December 31, 2008

High dividend stock strategy

With the market down significantly there are a lot of stocks with attractive yields on their dividends. Its not too hard to find blue chip, large cap stocks with yields in the 4-7% range. You can also find ETFs paying yields in the 4-9% range. A high dividend stock or ETF gives you both a fixed income return and potential for stock price growth.

I've decided to invest in high dividend stocks and ETFs for my own Roth IRA funds. I only started my Roth IRA in 2008 and it represents a relatively small portion of my total assets.

Things to keep in mind when investing in dividend stocks:

  • Dividends are taxable as they are earned.
  • Dividend rates are NOT guaranteed. If a company has difficulties then they may very well drop their dividend.
  • Dividend rates for ETFs can be highly variable year to year.
  • A drop in the price of the equity can more than wipe out any dividend gains. If a stock pays 10% dividend but drops 20% in a year then you're still down 10%.
  • Generally dividend paying stocks are lower growth and long term are more likely to see lower price increases compared to non dividend paying growth stocks. Its generally a trade off between higher likelihood of growth and income of dividend payments.

Below are a number of individual stocks and ETFs with attractive dividend rates. These are only a random selection. You can find your own high dividend equities by using a stock screener.

Individual stocks
Harley-Davidson, Inc. (HOG) = 8.1%
General Electric (GE) = 7.8%
Pfizer (PFE) = 7.5%
Alcoa (AA) = 7.0%
Dupont (DD) = 6.6%
AT&T (T) = 5.9%

REIT ETFs
iShares FTSE NAREIT Residential (REZ) =10%
Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ)= 9.6%
SPDR DJ Wilshire REIT (RWR) =9.3%

Diversified and Index ETFs
WisdomTree LargeCap Dividend (DLN) = 4.6%
iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index (DVY) = 5.7%
WisdomTree Dividend Top 100 (DTN) = 6.3%
PowerShares Intl Dividend Achievers (PID) = 7.28%
Vanguard High Dividend Yield Indx ETF (VYM) = 4.62%

The dividend yields given are dependent on the exact dividend rate and the price paid. Since the price varies daily and the dividend can change as well the yields are going to be variable over time.

Please note that these are NOT recommendations of stocks that I think you should go buy. I'm not qualified to be a good stock picker. I'm just giving some examples of stocks and ETFs with high dividend yields. Before you go buying any stock or ETF you should research the fundamentals of the investment to determine if its a good deal or not.

References:
List of High Dividend ETFs

December 30, 2008

Problems with feed

It seems my feed size got too big for Feedburner to handle. So it apparently hasn't been providing the feed for a while now. :-( I've reduced the maximum number of posts that the feed will carry at a given time to reduce the size of the feed. Hopefully this will resolve the problem. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

50% off flights to Vegas on Southwest for today and tomorrow

Right now Southwest is having a 50% off sale on flights to Vegas between January 13th and March 11th.

The deal is good for 2 days only, December 30 & 31st. Note that the 50% off does not apply to fees or taxes.


I found it on Fatwallet

December 29, 2008

Quick and cheap ways to send money

This past week we had an urgent electrical problem with a rental property that we needed to get fixed as soon as possible. The property is out of state and ran by a property manager. Before we could get the repair done we had to send them some money up front to cover the cost. So we had to find a way to get them money fast. Of course I also wanted to find a cheap way to do it. I looked at Western Union but to send money instantly it was going to have a fee over $20. We ultimately ended up depositing money into their account but had to do it with cash. I would have liked to just used Paypal but that money isn't instantly available outside Paypal generally.

So here are a few options on sending money fast and cheap:

Use Paypal : Free & instant

You can send money to anyone else instantly via a Paypal account. The money will go into their Paypal account. This is generally free for personal use. The money isn't instantly available to use however so if they need to have it in cash or their bank account it would take 3-5 more days to transfer the money from Paypal to a bank account.

Deposit cash into an account : Free & Instant

To deposit cash into someones account you will need to know their bank account number. Generally people wouldn't want to give their bank account out to just anyone so this method probably works best with friends and families or trusted business associates. To use this method you just go to the local bank branch where the other person has an account and make a deposit just like you'd make a deposit in your own account. Its key to use cash to make the deposit however, since if you try to deposit a check they'll have to wait for the check to clear which can take days.

Mail a money order : Cheap & takes a few days

This is not a super fast way to get money to someone but if they can wait 2-3 days then it is fairly cheap and works just fine. If you send a money order then there is no worries about a check clearing and the money is quickly usable. Many places offer money orders for 50¢ and then the cost of a stamp puts you at less than $1 total.


If one of the above options won't work then you might just want to wire the money. Western Union is the first option I thought of but there are other, cheaper alternatives to wire funds:

MoneyGram : fee & instant

MoneyGram service lets you wire money instantly and they have many locations. Locations include banks and grocery stores as well as some 7-Eleven branches. You can go to a location and send money or send it online. Online fees seem a bit higher. At a location their website cited a $12 fee for $100 or $15.49 online. By comparison Western Union fees would be $16 in person or $20 online. You can also use MoneyGram to send money safely overseas to many locations internationally.

December 27, 2008

What will happen if China wants its money back??

I'm sure many of you are well aware that the USA owes China some money. Many people seem to believe that a majority or very large portion of our national debt is owed to the Chinese. This is not true actually. As I discussed previously in the article, Myth: We Owe All Our Debt to China, the US government owes less than $600B to China. That is around 6% of the total US national debt which is owed to China. That is still a large amount of money. Its not good in general to be heavily in debt to a party and be so obligated to them.

So this raises the question: What will happen if China wants its money back?

The very short answer is : They won't so don't worry about it.

I'm serious. Maybe this seems flippant but it isn't really. So I'll explain..

First of all Chinese officials have publicly said they have no plans to drastically or abruptly reduce their investment in the US. The Chinese ambassador wrote in 2007 to US Senator Chuck Grassley to say “China does not have a plan to drastically adjust the structure of its foreign reserves.” Then assistant governor of the People’s Bank of China, was quoted as saying that “the U.S. dollar is the main currency in our reserves and that policy remains very firm” and said statements to the contrary were "opinions".

The US government loans people money in the form of bonds. These are contracts to loan money. You can't just simply call up the government and demand your money back. Contractually and legally there isn't a way for someone to just demand their money back from the US treasury. So basically China can't just take its money back. They could ask for it back or they could sell it. If they asked for it back theres nothing that would require us to return repay the debts outside the normal terms of the loans. They could sell their bonds to someone else on the open market if they wanted to. That wouldn't hurt the US though. The US government debt owed to China is just like any other loan you might have. Thinking the Chinese will abruptly demand their loan back is like thinking your bank will call tomorrow and demand you repay your mortgage.

But they generally wouldn't want to. Individuals, businesses and governments loan money to the US because they know it is the safest investment in the world. People don't buy treasury bonds because they are high interest, and in fact since the risk is so low the treasury can loan money at very low interest rates. Over time this could change. People may decide the US government is no longer stable or worthy of loaning money to. That isn't happening and isn't going to happen any time soon. Given the current economic situation it might seem as if the US government is on the verge of collapse, but this is far far from the truth. In fact during the current economic crisis people are more willing to buy treasury bonds because even now the US government is considered a safe harbor.

Contractually China has no way to demand their money back. Economically China would have no reason to do so. These reasons alone should be justification enough to not worry about China pulling the economic rug out from under our governments debt.

But what if China for whatever reason decided to challenge the contracts of the treasury bonds or otherwise demand their money back? That is possible but it would strongly irritate relations between the USA and China. Politically China would risk heavy economic repercussions from the USA if they chose to demand early repayment of our loans. The USA is a big customer of Chinese goods. In just the first 9 months of 2008 the US has imported over $250B in goods from China. If China chose to play economic 'hard ball' with the USA for some reason then it would be highly likely that the US government would respond by reducing or taxing imports from China. The USA wields a lot of political power around the world. China has no motivation to risk making USA a serious political enemy.

If China sold off its treasury securities abruptly they would lose a lot of money in the process. You can't just dump a large amount of anything on a market and get full price. If they sold our treasuries they'd take a loss in the sale.

A sharp or drastic reduction in Chinese investment in the US would have negative economic impact on the US. This would hurt our economy which would in turn hurt the Chinese economy.

China lacks any real motivation to prematurely demand loan repayment. It has been speculated that they could do so as a retaliatory measure or as leverage over a political point. However China has no realistic incentives to reduce investment in the US and significant downsides if they did so.

So as I said originally: it won't happen so don't worry about it.


Reference:
Report to congress: China’s Holdings of U.S. Securities: Implications for the U.S. Economy

December 26, 2008

Would you buy this mutual fund?

Lets consider the mutual fund named PGB. PGB has a lot of buzz and you'll see people on the net saying its a great investment. Lets look at PGB's price over the past year and before.

The price for PGB hit a high of $10.11 a share back in March of 2008 and then like most equities it has dropped significantly since then. PGB hit a low of $7.12 a share by late October. Since then the fund rebounded a bit and is now at $8.26. So its currently down 18% from its peak of the year.

Here's a graph of PGB prices for 2008:


You might notice that in each month there is a pretty wide difference between the high and low. So the price of PGB has pretty high volatility. In every one of the past 12 months the price of PGB has fluctuated at least 7.9% and as much as 26.8%.

If we look back further in PGB's history we see a see a big boom and bust cycle followed by a current boom. From 1975 to 1980 the price boomed and more rose over 300% going from about $1.50 to over $8.00. Then after 1980 PGB hit a bust and dropped down to around around $3 and then stayed between $3 and $5 from 1980 till 2004. Now since 2004 the price has gone up significantly and jumped up about 100% to hit its 2008 peak.

If you look at the long term trend from 1975 to today in 2008 the price of PGB has increased at an annual average rate of about 4-5%. Also the stock went through a 26 year period between 1980 and 2006 where there was 0% growth in the price.

A couple other details about PGB is that it pays no dividend or capital gains distributions. Also PGB has a load / fee to buy that varies a lot and is set by the selling agent. The purchase fee can vary anywhere up to 8% or more and is set by the seller.

So here are key points about PGB:

  • Down 18% from its 2008 peak
  • Average rate of increase of 4-5% since 1975
  • Fluctuates in value from 7-26% within each month
  • Saw 0% growth for 26 years
  • Costs 0-8% in fees to purchase

By comparison lets look at the general S&P500 :
  • Down 41% from its 2008 peak
  • Average rate of increase of 8% from 1975 to today
  • Fluctuation of 5-39% within each month for this year
  • Saw 0% growth for 1998 to 2008
  • Can be bought with 0% fees

S&P500 has had rose drop in the past year and some months have dropped a lot compared to PGB. However long term PGB has only grown 4-5% while the S&P has grown 8% annually.

Given how PGB has performed in the past and how it compares to the general S&P do you think it is a good investment?

I don't.

PGB isn't a real mutual fund. Its just an example with a fictitious name.

The numbers I used are the prices that gold has traded for. Now that you know that the numbers are all about the price of gold and the return on investment for gold, does this change your mind about whether or not you think its a good investment?

December 25, 2008

December 24, 2008

Free or less expensive alternatives to cable TV

Cable or satellite TV is pretty expensive. According to the FCC report there are 95 million homes in the USA with some sort of subscription television service. Thats over 80% of the households in the USA. The average cable or satellite bill runs around $50-60 a month. That adds up over a year with annual costs of $600-720 or more. One sure fire way to save money is to cut your cable service.

Cable TV can be a very cost effective form of entertainment. Americans watch 20-50 hours of television a week. Thankfully today there are a number of free substitutes for cable TV that will get you a lot of the same programming. In addition to the free sources you can also find some very reasonable low cost alternatives.


Use an Antenna
Cost : Free after antenna purchase

You can get all the broadcast networks off the air. The broadcast networks still make up a large amount of the programming that people watch. With HDTV you can get a high quality signal from an antenna if you aren't too far from the broadcast tower. If you don't have HDTV then you will soon need a converter box to use an old style non-digital TV. You can get a free $40 coupon from the government to offset the cost of the converter box.

The Hulu.com Website
Cost : Free if you have internet

Hulu is a site that collects or hosts video feeds from various sources. There is a ton of content on Hulu. They carry popular shows like The Simpsons, The Office, The Daily Show, House, Chuck and Prison Break just to name a few. In my experience using it, the feeds are pretty good quality and the site is reliable. Sometimes the links on Hulu will redirect you to the networks website but usually they seem to play right off the Hulu page.

The TV networks websites
Cost : Free if you have internet

The major broadcast networks all seem to have full episodes of shows on their sites now. Some are even in HD quality. Here are the links for the networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and CW
For each network you can find the video from the main page follow the 'video' or 'full episode' link at the top. Then choose the show you want to watch.

Like the broadcast networks, many of the cable networks host full episodes of their programs on their websites. Comedy Central, Sci-Fi, and FX network among others Some networks like Bloomberg provide a live stream of their programming. I've covered a few of the TV networks here but I'm sure there are many others that have programming available on their websites.

Direct from a sports organization
Cost: possibly free

Sports can be one of the hardest tings to get free access to. Some sports teams or organizations carry live feeds of their events on the web. Much of the 2008 summer Olympics were streamed on the net. Many college sports teams have live streams of their games on the web.

Local Library
Cost: generally free

Many libraries have DVDs and VHS tapes free to check out. Check your local library to see what videos they may have.

Netflix
Cost : varies, $5 per month and up.

Netflix can be a good cost effective alternative to paid cable TV. You can get most good programs on DVD now so you could use Netflix to watch TV shows after the season is over.

Redbox
Cost : $1 /day per DVD

Redbox rents DVDs for $1 a day. They have the latest popular movies. This is a very cost effective form of entertainment. However it doesn't seem Redbox caries many television programs so Redbox would mostly act as a substitute for movies you may watch on cable such as HBO.

These options might meet your needs just fine and act as a good alternative to subscription TV for many people. However not all of us have broadband internet and not all programming is available elsewhere. If you have cable television programming that you really want to see that doesn't have alternative sources then you could also consider cutting back on your cable bills in other ways. Going without premium movie networks like HBO or Showtime can save $10-17 a month. Subscribing for just the minimal cable TV package will keep your bills low.

One big gotcha for cutting the cable bill is the availability of live sports. My wife and I watch a lot of football and basketball. Cable TV is our only TV source for those programs. Some of the games are broadcast on a major network but its only around 10% of the total. Our other alternatives are listening on the radio or buying tickets at the arena. Radio is not nearly as enjoyable and buying tickets is way too expensive. So for the time being we are paying for cable service since its our best way to get the sports programs we want. If it weren't for sports we could probably drop cable altogether and substitute it with more the free internet TV and more Netflix.

December 22, 2008

Prioritizing your 'wants' spending to maximize

I'd rather spend $75 on a nice dinner out with my wife than spend $75 on new piece of high end clothing. I'd rather spend $2,000 on a fun vacation than use the $2,000 towards a luxury car. I'd rather put $500 into a new computer upgrade than spend $500 on paying someone to mow my lawn for me.

We each have different priorities in what we enjoy in life. While my priorities place higher value on eating out, vacations and computer hardware someone else will appreciate nice clothes, high end cars and freedom from yard work more. There isn't a right or wrong answer in how you choose to spend your discretionary spending. The important thing is to prioritize your spending so that you get the most of what you want out of it.

Previously I discussed the idea of a Balanced Money Formula. That is where you make a rough budget dedicating up to 50% of your after tax income to 'needs' then spend the rest with up to 30% for your 'wants' and save the remaining 20%. If you follow this kind of budget philosophy then you have your savings covered with 20% of your after tax going into savings. Then you cover your basic bills and expenses with the 'needs' category. This leaves you a sum of money to spend as you see fit on your 'wants' items.

One key way to make this system work is to minimize your spending wherever possible on the things that don't bring you satisfaction. If you can reduce your spending on the 'needs' category then that frees more money to use towards your 'wants' or savings. Frugality and being conscious of your spending is important to meet this goal. If I can cut $10 a month off the cell phone bill or save $20 a month on our home utilities then thats an extra $10 or $20 a month that can be spent on things we enjoy or saved for retirement. But if I'm not careful about spending I could easily over spend on the basic bills and end up with $200 in cell phone bills and an extra $100 in utility costs. That kind of unnecessary spending wouldn't bring me any more substantial enjoyment in life and it would take money away from what I want to spend on the things I truly do enjoy.

If you define a 'wants' budget for yourself then this gives you a pool of money to spend on things you enjoy. Then it becomes a trade off between one luxury expense and a frivolous enjoyment. This will then lead you to prioritize your 'wants' spending items. Lets say for example that you make $60,000 annually and take home $48,000 after taxes. This leaves you about $4000 a month. If you use the 50/30/20 split then this means you'd dedicate $2000 to spend on 'needs', $1200 for 'wants' and $800 towards savings. (Keep in mind this is just for illustration sake and I'm not trying to define a realistic budget here) How you decide to spend that $1200 will depend on what you prioritize more. If you know you've got $1,200 in the budget then that gives you that much money to divvy up between eating out, fine clothes, manicures, sporting event tickets, vacation, new car payments, home remodeling, etc or whatever other 'wants' items you might consider. You can' afford everything you might want so now you have to make a choice as to which items you spend the money on and which will wait.

The more money you save on your expenses the more this frees up to spend on things you enjoy or to save for a rainy day. Defining a portion of your income for savings and discretionary 'wants' spending will give you a balance between responsibility and fun in your budgeting.


December 20, 2008

What does it cost to heat a gallon of water?

I found this site Ask Mr. Electricity that has a calculation of how much it costs to heat water with a hot water heater.

Bottom line is that given their calculations, it costs about 1¢ to 2¢ to heat a gallon of water.

The exact amount will depend on the efficiency of your hot water heater, whether you use gas or electric and exactly what your electric or gas costs are.


From the Ask Mr. Electricity site:

"Energy required to heat a tank of water

  • A Btu, or British thermal unit, is the amount of energy needed to raise one pound of water from 60°F to 61°F at sea level. (Wikipedia)
  • A gallon of water weights 8.33 lbs.
  • If the incoming water is 60°F and we want to raise it to 123°F, that's a 63°F rise.
  • Heating a gallon of water thus requires 8.33 x 63 = 525 Btu's, at 100% efficiency.

Cost to heat water in a gas tank

  • A typical gas tank water heater is only 59% efficient. So it takes 525 ÷ 59% = 890 Btu's to heat a gallon of water in a gas tank.
  • One therm is 100,000 btu's. So one Btu is 0.00001 therms. (Pacific NW Natl. Lab.)
  • 890 Btu's is 0.0089 therms.
  • So we've got 0.0089 therms to heat a gallon of water, or 0.0089 x 40 = 0.356 therms to heat a 40-gallon tank.
  • At $1.42/therm, it costs 0.356 x $1.42 = $0.51 to heat a 40-gallon tank.
  • Another source comes up with a similar figure: 0.40 therms for the tank (based on 0.11 therms to heat 11 gallons of water. (Multi-housing Laundry Association)
  • MHLA also says it takes 3.3 therms to keep 11 gallons hot for one month.

Cost to heat water in an electric tank

  • A typical electric water heater is 90.4 to 95% efficient. Let's call that 92.7% on average.
  • So it takes 525 ÷ 92.7% = 566 Btu's to heat a gallon of water in an electric tank.
  • One kWh is 3413 Btu's, so one Btu is 0.000293 kWh.
  • 566 Btu's x 0.000293 kWh/Btu = 0.166 kWh.
  • So we've got 0.166 kWh to heat a gallon of water, or 0.166 x 40 = 6.63 kWh to heat a 40-gallon tank.
  • At $0.11/kWh, it costs 6.63 x $0.11 = $0.73 to heat a 40-gallon tank."


The two keys they had were that it cost $0.51 to heat 40 gallons using gas or $0.73 using electric. Thats $0.01275 per gallon for gas and $0.01825 per gallon with electric.

December 18, 2008

Discounts on gift cards for restaurants

During the holiday season a lot of businesses push their gift cards. A number of restaurants are giving extra gift cards or bonus cash when you buy a gift card.

Here are a few restaurants with discounts or bonuses:

Red Robin will give you $5 bonus bucks for buying a $25 gift card.
T.G.I. Fridays is giving $5 bonus for $25 cards too.
Outback Steakhouse is giving an extra $20 gift card if you buy $100.
Ruth's Chris gives 10% in bonus cards if you buy $250 or more.

December 16, 2008

Less Frequent posts through Christmas

Just a quick note to say that I plan on having posts every other day through Christmas. I'll be busy with various holiday activities so won't have time for daily posts.

4 sites to get quick home estimates

Here are 4 sites that will give you a quick estimate of a homes value: Zillow, Cyberhomes, Coldwell Banker, and Bank of America. I found these links in an article on the My Money Blog site.

I plugged my home address into these sites and they gave the following estimates of the value:

Zillow: $232,00, range $208,800 - $241,280
Cyberhomes: $229,482, range $206,533 – $263,904
Coldwell Banker : $200,400 to $271,200
Bank of America : between $205,500 and $254,300


Zillow: This site is the one I am most familiar with. I've used it a lot in the past. They give a specific estimate number they call their Zestimate and thats the number that sticks out on their report. They also give a range of prices that falls around the Zestimate. Zillow has a couple nice features including an ariel map of the neighborhood and street level picture of the home made from Google maps. They also have charts showing the prices for the specific address, zip code and city over periods of 1 year or 5 years. If you dig into the data you can get a list of comparable home sales. My result had about 50 homes sold over the past year.

Cyberhomes: This site looks a lot like Zillow. They have about all the same features as Zillow. They give a specific price and a range, there are maps showing aerial and street level views, they have graphs of the home values over time and they have a long list of comparables.

Coldwell Banker: The result is just a range and it was fairly broad. They have 3 ways to get an estimate. First you can talk to a broker and I didn't bother with that option. I first tried the second option 'Live Market Watch' which gives the broad price range. The 3rd option they call 'Recent Sales' and they gave a list of 10 comparable homes that have sold in the past 3-4 months.

Bank of America: This site gives just an approximate range. It lists comparables that have sold in the neighborhood but for my example they seem a bit dated. My result got 3 homes from 12/07, 3/08 and 4/08. So that data is 8-12 months old at this point.

Personally I like Zillow the most, though Cyberhomes is also pretty good. If you're looking for a rough estimate of your home's value then you could get the results from all 4 of these sites and take an average. Given the numbers I got, I think its a pretty safe bet that my home is worth something around $220,000 to $230,000 and the range is very likely between $200,000 and $240,000. Of course every house is different and your home may have features that make it more or less valuable. So you should take these numbers as a rough estimate only. If you want a real estimate then you would need to hire the services of an appraiser.

December 15, 2008

Dollar Cost Averaging example from Suze Orman

Previously I had an Example of Dollar Cost Averaging where I discussed how DCA can help you even out market ups and downs to avoid some risk in the market. A little while ago I caught an episode of the Suze Orman show where she gave an example of Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA). In her example she had $1000 invested every 3 months into Vanguards S&P 500 index fund from August 2000 until August 2008. On August 2000 the fund was trading at about $140 and on August 2008 it was at $120. If you had invested that $1000 every quarter you would have a total of $36,102 as of August 2008. So even though the market started at $140 and was down to $120 eight years later your investment with DCA would still be 9.4% more than the $32,000 total that you had invested. If you had plopped $32,000 into the market on August 2000 then you'd have about $27,428 or about 14% decrease. I verified the numbers myself looking at the S&P 500 index value.

This is just an illustrative example meant to capture how DCA is meant to work. You might notice that the example ends in August 2008 and we all know the market has suffered since then.

December 14, 2008

Will a Chevy Volt be a good buy?

I've been pretty interested in the concept of the Chevy Volt car that is supposed to start selling in 2010. The car is supposed to run off an electric battery that would drive electric motors to power the wheels. It would also have a small gas engine to act as a generator to recharge the battery if needed. It is in our nation's best interest to decrease our use of foreign oil. Switching to electric powered cars would be a good step towards that goal.

I've assumed that driving a Volt running on electricity would be cheaper than a gasoline powered car. How much cheaper would a Volt be to operate? Would the gasoline savings from a Volt alone be worth its cost?

The Wikipedia page for the Chevy Volt has some detail on pricing and specs. Much of this information is still preliminary and may change, but its the best info I can find.

Right now they are saying that the Volt will cost $40,000 new but qualify for $7,500 in tax credits. That would make the net cost $32,500. They say that the battery will get you 40 miles and it holds 16 kWh of electricity. So for the first 40 miles of travel between charges you should be able to go on full electricity without using any gasoline. Personally my electricity is about 10¢ per kWh and I only drive around 10,000 miles a year. I figure 90% of my driving is made on days when I drive 40 miles or less in a day. So 90% of my driving would be electric only. At 10¢ per kWh it would cost $1.60 to charge the batter and drive 40 miles. So the cost would be 4¢ per mile. Right now my car gets 25MPG and gas is about $1.70 a gallon so thats 6.8¢. I could however switch over my electric charges so that I pay less during off peak hours and then charge the car at night. If I did that then I could pay just 4¢ per kWh at night off peak hours. That would give me a cost of only 1.6¢ /mile to drive the volt on electric.

I figure I would save roughly $500 a year in gas costs with a Volt compared to my current car.
If I sold my current car I'd probably get about $10,000 for it give or take. If I then bought a Volt at $32,500 I'd be spending $22,500 to upgrade to the Volt.

My Verdict: Spending $22,500 is not worth saving $500 a year. Based on the savings in gasoline buying a Chevy Volt is not worth the extra cost.

I could put that $22,500 in the bank and make 3% interest for $675 a year.

What if I just bought a Prius instead? A Prius will get me 50 MPG and if I drive 10,000 miles a year then it will run be about $340 a year for gas at $1.70 a gallon. Thats half the cost of my current car.

A Prius would save me $340 a year in gasoline compared to my current car. I could buy a new Prius for about $24,000 which would be a $14,000 upgrade. The Prius would be a better buy than the Volt.

For purely financial reasons the gas savings of a Volt is not worth the cost. The Volt would have other benefits such as reducing our usage of foreign oil, but thats more a matter of personal choices and priority than a straight forward financial gain so the benefit of that would be very subjective.

December 13, 2008

The Dollar Stretcher

I came across this site: The Dollar Stretcher They have tons of tips and articles on saving money on a variety of things. Their index of topics covers a ton of different categories.

The site has been around since 1996 so some of the articles are a few years old. Most of the ideas are still just as applicable today though.

The site has a lot of money saving info, so check it out.

December 12, 2008

Best of Blog posts for the week of December 12th

Jim at Blueprint for Prosperity discusses How To Properly Loan Money to Family, Friends and one aspect he discusses is minimum interest rates you must charge friends and family for the IRS to consider a loan valid.

My Money Blog points out a deal : Blockbuster & PayPal Promo: Pay For 1 Month, Get $25 With their monthly cost starting at $4 for 2 movies/month that could give you 12 free movies over 6 months.

My Money Blog also tells us about the Fidelity Retirement Rewards Card: 2% Cash Back Into IRA + More and theCharles Schwab 2% Cashback Credit Card

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40 or 50 year mortgages

Right now my local credit union is offering a 40 year mortgage option. I've also heard of 50 year mortgages. These mortgages should give you a lower monthly payment but you'll have to pay longer.

If you borrowed $100,000 at 6% then the monthly payment for a 30,40 or 50 year mortgage would be:
30 year = $600, cumulative interest $115,000
40 year = $550, cumulative interest $164,000
50 year = $526, cumulative interest $215,000

So your monthly payment will be a bit less. Your payments will be $50-74 lower a month in this example. But you're paying for 10 or 20 years more and the total interest paid over the life of the loan will be considerably more. Between a 30 and 50 year mortgage you're paying $100,000 more in interest!

Generally you should avoid a 40 or 50 year mortgage.

40 or 50 year mortgages are really only made for people to afford homes they can't afford otherwise. Instead of looking for a long mortgage you should work to buy a home within your means. Save up your money and buy a home that you can actually afford with a traditional 30 year mortgage or better yet a 15 or 20 year mortgage.

December 11, 2008

The money in Basketball

Forbes published the article The Business of Basketball which has a lot of financial figures about the NBA. I found it interesting to see some of the details of the money in the NBA.

They say that revenue was $3.8B total for the league in the 2007-2008 season. The average profit per team was $10.6M. With 30 teams in the league that means they had $318M in total profits.

To see how each team comes out financially see the list of teams by value with revenue and operating income figures.

The most valuable teams are:
Knicks = $613M
Lakers = $584M
Bulls = $504M
Pistons = $480M
Cavaliers = $477M

It should be no surprise that wages are the biggest expense for the NBA. This site discusses the salary cap and in the discussion it says that the player salaries are about $2.0B total. Average player salaries are $5.5M.

December 10, 2008

AAA Bonds trading for 6-7%

Corporate bonds with AAA ratings are trading in the 6-7% yield range. You can even find a number of AAA municipal (tax free) bonds trading for over 6%. I did a search in my Scottrade brokerage account and found a lot of GE bonds for 6-7% range and several municipal bonds in various states for over 6%.

These are good rates for bonds. Individual Bonds have fixed returns and AAA rated bonds have very low default rates. But if you're considering in investing in individual bonds make sure you have your investment diversified over several bond issuers so just in case a company or municipality defaults it won't take your entire investment down.

For more on bonds see my previous series:
Bonds 101, part 1 - Overview of Bonds
Bonds 101, part 2 - Glossary of Bond Terms
Bonds 101, part 3 - Treasury, Municipal, Corporate and Junk
Bonds 101, part 4 - Default Rates on Bonds
Bonds 101, part 5 - Bonds Versus Bond Funds
Bonds 101, part 6 - How To Buy Bonds

December 9, 2008

Mortgage / Rent ratios for metro areas in 2007

The relationship between rent costs and home values varies a lot from city to city. You would think that the ratio of home values / rents would be fairly consistent, but it isn't. If home values are very high then mortgages can be a lot more expensive than renting. Rents don't seem to go up as fast as home values in general.

In general if the ratio of mortgage payment / rent is very high then buying is less of a good idea and vice versa if the ratio is very low then it makes more sense to buy. If its a lot cheaper to rent a home then it might be a better solution than buying. If I could rent a home for $500 a month and the mortgage would cost $3000 then it seems clear that I'd be better off renting and pocketing the $2500 monthly difference. On the other hand if a mortgage is only $500 a month and rent is $600 a month then buying should be to your advantage.

In the tables below I list the median gross rent and the median home value for metro / micro areas. I then calculate an estimate of the mortgage payment. I do that by assuming that a 30 year fixed loan and 6% interest resulting in a mortgage payment of $600 monthly. Then given the estimated mortgage payment I figure the ratio of mortgage payment / monthly rent.

The data is all from the 2007 version of the Census American Community Survey data.

Top 10 metros with the HIGHEST mortgage / rent ratios:


Median Gross Rent Median Home value Estimated mortgage Mortgage / Rent ratio
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA Metro Area $ 1,159 $756,800 $ 4,541 3.92
Salinas, CA Metro Area $ 1,061 $658,700 $ 3,952 3.72
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA Metro Area $ 1,210 $706,100 $ 4,237 3.50
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area $ 1,314 $754,400 $ 4,526 3.44
Napa, CA Metro Area $ 1,152 $643,400 $ 3,860 3.35
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Metro Area $ 1,101 $612,700 $ 3,676 3.34
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA Metro Area $ 1,071 $578,900 $ 3,473 3.24
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA Metro Area $ 1,205 $641,800 $ 3,851 3.20
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA Metro Area $ 1,171 $613,900 $ 3,683 3.15
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area $ 1,326 $641,300 $ 3,848 2.90

10 metro areas with the LOWEST mortgage / rent ratios:


Median Gross Rent Median Home value Estimated mortgage Mortgage / Rent ratio
Abilene, TX Metro Area $ 668 $ 75,900 $ 455 0.68
Pine Bluff, AR Metro Area $ 573 $ 69,500 $ 417 0.73
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area $ 567 $ 69,700 $ 418 0.74
Danville, IL Metro Area $ 590 $ 73,000 $ 438 0.74
Odessa, TX Metro Area $ 568 $ 70,300 $ 422 0.74
San Angelo, TX Metro Area $ 667 $ 84,300 $ 506 0.76
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX Metro Area $ 648 $ 83,600 $ 502 0.77
Wichita Falls, TX Metro Area $ 643 $ 84,800 $ 509 0.79
Lubbock, TX Metro Area $ 729 $ 96,500 $ 579 0.79
Corpus Christi, TX Metro Area $ 733 $ 99,500 $ 597 0.81

All 373 Metro areas


Median Gross Rent Median Home value Estimated Mortgage Mortgage / Rent ratio
Abilene, TX Metro Area $ 668 $ 75,900 $ 455 0.68
Akron, OH Metro Area $ 707 $ 147,000 $ 882 1.25
Albany, GA Metro Area $ 569 $ 99,500 $ 597 1.05
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metro Area $ 779 $ 184,600 $ 1,108 1.42
Albuquerque, NM Metro Area $ 679 $ 180,400 $ 1,082 1.59
Alexandria, LA Metro Area $ 629 $ 97,900 $ 587 0.93
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metro Area $ 779 $ 215,400 $ 1,292 1.66
Altoona, PA Metro Area $ 568 $ 96,200 $ 577 1.02
Amarillo, TX Metro Area $ 616 $ 101,900 $ 611 0.99
Ames, IA Metro Area $ 668 $ 156,500 $ 939 1.41
Anchorage, AK Metro Area $ 964 $ 261,900 $ 1,571 1.63
Anderson, IN Metro Area $ 579 $ 97,200 $ 583 1.01
Anderson, SC Metro Area $ 607 $ 111,900 $ 671 1.11
Ann Arbor, MI Metro Area $ 827 $ 230,800 $ 1,385 1.67
Anniston-Oxford, AL Metro Area $ 553 $ 94,200 $ 565 1.02
Appleton, WI Metro Area $ 640 $ 150,600 $ 904 1.41
Asheville, NC Metro Area $ 659 $ 183,900 $ 1,103 1.67
Athens-Clarke County, GA Metro Area $ 692 $ 165,000 $ 990 1.43
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA Metro Area $ 877 $ 194,700 $ 1,168 1.33
Atlantic City, NJ Metro Area $ 915 $ 271,900 $ 1,631 1.78
Auburn-Opelika, AL Metro Area $ 613 $ 135,500 $ 813 1.33
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metro Area $ 620 $ 116,700 $ 700 1.13
Austin-Round Rock, TX Metro Area $ 841 $ 177,500 $ 1,065 1.27
Bakersfield, CA Metro Area $ 758 $ 256,800 $ 1,541 2.03
Baltimore-Towson, MD Metro Area $ 934 $ 312,500 $ 1,875 2.01
Bangor, ME Metro Area $ 621 $ 125,100 $ 751 1.21
Baton Rouge, LA Metro Area $ 682 $ 145,400 $ 872 1.28
Battle Creek, MI Metro Area $ 617 $ 113,600 $ 682 1.10
Bay City, MI Metro Area $ 509 $ 117,300 $ 704 1.38
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX Metro Area $ 648 $ 83,600 $ 502 0.77
Bellingham, WA Metro Area $ 739 $ 305,500 $ 1,833 2.48
Bend, OR Metro Area $ 863 $ 356,700 $ 2,140 2.48
Billings, MT Metro Area $ 589 $ 163,800 $ 983 1.67
Binghamton, NY Metro Area $ 581 $ 98,600 $ 592 1.02
Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metro Area $ 680 $ 140,600 $ 844 1.24
Bismarck, ND Metro Area $ 513 $ 134,200 $ 805 1.57
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA Metro Area $ 618 $ 144,300 $ 866 1.40
Bloomington, IN Metro Area $ 648 $ 123,200 $ 739 1.14
Bloomington-Normal, IL Metro Area $ 671 $ 147,700 $ 886 1.32
Boise City-Nampa, ID Metro Area $ 711 $ 207,800 $ 1,247 1.75
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH Metro Area $ 1,064 $ 396,400 $ 2,378 2.24
Boulder, CO Metro Area $ 901 $ 342,400 $ 2,054 2.28
Bowling Green, KY Metro Area $ 609 $ 125,300 $ 752 1.23
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA Metro Area $ 853 $ 296,300 $ 1,778 2.08
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metro Area $ 1,190 $ 499,000 $ 2,994 2.52
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX Metro Area $ 492 $ 74,300 $ 446 0.91
Brunswick, GA Metro Area $ 729 $ 158,200 $ 949 1.30
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY Metro Area $ 637 $ 108,300 $ 650 1.02
Burlington, NC Metro Area $ 687 $ 139,800 $ 839 1.22
Burlington-South Burlington, VT Metro Area $ 890 $ 238,600 $ 1,432 1.61
Canton-Massillon, OH Metro Area $ 578 $ 130,000 $ 780 1.35
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metro Area $ 1,009 $ 241,100 $ 1,447 1.43
Casper, WY Metro Area $ 565 $ 170,400 $ 1,022 1.81
Cedar Rapids, IA Metro Area $ 543 $ 132,300 $ 794 1.46
Champaign-Urbana, IL Metro Area $ 662 $ 136,600 $ 820 1.24
Charleston, WV Metro Area $ 563 $ 98,300 $ 590 1.05
Charleston-North Charleston, SC Metro Area $ 808 $ 200,200 $ 1,201 1.49
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC Metro Area $ 759 $ 167,000 $ 1,002 1.32
Charlottesville, VA Metro Area $ 879 $ 282,600 $ 1,696 1.93
Chattanooga, TN-GA Metro Area $ 594 $ 135,600 $ 814 1.37
Cheyenne, WY Metro Area $ 650 $ 170,800 $ 1,025 1.58
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI Metro Area $ 849 $ 261,100 $ 1,567 1.85
Chico, CA Metro Area $ 818 $ 288,100 $ 1,729 2.11
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN Metro Area $ 652 $ 156,400 $ 938 1.44
Clarksville, TN-KY Metro Area $ 644 $ 114,900 $ 689 1.07
Cleveland, TN Metro Area $ 571 $ 128,400 $ 770 1.35
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH Metro Area $ 678 $ 152,100 $ 913 1.35
Coeur d'Alene, ID Metro Area $ 721 $ 241,600 $ 1,450 2.01
College Station-Bryan, TX Metro Area $ 663 $ 126,900 $ 761 1.15
Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area $ 782 $ 216,200 $ 1,297 1.66
Columbia, MO Metro Area $ 678 $ 141,400 $ 848 1.25
Columbia, SC Metro Area $ 705 $ 136,400 $ 818 1.16
Columbus, GA-AL Metro Area $ 679 $ 123,000 $ 738 1.09
Columbus, IN Metro Area $ 727 $ 128,900 $ 773 1.06
Columbus, OH Metro Area $ 708 $ 166,000 $ 996 1.41
Corpus Christi, TX Metro Area $ 733 $ 99,500 $ 597 0.81
Corvallis, OR Metro Area $ 686 $ 248,200 $ 1,489 2.17
Cumberland, MD-WV Metro Area $ 511 $ 109,700 $ 658 1.29
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area $ 798 $ 145,400 $ 872 1.09
Dalton, GA Metro Area $ 559 $ 124,500 $ 747 1.34
Danville, IL Metro Area $ 590 $ 73,000 $ 438 0.74
Danville, VA Metro Area $ 527 $ 89,900 $ 539 1.02
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Metro Area $ 571 $ 117,100 $ 703 1.23
Dayton, OH Metro Area $ 658 $ 128,400 $ 770 1.17
Decatur, AL Metro Area $ 497 $ 104,300 $ 626 1.26
Decatur, IL Metro Area $ 585 $ 89,000 $ 534 0.91
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Metro Area $ 856 $ 203,500 $ 1,221 1.43
Denver-Aurora, CO Metro Area $ 802 $ 243,400 $ 1,460 1.82
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area $ 666 $ 151,900 $ 911 1.37
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI Metro Area $ 742 $ 170,800 $ 1,025 1.38
Dothan, AL Metro Area $ 573 $ 100,100 $ 601 1.05
Dover, DE Metro Area $ 899 $ 205,700 $ 1,234 1.37
Dubuque, IA Metro Area $ 538 $ 131,500 $ 789 1.47
Duluth, MN-WI Metro Area $ 593 $ 141,800 $ 851 1.43
Durham, NC Metro Area $ 744 $ 184,200 $ 1,105 1.49
Eau Claire, WI Metro Area $ 615 $ 141,300 $ 848 1.38
El Centro, CA Metro Area $ 615 $ 247,000 $ 1,482 2.41
Elizabethtown, KY Metro Area $ 559 $ 120,200 $ 721 1.29
Elkhart-Goshen, IN Metro Area $ 681 $ 128,200 $ 769 1.13
Elmira, NY Metro Area $ 583 $ 81,900 $ 491 0.84
El Paso, TX Metro Area $ 562 $ 98,500 $ 591 1.05
Erie, PA Metro Area $ 560 $ 107,600 $ 646 1.15
Eugene-Springfield, OR Metro Area $ 700 $ 230,500 $ 1,383 1.98
Evansville, IN-KY Metro Area $ 589 $ 112,700 $ 676 1.15
Fairbanks, AK Metro Area $ 940 $ 213,500 $ 1,281 1.36
Fajardo, PR Metro Area $ 406 $ 98,500 $ 591 1.46
Fargo, ND-MN Metro Area $ 567 $ 144,400 $ 866 1.53
Farmington, NM Metro Area $ 616 $ 148,200 $ 889 1.44
Fayetteville, NC Metro Area $ 746 $ 111,400 $ 668 0.90
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO Metro Area $ 649 $ 158,900 $ 953 1.47
Flagstaff, AZ Metro Area $ 864 $ 288,500 $ 1,731 2.00
Flint, MI Metro Area $ 619 $ 129,300 $ 776 1.25
Florence, SC Metro Area $ 544 $ 92,900 $ 557 1.02
Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL Metro Area $ 533 $ 92,500 $ 555 1.04
Fond du Lac, WI Metro Area $ 589 $ 140,800 $ 845 1.43
Fort Collins-Loveland, CO Metro Area $ 766 $ 240,100 $ 1,441 1.88
Fort Smith, AR-OK Metro Area $ 511 $ 89,300 $ 536 1.05
Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, FL Metro Area $ 953 $ 222,800 $ 1,337 1.40
Fort Wayne, IN Metro Area $ 597 $ 114,200 $ 685 1.15
Fresno, CA Metro Area $ 789 $ 296,300 $ 1,778 2.25
Gadsden, AL Metro Area $ 498 $ 95,600 $ 574 1.15
Gainesville, FL Metro Area $ 766 $ 198,600 $ 1,192 1.56
Gainesville, GA Metro Area $ 804 $ 178,700 $ 1,072 1.33
Glens Falls, NY Metro Area $ 720 $ 155,500 $ 933 1.30
Goldsboro, NC Metro Area $ 590 $ 101,600 $ 610 1.03
Grand Forks, ND-MN Metro Area $ 600 $ 127,700 $ 766 1.28
Grand Junction, CO Metro Area $ 768 $ 225,000 $ 1,350 1.76
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI Metro Area $ 647 $ 147,300 $ 884 1.37
Great Falls, MT Metro Area $ 477 $ 139,600 $ 838 1.76
Greeley, CO Metro Area $ 738 $ 197,300 $ 1,184 1.60
Green Bay, WI Metro Area $ 631 $ 157,600 $ 946 1.50
Greensboro-High Point, NC Metro Area $ 640 $ 138,200 $ 829 1.30
Greenville, NC Metro Area $ 659 $ 108,700 $ 652 0.99
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC Metro Area $ 623 $ 136,200 $ 817 1.31
Guayama, PR Metro Area $ 350 $ 83,300 $ 500 1.43
Gulfport-Biloxi, MS Metro Area $ 826 $ 147,500 $ 885 1.07
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metro Area $ 725 $ 226,900 $ 1,361 1.88
Hanford-Corcoran, CA Metro Area $ 716 $ 240,700 $ 1,444 2.02
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metro Area $ 717 $ 156,200 $ 937 1.31
Harrisonburg, VA Metro Area $ 697 $ 204,800 $ 1,229 1.76
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metro Area $ 880 $ 255,300 $ 1,532 1.74
Hattiesburg, MS Metro Area $ 641 $ 116,100 $ 697 1.09
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Metro Area $ 549 $ 115,300 $ 692 1.26
Hinesville-Fort Stewart, GA Metro Area $ 718 $ 101,400 $ 608 0.85
Holland-Grand Haven, MI Metro Area $ 693 $ 164,000 $ 984 1.42
Honolulu, HI Metro Area $ 1,206 $ 574,400 $ 3,446 2.86
Hot Springs, AR Metro Area $ 602 $ 127,000 $ 762 1.27
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA Metro Area $ 616 $ 109,900 $ 659 1.07
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Metro Area $ 775 $ 135,800 $ 815 1.05
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metro Area $ 533 $ 87,900 $ 527 0.99
Huntsville, AL Metro Area $ 625 $ 145,300 $ 872 1.39
Idaho Falls, ID Metro Area $ 648 $ 144,900 $ 869 1.34
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN Metro Area $ 695 $ 141,900 $ 851 1.23
Iowa City, IA Metro Area $ 662 $ 163,700 $ 982 1.48
Ithaca, NY Metro Area $ 786 $ 159,600 $ 958 1.22
Jackson, MI Metro Area $ 664 $ 142,800 $ 857 1.29
Jackson, MS Metro Area $ 712 $ 121,100 $ 727 1.02
Jackson, TN Metro Area $ 641 $ 112,900 $ 677 1.06
Jacksonville, FL Metro Area $ 851 $ 201,400 $ 1,208 1.42
Jacksonville, NC Metro Area $ 712 $ 129,300 $ 776 1.09
Janesville, WI Metro Area $ 676 $ 139,500 $ 837 1.24
Jefferson City, MO Metro Area $ 524 $ 119,800 $ 719 1.37
Johnson City, TN Metro Area $ 507 $ 113,600 $ 682 1.34
Johnstown, PA Metro Area $ 451 $ 89,600 $ 538 1.19
Jonesboro, AR Metro Area $ 529 $ 91,900 $ 551 1.04
Joplin, MO Metro Area $ 541 $ 97,200 $ 583 1.08
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI Metro Area $ 628 $ 147,900 $ 887 1.41
Kankakee-Bradley, IL Metro Area $ 667 $ 139,400 $ 836 1.25
Kansas City, MO-KS Metro Area $ 711 $ 159,900 $ 959 1.35
Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, WA Metro Area $ 662 $ 157,100 $ 943 1.42
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX Metro Area $ 769 $ 107,500 $ 645 0.84
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA Metro Area $ 481 $ 104,000 $ 624 1.30
Kingston, NY Metro Area $ 906 $ 254,200 $ 1,525 1.68
Knoxville, TN Metro Area $ 643 $ 143,100 $ 859 1.34
Kokomo, IN Metro Area $ 578 $ 111,300 $ 668 1.16
La Crosse, WI-MN Metro Area $ 654 $ 147,400 $ 884 1.35
Lafayette, IN Metro Area $ 650 $ 127,100 $ 763 1.17
Lafayette, LA Metro Area $ 640 $ 141,700 $ 850 1.33
Lake Charles, LA Metro Area $ 655 $ 108,800 $ 653 1.00
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ Metro Area $ 811 $ 204,600 $ 1,228 1.51
Lakeland, FL Metro Area $ 792 $ 155,700 $ 934 1.18
Lancaster, PA Metro Area $ 726 $ 180,200 $ 1,081 1.49
Lansing-East Lansing, MI Metro Area $ 681 $ 151,600 $ 910 1.34
Laredo, TX Metro Area $ 627 $ 104,800 $ 629 1.00
Las Cruces, NM Metro Area $ 592 $ 132,100 $ 793 1.34
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV Metro Area $ 1,017 $ 315,300 $ 1,892 1.86
Lawrence, KS Metro Area $ 718 $ 179,400 $ 1,076 1.50
Lawton, OK Metro Area $ 612 $ 96,600 $ 580 0.95
Lebanon, PA Metro Area $ 606 $ 147,100 $ 883 1.46
Lewiston-Auburn, ME Metro Area $ 612 $ 150,000 $ 900 1.47
Lexington-Fayette, KY Metro Area $ 650 $ 154,900 $ 929 1.43
Lima, OH Metro Area $ 584 $ 105,300 $ 632 1.08
Lincoln, NE Metro Area $ 629 $ 143,000 $ 858 1.36
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metro Area $ 672 $ 126,400 $ 758 1.13
Logan, UT-ID Metro Area $ 618 $ 166,100 $ 997 1.61
Longview, TX Metro Area $ 626 $ 96,700 $ 580 0.93
Longview, WA Metro Area $ 643 $ 177,500 $ 1,065 1.66
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Metro Area $ 1,101 $ 612,700 $ 3,676 3.34
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area $ 621 $ 141,800 $ 851 1.37
Lubbock, TX Metro Area $ 729 $ 96,500 $ 579 0.79
Lynchburg, VA Metro Area $ 574 $ 150,500 $ 903 1.57
Macon, GA Metro Area $ 598 $ 114,200 $ 685 1.15
Madera, CA Metro Area $ 759 $ 332,200 $ 1,993 2.63
Madison, WI Metro Area $ 798 $ 220,800 $ 1,325 1.66
Manchester-Nashua, NH Metro Area $ 973 $ 283,400 $ 1,700 1.75
Mansfield, OH Metro Area $ 555 $ 122,200 $ 733 1.32
Mayagüez, PR Metro Area $ 349 $ 85,700 $ 514 1.47
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area $ 567 $ 69,700 $ 418 0.74
Medford, OR Metro Area $ 775 $ 301,800 $ 1,811 2.34
Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metro Area $ 733 $ 132,400 $ 794 1.08
Merced, CA Metro Area $ 770 $ 323,700 $ 1,942 2.52
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area $ 1,031 $ 310,300 $ 1,862 1.81
Michigan City-La Porte, IN Metro Area $ 579 $ 122,400 $ 734 1.27
Midland, MI Micro Area $ 607 $ 139,400 $ 836 1.38
Midland, TX Metro Area $ 667 $ 111,300 $ 668 1.00
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metro Area $ 724 $ 203,700 $ 1,222 1.69
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area $ 796 $ 244,700 $ 1,468 1.84
Missoula, MT Metro Area $ 651 $ 226,100 $ 1,357 2.08
Mobile, AL Metro Area $ 645 $ 114,700 $ 688 1.07
Modesto, CA Metro Area $ 914 $ 358,500 $ 2,151 2.35
Monroe, LA Metro Area $ 550 $ 100,000 $ 600 1.09
Monroe, MI Metro Area $ 678 $ 170,100 $ 1,021 1.51
Montgomery, AL Metro Area $ 683 $ 123,600 $ 742 1.09
Morgantown, WV Metro Area $ 575 $ 127,500 $ 765 1.33
Morristown, TN Metro Area $ 578 $ 107,000 $ 642 1.11
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA Metro Area $ 854 $ 288,700 $ 1,732 2.03
Muncie, IN Metro Area $ 605 $ 95,000 $ 570 0.94
Muskegon-Norton Shores, MI Metro Area $ 561 $ 117,400 $ 704 1.26
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC Metro Area $ 753 $ 181,800 $ 1,091 1.45
Napa, CA Metro Area $ 1,152 $ 643,400 $ 3,860 3.35
Naples-Marco Island, FL Metro Area $ 1,047 $ 411,900 $ 2,471 2.36
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metro Area $ 714 $ 166,400 $ 998 1.40
New Haven-Milford, CT Metro Area $ 922 $ 280,200 $ 1,681 1.82
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA Metro Area $ 856 $ 183,800 $ 1,103 1.29
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area $ 1,032 $ 468,400 $ 2,810 2.72
Niles-Benton Harbor, MI Metro Area $ 551 $ 138,700 $ 832 1.51
Norwich-New London, CT Metro Area $ 902 $ 273,600 $ 1,642 1.82
Ocala, FL Metro Area $ 735 $ 162,700 $ 976 1.33
Ocean City, NJ Metro Area $ 1,052 $ 340,000 $ 2,040 1.94
Odessa, TX Metro Area $ 568 $ 70,300 $ 422 0.74
Ogden-Clearfield, UT Metro Area $ 677 $ 194,300 $ 1,166 1.72
Ogdensburg-Massena, NY Micro Area $ 543 $ 74,800 $ 449 0.83
Oklahoma City, OK Metro Area $ 629 $ 121,100 $ 727 1.16
Olympia, WA Metro Area $ 857 $ 267,000 $ 1,602 1.87
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metro Area $ 695 $ 142,200 $ 853 1.23
Orlando-Kissimmee, FL Metro Area $ 981 $ 246,800 $ 1,481 1.51
Oshkosh-Neenah, WI Metro Area $ 575 $ 139,500 $ 837 1.46
Owensboro, KY Metro Area $ 528 $ 104,200 $ 625 1.18
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area $ 1,326 $ 641,300 $ 3,848 2.90
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metro Area $ 874 $ 202,600 $ 1,216 1.39
Palm Coast, FL Metro Area $ 1,053 $ 236,500 $ 1,419 1.35
Panama City-Lynn Haven, FL Metro Area $ 865 $ 185,900 $ 1,115 1.29
Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna, WV-OH Metro Area $ 506 $ 101,700 $ 610 1.21
Pascagoula, MS Metro Area $ 824 $ 116,100 $ 697 0.85
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL Metro Area $ 763 $ 160,200 $ 961 1.26
Peoria, IL Metro Area $ 643 $ 122,100 $ 733 1.14
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area $ 866 $ 240,300 $ 1,442 1.66
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metro Area $ 877 $ 260,300 $ 1,562 1.78
Pine Bluff, AR Metro Area $ 573 $ 69,500 $ 417 0.73
Pittsburgh, PA Metro Area $ 608 $ 116,100 $ 697 1.15
Pittsfield, MA Metro Area $ 673 $ 192,300 $ 1,154 1.71
Pocatello, ID Metro Area $ 516 $ 127,000 $ 762 1.48
Ponce, PR Metro Area $ 329 $ 91,100 $ 547 1.66
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME Metro Area $ 781 $ 241,300 $ 1,448 1.85
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA Metro Area $ 794 $ 299,000 $ 1,794 2.26
Port St. Lucie, FL Metro Area $ 1,042 $ 231,500 $ 1,389 1.33
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY Metro Area $ 987 $ 331,800 $ 1,991 2.02
Prescott, AZ Metro Area $ 809 $ 253,400 $ 1,520 1.88
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA Metro Area $ 804 $ 302,100 $ 1,813 2.25
Provo-Orem, UT Metro Area $ 718 $ 237,900 $ 1,427 1.99
Pueblo, CO Metro Area $ 597 $ 139,500 $ 837 1.40
Punta Gorda, FL Metro Area $ 942 $ 199,100 $ 1,195 1.27
Racine, WI Metro Area $ 669 $ 180,000 $ 1,080 1.61
Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area $ 792 $ 190,000 $ 1,140 1.44
Rapid City, SD Metro Area $ 647 $ 148,200 $ 889 1.37
Reading, PA Metro Area $ 700 $ 173,100 $ 1,039 1.48
Redding, CA Metro Area $ 788 $ 255,500 $ 1,533 1.95
Reno-Sparks, NV Metro Area $ 872 $ 344,700 $ 2,068 2.37
Richmond, VA Metro Area $ 830 $ 222,000 $ 1,332 1.60
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area $ 1,046 $ 396,700 $ 2,380 2.28
Roanoke, VA Metro Area $ 657 $ 155,500 $ 933 1.42
Rochester, MN Metro Area $ 657 $ 172,400 $ 1,034 1.57
Rochester, NY Metro Area $ 709 $ 122,100 $ 733 1.03
Rockford, IL Metro Area $ 666 $ 131,300 $ 788 1.18
Rocky Mount, NC Metro Area $ 608 $ 99,800 $ 599 0.98
Rome, GA Metro Area $ 624 $ 122,700 $ 736 1.18
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA Metro Area $ 958 $ 400,800 $ 2,405 2.51
Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, MI Metro Area $ 618 $ 114,000 $ 684 1.11
St. Cloud, MN Metro Area $ 632 $ 183,900 $ 1,103 1.75
St. George, UT Metro Area $ 917 $ 248,700 $ 1,492 1.63
St. Joseph, MO-KS Metro Area $ 579 $ 106,400 $ 638 1.10
St. Louis, MO-IL Metro Area $ 685 $ 159,300 $ 956 1.40
Salem, OR Metro Area $ 684 $ 211,400 $ 1,268 1.85
Salinas, CA Metro Area $ 1,061 $ 658,700 $ 3,952 3.72
Salisbury, MD Metro Area $ 831 $ 197,700 $ 1,186 1.43
Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area $ 778 $ 241,900 $ 1,451 1.87
San Angelo, TX Metro Area $ 667 $ 84,300 $ 506 0.76
San Antonio, TX Metro Area $ 707 $ 119,200 $ 715 1.01
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA Metro Area $ 1,168 $ 556,500 $ 3,339 2.86
Sandusky, OH Metro Area $ 624 $ 135,600 $ 814 1.30
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA Metro Area $ 1,210 $ 706,100 $ 4,237 3.50
San Germán-Cabo Rojo, PR Metro Area $ 373 $ 80,100 $ 481 1.29
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area $ 1,314 $ 754,400 $ 4,526 3.44
San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo, PR Metro Area $ 417 $ 118,200 $ 709 1.70
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA Metro Area $ 1,071 $ 578,900 $ 3,473 3.24
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA Metro Area $ 1,205 $ 641,800 $ 3,851 3.20
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA Metro Area $ 1,159 $ 756,800 $ 4,541 3.92
Santa Fe, NM Metro Area $ 867 $ 302,700 $ 1,816 2.09
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA Metro Area $ 1,171 $ 613,900 $ 3,683 3.15
Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL Metro Area $ 958 $ 244,500 $ 1,467 1.53
Savannah, GA Metro Area $ 803 $ 168,100 $ 1,009 1.26
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA Metro Area $ 589 $ 121,400 $ 728 1.24
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area $ 908 $ 379,100 $ 2,275 2.51
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL Metro Area $ 903 $ 213,500 $ 1,281 1.42
Sheboygan, WI Metro Area $ 571 $ 149,300 $ 896 1.57
Sherman-Denison, TX Metro Area $ 687 $ 98,800 $ 593 0.86
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Metro Area $ 613 $ 111,100 $ 667 1.09
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD Metro Area $ 571 $ 94,400 $ 566 0.99
Sioux Falls, SD Metro Area $ 625 $ 143,200 $ 859 1.37
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI Metro Area $ 639 $ 116,800 $ 701 1.10
Southern Pines-Pinehurst, NC Micro Area $ 655 $ 182,800 $ 1,097 1.67
Spartanburg, SC Metro Area $ 549 $ 110,800 $ 665 1.21
Spokane, WA Metro Area $ 659 $ 186,200 $ 1,117 1.70
Springfield, IL Metro Area $ 644 $ 115,500 $ 693 1.08
Springfield, MA Metro Area $ 733 $ 215,700 $ 1,294 1.77
Springfield, MO Metro Area $ 588 $ 130,200 $ 781 1.33
Springfield, OH Metro Area $ 580 $ 110,200 $ 661 1.14
State College, PA Metro Area $ 681 $ 165,900 $ 995 1.46
Statesville-Mooresville, NC Micro Area $ 627 $ 162,400 $ 974 1.55
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA Micro Area $ 629 $ 173,800 $ 1,043 1.66
Stockton, CA Metro Area $ 902 $ 399,500 $ 2,397 2.66
Sumter, SC Metro Area $ 618 $ 96,800 $ 581 0.94
Syracuse, NY Metro Area $ 666 $ 111,900 $ 671 1.01
Tallahassee, FL Metro Area $ 813 $ 179,100 $ 1,075 1.32
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area $ 859 $ 203,300 $ 1,220 1.42
Terre Haute, IN Metro Area $ 548 $ 86,700 $ 520 0.95
Texarkana, TX-Texarkana, AR Metro Area $ 571 $ 87,500 $ 525 0.92
Toledo, OH Metro Area $ 612 $ 134,400 $ 806 1.32
Topeka, KS Metro Area $ 581 $ 113,400 $ 680 1.17
Trenton-Ewing, NJ Metro Area $ 979 $ 322,400 $ 1,934 1.98
Tucson, AZ Metro Area $ 710 $ 210,700 $ 1,264 1.78
Tulsa, OK Metro Area $ 633 $ 119,700 $ 718 1.13
Tuscaloosa, AL Metro Area $ 630 $ 136,900 $ 821 1.30
Tyler, TX Metro Area $ 688 $ 120,200 $ 721 1.05
Utica-Rome, NY Metro Area $ 584 $ 97,100 $ 583 1.00
Valdosta, GA Metro Area $ 670 $ 116,000 $ 696 1.04
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA Metro Area $ 1,118 $ 479,500 $ 2,877 2.57
Victoria, TX Metro Area $ 584 $ 95,600 $ 574 0.98
Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, NJ Metro Area $ 817 $ 173,600 $ 1,042 1.27
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metro Area $ 885 $ 239,100 $ 1,435 1.62
Visalia-Porterville, CA Metro Area $ 697 $ 235,100 $ 1,411 2.02
Waco, TX Metro Area $ 716 $ 98,300 $ 590 0.82
Warner Robins, GA Metro Area $ 690 $ 128,400 $ 770 1.12
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area $ 1,187 $ 458,500 $ 2,751 2.32
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA Metro Area $ 561 $ 121,300 $ 728 1.30
Wausau, WI Metro Area $ 571 $ 141,200 $ 847 1.48
Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Metro Area $ 496 $ 86,800 $ 521 1.05
Wenatchee, WA Metro Area $ 581 $ 218,400 $ 1,310 2.26
Wheeling, WV-OH Metro Area $ 486 $ 88,700 $ 532 1.10
Wichita, KS Metro Area $ 591 $ 112,400 $ 674 1.14
Wichita Falls, TX Metro Area $ 643 $ 84,800 $ 509 0.79
Williamsport, PA Metro Area $ 579 $ 116,100 $ 697 1.20
Wilmington, NC Metro Area $ 779 $ 210,900 $ 1,265 1.62
Winchester, VA-WV Metro Area $ 916 $ 243,000 $ 1,458 1.59
Winston-Salem, NC Metro Area $ 631 $ 141,100 $ 847 1.34
Worcester, MA Metro Area $ 818 $ 287,300 $ 1,724 2.11
Yakima, WA Metro Area $ 615 $ 145,300 $ 872 1.42
Yauco, PR Metro Area $ 372 $ 71,900 $ 431 1.16
York-Hanover, PA Metro Area $ 699 $ 170,000 $ 1,020 1.46
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metro Area $ 556 $ 101,200 $ 607 1.09
Yuba City, CA Metro Area $ 766 $ 290,300 $ 1,742 2.27
Yuma, AZ Metro Area $ 701 $ 151,600 $ 910 1.30

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