Living comfortably on a relatively low income

<p>How much money per year is necessary to live comfortably? I live in NY btw. I do not want to waste my time and money majoring in something that is not going to give me a lot of money. I know ppl are going to say money does not buy happiness but could you just answer the question. Putting what you do would also be quite helpful.</p>

<p>It depends on where you live, how you live, and whether you’re just supporting yourself or supporting a family. There’s no one answer.</p>

<p>No one can give you an exact figure. If you can pay your bills, put money aside for a comfortable retirement, save 2 years worth of living expenses and have money left over for entertainment, then you are making a comfortable living. Now, that number is going to vary for everyone so if you want to live in NYC you need to figure out rent- VERY EXPENSIVE in NYC-and other living costs. Then figure out from there how much you need for everything else. For a good savings plan–retirement, short term and emergency fund savings you should be putting away 20% of your gross (this can include your disability premiums too). Then your rent should come in at about 1/4 of your TAKE HOME pay, after the above 20%. That will leave you enough money for utitlities, etc. and entertainment. How much money is that for you?</p>

<p>There is no one answer that applies to all situations, but note that the median household income in the US is about $50,000 per year. Obviously, about half of households get by on less than that.</p>

<p>Do you want to stay in NY? Personally I think a family of four can live very comfortably in the NYC suburbs on $100,000 a year. Two cars, modest house. I know plenty of people who do fine on half that.</p>

<p>An important skill in managing money is making your money work efficiently for you - set up streams of income that require a minimum of your work.</p>

<p>I am a little confused:</p>

<p>“I do not want to waste my time and money majoring in something that is not going to give me a lot of money.”</p>

<p>Then why are you asking about Living comfortably on a relatively low income?</p>

<p>The point is, terms like “a lot” of money, and “living comfortably” and obviously, “relatively low income” are not only relative, but vary from person to person. Would you be happy living with a roommate in a tiny efficiency apartment or can you not conceive of life without a weekend house at the shore?</p>

<p>Depends in where you live in NY, I would say, and also your definition of living comfortably. For my family, having a car, having the bills paid, having a bit in the bank for emergencies, and having money for little luxuries (like going out to dinner once in a while) is living comfortably, and my fiance and I are doing that with a combined income <$40,000 per year. </p>

<p>As for tips to how to live comfortably on a relatively low income, though the actual text of your thread suggests this isn’t really what you want to know, the important thing is figuring out the difference between wants and needs. We could’ve found and afforded a bigger apartment, but we just do not need that much space to live. We don’t have data plans on our phones (and have very basic phones), and we also do not have cable. These are all things we are perfectly happy without and that gives us more leeway to spend money elsewhere (or save it), whereas we would have to scrimp and save to have all of these things.</p>

<p>You should track every cent for a month to see where you are spending your money and then look at checkbook for large items that are not monthly charges, such as insurance (auto, home, renter, life, etc). Most people are shocked at how little things such as a daily trip to Starbucks add up. You then need to decide what is important (needs vs wants) if you want to cut back.</p>

<p>My daughter and I live in Brooklyn, on considerably less than the median family incoome. Yes, rent is ridiculous (and buying a place even moreso) but it’s possible to live without a car, and thanks to zipcar, it’s pretty easy to have one when you need it. My kid has friends from families with less and friends from families with more.</p>

<p>I know the OP is talking about a different stage of life, just starting out. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages. Much less bang for the buck in rent money, but more opportunities to find a place to put your bed where you won’t be judged for not having that starter house. And plenty of entertainment for free or low price.</p>

<p>I make the equivalent of about $22,000 a year. I have my own flat, and can generally buy myself what I need and want, while still saving about $200 a month, and paying $200 a month in loans. It’s all about budgeting properly, and not spending wildly. It also helps that I don’t have a car.</p>

<p>As said above, what “living comfortably” means to one person could be completely different than it means to you. So no way really to answer your question.</p>

<p>My niece and her hubby, both 30, live in a one bedroom in Brooklyn on a combined salary of approx $100K/year with benefits. She is a development officer at a non profit and he is a chef who now runs the test kitchen for a restaurant group. Neither of their jobs have anything to do with what they majored in. They have one car (but get a lot of parking ticket.) We had a long conversation about their finances last summer as she is worrying how they will be able to afford day care or her not working when they have a kid. They don’t think they can afford that yet. They also wonder if they will ever be able to afford to buy a house. According to her they save about $500/month. I did point out they could save quite a bit more if they stopped flying coast to coast every time one of their friends got married. I am also quite sure I could reduce their other expenses if they let me. </p>

<p>Neither of them have college loans and their car was purchased used when they lived in SF 4 years ago.</p>

<p>I know many people, at the very highest levels of income, who utilize Zipcars in NYC and find it incredibly convenient because in addition to the expense, unless you have a very closely-located garage, owning a car in the city can be a total pain in the neck.</p>

<p>I have a colleague that has lived her entire life in Manhattan (grew up in Village, went to NYU, etc) and does not have a drivers license. The only time it’s a problem is on business trips when a car rental is needed, but she is able to work around it. Most of my NYC colleagues don’t seem to buy cars until they have kids.</p>

<p>Much of the answer depends on value judgments–what do YOU consider needs for a lifestyle you envision. Deciding on whether you will remain in a household of one, have a partner, possibly have and raise a family. Each of these choices will affect costs. Another big choice is where you want to live. Housing in HI is MUCH more expensive than housing in most other places and is generally an important consideration.</p>

<p>You have to know whether you will need one or more vehicles to get around, whether there is mass transit available, etc. Over the years, I have held many jobs–trial attorney, housewife/homemaker, part-time hearing officer, part-time judge, and now part-time public health executive director. I am very fortunate that my husband has had benefits from his job as a federal employee so it was OK for none of my jobs to offer benefits.</p>

<p>Staying in a partnership with the same person is good financial sense as well. There are a lot of costs when partnerships dissolve and separate households are required!</p>

<p>Wow this is a lot to think about. I asked because my parents want me to be a doctor and I know I can do it but Thts not my dream. I want to work in the videogame industry but it is a very tough world for females.
I plan to live in NY, preferably Brooklyn (that’s probably pretty vague still). I def. want a car and kids. I dnt mind living in an apartment for a few years but then I eventually want to own my own house. I don’t know. It is a lot to think about and digest. Thanks for all the responses guys.</p>

<p>There’s a very interesting thread in the pre-med section i believe its called ‘is a medical career worth it?’ but the thread essentially compares becoming a doctor or doing an MBA career such as investment banking with income being the main focus. But if I took anything from the thread it was do not enter into the medical field for money because you will be miserable if it isn’t what you want to do. Many doctors and surgeons came on posting their personal salaries which surprisingly were not as much as many perceived. Of course location and specialty play a major role but say you made 150k you also have to pay taxes and malpractice insurance which can be pretty expensive 20-80k so your take home pay is even less (private practices) but I would say the pay is not worth it committing 12+ years if your life giving up your 20s giving up sleep and then once your’re hired having to give up family time etc working 50+ hrs just because you want, or your parents want you to have a job that makes ‘a lot of money’ . I’m not discouraging you to became a doctor I bet it’s a very fulfilling job if that’s what you want to do but if you want a well paying job go into business or become a pharmacist these professions can make just as much without as much sacrifice.</p>

<p>You could also consider becoming a Nurse Practitioner, if that’s what you’re interested in and only pursue a medical degree if you’re POSITIVE that you want to have all that additional schooling and stress.</p>

<p>There are many paths to having a decent vehicle and raising a family. Living in an expensive area like Brooklyn will require more compromises than a less expensive area, but the tradeoff is that there are more job opportunities as well.</p>

<p>For most jobs, it’s great to LOVE what you do because the passion does show and can help you excell. It’s so wonderful to meet/know people who LOVE their jobs and are so delighted that they are paid for doing what they love. Many others at least find some or many parts of their jobs that are enjoyable or at least pleasant and manage fine. Studying and striving for a position that a person HATES is a good way to be unhappy.</p>

<p>Consider expanding your interests beyond the videogame industry to something else tech related. You’re practically there if you’re a techie anyways, especially if you’re female. Forget being a doctor if you aren’t passionate about it. Too expensive, too much work, you need to really want that path.</p>

<p>My son just got a job as a software engineer in NYC, when he graduates in May. Six figure salary, a couple of roommates, no car, and I’m sure he’ll be living comfortably in NYC. There are all sorts of tech jobs in NYC that pay great, in the new “Silicon Alley”.</p>