What is considered a good salary and why?

There are so many factors involved in defining a “good” salary that coming up with just one number is virtually impossible. To determine what a “good” salary is, decide what “good” means to you. Consider these terms:

  • Living wage: an income level that affords the basic necessities, such as food, transportation, and housing

  • Comfortable wage: an income level that affords more than the basic necessities 

  • Ideal wage: an income level that exceeds the cost of basic necessities, living expenses, and “wants,” such as travel and entertainment

According to the census, the national average household income in 2019 was $68,703. A living wage would fall below this number while an ideal wage would exceed this number. Given this, a good salary would be $75,000. It is higher than the national average and hovers around the average salary for the four most expensive states in the nation. In other words, a $75,000 salary would cover the basic necessities in even the priciest of areas.  

Read more: Caught in the Golden Handcuffs? Here’s How to Break Free


North Dakota

2-person family middle-class income range: $51,942 to $155,0503-person family middle-class income range: $58,328 to $174,1144-person family middle-class income range: $69,738 to $208,174

U.S. income by number of wage earners

High living costs coupled with stagnant wages explain why so many households consist of multiple earners. The median income among households with a single earner is $52,557 — among two-earner households, it's $98,586.

The need for multiple incomes often poses challenges with regard to having children. Many families can't afford child care, but they also can't afford to slash their household income in half. It's a tricky problem with no particularly good solution at present.


2-person family middle-class income range: $57,063 to $170,3383-person family middle-class income range: $71,220 to $212,5964-person family middle-class income range: $87,939 to $262,504

50K salary before and after taxes

The calculations on the chart below are based on working 40 hours per week @ $50,000 per year.

Time period# of hours workedIncome before taxesIncome after taxes (average)
Monthly (average)174$4,167$3,317
Yearly (with unpaid vacation)2,000$48,080$38,352
Yearly (with paid vacation)2,080$50,000$39,810
$50,000 a year before and after taxes-Savvy Budget Boss

Average Salary in the U.S. by Age Gender

How much women earn on a weekly basis at various ages:

  • 16 to 19: $467 ($24,284 annually)
  • 20 to 24: $607 ($31,564 annually)
  • 25 to 34: $850 ($44,200 annually)
  • 35 to 44: $999 ($51,948 annually)
  • 45 to 54: $1,002 ($52,104 annually)
  • 55 to 64: $946 ($49,192 annually)
  • 65+: $911 ($47,372 annually)

How much men earn on a weekly basis at various ages:

  • 16 to 19: $511 ($26,572 annually)
  • 20 to 24: $667 ($34,684 annually)
  • 25 to 34: $950 ($49,400 annually)
  • 35 to 44: $1,232 ($64,064 annually)
  • 45 to 54: $1,334 ($69,368 annually)
  • 55 to 64: $1,224 ($63,648 annually)
  • 65+: $1,102 ($57,304 annually)

Source: Economic News Release, BLS

So what job makes the most money a month?

So now you know $75k promotes living comfortably and happiness. How do you find a job or degree that makes you the most money a month to increase your happiness?

In order to answer this, FourPillarFreedom wrote an awesome post about which degree pays the most with the least amount of stress. The article includes an interactive chart which shows you the job salaries compared to stress levels.

According to the article, the highest paying and least stress jobs were in the STEM fields.

Source: FourPillarFreedom
Source: FourPillarFreedom

Although, don’t feel obligated to put yourself through college for a STEM degree. There are plenty of other high-paying, low-stress jobs available.


Ready to save some serious cash? Get Ibotta, it’s FREE! Ibotta gives you cash-back on groceries, health & wellness products, pet supplies, and more! Click to learn more.

The Rich Persons Game Plan

If you want to get rich, here is the game plan I would follow.

Depend on yourself

Earning a high level of income is a choice, no matter what the naysayers tell you. It is up to each of us to further our education to develop a skill-set that enables us to earn more.

It is up to us to work longer than our peers, so that after two more hours of work a day, we’ll have made over 600 more hours of progress a year.  Don’t you think you could develop something amazing with 600 hours of time? You know you can.

Get a mentor

If you want to learn how to become wealthy, learn from someone who is already wealthy, not someone who tells you how to get wealthy without being wealthy. Those folks are charlatans, and some do it very well, which is why they are wealthy.  

Instead, seek out a mentor and do everything possible to ingratiate yourself into their circle. Successful people want to give back. It’s the way they are hardwired. Your mentor can tell you what income level is considered rich and give you great guidance.

Remove disabling beliefs from your mind

Wherever you go, there you are. You mind is either like a power plant of positivity, or a cesspool of negativity.  You must believe in yourself, otherwise nobody else will.  

I am so internet/computer illiterate that I thought there was no way I could start a website, until one day in 2009 I said ,”f*ck it” and got it done. I’m only slightly more literate than a doorknob now, but at least things are running and I can just do this full-time if so desired.

Go the traditional route. 

Earning six figures and saving millions of dollars is straightforward. It just takes time. When you are incredibly rash, you do stupid things and screw up your financial goals. Save and invest even 10% of your income over 30 years and you will likely have more money than you will ever need.

Be your own boss. 

Time and time again, you stumble across stupid things that turn out to be big hits. Twitter, for example, was one cockamamie idea that has revolutionized the way we communicate. Airbnb is another idea that has helped lower costs in the hospitality industry.

Everybody should at least own their brand online by starting a website. I started FinancialSamurai.com in 2009, and by 2012, I was making enough to live a good life in expensive San Francisco. Now, I never have to go back to work again! Not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for starting this site.

Find an amazing partner

Let’s be frank. Life is much better if you can find a loving partner to share not only your experiences, but your expenses. Your loving partner will also be your greatest champion, pushing you ahead during difficult times. If you’ve haven’t found someone yet, it’s absolutely worth spending more time finding a life partner.

I found my amazing partner in college. I knew she was the one when she woke up at 5 am to make sure I’d get up by 5:30 am to make it to my first interview at 6 am on Wall Street!

What Is a Good Salary To Live On?

It can be difficult to reach a consensus about wha

It can be difficult to reach a consensus about what is considered a good salary. What one might regard as a decent salary may be unacceptable for another. Moreover, your spending habits, financial goals, amount of debt, and other personal factors can all influence your ideal salary. To find out how much income you’ll need to generate monthly in order to live comfortably as a single person in different U.S. states, use a cost of living calculator to compare locations.

Apart from obtaining a higher salary job to meet your monthly expenses, you can become more financially stable by maintaining a monthly budget and tracking your spending. Living below your means will allow you to build up your emergency fund, pay off debt, and have enough money to invest in your future. To motivate yourself to save up each month, follow a monthly budget challenge to hold yourself accountable.

The Alternative Way To Know You Are Rich

The debate about what income level is considered rich is endless. The income level really depends on your cost of living and your desires. Therefore, here’s another definition for when you considered yourself rich.

If you don’t have to work for a living, you are also considered rich! To be free, you need to have enough investment income to cover your desired daily living expenses. If you are super frugal, then becoming rich is much easier. However, there is obviously a balance where you don’t want to be so frugal that you’re miserable.

I left full-time work in 2012 at the age of 34. Even though I went from a multiple six-figure salary to $0, I felt incredibly rich because I was 100% in control of my time. I had about $80,000 a year in passive investment income that could provide a simple life for my wife and me in San Francisco.

For five years, we lived a care-free life and traveled the world. Then in 2017, we were blessed with a baby boy. The desire to earn more money took a jump higher. We needed to make enough so that both my wife and I could continue taking care of our boy full-time before he goes off to kindergarten in 2022.

Recent Posts

Get access to free financial tools

  • See all your money, all in one place.
  • Stay on track with our Retirement Planner.
  • Get up to date with our Investment Checkup.
Recent Research

Recent Research

How will climate change impact homeowners insura

How will climate change impact homeowners insurance in all 50 states?

Credit and Debit Card Market Share by Network an

Credit and Debit Card Market Share by Network and Issuer

The Top 10 Largest Life Insurance Companies in 2

The Top 10 Largest Life Insurance Companies in 2022

How Record Gas Prices Could Impact Your Budget


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *