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Getting that 'six-figure feel'

SmartAsset’s research revealed that people living in Honolulu, New York and San Francisco must bring in over $300,000 annually to have the same disposable income or live the same lifestyle as someone who makes just over $100,000 in other parts of the country.

These metros cost 82% or more to live in than the national average, and residents who make around $300,000 in these regions face high tax burdens.

Second only to Honolulu at $312,400, the average New Yorker needs to make $312,000 to “get that six-figure feel,” according to the report. California is home to five of the most expensive cities, with Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego joining San Francisco in making the top 10 of SmartAsset's list.

Meanwhile, major cities such as Miami and Orlando offset higher costs of living with the fact residents pay no state income tax.

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The most affordable cities

Low taxes and lower costs of living make some large cities remarkably affordable.

According to SmartAsset, Texas is home to many of these better-value locales, including San Antonio, El Paso and Corpus Cristi. A person living in Houston, Texas' largest city, needs just $125,300 to feel like they “made it” with $100,000 in purchasing power.

The most affordable city on the list is Memphis, Tennessee, where the average worker needs just $117,100 in gross income to get the same result. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and St. Louis, Missouri — home to almost a million people between them — also made the cut for the top 10 cities where you can get more out of a six-figure salary.

Time to make a move?

Lower taxes, home prices and cost of living are some of the main reasons more people are moving to states like Texas, according to a blog post from real estate firm RedFin. From April 2020 to July 2022, the population of Texas increased by nearly 900,000 people, according to the Census Bureau.

Whether you're a young professional with a family or you're looking for an affordable place to retire, you may also want to consider whether cheaper cities can retain their cost advantages in the long term. A growing population can increase demand for housing, and if supply can't keep up there could potentially be an increase in rent and home prices.

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About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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