What Is The Perfect Salary?

by Martin

The Perfect Salary

What do you think is the ideal salary for you? The Wall Street Journal says that $75,000 is the perfect salary for overall happiness. I first read about this salary over at Budgets Are Sexy. I wasn’t sure what this meant, but the WSJ studies goes on to state:

The magic income: $75,000 a year. As people earn more money, their day-to-day happiness rises. Until you hit $75,000. After that, it is just more stuff, with no gain in happiness.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

For the college students reading this:

How much do you expect to make out of college?

What are your income expectations for your future career? Furthermore, the biggest issue really is your financial picture once you graduate from college. If you’re in massive amounts of student debt then this annual figure might not feel like enough money due to your student loan payments. If you graduate debt free from college you might not be too concerned with how much money you make right off the bat. If your field doesn’t lend itself to earning lots of money you also might not find this figure to be note worthy.

For all of the young professionals reading this:

Are you close to this “perfect salary?”

We all finish college expecting to be rich after a few years. You know what I mean. We expect to be flying around the world at age 25 meeting the CEOs of Apple and Facebook for a bottle of champagne at lunch. This isn’t exactly how it works. We soon realize that an entry-level salary isn’t all that it’s cracked out to be. The work itself also isn’t always the most fulfilling. After years of grinding and sticking it through, breakthroughs will begin to happen. You will move up in the ranks. You will begin to earn more money. When and how you get to 75K is really unknown.

My thoughts on this “perfect salary?”

I think this number is missing one key ingredient: your lifestyle. The article questions the location where you live and how it affects your annual salary. Where you decide to live is extremely important (big city vs small town, downtown vs suburbs, U.S vs third world country). This then of course leads to the next question: where is $75,000 the perfect salary? What do you guys think?

I also wanted to look at your actual lifestyle.¬†Lifestyle is also critical in the sense of your expenses. Starting a family at a young age will obviously increase your expenses. Living an active lifestyle where you’re always going out (dinner, clubs) or joining different clubs (gym, social groups). Do you think that 75K/yr will be enough to maintain your lifestyle?

(photo credit: mait juriado)

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