Four big cities in Texas, including Austin, are among the best places in the U.S. for people trying to wipe out debt, according to a new study. But before you get too excited, that’s not an excuse to go on a holiday spending spree.
The study, released by Austin-based financial education website Student Loan Hero, ranks Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio as four of the top 20 cities in the country where residents have the most extra money for reducing debt.
In all, Student Loan Hero crunched data for 159 U.S. cities, looking at the average wage, income tax burden, and cost of living. Houston appears at No. 3 on the list, with Austin at No. 5, San Antonio at No. 8, and Dallas at No. 11. At the top of the list is Durham, North Carolina.
Fort Worth doesn’t fare too well, ranking 71st among the 159 cities covered in the study.
“Living in one of the top 20 best cities gives you a disposable income of $18,000 left over, on average, after taxes and basic living expenses are paid,” Elyssa Kirkham, who led the Student Loan Hero study, says in a release. “That’s a huge boon to residents of these cities who want to get out of debt faster. It gives them a lot of room to play with their budget and find extra money to put toward debt.”
While the Student Loan Hero study offers some good news for residents of Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, here’s some bad news: A survey earlier this year by personal finance website GOBankingRates found that the average Texan has $185,583 in debt, making it the third worst state in that regard. The debt load includes mortgage payments, credit card bills, and student loan payments.
Here are statistics that Student Loan Hero compiled for Texas’ five largest cities, with the average disposable income being used to rank each place.
- Average disposable income: $20,027
- Average annual wage: $50,830
- Average income tax burden: $9,643
- Cost of living: 3.5 percent below national average
- Average disposable income: $20,422
- Average annual wage: $52,870
- Average income tax burden: $10,310
- Cost of living: 2.3 percent below national average
- Average disposable income: $19,414
- Average annual wage: $51,890
- Average income tax burden: $9,990
- Cost of living: 0.8 percent above national average
- Average disposable income: $17,220
- Average annual wage: $46,520
- Average income tax burden: $8,480
- Cost of living: 2.8 percent above national average
- Average disposable income: $19,718
- Average annual wage: $45,210
- Average income tax burden: $8,184
- Cost of living: 12.2 percent below national average