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The Most Investment-Savvy Cities in America


Whether you are working with a financial advisor or managing a portfolio on your own, making the right investments can make all the difference in your future financial security. Make too many risky investments and you might lose out on your retirement income, don’t take on enough risk and you may not accumulate enough funds to retire comfortably.

Below we look at data on investment income to find the most investment-savvy cities in the country. We looked at data for 100 cities across three factors: the percentage of households with investment income, average investment income per household and investment income as a percent of household income.

Key Findings

  • No area dominates – No region stood out as the most investment-savvy. The West Coast is represented in the top 10 by Los Angeles, the East Coast by Boston and the South by Atlanta and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • No Midwest – Midwest cities don’t score too well in this ranking. The highest-ranking Midwest city is Omaha, Nebraska at 34th. Plus, three of the bottom five cities are in the Midwest.
investment-savvy cities in america

1. Scottsdale, Arizona

Residents in no other city are as investment-savvy as those in Scottsdale. According to our data, 35% of households in Scottsdale have some kind of investment income, the third-highest rate in our study.

Plus, investors here tend to secure big returns. Whether its related to the quality of financial advisors in Scottsdale or another factor, the city ranks first for average household investment income at $46,654.

2. (tie) Denver, Colorado

Denver is tied for second. Just under 22% of households here have some kind of investment income. The average household with investment income takes in just under $34,000 per year from their investments, according to Census Bureau data. That is equal to 55.5% of the median household income in Denver.

If households here want to take their investing game to the next level, they could work with a local Denver financial advisor.

2. (tie) Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina takes two spots in this top 10. Up first, and tied for second place, is Raleigh. Nearly one in four households in this city have some kind of investment income and the average investing household here takes in about $34,300 per year. That’s equivalent to about 53.3% of the average household income in this city.

4. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta ranks fourth. Our data shows that around one in five households, or 19%, have some kind of investment income. In total, roughly 37,000 of the 194,000 households in Atlanta have investment income.

These households took in $1.23 billion in total investment income in 2016. Spread over 37,000 households, that leaves an average of $33,300 per household. The average investment income in the city is equal to 62% of the local household income, a score which beats the three cities ranked above.

5. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem takes fifth. Not quite as many households in Winston-Salem invest relative to other cities in our top 10. Just over 17% of households in Winston-Salem have investment income, according to our research.

However while not everyone in this city invests, those who do are savvy investors. The average household who invests takes in nearly $36,000 per year in investment income, equal to nearly 84% of the household income in Winston-Salem

6. Richmond, Virginia

Relative to income, Richmond may have the savviest investors in the country. According to our data, the average household with investment income in Richmond earns almost $43,000 per year from their investments. That is equal to what the median household in Richmond makes in a year.

7. Los Angeles, California

The City of Angels takes seventh. Like in Richmond, not many households in Los Angeles have investment income. According to our data, only 17.5% of households, or roughly 240,000 households out of 1,378,000, have investment income.

Those 240,000 households earned $7.8 billion in 2016, which is equal to $32,681 per household, on average. For that metric, Los Angeles ranks ninth.

8. (tie) Washington, District of Columbia

The nation’s capital comes in eighth. This city ranks well due to the sheer interest households here have in investing. Nearly 25% of households in Washington, D.C. have some investment income. For that metric, D.C. ranks 11th.

However, residents here could probably be making smarter investments and may want to talk to local Washington D.C. financial advisors. The average household with investment income earns $29,100 per year from investments, which is equal to 39% of local median household income. In that metric, D.C. only ranks 46th.

8. (tie) Boston, Massachusetts

Tied with Washington D.C. is Boston. This city has above-average scores in every metric, with its lowest ranking being 28th for average investment income as a percentage of median household income.

Boston’s best score is in its average investment income. The average household with investment income takes in $26,563 per year, a top 20 rate.

10. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The final spot goes to Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana. Only about 18% of households here have investment income, a score which drags them down the rankings a bit. However, the households who do invest have made some sound investments.

Investing households earned an average of $25,500 per household which is a lot relative to the local income. The median household income in Baton Rouge is $38,470, which means the average household with investment income earns 66% of the median household income. For that metric, Baton Rouge ranks in the top 10.

the most investment-savvy cities in america

Data and Methodology

In order to rank the most investment-savvy cities, we looked at data for the largest 100 cities in the country. We ranked them using the following three metrics:

  • Percent of households with investment income. This is the number of households with interest, dividends or net rental income as a percent of all households.
  • Average household investment income. This is the total amount of interest, dividends or net rental income per year divided by the number of households with investment income.
  • Average investment income as a percent of household income. This is average investment income per year divided by the median household income.

Data for all metrics comes from the Census Bureau’s 2016 1-year American Community Survey.

First we ranked each city in each metric. Then we found the average ranking for each city, giving equal weight to each metric. The city with the best average ranking received a 100, while the city with the worst average ranking received a 0.

Tips for Finding the Right Financial Advisor

  • Ask around – There is a high likelihood that someone in your network has used a financial advisor. By looking through your network you might be able to find a financial advisor who already has a stamp of approval from your friends. But make sure to do your own research and not trust your friends blindly. Every financial advisor comes with a different set of skills and certifications.
  • Choose a reputable company – One option is to find a reputable company and have it set you up with a financial advisor. For example, UBS Wealth Management is a large firm with over 10,000 advisors and $2.3 trillion in assets under management.
  • Use a matching tool – With so many different factors to consider when finding a financial advisor, it can be difficult to know which advisor suits your specific needs best. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool does the hard work for you. First you fill out a short questionnaire indicating your specific financial needs and then you’ll be matched with up to three advisors in your area. All the advisors on the SmartAdvisor platform have been fully vetted and are fiduciaries.

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