Deltona, FL - A new study that ranks metro areas on how well residents can live within their means finds five Florida metro areas that rank near the bottom of the list, including one local city.
Researchers from LendingTree.com set out to create a new study—known as Places Where People Spend Within Their Means—that ranked the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas on where it’s the easiest and the hardest for people to live within their means, i.e., not spending more than one makes. According to researchers, it's not hard to live within your means, especially if your means are more substantial, but it could be easier depending on where you live.
When looking at these 100 metro areas, researchers made sure to examine every city's debt-to-income ratios, credit inquiries, maxed-out credit cards and spending on housing costs to create a score. And with that in mind, LendingTree determined that San Jose, California was the top contender when it came to living within one's means, with Grand Rapids, Michigan and Minneapolis, Minnesota filling out the other top three spots.
Nine Florida metro areas were examined by researchers, but their findings placed all nine areas in the bottom half of the list with Palm Bay securing the highest spot in the state by ranking at 65th overall. Miami ranked at the bottom of the list in the 100th place, while four others ranked in the bottom 10, those being: Lakeland, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Deltona. In Fact, Deltona was the second lowest ranked Florida metro area, coming in at number 97.
"For Deltona, like much of the rest of Florida, it's all about income," said LendingTree's Chief Credit Analyst, Matt Schulz. "The truth is that life is expensive in 2021, and if you're struggling with income, your financial margin for errors is going to be really tiny. That's certainly the case in Deltona and Daytona Beach."
Even though Miami may rank at the bottom of the list, Schulz says LendingTree found that Deltona has the highest debt-to-income ratio in the nation, which presents a challenge for residents. However, Deltona does rank near the middle of the pack when it comes to the percentage of cardholders with a maxed-out card and the percentage of income spent on housing, which is one positive that comes out of the report.
"Unfortunately, however, the cost of housing is rising in the area, so things may take a turn for the worse in that regard," added Schulz. "The most important thing for people to understand is that they have options. They can call their card issuer and ask for a lower APR. People would be shocked at how often that works. They could get a zero-percent-interest balance transfer card or a low-interest personal loan. They could also consider working with a credit counselor to help themselves more effectively manage their debt."
Schulz finished off by saying the worst thing someone can do with debt is ignore it.
"Even little steps can matter. It may be messy, and it won't be fun, but little moves can add up to major changes over time."
The Florida areas that made the list are (including their overall ranking): Palm Bay - 65th; Cape Coral - 70th; North Port - 74th; Tampa - 77th; Jacksonville - 91st; Orlando - 92nd; Lakeland - 96th; Deltona - 97th; Miami - 100th.
Map courtesy of LendingTree.com