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View Full Version : What's a decent living where you live??



crazypoohbear
04-25-2007, 09:05 PM
Okay on another thread about tipping it was posted that mousekeeping makes a "good wage" between $7.50 and $12.00 per hour. This got me thinking...

Based on a 40 hour work week...

What is considered a good wage where you live?
Here in Mass this wage wouldn't cover rent, let alone all the utilities, groceries etc.

So. What is a livable wage in your area of the country???

I work 25 hours a week and make 11.00 per hour. This doesn't begin to cover any of our "real expenses":ack:

Ian
04-25-2007, 10:08 PM
In our area you probably need to have a combined household income between $120,000 and $150,000 to live a good, comfortable life.

Housing is so expensive in this area ... that's the killer ...

princessjojo
04-25-2007, 10:25 PM
We live in a very rural area where employment opportunities are few and far between locally, and some of the highest tax rates in the state. More or less economically supressed, but there are great jobs just 60-70miles away in the RTP. DH works long, hard hours right now since I am in school full time again with no income and he brings in enough on his own to keep our heads above water. We do stretch our budget on occasion, but cover our bases as well. Our average housing cost in this area specifically is about $230,000, even though they report lower(+/- $180,000) we can't find a house up to code and big enough to cuss a cat in for that cost.

Before I quit though, we were bringing in together at our peak $110,000. After I finsh school, hopefully we will be just above that again. But again, here in our area, that is somewhat above average. If I were to go to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area though, doing our same work, we could clear way more than that without even thinking. Just location, location, location.

sassafras
04-25-2007, 10:52 PM
We live in a small town (16,000) in central Indiana. Between the two of us, we pull down around 80,000 per year. With no children at home anymore, we can live fairly decently. Real estate has dropped in price in the last year. The house we live in here, we purchased for around 115,000 in one of the best neighborhoods in town; however, go 50 miles to the north or south, this same house would sell for well over $200,000. (That's for a two bedroom, bath and a half, lvg room, dng room, kitchen, shop, two car attached garage modern ranch style that's approximately 30 years old at the edge of a woods).However, if something happened to dh, my income is about 1/3 of his and I'd probably lose everything!

TheMartellFamily
04-25-2007, 10:53 PM
Where we live is a northern suburb of Chicago and where we live and where my DH works is night and day. Where my DH works is a suburb is a very, very, very rich area where houses start at 500,000.00 that are the ones that are tear down to build new to multi millions in new ones. Where we live which is 40 minutes away we live in a house that I can be a SAHM who is a full time college student with our house that is 12 years old and bought 4 years ago at 180,00.00. We live very comfortable with cars paid for and children going to private school. We decided to move here since we lived in an area before that was a two bedroom two bath 30 year old rehabbed condo that sold for 30 thousand less than what we bought 3 bedroom 2.5 bath and I did not have to work if I did not want to. It all depends where you live inour area and it can go to different extreams in a blink of an eye. Chicago is a great place to live if you just know where to go.

mttafire
04-26-2007, 01:15 AM
In Ohio "im a firefighter" and make around 55k per year. My wife works part time..24k a year. Thats 79k a year household income. We would like to to better and thats our responsibility. BUT, for the area it IS a fairly comfortable income. The average house here is around 150k. Another thing i will add...A firefighter or police officer in Ohio contributes to the same pension plan...We pay NO social security."thank goodness" Our pensions are actually really really good so i consider that to be a "hidden" income that is not reflected in my annual total. I know alot of folks that make 60-80k a year in the factories here. Thats with alot of o.t. BUT thier pensions arent that great. It tough sometimes to say whats "comfortable" or "good" wage.

imaprincess!
04-26-2007, 10:03 AM
I'd say a decent living around here is about $90,000 and up to make ends meet, have some savings, and take a decent vacation once a year. Housing is very expensive here, also. Townhouses average around $230,000 and single-family houses around $400,000-$500,000.

Our electric rates are going up 50% in June because they say we haven't been paying the market rate for years and we will now be paying the rate everyone else in the country is. And of course, the cost of gas is jumping up every week, so it costs mucho dinero to fill up your tank.

aprilisis
04-26-2007, 01:15 PM
Here I make about $60,000 & it is impossible to live alone in the Boston area on this salary- with a car payment, too. That's why I stay in Worcester & commute- though gas prices are getting close to what rent would be for me monthly! :rolleyes:

Marker
04-26-2007, 02:38 PM
This is a pretty subjective topic. "Comfortable Living" is definitely defined differently by different people.

Some people can't be comfortable without 3000 sq. ft. of living space, a new HUGE SUV, and a luxury car. But others can be quite comfortable in 1000 sq ft, with a used car, and a newish car (under 100,000 miles).

I bought my 1080 sq ft home (3 br, 1 ba, basement) in 1982 for $48,000. Houses in my neighborhood are going for about $105,000 - $115,000. Never really felt the need for more. We raised 3 kids in that house, and not that there's only 1 (dd19) left at home, there's plenty of room. And, it'll be paid off pretty soon. While the kids were growing up, we lived on one income, so a parent could be home for the kids. What you sacrifice in some areas, are rewarded in others. Never lived high on the hog, but never had to do without anything necessary either.

Depending on your expectations, you can live well on $50,000, or it can take 2 or 3 (or 4) times that. I currently fall somewhere in between that. But that's here in an eastern suburb of KC, a choice I'm VERY MUCH ok with.

aprilisis
04-26-2007, 04:06 PM
Wow! I wish I lived near you! 1,000 sf homes here are at least $250,000. Since I can't afford to live near where I work, my car (a Hyundai) has 112,000 miles on it and I have 2 years left to pay.

Ian
04-26-2007, 04:42 PM
This is a pretty subjective topic. "Comfortable Living" is definitely defined differently by different people .... I bought my 1080 sq ft home (3 br, 1 ba, basement) in 1982 for $48,000. Houses in my neighborhood are going for about $105,000 - $115,000.Subjective to a point, but housing is housing and if it costs someone $300,000 for the same 1080 sq. ft. home you could buy for $110,000, it stands to reason that they'd need to make more right?

What you make may work for you in your area, but sometimes I think people in certain parts of the country don't really get what it means to pay through the nose for a place to live like people on the Coasts do.

I'll be the first to admit ... I'm one of those people who needs a 4,000 sq. ft. home and a brand new SUV to fit my definition of comfortable. But I can also tell you that even a 1,000 sq. foot house in my area would cost at least 2 1/2 times what it costs in your area.

Comfortable is as comfortable does, to paraphrase Mr. Gump.

crazypoohbear
04-26-2007, 05:09 PM
I hadn't really thought of this as being subjective.
By comfortable I meant just being able to afford rent/mortgage, utilities, car payment etc.

On another thread someone posted that as a teacher they made 10.00 per hour.
Here outside of Boston a starting teacher fresh out of college would make a minimum of $34,000. Per year!

Based on the teacher making $10.00 per hour this would be great, but living here would eat into things pretty quickly.

Just a few years ago a house on my street sold for $285,000. no garage, 2 bedrooms 1 bath less than 900 sq feet!!!!:confused:

Now you would have to buy a "handy man" house for $250,000.

It's just amazing to me that housing and pay scales vary sooooo much around the country.

Marker
04-26-2007, 09:03 PM
Well, this 1080 sq ft home is considered small here. In fact, at least here in my town, it's hard to find new houses this size. Everything is going bigger. $350,000 around here will buy a pretty darned big house, in the 2500 sq ft range.

I do understand the incredibly higher cost of living in other places. I may have been born here by fate, but I've stayed here by choice.

But still, even at any given area's cost of living, the definition of comfortable will vary from person to person. And yes, based on cost of living, the income required to support that definition of comfort will accordingly.

To use the previous post as a reference, $34,000 around here might be ok for a single person (with a room mate), but you're going to have a tough time supporting more than yourself. Anywhere else it's REALLY not going to go far.

murphy1
04-26-2007, 09:20 PM
Houses in my area north of Atlanta are going around $250-300 for no basement, 2600 sf and about 50 K more with basement. Of course the new houses they are building are starting about 400 now!! Florida is getting really bad (where I'm from). For 900 sf in St. pete, it is getting to be around 190K and the historic area is going for around 600 and 2-5 mil for waterfront. Orlando is starting to go up a lot like this when I looked and when we looked at Celebration, a lot of that for what we want is around 600K to 700 K and higher.
My dh is an engineer and does pretty well, but we also got into our house ten years ago and consider us very lucky. I think wages are a joke for a lot of people getting out of college now, unless they do something in technology or medicine. I think California is the most expensive place to be, I can't believe prices in San Diego and San Fran.

Terra
04-26-2007, 09:28 PM
This is a pretty subjective topic. "Comfortable Living" is definitely defined differently by different people.



I totally agree!!!
It's truly a personal thing.

For DH and I "things" are not that important, but growing as a family in each other and in our faith is important...

I'm a SAHM and work about 10 hours a week out of the home, cleaning an office building in the evening. [I take my son with me] and I make $9.00

DH is a sales contractor for an Electric Company.
Together we live off of less than $2000 a month. We live in a 700+ square foot 2 BD/1 BA triplex.
Our rent here is $565. Utilities run about $200 a month.
We have phone and DSL...
But we have no cable TV or any real extras...
We have 2 used vehicles that are paid off.

For us it works!

Tink&Goofy
04-26-2007, 10:05 PM
This is a pretty subjective topic. "Comfortable Living" is definitely defined differently by different people.

Some people can't be comfortable without 3000 sq. ft. of living space, a new HUGE SUV, and a luxury car. But others can be quite comfortable in 1000 sq ft, with a used car, and a newish car (under 100,000 miles).

I bought my 1080 sq ft home (3 br, 1 ba, basement) in 1982 for $48,000. Houses in my neighborhood are going for about $105,000 - $115,000.

Out here that wouldn't even buy a studio condo in an area you wouldn't want to live in!
What it takes to live comfortably not only depends on where you live, but where you are in your life. Obviously a single person, or a couple with no kids left at home can get by on considerably less income (and space) than a family.


Subjective to a point, but housing is housing and if it costs someone $300,000 for the same 1080 sq. ft. home you could buy for $110,000, it stands to reason that they'd need to make more right?

I'll be the first to admit ... I'm one of those people who needs a 4,000 sq. ft. home and a brand new SUV to fit my definition of comfortable. But I can also tell you that even a 1,000 sq. foot house in my area would cost at least 2 1/2 times what it costs in your area.



Housing prices here are through the roof as well. New houses are going for well into the $500,000 range. Even the smallest of new homes are over $300,000. As with WDWacky, we consider comfortable a larger home. But at the same time, with 3 kids, it fills up quickly! SUV's - Yep - but a necessity when you live on the hill we do and still need the space for toting kids around. I don't believe we live extravagantly, but we do consider "comfortable to include vacations and the like.

I would think most families here would probably need about $100,000 a year to live comfortably - maybe less if they are frugal. This likely wouldn't get them the larger home or vacations, but still comfortable.

conorsmom2000
04-27-2007, 11:23 AM
Subjective to a point, but housing is housing and if it costs someone $300,000 for the same 1080 sq. ft. home you could buy for $110,000, it stands to reason that they'd need to make more right?

I have to agree with that - some of this truly depends on where you live.

I am in Northern NJ, about 15 minutes outside of NYC. My home is around 1,800 sq ft - average for my town. We bought in 1999 for $189k - my house now appraises for $460k. My sister bought her smaller 2 bedroom house in the same town, about 1,400 sq ft, for $370k in 2004. If you could find a house for that price now, you'd be very, very lucky.

Mike and I both work, but I only work 10 hours per week at $19 an hour (though, I am being bumped up to 20 hours soon! :thumbsup: ) So, most of our income is really through Mike, who is a union electrician. To live comfortably in this area, you would need to make over $100k (because another thing that comes in to play is property taxes - we pay $8,000 a year, but some in our town pay $14,000 a year!) We do make just about $100k which enables us to have what we need and some of what we want, which is a comfortable life for us! :mickey:

BrerGnat
04-27-2007, 03:13 PM
Well, I can tell you that it takes about $115,000 per year for a family of four to live "comfortably" in Orange County, CA. This is with RENTING, not owning a home.

This is our "equivalent real world salary", according to the U.S. Military.

DH is active duty in the USMC. His base salary is about $57k per year. However, on top of that, we get housing allowance (non-taxable) of $27,600 per year. This breaks down to $2300 per month, which is about what we pay to RENT OUR APARTMENT. Notice, we cannot afford to BUY a house here on that income.

In addition to the housing allowance, DH gets a "subsistence" allowance of a couple hundred a month. Also, our health care is free and he has a pension plan as well as a 401K. The Military has a lot of "hidden" pay benefits, so they produce reports every year so that a servicemember can see how much they would have to make in the "real world" to equate how much they make in the military world. DH's latest report stated that his equivalent salary is $113,000.

Our "take home" paycheck is about $6300 per month. We live in a 1200 sq foot apartment, have two cars (one is paid for), and I feel we live "comfortably". I am a stay at home mom, and am glad for the opportunity to be able to do that.

That said, we have very little savings, no real assets, etc. We will continue to rent for the forseeable future because a townhouse the size of the apartment we have now would run MINIMUM $600,000 around here. A single family home? Forget it. Close to $1 million. Not gonna happen.

We consider ourselves smart, financially. We have college savings plans set up for our boys and pay into them monthly. In addition, DH contributes the maximum amount to his 401K (7%) and we are pretty much riding out the next 12 years in the military because the pension plan is VERY good.

We don't get too much choice on where to live. With DH's job in the Marine Corps, it will either be West Coast or East Coast (California or North Carolina). :D

DH's income does not allow us the opportunity to SAVE too much money, but we live the way we want and are able to be AP holders at DL and eat out pretty often, take vacations, etc. We are happy with our quality of life, but it would be REALLY nice if we could buy a house here. ;)

mamacatnv
04-27-2007, 08:11 PM
Our local paper recently had an article about the "living wage" vs. minimum wage and what truly is a minimum livable wage here in our area.

Current Minimum Wage: $5.15 per hour (Same as Federal)

Livable wage per article: $17 per hour

Big difference

gueli
04-28-2007, 04:10 AM
The Northeast corridor (Nj,NY, con, Mass, & i do not want to leave out Pa (especially near philly)- To live comfortably cots a lot. Not to long ago I saw housing costs out of NYC area and it surprised me how over-priced our area (Long Island) is.
I think the key is proximity to well paying jobs (near large cities -NYC,Philly, chicago, LA, etc).
So to live comfortably, you have to have a decent wage- around here at least $15/hr with both parents working. Keeping out of debt, and managing ones money carefully.
For our family, my wife gave up her job when our DD was born. Raising her, I work nights, my DW days (1-2), swapping parenting chores. We decided that sacrificing now, would pay off for our family in the long run, as when DD start school-we will have more options.
:mickey:

jacknsally02
04-28-2007, 10:02 AM
We live on long island, I'm a Music Therapist in a city hospital and my husbad is a graphic designer. Together we make a bit over 100,00, but we can't afford a house here and It's very depressing , I have a masters degree and my husband a BA so I hate when people say well go back to school blah blah... It's hard to feel like you can't get your life started. I also feel like it would be hard to have kids because neither of us makes enough alone for the other to stay home.

sleepingbooty
04-28-2007, 10:59 AM
I wonder a lot about this topic, as we have family and friends in other parts of the country (and I certainly wouldn't ask them their income). Its fun to be able to come here, somewhat anonymously, and discuss this.

What I don't understand is how people in parts of the country that have higher costs of living, like the coasts, are able to make it - doing the type of jobs that are found throughout the country. I mean, a teacher with a few years experience here might make in the low 30's - would she make 75 in New York or LA? Would an IT guy who makes about 75 here make 150 if he moved to Seattle? And how does that work with national corporations that have employees in different locations throughout the US?

Here in the St Louis area, we have a pretty low cost of living. To live comfortably, you'd probably need to bring in around 75.

Of course, that also depends on how well you manage your money - I know people who make quite a bit more than that, but they are always going through some kind of financial crisis because they can't manage their money.:(

Disney Doll
05-01-2007, 06:16 PM
I've always heard that the cost of living in Oklahoma is very affordable. After reading these posts, I'd have to agree. DH and I both work full-time although neither of us chose very lucrative careers (Retail Management & Education) and I think we live fairly comfortably. However, it's just the 2 of us. We bought our first home about 5 1/2 years ago for $89,000. It's a small (about 1100 square feet) 3br, 2bath. We plan to sell within the next couple of years and hope to get $105,000 out of it. Similar houses in our neighborhood have recently sold for at least that.

I do think comfortable is very subjective. We don't live extravagantly, but we always seem to be able to afford the things we want.

Salaries do vary from place to place in accordance with the cost of living. My cousin works in some sort of computer/technical related field. They were lured to CA with a very high paying job offer. However, once they were there they realized that their large CA salary didn't go as far as their smaller OK salary so they moved back.

SallyfromDE
05-01-2007, 07:12 PM
I live in Delaware and they recently did a survey that says you need to make $16 ph to pay for housing alone. It did not include food, insurance, utilities etc..... Unfortuanately, this area has a lot of millionaires due to the big banking industry and the DuPont family, that it makes the average income appear to be a lot more then it really is.

NewmanFamily6
05-01-2007, 08:27 PM
I feel very fortunate after reading this to live in SW VA. I live in a small town w/ 2 street lights. Our house was $125,000 & is 1950 SQ FT . My DH is a pharmacist and made about $210,000 last year. This area pays more because they say it is hard to find people to work out here. I am a full time student/stay at home Mom. We have 4 kids but we have most of what we want and need. When I finish school we want to build a little bit larger house so we can have a guest room.

Cinderelley
05-02-2007, 03:05 AM
DH says a family of four would need $50,000 to live comfortably here, including owning a house. But it does depend on what your idea of "comfortable" is obviously. Combined we make about $90,000 a year, but we have 4 kids. We have a 2000 sq. foot home (4 bedrooms, 2 bath) in a nice neighborhood, a car and a van, and have ample food and clothes for the kids. We both have retirement plans, health insurance, and can take a long vacation each year. I think we are more than blessed.

Belle619
05-09-2007, 05:08 PM
What I don't understand is how people in parts of the country that have higher costs of living, like the coasts, are able to make it - doing the type of jobs that are found throughout the country.

Well, that seems to be our problem - we don't make any more living in a city with high cost of living than we would in other parts of the country - so, because we don't have children and we want to buy a home, we are moving.

Our combined income isn't too bad, but I could never make it out here alone. Our rent, utilities, food and student loans leave us with very little to put away for a rainy day.

And, comfortable for me is being able to pay your bills, but it is also really important for me to know that I can afford the occasional trip to Disney now and then!!! :mickey: