Financial Planning > College Planning

Top 9 Metro Areas With Highest Pay for Advisors: 2012

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Deciding where to set up shop is an important decision for any advisor. AdvisorOne has been collecting data to help advisors make the decision. Adding to our recent slideshows looking at wealthy areas with the most and fewest advisors is this latest offering culled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows the top-paying metropolitan areas in the country. 

Along with the mean wages for each metro area, we have included the Cost of Living Index to give you an idea of just how far your paycheck will go.

Some areas on the list, like the metro area including New York City, weren’t a surprise. Big cities are known to be places where living is costly and compensation is relatively high. On the other hand, the region in Arkansas surprised us. Some places were also on AdvisorOne’s 5 Cool Places for Advisors to Find Clients and Top 10 Wealth Zones With Fewest Advisors.

Here then are the Top 9 Metro Areas With Highest Pay for Advisors.

(For some reason, the BLS did not have employment or Quotient figures for Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., the place with the highest annual mean wages at $144,790, and thus that region was not included on this list.)

The U.S. Submarine Base in Groton, Conn. (Photo: AP)

9. Norwich-New London, Conn.-R.I.

    Annual Mean Wage: $120,180

    Hourly Mean Wage: $57.58

    Cost of Living Index: 125.3 (Providence, R.I., metro area)

Famous for hosting the shipyard where submarines for the U.S. Navy have been built for generations, the New London area’s appearance on the list was unexpected. Maybe it shouldn’t have been. Ability to draw clients from wealthy areas in nearby Rhode Island makes the area a good spot for advisors. And when you factor in the sparse number of advisors working there, it’s no wonder the pay scale is in the stratosphere. Still, the cost of living is high.

Boston (seen here) is located about 40 miles from Worcester.

8. Worcester, Mass-Conn.

    Annual Mean Wage: $120,380

    Hourly Mean Wage: $57.87

    Cost of Living Index: 117.0

We aren’t shocked to see a zone that’s part of the Boston region make the list, but the cost of living is less than the ninth metro area on our list. That does surprise us. The same pay, a paycheck that goes a little bit further and all the attractions of a big city. Might be worth a shot.

Sign in Nashville. (Photo: AP)

7. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.

    Annual Mean Wage: $121,140

    Hourly Mean Wage: $58.24

    Cost of Living Index: 88.0

The Nashville metro area has high wages and low costs. Sounds like a great deal if you like country music and a moderate climate.

Cornell's McGraw Tower. (Photo: AP)

6. Ithaca, N.Y.

    Annual Mean Wage: $124,870

    Hourly Mean Wage: $60.03

    Cost of Living Index: 103.7

Ithaca might not be the first place you think of when considering where to live. It’s a good four-hour drive from Manhattan and can be downright frigid in the winter. But it is home to two prestigious learning institutions, Cornell and Ithaca College, and has managed to maintain its downtown shopping area. Add to that a thriving music and arts scene influenced by the colleges and Ithaca just might be worth a look.

Shoppers in East Hampton. (Photo: AP)

5. Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.

    Annual Mean Wage: $125,100

    Hourly Mean Wage: $60.14

    Cost of Living Index: 139.0

It’s no surprise to see a Long Island metro area on the list. But while the pay is high, the cost of living (don’t look at that property tax bill) won’t leave you much for discretionary spending.

Aerial view of San Francisco

4. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City

    Annual Mean Wage: $130,070

    Hourly Mean Wage: $62.54

    Cost of Living Index: 161.3

San Francisco has it all: Arts, sports, outdoor activities, high pay for advisors. The cost of living is high, but the laid-back lifestyle is still attractive.

Monticello in Charlottesville.

3. Charlottesville, Va.

    Annual Mean Wage: $132,510

    Hourly Mean Wage: $63.71

    Cost of Living Index: 104.4

Located smack dab in the center of the state known as the Cradle of American Presidents, Charlottesville is where Thomas Jefferson lived. His home, Monticello, is the biggest tourist attraction in the area and the school he founded, the University of Virginia, is renowned for its academic quality. And, it turns out, advisors working in the town earn a handsome paycheck and the cost of living is not so bad.

New York at night.

2. New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.

    Annual Mean Wage: $136,000

    Hourly Mean Wage: $65.39

    Cost of Living Index: 223.9 (Manhattan)

New York is the center of the financial world. It’s no wonder that advisors are paid well, but the cost of living will eat into that nice paycheck. All in all, it’s hard to argue that New York is the place to be for many advisors.

Wal-mart's headquarters are located in Fayetteville. (Photo: AP)

1. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo.

    Annual Mean Wage: $140,050

    Hourly Mean Wage: $67.33

    Cost of Living Index: 86.1

Besides being the surprise entry at the top of our list, this metro area is the sixth-fastest growing area in the U.S. and is home to Wal-Mart. The first store in the mega-chain was in Rogers. Also in the area is the University of Arkansas. With a growing population and a huge employer, this metro area just might be the place for advisors. High pay and a low cost of living add to the allure. Don’t forget to show the proper Razorback spirit: Wooooo. Pig. Sooie!


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