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Chicago Lags in ‘Wallet Wellness’ Rating

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:26 p.m. CDT

By Paul Tooher

Chicagoland residents may be feeling fine but their wallets are under the weather, according to a new report issued by Wallet Hub, an online service that provides information about finances to consumers and small business.

According to Wallet Hub, there is a definite correlation between physical, emotional and financial wellbeing, or wallet wellness.

To determine which cities are the healthiest, the website stated it used eight metrics to develop its ranking, including an area’s median household income, adjusted for cost of living; the median household income in relation to median housing prices; employment availability; economic mobility; average commute time; the average credit score in an area; an area’s Gallup Wellbeing Index ranking; and the percentage of area residents dealing with obesity, tobacco abuse or alcohol abuse.

The Windy City ranked 129th out of 150 cities surveyed by the website.

According to the report, Plano, Texas, has the highest median household income while Anchorage, Alaska, finished with the highest economic mobility ranking. Residents of Lubbock, Texas, had the shortest commuter time while Detroit had the highest median household income when compared with median housing prices.

Sioux Falls, S.D., has the highest Gallup Well-Being Index and Minneapolis had the highest average credit score.

Sioux Falls captured Wallet Hub’s top overall ranking, followed by Bakersfield, Calif., Lincoln, Neb., Corpus Christi, Texas, Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Iowa, Anchorage, Alaska, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Fort Worth, Texas, rounding out the top 10.

Baton Rouge, La., ranked lowest on the wallet health index, just behind New Orleans; Jackson, Miss.; Cincinnati; Birmingham, Ala.; Hialeah, Fla.; Shreveport, La.; Mobile, Ala.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Orlando, Fla.

Wallet Hub said there are several steps residents of cities with low rankings can take to improve their wallet’s health, including building a budget, expanding their emergency fund, getting debt-free, maximizing their credit standing and getting health insurance.

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