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Study: Baltimore-area residents could save a lot more than they do

A typical Baltimore-area resident is in the best position to save money compared with people living in other big metro areas, but many aren't taking advantage of that opportunity, according to an analysis by Interest.com.

The site, owned by Bankrate Inc., said the typical household in the Baltimore metro area could save about $24,000 a year based on median expenses and after-tax income. That was No. 1 among 18 large regions the company analyzed.

No. 2: Washington, with a "savings opportunity" of nearly $20,000.

"Both the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas include some of the wealthiest suburbs in the nation," Interest.com noted. "But even less prosperous cities present a chance for a family with median income and expenses to save. ... Yet in every city, the actual median savings rate was a big, fat zero."

It's easy to let spending on homes, cars and travel balloon until it "gobbles up every penny," the site added.

Interest.com's savings-opportunity calculation is, of course, a your-mileage-may-vary situation -- it depends on how much you earn and how big your absolutely unavoidable expenses are. Here's how Interest.com came up with its estimate for the Baltimore metro area:

The site used 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' annual Consumer Expenditure Survey to get "the complete range of consumer expenses and incomes," the latter including not just paychecks but also self-employment earnings, pensions and other retirement payments.

By that measure, annual median household income in the Baltimore area -- the city plus nearby suburban counties -- is nearly $74,000 after tax. Median expenditures are almost $50,000 annually.

How do your expenses match up? Housing costs -- a big part of most people's budgets -- were pegged at about $15,200 a year in the metro area, which is under $1,300 a month.

Email Jamie at jhopkins@baltsun.com.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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