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Cost Of Living Varies Vastly From City To City

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:

  1. San Francisco metro area: $84,026
  2. San Diego metro area: $79,324
  3. Boston metro area: $78,752
  4. New York metro area: $78,524
  5. Seattle metro area: $77,634
  6. Los Angeles metro area: $76,710
  7. Washington, D.C. metro area: $76,194
  8. Miami metro area: $67,056
  9. Atlanta metro area: $66,580
  10. Phoenix metro area: $65,670
  11. Chicago metro area: $65,500
  12. Dallas metro area: $64,742
  13. Houston metro area: $62,260
  14. Philadelphia metro area: $61,678
  15. St. Louis metro area: $57,446

By the way they did break down Charlotte as well. A single person can live comfortably in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metro area in the Carolinas for $62,110. Average living expenses in the Charlotte area add up to $31,055 per year, meaning that a person adhering to the 50/30/20 budget would allocate $18,633 to their discretionary spending and either save the remaining $12,422 or use it to pay off debt.

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Photo: Getty Images

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