Memo to up-and-coming young executives: If the ladder to top management in your company means frequent transfers to other cities, then here are some you should avoid:

Anaheim, Calif.; New York City; Stamford, Conn., and this, your nation's capital. Also, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Chicago. And Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Charlotte, N.C.

On the other hand, if they offer you Birmingham, Ala.; Columbus, Ohio; Houston or Louisville, you'd better jump at it. (Columbus in the springtime can be simply exquisite.) Same with Tampa, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City.

The reason: Money.

Although there may be other reasons for deciding, a new survey by the Chicago-based Employee Transfer Corp., a national relocation company, shows executives face wide disparities in living costs depending on where they move.

For example, ETC says, maintaining a "middle-level" living standard can be done on only $28,407 a year in Birmingham. But if the executive and family moved to Anaheim, it would need $45,510.

That means garnering a $17,103 raise, just to stay even.

The less high-flown District of Columbia isn't quite up to those standards. The same "middle-management" family could keep its position on the hog for a mere $35,681; New York would take $39,649; Baltimore $31,955.

But unless the statistics for many blue-collar workers, it doesn't mean there's no escape for up-and-coming young executives who are frightened off by the prospect of higher living costs.

ETC said its figures reflect "a composite of current cost factors in communities where transferees are most likely to live, rather than for entire metropolitan areas."

The solution: Live in a less-expensive neighborhood. Or hang in there for that coveted slot in Birmingham.