SAN DIEGO - How difficult is it to accumulate wealth in America's Finest City? A new study says San Diego is the worst city in the country to build wealth.
The financial service Bankrate now says San Diego is the nation's worst place to get rich, and the dishonor came as no surprise to San Diego State University senior German Vellages.
"Oh, of course; I mean the cost of living, living anywhere around San Diego State is going to be pretty much expensive," he said.
Vellages wants to stay in San Diego after he earns his finance degree, but he'll be saddled with more than $10,000 in student loan debt and squeezed by rising rent. He said he shares a two-bedroom apartment with three other people.
"It's kind of pricey for maybe half a room, or 700 square feet," he said.
Bankrate says Vellages is much better off in places like Houston, Washington, D.C., or Cleveland. Those cities have either lower costs or a better job market.
Out of 18 U.S. cities, San Diego ranked at the bottom in the Bankrate study. Phoenix and Los Angeles were among the bottom three cities.
It sounds daunting, but experts say there are ways to save money in San Diego.
SDSU finance professor Ning Tang said if someone cuts out a $2 cup of coffee each day and $40 from eating out once a month, they can save $100 per month. Investing that $1,200 a year at 7 or 8 percent interest for 18 years nets $45,000.
"You will be surprised on how much you spend on dining out, designer shoes, even on SeaWorld," she said.
Vellages is already taking steps to save money. He tries to eat at home before class. But if he can't, it's off to the student market, where he buys the cheapest stuff he can find.
"Just a generic pasta salad," he said. "I eat it pretty much every day."