Planning Retirement Distributions: Consider Opportunities and Trade‑offs

Here’s what to do as you transition from contributions to distributions.

For most of your working life you’ve been putting money into retirement savings. When you reach retirement age, you need to make a major shift and determine how to take money out of your savings. You’ll build a whole new vocabulary. Instead of trying to understand things like Roth vs. Traditional IRAs, you’ll need to begin thinking about things like required minimum distributions and the tax implications of qualified withdrawals.

Illustration of calculator, financial statement, and coffee cup

Start with a budget

Just as in your working days, when planning for post-career life it’s good to have a budget to understand what your retirement income and expenses will be. Build your budget with after-tax income. Many people incorrectly assume that all retirement income is tax-free. You generally won’t pay taxes on withdrawals from contributions you’ve made to Roth IRAs or other post-tax savings accounts, but you may pay taxes on amounts you withdraw from your tax-deferred 401(k), SIMPLE or Traditional IRA and even social security payments. The assumption is that your retirement income will be lower than your working income, so the taxes you’ll pay when you retire may be lower.

On the expense side of your budget, build in annual “cost of living” increases to match inflation. It’s also wise to plan for special considerations, such as:

  • Increases in health care costs. Health care costs in general are rising higher than other costs; as a retiree, you will get the double whammy of health care inflation and increased health care needs as you age.
  • Increases in leisure expenses. When you’re not working 40 or more hours a week, you’ll have that time free and you might find yourself spending more money. You’re likely to want to take more vacation trips to visit grandchildren or simply enjoy your retirement.
  • Changes in housing costs. Your mortgage may be paid, reducing monthly expenses, but you’ll still have ongoing maintenance, insurance and utilities costs.

Build a budget with a projection of your expected monthly retirement income and expenses and be sure to plan for a realistic life expectancy. If you’re 62 when you retire, you may live for another 30 or more years. Make sure your plan provides a comfortable living over your expected remaining lifetime.

How to manage retirement income

Think carefully about when to make withdrawals from your various retirement accounts so that you can minimize your retirement tax burden.

Although you may be retired from your job, you may still be earning income from real estate investments, financial investments, self-employment or other “non-job” income. If so, you may want to start drawing from your already-taxed savings (general savings and Roth IRA) to supplement this income as needed.

If your “non-job” pre-taxed income sources will decline over time, you may want to delay taking distributions on any tax-deferred vehicle (e.g. 401(k) and Traditional IRA) for as long as possible.

IRS rules

As with working income, the IRS has rules for retirement income. When it comes to social security, you can start taking withdrawals as soon as you reach age 62. However, if you delay your first withdrawals until later, your monthly payment may be higher.

Family and friends gathered together outdoors

With retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and most IRAs, you’re eligible to start taking distributions without penalty as soon as you reach age 59½. If you don’t need the money for your ordinary expenses, you can continue to earn interest on your savings by keeping it in your account until you need it.

You should work with a tax and financial planner to help make the best decision for yourself and your family so you can enjoy a long and happy retirement.

Source: discover.com

How to Finance Financial Freedom and Independence

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.shape behavior:url(#default#VML);If you want to grow a small nest egg into a million dollars in 10 years, real estate investing is an independent business that you need to seriously consider. What beginning investors often fail to understand is that real estate investing is about controlling properties rather than paying for properties. The less of your own money that you invest in each property, the more properties that you will control for no money down or small investments.

© Davi Sales - Fotolia.com

© Davi Sales – Fotolia.com

The Paper Buy Out

If you think zero or low down deals are difficult to come by, you’d be correct. But that doesn’t mean they are impossible to come up with. I know of one investor that arranged a deal to purchase a $66,000 house for zero down. Of course, the seller was desperate. The seller was out of state and didn’t live in the house. He had repeat problems keeping a tenant in the house because he couldn’t afford a professional management company. Because he lacked steady tenants, he had gotten behind on the property taxes and the house was no longer insured. All he wanted was to get out from under the house without losing it for the cost of back taxes. The seller agreed to carry a second mortgage of $36,000 for no interest and no payments for five years. Based on that, the buyer found a lender willing to issue a first mortgage for the balance of the purchase price. The seller was full owner of the property and walked away from the closing table with $30,000 in cash. The buyer owned a low mortgage property that he could easily pay to have managed professionally. He could pull a profit out of the house for five years before having to make payments to the seller.

As an investor, your primary goal is finding a way to deal with the seller’s equity in the property. When you can leverage the seller’s equity, you can typically find a lender that will payoff any outstanding mortgage on the property if the lender can be in first position with a spread of 30% or more between the money loaned and the fair market value. That’s what makes short sales so difficult to close. The seller has no equity in the property.

Many Ways to Structure a No Money Down Deal

Sellers always want to maximize their equity in a deal. However, the market is what determines how much equity they actually have at any given time. Some insist on holding out on a sale until they receive the high end of what they perceive to be their equity in the deal. Others are more anxious to sell and will trade part of their equity for cash today. You number one secret to putting deals together is learning what is motivating the seller.

If the seller wants cash now, you make a low ball offer that leaves plenty of meat on the bone for a new lender willing to put up money based on the loan being well below the market value of the property. If the seller wants the high end of the fair market value, it becomes a question of how long they are willing to wait for the money. As an investor, you can offer them premium dollar if they will owner finance and take the full value in installments over the next 20 years. If the property cash flows sufficiently, you can take over their existing financing and make a second mortgage payment to them that pays off their equity over multiple years.

Of course, the majority of sellers want to sell at full market value and receive the highest price at the closing table. As a no-cash or low-cash investor, these are not the sellers you should even be talking to. Your strategy is finding the 5 percent of the market that is either willing to sell at a discount or take their full equity over time.

PhotoAuthor bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.

Source: realtybiznews.com

Is Home Staging a Waste of Time?

Staging may not be important and may not raise residential sales prices, according to researchers at the College of William & Mary.

The study, reported by Bankrate.com, polled 820 home buyers who were shown a series of six virtual tours of a single property, each focusing either on wall color or furnishings. The tours showed the property without furniture, with “ugly” furniture, with “good” furniture, and with wall colors such as neutral beige and an “unattractive” shade of purple.

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photo credit: boulderite via photopin cc

As it turned out, neither wall color nor furnishings made much of an impact on the potential sale price. According to the study, buyers were willing to pay the same price, about $204,000, regardless of how the property was staged. However, the same potential buyers thought that other buyers would spend more on the properties in the tour, which may explain why we don’t question the wisdom of staging.

“These results stand in stark contrast to the conscious opinion of both buyers and real estate agents that staging conditions significantly impact willingness to pay for a home,” the researchers concluded. Study co-author Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William & Mary, speculates that today’s buyers are savvy and recognize that staging involves cosmetic changes that are not expensive.

However, while sellers may not like hearing that money spent on staging won’t yield a higher price, Seiler says, “I am definitely not ready to say spending money on staging would be a waste.” For one thing, the study found that staging does give buyers a more favorable impression of the home’s livability, something Seiler believes may help the property sell faster. He says the study might not be applicable to all price points and locations.

“It seems plausible that different clientele might be differentially influenced by staging,” he says. “It also seems reasonable to suspect different staging looks would appeal to different tastes and preferences of people.”

Source: realtybiznews.com

Housing affordability is increasing — here’s where it’s up the most

Reports show improving affordability

Homebuyers are enjoying increased affordability — at least according to two new reports released last week. Affordability is up most notably in some of the nation’s higher-priced markets, including many along the West Coast.

Verify your new rate (Feb 28th, 2021)

Housing is more affordable than buyers think

According to the latest Housing and Mortgage Market Review released by Arch MI, “housing isn’t as expensive as you think.”

“Housing affordability is actually better now than its historic norms in most states and remains far better than the worst point for each state since 1990,” explains Ralph DeFranco, Arch MI’s global chief economist. “This may be surprising because we tend to focus on home prices rather than affordability. Affordability accounts for the offsetting factors of low interest rates and a 28% increase in median household income since 2012.”

Analysis in the HaMMR shows the majority of U.S. states require homebuyers to spend less than the recommended 30% of their monthly income on housing costs. In states like Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, it’s less than 20% — the all-time most affordable level for most of them.

Affordable housing: These cities take the smallest salaries to buy a house

Top cities for affordability

But housing affordability hasn’t just improved in the long run. According to a second report from title insurance firm First American, there’s also been serious movement over the last year.

Buying a house in 2020? Here’s who you’re up against

The improvements were biggest in three cities in California: San Jose, Riverside, and San Francisco. It also became considerably more affordable to buy a house in Baltimore and Denver as well.

House-buying power jumped 22% in Baltimore and 21% in Riverside. It also improved in Los Angeles, Portland, Dallas, Boston, and Washington D.C. Overall affordability improved in all 44 markets tracked by First American.

Verify your new rate (Feb 28th, 2021)

Get today’s mortgage rates

Are you looking to buy a house in today’s affordable housing market? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Feb 28th, 2021)

Source: themortgagereports.com

2021 REACH & REACH Commercial Now Accepting Applications

REACH operates a variety of accelerator programs around the globe, created and operated by Second Century Ventures and backed by NAR. The program offers education, mentorship and exposure for technology companies working to scale their businesses across the U.S. residential and commercial real estate markets and expand into adjacent markets, including insurance, mortgage and financial services.

Applications for its flagship 2021 REACH & REACH Commercial classes are now open, but only until January 31st. That means, if you’re an early-stage startup interested, you best start the process now…

Apply Now

Source: geekestateblog.com

The Power of the Network is the Network

Being a part of the CENTURY 21® Network gives each broker and agent access to a host of tools, tech resources, training, marketing materials, and some beautiful branding. But time and time again brokers and agents alike emphasize the valuable relationships that they’ve built with others around the country as the reason why they love this gold brand so much. Since 1971, members of the CENTURY 21 Network have been able to turn to fellow real estate professionals around the world for support with running their office, managing their business, and navigating the ups and downs of the market. With knowledge gathered from coast to coast (and beyond), CENTURY 21 affiliated brokers and agents expand their skills, gain new insights and ideas, and defy mediocrity together.

FROM ALASKA TO NEW JERSEY

An unlikely relationship under any other circumstances, Jessie Hoff from CENTURY 21 JRS in New Jersey and Mike VanSickle from CENTURY 21 Gold Rush Alaska, text regularly. Whether it’s to discuss difficulties with a new agent, looking for help with a new lease agreement, or just to vent about the changing real estate market, the support that Jessie experiences from Mike in Alaska helped her to survive a tumultuous transition into office management.

Jessie began her career in real estate as an agent in 2005 at CENTURY 21 JRS. After attending the brand’s International Management Academy* in 2015, she began to transition into a manager-lite position in her office. Shortly afterwards, her broker and mentor suddenly passed away. The closely-knit office was thrown into chaos and struggled to pick up the pieces. Jessie began to lead the office but, “constantly felt like I was drowning.” With nowhere else to turn Jessie began to lean on the relationships that she’d just begun to build at CENTURY 21. “I felt so alone during that time, so in over my head.” Jessie attended as many brand events as she could, seeking out wisdom and advice from whoever she met.

The Power of the Network is the Network image 1

And the CENTURY 21 Network did not disappoint. Fellow brokers gave tough advice, asked hard questions, and then offered to look through and fix up her contracts and documents. Emerging from years of navigating her company’s loss, Jessie attributes her success as now the company owner to the relationships that she has with other CENTURY 21 brokers – like Mike in Alaska.

TRANSPARENCY IN REAL TIME

The value of the CENTURY 21 Network has perhaps never more apparent than in 2020. As offices struggled to navigate the volatile market at the start of the pandemic, brokers were eager to share what they’d learned and resources that they’d compiled. CENTURY 21 president and CEO, Mike Miedler ran regular sessions for all brokers and agents where topics like transitioning to a virtual environment, market analysis, and mental health were discussed.

In early March, details were shared in one of these sessions on how to apply for agent and office funding via a PPP loan. The next day, the requirements changed. Melanie Banks and Ken Murawski, from CENTURY 21 Veterans in PA, created a YouTube video on how an agent should apply for their own loan and how they had completed the application as an office. Shared with brokers in their area, this tutorial went into details on how to enter agent wages, office expenses, as well as what to keep in mind when choosing a bank to apply through. The time and effort that Melanie’s video saved offices was invaluable as Real Estate had been deemed a non-essential business in PA. Local brokers came together for a weekly call where best practices were shared both while their offices were closed and then as the state began to re-open. CENTURY 21 Jackson Real Estate was located in one of the first counties that reopened in PA. They put together documents on how to run virtual open houses, as well as where to find compliant PPE for showing homes. Sharing knowledge transparently in real time helped PA brokers to survive months of uncertainty.    

SUPPORT, NOT COMPETITION

The connections formed between brokers across the Network are so valuable that some have created groups that regularly meet to share best practices and resources. In meetings of the CENTURY 21® broker-organized Broker Business Advocacy Association, members are able to be open and be vulnerable about the issues they’re dealing with. Sensitive topics like value packages and recruiting are frequently addressed with sample contracts, recruiting materials, and comp plans compiled into a resource center without fear of competition. The group’s president Fernando Semiao from CENTURY 21 Semiao and Associates in New Jersey states that, “Because of the diversity of the group, we’ve been able to clearly distinguish myth from reality in real estate, especially when it comes to our competition. This has helped us put together strong value packages, pulling pieces from each of ours to create the very best version that we couldn’t have made alone.”

Another significant benefit for Semiao are the referrals that he’s received from feeder markets in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina. In the last few years, he estimates to have completed almost 100 deals based on referrals from the group. Holding about 6 huddles each year, the originally regional group recently opened their doors to any broker within the Network.

“IF I HAVE SEEN FURTHER IT IS BY STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS.”

The desire that brokers have to transparently collaborate and share with the CENTURY 21 Network is especially invaluable for growing companies. The top 100 female brokers recently created a group where they’re able to candidly discuss the trials and successes that they’ve experienced as women in real estate. While women make up 67% of real estate sales associates in the US, yet more men lead real estate companies as a broker-owner (NAR 2019 Member Profile.) The mentorship that the owners of the smaller companies in the group are able to access from women who run some of the most successful companies in the Network has radically changed their mentality towards the way that they’re able to grow their business.

The Power of the Network is the Network image 2

Chrissie Wright, a broker from CENTURY 21 Wright-Pace Real Estate in Arkansas, recently posted on Workplace, the CENTURY 21 internal communications platform, searching for any advice on building a mortgage business in house. She had first been inspired to streamline the real estate process for her clients after attending a brand event focused on elevating the customer experience. “I’m trying to create a one stop shop. I’ve seen other C21® brokers do the same thing who found it very successful. Our markets and demographics may be different, but every consumer is looking for a seamless experience.” She began by bringing a closing company in house, choosing the final moment of the real estate process as her starting point. After successfully implementing the new process where clients physically come into her office to sign their closing paperwork, Chrissie was ready to take the next step.

Because of her post on Workplace, Chrissie connected with another CENTURY 21 broker who was looking to do the same thing. They are now researching together how to best bring a mortgage company in house. century21.com

Our Moving Expenses And Moving Checklist – Colorado Move Update

Moving To Colorado On A Budget & A Moving Checklist

Moving To Colorado On A Budget & A Moving ChecklistToday, I’m going to talk about our move to Colorado. It kind of popped up out of nowhere but now we are right in the middle of it all. I can’t believe how quickly everything is moving along and I am extremely excited.

Out of all of the moves we’ve done, this one is definitely the largest. We’ve moved a few times now, but they have all been fairly cheap and short distance moves.

However, after collecting, hoarding, and buying things over the last 5 years, we have many more items to move this time around. Even if we were just moving across town it would be difficult with all of our stuff.

Moving to Colorado will be our longest move as well as our most expensive. I’ve heard of people spending over $10,000 moving, and that is something we didn’t want to come anywhere close to.

Below are some updates for our move to Colorado, including our moving expenses and what’s left on our moving checklist.

Related:

Moving supply costs.

Moving supplies weren’t as expensive as I thought they would be. I highly recommend you shop around, as I found widely varying prices for moving supplies.

For instance, many moving companies charge around $5 per box, whereas places like Home Depot and Lowes charge between $1 to $1.50 per box. There are also moving box sets that usually end up being a better deal, such as with this one.

We also bought bubble wrap and lots and lots of tape. Our total cost for moving supplies was around $100.

We could have completely skipped any costs for moving supplies if we would have looked around though. You can often find free moving supplies on Craigslist, at stores, and so on. We would have gone this route but I will be honest and say I was a little lazy since the move sprung on us very quickly.

Moving To ColoradoThe cost of moving to Colorado.

Up until last week, we were set on renting a moving truck and trying to figure out a way for everything to work out. However, things just weren’t going to happen that way.

Our main problem is that we have two cars and a moving truck to bring to the new house, yet there are only two of us. And this is why we didn’t think a company such as UHaul or Budget would work for this specific trip.

Yes, we could tow one of the cars behind a moving truck, but we need a fairly large moving truck for all of our things. Towing a car behind it on such a long move (over 1,000 miles) and through steep mountains just seems like too much for us.

Then, Wes’s dad the other day said the company he works for uses UPack to move their employees, so I decided to look them up.

After debating for some time, we made the decision to use UPack for our moving to Colorado needs.

UPack was the easiest and cheapest option for us. UPack is a company that moves your stuff for you. They drop off a moving trailer at your home, you load it up, they pick it up a few days later, then they drop it off at the location you are moving to. They handle all of the actual moving, which is exactly why we chose them. We can make the whole 15 hour trip with only stopping one night, but I know if we drove a moving truck ourselves then it would require much more planning, more stops, and possibly even paying for car shipping because we would have to find a way to bring our second car to the new house.

Going the UPack route is pretty similar in pricing to renting a moving truck as well, and much cheaper than hiring a full-service moving company. I priced out several rental moving truck companies and once I priced everything out, it was very comparable to the pricing that UPack gave me. This is because once you factor in the extra lodging, the higher gas costs because we would have to drive a moving truck, insurance costs, and more, renting a moving truck quickly added up.

A UHaul moving truck rental would have been around $2,500 including the rental truck, insurance, gas, etc. Then, we would have had to still pay for extra lodging and somehow still transporting our second car to Fruita as well. I’m assuming that would have made our moving cost somewhere between $3,000 to $3,500 for the extras. The UPack expense from St. Louis to Fruita is $3,000, so it was an easy choice for us since it meant much less work on our end and a much safer way to move.

My Moving Checklist.

Moving to Colorado hasn’t been as stressful as I originally thought. While there are many things we have already completed on our moving checklist, everything seems to be going smoothly even with all of the tasks that are left. If you need a thorough moving checklist, UPack has one that I found very helpful.

What’s left on our moving checklist:

  • Arrange for the drop off of the moving trailer at the new house (and pickup a few days after). This is one of the more important things on our moving checklist because I need my stuff, of course!
  • Turn the internet off at our Missouri house. We’ve already cut cable.
  • Confirm with moving truck unloaders about what time they should be at the new house. Since it’s only me and Wes (and I am extremely weak), we need someone to help us bring all of our heavy furniture into the house.
  • Wait for Charter internet at the new house. Yes, this is getting installed within the first hour of moving into our new house. After spending all of that time actually moving to Colorado, I will need internet quickly set up so that I can continue working. I just can’t go without it!
  • Notify companies of our move. There are still a few more places we need to inform, such as our car insurance company, our bank, and more.
  • Run through the house one last time. Before we move, we need to run through the house and make sure nothing is left behind and we also need to make sure it’s perfectly clean too for the home sale.
  • New driver’s license. We also need to license our cars.
  • New health insurance. This is the last task on our moving checklist but also very important. Our current health insurance is only good at certain Missouri healthcare providers, so we definitely need this.

How much did your last move cost you? How did you try to save money? Are we crazy for moving to Colorado at the last moment? Is there anything I am missing from my moving checklist?

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

547: Using Artificial Intelligence to Drastically Increase Sales with Travis Thom

Are you struggling to get decent open rates with email marketing campaigns? Real Estate Rockstar Travis Thom has found a better way: Facebook Messenger. After using custom-built bots to initiate conversations on Messenger, Travis is able to send out mass messages to potential clients and achieve open rates as high as 99%. Hear how you can build Facebook Messenger bots like Travis to engage prospects easily and effectively on today’s podcast. Plus, listen as Travis explains exactly how to run real estate ads on Facebook Messenger for maximum ROI.

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My Insurance Won’t Cover My $55,000 Life-Flight Transport Bill (Hour 3)

Debt, Savings, Relationships

As heard on this episode:

  • Time Share Exit Team: https://bit.ly/2XgMVsI 

Sign Up for a FREE trial of Ramsey+ TODAY: https://bit.ly/31ricKt 

Tools to get you started: 

  • Debt Calculator: https://bit.ly/2QIoSPV
  • Insurance Coverage Checkup: https://bit.ly/2BrqEuo
  • Complete Guide to Budgeting: https://bit.ly/2QEyonc

Check out more Ramsey Network podcasts: https://bit.ly/2JgzaQR

Source: daveramsey.ramsey.libsynpro.com

10 Cities Where Black Americans Fare Best Economically

Where Black Americans Fare Best Economically – 2021 Study – SmartAsset

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Nationwide, when it comes to wealth and personal finance success, Black Americans generally have less. Census data from 2019 shows that the median Black household income is 33% lower than the overall median household income and the Black homeownership rate is 22 percentage points lower than the general homeownership rate. Data on wealth accumulation depicts even starker disparities: Black families’ net worth is 87% lower than that of white families and 33% lower than that of Hispanic families, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances.

Though the national picture is less than encouraging, economic outcomes for Black Americans are better in some places than others. In this study, we determined the cities where Black Americans fared best economically leading up to 2020. We compared 129 cities across six metrics: median Black household income, Black homeownership rate, Black labor force participation rate, poverty rate for Black residents, percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree and percentage of business owners who are Black. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • Six of the top 10 cities are located in Texas, Florida and North Carolina. These cities are Grand Prairie and Garland, Texas; Pembroke Pines and Miramar, Florida; and Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina. In both of the Texas and Florida cities, the median Black household income is higher than $61,000 and the Black homeownership rate is 46% or higher – compared to study-wide averages of about $43,000 and 35%, respectively. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Durham rank particularly well for our education and metro area business ownership metrics. In both North Carolina locales, more than 30% of Black adults have their bachelor’s degree and at least 3% of businesses are Black-owned – compared to study-wide averages of about 23% and 2%, respectively.
  • Preliminary 2020 estimates show that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by not only the health impacts of COVID-19, but also its corresponding economic effects. The regional economic effects of COVID-19 on Black Americans are difficult to determine due to insufficient localized data, but the available national data paints a grim picture: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that as of December 2020, the Black unemployment rate was 3.9
    and 3.2 percentage points higher than the white and overall unemployment rates, respectively. Additionally, the Black labor force participation rate was about 2.0 percentage points lower than both white and overall participation rates.

1. Virginia Beach (tie)

Virginia Beach, Virginia ranks in the top 10 cities for four of the six metrics we considered. It has the seventh-highest median Black household income, at roughly $65,600, and the sixth-highest 2019 Black labor force participation rate, at 78.7%. Additionally, Census Bureau data shows that the 2019 poverty rate for Black residents in Virginia Beach is 10%, fourth-lowest in our study. In the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area, more than 5% of businesses are Black-owned, the seventh-highest percentage for this metric overall.

1. Grand Prairie, TX (tie)

Grand Prairie, Texas ties with Virginia Beach, Virginia as the city where Black Americans fare best economically. It has the fourth-highest Black labor force participation rate (at 79.9%) and the lowest Black poverty rate (at less than 5%) of all 129 cities in our study. Additionally, more than a third of Black residents in Grand Prairie have their bachelor’s degree and the median Black household income is more than $63,000. The city ranks sixth and 10th out of 129 for those two metrics, respectively.

3. Aurora, IL (tie)

Aurora, Illinois ranks in the top third of all 129 cities for five of the six metrics we considered, falling behind only for its metro area’s relatively low concentration of Black-owned businesses. It has the fourth-highest Black homeownership rate (about 52%), sixth-highest median Black household income (about $65,900) and 10th-lowest Black poverty rate (11.9%). Aurora’s Black labor force participation rate is 73.5%, ranking 15th overall for this metric. Moreover, more than 29% of Black residents in the city have their bachelor’s degree, ranking 26th overall.

3. Pembroke Pines, FL (tie)

Just north of Miami, Florida’s Pembroke Pines ties for the No. 3 spot. Across all 129 cities, it has the second-highest Black homeownership rate – 60.20% – and the sixth-lowest 2019 Black poverty rate – 10.6%. Additionally, incomes for Black households are relatively high. In 2019, the median Black household income was about $61,500, the 11th-highest in our study.

5. Miramar, FL

The Black homeownership rate in Miramar, Florida is the highest in our study, at 68.07%. This is about 26 percentage points higher than the 2019 national Black homeownership rate, which is approximately 42%. Miramar additionally ranks in the top 15 cities for three other metrics: its high median Black household income (about $66,300), its high Black labor force participation rate (74.1%) and its relatively low Black poverty rate (7.9%).

6. Charlotte, NC

Though the median Black household income in Charlotte, North Carolina – at a little more than $46,300 – is relatively low, Charlotte ranks in the top third of cities for the other five metrics we considered. It has the 28th-highest Black homeownership rate (41.45%), the 18th-highest Black labor force participation rate (73.0%) and the 14th-lowest poverty rate for Black residents (13.6%). Additionally, more than 30% of Black adults have their bachelor’s degree and almost 4% of businesses in the larger Charlotte metro area are Black-owned – both of which rank within the top 25 out of all 129 cities in the study.

7. Garland, TX

The Black homeownership rate in Garland, Texas is the fifth-highest in our study, at 50.98%. This city has the 11th-highest Black labor force participation rate, at 75.8%. It also ranks in the top 15 for its median Black household income ($60,030) and the percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (32.5%). Garland falls the most behind when it comes to the poverty rate for Black residents, which was 23.7% in 2019. That’s 1.2% higher than the national average for Black Americans and the worst of any city in our top 10.

8. Durham, NC

Only about two hours northeast of Charlotte, Durham, North Carolina takes the eighth spot on our list. The city ranks particularly well for its percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (35.2%) and percentage of Black-owned businesses in the larger Durham-Chapel Hill metro area (4.7%). Additionally, the Black labor force participation rate is the 30th-highest across all 129 cities in the study, at 69.4%. The poverty rate for Black residents is 35th-lowest overall, at 18.9%.

9. Enterprise, NV

Enterprise, Nevada had the fifth-highest 2019 Black labor force participation rate (79.0%), the 16th-highest 2019 median Black household income (about $58,500) and 23rd-best 2019 Black homeownership rate (roughly 43%) of all 129 cities in our study. Enterprise falls behind, however, when it comes to the number of Black-owned businesses in the larger Las Vegas metro area, at less than 2%. The city ranks 67th out of 129 for this metric.

10. Elk Grove, CA

The median household income for Black residents in Elk Grove, California is a little more than $76,300, the second-highest in our study (ranking behind only Rancho Cucamonga, California, where the median household income is almost $92,000). Elk Grove also ranks in the top 10 cities for its relatively high Black homeownership rate (52.51%) and the relatively high percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (35.1%). But like in Enterprise, Nevada, few businesses in the Elk Grove area are Black-owned. Annual Business Survey data from 2018 shows that less than 2% of employer firms in the greater Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade metro area are Black-owned.

Data and Methodology

To find the cities where Black Americans fare best economically, SmartAsset looked at the 200 largest cities in the U.S. Only 129 of those cities had complete data available, and we compared them across six metrics:

  • Median Black household income. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Black homeownership rate. This is the number of Black owner-occupied housing units divided by the number of Black occupied housing units. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Black labor force participation rate. This is for the Black population 16 years and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Poverty rate for Black residents. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree. This is for the Black population 25 years and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Percentage of business owners who are Black. This is the number of Black-owned businesses with paid employees divided by the number of businesses with paid employees. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Annual Business Survey and is at the metro area level.

To determine our final list, we ranked each city in every metric, giving a full weighting to all metrics. We then found each city’s average ranking and used the average to determine a final score. The city with the highest average ranking received a score of 100. The city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

Editors’ Note: SmartAsset published this study in celebration and recognition of Black History Month. Protests for racial justice and the outsized impact of COVID-19 on people of color have highlighted the social and economic injustice that many Americans continue to face. We are aiming to raise awareness surrounding economic inequities and provide personal finance resources and information to all individuals.

Financial Tips for Black Americans

  • See if homeownership makes sense. The Black homeownership rate is 22 percentage points lower than the general homeownership rate. Deciding whether or not to buy is often difficult. SmartAsset’s rent or buy calculator can help you compare the costs to see which one makes sense for your financial situation. Additionally, if you want to figure out how much you can afford to buy a house, our home-buying calculator will help you break down the target price for your income.
  • Some kind of retirement account is better than none. The Federal Reserve says that Black Americans are less likely to have a retirement account than white Americans. According to their 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, 65% of white middle-aged families have at least one retirement account, while only 44% of Black families in the same age group have one. Even though 401(k)s are a popular retirement plan because employers could match a percentage of your contributions, an IRA could also be another great opportunity to boost your savings. In 2021, the IRA contribution limit is $6,000 for people under 50 and $7,000 for people age 50 and older.
  • Consider a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com.

Photo credits: ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages, ©iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.
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