Balancing Priorities

15 cities where you can get a well-paid finance job ... and cheap housing

A generous salary might not mean much if your cost of living is through the roof.

Job seekers looking for that prime combination of a well-paid job and affordable housing aren't necessarily out of luck. New data from LinkedIn and Zillow found 15 cities where finance workers can still keep a lot of their income after covering housing costs. (They also looked at the best affordable cities for health-care and tech workers.)

"High demand and inventory shortages have driven up housing prices in some markets so much that even if you land a great job, the salary might not cover living within commuting distance," Zillow's chief economist Svenja Gudell said. "On the other hand, the nation's most affordable housing markets don't always offer plentiful employment opportunities."

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To come up with the rankings, LinkedIn and Zillow used a combination of housing and employment data. That included hiring trends, median wages, income tax rates and median monthly housing costs.

Housing is often one of families' biggest expenses, and a move that lets you reduce that cost could make a big difference in your financial situation, said certified financial planner Mark LaSpisa, president of Vermillion Financial Advisors in South Barrington, Illinois.

"Are you behind the eight ball and you haven't saved much, and we can use that [cost reduction] to catch up? That's a great opportunity," he said.

David Sucsy | iStock | Getty Images

But relocating for a job isn't a decision to make lightly. On the financial side, consider how your salary, taxes and cost of living (not just housing) in that new city compare to your current locale, LaSpisa said.

Don't forget to consider nonfinancial factors, like schools, weather and proximity to family. One of LaSpisa's clients nixed a planned cross-country relocation after finding out his new city didn't have great health care nearby.

"You never know what's going to be the deciding factor," he said.

If you decide to move, start out renting. You'll be able to make smarter homebuying choices after living in — rather than just visiting — a city, he said. Renting also lets you make a faster exit should you decide that new city isn't for you.

Based on the LinkedIn-Zillow findings, here's where finance workers can have more disposable income left after housing costs:

Best affordable cities for finance jobs

City Disposable Income (%) Renters Disposable Income (%) Owners Sweet Spot Ranking (Renters)
Charlotte, N.C.52.3%61.3%1
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas43.4%64.8%2
Phoenix, Ariz.50.6%58.0%3
Boston, Mass.41.7%52.7%4
Chicago, Ill.48.8%61.1%5
New York City, N.Y.37.6%48.1%6
Seattle, Wash.51.0%N/a7
Austin, Texas51.4%61.3%8
Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minn.47.8%57.5%9
San Francisco Bay, Calif.30.1%32.3%10
Pittsburgh, Penn.56.2%N/a11
Denver, Colo.41.5%51.2%12
Nashville, Tenn.55.9%65.9%13
Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.53.7%65.5%14
Washington, D.C.39.1%N/a15

Source: SOURCE: LinkedIn and Zillow