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The top five spots for Gen Xers and younger boomers seeking a fresh start

  • After people go through a money crisis, it's not uncommon to consider picking up and moving for a fresh start.
  • If you do end up relocating to (hopefully) greener pastures, it's important to make sure the spot is conducive to rebuilding your financial life.

By the time people hit their late 30s, they often have settled into a career, committed to a life partner and decided that maybe grown-up life isn't so bad after all.

After someone has reached that place of seeming certainty, financial upheaval — due to job loss, divorce, bankruptcy and the like — can be especially jarring. It's not uncommon for people in that situation to wonder if they should start over in a new place.

The decision to pick up and move shouldn't be made on a whim. Without some planning and introspection, living in a new place does little on its own to help ensure your finances will flourish.

Photo by Gary Burchell via Getty Images

"There are a lot of considerations and costs to compare," said Kali McFadden, senior research analyst at LendingTree. "Are you lining up a job ahead of time, or how confident are you that you can get a job when you get there? What's the cost of moving? What kind of environment will you be happy with?"

McFadden authored a recent study that examined the best fresh-start spots for people ages 35 through 64. The study evaluated eight variables — including income and housing costs, how quickly credit scores rise after bankruptcy and consumer debt laws — in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas.

The idea was to see which of those places would be most conducive for people in that age group to begin with a clean slate and rebuild their financial lives.

However, starting anew won't turn you into someone you are not.

While not every financial crisis is within a person's control, it's not uncommon for money issues to arise due to someone's own choices and actions.

"If there are things you can do to better manage your financial health, you should," McFadden said. "Because no matter where you go, there you are."

Here are the top five spots.

1. Buffalo, N.Y.

Score: 67.6 (out of 100)
Unemployed (ages 35-64): 4.6 percent
With health insurance (ages 35-64): 94.2 percent
Enrolled in school (ages 35-64): 1.9 percent
Not married (ages 35-64): 40.1 percent
Median income: $52,303
Median rent: $738
Average credit score three years after bankruptcy: 664
Debtor-friendly grade: B

2. Minneapolis

Score: 62.9
Unemployed (ages 35-64): 3.7 percent
With health insurance (ages 35-64): 93.9 percent
Enrolled in school (ages 35-64): 2.8 percent
Not married: (ages 35-64): 33 percent
Median income: $70,915
Median rent: $963
Average credit score three years after bankruptcy: 656
Debtor-friendly grade: C

Source: LendingTree.com

3. Salt Lake City

Score: 62.6
Unemployed (ages 35-64): 3.6 percent
With health insurance (ages 35-64): 85.6 percent
Enrolled in school (ages 35-64): 3.6 percent
Not married (ages 35-64): 41.4 percent
Median income: $64,564
Median rent: $967
Average credit score three years after bankruptcy: 646
Debtor-friendly grade: D

4. Austin, Texas

Score: 61.4
Unemployed (ages 35-64): 4.1 percent
With health insurance (ages 35-64): 84.5 percent
Enrolled in school (ages 35-64): 3 percent
Not married (ages 35-64): 36.4 percent
Median income: $66,093
Median rent: $1,098
Average credit score three years after bankruptcy: 658
Debtor-friendly grade: B

5. Hartford, Conn.

Score: 58.9
Unemployed (age 35-64): 5.8 percent
With health insurance (age 35-64): 93.3 percent
Enrolled in school (age 35-64): 2.6 percent
Not married (age 35-64): 36.4 percent
Median income: $71,379
Median rent: $1,028
Average credit score three years after bankruptcy: 664
Debtor-friendly grade: C

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