Federal Stafford Loan interest rates for undergraduates look to move from 3.76% to 4.45%. Graduate student Stafford Loans will increase from 5.31% to 6% and PLUS loans will rise from 6.31% to 7% as the Federal Reserve increases interest rates. The prior Administration tied student loan rates closer to the prevailing rates, resulting in the increase.

If you already borrowed, it’s not an issue because the rate stays where you started. However, as you borrow new loans, you’ll see the higher rate. These small increases may precede more in the future. The economy is succeeding and the Federal Reserve is acting. As loans get more expensive, it’s important to know salary and cost-of-living numbers when deciding on a home state.

Cost of Living
A recent list of the highest pharmacist salaries by state appeared and ranked the states as best and worst based on that salary. Neglecting the cost-of-living in that state and the local city-by-city differences makes that data misleading. While it is difficult to compare state pharmacist data versus salaries in certain regions, it’s easy to use a cost-of-living calculator. Input how much someone earns in a home city and a destination city. The calculator provides a new figure one needs to preserve their prior cost of living. To give perspective on how well Iowans, touted as the second worst place to live based on average state pharmacist salary in 2016 in the recent article, compare with the cities, I created this chart.

In the first column is a major city in the United States. The second column shows the data from the 2016 state pharmacist salary data. The third column compares Iowa’s $110,240 state salary to how much they need to earn in the destination city to keep their standard of living. Iowans have a low state average salary at $110,240, but the cost-of-living is equally low. In other major cities, pharmacists have to earn astronomical salaries to compare. For example, in Manhattan, New York, a pharmacist must earn more than $300,000 to equal the Des Moines, Iowa pharmacist. Those pharmacists in Anchorage, Alaska, Los Angeles, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii would need to earn over $200,000 each year.

It makes little sense to move to a state based solely on salary. However, by recognizing what data you need can help your money go further as student loan interest rates rise.

State Average State Cost of living
  Pharmacist versus
  Salary 2016 Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa  $      110,240  $                110,240
Milwaukee, Wisconsin  $      124,060  $                138,566
Denver, Colorado  $      117,760  $                143,725
Minneapolis, Minnesota  $      122,900  $                148,082
Las Vegas, Nevada  $      123,430  $                148,721
Santa Fe, New Mexico  $      120,340  $                148,999
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  $      113,630  $                151,211
Baltimore, Maryland  $      120,400  $                151,237
Chicago, Illinois  $      117,140  $                151,578
Providence, Rhode Island  $      111,530  $                153,136
Portland, Maine  $      123,250  $                157,425
Newark, New Jersey  $      117,440  $                165,567
New Haven, Connecticut  $      120,780  $                166,913
Manchester, New Hampshire  $      128,790  $                169,521
Burlington, Vermont  $      128,380  $                176,987
Portland, Oregon  $      122,970  $                177,334
Boston, Massachusetts  $      114,600  $                184,151
Anchorage, Alaska  $      137,650  $                202,949
Los Angeles, California  $      136,100  $                212,637
Honolulu, Hawaii  $      114,880  $                240,762
Manhattan, New York  $      118,530  $                300,153