business Courier caught my eye and had me thinking, perhaps we should move to Tampa, FL (23), Columbus, OH (13) or Fort Wayne, IN (14) instead of staying in Cincinnati (25)? (but at least we are not on the east or west coasts!)

1. Memphis, TN

A person earning $100,000 per year in Memphis takes home $74,515 after federal and local taxes (the state of Tennessee doesn’t tax earned income). Considering the city has a cost of living that’s almost 14% lower than the national average, those after-tax earnings are actually worth $86,444 when adjusting for the cost of living.

2. El Paso, TX

A $100,000 salary in El Paso is worth $84,966 after subtracting taxes and adjusting for the local cost of living. A person who makes $100,000 a year in this West Texas city of over 678,000 residents takes home $74,515 after taxes. El Paso’s cost of living is just 87.7% of the national average.

3. Oklahoma City, OK

Someone making $100,000 in Oklahoma City will take home $70,302 after taxes. But thanks to the lowest cost of living in our study, those after-tax earnings are worth considerably more: $84,498.

4. Corpus Christi, TX

A $100,000 annual salary is worth $83,443 in Corpus Christi after deducting taxes and adjusting for the local cost of living. Located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Corpus Christi’s cost of living is 10.7% lower than the national average.

5. Lubbock, TX

A person who earns $100,000 per year in Lubbock can expect to take home $74,515 after taxes are deducted from their paychecks. Since the cost of living in Lubbock is just 89.4% of the national average, that person’s take-home pay is actually worth $83,350 after adjusting for the cost of living.

6. Houston, TX

Like the other Texas cities in the top 10, a $100,000 salary in Houston is reduced to $74,515 after taxes. Those earnings, however, are worth $81,350 when adjusting for Houston’s cost of living, which is 91.8% of the national average.

A three way tie. San Antonio, Fort Worth and Arlington, TX (7-9)

A $100,000 salary is worth the same amount of money in three Texas cities: San Antonio, Fort Worth and Arlington. Thanks to identical tax treatment and no state income tax, a person earning $100,000 takes home $74,515 in each city. That money is worth $80,124 when you adjust for the cost of living in all three cities, which is 7% lower than the national average.

10. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis rounds out the top 10. While taxes reduce a $100,000 salary to $69,531, the city’s low cost of living (87% of the national average) makes those after-tax dollars go even further. As a result, a $100,000 salary in St. Louis is worth $79,921 after subtracting taxes and adjusting for the cost of living.


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