Published March 27th, 2017
This is a guest contribution by David Chen, founder of Millennial Personal Finance.
The cities that most appeal to millennials are the subject of a new study by engineer and personal finance and investment enthusiast David Chen.
Even though this generation is encouraged to stay home longer, with insurance coverage until age 26, there inevitably comes a time to leave the nest. With a whole world of options opening up, here is a list that might help new college grads make informed choices about where to live and start building their portfolios including building their retirement funds and other net worth building actions.
Chen weighed the cities’ cost of living and projected job growth on a scale of 1 to 4, based on data published by the United States Department of Labor. Here is a short list of his findings:
#10: Ankeny, Iowa
Money Magazine rated Ankeny one of its Top 100 Places to Live. The city is located just north of the Des Moines Capitol. It enjoys a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle hopping with arts, recreation, and culture, as well as a booming business community. Ankeny’s cost of living was rated at 2.031, and its potential growth was at 2.039.
Millennials wishing to start or expand their investment portfolios would do well to focus on any one of these cities. Even better, the diversity of the list has plenty to offer, catering to just about any preferred lifestyle.
#9: Fort Collins, Colorado
Located on the east side of the beautiful front range of the Rocky Mountains, not far from Denver, Fort Collins has attracted young people for decades. It has easy access to world-famous ski resorts, scenic hiking, and a pleasantly arid climate. Fort Collins has a cost of living at 1.806 and potential growth at 2.320.
#8: Round Rock, Texas
Self-promoted as the state’s sports capitol, Round Rock is home to a world-class ballpark and hosts various events in its famous Sports Center. Located in the middle of the state, it joins Cedar Park as one of the most rapidly growing cities in Texas. Round Rock has a cost of living rated at 1.970, and its growth potential came in at 2.462.
#7: Cedar Park, Texas
One of the fastest-growing cities in the USA, Cedar Park is one wise choice for investment in most aspects. A higher-than-average income is credited with the growth explosion. Millennials who wish to invest in real estate or any other business may want to take a hard look at this community. The city’s cost of living weighed in at a mere 1.921, while its growth potential was measured at 2.471.
#6: Colombia, Missouri
HeroPay, an entrepreneurial site, voted Columbia one of the best cities to start a business in 2017. The rating was due to its low-cost commutes and affable tax policy. Columbia has a mere 2.7% unemployment rate. It has other impressive rankings, as well, including one of the Top 10 Best College Towns in America and CNBC’s Second Best Place for Working Women in 2016. Colombia’s cost of living scores a 2.054, and the growth potential rated 2.444.
#5: Hoboken, New Jersey
Located just across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan, Hoboken offers a scenic backdrop to a lively town that Visit New Jersey.com describes as “walkable.” It is loaded with hotspots for contemporaries, including funky bars and restaurants. The city is home to emerging millennials who may move on to careers on Wall Street or other specialties in finance. Big city amenities are within reach, but the cost of living scores an affordable 1.241, while growth potential rates an impressive 2.327.
#4: Provo, Utah
Although it is the third-largest city in Utah, Provo often shows up in research about the most desirable places to live. It is ideal for real estate investment, mainly due to its accessibility to recreational areas. Provo attracts nature lovers and others who appreciate the outdoors. It offers plenty of skiing, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and the like. Provo boats a low cost of living at 1.985 and is booming with job growth potential at 2.635.
#3: Fargo, North Dakota
Made famous by the movie of the same name, Fargo hasn’t lost its small-town, pioneer flavor. Sporting several breweries, taverns, and wineries, the saloon-style American West is still alive and kicking. But the art museums abound, as well. Like the mecca of its sister state, Fargo boats a growing population of millennials. Cost of living: 1.986. Future job growth: 2.436.
#2: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
With Chen’s estimated cost of living at 2.061 and job growth at 2.363, Sioux Falls has a thriving economy. It boasts the largest population in its state, fostering about one-quarter of the people who inhabit South Dakota. It has a lively cultural lifestyle where music and the arts flourish. Investment in real estate is a prime opportunity here. The city is rapidly growing, attracting a diverse group of inhabitants, and known as the place in the Great Plains “where everything happens.”
#1: Bozeman, Montana
Located just under 100 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman has become something of a technological mecca within the last decade. Once considered the nation’s best-kept secret by locals, the word is out. The city boasts a wealthy population of retirees and avid outdoor enthusiasts. The influx of the city’s millennials is exploding, due to the rising amount of tech-industry work. The cost of living on Chen’s scale settles at 1.842, while projected job growth is ranked at 2.467.