Is $130,000 a Good Salary for a Single Person in 2024?

By Kim Franke-Folstad · June 11, 2024 · 10 minute read

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Is $130,000 a Good Salary for a Single Person in 2024?

If you’re single and earning $130,000 a year, you’ll likely find you can live pretty comfortably in most parts of the U.S.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary nationwide was about $59,228 in the first quarter of 2024, which means at $130,000, you’re earning more than twice what the average worker makes in a year.

Of course, if the cost of living is higher than average where you are, if you’re carrying a heavy debt load, or if you have champagne taste, you still may struggle to stretch your paycheck and achieve your financial goals.
Read on for a look at how a $130,000 salary might stack up depending on your location and other factors.

Is $130,000 a Good Salary?

If you’re a single person without any children, you may be able to manage quite well on a $130,000 income — especially if you can keep bigger bills, such as housing, utilities, transportation, and food costs, under control. (Tools like a money tracker can help.)

These expenses can vary widely depending on where you’re located. For instance, states where income tends to be higher usually have steeper costs of living.

To get an idea of where you stand, and whether $130,000 a year is a good salary for you, it helps to look at the cost of living where you live and the average salary in the U.S.

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Median Income in the US by State

A $130,000 annual salary is well above the average pay in the U.S., but wages can vary significantly by state. Here’s a state-by-state summary of the median household income, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

State

Median Household Income

Alabama $59,609
Alaska $86,370
Arizona $72,581
Arkansas $56,335
California $91,905
Colorado $87,598
Connecticut $90,213
Delaware $79,325
Florida $67,917
Georgia $71,355
Hawaii $94,814
Idaho $70,214
Illinois $78,433
Indiana $67,173
Iowa $70,571
Kansas $69,747
Kentucky $60,183
Louisiana $57,852
Maine $68,251
Maryland $98,461
Massachusetts $96,505
Michigan $68,505
Minnesota $84,313
Mississippi $52,985
Missouri $65,920
Montana $66,341
Nebraska $71,772
Nevada $71,646
New Hampshire $90,845
New Jersey $97,126
New Mexico $58,722
New York $81,386
North Carolina $66,186
North Dakota $73,959
Ohio $66,990
Oklahoma $61,364
Oregon $76,362
Pennsylvania $73,170
Rhode Island $81,370
South Carolina $63,623
South Dakota $69,457
Tennessee $64,035
Texas $73,035
Utah $86,833
Vermont $74,014
Virginia $87,249
Washington $90,325
West Virginia $55,217
Wisconsin $72,458
Wyoming $72,495

Recommended: Highest-Paying Jobs by State

Average Cost of Living in the US by State

If you live in one of the more expensive states in the U.S., you already know how higher costs can affect your budget, even if you make a six-figure salary. Here’s a breakdown of where each state ranks for cost of living, according to 2023 data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC). (Less expensive states have an index under 100, while more expensive states have an index over 100.)

State

Cost of Living Index

Alabama 88.3
Alaska 125.2
Arizona 108.4
Arkansas 89.0
California 138.5
Colorado 105.1
Connecticut 112.8
Delaware 101.1
Florida 100.7
Georgia 90.8
Hawaii 180.3
Idaho 98.6
Illinois 92.1
Indiana 91.0
Iowa 90.3
Kansas 87.1
Kentucky 92.0
Louisiana 91.0
Maine 109.9
Maryland 116.5
Massachusetts 146.5
Michigan 90.6
Minnesota 94.1
Mississippi 86.3
Missouri 88.5
Montana 102.9
Nebraska 90.9
Nevada 101.0
New Hampshire 114.1
New Jersey 113.9
New Mexico 94.0
New York 125.9
North Carolina 95.3
North Dakota 94.6
Ohio 94.7
Oklahoma 86.2
Oregon 114.7
Pennsylvania 95.6
Rhode Island 110.7
South Carolina 95.3
South Dakota 92.4
Tennessee 90.3
Texas 92.7
Utah 103.2
Vermont 115.3
Virginia 101.9
Washington 116.0
West Virginia 87.7
Wisconsin 95.1
Wyoming 92.4

How to Budget for a $130,000 Salary

No matter where you live or how much you’re paid, creating a realistic budget can help you stay on course when it comes to managing your money.

One popular budgeting method that can give you an idea of how to divide up your wages every month is the 50/30/20 rule, which allocates after-tax income to three basic categories:

•   50% to “needs” (essentials like housing, utilities, food, etc.)

•   30% to “wants” (extras like dining out, vacations, jewelry, etc.)

•   20% to savings and/or putting extra money toward debt repayment

This allocation prioritizes basic needs but leaves room for fun and provides a way to save for the future. It may not work for everyone, however — especially if you live in a location where rent and other costs can take a big bite out of your paycheck every month. If you find you need to make some adjustments to fit your circumstances, a budget planner app may make it easier to track your spending so you can decide where to cut back.

How to Maximize a $130,000 Salary

Besides thoughtful budgeting, there are other things you might be able to do to help get the most from your $130,000 salary, including:

Take Advantage of Employee Perks

Employer benefits can add more value to an already solid salary. For example, if your employer’s 401(k) plan offers a matching contribution, it could help you save more for retirement. And if you’re able to work remotely, you might be able to spend less each month on transportation costs (gas, maintenance, etc.) or your work wardrobe.

Minimize Account Fees

Small monthly fees can sometimes go unnoticed when you’re worrying about bigger bills, like rent or a car payment. But with a little research and comparison shopping, you may be able to avoid the common bank fees, credit card fees, and investment fees that can eat away at your hard-earned income.

Pay Bills on Time

Besides the penalty fees you might face if you push your bill-paying limits too far, late payments can take a toll on your credit score, which could affect the interest rate you might pay on a loan or credit card. Paying on time can help you protect your creditworthiness.

Build an Emergency Fund

An unexpected expense like car repairs or a vet bill, or even a temporary pay cut, can blow up your budget. Setting aside money in an emergency fund could keep you from falling behind on your regular obligations.

What Quality of Life Can You Expect with a $130,000 Salary?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of life as “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns.”

In other words, contentment is somewhat subjective. And the salary you may need to feel comfortable could vary depending on your priorities and your desire to have more or better things.

When deciding if $130,000 is a good salary for you, some factors to consider might include:

•   What does success mean to you? Do you need a luxury car brand and designer clothes to be happy?

•   How much do you like to go out to eat, attend concerts, and travel? Have you been known to bust your budget for those experiences?

•   Is a big-city location a must, or is life in the suburbs or a small town more your thing?

•   If you’re new in your career, is $130,000 a good entry-level salary for the type of job you have? Do you expect to make more later?

•   How much — and how fast — are you hoping to save for short- and long-term goals, like a wedding, a home purchase, or retirement?

•   When you look at your salary through the 50/30/20 budget lens, does it seem doable?

Is $130,000 a Year Considered Rich?

“Rich” is another subjective term. If your definition of rich is what the top earners in the U.S. make, $130,000 falls short. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the top 10% of earners made, on average, $167,639 in 2021 (the most recent year for which data is available). The top 5% earned $335,891. To make it into the top 1%, you’d have to earn $819,324 or more.

But wealth isn’t necessarily determined by the number on a paycheck. If you own much more than you owe — thanks to inheriting money, owning valuable assets, or building up your savings over time — you may still have a high net worth, even if your annual income isn’t what you consider rich. And if you can live comfortably on $130,000, you may feel richer than someone who earns a high six-figure salary but can’t manage to make ends meet.

Recommended: How to Calculate Your Net Worth

Is $130,000 a Year Considered Middle Class?

Pew Research defines “middle-income” Americans as those whose annual income is two-thirds to twice the median household income, adjusted for household size. Using $59,228, the BLS’s median income number from the first quarter of 2024, a single person could earn from $39,485 to $118,456 and be considered middle income. With a $130,000 salary, you’re actually earning more than workers in that upper range.

However, being considered “middle class” may have as much to do with your lifestyle as your paycheck. A person’s status, middle class or otherwise, may also be determined by their background, education, career path, neighborhood, ability to pay their bills, and other factors.

What Kinds of Jobs Pay a $130,000 Salary?

If you’re looking for work, you’ll likely find there’s a wide range of jobs that offer a $130,000 salary, particularly in management positions. According to the BLS, while the annual mean wage for all occupations in May 2023 was $65,470, the mean wage for managers was $137,750. That category includes jobs in marketing and public relations, medical and health services, computer and information services, and more. But again, these salaries can vary significantly depending on where you live.

Tips for Living on a $130,000 Salary

Proactive planning can play an important role in living well on any salary, including $130,000 a year. Here are a few steps that could help make your money go further from month to month and year to year:

Live Within Your Means

Before you buy a car, rent an apartment, go on vacation, or make any big purchase, it can be a good idea to run the numbers one more time to be certain those costs will fit with your overall budget.

Pay Down Debt

If you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards and paying anywhere near the average interest rate (currently 27.65%), a big chunk of your paycheck could end up going just to interest each month. If you’re struggling with high-interest debt, you may want to look into a repayment plan like the snowball method to help you get back on track.

And if you’re carrying student loans and other debts from before you were earning $130,000, debt consolidation might be something to consider.

Keep an Eye on Costs

Tracking your spending with an app can help you see where your money is going in real time, which could make it easier to stick to your budget. It also can be a good idea to check your credit card and bank statements weekly or monthly.

The Takeaway

Though it may not qualify as “rich,” in most parts of the U.S. a $130,000 salary can provide a comfortable lifestyle, especially if you’re single.

You’ll still have to live within your means day to day while also working toward your long-term goals. But with the right attitude, discipline, and financial tools, you can improve your chances of success. Creating a budget that you can stick to can be an important first step.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

Can I live comfortably making $130,000 a year?

If you’re earning $130,000 a year, you’re making more than twice the median salary for U.S. workers nationwide. How well you can manage on that amount, however, may vary depending on where you live and how you spend your money.

What can I afford with a $130,000 salary?

If you’re single, you can decide your own spending priorities, whether you’re hoping to buy a house or a new car, travel the world, or all of the above. The 50/30/20 budget rule — which breaks down how much you may want to put toward your wants, needs, and savings each month — can be a useful tool for deciding what you can afford on a $130,000 salary.

How much does a $130,000 a year salary come out to hourly?

A $130,000 annual salary comes out to about $62.50 per hour if you’re working a 40-hour work week.

If you make $130,000 a year, how much does that come out to monthly?

If you’re earning $130,000 a year, that comes to about $10,833 per month before taxes and about $8,475 after federal taxes.

How much does a $130,000 annual salary come out to per day?

If you’re earning $130,000 a year, that comes to about $2,500 for a 40-hour work week, or $500 for an eight-hour workday.


Photo credit: iStock/nd3000

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