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Building a Nest Egg in San Francisco is Easier Than 20 Major U.S. Cities

San Francisco, CA, USAWhile it might be crazy that one of the nation’s most expensive cities is also the best U.S. metropolitan area for building wealth.

The nation’s highest savable income is a big part of San Francisco’s #1 overall ranking. The average Bay Area resident can sock away $16,657 per year, almost twice the national average, after subtracting local expenses from incomes.

Yes it’s a very expensive place to live, but there are plenty of high-paying jobs, so residents are able to keep their non-mortgage debts low (5th-lowest among the 21 markets) and their credit scores high (2nd-highest).

The ranking comes from a new study ranking 21 large metro areas in five categories: savable income, human capital, debt burden, homeownership and access to financial services.

Minneapolis/St. Paul is second-best overall (aided by the lowest average unemployment rate over the past five years), Washington, D.C. is third (only San Franciscans are able to save more), St. Louis is fourth (it offers the best access to financial services) and Detroit is fifth (it has the highest homeownership rate and the lowest non-mortgage debt burden).

Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif. came in last overall and in four subcategories: GDP per capita, average unemployment rate, average credit score and bank branches per 100,000 residents. Miami is the second-worst place to get rich (subtracting its average expenses from its average income results in a loss of $3,613 per year, worst in the nation by far). Tampa, Atlanta and Houston are third-, fourth- and fifth-worst, respectively.

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