Thursday, May 19, 2011

$75k--the ideal salary

i have a lot on my mind (mainly turning this breech baby!!) because of the endless list of things i want to accomplish before baby #2 arrives.  like parker, preparing for paxton helps me evaluate my life satisfaction and think about changes i might want to make in regards to staying home vs. working and ultimate life goals.  i keep coming back to this article that explores the relationship between financial and emotional stress of various salaries: Wall Street Journal Article.

main point: the ideal salary for optimal happiness = $75,000.  i agree.

sure there are lots of variables (cost of living in places like nyc, high student loans, # of dependents, etc), but i think if you have to pick a number for an ideal salary in most parts of the country, $75k is correct.  in nwa, there are a good amount of jobs that pay around $75/year (especially with at least 5 years in the business world), and many that offer flexible work environments / don't interfere a great deal on family life.  most people i know who make more than $75 put in a good amount of hours and have higher emotional/family stress, and others who make less are often financially stressed (especially less than $40k, but i think there is a curve from 40-75 as higher pay = more breathing room).

as a side note, most of the comments that argue $75k (for one person) is too low seem whiny. 

who knows what james and i will do in the coming years.  i'm not going to discuss what we make other than saying we are a two income family right now, which minimizes a lot of financial stress.  while i like the concrete $75k number as an ideal income, i still struggle with knowing what an ideal amount to save for our kids' college and retirement is (and if we are are on track).  all we can do is keep trying to make smart, long-term financial decisions and not hold too tight onto our money knowing it is all a gift from God.

and maybe just maybe buy a new (used) car this summer that we've been saving up to buy for 2+ years!! :)  g'nite yall.  hope everyone is having a great week!!


marcia truitt said...

I agree, it's so hard to put our finger on a number that would be "ideal" because (at least for me) as soon as I reach that figure, I want more. (I'm reading a lot about greed right now so it's VERY clear how much I struggle with it in my own life!)

One thing that helps me to take the pressure off of worrying about saving "enough" for our kid's education is to remember that neither of our parents were able to pay 100% and we turned out just fine. Cade has a great brain, so he got great scholarships and his parents covered the rest. I didn't get as many scholarships but worked my way through and then paid 1/2 of the total back to my parents within our first year of marriage. I think both of our experiences made us VERY grateful for our education and helped us learn to be responsible with money early on.

Just some thoughts... =)

Erin said...

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I really agree with this figure.

People who complain about not being able to live in the nicest neighborhood in Manhattan drive me nuts-o.

I live in one of the most expensive cities in the country. If you make 75K in Santa Barbara, you can only afford an apartment, and it might be a stretch for a family. However, you also receive a lot of free benefits, like the nice weather, the ocean, the mountains, the public schools, etc...

It is just a matter of what's important to you. Could you live somewhere else and have a bigger house? Yes.

Can you have it all? Not unless you want to pay for it.

Thank goodness we're about to move to the least expensive metro-area in the country.