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Top 10 Personal Finance Reads


This year has created some struggles as well as some great opportunities to increase financial stability by getting back to the basics and investing correctly. Not everyone has had a pleasant year so we’ve put together a list of the best reads to help people get back on their feet or to take the next step in managing their finances headed into 2023. For your unique situation, consider consulting with a financial advisor

Find out now: How much should I save for retirement

1. The Income Needed to Pay Rent in the Largest Cities

Using HUD’s guidelines, SmartAsset examined the income needed to pay rent in the 25 largest U.S. cities for a one- and two-bedroom apartment based on a rent-to-income ratio of 28%, which we set just below the standard threshold. In the city with the highest rents, San Francisco, a household would need a whopping $170,961 to afford the rent on a two-bedroom market-rate apartment, which has come down in recent years as people have been moving away from the city.

2. Best Cities for Young Professionals

One of the largest trends, thanks to remote work, is that young professionals are looking for places to live and gather, regardless of where they are working. We compared affordability, workforce demographics and entertainment options for individuals between the ages of 25 to 34 to find the best cities for this age group.

3. The Best Places for Children

To find the best places for children, SmartAsset looked at the 200 largest U.S. metro areas and ranked them using 13 factors that would affect a child’s quality of life – factors like school quality, air quality and inter-generational mobility. Cedar Rapids, Iowa topped our list.

4. The Safest Cities in America

To find the safest cities in the U.S., SmartAsset analyzed data for the largest 200 cities across several different metrics, including violent crime, property crime, drug use, air quality, excessive drinking and motor vehicle accidents. The safest city in America is Frisco, Texas.

5. How Much Should I Spend on Rent? 

SmartAsset: 10 Personal Finance Reads for 2023

This article took a close look at rental affordability to help people figure out how much they should spend on rent. In general, experts advise that renters spend no more than 30% of their monthly gross income on housing-related expenses, which includes both rent and utilities.

Related Article: The Most and Least Severely Housing Cost-Burdened Cities

6. The Most Livable Cities in the U.S.

This was our first year doing a study on the most livable cities. To find our top 10 list we looked at six factors: population density, walkability, violent crime rate, property crime rate, unemployment rate and income after housing. The most livable city? O’Fallon, Missouri.

7. 5 Things You Shouldn’t Do if You Owe the IRS at Tax Time

If you owe the IRS income tax money, there’s no need to go on the lam. If you manage the situation carefully, you may be able to work out a deal that includes a payment plan for repaying what you owe. In this article, we talk about five things you shouldn’t do if you owe the IRS money. First on the list is not filing a return.

Check out our free tax calculator

8. How to Make Money on Instagram

Are you a social media star or do you want to be? If so, you may be missing out on the chance to monetize your Instagram fame. If you get enough Instagram followers, brands may reach out to you. But if they don’t, there are several ways to start making money on Instagram. One of them is to use a matchmaking service that helps brands and Instagram influencers find each other.

9. 5 Mistakes Homebuyers Can’t Afford to Make

Homebuying season may be summer but plenty of people make the transition from renting to buying at other times in the year. If you think a home purchase is in your future, check out our round-up of five mistakes homebuyers can’t afford to make. First on the list is choosing the wrong neighborhood.

10. States With the Largest Tax Refunds

SmartAsset: 10 Personal Finance Reads for 2023

To determine where taxpayers are getting the largest refunds, SmartAsset analyzed the average dollar amount of federal tax refunds for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The state with the biggest refund was Utah, with an average federal tax refund of $1,812.

Bottom Line

As you’re planning for the year ahead, take a look at some of the best personal finance reads. It’s never too late for some personal finance wisdom and these studies will provide a lot of help in making large financial decisions like moving to a new city or preparing for tax time. It’s important to find the relevant information for your unique situation or you can enlist the help of a financial advisor.

Tips for Financial Planning

  • It’s important to plan out your finances in advance so you know what you need to do to hit your financial goals. Working with a financial advisor can give you the knowledge you need to be successful and finding the right financial advisor doesn’t have to be difficult. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Looking to get your finances in order? Consider using our free budget calculator to figure out what that might look like.

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