It’s tough to feel financially secure when the cost of living continues to rise and your paycheck isn’t rising with it. SmartAsset looked into how much someone needs to earn to live comfortably in the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S. They found that on average, Americans need to bring home $68,499 after taxes to live comfortably, which is up around 20% from a year ago, when it was $57,013.
- To figure out how much money someone needs to live comfortably in these areas, SmartAsset used the 50/30/20 rule. It defines a “comfortable lifestyle” as one with 50% of after-tax income going to basic living expenses - or needs - 30% going to discretionary spending - or wants - and 20% to savings or paying off debt.
- SmartAsset used the MIT Living Wage Calculator to figure out the basic cost of living for someone with no kids in each metro area. It includes the average cost of housing, food, transportation, medical care and other expenses in each area.
- The San Francisco metro area tops the list for the most take-home pay needed, at $84,026.
These are the salaries needed to live comfortably in these 15 major metro areas:
- San Francisco metro area: $84,026
- San Diego metro area: $79,324
- Boston metro area: $78,752
- New York metro area: $78,524
- Seattle metro area: $77,634
- Los Angeles metro area: $76,710
- Washington, D.C. metro area: $76,194
- Miami metro area: $67,056
- Atlanta metro area: $66,580
- Phoenix metro area: $65,670
- Chicago metro area: $65,500
- Dallas metro area: $64,742
- Houston metro area: $62,260
- Philadelphia metro area: $61,678
- St. Louis metro area: $57,446