When you start your working life on minimum wage, a 64k yearly salary may sound like a dream to lots of people.
But is it a great salary?
Well, that entirely depends on the cost of living and a variety of other factors.
We discuss exactly how much you will earn on 64k and how lifestyle choices can affect how much spare money you will have at the end of the month.
Is a 64k salary good?
In America, the median household income is $53,490. That means that a 64k salary puts you comfortably above the average earner.
Now, let’s take a look at the breakdown of $64,000 over a year.
How much is a $64,000 salary per month?
Based on an average month you can expect to earn $5,333 pre-tax deductions.
But what about after tax1?
For taxes due in the tax year 2022, there are seven federal tax brackets (10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%). A $64k salary falls within the over $41,775 but not over $89,075 bracket which means you will pay 22% tax. 22% of a $64,000 salary is $14,080, so your annual net pay will be $49,920, making your monthly net pay approximately $4,160 unless you are taxed on other benefits such as healthcare.
The tax rate in America can also vary depending on which state you live in, so always check before working out your monthly budget. Other factors that affect how much tax you pay include:
· Your age
· How many children you have
· Whether you’re married or not.
· If you have any health insurance premiums
How much is a $64,000 salary per week?
Now we know the monthly net pay, it’s easy to work out how much you will earn per week on 64k. Dividing $49,940 by 52 weeks equals just over $960, giving you your weekly take home pay.
How much is a $64,000 salary per day?
To work out your daily rate of pay, divide your weekly salary by the number of days you work per week. For example, if you work five days per week, your daily salary will be $960 divided by five. This equals $192.
How much is a $64,000 salary per hour?
What about your hourly rate of pay? Well, $192 divided by an eight hour day gives you an approximate hourly wage of $24. This can be particularly handy to know when doing overtime.
What lifestyle can I have on $64k?
In general, if you’re debt free and can manage your money, 64k is enough money to give you a comfortable lifestyle.
Here’s an overview of the type of lifestyle you can have.
· You will be able to afford a decent sized6 home in most states.
· You should be able to meet monthly expenses without going into debt.
· There should be enough left over from your monthly salary to save.
· Vacations and other small luxuries will be achievable.
What type of house can I afford if I earn 64k?
Typically a mortgage lender will let you borrow up to 4.5 times your salary. This works out as $288,000. However, how much you want to borrow will depend on how much you earn, whether you have debt or financial dependants, your spending habits and credit history will all affect how much you can borrow.
On average, homeowners in America will pay an average of 1.73% of their home value in property taxes every year. So it’s important to factor this into the cost of living in your state too.
What car can I afford on a 64k salary?
A sensible way to budget for a car is to spend no more than 10-15% of your annual salary on a car. This includes monthly car finance payments, the insurance, gas and running costs as well.
So, based on $64,000 a year, that’s between $6,400 and $9,600. If you want to pay for your car monthly, divide these figures by 12 and check that your monthly budget can cope with the extra expense.
Here are a few used cars that are under $10,000 and fall within the recommended price range for a $64k salary.
· Toyota Camry
· Honda Accord
· Mazda 3
· Subaru Outback
· Kia Soul
Example of a $64,000 salary budget
Here’s an example of how you might want to allocate your salary to different spending areas, based on a family of five.
Mortgage/rent – $1,500
Transport – $613
Personal insurances and pensions – $308
Healthcare – $414
Groceries – $372
Eating out – $188
Entertainment – $169
Savings – $157
Education – $117
Personal care – $64
Total monthly spending – $4,072
Obviously if you’re a single person with no dependents, your budget would be completely different.
How to live off a 64k salary
Living to your means is a skill that requires practice and careful budgeting. Here are some ways that you can make your salary go further and stay out of debt.
Budget, budget, budget
Regardless of how much you earn, budgeting is fundamental to financial success. Unless you know your income and outgoings, you won’t be able to gain control of your money. You can either use a simple pen and paper, spreadsheets such as Excel or budgeting apps to help you plan your monthly spending.
Here are a few effective budgeting methods to consider.
The cash envelope system – use an envelope for each of your spending categories, then fill each envelope with the cash you need to cover the expenses in that area. For example, if your monthly budget for groceries is $450, put $450 in the envelope labeled groceries. The idea is that once you’ve spent the money in that envelope you can’t spend any more or take cash from another envelope.
50/30/20 plan – 50% of your monthly salary is allocated to your essentials, 30% is for your non-essential spending pot and the remaining 20% should be put into your savings.
Zero-based budgeting plan – with this method, every dollar is assigned to a category such as mortgage, food or saving. You keep assigning your money until there is nothing left from your monthly pay. If you have anything left at the end of the month, put it in next month’s fund pot or use it to top up your savings.
Move to a more affordable area
By moving to a state with a lower cost of living, you could save yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars every month.
For example, in California 64k is considered a low income whilst in Mississippi it would provide you with a wealthy lifestyle.
The cost of living is determined by:
Food – grocery prices can vary significantly depending on the store and where you live in America. Switch to own brand products to save money on your monthly expenses.
Transport – commuting is part of most people’s daily life, and it can be expensive. It’s worth considering whether it will be cheaper for you to use public transport or your own car.
Energy – gas and electricity rates will also vary depending on where you live. Use comparison sites to compare rates in your area and save on your outgoings.
Taxes – Some states have a higher tax rate than others. For example, New York is considered to have high state taxes while Florida has no state income tax at all.
Get rid of debt
Debt can be overwhelming, but it is possible to get out of debt with a step by step plan and time.
1. List everything you owe
To pay off debt, you need to know exactly what you owe. Include loans, credit cards, car loans and store cards. Make a note of your interest rates for each and prioritize them in order of the highest rate.
2. Decide how much you can pay each month
After you’ve made a list of your current debts, it’s time to look at your outgoings. Make another list that includes your monthly expenses that are not debt, for example, groceries, utility bills, car and entertainment. Now subtract the total amount of your expenses from your monthly salary ($4,160 based on a 64k salary). The amount you have left is your disposable income which can be used to save. If you don’t have any money leftover, it’s time to look for opportunities to save by readjusting your budget.
3. Reduce your interest rate
If you’re paying a high interest rate on existing debt, this will cause it to grow rapidly and make it more difficult to pay off. Ask your current credit card issuer for a lower rate or consider a balance transfer deal to slash the amount of interest that you’re paying and clear debt much sooner.
4. Pay your bills on time each month
The best thing you can do to boost your credit rating is to pay your bills on time every month. Setting up automatic payments or payment reminders is an effective way to ensure you don’t miss payment dates. By improving your credit, you will have access to better interest rates and debt consolidation loans.
5. Don’t take on new debts
Paying off debt is hard work, so don’t undermine your efforts by taking on new debts. Only use your credit card if you are able t9999999o pay it off every month before any interest is charged. Once you have paid off one debt, use the money that you have freed up to clear another debt. Keep doing this until you’re completely debt free.
Plan for the unexpected
Planning for unexpected costs is key if you want to avoid debt. It’s impossible to predict what financial situation may come up in the future, but it is possible to plan to help you deal with it. There are two different ways you can do this.
1. Start an emergency fund – with savings or a lump sum of cash you can have cash at the ready for an unexpected expense. It’s a good idea to accumulate at least six months’ worth of living expenses.
2. Make unexpected expenses part of your monthly budget – set an amount (whether that’s $20 per week or $200) and put it into a separate account for unexpected expenses. Treat it like a savings account and only use it for the purpose it is intended for.
Even if you can’t afford to save a lot, it’s important to save what you can. Make saving easier by:
· Setting clear, realistic goals – it’s much easier to save when you know why you’re doing it.
· Use automatic savings – you won’t miss money that you didn’t know you had. Set up a direct debit so that every time you get paid, the money will be transferred to your savings account.
· Track every penny that you spend – it’s hard to know your savings potential if you don’t know what you save your money on. Apps can make this process easier and less time-consuming.
How to make 64k a year
Now you’ve seen the figures, you may want to start looking for a job that pays $64,000.
1. Truck driver
As a truck driver you will transport items across long distances. You’ll need to get the required certification before you get behind the wheel though as trucks are extremely heavy and difficult to drive.
2. Office manager
Oversee the operation of an office and provide support in creating and filing paperwork, managing budgets and training staff.
4. Instrument technician
An instrument technician often works at manufacturing plants to oversee industrial equipment. You don’t need any qualifications and will often receive on-the-job training or be asked to obtain an Engineering Technologies certification.
A sales representative sells products or services on behalf of a company. They are responsible for managing relationships with customers and checking that the customer is satisfied after the buying process.
Travel is a big part of the career as a photographer. You will use a wide range of equipment to photograph people, events and landscapes.
What to do with your $64k salary
Ultimately, if you have spare money from your salary, there are three things that you can do with it: invest, save or spend.
Consider using your money for the following.
To pay off student debt – if you can afford to pay off your student debt, you will have more financial freedom at an earlier age.
Start an emergency fund – an emergency fund should cover three to six months of your living expenses in the event that you don’t have a regular income.
Become mortgage free – if you can afford to do it, paying off your mortgage early is a dream for most people. Not only will you have more disposable income, but you will also own 100% of your property, giving you access to an asset if you need it.
Save for retirement – don’t leave saving for the later years of your life until the last minute. The earlier you start saving the better.
How about investing?
Investing is a great way to grow any money that you have leftover from your 64k salary.
Here are a few investment opportunities to consider.
Stocks: the easiest way to invest in stocks is by using an online stockbroker. Use the internet to research companies that you’d be happy to invest in or use your personal experience as a consumer. Start by investing in single shares and grow your portfolio over time.
Corporate bonds: if you’re looking for a low-risk investment, company bonds are a good option. Bonds are considered a low-risk investment. You can choose to invest in only large companies where bonds will mature over the next few years.
Start your own business: spare cash from your 64k salary can be used to invest in a business idea that you have. Set aside a small amount each month until you have enough to launch your business. Don’t get carried away and use all of your savings until you know that your business is viable and will make you money in the long term.
Transport: if you rely on transport to get to work, it’s important that you have sufficient funds to maintain it. You may even find that you save money through improved fuel efficiency and road tax with a new car.
Travel: is traveling one of your financial goals? If so, spending some of your spare money on traveling is completely acceptable. Life isn’t just about saving.
So, is 64k a good salary?
Knowing our exact yearly salary not only feels good, but it also makes budgeting much easier. Once you’ve worked out your monthly expenses and living costs, you will be able to figure out whether 64k is a salary that you can live off comfortably or not.
For more personal financial advice and tips on making and saving money, visit our blog.