Is $65,000 a Good Salary for a Single Person in 2024?

By Kim Franke-Folstad · July 08, 2024 · 10 minute read

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Is $65,000 a Good Salary for a Single Person in 2024?

If you’re single and you only have to worry about taking care of yourself financially, you may be able to live pretty comfortably on a salary of $65,000.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary nationwide was $59,228 in the first quarter of 2024. This means at $65,000 per year, you’re earning more than the typical worker. But if the cost of living is higher where you live or if you’re carrying a lot of debt, stretching your paycheck from month to month could be a challenge.

Read on to learn how a $65,000 salary stacks up depending on location and other factors.

Is $65K a Good Salary?

If you’re single and child-free, you may be able to get by fairly well on a $65,000 income. But the amount you pay — all on your own — for housing, utility bills, groceries, and other basic costs could be a major factor in how well you’re able to manage. Tools like a money tracker can help you monitor your spending and spot upcoming bills.

Of course, day-to-day expenses can vary widely depending on where you live. To get an idea of where you stand, and if $65,000 a year is a good salary for you, it can help to look at the cost of living and the average salary in the U.S. and the state where you live.

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Median Salary by State

A $65,000 annual salary is above average in most of the U.S., but wages differ significantly from state to state. Here’s a summary of the median household income in each state, based on 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 the high cost of housing, utilities, and other basics can affect your budget. Here’s a breakdown of where each state ranks when it comes to the cost of living, according to 2023 data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC).

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 $65,000 Salary

Even if you’re earning a six-figure salary, 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.” This includes essentials like housing, utilities, food, transportation, insurance payments, and debt payments.

•   30% to “wants,” which encompasses everything from dining out to vacations to shopping.

•   20% to savings for future goals. This category can include things like extra payments to help pay off loans sooner, saving for a down payment on a home, an IRA or other retirement contributions, or an emergency fund.

Using this method, a $65,000 salary, which comes to about $54,800 a year after federal taxes, or $4,567 each month, might look like this:

•   $2,283 each month to needs

•   $1,370 each month to wants

•   $914 each month to savings and/or paying down debt

While this approach leaves room for a little fun, it may not work for everyone. 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 $65,000 Salary

Besides thoughtful budgeting, there are several other things you might be able to do to help maximize your $65,000 salary. Here are some strategies to consider:

Make the Most of Employee Perks

Good benefits can sometimes make up for a smaller paycheck or add value to an already solid salary. 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 or your work wardrobe.

Avoid Account Fees

Small monthly fees can sometimes go unnoticed when you’re worrying about bigger bills, like your rent or 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 slowly 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.

Build an Emergency Fund

An unexpected expense like a high car repair or a temporary pay cut can quickly blow up a budget. Setting aside money in an emergency fund could help keep you from falling behind on your regular obligations.

What Quality of Life Can You Expect with a $65,000 Salary?

Everyone has a different idea of contentment, and the amount of money you need to feel comfortable may look different than another person’s. When deciding if $65,000 is a good salary for you, some factors to consider might include:

•   Do you want to live in a big city, or is life in the suburbs or a small town more of your thing?

•   How much do you like to go out to eat, attend concerts, and travel? Are you willing to sacrifice other things so you can have these experiences?

•   If you’re new in your career, is $65,000 a good entry-level salary for the type of job you have? Do you expect to make more later?

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

•   Is a 50/30/20 budget doable on your salary?

Is $65,000 a Year Considered Rich?

“Rich” is another subjective term. If your definition of rich is what the top earners in the U.S. make, $65,000 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. And to make it into the top 1%, you’d have to earn $819,324 or more.

But wealth isn’t necessarily determined only by the number on a paycheck. If you own much more than you owe, you may still have a high net worth. And if you can live comfortably on $65,000, you may feel richer than someone who earns a six-figure salary but can’t manage to make ends meet.

Recommended: Net Worth Calculator By Age

Is $65,000 a Year Considered Middle Class?

Generally speaking, yes. Pew Research defines “middle-income” Americans as those whose annual income is two-thirds to double the median household income, adjusted for household size. Using the BLS’s median income number from the first quarter of 2024, $59,228, that means a single person who earns from $39,485 to $118,456 could be considered middle income.

What Kinds of Jobs Pay a $65,000 Salary?

If you’re looking for work, you’ll likely find there’s a wide range of jobs that offer a $65,000 salary, including entry-level positions for new grads, jobs for introverts, and high-paying vocational jobs that don’t necessarily require a degree. According to the BLS, jobs for health-care workers, software developers, clergy, law clerks, civil and industrial engineering technicians, and many more fall within this pay range, although salaries can vary significantly depending on where you live.

Tips for Living on a $65,000 Salary

Proactive planning can play an important role in living well on a $65,000 salary. Here are a few steps that could help make your money go further month to month and year to year:

Live Within Your Means

Before you make a major purchase, consider crunching the numbers again to make sure the costs will work with your 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 toward interest each month. If you’re struggling with high-interest debt, you may want to look into debt consolidation or a repayment plan like the snowball method to help you get back on track.

Save and Invest

Finding a way to save for retirement and other long-term goals can seem like a big ask if you’re struggling to make ends meet. But the sooner you can start stashing away money, the more your savings can start to grow.

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 online credit card and bank statements weekly or monthly.

The Takeaway

Is $65k a year a good salary? Though it may not qualify as “rich,” in many parts of the country, a $65,000 salary is higher than the average pay in the United States. And it can provide a comfortable lifestyle — especially if you’re single. The idea of living day to day within your means on $65,000 while also working toward your long-term goals may seem challenging. But having the right attitude, discipline, and financial tools 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.

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FAQ

Can I live comfortably making $65,000 a year?

If you’re earning $65,000 a year, you’re making more than the median salary for U.S. workers nationwide. How well you can get by on that pay depends on where you live and how you spend your money.

What can I afford with a $65,000 salary?

If you’re single, you can decide your own spending priorities. The 50/30/20 budget rule — which breaks down your costs and 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 $65,000 salary.

How much does a $65,000 a year salary come out to hourly?

A $65,000 annual salary comes out to about $31.25 per hour if you’re working a 40-hour work week.

If you make $65,000 a year, how much does that come out to monthly?

If you’re earning $65,000 a year, that comes to about $5,417 per month before taxes.

How much does a $65,000 annual salary come out to per day?

If you’re earning $65,000 a year, that comes to about $1,250 for a 40-hour work week, or $250 for an eight-hour workday.


Photo credit: iStock/mixetto

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