Do You Earn Enough Money?

If so, how much is it?

Why is it enough?

At what age did you hit this milestone?

What changed?

If you don’t earn enough—what will it take to get there?

*By enough, I basically mean an annual income that provides for all your needs both now and—assuming it’s adjusted for inflation and you keep earning it—for the rest of your life.

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


  1. Yes. I earn about $45k working for a non-profit. I’ve earned that much for a few years now, but at 26 I paid off some debt and got my expenses under control. I live in modest apartment, drive a used car, save money, and have enough left over to take the occasional trip. Would more money be nice? Sure. But I can live on what I make.

  2. My wife (age 23) & I (26) make enough (< $100k)to live comfortably and still save some. But we don't make enough to let her be a stay at home mom or accomplish some of the other things that are important to us.

    Getting over $100k would plenty for a fulfilling life, but I think that $200k is the "magic number" to allow us to live the life we want.

  3. I would say I earn enough money right now to meet my husband’s and my needs. I’m 29 and I earn around 75K-80K per year, depending on bonus status. We paid off all consumer debts about 2 years ago, have a fully funded emergency fund and are actively funding retirement while paying down our mortgage. We’re able to do all of this and travel a couple times a year (combined with business travel), while also continuing to tithe and give to charity beyond that tithe. We’ve definitly been blessed.

  4. I am 26 and earn $35,000 working for a big bank and my wife (25)who is a nurse earns $50,000. It is enough to get by but i think the magic number for us would be $150,000.00

  5. I’ve been earning enough for me now for several years now – since my pay hit about $55K a year I’d say. That’s plenty to live off and save for retirement as a single young female right out of college. But it would no longer be enough if I were to have a child (unless I added income from a spouse) and needed to pay for childcare, education, and savings for a family.

    My income hit $75K this year which was definitely more than enough for me – and would probably be sufficient for a small family as well.

  6. I have watched my own “magic number” slowly grow and grow, over the last few years at work. When I was in college, it was 50K a year. When I was making 50K a year, it was 80K. Now I make about 90K and my number has again shifted out.

    In a way, I think this is a good thing; it continues to push me to develop my career. I have stopped thinking of a “magic number” now that I am very comfortable, but rather think of goals. I will say, though, that there is a fine balance between being motivated to advance your career, and being obsessed with salary.

    My advice: when you reach a level where you can live debt free and put money away for retirement, stop setting a “magic number” and just sit back and enjoy the ride.

  7. I’m 26 making 62k/year, but I have 45k left of student loans. This is the biggest drawback for me as it forces me to keep renting. I will not calm down until I get rid of my student loans, and until I’m in position to put down a significant down payment for home. Making enough I will consider when I have my own home that’s fully payed off like my car.

  8. Shery deWinter says:

    My income is 0. So the answer would be no :)

  9. I am lucky.

    My first job out of graduate school came with an 84k/year salary. I had a full scholarship to a public state university, and my company paid for the top graduate school in my field.

    I’ve watched friends in similar positions overspend to an extreme (furniture, cars, houses, clothes, etc.), but I’m lucky that my family instilled in me the save-first mentality. I never followed my friends down that path, and they are now deep in debt.

    I have earned enough money since day 1 of my professional life, but many friends/colleagues will never make enough. No matter what kind of raises or bonuses they get, they’ll always go out and spend more more more.

    I’m 28 making about 160k/yr at this point, and my wife and I are living on less than half of that. Our only debt is on a house (fixed-rate 30-year mortgage) that her parents live in. We live and rent an apartment overseas.

  10. I’m 25 making $72K/year. I live in DC and have student loans…so at this point it’s not enough. I still have debt to pay off, but can’t really accelerate it due to high rent ($1500/month).

    I plan on getting a roommate for a year (maybe 2) and attacking my debt. I believe my magic number is around $100K (if I stay in DC).

  11. Wife and I are 30, bringing in a combined income around 120K. It’s more than enough, since we live on half of it while still traveling (we typically take 1-2 intl trips / 5+ domestic trips /yr – our fav thing). I’d say for the two of us now we are at the magic number, but only because we are saving aggressively for a home and other necessities. In five years I think we’d be fine around or at 100K for any reason. So I’d say 100K for two of us assuming we had paid off a chunk of a mortgage.

  12. Right now my salary is $102k/yr, at my job for just over 2yrs now, and I’m 29. My wife is a stay at home mom (our daughter is now a week old), and hasn’t held a job during this time by choice. Between school loans and the mortgage, this is enough money. I would like to pay down these loans faster, but I’m also able to aggressively save for retirement, and we love having my wife be able to stay home. Sometimes its hard seeing coworkers my age with new cars and going on fancy trips, but these things are less important than multiple incomes, having our own home, and being able to raise our daughter.

  13. David Weliver says:

    Thanks for all the great responses so far. This is one of those questions that never ceases to interest me because everybody’s going to have different definitions of how much is enough. It’s totally relative.

    A lot of commenters so far are doing QUITE well by most standards—especially at such an early age. I’d like to point out to readers who may NOT be making six figures at 27 that there is some selection bias going on here—those who can answer yes to this question are going to be more likely to respond (and perhaps, be reading this blog in the first place). That said, I’d like to hear from you if you’re NOT earning enough, too. Are you doing what you love but barely able to make ends meet? Do you earn a ton but still can’t get ahead because of crazy debt?

    I also love that many of you have noted how lucky and blessed you are…so true. There is nothing wrong with pursuing wealth and enjoying rewards of your hard work like travel and building a nice home. It is, however, important to be grateful for all of it every day.

  14. To offer a different perspective- I’m 28 making $37k and my fiance is 27 making $26k. We are by no means rolling in money, but manage our expenses well enough that we were able to recently purchase a home together. We both have student loans ($20k for me, $10k for her,) and I’ve got a car payment.

    Other than that, no real debt to speak of. I’m saving 10% in my 401K, and have a modest emergency fund.

    We’re fortunate in the fact that we live in an area where what we make can get you a decent life (Upstate NY) but unfortunately, if we want kids- it just won’t cut it.

    My “magic number” would probably be around $60k and hers is around $40k, but as you can see- we’re a ways off! Darn economy! Unfortunately I think the only way for me to get there is starting a new job, which also isn’t easy right now in this economic climate.

  15. I’m definitely an oddity of sorts: making about 45-60k (depending on combat zone status), but I’m able to pay in entirety my wife’s bills for medical school by living out of a small apartment and driving a pair of used cars. I’ve managed to set aside almost two years pay, and once I’m done with military service I’ll stay in the same job field, but double salaries, and my wife will be able to work as an MD – so first house will be bought outright.

    I’ve gotten my calculation to where an adjusted income between 175-225 would mean early retirement and healthy college fund, and that anything beyond that will become a charitable trust fund.

  16. 65k/yr and is certaintly enough for me, wife, and two kids. 2 Toyota’s paid for, have great 2800sf house, and save 15% for retirement. Am 26 and graduated without debt by going to community college then transferring to state university.

    I got to my magic number because I graduated college in a field with good job prospects. It is my magic number because it pays for all my needs and many of my wants.

  17. I feel I dont make enough. I’m 26 make approximately $80K annually. I’ve picked up a part time job that would push my annual salary to approximately 3 figures. Making the choice to go to grad school and use my $, has left me scrambling to purchase a house in the near future (post grad). Saving up for a $350K house by yourself is an arduous task. Defitely feeling that I don’t earn enough right now.

  18. I feel I don’t earn enough since I’m not living the life style I want. I do pretty decent, but a guy with so many talents and skills to fall back on, I feel I should be earning atleast $100,000 a year. I’m looking at starting a part time repair business after first of the year and see where that takes me.

  19. Although my husband and my combined income is around 48K, we feel we are doing pretty well for where we are at in our lives. I am 26 and he is 24. He works at Starbucks while going to school and am a self employed/freelance photographer who gets the opportunity to photograph newborns 4 days a week while starting up my own photography company. I love my job and hopefully after my husband graduates, he will also find a career that he is passionate about. We have no debt and plan and getting him through school debt free as well. We have 10K in an emergency fund, started our 401K earlier this year and are saving now for our down payment so we can own a home in about 4 years. I hope that when he graduates we can be making about 80K. It does not matter how much you make (to a degree) if you learn how to live within your means and start saving for your goals.

  20. My husband and I make a combined salary of $85k. This is enough for us to live on, but we wanted to be more stable at this point in our lives. We have small debt from a car loan and student loans. However, the biggest obstacles are finding enough to build up our emergency fund to where it should be and preparing our finances for our baby that is coming in February. We are really hoping for bonuses and/or a decent tax refund this year! So do we earn enough? Maybe, but we didn’t have enough saved before we decided to move into the parenthood chapter of our lives. And I’m worried that this will set us back much further than we can afford.

  21. I think one reason there are so many posts here is because we get to breach the taboo subject of income. “How much do you make?” is not a question a lot of people will ever ask you. It is hard to come up even in significant relationships! I recall telling my dad how much I made after a few years of working (at the time it was $70K) and his response was, you are making twice what I ever made at the top of my career. This made me feel inadequate because he provided for me an amazing home, an amazing childhood, and supported me partially through college. How was this possible when I was still struggling with the 70K (albeit in a big city now versus growing up in the country).
    Still, I know there were many fights about money between my parents so they didn’t have it totally easy, but I do think the relative value of our money today is a lot lower and we have expenses (cell phone, internet, etc.) that never existed then. I make about $80,000 now at 28 and am at the magic number, though if I had a family or wished to return to school, things would get a lot tighter.

    • David Weliver says:

      Great insight, Amber. You’re right that this is a way for people to anonymously indulge the forbidden “how much do you make” question.

      I forget where I read it but I once saw someone claim that in the US, talking about money is more taboo than sex. I believe it.

      I’m not saying we should all go around with our income and net worth on a t-shirt, but I would think that being able to have healthy, non-judgmental conversations about money (especially with family and close friends) is a good thing.

    • Amber – I feel the same way. My parents never went to college and they have lower paying jobs even though they’ve been in the same industries (my dad has been at the same small company) 30+ years, as a bank teller and home appliance repairman. While I started out of college making less than I ever thought I should have started ($28K) as a college grad with a 3.92 GPA, I was fortunate to have a job and my parents thought it was a great start compared to their salaries. Well, now at 27, I make double my starting salary (which I busted my butt for and negotiated every step of the way)and my husband who did not complete college makes $70-75K as software programmer in a niche field (yes, he’s underpaid in our area). I think that’s pretty good considering we are both in the private sector and neither one of our parents gave us a free ride to get where we are today. I do feel bad that my parents who gave me opportunities (nice childhood, paid some of college, etc.) are in a horrible financial situation. I’m an open person, but I don’t share my salary with them to avoid “hurting” them.

      Back to the route of the question, do my husband and I make enough? At this point or in the near future, yes I guess, $125-130K is enough, but we aren’t living like kings just yet because we live in an expensive area (MD). We have a 2 year old daughter and are expecting a son in April, we own a condo, have 2 cars to commute to work. I have student loans ($13K left to pay – down $7K from graduation) and we have some consumer debt which we’ve been working to pay off (scheduled for May 2011). We live comfortably, but as healthcare, child care and other expenses rise our salaries will definitely need to keep pace. Oh yeah, in the next 2-4 years we are planning to actively save $75-100K for a down payment on a single-family house, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

      Since our parents could not help, we skipped the expensive wedding and visited the courthouse, so we’ve made some sacrifices. Although, it was never my plan, we could not afford to live comfortably if I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, but that’s due to our standard of living and our desire to achieve some lofty long-term goals (buying a home in MD, paying for our kids’ college educations & weddings, saving for comfortable retirements). We’ve made some good and bad financial decisions along the way, but all and all we are doing well.

  22. I know I am not making enough. I’m 28 and make just under 40K a year, even after being in the same business for about 6 years now. I feel I should at least be making 55 or 60K given the area (near 3 major cities) and the economy.

  23. I’m 23, didn’t go to college (no debt apart from a small used car loan) and making 55-60K depending on bonuses.

    That gives me enough money to have a nice apartment (renting), nice car, eat out and still have enough each month to save.

    To help support my future goals (own a house, work for myself) i’ve put a considerable (ok, i wont lie, all of it) amount of my savings in the stock market.

    My curent average returns should provide me a very healthy second income once i hit the 50/100K captial range.

    Overall, i think I’m happy where i am financially but outside of that and my career i don’t know what i want to do with my life. A house will be within reach once i hit 25 but then what? Wife? Kids? Retirement? Death?

    Sometimes i wonder what the point is. Trillions of people have been, are and will be where i am over the years. Trying to get a good job, salary and house.

    I want to leave something behind before i die but i don’t know how best to achieve that. I’m hoping, if i save enough now, once i figure that out I’ll have the money i need to do it.

    If i can’t achieve that then i dont think i’ll ever be truly satisfied. Regardless of how much money i earn and spend.

    I suppose its too late to be a doctor/scientist/engineer, cure cancer, invent something useful.

    • Your questions border on the metaphysical longing common to everyone that surely there is something more. Personally I found the answer in Christianity. Ya, that sounds oversimplified, but seriously, we were created for the eternal. C.S. Lewis, the author of the books currently being made in to film (Chronicles of Narnia) wrote a book entitled Mere Christianity. Look it up and read it. It helped me immensely on my spiritual journey and helped me get past all the issues of “organized religion” that many/most non-religious people take issue with. Blessings on your journey and invest in things that last past your short earthly existence. – Josh

  24. Yes. I am 22 and I earn 130-150k per year as a software engineer, depending on stock performance and bonus. Back in May, I thought I would graduate jobless along with most of my peers, so I feel incredibly fortunate to have this job. It just goes to show how strange the job market is right now. Corporate profits are as high as ever, but they’re not being widely distributed. It’s also evidence to the shortage of good engineers in the US right now. All of the computer science majors from my school have good jobs by now.

    This salary is more than I really know what to do with. I rent a bedroom in an apartment, don’t own a car, I eat most of my meals at work for free and use the onsite gym, so right now I am saving most of it. There’s no guarantee that this will last, so I don’t feel I can spend freely.

  25. No. I do not make near enough. I make enough to pay my basic bills and save a little. By the end of each month I come up short and have to decide what is more of a priority.

    I am 25 and just recently engaged. I just moved in with my fiance who made 38K last year (without any college) and I myself will make 17K this year with only an Associates Degree.

    We have no kids and no pets and both come from college-less middle class families.

    In the last two years, my hours and pay half been cut down 75%, first having been laid off from my retail management position to going to work for a big bank, where instead of more hours or bonuses, my hours have went from 45 to 30 to now 20, which will make me a mere 12K next year. The teller is definitely being slowly phased out.

    The local colleges are experiencing such high enrollment from all the extra unemployed attending, I am far on the list as a priority to receive aid, even though we more than qualify, leaving me to continue to either pay for college out of pocket or not attend at all.

    We have ran spreadsheet after spreadsheet and have done any side work we could come across (pt work in retail, lawn care, and photography) to make extra money but it is not enough to even think of planning a wedding or even think of expanding our family with children.

    The worst part is that we are very simple people. We have used maintained paid off 10year old vehicles, basic cell service, and no tv.

    After estimating a basic living after a conservative small wedding, buying a very modest house, and adding two children to our life, we estimate we need to make atleast 60k but would like to make 75k a year, affording our children college, a comfortable home, and estimating what we need to save for retirement for those years as well.

  26. My husband and I certainly do not make enough! We are both 27 and as a teacher with two graduate degrees I only make 53K a year. As a firefighter my husband makes MAYBE 25K a year. This would be fine except that I have about 7K in student loan debt and he has about 75K. Between our mortgage and one car payment, saving for retirement, and trying to create a decent savings account, we barely make enough to get through the month. Sometimes we don’t buy groceries because we frankly can’t afford it. We rarely shop for ourselves and budget everything, don’t carry any credit card debt or other debt besides our 165K mortgage, and drive older cars. We feel as though we have done everything right by educating ourselves and working in public service fields but unfortunately it says alot about the values system in our country that we struggle so much to get by. I am at the point where I am considering switching careers in order to earn more pay. I think our magic number would have to be in the 150K range in order to pay off our debt in a timely manner and be able to do the things we want with our lives, like have children, which at this point just isn’t in the budget.

    • Dominique says:

      That’s a tough situation. You make a decent salary.. 53k per year isn’t bad at 27 years old. Two grad degree with only 7k in loans.. that’s outstanding. Considering that you are a teacher and receive annual salary step bonuses and only work 190 days a year, you are compensated fairly. Don’t get me wrong, our teachers deserve more money! There is one major issue with your financial situation, which I hope it doesn’t offend you. Your husband has wayyyy too many student loans to make such a small salary. If your husband could make as much as you do, I can guarantee you finances would be a breeze. I would suggest that you continue your job and for your husband to make a career switch. I find it offensive that a firefighter would make such a small salary.. what region do you reside in? If you dont mind me asking.

  27. I think we all understand that wealth is relative to your situation. Enough for me might not be enough for you, but finding ways to get ahead of the curve such as redirecting money that you usually lose to debt, interest, and taxes is a great way to have enough.

  28. I know I don’t make enough, but I guess for now I’m making do. I’ll estimate this year, since I was still in school a few months, I’ll have made around $9000. Probably the same next year since I am planning on returning to school in August.

    I graduated college in May, and though I worked all through school I never seemed to make enough then either, having to put car repairs and normal expenses like groceries on credit cards. My parents definitely don’t make enough for themselves and my younger brother, so although they did their best to help me when they could, I was not as fortunate as it seems many of the others posting here were as far as financial aid or support. I graduated with about $20,000 in student loans, and by the time I pay it off I will have paid almost twice that thanks to compounding interest. I have, over the past months, made $7.75 – $10.00 an hour and worked over 50 hours a week between the 4 jobs I had. I had over 15 interviews for full-time positions in the area where we live, but I only received one offer, and chose to turn it down because it only paid $28k, was an hour and a half commute (that my 11-year-old care could probably only sustain for a few months), and would have been miserable.

    I would be homeless if it weren’t for the generosity of my fiance’s parents who let me live with him in a house they own rent-free (I pay all the utilities except TV because I explained to my fiance that if I had to pay for it, we wouldn’t have it).

    I have decided to go back to school for a Master’s degree so that I will be more qualified for the types of positions I want (administration for summer camps or youth recreational programs). I recently took on a new job that, although part-time, will be a definite boost to my resume.

    While I’m certainly not making enough and am clearly very far behind many of my peers, I am glad that I have taken this path. I honestly don’t think I would be happy in a job that paid $75k a year for entry-level positions.

    I know I’ll never make the big bucks, but if I like what I do and I’m not stuck in a cubicle all day, it’s worth making less and having to be more careful with my money than others.

  29. I’m 30, in a major city, and make a combined 65k from two jobs. With a mortgage, student loan, and 10k out of pocket expenses per year for grad school, I make enough to make ends meet but my savings and retirement accounts are rather paltry at the moment. Once I’m done with school, my income will be more than enough. In the meantime, I’m trying not to stress about my current situation; I’m willing to sacrifice now for a few years so that life will (hopefully) be a bit easier and more fulfilling later on.

  30. Everyone seems to have it so good. Im 24 and live in Boynton Beach FL. I wanted to be a teacher so I got a degree in English. After getting teaching experience I decided I hated the job. I cant find a job where I’m making over $12 an hour. To top it off I just found out I’m pregnant. My husband only makes 500 take home a week. I wish someone would hire me!!

    • I also live in FL. I think the standard of living here is lower. I live downtown Miami in a luxury apartment while only making $27K. My boyfriend who shares half of the expenses is able to do it on $14.4K a year. Magic number? 3 figures, although I live well now. I travel a few times a year, internationally too. I go out, I eat well, I have enough stuff. It’s all about how you spend your money. I buy a lot of things on Groupon, buy local and seasonal produce, try not to buy anything I do not need while paying down my $25K in student loans. Hope to earn more soon!

  31. more than enough.
    26, working as a pharmacist getting over 100k/yr for the past 2 yrs.
    living with partner in nice rented apt in college town while he goes to grad school. no loans (thanks to scholarships, small part-time jobs in school, and nice parents). Planning to formalize the 7 yr relationship and then help him start tackling his school loans. Excess $ now is headed straight to savings. We are sharing a car ’02 car my parents have given to me but are considering getting a second one

  32. Not at all making enough. 24 years old, earning $29,000 a year. Married, my wife is also 24 going to grad school. We are taking loans for half of her education and paying half out of pocket. We save $0. She also has $0 income so anything either of us buys comes out of my measly paycheck. I suppose the ONLY money I save is 3% a year in a Roth IRA.

  33. I’m 27 and I don’t make enough, period. I make about 25K a year. I fiance and I own a house, I have a car payment, and a credit card payment. On top of house bills and groceries, I don’t even have enough money at the end of the month to put in savings. How much would be enough? I just want to be comfortable. I’m currently in school for dietetics, but still have about 3 years to go. I’ve been going part time because I work full time. Hopefully I will make around 40k when I’m done with that. I think that would be sufficient. I just want to be able to contribute to my house, save, and not be so depressed about money every single month of every singe year. I will get there though. 2011 is going to be a good year!

  34. I know I don’t make enough, but I guess for now I’m making do. I’ll estimate this year, since I was still in school a few months, I’ll have made around $9000. Probably the same next year since I am planning on returning to school in August. I graduated college in May, and though I worked all through school I never seemed to make enough then either, having to put car repairs and normal expenses like groceries on credit cards. My parents definitely don’t make enough for themselves and my younger brother, so although they did their best to help me when they could, I was not as fortunate as it seems many of the others posting here were as far as financial aid or support. I graduated with about $20,000 in student loans, and by the time I pay it off I will have paid almost twice that thanks to compounding interest. I have, over the past months, made $7.75 – $10.00 an hour and worked over 50 hours a week between the 4 jobs I had. I had over 15 interviews for full-time positions in the area where we live, but I only received one offer, and chose to turn it down because it only paid $28k, was an hour and a half commute (that my 11-year-old care could probably only sustain for a few months), and would have been miserable. I would be homeless if it weren’t for the generosity of my fiance’s parents who let me live with him in a house they own rent-free (I pay all the utilities except TV because I explained to my fiance that if I had to pay for it, we wouldn’t have it). I have decided to go back to school for a Master’s degree so that I will be more qualified for the types of positions I want (administration for summer camps or youth recreational programs). I recently took on a new job that, although part-time, will be a definite boost to my resume. While I’m certainly not making enough and am clearly very far behind many of my peers, I am glad that I have taken this path. I honestly don’t think I would be happy in a job that paid $75k a year for entry-level positions. I know I’ll never make the big bucks, but if I like what I do and I’m not stuck in a cubicle all day, it’s worth making less and having to be more careful with my money than others.

  35. 27, married, making about $160K base (combined with husband) + $25-$30k bonus (combined) a year. We live in NYC metro area and unfortunately, this is fine for 2 singles but not enough for the future. We definitely afford a nice life here- restauarts,rent small (2 br) but nice apartment in Westchester suburb, some travel, about $100k in cash savings alone. Hoping to have kids but will be priced out of this market, as pre-school tuition can be $20k/year alone. Also, I assume I will need to change jobs/careers from my high-paid Wall St gig to a more local/scaled-back position once I have kids- the hours and commute do not make sense. Or we will move to south or mid-west- a modest 3br house in a good suburb of NY can run you $750k+.
    Magic number in NYC would be about $400-$450k/year. I am trying to convince my husband to move elsewhere- I am pretty confident that about $90-100K in say, Tennessee or Wisonsin would be my idea of perfect!

  36. At this point in my life I certainly make enough, but it is not sustainable for the rest of my life. 22, just graduated from college, earning about $60k. I am thankful to be in a good position to build a strong financial foundation for the rest of my life, but $60k isn’t enough to build a home and family in the Bay Area, California that I see as ideal.

    One of the greatest things one can do is begin to use Mint to track your income, spending, and visualize your financial progress. My first priority was to aggressively pay down ALL credit cards to a $0 balance. Once my credit score went up I was able to secure a card with a $4k limit. I only use that card and only spend what I have so I can pay off my balance every month.

    I have a car payment with about a $3.3k balance that I aggressively pay off (more than one payment per month) and have begun to save since I have gotten rid of my credit card debt. I also contribute 10% to my 401k (considering doing more) and plan to increase as I get future raises, such that my income is taxable at less than %68k (as long as I can do so).

    I have fortunately have only about $5k in federal student loans. I hope to one day earn about 250k alone.

  37. Age 27, earning $87K a year. Yes, it’s enough.

    When I was on $59K I couldn’t afford my lifestyle. On $67K I could afford my lifestyle but not my savings. On $87K I can afford my lifestyle and meet my savings goals.

    I know you’re supposed to save before determining your lifestyle, but sometime the theory is easier than the practice!

  38. 25, recently laid off, only working part time making less than half of what I made before. Unfortunately I was a contractor so I couldn’t go on unemployment. Before I was very comfortable, able to save about 20% of my income each month. Now I’m barely scraping by. Still looking for another job – glad I saved some money while I had the chance! Good luck to those others who are down – and all of you doing very well, congrats, & encourage your companies to hire!!

  39. I make about $63k, fiance makes $45k, and we’re struggling to figure out how we’ll afford a family. I’m in NYC, paying for grad school part-time out of pocket, and saving nothing. He saves very little because high city expenses eat up his paycheck.

    Unfortunately, his income isn’t likely to rise for years, and the field I’m entering will result in a pay cut rather than an increase. (But make me a happier person, which is worth something!)

    We want to start a family, like, yesterday, but how can we avoid a life plagued by stress over money? We’re both afraid we’ll be miserable if we move out of Brooklyn and everyone/ everything we know.

  40. Wow, some folks just need more money, I guess. I just hit 27 years and make 47k. I’m almost done with my 3rd year in the working world and have paid off 12k in credit card debt and 12k out of 42k in student debt while tithing 10% and putting 20% into retirement. That’s maxing my roth ira contributions and putting the rest into an investment account that I’ve designated for retirement but currently pay cap gain taxes on.

    I love your financial attitude!

    • now i make 66 and its more than any single guy needs in a midsize town in texas needs.

  41. No… not really. But it’s something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately. I make about $45K at a small non profit and my husband is a vet going to school on the GI Bill which pays about $1700/month for living expenses (only for the months he’s in school; summer = no $1700).

    I love what I do, but I really want to be able to save more and buy a house/pay off our car. We don’t have a lot of debt… no student loans, no major credit card debt and a car payment (on only one of our cars) that is reasonable. We’ve cut back on frivolous expenses but I still think there is room for me to make more, especially in my field. The hard part is; I really love what I do and the organization I work for and we don’t live anywhere near the city so commuting is almost out of the question – some places won’t even consider interviewing me because I’m so out of the way. My husband has offered to get a part time job while in school, but I am of the opinion that he needs to buckle down and focus solely on school so he can graduate sooner and have a paying job.

    It’s not easy to make the decision to job search but we want a family and a house and the luxury to go out to eat every now and then so I might have to think about it… unfortunately we’re on such a tight budget at work that I know they’re already paying me as much as they can.

    Thankfully, your blog has provided us with lots of tips so we’re working on it for 2011!

  42. My wife and I are 27 and 28 live in manhattan and only make combined 150k a year with bonus extra. No kids and just a 4 year old civic that is garages in the city. When I was younger I always thought it would be fine to hit the 150 mark adjusted for inflation. At this time though while we are comfortable having just one kid will put us in a bind. I would say for just the two of us yes we make enough to enjoy NYC.

  43. Yes, I make enough. In 2010 I made $109,000 at 27 years old working for a top tech firm. I graduated with a BA,MA, and MBA, so I hit my goal with my earning potential that I set a long time ago.

    After taxes, I bring home about $4800 a month, which is great. My rent is low ($1295/month), student loan payments aren’t bad ($590/month) and food/insurance/cable/internet is about $500 a month tops. This means that in two weeks, I’m set for the month and the rest, goes to either a larger student loan payment or saving.

    I just recently hit $15,000 in my savings/emergency fund, which I think is enough, for me. I wanted to have more than enough to last me through any problems, and I hit that goal. I also paid down $13K last year in credit card debt, which I was quite proud of. Most of the CC debt was from moving across country anyway.

    I consider myself VERY blessed; I have a personal relationship with my savior, Jesus, and give him all of the credit for my accomplishments.

    • serious FBer says:

      where’s the “like” button? ;-) Kevin know’s what it’s all about!

    • Are you serious? How are you being taxed about HALF of your income? Even though your single but how can that be even possible? Where do you live?

  44. I earn $50,000 working in the medical software field. Its more than enough for me to live on here in Southern California( shocking I know!). I am 30 years old, no consumer or student debt. I paid off my car a year early and shop frugally. I’m paying tuition myself at $350/mo for the next year. I don’t do the whole clubbing and partying thing (a real money snatcher) and allow myself $300/mo for food and entertainment and it always works out to be more than enough. I’ve learned it’s not just how much you earn but what you do with it that will make or break your financial present and future.

  45. George P. Burdell says:

    I’m 35 and making around 140k. I’m single with no debt except for the mortgage. I live in the Atlanta area; so my living expenses are low compared to Manhattan or LA.

    Am I making enough money? For my current situation and lifestyle, definitely. If I got married, have kids, got a bigger house, etc; maybe not..

    I started working in the IT industry 11 years ago @ 40k. My salary was pretty stagnant for several years as I started right before the .COM bust in 2000. After 5 years; I was able to double my salary by jumping ship. I’ve jumped ship twice in the past 6 years and have gotten nice bumps each time. Now, I’m at the point where making more money is secondary to quality of life.

    I have 50k in liquid assets in case of an emergency and probably another 250k in retirement accounts. I want to think this is pretty good for my age, but personally I think it’s low based on my retirement goals. I’d like to retire by 55 with 2 million after taxes and in today’s dollars.

  46. What do you all do for a living? I’m 27 and I make 40k a year… I work my ass off… I hate my job… and wish I made more.

    Are there any industries you’d recommend getting into?

    • Most office work will pay more than $40k. Easiest way to find better paying work is to look at your skills and search on job websites. If you don’t have skills, go to a community course and start building them up, then in your current job ask for responsibilities that will let you have real-world experience to back up the skills you’re learning in your training.

      • I think salary varies a lot depending on where you live. I live in Kansas City and I’d say $40,000 would be decent for an office job. I am in outside sales and make $44,000 at the age of 27. I have a degree in Marketing and MBA in Management.

  47. Gee, no single parents here, or really anyone over 40. I stayed home with my kids, doing whatever odd jobs I could, while they were little. I wound up with a small massage business, 5 kids, and no husband. We had been making ~ $25000 a year, which dropped to about $13000. So I took out massive loans and got a chemistry degree. I still have 2 kids at home, and half my student loan paid off, a $6000 small business loan, and I make $55000 a year. It’s not enough. I have $12000 in savings, enough for 4 careful months. I don’t have enough to retire. Tomorrow is my 45th birthday. I plan on asking for a raise and I started my own company in January. I work a lot.

  48. I’m 25. Graduated in 2007 with a journalism degree, never got a media job. Maybe because I’m in NYC it’s ultracompetitive out here. In grad school now for elementary education, because I love working with kids. Alot of people on here have technical jobs, that’s why they make all that money. Also it helps to be married- two incomes instead of one. But the last job I had was seasonal, no benefits, even though it helped my resume, which is good, the money was horrible. It was an afterschool program. It was only 15 hours per week $15/hour- I spent like $45/week to take a cab to go to school straight from work. I want to go on vacation, and get my own apartment and stuff, but it’s difficult right now to save money. I had to buy a new bed and fix my tooth, which were expensive. When the temp job ends in a few weeks, I have to look for another job. No unemployment for me because it was seasonal. Last year I made 5K. Again all temp seasonal work. I don’t want to work full-time because I’m in grad school full-time.

  49. Divorced with 3 small kids . I only make 55k with degree and have 15 yrs same company and 40 yrs old. I will get a company retirement and have only 80k in my 401K and nothing in cash. Debt is 130k (house) no cc or car debt. But always out of money. Travel I wish. Little resentful but try and console myself that I will get a pension and full medical once retired. How much would ever be enough? If I did make more then it would self indulgent things … lipo/medical peel/gym membership/shoes I think that it is money that should go to someone less fortunate than me. More money yes but would I give it to the right people that TRUELY NEED it? As long as I can feed, cloth my kids, pay my bills then I am truely blessed. I compare myself to the turtle and the rest rabbits making fast money. .

  50. Honestly, who are all these people making tons of money at age 26-28? I was pumped to make $35k coming out of college at 22. I’m now at 50k with a business degree.

  51. I’m 28 and my wife is 29, and we have a 19 month old son.Together we were making about $83,000 but then we had our son and she decided to not go back to work. We are now at $55,000 and struggling. We rent a house(rent is very low)own 2 vehicles (i get a car allowance), and spend $85/week in groceries. Other then that, we really don’t spend much money. Our issue is we had a rash of medical issues that racked up about $8,000 in bills which made us very “cash poor”, so we had to start using credit cards for usual purchases (gas, groceries, tolls, etc). So now our credit cards are shooting up, and i can’t seem to stop drowning. I’m in the process of interviewing for another job that will help me eliminate one of our cars, and pays about $20k more per year.

    My “Goal” for the three of us to live comfortable would be $100k/year

    Any suggestions?

    • My suggestions are for you to either move back in with your parent so they could watch the kid or your wife needs another job. Having a kid tough the first 3 years, but hang on tight and save. It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save. Remember to eliminate all debt before you start to on saving. Good luck guys.

  52. I’m 21, just graduated from college in May. I have no debts and about $8,000 in savings. I’m at a new job which will get me roughly $23k/yr. I have very low rent which I alternate every other month with my girlfriend, and few other expenses (fortunately!). I’ve estimated that I should be able to save just under half my monthly salary pretty regularly. In 2 more months I get to open a 403(b) retirement plan (which I’m so stoked about!), and once I have $15,000 saved in my bank account I’m going to begin investing.

    My girlfriend is starting grad school in the Fall (all tuition paid, plus TA-ship). She has $15,000 saved. She won’t be able to save up much on her end for the next 2-3 years, but at least she won’t go into debt with student loans, and once she graduates (assuming she can get a job), she should be making at least $50k/yr., which will be enough for us (plus my salary) until we want to start having kids (at which point, I honestly have no idea how much money we’ll need).

    We’re both very conservative with our money and have been saving since high school, which is why I know we can be comfortable with smaller incomes. Our apartment recently burned bown so we had to dip into our savings a bit to recover, but hey, that’s what emergency funds are for, right? At least it didn’t push us into debt. :)

  53. Hey! Advice for me? I’m 24, and working full-time (39 hours/week) at Starbucks. I love the area I’m in but am having a very hard tme finding anything my major could apply to- food/writing (I, however, do not have a culinary degree and do not want to be a chef or cook). My total income is 900 a month if I am luck enough to get enough hours, my insurance + rent + energy + food total exactly 900. So if I buy gas, want to eat healthier, or do anything fun at all, I am slowly going into even more debt. I owe 10,000 in college debt which I haven’t even begun to pay and I am SUPER shy. Is there anything I could do to get out of debt (second job?) that will help me and still leave me at least a little me-time?



    • Hi Jennifer,

      I’m really shy too so I was extremely nervous about being able to make a living (This world caters to extroverts, sigh). My new job, which I spoke about in the comment above yours, is as an Administrative Assistant at a Presbyterian church (which is basically a glorified secretary/receptionist). I’m not Presbyterian, but I was able to get the job because I have a background and knowledge of the Christian faith and church practices, so I’d be able to do my job well. My major was in writing/psychology, so I’m probably no more qualified for a position like this than you are, but I’m making twice as much as you (~900 every 2 weeks). I’m explaining all of this because people at Christian churches are nice, and I knew that my being shy wouldn’t phase them as long as I was also nice, and hard-working. Now, I also had a lot of solid references who were able to speak to my introversion not being a hindrance to my employment. So, for your situation, I would recommend seeking out similar companies or businesses that would be more understanding of your shyness. For example, I’ve found through experience that people who work for places like non-profits, churches, human/social services, etc. are going to be more open to hiring a shy person. Sales positions, executive positions, etc., may not be. So, you have fewer choices, but I promise there is a right fit for you out there that pays more than being a Starbucks barista.

      I’m going to try to start selling my photography as extra income, and if that doesn’t work I’ll get a second part-time job for nights/weekends in retail or something. Finding something you can do from home might also be good. Have you looked into writing for food magazines? I mean, you could maybe even just begin as an admin assistant for a food magazine (or online journal?), and work your way up to writing as a food critic or something.

      Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. :) Good luck!

    • You should try to move up at Starbucks like a manager position, and cut down your spending. Why not move back with your parent and save the rent $… Remember Input > Output. and not the other way around…There will be no easy answer for you, you have to find your own answer because everyone’s life is unique. Good luck.

  54. Oljas Toleu says:

    I am 23, and make about $75k a year, working in finance. My wife is 7 months pregnant and we own a house in a nice neighborhood in a minneapolis suburb. My tip is paying off your debt– I had about 12-13k in credit card debt last year, and the minimum payments on those was about $350-400 a month! Paying those off, not only do i not have the debt looming over my head, but that’s money that I could put towards savings. I still have about $21k in student loans, but I don’t really worry about those.

    • Hey Oijas
      it ‘s not about how much you make, rather how much you save. money is King.. i would pay off these credit cards first year w/out saving. rip them up since they charged high interest rates. then focus on your student loans next 2 yrs. remember to live below your means these 3 yrs. cut back on small stuff to accomplish greater goal , that is, live without debt.down size all your bills such as cell phone, electric, gas, no eat out, bring food to work. good luck.

  55. Andrew So says:

    I’m 28 and I make 55k/year. I have 1.6k left in my student loans, paid off my car, and have no credit card debt. I have about 10k in the bank and another 10k in investments. I’m doing okay but I live with my parents. I live in the bay area so I can’t imagine renting…I would feel broke as hell.

  56. I am 45 years old. I make 24K, year. I have 6000. In a savings account. How can I make the most money from my savings? What advice do you have for how to save more money? Make more money? At my age. Also I am in debt $13,000.