Top 5 Cities to Improve Your Bottom Line

If your paycheck isn't stretching far enough, or you're considering a move to another city, it might be time to check out's annual assessment of the best cities to build personal wealth.

In the 2008 Salary Value Index, compensation experts at uncovered the top U.S. cities for building personal net worth by taking into account local salaries, cost of living and unemployment relative to the national average.

This year’s list also factors in qualitative measures, including diversity of industry, education level of the cities’ population, proximity to post-secondary institutions, percent of the population below the poverty level and median travel time to work.

The top five Salary Value Index cities are:

1. Plano, Texas

Located within the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area, Plano is the ninth-largest city in Texas. A frequent destination for business travelers, it is home to many corporate headquarters, including JCPenney, Frito-Lay and Perot Systems. The city has a reputation for being one of the best places in the country for employers to do business and for families to live and work. Plano has a nationally acclaimed public education system and well-educated, diverse residents.

2. Aurora, Colorado

Aurora is part of the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area and is the third most-populous city in Colorado. Once a budding frontier town of farmers and ranchers, Aurora is now a largely suburban city with over 450 neighborhoods. Aurora has a booming economy and is a business leader in such key growth industries as biotechnology, aerospace and high technology.

3. Omaha, Nebraska

Part of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska. Omaha has been racially and ethnically diverse since its founding and continues to boast a rich cultural background. Omaha’s economy has grown dramatically since the 1990s, largely due to diversification in several industries, including banking, insurance, telecommunications, architecture/construction and transportation.

4. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota. The economy is based on commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, and healthcare.

5. Albuquerque, New Mexico

This fast-growing city at the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor is the largest city in New Mexico. Boasting a newly revitalized downtown area, Albuquerque has a diverse population and some of the leading high tech research facilities in the country.