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3 Things to Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Long-term care insurance is designed to save you money later in life if you need medical care, such as hospice or round-the-clock assistance from nurses.

But some long-term care insurance policyholders are feeling the financial crunch because of a rise in premiums.

An estimated 7.2 million Americans held long-term care insurance policies in 2014, according to The State of Long-Term Care Insurance 2016, a report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Center for Insurance Policy and Research. An estimated 15 million Americans will need long-term care by 2050, the report notes.

Here are three things to consider about purchasing long-term care insurance.

Long-term care insurance is only getting more expensive

In 2016, insurance companies raised premiums, outraging policyholders. Customers in Pennsylvania saw a 130% increase in their premiums, and New Yorkers under Genworth’s policy faced a 60% premium increase. Federal government employees, insured by John Hancock Life and Health Insurance Co., saw their premiums rise by an average of 83%.

“The rising costs for long-term care insurance are directly linked to the rising costs of long-term care,” says James Carson, Daniel P. Amos Distinguished Professor of Insurance at the University of Georgia. “Insurers vastly underestimated costs associated with long-term care, and subsequently revised upwards their insurance premium structures, even on existing policies.”

While the increases in premiums were legal and authorized by the state, this left many policyholders unhappy, Carson says.

Since its emergence in the 1970s, expenditures in the long-term care market have grown. Less than $20 billion was spent on long-term care when it appeared in the marketplace. By 1980, these expenditures had grown to $30 billion.

Now more than $225 billion is spent on long-term care, according to The State of Long-Term Care Insurance 2016. As more long-term care is demanded, these expenses are pushed onto the insurance companies, resulting in rising incurred claims costs.

Meanwhile, Americans are living longer and spending more on health care. Americans aged 55 and up accounted for 55% of all health spending in 2014, even though they represent only 28% of the U.S. population, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Millennials should start paying attention to the looming costs associated with long-term care, and possibly also long-term care insurance, because they are going to live a really long time,” Carson says. “Health costs tend to get much larger when we get older.”

Once in retirement, the average American is expected to spend as much as $250,000 on medical expenses, says Tony Steuer, founder of the Insurance Literacy Institute, based in California.

Like any insurance, the trade-off with long-term care insurance is the leverage provided. If you can’t afford the premium and it doesn’t provide good leverage, investing in long-term care insurance might be unwise, says Steuer, also a member of the National Financial Educators Council Curriculum Advisory Board.

Timing is everything

Unlike traditional health insurance, long-term care insurance covers health services in late stages of life, alongside Medicare. Medicare may not cover all the services you need after it kicks in once you turn 65, especially if you are battling illnesses such as dementia or cancer.

For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects that an American who turned 65 in 2016 will incur $138,000 in future long-term care expenses. About half of those costs will be paid for out of pocket, and the other half will come from private insurance and government assistance programs, such as Medicaid.

Purchasing long-term care insurance now can protect you from paying so much out of pocket at a time when medical needs are greater and often more expensive.

Long-term care insurance is most beneficial for those who can’t perform two out of six daily activities of living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, and walking. The insurance reimburses policyholders up to a preselected limit daily, so customers receive the services that get them through activities of daily living.

Services covered by long-term care insurance become more necessary as life expectancy increases and retirement funds drain.

Typically, long-term care insurance is purchased by those over the age of 50, says R. Vincent Pohl, assistant professor of economics at the University of Georgia, whose research interests include health economics.

“For a monthly premium that may depend on age and health, insured individuals get nursing home stays and other forms of [long-term care] paid for by the insurance,” Pohl says. “Long-term care insurance can only be bought before someone enters a nursing home for the first time.”

Steuer advises those who expect a need to purchase a long-term care policy after the age of 40. But purchasing long-term care insurance in your 40s also could save you hundreds of dollars in premium costs, compared to doing so in your 50s.

One way to consider your need for long-term care insurance is to look at your family’s medical history. For example, if a parent or grandparent has Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, long-term care insurance is something to consider. Once a debilitating condition develops, you may not qualify, or it may be more difficult to find a provider.

Long-term care insurance helps you pay now for options later

In these cases, knowing about long-term care insurance and having invested in it before your health started to decline can prove to be beneficial.

Joanne Westwood, who lives in Ohio, learned the value of long-term care insurance when her father developed Alzheimer’s disease, and her stepmother, the primary caregiver, became ill.

“We needed to get [my father] in a place with consistent caregiving, and we needed to take it off of [my stepmother] because she was killing herself trying to be his caregiver,” Westwood says. “If he didn’t buy long-term care health insurance 20 years ago, we’d all be in a heap of trouble right now.”

Westwood’s father, now in his mid-80s, qualifies for Medicare, but Westwood says it isn’t enough. Medicare offered the bare minimum, not enough for him to stay in a facility without paying out of pocket.

Long-term care insurance gave the family options.

“It’s a lot of peace of mind and comfort,” Westwood says.

Westwood, 57, is now trying to purchase long-term care insurance for herself. After doing the research, she expects to pay much higher premiums than her father did 20 years ago, since she’s getting started in her late 50s and because of rising costs.

She says she wishes she had purchased long-term care insurance at a younger age. Even though you’re paying for a longer time, the premiums are much lower, she adds.

Pros & Cons of Long-Term Care Insurance

The Pros:

  • Future medical costs will be lower. Long-term care insurance can help you pay for the health care expenses not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. One in six individuals, or 17%, will pay at least $100,000 out of pocket for future long-term care services and support, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • You could buy a bit of peace of mind. If you’re investing in retirement accounts, a long-term care insurance policy provides another layer of confidence that if significant medical costs arise, it won’t eat into your nest egg.

“Living longer means an increased chance of needing long-term care,” says Kamilah Williams-Kemp, Vice President of long term care for Northwestern Mutual. “It’s critically important that individuals have a financial plan in place to protect their assets and cash flow if they should need long-term care.”

  • Buying a policy in your high earning years could cut the costs later on. Peak earning years for most people are in their late 30s to early 50s. You’ll pay more if you wait until your 50s, 60s, or 70s to sign up for long-term care insurance, and even risk not finding an insurer willing to give you coverage.

Because long-term care insurance premiums are based on several factors, such as age, sex, policy, and location, costs vary from person to person. Even if two people purchase insurance at the same age in the same state, they’re likely to pay different rates.

A 55-year-old male in Georgia will pay an annual premium of $2,645 to receive $200 of coverage a day over four years, according to Genworth’s long-term care insurance calculator. In comparison, a 40-year-old male in Georgia will pay $2,272.40 annually for the same policy. The Genworth calculator assumed a 90-day elimination period.

“In the world of insurance, you can almost always find someone willing to insure you. The problem then arises — is the coverage enough to support you?” says Jeremy Pierce, who has worked as a financial planner in Georgia. “In many cases, when you wait too long, that cost simply isn’t affordable.”

The Cons:

  • You may not need to use it. Long-term care insurance requires that you pay now to have coverage when you are older. If you don’t need medical care when you are a senior, you paid for something you won’t use.
  • You may not be able to meet the requirements. To use the benefit, you have to be unable to perform two of six activities, such as bathing or feeding yourself. Your health may not be poor enough to use it as a result. “It is likely that a claim won’t be made until someone reaches their 70s,” Steuer says.
  • You may not be able to afford it right now. If you have student loans and other expenses that have placed you in debt, paying for a long-term care insurance premium simply may not be possible. Steuer advises those who expect a need to purchase a long-term care policy after the age of 40 and if you have assets between $1 million and $5 million. “Someone who either has less than $1 million or more than $5 million should not consider it,” he says.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lisa Fu
Lisa Fu |

Lisa Fu is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lisa at [email protected]

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Life Events

Places Where Adults Still Live With Their Parents

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Moving out of your parents’ home has long been considered the ultimate rite of passage into full-fledged adulthood.

But today’s young adults are more likely to live in a parent’s household — and to live with their parents for a longer period, according to the Pew Research Center. A range of potential explanations has been offered for this generation’s “failure to launch,” from a desire to prolong adolescence to an aversion to marriage and commitment.

While these factors might play some role, the reality for most adults ages 25 to 40 living with their parents is that they lack the money to move out and establish their own households. Some might be unemployed and looking for work, while some have left the labor force altogether. Other young adults have their own children and live with parents out of a need for child care and support.

MagnifyMoney wanted to find out where U.S. adults are most likely to still be living with their parents, and what factors could be holding them back from leaving the nest.

We surveyed the 50 largest metros in America to identify the largest portion of adults ages 25 to 40 living with their parents along with some other statistics about them. We excluded people in this age group who identified themselves as active students.

Key findings

  • In Riverside, Calif., 28% of adults ages 25 to 40 live with their parents, earning this city the No. 1 spot on our list. High unemployment among these young adults – and for the metro, more generally – appears to be a leading factor.
  • Young adults in Miami, Los Angeles and New York follow, with more than 1 in 4 residents ages 25 to 40 living in their parents’ home.
  • Minneapolis stands at the other end of the spectrum, with fewer than 12% of young adults in this age range living with their parents.
  • Seattle is another city with just under 12% of young adults (ages 25 to 40) living under their parents’ roofs. Then there’s a four-way tie for third place among cities where adults are least likely to live with parents: Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Mo. and Raleigh, N.C. all have 12.3% of these adults living at home.
  • Across the board, about 1 in 4 adults living with their parents have children of their own in the home.
  • Men between the ages of 25 and 40 are more likely to live with their parents in every metro we reviewed (except Austin, Texas).
  • The average unemployment rate for this age group across the 50 metros is 8.6%. That’s more than twice the national unemployment rate of 4% as of January 2019.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults who live at home don’t participate in the labor market at all, on average across the 50 metros.
  • Adding together the unemployed and the people who don’t participate in the labor force, only 72% of these adults are currently working while living with parents.

Understanding the metrics

The list is ranked strictly on the percentage of adults aged 25 to 40 who live with their parents. To inform our findings, we also present the following information for this same population (which did not affect rankings). We excluded anyone from the analysis who was identified as a student.

  • Percentage who have their own children at home.
  • Percentage who are unemployed. This refers to people who want to work but are unable to find work. They are part of the active labor force in their communities.
  • Percentage who don’t participate in the labor force. These are people who don’t work outside of the home and are not seeking to work. This is different from the unemployment rate, and people counted in that rate are not included in this metric. We excluded people who are identified as students from our analysis as well, so these statistics don’t include people not looking for work due to educational pursuits.
  • Breakdown of people who live with their parents by sex.

In the 10 cities with the largest shares of young adults ages 25 to 40 living in their parents’ homes, eight were split between two regions: the South and the Northeast. In the South, more adults live with parents in Miami, San Antonio, New Orleans and Orlando, Fla. The four top cities in the Northeast include New York, Philadelphia, Providence, R.I. and Baltimore.

Here are some other highlights of these 10 cities with the highest portions of adults (ages 25 to 40) living with parents:

  • San Antonio, Orlando and Riverside had the highest rates of parenthood among young adults living with parents, out of the top 10 cities overall. In these cities, nearly three in 10 young adults who live at home with parents also live with a child of their own.
  • Of the top 10 cities where more adults are living with parents, the highest unemployment rates among this cohort are found in New Orleans (11.2%), Riverside (10.8%) and Baltimore (10.6%). In these cities, more than 1 in 10 of these adults living under their parents’ roofs are unemployed and actively seeking work.
  • The cities among the top 10 with the highest rates of nonparticipation in the labor force among adults living with their parents are San Antonio (25.3%), New Orleans (24.1%) and Orlando (19.5%).
  • Across the board, men make up the bigger share of adults who live with their parents, but the difference was more pronounced in some of the top 10 cities. In both Providence and Philadelphia, men make up a larger majority (56.7%) of adults living with parents. New York follows close behind, with a 56.2% male majority of adults living with their parents.

Then there are the cities where fewer adults (ages 25 to 40) are living with their parents, and are more likely to be living on their own. Four of these cities are located in the Midwest: Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Mo. and Columbus, Ohio. The South and West are also well represented in this list. In each region, there are three cities where these adults are less likely to be living in their parents’ homes.

Here is a closer look at other metrics that can inform these top 10 cities and their low rates of adults living with parents:

  • In these 10 cities, adults living with parents were more likely to be parents themselves, compared with the 10 cities where more adults live with parents. In Austin and Denver, 30% of adults living with parents had at least one child of their own living with them.
  • Raleigh and Indianapolis had the highest unemployment rates among these adults of the top 10 cities, at right around 12%. Austin and Kansas City had the lowest rates of unemployment among adults living with parents, at 5.4% and 5.6% respectively.
  • Among these 10 cities, Austin did have the highest share of adults living at home who aren’t participating in the labor force, however, at 22.5%. Portland and Indianapolis also had higher rates of labor nonparticipation among these adults living in parents’ homes, at just over 20%.
  • Minneapolis and Portland have the most uneven breakdown by sex of adults living with parents. Austin, on the other hand, is the only city we surveyed where a majority of adults living with parents are women, at 51.1%.

Full rankings

Our rankings surveyed the 50 most populous metro areas in the U.S. to find the proportion of adults (ages 25 to 40) living with their parents for each. See the table below for the full rankings for all 50 cities, along with key statistics on local adults who live with their parents.

How to prepare your money to move out on your own

Most adults living with parents hope to eventually move out on their own. If that’s you, careful planning can help you prep your finances, pay down debt and save enough money to make this happen sooner.

Here are some specific steps to take while you’re living with your parents to get financially healthy and launch your solo stage of life.

Make a plan to deal with debt

If you’re hoping to move out, you’ll have to deal with your debt first. The monthly payments on debt can be a burden that makes it harder to afford to live on your own.

Living at home is the perfect time to make extra payments toward debt and pay off some balances. Target your high-interest debt first, such as credit cards — these balances will cost you the most to carry from month to month.

Paying down debt is a great start, but your payoff date might still be years away while you’re hoping to move out much sooner. In these cases, you could refinance or consolidate debt to adjust your monthly payments or even secure a lower interest rate. Here are some options worth looking into:

Seek out a better job or side hustle

Unemployment, underemployment or exiting the labor force are among the biggest reasons adults live with their parents — and can’t move out. The only way to find your next gig is to apply, so keep your hopes and efforts up.

Applying for jobs can be tough, however, especially if you’re met with rejections. If your efforts seem to be going nowhere, see what you can do to make yourself a more attractive job candidate. Read up on job-seeking advice and ask for feedback from mentors or potential employers to improve your resume and prep for your next opportunity.

On top of actively seeking new or better employment, you can also consider picking up a side hustle or part-time job. This can help you develop new skills, build a portfolio and avoid a gap in employment — all while earning additional income and keeping money coming in.

Take advantage of low-cost living with parents

Living with parents isn’t always easy, but it comes with one major perk: low costs. Most adults who live with parents do so to benefit from either sharing living costs or skipping typical bills such as rent, groceries or utilities.

This lack of costs leaves more of your money available to tackle other financial goals. You can start building your move-out fund, saving for expenses like a deposit on an apartment and purchasing furnishings for your own place. Having an emergency fund in place before moving out can also be a wise move. Or you can use savings from living at home to pay down student loans or other debt.

Whatever your goal, set your sights and start using your freed-up funds to work toward it.

Methodology

Analysts used 2017 American Community Census microdata hosted on IPUMS to calculate the following percentages for people aged 25 to 40 and who did not identify as students: 1) Percentage who live in the same household with at least one of their parents. For those who both do and do not live with their parents, we separately calculated: 1) Percentage who live with their own children, 2) percentage who are unemployed, 3) percentage who are not part of the labor force, 4) percentage who are men, 5) percentage who are women.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Elyssa Kirkham
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Elyssa Kirkham is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Elyssa here

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Life Events

Places Where Americans Live the Most Balanced Lifestyles

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

U.S. Household Incomes
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As Americans, we’re often focused on status markers, such as the amount of money we make. But research indicates that the time we spend with people we care about, good health and income equality are some of biggest factors that lead to happiness. Feeling fulfilled is about so much more than how much we earn. It comes down to what we have to do to earn it, what we get in exchange for it and whether we have the time and health to enjoy our friends and family.

In other words, a balanced life.

To figure out where people are most likely to find that kind of balance, we compared seven measures in the 50 biggest metropolitan areas of the U.S.

We looked at the following (full methodology below):

  • Average commute times
  • How much of their income residents spend on housing
  • How many hours people work compared with how much they earn
  • Local income inequality
  • How many people are in very good or excellent health
  • Whether they get enough sleep at night
  • How local prices for typical consumer goods and services (excluding housing) compare with the national average

Below are the places that ranked highest — and lowest — for 2019.

Key takeaways

  • Minneapolis takes the top spot for places with the most balanced lifestyles with a final score of 77.4, mainly due to good health and high incomes combined with a moderate cost of living.
  • Kansas City, Mo., and Salt Lake City came in closely behind, with final scores of 76.0 and 75.7, respectively
  • Miami ranked as the metro with the worst lifestyle balance, with a final score of 24.0. High economic inequality, expensive housing and lower incomes are the primary hindrances to the balance.
  • New York and Riverside, Calif., filled out the bottom three, with final scores of 25.4 and 26.0, respectively. Last year, Riverside was included in the Los Angeles combined statistical area.
  • Midwesterners might find it easier to lead balanced lives. Five of the top 11 cities in this study are in this region: Minneapolis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Columbus, Ohio.
  • The high costs of living in coastal cities can make it trickier to find the right balance between quality of life and financial demands. Of the 10 cities with the least balanced lifestyles, nine are on or near the coastline.

Metros that offer a balanced lifestyle

The map above includes the 11 major cities (with the last two tied) that provide the most balance to residents — where it’s less of a grind to just make a living:

1. Minneapolis
2. Kansas City, Mo.
3. Salt Lake City
4. Cincinnati
5. Raleigh, N.C.
6. St. Louis
7. Portland, Ore.
8. Denver
9. Hartford, Conn.
10. Virginia Beach, Va. (tied)
10. Columbus, Ohio (tied)

If you’re in search of a more balanced lifestyle, you might want to consider a move to the Midwest. Five of the top cities are located here.

Overall, these cities score best in some categories but not others. They score well by having low income equality, low housing costs relative to income, better health outcomes and shorter commutes. Here’s a look at which cities stand out for different factors:

  • Minneapolis was No. 1 overall, and the second-highest city for percentage of residents in very good or excellent health at 57.1%, second only to Washington, D.C. Denver was the other top city that ranked well for residents’ health outcomes, with 56.6% in optimal health.
  • Cincinnati offers the lowest relative housing costs of the top-ranked cities, with a typical resident spending 19.3% of income on housing costs. Kansas City and St. Louis also score well here, with housing costs at 19.5% of income.
  • Cincinnati’s low costs don’t stop at housing. It has the lowest prices on goods and services of any major city, with costs 7.3% below the national average. St. Louis had the next lowest costs, with prices 7.2% below national levels.
  • Hartford. (No. 9) is the city ranked in the top 11 with the highest hourly wages — on average, workers here can earn $50,000 a year with just 24.9 hours per week. Minneapolis (No. 1) also scores above-average here, with a typical worker working 26.8 hours in a week to earn a $50,000 annual income.
  • Denver is where residents are the most well-rested, as only 26.9% of residents say they get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night. Cincinnati and Raleigh locals are also among the U.S. city dwellers more likely to be getting sufficient sleep.
  • Salt Lake City (No. 3) and Kansas City (No. 2) have the shortest commute times of the top group, at 22.4 minutes and 23 minutes, respectively.

10 worst metros for a balanced lifestyle

There are also the cities where high costs can make it hard to get ahead, block locals’ efforts to build up savings and add up to more stress and a bigger mental labor load. The table above shows the 10 cities that scored the worst for lifestyle balance.

One commonality stands out: Many of these are coastal cities. From Miami and Tampa in Florida to San Francisco and Los Angeles in California, down to Houston and New Orleans in the Gulf Coast, these cities prove that it takes more than proximity to a beach.

The 10 worst cities scored poorly across several ranking factors: housing costs relative to income, prices on goods and services, income inequality and commute times. Some of these cities do manage to pull ahead with higher wages — meaning a typical worker can earn $50,000 per year in fewer hours.

Here are some key points on the worst cities:

  • Miami, Los Angeles and Riverside earned their spots thanks to high housing costs. Miami has the highest housing prices relative to local incomes, with these living costs eating up 28.8% of earnings. But Los Angeles is right behind it at 28.7%, followed by Riverside with 27.0%.
  • New York City is ranked second worst for a reason. Of all the 50 major metropolitan areas we studied, the Big Apple has the highest costs on goods and services at 12.9% higher than the national average. It also has the worst commutes and least favorable score for income inequality.
  • The worst cities had some of the worst health outcomes, too. Houston, in particular, has the fewest proportion of residents reporting very good or excellent health — just 39.2%.
  • Some of the worst cities have high costs but also offer higher incomes. That put a few of them among the cities where it takes fewer weekly hours to earn $50,000 per year: San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia. In San Francisco, earning that amount can be done in just 20.5 work hours.
  • Philadelphia and Memphis, Tenn., are among the cities where people are less likely to get enough sleep. In both cities, around 41% of locals get less than seven hours of sleep each night.

How the 50 biggest U.S. cities stack up for balanced living

Our rankings show how local labor markets, pay, costs and other living conditions can add up to have big effects on residents’ lifestyles.

In more balanced cities, locals can more easily cover bills without overworking and economic opportunity is more accessible, which helps create positive health outcomes. But in cities that rank poorly for balance, residents have to make significant personal sacrifices: working more, accepting longer commutes or spending more of their income on housing.

Here are the full rankings:

4 tips to balanced finances and living — in any city

Leading a balanced life is easier when you’re managing your money well and your finances are functioning as they should be. No matter where you live, you can find ways to build a better financial foundation to lead a balanced life. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Keep recurring living costs affordable. While you can’t decide what your local housing market and rent costs are doing, you do have some control over how they affect your budget. When choosing a home, for example, prioritize affordability over other factors.

Look for other major costs to cut out, too. Can you get a cheaper phone plan that still meets your needs? Would it be cheaper to use public transit than continue to keep and make payments on a car? Lowering these kinds of costs will help you save now, and in the months going forward.

Check your discretionary spending. On top of inspecting monthly costs, track your spending day to day, too. Pay attention to where you tend to spend a lot on “wants.” These could include categories like dining out, purchases on alcohol or tobacco, entertainment and apparel and accessories.

These optional expenses could be opportunities to rein in costs a little to build more of a buffer into your budget. You can cancel subscription services you rarely use, whether it’s video streaming or a neglected gym membership. Cutting back on eating out just once a week could be a fairly painless way to free up $50 or more per month, for example. Instead of heading to a bar or club and paying upward of $10 per drink, you might host a bring-your-own-booze get-together instead.

Limit and pay down debt. Paying down debt can be a burden on your budget and your stress levels. It’s wise to avoid debt whenever possible and prevent taking out new loans or racking up balances on credit cards.

Already have debt? Focus on paying it down. The most effective way to pay debt off quickly is by making extra payments above the monthly minimum. You can also look for ways to lower your debt costs, such as refinancing or consolidating debt. If you consolidate credit card balances, for instance, you can combine them into a single loan that could have a lower interest rate. You’ll also have the chance to choose a different loan term that could lower monthly payments to keep them more affordable.

If you’re truly struggling with debt and don’t see a way you can reasonably afford to pay it back, it can be hard to find a way out. Consider working with debt relief programs that can help you manage debt more effectively and lift some of the burden.

Focus on more than financial health. Working toward raises and making progress on money goals can be worthwhile investments in your financial future. But these objectives don’t have to come at the expense of your health and well-being.

Building strong relationships and a sense of community can help you establish a life of connection and meaning, for example. And investing in physical health through sufficient sleep, nutritious eating and an active lifestyle will help you feel better now and is a worthy investment in your long-term wellness.

Living a balanced life, after all, is about giving appropriate attention and resources to important areas of our lives. Balance efforts at work and in your finances with care for your physical, mental, emotional and social health.

Methodology

The top 50 metropolitan statistical areas (“MSAs”) are ranked on a 100-point scale on the following seven measures:

  1. Average commute time, as reported in the 2017 American Community Survey (“ACS”) from the U.S. Census.
  2. Percentage of income spent on housing, calculated as (the median monthly housing cost) / (median household income / 12 months), as reported in the 2017 ACS.
  3. The average number of hours per week a person would have to work to earn $50,000 a year, calculated as (average earnings for full-time workers) / (average hours worked per week), as reported in the 2017 ACS.
  4. Gini coefficient to represent income inequality, as reported in the 2017 ACS.
  5. Goods and service costs, relative to the national average, calculated as a simple average of Price Index for Goods and Price Index for Other, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the “Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2016” release.
  6. Share of the population in very good health, calculated as (percentage of the population in very good health) + (percentage of the population in excellent health), as reported in the 500 Cities Project (2017) from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). Data was missing for the following MSAs, and so the state averages were used: Raleigh, N.C.; Las Vegas; Dallas; Detroit; Seattle; San Diego; San Jose, Calif.; Boston; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and New York.
  7. Share of the population that gets fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, as reported by the CDC.

The sum of all ranks was then divided by seven, for a maximum possible score of 100 and the lowest possible score of zero.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Elyssa Kirkham
Elyssa Kirkham |

Elyssa Kirkham is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Elyssa here

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