Los Alamos Captures Top Nest Egg Ranking

September 6, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - If you want to imitate the best at saving and investing, you should look to Los Alamos, New Mexico - according to the latest Nest Egg Index from A.G. Edwards.

An A.G. Edwards news release said theNew Mexico community earned a 134.31 ranking (based on a national average of 100) when measured according to a dozen factors for saving and investing behaviors. The firm examined 500 communities across the country for its second annual study.

The survey measured indices such as retirement plan participation rates, personal debt levels and home ownership levels to judge which areas’ populations were doing the best in building their nest eggs. A.G. Edwards said communities that ranked highly enjoy strong housing markets and show a high propensity towards saving and investing, particularly in retirement vehicles such as 401(k) or pension plans. While these top-performing markets tend to show higher costs of living, residents still manage to keep their debt levels in check, the company said.

The remainder of the top 10 list included:

  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk,Connecticut – 126.20
  • San Jose , California – 125.93.
  • Torrington ,Connecticut – 120.85
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington,Minnesota – 117.83
  • Barnstable Town ,Massachusetts – 117.73
  • Holland-Grand Haven,Michigan – 117.14
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria ,D.C. -Virginia – 117.11
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont ,California – 116.42
  • Edwards,Colorado – 116.24

According to the news release, A.G. Edwards this year added smaller micropolitan areas, defined as areas with populations of 10,000 to 50,000, allowing it to study a broader assortment of communities. In total, the communities considered for this year’s expanded Nest Egg Index statistically represent more than 90% ofAmerica’s population.

The Winners’ Details

Researchers said that despite having a population of 18,500, top-rankedLos Alamos surpassed all other communities in household income and net worth. The city also placed second among all cities reviewed on 401(k), pension and other retirement plans penetration. Thanks in large part to the presence of employers such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory, 68% of workers in the area hold managerial or professional positions such as scientists, engineers, lawyers and doctors.

“Although many people associate the presence of wealth with the economic opportunities often available in big cities, it is striking that three out of the 10 top-performing communities were micropolitan areas,” said A.G. Edwards Financial Planning Specialist Sophie Beckmann, in the release. “We found that while external factors such as economic and employment situations may influence an area’s ranking, building a healthy Nest Egg really comes down to solid saving and investing habits, personal priorities and discipline.”

Roll Call of the States

Among the states,New Jersey once again ranked at the top with a Nest Egg Index score of 114.55, up slightly from last year’s rating of 114.35. The other states in the top five are Connecticut (114.37, up from 113.98 in 2005); Minnesota (113.46, down from 113.70); Maryland (112.28, up from 111.40); and Massachusetts (111.77, no change from last year).

The biggest mover among the states wasHawaii, which rose in the rankings to 13 from 21 in 2005, due in large part to a sharp increase in housing value. Other big gainers included California, which moved up to 27 from 32, and Rhode Island, which came in at 8, up from 22 last year.

Ohio had the most communities making the top 500 list at 38, followed by Indiana (36), Pennsylvania (30), Michigan (29), Illinois (25), Wisconsin (25), Iowa (24), Minnesota (22) and New York (20).

For a complete list of rankings by community, state, metropolitan area only and micropolitan area only, visit www.nesteggindex.com .