Is 85k a Good Salary? Is it Enough?

is 85k a good salary

A lot of people strive to reach the life milestone of making a five-figure income annually. But though earning $85,000 or more a year may seem like the best solution to all of your financial issues, it’s not a given that those zeros will add up to a luxurious lifestyle.

Standard of life, in financial terms, is almost always a balance between income and outgoings. This means that ‘money out’ has a significant impact on quality of life.

This looks at how much you are likely to be earning per month, week, day and hour on an 85k salary, and the kind of lifestyle you should expect to live. We’ll also compare it against the median household income in the US, and look at how it compares to the average middle and upper middle class incomes. This article will also provide you with some top tips on what to do with your extra cash to make you more financially secure.

First and foremost, let’s see what factors might influence your spending and the value of your income. Below are the factors that might hinder you from making $85K.

Your Residence

Whether or not $85K a year is a good average salary depends greatly on the cost of living in various regions and the related mortgage payment.

The median income and cost of living in the US differ greatly from state to state and even town to town. 85K may not be a large salary at all if you reside in one of the more costly cities in the country, like New York or Silicon Valley. Rent or mortgage, transportation costs, utilities, and food costs can all be considered as part of the cost of living and, in these places, these can be very high.

When compared to a large city, such as San Francisco, where the average salary is closer to $100,000 and housing is particularly expensive in comparison to other regions, living in a more rural area is likely to mean you have a far greater disposable income.

Your Monthly Outgoings

As discussed above, your total outgoings are the key factor in determining how much disposable income you have each month. This includes any college loan for your college degree, credit card debt, bills, or another type of debt – as well as your daily costs.

Tip: Look for ways to cut your spending. If your outgoings are similar to your income each month, reducing these by just a small amount could have a huge impact on the level of disposable income you have available.

Make minor adjustments – even if they seem too small to make a difference. By investing in energy-saving products, turning off your electrical devices before leaving the house, etc., you can reduce your electricity costs.

Even though they might seem insignificant now, those small adjustments will add up over time.

Size of Your Family

Depending on your family’s size, $85,000 should comfortably meet all necessary bills. But remember you want to keep some of that $85K, not spend it all on bills. Therefore, if you have a large family, and still want to have some disposable income, you are likely to need a substantially higher income.

The median annual wage for a four-person household in the United States as of 2020 is $68,400. Therefore, making an income of 85K is clearly much more than the national average – but not by a huge amount.

To survive, each household member needs basic comforts, such as food, clothing, and a place to call home. However, you must be able to assess the cost of living in your area to determine how far an 85K salary will go for your family.

Financial Support (Financial Dependents)

Do you have family members or friends that are financially dependent on you? Your parents, siblings, perhaps?

Helping those who are close to you is very admirable. You might even decide to assist people around you like your colleagues, relatives, and friends. But you always need to be aware of your financial capabilities and available resources. Don’t try to spend excessively on others by putting yourself in debt.

Keep in mind that if you run out of money, you cannot rely on the people you are supporting. So, when aiding others, exercise wisdom.

Helpful Tips: Encourage family members to provide a list of their current debts if at all possible. Select the ones you can manage each month after that. Don’t forget to select with only your average income in mind. Do not exceed your limit to impress anybody.

You can talk to the person about placing financial goals for themselves. This is the single most effective thing people can do to manage their finances, so should make a significant difference to them. It’ll also help them feel that they aren’t facing it all alone.

Unexpected or unplanned Costs

Difficulties are a part of life. We have no power over them. They will also usually come about at the least expected, and most inconvenient, time.

If you just live month to month, even on an $85k salary, you are likely to have many months where you feel like it’s not enough – due to unplanned expenses. To avoid this, and get a truer picture of how much money you need, on average, each month, you should save money for these unforeseen circumstances – even if you don’t know exactly what form they will take.

This might involve putting aside $500 each month so that when you have an unforeseen expense, the money is there and doesn’t eat into your disposable income for that month.

After examining some of the issues that can prevent you from making $85,000 per year, and those that will help you maximize that salary, let’s look at some excellent career opportunities and positions that can boost your income.

85K Paying Jobs in the United States

Take notice that many of these careers and incomes demand substantial schooling or skill and that 85K is not often an entry-level salary for most professions. If you want to make 85K a year, below are some truly outstanding jobs with median salaries of $85K or more and an hourly salary that exceeds the federal minimum wage. Let’s examine them now:

Statistician ($102,404)

A statistician’s main responsibilities include data collection through surveys and trials. They evaluate the data and make use of it to help businesses make decisions. As stated above, the average American salary is $102,404

Learn more about this job here

Veterinarian ($103.660)

A veterinarian’s main duties are to inspect animals and treat any illnesses they may have. They are qualified to do surgery, provide vaccinations, and offer advice to pet owners on how to care for their animals.

Mathematician ($99, 407)

Typically, mathematicians collaborate with other experts, such as chemists and industrial engineers, to help address issues for diverse businesses. They use a variety of mathematical theories or create new ones to solve supply or product-related issues. The average American salary is $99,407

Computer Science/IT Manager ($89,377)

An IT manager manages a company’s whole computer-related operations. They put new computer technology into use so that the company may achieve its objectives. For someone with an education in computer science, this can be a great career.

Health Care Manager ($89,645)

A healthcare facility, like a hospital or doctor’s office, is managed by a health centre manager.

They often oversee all business operations at these facilities, including scheduling personnel hours, handling finances, setting facility improvement objectives, and tracking those objectives.

Physician Assistant($106.514)

Patient examination and possible medical diagnosis are performed by physician assistants. Under the direction of a doctor, certain PAs can administer treatments and write prescriptions for drugs.

Software Engineer ($107,863)

The creation of software for businesses is the responsibility of software developers. They collaborate with users to ascertain their business requirements, and then they apply this knowledge to inform the software’s design. Software engineers test the programs as well and update them as needed.

Chemical Engineer ($87,500)

A chemical engineering professional is likely to have a good background in science and could either be office based or work out in the field. You could also be asked to work on projects of any size, depending on your interests. The median wage for a position like this is around $87,500.

Real Estate Agent ($90,000)

It’s very difficult to work out the median wage for a real estate agent, as they largely work on commission. They are likely to have their base salary, but then a bonus structure depending on how many properties they sell. Their commission will also likely be tied to the value of the properties they sell, so this will be largely dependent on property prices in that area. This means that the gross income of a real estate agent is likely to vary wildly across the US.

Sales Engineer ($95,019)

Though the national salaries, on average, for this position are a little above the 85K mark, it’s likely that in many places $85k is probably more realistic than the national average. A sales engineer is primarily responsible for driving new sales into a company.

Now that we’ve looked at the qualifications and employment that can help you accomplish your yearly income target of $85,000, we can also look at the elements and roadblocks that might get in your way. Let’s calculate the value of $85,000 when divided into hours.

What is 85K per hour then?

How Much Per Hour Is $85,000 Per Hour?

Knowing how much 85k a year is in hourly pay is helpful when transitioning for the first time from an hourly job to a salary. This will enable you to assess whether the position is worthwhile for you.

$85,000 per year is, therefore, $43.59 per hour.

How much is $85K monthly on an annual basis?

Together, let’s calculate it: The monthly payment would be $7,083 on average.

$85,000 annual salary divided by 12 months equals $7,083 each month.

Therefore, if you are paid $85,000 each year, this is how much you will make per month.

What is 80K per week annually?

Knowing this number is a wonderful idea!

What am I paid each week? How much money can I anticipate receiving for my work at the end of the week when I get out of bed and go to work for my $85k yearly salary?

$85,000/year x 52 weeks = $1,538/weekly salary.

What is 85K annually divided into two weeks?

Lets calculate this together with the average US working hours which is 34.4 hours per week.

Therefore, if the hourly pay rate for your $85K annual income is $43.59, all we have to do is multiply the weekly average working hours with the pay rate per hour for your $85,000 salary.

This will be $1499.496.

How Much Is a Day’s Worth of an 85K Annual Salary?

This is based on how many hours you put in each day at work. We’re going to utilize an eight-hour workday as our example here:

If you earn $43.59 per hour when we multiply this by eight hours. This will be $348.72

How much does 85K an hour after taxes equal?

The more money you earn when your salary starts to increase, the more money you must pay in taxes. Therefore, the highest wage range is up to $142,800.

Every single tax circumstance is unique.

Let’s start by assuming a federal tax rate.

What Is $85K Per Year After Tax?

After deducting the Federal tax and other necessary taxes, you would be left with $62,248. This means that you will have paid a total amount of $22,752 in Tax.

This is likely to comprise of the following deductions:

  • Federal Income Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • SDI (State Disability Insurance)
  • FLI (Family Leave Insurance)

Will You Be Able to Live a Luxurious Lifestyle on $85k,000 Per Year?

As we’ve already discussed, this will largely come down to outgoings. If you are single, living in a rural, relatively inexpensive town, you are likely to have a considerable monthly disposable income to spend on luxurious items such as holidays, cars, meals and luxury items. However, if you are a sole parent, living in an expensive city, you are likely to struggle to make ends meet. It all depends on what demands you have on the income each month.

Maximizing Your Salary of $85k

Living debt-free, and taking steps to get the most from your 85K salary can have a huge impact on your standard of life. Here are some of the most effective ways you can do this.

  • Setting aside at least 15% of your monthly income for investment
  • Put money aside for unexpected expenses
  • Live frugally, even when you don’t need to
  • Live in a town where your $85K salary is significantly higher than the local median salary

How Do I Plan My $85,000 Annual Budget?

Clearly, the first consideration needs to pay for all your essential costs. This is likely to include your mortgage or rent, food and groceries, bills, and any other essential payments, including debt repayments.

The next item on your priority list should be to put money aside for emergency expenses and unforeseen circumstances.

If, after allocating money for all of these items, you should then allocate money for optional, or luxury items. This might include socializing, take-out, new clothes or other luxury items.

There are, of course, many different methods for budgeting. Different people are likely to have their own preferences. It’s important not to get too mixed up in comparing the various methods. What’s more important is that you choose a method and stick to it. If you actually use a budget and try to stick to it, you will be doing more to manage your monthly expenses than the vast majority of Americans.

But is a salary of $85,000 a good wage?

As we just mentioned, if you can earn $85,000 a year, it is a very respectable wage. Compared to the median income, according to labour statistics.

Am I Still in the Middle Class If I Can Earn $80,000 Per Year?

This depends on your spending habits and your income generation methods. Keep in mind that a sizable portion of your earnings will be lost to taxes. But keep in mind that this level of income in the United States has sufficient purchasing power to place you in the top 91 percentile of income per person worldwide (source) – and certainly in what many people would consider the ‘middle class’.

When you start making $85,000, what are some crucial questions you should ask yourself?

When you start earning $85,000, you should consider the following questions.

  • Am I at my career’s peak?
  • Is there room for increased revenue?
  • What challenges must I overcome if I hope to improve my income?
  • Are there any options for side hustles
  • Can I do anything to reduce my outgoings
  • If I can’t increase my salary, could I get more benefits?

The answers to all of these questions should give you a good list of actions you could take to increase your monthly disposable income.

 Is $80,000 a Good Salary for One Person?

As we discussed above, if you are single and have no financial dependents, you are likely to have considerably more disposable income than a family. If you combine this with living somewhere that’s cheaper (something that’s far more viable as a single person) you can greatly increase your disposable income.

In summary, yes, for one person $85k is a very good salary.

Is an Income of $80,000 Good for a Family?

The primary distinction between being single or living alone and having a family is that you are responsible for more people. This inevitably means that there are greater draws on the available income.

A child born in, let’s say, 2015 would cost $233,610 to raise (source). This is not counting college and covers the period from birth to the age of 17.

As you can see, this makes a significant impact on your income—specifically, $12,980 per child year. Depending on the number of children, you may expect to pay the following:

  • A child costs $12,980 annually.
  • Two Children = $25,960 annually
  • Three children equal $38,940 a year.
  • Four kids equal $51,920 annually
  • $54,900 x 5 Kids = $64,900 a year

 Another key consideration is what expenses you have that are unrelated to children. For example:

·         The area in which you reside;

·         Your lifestyle preferences.

 If you live in San Francisco, you are likely to need a far larger salary. However, if you live a simple lifestyle somewhere more rural, it might be enough.

In most situations, this salary will allow you to support your family, but it won’t allow you to indulge in luxury purchases.

A dual income can be quite useful while raising a family. In this manner, you can cover the essential costs. For example, if both partners earned $85,000 a year, the household’s total income would be $170,000. Your combined pay is, therefore, a very excellent income.

Here are some serious ways to increase your income so that you can earn $85,000 (or More) each year.

I am aware that we have discussed some approaches to helping you reach your $85,000 goal. But let’s be honest, we both realize that the vocations listed are ones that you must have picked at a young age and it will probably take years of your valuable time to become an expert in your chosen field.

Though increasing your salary, and advancing your career through education is a very effective way to increase your earnings, this isn’t always possible. So here are a few ideas for how you can enhance the salary you already have to get you to the magic $85,000 per year mark.  

·        Virtual Assistants

Take a course, and get a mentor who will help you through the process of becoming a virtual assistant. Once you excel at it, you might as well start charging clients for your services as a freelancer. This would allow you to work at times that suit you and work with clients across the whole world.

·        Work as an independent/Freelance Writer

You can get paid to write material for other people’s blogs and platforms as content or copywriter. If you approach this transaction with a sound plan, you may make a ton of money and, in turn, get closer to your goal of an annual income of $85K.

·        Learn how to trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

This might take a while because you’ll have to do a lot of learning before getting into business due to the risk that comes with bitcoin (or any type of) trading.

It’s recommended you enroll yourself in a course, take your time and conduct study and research before you start trading, and most importantly, find a mentor who is knowledgeable about the field and willing to guide you through trades until you are proficient enough on your own.


Making $85,000 a year is a great goal, especially for those with a good plan to invest it in other areas of their lives. For example, you might buy yourself the freedom to spend more time with your family and loved ones, invest in your business, or just have the luxury of living the kind of life you want.

However, you should also give the necessary attention to your outgoing expenses, as these will hugely impact your level of disposable income. Remember, the place you live, and the cost of living of the geographic region matter and greatly influence your annual disposable income and standard of living.

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