Personal Finance Studies

To further our mission of empowering people to make smarter financial decisions, we regularly produce personal finance studies. Our data experts analyze the numbers on topics related to retirement, investing and wealth. We hope to get people thinking and talking about these topics so they are able to take action and meet their specific financial goals.

Most Generous Counties - 2019 Edition

To find the most generous places, we looked at two factors: how much people donate as a percentage of their net income, and the proportion of people in a given county who made charitable donations. Read More...

Best Places to Save for Retirement 2019

To find the places where people can best prepare to retire we considered four factors: paycheck friendliness, 401(k) plan performance, public pension plan performance and the number of financial advisors per capita. We reviewed this data for every county in the country. Read More...

Places With the Most Incoming Investments

There are several ways individuals, governments and businesses can invest money in a county or region. Our study aims to capture the places across the country that are receiving the most incoming investments in business, real estate, government and the local economy as a whole. To do this we looked at four factors: business establishment growth, GDP growth, new building permits and federal funding. Read More...

Most Generous Counties

This study aims to find the most generous counties in The United States. Click to see if you are living in one of more charitable areas. Read More...

Best Places to Save for Retirement

This study explores the best places to save for retirement in The United States. See if you are living in one of the better places or if you should consider changing your retirement planning strategy. Read More...

Places Where Residents Invest the Most - 2020 Edition

A relatively small proportion of the U.S. population is selling securities like stocks or bonds to make money. Of the roughly 140 million tax returns reporting income and filed with the IRS in 2017, only about 24 million reported capital gains, which is income earned through selling investments or property. This indicates that, whether from lack of savings or information, the majority of Americans do not actively invest. Read More...

Best States for an Early Retirement - 2019 Edition

The average retirement age for men and women in the U.S. has risen compared to 20 years ago. Between 1995 and 2016, the average retirement age for men rose from 62 to 65 while for women it rose from 60 to 63, according to data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. These increases stem from a variety of factors, including changes to Social Security, the shift from defined benefit to 401(k) plans and longer life expectancies. However, despite these shifts, many people continue to hope for an early retirement, which is often more feasible with some strategic financial planning and sound guidance from an expert advisor. Read More...

Best Cities for Retirees Who Want to Travel - 2019 Edition

Behind housing costs, travel is often the second-biggest expense for healthy retirees who have a desire to explore. With more spare time, retirees are able to take advantage of visiting both domestic and international destinations. In fact, according to September 2018 survey data, the AARP found that baby boomers expect to take four to five leisure trips in 2019 and plan on spending more than $6,600 on their travels. Read More...

Places Where Residents Earn the Most From Their Investments – 2019 Edition

To find the metro areas where residents earned the most from their investments, we looked at data for 200 of the largest metro areas in the U.S. by population. Specifically, we compared them across the following four investment types: taxable interest, ordinary dividends, qualified dividends and capital gains. In each of these investment types, we compared data for three metrics: number of returns with the investment type as a percentage of all tax returns reporting income, the average income for tax returns reporting each type of income and the total amount of income earned from each type of investment as a percentage of all income earned in the metro area. Data for all metrics comes from the IRS and is for 2016. Read More...

The Best Cities for an Active Retirement - 2019 Edition

To determine which cities are the best for an active retirement, we analyzed data across 544 of the largest cities in the U.S. based on full data availability. More specifically, we examined seven metrics. The first four metrics focus on metrics relevant to all retirees, while the other three metrics measure how easily a retiree can live an active lifestyle in that location. Read More...

Where Rich People Are Moving - 2019 Edition

To determine which states rich people are moving to, we looked at data for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and defined "rich" as individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $100,000 or more. We specifically examined two metrics: Read More...

Best Places to Become Wealthy

In order to determine the best cities to become wealthy, we looked at data on the 100 largest cities in the U.S. We compared those cities across seven metrics. Specifically, we looked at the following: Read More...

Places With the Highest Life Expectancy

To create the final rankings, we found the weighted average of the life expectancy for every Census Tract in the most populous 250 counties. We then ranked the counties from highest to lowest. Data comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Read More...

Income Needed to Be Wealthy in America's Largest Cities

In order to find out how much you need to earn to be wealthy in America, we looked at data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 1-Year American Community Survey for 100 of the largest cities. We found the minimum income a household could earn to be considered part of the top 20% of earners and ranked the cities from high to low based on this figure. Read More...

States Using Trusts the Most

In order to rank the states that use trusts the most, we looked at data for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Specifically, we looked at the three following metrics: Read More...