What do you consider to be a "good" salary? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How much per year do you think is a "good" salary/income? Not amazing or rich or anything but just a nice salary that you could see being comfortable on?

I know this will vary a huge amount by things like COL in your area, family size and other factors but I'd like to get a general idea.

I'm curious because I'm in a very HCOL area and I think it's kind of skewing my ideas of how much is enough, iykwim?


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#2 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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Oh wow, I'm definitely interested in what people say.

 

I feel a little torn because I know $40k is an AWESOME salary in my neck of the woods, and double the national average, but it's just break-even for us.

 

I think if we made $60k I'd consider that a good salary, not enough to be rich but enough that we could occasionally buy something we wanted rather than 110% what we needed.

 

If we made $80k, I think we'd be rich.

 

I feel a little weird saying $40k doesn't feel really enough to me but that's the honest truth.

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#3 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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I live in a HCOL area, but I think you would need 90K to be able to have a house and a couple of kids.  100K to not have to only shop at goodwill and eat some fast food every once and a while.


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#4 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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where I live currently, we make a good amount (near 30k) but we also get excellent healthcare through the army so that helps.  If we had to pay for healthcare, it wouldn't be enough.  I'd feel better though with at least 40k even with the excellent free healthcare because it would allow us a bit more breathing space so we can do some not so free but fun things with the kiddo.  it would allow us to build up our savings just a bit faster too.  That is slow going at nearly 30k.

 

Where we are from and where we want to end up, you really want at LEAST 40k.  50-60k would be better.  You'd need close to 100k to buy a nice house with a decent yard though, especially if you happen to also want a car or two and buy at least some organic foods.  The taxes there are insane... my mom's taxes on her house are almost as much as our whole mortgage is each month (which includes taxes and insurance.)

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#5 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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Where I live is not super high as far as cost of living, but the public schools are simply awful, so non-public is a necessity IMO. Because of that, 80-100K a year is "enough." Our biggest expenses are our mortgage and tuition for 3 children. DH is currently unemployed, but when he was working we made 95K a year combined. We are not extravagant, don't take vacations and do budget. We had it arranged that everything except the house would be paid off when dc #2 started high school (tuition doubles from grade school to high school), but that got derailed when he was laid off. She starts high school in the fall and I am stressing big time. I teach summer school every year because it pays for one child's grade school tuition. I feel I make decent money (I am a teacher) and if we didn't have tuition, we would be able to make it on less money.

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#6 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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Well, I've spent a few years living on about 10K/year, so even hitting the poverty line felt good.  As we made more, I was astounded to learn that it is never enough.  We now make about 55K./year steadily- my DH's income, and I still make about 10K.  We don't factor my income in at all. 

 

All of that to say, the way I manage to keep perspective is by focusing on all the things we can do.  I don't have to count change at the end of the month to get a loaf of bread and some milk any more. I don't have to look at the gas gauge and wonder if I'll make it as far as the gas station.  When we first began making about 30K, I felt wealthy- and i did some major impulse buying.  We'd gone with NOTHING for so long, that the ability to have anything at all was  overwhelming.  With time, and as I got used to the reality that there really is another paycheck coming, I learned to budget and save a little, and I learned that we are doing ok, but only if we are still pretty careful.  

 

 

To feel like I could really splurge on a regular basis, I would need to have about 80K/year. 

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#7 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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Our current income is around $40-45K year and that is comfortable for us. It's also VERY good compared to our home area. There $30-35K is a reasonable income. I can't even imagine having access to $90-100K a year!


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#8 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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To me:

 

$50k + is good

$75k+ is really good

$100k+ is great

$150k+ is really great

$200k+ is approching spectacular

$250k+ is rich energy.gif

 

Now, if I was in a higher COL, I might think that $75k+ is the good catagory.  But where I live, $150k can buy you a house with about 3k sq feet and a gallon of regular (ie not organic/raw/local etc) can usually be had for less than $2, if you look hard enough. 

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#9 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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Very high COL area. $100K a year would be just making it around here, and that would be pretty tight if you have a mortgage and kids.

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#10 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:41 AM
 
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Here in Upstate NY $50-60K would prob be ok for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids). Housing is slightly expensive, but not thru the roof as it is in parts of CT, and further out from the city (Albany) it gets a little cheaper. I find food to be pricey here, more than what I was paying in UT, but I purchase way more organic stuff (but I make much more from scratch, too).

 

DH makes a bit more than that, and if we had been smarter a few years back, we'd actually be enjoying it!

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#11 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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I live in a higher cost area with high taxes. My DH and I make $140 combined but it is still not enough for me to stay home since we each make about 50% of our annual income.

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#12 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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I'd say $50k-ish is a good comfortable salary in my area.


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#13 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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We make around 90k and we're comfortable.  Mortgage on a starter home (3 bedroom, 1 bath bungalow), payments on a new car, cable, internet, cell phones, eating out a couple times a month, gym memberships, and a bit to save.  We still need to watch our spending/budget, but we're doing okay.


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#14 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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This is very interesting. We survive on less than $20k. I would feel awesome with $30k. When I worked we had about 45k but I didn't feel like it. I think having less makes me more aware of where it's going! We live in a low COL area.

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#15 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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$150k won't allow us to buy a modest house with decent schools or have a SAHP. We need to make close to $250k to live in a reasonable nice house that is within the boundraries of a good enough public school. Houses with good public schools are at least $1m. Unless you want a 3 hour daily communte. High housing + 49th ranking in school spending is brutal.

 

This thread is really humbling.

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#16 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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Low-Medium COL area here. DH made 36k at his old job and we were always struggling but in part that was due to credit card payments. He made the same last year but we have no mortgage payment now so we're doing better. We're hoping for 45k+ next year and that will be very comfortable.


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#17 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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We live in a more rural part of nj, so somewhat high col, but nothing like say right across the river from ny. I think that 70K + is a very comfortable salary, at that point where one doesn't have to worry about bills or food and can buy random things without having to make sure there is money for it (not like a car but say spending $50 at macys).
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#18 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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If we didn't have so much medical debt, I'd say $60K would be a comfortable income level for our area. We're in a pretty high COL state and starter homes in most areas are around $200,000.

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#19 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 01:29 PM
 
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in my area, you can get a modest home for $50-60k... and I don't mean a shack.  I mean a small, probably older home in town.  We have a 2000 sq ft raised ranch and it cost us $109k (though, now we might get $125k for it)  It has .25 acres, an amazing view, and a 3 car garage.  Real estate costs make a huge difference in COL for an area...


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#20 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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I've lived on 12K. It wasn't fun. We lived in really slummy rentals. I live in a high COL area. I'd say to live reasonably well (by that I mean frugally but enough for necessities -- not having to make a monthly choice between rent and food, for example) you'd need 60k. I don't know if that would buy you a house here though, but you'd probably get a decent rental -- no mold on the walls, that kind of thing :) 

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#21 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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If we wanted to buy a 2,000 sq foot house in our neighborhood it would cost around $600,000. But, to me living in a nice condo is just fine. Our place is 1200 sq feet 2br 1 bath with a washer and dryer in unit and would sell for around $350,000. So I guess an income of around $80,000-100,000 would afford a family a really nice condo.

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#22 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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In our area, we'd be sitting pretty with 50K/year.  But that is because we are debt free and live very frugally.  However, we could easily swing a moderate mortgage on that, for a house maybe 60-70K (for that price we could get a big old Victorian with a nice yard where we are now, or move closer to the city and get a smaller single family home).  For us 100K/year would be feeling "rich", and we could easily live on half of that and save and invest the rest.

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#23 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 05:20 PM
 
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In my area a decent, non-fixer home starts at a minimum of $220,000.

When we had our inexpensive 1 bedroom rental we could get by decently comfortable on $55,000.
Now that we have our home I am wishing we had about $75,000 a year. That would cover all the bills, the mortgage, savings for eventual necessary home repairs (roof, furnace, etc), some vacation fund, and emergency savings. $85,000 would take a lot of the worry out, but that ain't happening right now.
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#24 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 06:03 PM
 
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I think there are two sides to this question - What is a good salary in relation to the area that you live/lifestyle? OR What is a good salary for your job/career/profession?

 

I live in a mid to high cost of living area, and compared to the Canadian average household income, we're doing REALLY well...nearly double the average.  However, since we live in a city where the main employer is the government, the average household Canadian income is similar to what one government worker makes!  Yes we earn a good salary, but it's pretty average in our community.

 

If we're talking about profession, I think that skews numbers.  There are ranges for every position.  For example, my brother is an early childhood educator, a field which is notoriously underpaid with salaries ranging from $12-$15/hour on average.  My brother landed a job, while it's part-time, pays him $17 dollars an hour.  I think he earns a really good salary for what he does.  If I were to put his salary in terms of where he lives, which has a high cost of living, then I don't think he earns a really good salary.


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#25 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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I'd feel like we were doing amazing at 40-50 K a year.


We make about 15 K now, in a low cost of living area. It sucks and there is never any extra money. 30K would be nice, but more would allow us to actually purchase a home with land, like I want to.

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#26 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 06:44 PM
 
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I live in a ridiculously high COL area. The tiny rental I currently live in (2bd 1bth about 850sq feet and probably a fixer) is valued on Zillow at $423,000. I've never seen a house around here go for the Zillow estimate...they always go for more. So if we ever want to own a house we are going to have to be making over 100K. Which is feasible actually if I get a job since salaries are also pretty high here too.

Without owning a house we are actually doing ok right now. My DH makes about 65K (more if he teaches summer school) but we have a terrible amount of debt (and our student loans are currently deferred and our rent subsidized at a very very low rate). If we didn't have the low rent and deferred loans we would not be able to make it.
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#27 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 06:46 PM
 
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For us... we'd need at least $90K to be doing ok - student loans are going to kill us.  If we didn't have my student loans - we could be ok at $40K, good at $50K.  We aren't anywhere near any of those numbers right now and it sucks.


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#28 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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We live in a slightly higher than average COL area (score of 113, anything below 100 is "low"). Anyway, Dh makes just over $40k/year and for us, it's great. I'd imagine other people living here might feel like that's not enough, but for us, we don't have a lot of expenses, we're pretty frugal...so it works. I feel very comfortable.

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#29 of 125 Old 02-28-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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We make just above $20K. We are barely keeping our heads above water on my DH's income. I'm not working anymore because I would basically be working to pay for daycare for my kids, gas money for work travel, and home care for my mother. When I worked we made about $45k, which paid the bills, and left plenty of room for extras, like eating out, and martial arts memberships.

We live in a low COL area and I have built up a bartering community with my farmer friends in the area, so we do okay, even with the drastic reduction in our income. For me to feel comfortable and not have panic attacks when doing the bills, it breaks down like this:

 

$30k + is good

$50k+ is wonderful

$75k+ is getting into dream-land

$100k+ is really freakin' fantastic

$150k+ is an incredible fantasy

$200k+ is rich beyond my wildest dreams energy.gif

  

 


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#30 of 125 Old 03-01-2011, 03:14 AM
 
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Our take-home income is about 15K (after taxes), but we get free healthcare through the Air Force and a housing allowance that pays our rent and utilities which we never see (it goes straight to the landlord). Our monthly expenses are around $800 per month (not counting rent/utilities), so we are able to save the remainder of each paycheck. We feel very comfortable on this income, we were able to pay $7,000 out of pocket for a homebirth from our savings (we will eventually get re-imbursed but we had to pay cash at the time. We should get our check by the time our son is 6 mos old). I'd say if we didn't have free healthcare or a housing allowance then we would need 30K to have the same level of comfort and ease we have now. We could definitely live okay on 20K, but we'd be pinching pennies and never splurging. (I'm basing this off of eastern NC since we currently live in Italy)


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