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What is Considered a Good Salary for One Person!
If you are unmarried and trying to devise a solid financial plan for yourself, determining what is a good salary for a single person is an excellent place to start!
Maybe you are trying to settle down on a career path, pick a profession, accept a new job offer or even now considering college majors or postgraduate study options.
You should have some sort of consideration for the lifestyle you want to be able to afford when making such decisions. The question of how much is a good salary for one person to comfortably live on, would ultimately affect your choice.
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Even though a single person is someone who is not married or part of a committed relationship or civil union, considering what is a good salary for a single person is great financial thinking and planning, even if you are not single.
Planning for the unfortunate loss of a spouse or simply challenging yourself to ensure that you can stand on your own is a very mature thing to do.
So, what is a good annual salary for a single person? Are you making that already? How can you get there? Let’s dig in!
What is a Good Salary for a Single Person?
A safe definition of a good salary for a single person, is someone whose salary is more than the national median income. The median household income in the US is $67,521. If someone earns more than $67,521 they should be able to live comfortably and cover all household expenses, on one salary.
Even though you may be evaluating the concept of surviving solo, since you would be living in some sort of housing accommodation, you need to consider the income it takes to run a household.
In order to put a value to it, we can safely consider the national median household income. In the United States, this value is $67,521. As long as you earn more than $67,521 your income is greater than the typical national household income and this can be considered a good salary for a single person.
What is a good salary for a single person, is the income value at which you can afford to take care of yourself and cover your househo0ld expenses!
Can you safely cover all your basic living expenses on your salary alone? That’s basically what the question boils down to! If you make more than $67,521 you should be in good shape!
However, where you choose to live with this income pays a huge part in whether it is good or not!
The median household income in The District of Columbia (DC) is over $92K and the neighboring state of Maryland is $87K. As a result, the cost of living in those areas would be a lot higher than Mississippi for example, where the median household income is $46K.
The general salary trends associated with a particular area generally affects the prices of goods, services, housing and entertainment. Therefore, if you make more than the national median of $67,521 you should be able to have a decent life in a state where the median household income is less than that.
Statistically speaking, the odds of you living a good life and covering all your expenses with that salary, would be in your favor! However, it would not get you very far in a state like Maryland, Massachusetts or New Jersey where over $85K is the norm.
If you don’t plan on moving, but would like to have a solid, defined value for what is a good salary for a single person, you should check out the figure for the median household income in your particular state. Your goal should be to make more than this with your salary alone!
Pro Tip for How Much is a Good Salary For One Person!
Average Income vs Median Income
Median income should be used for the purpose of studying what is a good salary for a single person! Average salary should not be used!
Average income or mean income is the mathematical average of a range of salaries. It is the sum of all the salaries, divided by the number of persons’ salaries evaluated.
Median salary is the statistical mid-point of the range of salaries. This is a more accurate evaluation of salaries as it is not affected by any statistical anomalies.
Abnormally high or low salaries, do not throw off the median salary value!
What Determines a Good Salary?
Your expenses due to: your personal lifestyle, financial obligations such as loans and investments and the cost of living associated with the town or state you live in, all combine to determine what is considered a good salary.
Whereas $26K annually, could afford for you to stay above the poverty line in South Dakota, $42K is needed in DC.
Considering that costs such as housing, food, entertainment and traveling vary heavily from town to town and across states or countries, the place you choose to live definitely plays a huge part in determining what is a good salary for a single person.
For an unattached person, without children, you can review how the exact value of the minimum salary required, to satisfy basic needs, varies from state to state.
The concept of a good salary is ultimately how much money it takes for you to live comfortably. Therefore, the big question when determining what is a good salary for a single person is what is your definition of living comfortably?
Once you determine what “living comfortably” means to you, then you can start putting a price to it. Add it all up and voila…your specific “good salary” figure!
So what is a good annual salary for a single person to live comfortably? You need to evaluate the aspects of your life that are absolute necessities.
Take your financial commitments like bills, loans, investments, fees and pair them with the areas of your personal life that you just can’t do without. Basically, you need to cater for the basics of your life that cost money along with the things that bring you joy and peace of mind, but come at a cost.
What you would end up with, is a specific salary figure that is unique to you and your needs! Be sure to capture the costs associated with:
• Housing (Rent, Mortgage)
• Bills (Utilities, Internet, Phone)
• Credit Card Payment
• Transportation (Vehicle payment, Taxi fares)
• Entertainment and Hobbies
• Other Payments and Financial Commitments
• Health Goals
• Savings and Emergency Funding
• Retirement Funds
• Vacation Funds
• Insurance (Life, Home, Auto)
Remember that the exact place (state and city) that you choose to live would generally dictate the prices associated with most of the items listed above.
Additionally, for the sake of being thorough, factors such as your sex, weight, age and ethnicity may affect the costs associated with insurance and some other expenses.
What is the Average Salary for a Single Person?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary is $56,628 for men and $46,800 for women. This is calculated based on a median weekly income of $1,089 for men and $900 for women, against a 52 week calendar year.
For the purpose of this calculation, the term “average” is used to describe the average person’s income, not a mathematical average of incomes. $56,628 is a typical income for a man in the US while, $46,800 is a typical income for a woman.
Even though, people have a tendency to throw out the term “average salary” loosely, it is not an accurate evaluation of income related statistics. Median salary is a more accurate measurement.
As stated earlier, average income is the mathematical calculation of the sum of all incomes, divided by the number of people studied. Statistical irregularities such as adding the income of multi-billionaires would give an incorrect representation of what a “typical” salary really is.
Likewise, including a large group of unemployed or very low income earners, into the calculation would also give an unfair measure of what the average person earns.
The median salary, or statistical mid-point of salaries across the US is what is used to study and truly represent what the average person earns and is genuinely a good representation of what a typical salary looks like.
What is a Livable Wage (Living Wage) for a Single Person?
The living wage, or livable wage, is the minimum income required for someone to have their basic needs met. The figure varies based on where you live. Harlington, TX is the least expensive city in the US and has a livable wage of $10.47 per hour compared to Manhattan, NY (most expensive) at $17.46 per hour.
As far as states go, the ones with the lowest livable wage are:
• Kentucky – $43,000
• West Virginia – $45,000
• South Dakota – $45,000
The states with the highest livable wage are:
• Washington, DC (Technically not a state) – $68,000
• Hawaii – $61,000
• Massachusetts – $60,000
The terms living wage and livable wage are used interchangeably and simply represents the income that a worker needs to earn in order to be able to cover: food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses and other basic needs as a human being.
The exact value varies based on location. However, you can expect to live under decent conditions if you earn at least the livable wage for your specific town or city. With this income, you can expect to cover the most basic costs associated with living in your home town.
The concept of minimum wage should not be confused with livable wage. Minimum wage was determined in order to try to satisfy persons’ livable wage requirements and is governed by law.
However, the government is unable to enforce a minimum wage value across all areas of the country. It just would not work and is too complicated!
On the other hand, livable wage varies over time and fluctuates based on costs of essential goods and services. You can review the MIT Living Wage Calculator for the exact value in your area.
What is a Good Salary for a Single Person that is Retired?
The median retirement income in the United States, for retirees 65 years and older is $47,357. Therefore, earning at least $47,357 can be considered a good salary after retirement.
However, the average (statistical mean) income of retirees is $73,228.
This “average” value would be skewed to the higher side, significantly greater than the median retirement income due to the fact that there are large groups of persons that invest generously into their retirement years.
Big 401K investments and other grand pay outs during the twilight years of certain elite investors would obviously push the average value up. This would not be a true representative of the typical retiree.
Therefore, for the average person, a median figure of $47,357 should be used to evaluate what is a good salary for a single person after retirement.
What is a Good Salary Increase Annually?
Most employers give a salary increase of around 3 – 5% annually. Therefore, a salary increase of 5% or greater can be considered good, 3 – 5% typical and under 3% can be considered poor.
Of course, the increase would be relative to the actual worker receiving it. A poor worker that receives an increase of 3% can consider it good, relative to the effort that he / she gave to the organization. Similarly, an excellent employee can be offended by a 4% increase.
Ideally, we would all want our annual salary increase to cover the cost of inflation, which has been varying between 3.2% and 7.5% over the past 10 years. Basically, if your raise covers the economy’s inflation rate, whatever extra can contribute to an improved standard of living.
However, that’s just wishful thinking!
Just understand that if you receive a raise of 5% which may be considered good, but there is an inflation rate of 7% for that same period, you would have essentially gone backwards.
Is 65K a Good Salary for a Single Person?
65K is a good salary for a single person, provided that your specific situation, cost of living and lifestyle falls within a budget of $65,000 annually. You would be able to survive with your basic needs satisfied in all states. However, where you choose to live would dictate the luxuries that you can afford.
Keep in mind that the median salary in the United States is $67,521 so technically, 65K would fall on the unsatisfactory side of the scale if the entire country is being studied. In the right state or city however, 65K could afford you a very comfortable lifestyle.
Considering the livable wage in all US states is either $65K or less (only DC is higher), you would definitely be able to afford some level of housing accommodations, food and have all your other basic needs satisfied regardless of where you choose to live.
The term “good salary” though would be expected to mean that you are in a comfortable living situation as a result of the income you earn. Everyone’s definition of living comfortably varies and so $65K may be a good salary for some but it may not be for another.
Even though $65K may be able to afford you a luxurious Kentucky life, it may not get you very far in Manhattan or DC. You would definitely survive though!
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Frequently Asked Questions for How Much Can a Single Person Live On
FAQ: Is 70K a Year Good for One Person?
70K is definitely a good salary for one person as it falls above the national median income of $67,521. Someone earning $70,000 or more annually would be able to cover their basic expenses regardless of where they choose to live.
The luxuries that they can afford with their salary would depend on where they choose to live and their personal and financial lifestyle.
FAQ: Is 40K a Year a Good Salary for a Single Person?
40K is well below the national median income of $67,521 and as a result would not technically qualify as a good salary. It also falls below the lowest livable wage for any US state, of $43K.
Depending on where you choose to live, you may be able to cover your basic needs such as housing, food, medical care and other necessities. You may need to consider some form of supplemental income in order to afford a comfortable lifestyle.
FAQ: What is a Livable Wage in the US for One Person?
The livable wage or living wage for one person in the US varies from place to place. It is as low as $10.47 per hour in Harlington, TX and goes up to as high as $17.46 per hour in Manhattan, NY.
As far as states go, Hawaii clocks in on top at a whopping $61K while Kentucky brings up the rear with a livable wage of $43K. It is $68K in DC.
FAQ: Is 100K a Year Good for a Single Person?
100K a year is an excellent salary for a single person. This is well above the national median household income and so you should be able to afford a comfortable standard of living, on your own.
However, regardless of how much money you earn, poor financial management can make your income seem insufficient. Therefore, 100K a year when managed well, is a good salary for a single person.
FAQ: How Much does a Single Person Need to Live on?
The most important factor that determines a good salary for a single person, is where you live and the financial lifestyle you have adopted. A salary upward of $68K is needed in DC but over $43K is sufficient in Kentucky.
All other states fall within the $43K – $61K range. As long as you earn over $43K, as a single person trying to make it on your own, you should be fine as long as you choose to live in a location that suits your budget.
FAQ: Is $30000 a Year Good for a Single Person?
$30000 a year is less than half the national median income in the United States ($67,521). Therefore, it cannot be considered a good salary for a single person.
Additionally, the lowest livable wage for any state is $43K. This means that at the very least, a person needs $43,000 annually to cover basic needs such as housing, food and medicine in the United States.
$30,000 a year is insufficient for a single person to cover their basic needs, on their own. They would either need a roommate or some form of supplementary income.
FAQ: Can a Single Person Live on $20000 a Year?
A single person can live on $20000 a year provided that they live an extremely basic and frugal lifestyle. You may need to consider hunting or farming to save money off your food bill, obtain a roommate to be able to afford housing and devise a clever plan to save on utilities.
However, with the right attitude and some strategy, it is possible for a single person to live on $20000 a year.
FAQ: What do most people consider a good salary?
The definition of a good salary for a single person varies from one person to another. However, most persons consider 6 figures or over $100,000 annually to be a great salary.
Your financial commitments (expenses, savings, investments), lifestyle and most importantly, where you live, combine to determine the unique dollar figure that is required for you to live a comfortable life.
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Final Thoughts on What is a Good Annual Salary for a Single Person
Now you have an excellent understanding of what is a good salary for a single person! You also now have a few tips in your arsenal to get there, if your aren’t already. Go on and make it happen for you!
You can use this information to either tweak your lifestyle, to fit your budget or grow your income to satisfy your lifestyle goals. The exact value for what is considered a good salary ultimately depends on you and the lifestyle that you would like to have!
Do you have any other views with regards to how much is a good salary for one person? Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
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