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More bang for your buck


Good news, everyone… you’re richer than you think!

Well, relatively speaking anyway. A recent report made its way to my email inbox showing the “real value” of a dollar in each of the 50 U.S. States. It turns out that a dollar is worth more here in Arkansas than anywhere else in the country.

What that means is, the cost of living, the purchasing power in the state and the comparative value of a dollar here in relation to, say New York, California or Florida, is higher in Arkansas. In fact, you get more for your dollar in Arkansas by almost 20 percent.

One dollar in Arkansas has the purchasing value of $1.19.

Again, that’s best in the nation. Mississippi was next highest at $1.17, with Alabama, South Dakota and West Virginia close behind at $1.16. Now, you might look at that list of five states and know that those include some of the poorest states in the U.S. That’s true, and for the poorest people in those states, telling them their dollar is actually worth $1.19 probably isn’t going to have them jumping for joy.

But for the middle-class and upper-class residents of Arkansas, that real-world value actually is significant. A $10-per-hour full-time job earns you $400 a week, and that translates into $476 in purchasing power. A $40,000 a year salary has an adjusted value of $47,600. That’s a significant amount of money. What it means is that the middle- class in Arkansas can enjoy a higher standard of living for far less than someone in say, Texas or Pennsylvania.

Continued on Page 5 VIEWPOINT (cont.)

Another way to look at it is the recent stimulus money sent out to help families weather the COVID-19 storm. That $1,200 you got actually had the purchasing power of $1,428, while up in Illinois, that $1,200 only had $1,176 in comparative value. Add in your spouse’s stimulus and the $500 per child, and a family of four Arkansans got $4,046 in spending power compared to $3,332 for the same size family living in Chicago.

What does all this mean?

It means that while we do live in a relatively economically- depressed area, we can at least know that what money we are working with will go farther toward helping us make ends meet. Prices, the cost of services, the value of wages and spending ability all factor into making your money worth more. It should also serve as an incentive to draw people to the state.

Someone earning $100,000 a year in Colorado coming to Arkansas for the same salary would have $119,000 in comparative value. That goes a long way toward buying a house, paying for college or supporting a family.

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