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  1. #1

    What is your income goal?

    I'm curious what people's income goal is. Meaning -- for YOU personally -- what would be the minimum monthly TAKE HOME (after tax) salary that you would want in order to feel comfortable and have your needs met, and be able to save some for retirement.

    Also please share your marital status and how many kids you have and whether you are in an expensive part of the country.

    I'm not asking how much you make (too personal) but just what you personally think is a comfortable income level in general. I realize this is very individual, which is why I hope to get lots of individual opinions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    At work...people on welfare are depending on me!
    Posts
    1,697
    I'm a single dude that basically doesn't buy much of anything. My car is paid off and I have a mortgage. I live in Michigan which has low COL right now. I priced everything out and it seems like $25k a year will cover about everything for me, assuming some incidental costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Costa Santana
    Posts
    2,402
    I should be pretty set with 6 figures after taxes. How to get there is another story.

    "I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know, everything that shine ain't always gonna be gold
    I'll be fine once I get it...I'll be good...."

    - Kid Cudi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,317
    I've always said that if I had $10 million (liquid), I would be set. $10 million doesn't even sound that much, when you hear that powerball winners are getting $300 million jackpots and movie stars making $20M per film. Here's why: $10 million invested would typically return about 5% annual dividends, or $500,000/yr, in perpetuity. As long as you never make a withdraw, you'll always have that $10 million. With $500,000, I would have enough to not need to work, yet also have enough to occupy my time since I won't be working (i.e., a 52 week vacation every year). I really can't see needing more than that, EVER.

    But, since I don't plan on becoming a millionaire anytime soon.

    I am a 28 year-old single man with no children living in California. I have a car payment and a mortgage. The median income for my state is $61,000. To tell the truth, that would probably be the minimum salary that should be required to live "comfortably". However, you asked what our minimum income goal is, and it's a difficult question to answer. Without going into specifics, I am comfortable right now with my income level. I could probably get by with less. But the more money you take home, the more luxuries you have access to. I would say the number goes up as I get older, and would likely go up higher still if I were married with children.

    What I want more than money, though, is TIME. (This is the real reason for my earlier $10M example). I work and live in California, yet all my friends and family live over 2000 miles away. Hopping on a plane for a weekend not only is expensive, but also carries an "opportunity cost" of the time required for travel. Often, leaving work on a Friday afternoon to get to the airport and get on a plane gets me there well after midnight, leaving me with only one day and then a quick return flight on Sunday. I spend more time traveling than I do with the people I'm traveling to see.

    What would make me comfortable is the ability to see my friends and family whenever I want. Whatever that costs, sign me up.
    "Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard, take me back to the start"

  5. #5
    At the moment 2 cents. My goal is to get $100 back into my savings account. If I get a job, hopefully 7 to 10 dollars an hour at least. I'm not expecting miracles at the moment as much as I wish for them to be true.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    The Oregon Trail
    Posts
    42,345
    At my current standard of living, which is sufficient for me and my household situation at this point in time, experience has taught me that a good number for comfortability would be an annual salary of $50K. For folks on either coast, yeah, that's reflective of the general COL where I am. It's also on the high end of what one can reasonably anticipate in my field, at my level of experience and education, in my area. I have a mortgage and no kids.

    Obviously, more would be great. Less would be doable, to a point, but would require more careful budgeting, and there wouldn't be much of a margin for saving/emergency expenditure safety net. But the above figure would be imminently liveable, comfortable, and suit my current situation fine.

    My household is currently above the median income for my state, but that is because I'm not the sole income in my household. Were I, I'd be at about 10K below the median.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  7. #7
    Wordsmith, is this 50K before or after taxes? Remember I'm self employed so my taxes are different.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    944
    For me, I need to make around 250K in order to get a house and cover all my other cost of starting a family expenses.
    The world is not enough.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Queens County, NY
    Posts
    1,529
    My personal income goal is in the high 5 figures. Since I've been working part time, though, I've been making around 35K. It's enough for us to live on and go out a few times a month, but not much more, since I'm the primary earner. Rents in my area are modest, but food and bills are actually higher than average. Or biggest money sucker is the electric bill. Cooling a 180-year-old, 2000 sq. ft., poorly insulated apartment and running our networked computer system adds up, especially when I work from home and he's studying all day. We can't cut back on these costs, either, due to work and college needs and our apartment being on the top floor.

    He just landed some PT student work at a little bit above min. wage, and I just got a new FT director job, so our yearly household income will be in the high five figures by next month. We're incredibly grateful for this, and we're going to start saving even more aggressively for retirement, as well as vacations, fun stuff, etc.

    At the beginning of my career, I had to live on 20K a typical starting wage for print. It was really bare-bones, and I had four roommates, but I never deprived myself, and could even save a bit. So, I guess I could go as low as 25K personally, but not as the primary income earner. In my city, average income is under 30K, average household income is under 40K, and just under 1 in 4 people (many of them are minorities, sadly) live below the poverty line. We both recognize that we are very privileged, and wish things were a little more equal all over.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Husker Nation
    Posts
    2,940
    Quote Originally Posted by gemma-dahl View Post
    He just landed some PT student work at a little bit above min. wage, and I just got a new FT director job, so our yearly household income will be in the high five figures by next month. We're incredibly grateful for this, and we're going to start saving even more aggressively for retirement, as well as vacations, fun stuff, etc.

    At the beginning of my career, I had to live on 20K – a typical starting wage for print. It was really bare-bones, and I had four roommates, but I never deprived myself, and could even save a bit. So, I guess I could go as low as 25K personally, but not as the primary income earner. In my city, average income is under 30K, average household income is under 40K, and just under 1 in 4 people (many of them are minorities, sadly) live below the poverty line. We both recognize that we are very privileged, and wish things were a little more equal all over.
    I agree with this. We're doing very well for our area, where the median household (i.e. two-earner) income is actually less than what one person in our household earns. It's just my spouse and I, and we don't have any kids. We are 29 and 30, have been in our careers for 7+ years, and we also don't have a mortgage - we rent a one-bedroom apartment. For us to continue our current standard of living (1-bedroom apartment, 10 year old cars, no debt obligations), we could get by on $20K before taxes, but that does not include any form of retirement savings. In order for us to feel comfortable and have adequate retirement savings for both of us, that income amount would be somewhere around $35K before taxes. We realize that we're very fortunate, in that we could easily afford to increase our standard of living.
    ~Erika~

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    the slippery slope
    Posts
    765
    I'm a 32 year old single renter. I have fairly simple tastes (until about 4 months ago I'd never owned a car younger than 12 years old, for example). My biggest expenses are rent (I live alone in a big, fairly pricey city) and food (I love cooking and exploring the many great restaurants around here).

    Honestly, once I landed a job making 40k (before taxes) I thought I'd just about hit the lottery. That was very comfortable given the standard of living I'd become used to. I'm actually doing quite a bit better than that now but still try to arrange my finances so my life is sustainable on 40-45k. I guess that makes it my baseline...

    It would be difficult to buy property around here on that income, though. Doable, but difficult. It basically requires 2 incomes to buy around here.

    If I were to have children I would definitely want to make more, too.
    The truth is, we know so little about life, we don't really know what the good news is and what the bad news is. - Kurt Vonnegut

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Not Baltimore, contrary to popular belief
    Posts
    11,781
    My income goal is to actually have one.
    I've always been different, with one foot over the line
    Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind
    It ain't been so easy, but I guess I shouldn't complain
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane
    Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame
    So far, I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings (1978)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,317
    Who's the moderator in charge of squashing this guy?
    "Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard, take me back to the start"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    KCMO
    Posts
    229
    I think I would like to be in the low six figures within the next few years, and I am pretty sure I can do it. This month I transferred positions and am now a management accountant with the company. I have one more exam to finish my CPA which I am taking in April (I have scored in the 90s on all of the other CPA exams and I think I will do well on this one as well). Once I pass, I can get my license because I will have the requisite experience. The company seems eager to promote and I will be one of very few with a CPA...I think I might be able to leverage my skills and experience into a controller position here or with another company. I am close enough to my income goal as it is now that I might be able to meet it by 2015 even without a promotion.

    Also, I make some extra money on the side doing taxes.

  15. #15
    About $35,000 when I reach my five year service award at work.

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