Top Cali county for savers? Study says Placer

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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People in California have the best opportunity to save money by living in Placer County, according to a new study by a web-based financial technology company.

SmartAsset developed a “Best Places to Save” index for California that shows Placer County ranked first among the state’s 58 counties.

Neighboring El Dorado County ranked third, behind No. 2 Santa Clara County.

“Where you live can have a big impact on how easy it is to save money based on several regional factors,” SmartAsset said.

The study’s goal was to find the most suitable places for people to save based on median household income, average living expenses and income-tax burden.

While all California counties have the same estimated tax rate of 14.04 percent, which accounts for a quarter of the weighting, Placer County scored high in its purchasing power index, which accounted for the rest.

The study calculated the average cost of living in each county for a household with two adults — one working — then created a purchasing power index to reflect the counties with the highest ratio of household income to cost of living.

Placer County ranked highest in the state in purchasing power, with a median household income of $76,926 and a cost of living of $34,033.

Santa Clara County’s median household income was $101,173 and its cost of living was $45,457. El Dorado County’s median household income was $72,586 and its cost of living was $34,033, according to the study.

The next step is to save rather than spend the difference.

An Auburn financial advisor said Wednesday that the opportunity to save can be made easier by setting up automatic payments to a retirement, savings or brokerage account.

“That ultimately can reduce the temptation to spend any extra money,” Ameriprise Financial Services’ Glenn Kenes said.

Kenes, who also writes the “Smart Money” column for the Journal, said he is always impressed with clients in Placer County that work hard to diligently save.

“Many of the clients we work with make saving for future goals a priority and they’re committed to making adjustments or trade-off decisions when needed,” Kenes said.

Kenes added that it’s particularly gratifying to see younger people investing in their future by saving.