How much money Americans think you need to make to be 'rich'

How much money Americans think you need to make to be 'rich'

New Tax Changes Increase The Definition Of Rich

The Trump administration viewed individuals making $500,000 and married couples making $600,000 as rich. Those are the rough income thresholds that now pay the top federal marginal income tax rate of 37%. Further, the estate tax threshold increased to $12.06 million per individual and $24.12 million per married couple for 2022. But these thresholds are expected to drop under the Biden administration.

There are two aspects of monetary wealth we can focus on: Income and Capital. Some make a lot of income. But they have only a little amount of capital since they are either starting off in their careers. Or they haven’t saved and invested an appropriate amount. That’s not going to happen to you because you read Financial Samurai! You will follow my savings guide to ensure capital accumulation.

Meanwhile, there are those with a tremendous amount of Capital, with little income given. They may have inherited their wealth and, therefore, have no income generating skills.

Capital-heavy people may have invested skillfully over the years, built great companies, or were incredibly disciplined in their savings. There are many different types of folks in the Capital heavy category. It’s not a bad place to be at all.

Ideally, it’s best to have both high income and a large capital base. This is my goal, and therefore my goal for all of you as well. In this post, we’ll focus on the income side of the equation.


South Dakota

Minimum salary needed to be happy: $103,950 South Dakotans can expect an easier time than most of the country when it comes to property crime. The rate of 17.71 crimes per 1,000 residents each year is among the nation’s lowest.

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 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’s the average salary for a single person?

The average salary for a single person is $1,089 for men and $900 for women per week in the US. This equates to an annual income of $56,628 for men and $46,800 for women on average.

So with men earning four figures in money and women getting three figures a week, is that how much you can expect to get too?

Well, while these figures are provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, you’d be forgiven for thinking that those figures sound a bit off. At least for me, I know very few people who earn that much. So I’ll explain why it seems unreasonable.

The issue is in the use of “average” vs “median”.

The issue is in the use of “average” vs “median”. A mathematical average is computed by adding up all the values in a list and dividing the sum by the number of entries. However, a median is a value in the middle position of a list, meaning half the entries are above or before it, and the other half are below or after it.

This means that a few people earning high salaries can push the average up, with the result being that it makes it look like everyone is earning more when, in reality, only some people are. The same also applies when you have a few very low income earners who may push the average down.

In summary, let’s leave it at this: it’s generally better to look at median earnings rather than average earnings to get an idea of the true situation as the median amount isn’t affected by any outliers.

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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.

Average Salary in the U.S. by Industry

  • Food Preparation: $27,650
  • Health Ccare Support: $32,250
  • Personal Care and Service: $32,610
  • Farming, Fishing, and Forestry: $33,310
  • Construction and Extraction: $53,940
  • Education: $59,810
  • Art, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media: $64,400
  • Business and Financial Operations: $80,680
  • Architecture and Engineering: $90,300
  • Computer and Mathematical: $96,770

Source: Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

How can negotiating help women get higher salaries?

In 2018, Robert Half reported that 45 percent of women negotiated their salaries. Negotiating and asking for raises can get you closer to a good salary and increase your earning potential, which is the amount of money you can earn over the course of your career. To ensure that you are negotiating effectively, use these specific strategies: 

  • Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to research the standard pay for your position and industry.

  • Consider your cost of living. Do you want a living wage, comfortable wage, or ideal wage?

  • Be prepared to back it up. Be ready to talk about how you’ve met goals, exceeded expectations, and positioned your employer for success. 

  • Know the national average. Use this as your baseline then adjust it accordingly to generate a fair number.

  • Add tax. If you determine that a $50,000 salary is enough for you to live comfortably, ask for $60,000 to give yourself “wiggle room” in your negotiation. 

  • Check InHerSight company reviews. Access other women’s self-reported reviews before asking for a raise. Other useful online resources include Glassdoor,, and Payscale. 

Read more: How to Accept a Job Offer: When to Negotiate & What to Say

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

Is $50,000 a year a good salary

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the value of a salary depends on individual circumstances.

However, generally speaking, a salary of $50,000 a year is considered good. It allows for a comfortable standard of living while also providing some room for saving and investments.

In fact, if you earn $50,000 a year in America, you are considered middle class. Compared to other Americans, you are doing well.

How much house can you afford on 50K a year?

It varies. There are many factors that come into play when choosing how much house you can afford, including your down payment, income to debt ratio, credit score, etc. So…that said, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to provide an exact number.

For example, if you have:

  • A credit score between 700-719
  • Down payment of $20,000
  • Monthly debt below $250

You could likely afford a home with a purchase price of $220,000, financed at 2.85%. Your monthly payment including PMI, home insurance, and property taxes would be around $1,250 per month.

How much should your rent be if you make 50000 dollars a year?

According to, you should aim to spend no more than 1/3 of your take-home pay on rent.

This means, if your net pay is $3,317, you can afford about $1,200 per month in rent. You can increase this number by cutting back on entertainment and other non-essential expenses.

Is 50K enough to live on?
Is 50K enough to live on?

Can you live on $50,000 a year

While there are many ways to make more money, (see below) the answer to this question largely depends on your lifestyle and spending habits.

In general, a salary of $50,000 a year is enough to live comfortably in America.

Of course, this varies depending on location. For example, someone earning $50,000 a year in New York City would likely have a much different standard of living than someone making the same salary in rural Arkansas.

If you are a family of 4 living in the U.S., you could reasonably live on a combined salary of $50,000 a year.

This could be done with 1 working parent earning about $24,000 a year and the other earning $26,000.

Depending on where you live in America, this might require living frugally or having one spouse work from home part-time to reduce childcare costs.

Again, it is important to note that this varies depending on location.

In more expensive areas of the country, $50,000 may not be enough to cover all of a family’s living expenses. However, in many parts of the country, it is possible to live comfortably on this salary.

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Factors relevant to determining what’s a good salary for a single person to live comfortably

The American Dream is based on the concept that all Americans should be able to work hard, live comfortably, and be rewarded with a sustainable retirement in their elderly years.

In the face of various financial landscape changes over decades, it’s fair to say that questions have been asked as to whether the United States remains as the Land of Opportunity it has always been thought to be – especially when you look at some of the data points on this issue.

Many sources show, for example, that earnings incr

Many sources show, for example, that earnings increases among top executives continue to far outpace earnings increases of workers. Between 1978 and 2017, CEO compensation increased more than one-thousand percent compared to an 11% increase for employees.

For many of us, it’s sort of difficult to live that “American Dream” with such disparate income levels!

So, what’s a good salary for a single person to live comfortably in the US today? It depends on your lifestyle, money-related goals, and long-term life and personal financial plans. Consider your unique needs for:

  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • Health and fitness
  • Vehicle payment
  • Charitable gifting
  • Emergency funds
  • Credit card payments
  • Student loan repayment
  • 401K or other investments
  • Vacation and travel expenses
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Health, auto and life insurance
  • Electricity, natural gas or other utilities
  • (One of the most important) Where you live

What does living comfortably mean to you? Do you plan on starting a family in the future? There are numerous variables to consider. For that reason, you’ll need to clearly define your current needs and future goals to determine the best salary for you.

How much savings will you need to retire?

Now let’s determine how much savings you’ll need to retire. After you’ve figured out how much income you’ll need to generate from your savings, the next step is to calculate how large your retirement nest egg needs to be for you to produce this much income in perpetuity.

A retirement calculator is one option. Or, you can use the “4% rule.” The 4% rule says that in your first year of retirement, you can withdraw 4% of your retirement savings.

So, if you have $1 million saved, you would take $40,000 out during your first year of retirement either in a lump sum or as a series of payments. In subsequent years of retirement, you would adjust this amount upward to keep up with cost-of-living increases.

The most important consideration in deciding how m

The most important consideration in deciding how much you need to retire is whether you’ll have enough money to create the income you need to support your desired quality of life after you retire.

The idea is that if you follow this rule, you shouldn’t have to worry about running out of money in retirement. Specifically, the 4% rule is designed to make sure your money has a high probability of lasting for a minimum of 30 years.

To calculate a retirement savings target based on the 4% rule, you use the following formula:

Retirement savings target = Annual income required x 25

Continuing our example, we saw in the previous section that our couple would need $4,000 per month ($48,000 per year) from their savings. So, in this case, our couple should aim for $1.2 million in retirement savings accounts, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA), to provide $48,000 per year in sustainable retirement income.

It’s important to note that the 4% rule has a number of flaws. It assumes you’ll withdraw the same amount each year in retirement, adjusted for inflation. It also assumes your portfolio will be split between stocks and bonds throughout your retirement. 

So how much income do you need?

The reason you don’t need to replace 100% of your pre-retirement income is that when you retire, you’re typically able to eliminate certain expenses. For example:

  • You’ll no longer have to save for retirement (obviously).
  • You might spend less on commuting expenses and other costs related to going to work.
  • You may have paid off your mortgage by the time you retire.
  • You may not need life insurance if you no longer have dependents.

But retiring on 80% of your annual income isn’t perfect for everyone. You might want to adjust your goal up or down based on the type of retirement lifestyle you plan to have and if your expenses will be significantly different.

For example, if you plan to travel frequently in retirement, you may want to aim for 90% to 100% of your pre-retirement income. On the other hand, if you plan to pay off your mortgage before you retire or downsize your living situation, you may be able to live comfortably on less than 80%.

Let’s say you consider yourself the typical retiree. Between you and your spouse, you currently have an annual income of $120,000. Based on the 80% principle, you can expect to need about $96,000 in annual income after you retire, which is $8,000 per month.

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.

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