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It’s a legit question.
Is $60,000 a good salary in today’s day and age?
The answer is — it TOTALLY depends.
The two biggest determining factors are:
- Are you single?
- Where do you live?
The truth is, $60k a year can have you living like royalty in some parts of the world. But in others, you’d barely scrape by.
So today, we’ll look at how good a $60k salary is in different places in the United States — and more interestingly, different places in the world.
I think you’ll be surprised at the stark differences in lifestyle. Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
- What is a good salary? (The impossible question)
- Is $60k a good salary in the US?
- Is 60,000 dollars a good salary outside of the US?
- Is $60k a year good for a family?
- Frequently asked questions
What is a good salary? (The impossible question)
When you’re growing up, $60k a year can seem like a ton of money. But the older you get and the more responsibility you take on, earning $5,000 a month starts to look less and less.
As you’ll see, if you’re single and living in a country with a low cost of living, then sixty thousand dollars a year is an awesome salary. You can literally live like a king.
But if you live in San Francisco and have a spouse and a couple of kids, you’re going to struggle.
Let’s crunch the numbers to see what type of lifestyle a $60,000 salary buys you around the world.
Is $60k a good salary in the US?
The U.S. is a huge place. In some cities, the cost of living is outrageous. In others, it’s crazy cheap.
Here are two extremes — California and Mississippi.
If you work remotely and can live anywhere in the U.S., this may be eye-opening. Relocating could instantly upgrade your life.
Is $60,000 a good salary in California?
Starting monthly salary: $5,000
After taxes: ~$3,916 (San Francisco)
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,500
Rent for a three-bedroom apartment: You don’t wanna know
After taxes and rent, you have roughly $1,400 a month for food, clothes, utilities, cell phone, insurance, transportation, and entertainment. Utilities run you around $200 a month. Food is another $200 minimum. The average health insurance premium in California is $487 per month. And if you have a car, tack on an additional $500 a month on top of insurance, property taxes if you own a home, etc…
So for San Francisco, even as a single person with no kids, living on $60k a year is going to be a struggle.
Paying health insurance and adding to a retirement plan could have you eating ramen every day. You won’t be able to eat out, and you’ll more than likely have to get rid of your vehicle and opt for the bus. Chances are you’ll also be renting a private bedroom inside someone else’s place.
The minimum wage in California is $14-15 an hour, which is roughly $30k a year. Making that kind of salary will make it nearly impossible for you to survive in the state’s most expensive cities.
Is $60,000 a good salary in California? No matter how you spin it, $60k a year isn’t going to hack it in Cali. There are small towns where it’d work out, but if you want to live in any major city, you’re going to need more money. Most likely a six-figure salary.
Speaking of which, here are some clever ways to make $10,000 per month online, which would make California living much more comfortable.
Is $60,000 a good salary in Mississippi?
Starting monthly salary: $5,000
After taxes: ~$3,908 (Jackson)
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $800 to $1,000
Rent for a three-bedroom apartment: $1,000 to $1,200
The above rent prices are for Jackson, Mississippi, but the cost of living varies widely throughout the state.
In towns like Oxford and the suburbs of Memphis, housing is expensive. Utilities and food cost more. But once you get closer to the Delta, things change, and not in a good way. The poverty in this part of the country is one of the worst in the U.S.
Public education is lacking, and it’s a situation most people would rather leave than embrace. Mississippi, overall, ranks 45th out of 50 when it comes to education.
The reason I bring this up is that there is no such thing as perfection. For every pro, there is a con. While the pro of a cheap cost of living may be worth it in some parts of the state, the poverty in other parts is not something I would recommend being a part of by choice.
That said, Mississippi is one of those states where $60k a year is a quality salary for both singles and families.
Food costs are similar to California at roughly $250 per month. But overall, the average cost of goods is 14% less than the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average rents and health insurance premiums ($217) are also less than half of California.
The minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour in Mississippi, which is less than half of California. Even in the cheapest states, it’s going to be hard to get by on $15,000 a year. Instead of working a minimum wage job, you’re better picking up one of these online gigs to earn $2,000 a month (or more).
Is $60,000 a good salary in Mississippi? $60k a year is a great salary for most areas of this state. If you want to live in the suburbs of Memphis, you may have to pinch some pennies. But anywhere else, you’ll be living well.
Is 60,000 dollars a good salary outside of the US?
There are over 15.5 million digital nomads from the U.S. — more than triple the amount from a few years ago.
Many location independent workers are realizing that their remote salary can buy them a shockingly extravagant lifestyle in other countries.
But not all foreign countries are cheap. Let’s compare some cheap and expensive examples.
Is $60,000 a good salary in Canada?
Starting monthly salary: $5,000 USD (~$6,257 CAD)
After taxes: ~$3,553 USD (~$4,447 CAD)
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,500 USD
Rent for a three-bedroom apartment: $2,750 USD
Toronto is one of the most expensive cities to live in North America. The above figures are in US dollars. However, each US dollar is roughly $1.25 Canadian at the current exchange rate, which can get slightly confusing. It’s important to always compare apples to apples.
One reason things feel pricey in Canada is that many common items in the U.S. have to be imported to other countries. Another reason is taxes are higher. That said, those higher taxes include universal healthcare, so it basically evens out in the end.
Once you master the exchange rate in your head, you’ll start to realize the cost of living in Toronto is similar to most large US cities like Denver and Nashville. Toronto ranks 74 on the Numbeo cost of living index, meaning costs are roughly 74% of New York City.
There are also other extra expenses to keep in mind when living in Canada. Weather can be extreme, so expect a hefty heat bill during the winter. You also may need a car with AWD and switch from winter to summer tires every year. All these little things can add up.
Is $60,000 a good salary in Canada? Toronto and Vancouver are pretty expensive. Living in these cities may be a struggle, especially if you have a family to support. However, there are plenty of towns in Canada where you’ll thrive as a single and be fine with a family.
Is $60,000 a good salary in India?
Starting monthly salary: $5,000 USD (~4,576,008 INR)
After taxes: ~$3500 USD
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment (downtown): $150 USD
Rent for a three-bedroom apartment (downtown): $350 USD
If you’re being paid $60k a year USD and paying taxes like a US citizen is supposed to, you should have roughly $3,500 a month after taxes.
In India this money will stretch far. The above statistics are averages for the entire country of India, and may be more or less depending on which city you live in.
A small bedroom apartment in the city center runs you $150 (less outside the city), so you can guess how cheap everything else is going to be. Utilities are more than reasonable. Food is going to run you a fraction of the cost. Fresh produce is going to cost you literal change.
Frugal digital nomads can buy a month’s worth of groceries here for about $100. If you prefer to do a mix of eating out and cooking, $200 will have you eating whatever you want without hurting your budget.
In cities, having your own vehicle isn’t necessary. Public transportation and cabs are cheap, especially when compared to major US metro areas. High-speed internet in India also costs a fraction of the U.S. — we’re talking 10 bucks a month.
Is $60,000 a good salary in India? Well, that depends. Do you want to live like a king or queen? If so, then yes. $60k a year is a baller’s salary in India. If you’re a nomad or have a family and you want to go somewhere cheap, India might be the perfect spot for you. You could easily save over two-thirds of your paycheck each month, and you’ll never get bored exploring all that India is famous for.
Is $60,000 a good salary in Thailand?
Instead of breaking down all the numbers for you, I’ll leave you with this video.
We actually lived in Bangkok for a few months, and in the video, we share how much we spent on living expenses and what our lifestyle looked like.
I think you’ll be shocked at what a $60,000 salary would get you. If you’re wondering how to live cheap and instantly slash expenses (without sacrificing quality of life), this is one epic way to do it.
Is $60k a year good for a family?
Any time you add in extra variables, the data changes.
If you have a kid or two or a spouse that does not work, you’re responsible for providing. Unlike adults, kids run through clothes fast.
Maybe shopping is your spouse’s favorite hobby. Or maybe someone in the family has special diet needs.
It’s nearly impossible to factor all of these possibilities into the equation. However, the biggest concern, in my opinion, is housing. This is why I added the three-bedroom option to each destination.
The next biggest changes in your budget are medical, insurance, food, and clothing.
Kids grow quickly, especially when they’re young. You can minimize these costs buy using hand-me-downs or buying second-hand, but expect to be dropping money on clothes on a monthly basis — especially with babies and younger kids.
We all gotta eat. You can control your food budget to a degree, but once you start a family, plan on doubling your food expenses. Rice, beans, and spaghetti are all cheap. But you want your family to be healthy. If grocery store prices are too high then check out local farmer’s markets to find deals on quality produce.
Lastly, even for healthy people, adding a family to your insurance plan is going to cost you anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. In the US, the average cost of insurance is under $500 per month for an individual and more than $1,000 for a family.
The final verdict is this: Is $60,000 a good salary? Living in an area with moderately priced expenses as a single person is not just doable, but easy.
However, once you start a family, it’s going to cost you more to survive. And depending on where you live, sixty grand may not get you far.
If you’re lucky enough to work from home or have a digital nomad-friendly job, search out parts of the world where your family can live an amazing life for less.
Frequently asked questions
The lifestyle you can afford with a 60k salary depends on where you live. In expensive cities like San Francisco, you can’t afford much. In moderately-priced cities, it’ll buy you a middle-class lifestyle. In cheap third-world countries, you’ll live like royalty.
$60,000 a year breaks down to $28.84 per hour. This is assuming you work 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year. In other words, $60,000 divided by 2,080 hours. It does not take into account taxes, bonuses, or vacation time.
$60,000 a year comes out to $2,308 every two weeks. There are 52 weeks in a year, and $60,000 divided by 52 is $1,154 per week. Multiply that by 2 and you get $2,308.
If you consider only federal taxes and FICA, the take-home pay for $60,000 is $49,222. Since each state has different tax rates, your final take-home pay depends on which state you live in. If you have state and local taxes, you’d take home even less.
On a global scale, the middle class is between $4,000 and $40,000 per year depending on where you live. In the United States, the median income is roughly $67,000. So, when looking at the country as a whole, a $60k salary is considered lower middle class.
You can live comfortably on $60,000 a year in most places in the world as a single person, and even as a family in many places. But in high cost of living cities, a $60k salary is just barely scraping by.
Sixty thousand dollars a year is good for a single person in most of the world. It will buy you at least a middle-class lifestyle — meaning you can afford basic living expenses plus a few luxuries — in all but the most expensive cities around the globe.
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).