Is $70K a Good Salary for a Single Person?

By Jennifer Calonia · June 03, 2024 · 7 minute read

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Is $70K a Good Salary for a Single Person?

When it comes to defining a “good” salary, there’s no one magic number. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average salary in the U.S. is $65,470, as of May 2023. Based on this data point, $70K a year is a good salary for a single person — one that puts you above the national average.

But just how far $70,000 can carry you varies from person to person. Existing debt and financial obligations, spending habits, and where you live can all significantly impact how comfortable you’ll be on that salary.

Let’s take a closer look.

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Median Income in the US by State in 2024

When you examine income through the lens of the average pay in the U.S., you could be misled by certain outliers, like a group of people with an unusually high income. Another way to consider pay is by looking at median income. The median income in the United States in 2022 was $74,580, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Below is the median annual household income of every state.

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: The Average Income by Age in the U.S.

Average Cost of Living in the U.S. by State in 2024

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center aggregated and averaged cost-of-living (COL) indices from various metropolitan areas and cities throughout the U.S. It then determined the cost of living index by state.

As the chart below shows, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and California had the three highest costs of living on the index.

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

Recommended: Average U.S. Salary by State

How to Budget for a $70K Salary

Having established guard rails within your budget can help you live within your means. A popular strategy is the 50/30/20 plan, based on your after-tax income. Here’s how it works:

•   50% is for necessities. Necessities include your housing costs, utilities, car payments, groceries, transportation, health care, and other monthly debt obligations.

•   30% is for wants. This bucket includes non-essentials, like dining out, vacations, streaming subscriptions, shopping, etc.

•   20% is for savings. This category lets you set money aside toward an emergency fund, home down payment, retirement, or other long-term investment for yourself.

Maximizing a $70K Salary

$70K can be a good salary for a single person, depending on your circumstances. But if you’d like to stretch your income as much as possible, here are a few ideas:

•   Determine your monthly budget. A budgeting and spending plan that works for your lifestyle and long-term goals is essential. A budget planner app lets you set custom budgets and categorize your spending so you can see where your money goes.

•   Track your overall finances. Using a money tracker tool can help you monitor your everyday money habits, sometimes including your credit score. You can review useful visuals about your financial data, learn insights, and track how well you’re sticking to your plan.

•   Consider getting a roommate. Housing costs (i.e. rent/mortgage, utilities, internet, furnishings, etc.) make up a substantial part of your budget. Although getting a roommate isn’t the best fit for everyone, it lets you share the financial load so you can maximize your $70K salary.

•   Move to a cheaper area. If you live in a costly neighborhood, explore the possibility of relocating to another part of town that has a lower cost of living.

•   Invest in yourself. Don’t let your disposable income languish in a low- or no-interest checking account. Instead, consider depositing extra cash in a high-yield savings account or retirement account.

Is $70,000 a Year Considered Rich?

Only you can determine whether $70,000 per year is rich by your preferred quality of life. One way to approach this question is by learning how to calculate your net worth. For some workers, age factors into the decision of whether a certain salary is adequate.

To dig deeper into your net worth, use a net worth calculator by age.

Is $70K a Year Considered Middle Class?

According to the Pew Research Center, approximately half of U.S. adults are considered middle- class. Determining your income class as a single person earning $70,000 is a moving target depending on where you live.

Pew’s income calculator lets you quickly uncover your income tier, based on your state, metropolitan area, net income, and household size — in your case, one. For instance, $70K a year is a good salary in an upper-income tier, as a single-person household in the Gadsden area of Alabama. By comparison, in Texas’s San Antonio-New Braunfels area, earning $70K annually puts you in the middle-income class.

Example Jobs that Make About a $70,000 Salary

If you’d like to earn about $70,000 per year, here are a few jobs for introverts and extroverts alike and their median salary:

•   Loan officers: $69,990

•   Insurance underwriters: $77,860

•   Railroad worker: $73,580

•   Police officer and detective: $74,910

•   Zoologist and wildlife biologist: $70,600

For more inspiration, here’s a list of the highest-paying jobs by state.

The Takeaway

Whether $70K is a good salary for a single person is dependent on the context of your situation. A combination of factors, like your existing finances, your area’s affordability, and how lean or lavish your lifestyle is can sway the pendulum one way or the other.

As a single person, earning $70,000 annually might be completely comfortable if you live a modest-to-spendy lifestyle in a city with a low cost of living. Living in a high cost-of-living city, like Los Angeles or New York, might also be possible when you split housing costs with a roommate or relative. Assess your current bills, debts, and spending to see where you can make adjustments toward a lifestyle you enjoy.

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 $70,000 a year?

It’s possible. Depending on where you live and the area’s cost of living, a $70,000 annual salary might offer a comfortable lifestyle. Your current outstanding monthly debt, family size, and financial goals can also impact whether $70,000 is enough to live comfortably.

What can I afford with a $70,000 salary?

Housing is generally the most costly monthly expense you’ll need to budget for. If you earn $70,000 and are purchasing a home, you can afford a house up to $229,813. Assuming your monthly debt is $250, your mortgage rate is 7% fixed, and you got a 30-year term with $20,000 down, your monthly payment would be $1,837.

How much is $70,000 a year hourly?

A $70,000 salary equates to an hourly salary of $33.65. This assumes that you’re working a full-time schedule of 40 hours per week.

How much is $70,000 a year monthly?

If breaking down $70,000 in annual base wages by month, you’d earn $5,833.33 per month. Keep in mind that this figure doesn’t account for taxes and deductions that are applied to your paycheck during payroll.

How much is $70,000 a year daily?

A $70,000 base salary comes out to $269.23 per day. This amount was calculated under the assumption that you get paid to work eight-hour work days for over 260 weekdays throughout a year.


Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

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