Is 50k a Good Salary Out Of College?
There is a question that everyone should ask themselves at some point in their lives: How much is my time worth? After all, time is the most precious asset for companies and us and should be rewarded.
The main thing you should know is that a person usually works about 8 hours a day. If it is a part-time job, it can be 4, but the salary will be lower. In this guide, we talk about a $50,000 salary, which you usually need to work full-time to get… Unless you are fortunate!
$50k Salary Breakdown
In terms of weekly work time, a typical person tends to work 40 hours. Annually, People work 52 weeks. However, everything you are reading depends on the situation, but these numbers represent the average population. As we can’t estimate your specific situation, we are going with averages. Make sure to adapt our calculations as needed!
Now, it is time to see how this $50,000 salary is divided over a year to find how much you are earning per hour. We will do the calculations based on monthly, biweekly, weekly, daily, and hourly pay.
Chances are you are being paid by the month, as most people in the United States are. Given that our years only have 12 months, you will be earning an amount of $4,166 a month. This is not bad at all!
Weekly And Biweekly
Many people in the United States receive their salary on a weekly and biweekly basis. Based on a $50,000 salary, this would be $1,041 per week. For the biweekly amount, you need to multiply that number by 2, and this will give us a result of $2,082 per 2 weeks.
When you think about the amount of money you will earn per day, you will surely know that you will work 5 days a week. If you do the math and divide your weekly salary (which is $1,041) by 5, it gives us a total of $208 per day. If you work more than 5 days a week, as some people do, you will need to divide by that number of days.
Finally, we will be looking at the hourly checks. Since there are 260 workdays in a year and you will work 8 hours per day, this ends up being 2080 work hours in a whole year. So, if we do the maths again, we realize that your hourly income will be around $26 per hour.
We can see how this amount of pay per hour is not bad at all. As it accumulates, it produces a result of $ 50,000 in one year. This might be a perfect amount of money in your post-college age that you can use to invest and generate more gains.
$50,000 Income after taxes
Well, we are sorry to bring you bad news but taxes will reduce the money you earn. The government needs to raise something to afford their tax expenditure, which makes taxes one of the factors that affect your income the most.
Some people think taxes are reasonable because they see the return of their payments when the state builds hospitals, schools, and other valuable public entities. However, many other people dislike them and think they shouldn’t even exist. It will be an eternal war there, and in the end, it doesn’t matter on which side you are… Not paying them will spell trouble.
Okay, we will tell you the amount of that $50,000 salary that will be gone on taxes.
There are different types of taxes, and we will be analyzing them now.
Federal Income Tax
In 2021 there are 7 federal tax brackets. These go from 10%, ranging up to 37%. There are also 4 different tax filing statuses:
- Married Filing Jointly
- Married Filing Separately
- Head of Household
The final taxes will depend on which of those brackets your income falls into. Also, your tax filing status will ultimately depend on what your tax bill looks like – this, along with a few other different deductions and adjustments that come out of your gross income.
In this case, because of your $50,000 salary out of college, we would suppose you are a single filer. You should be paying $4,664 plus 22% over the excess of $40,525. However, taxes don’t work entirely like that. Some of your taxable income will be taxed at the lower brackets, 10% and 12%.
We expect you to pay a 13.3% tax rate, and this makes a total of $6,650 in federal taxes.
State Income Tax
You need to know that these taxes may vary depending on where you are earning your income. Some states don’t even have this type of tax, but some others do. The states that don’t have this tax are the following:
- South Dakota
It usually works one of these three ways; progressive tax, flat tax, or no tax at all. Progressive taxes means the more an individual earns, the more money they pay in taxes.
On the other hand, when a state charges a flat tax from someone’s paycheck, they tax all income at the same rate.
For this case, we will take a 4% tax rate, which is an average value for many states in the U.S. So, taking this rate into account, you will be paying an amount of $2,000 in state income taxes.
Social Security & Medicare
The only thing that remains to talk about is FICA taxes. This stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, and this tax isn’t just to support social security. Part of FICA tax is also for medicare, which you will need to pay even if you have private insurance.
The part of social security is 12.4% of the gross salary. However, half of this is paid by the employer, and the employee pays the other half. In this way, you end up paying 6.2% on social security.
Regarding medicare, this is for a total amount of 2.9% of an employee’s salary. Again, the employer pays half, so you only end up paying 1.45% on taxes.
If you add those two numbers up, you get a total of 7.65% on FICA taxes. Based on our estimations, you will end up paying $3,825 in FICA tax.
If we put all these taxes together, we can approximate what you have to pay. The numbers would be 6,850 + 2,000 + 3,825 , which gives a total of $12,675 in taxes.
Your salary would go from a gross of $50,000 to a net $38,325. Now, you do need to consider that these are approximated estimations and might not be your case. However, it is best to have a better overview of how taxes will affect your salary.
You may realize that a lot of money from that $50,000 is gone when going through these taxes. Do you think that $38,325 is enough to live comfortably after college? Let’s see it right now.
How Far Can a $50,000 Salary Take You?
We just talked about the money that is lost on your salary because of taxes. Now, you’ve been left with $38,325. Is it a good amount to afford living while giving yourself some treats? To answer this to you, we will separate the costs of living into different categories.
We have to consider that you need money for different things, including housing, food, transportation, health care, taxes, and others. However, there are various areas in the U.S. in which prices may vary a lot.
For example, it is not the same to live in New York City as in Dallas, and New York will have a much higher cost of living. This means that your $50,000 salary will have a different impact depending on where you live.
To keep things easy, we recommend you manage your funds monthly. This means that you will have to administer about $3,200 a month correctly. Also, we’ll base our calculations using the 50/30/20 rule. You should distribute your budget in this way:
- 50% will be used for needs
- 30% for any treats you’d like
- 20% for savings, investing, and debt replacement
This is a great strategy to practice financial management, as it ensures all your costs are covered.
Using the strategy we told you before implies something important from the beginning. You will need to have $1,600 to cover all your needs, and is that going to be enough? Let’s see.
This category depends on where you live. Of course, when you start in the U.S. and mainly after college, you need to rent an apartment, and you will choose either a single or double room if you want to split prices with a partner.
In general, rental fees go around $900 if you live in cheap places, and these can reach $1,600 if you live in Orlando, New Orleans, Texas, and other inexpensive cities.
However, many places like New York or Miami are entirely out of our expectations. Rentals there can reach the price of $4,500, according to several sources. They even increased an average of 60% in the last year, while in cheaper places decreased.
However, we are going with the average here at $900 per month as you are out of college and might not live in an expensive city. That being said, make sure to adjust the expense as necessary!
Let’s talk about utility bills now. On average, people spend $370 on this type of bill. You are going to use different facilities that are charged. These are the following:
- Water ($50)
- Electricity ($150)
- Wifi ($80)
- Phone service ($90)
Just as we said before, this might be cheaper or more expensive for you. Make sure to adjust the costs!
Our next category is transportation. As most Americans do, you will have to pay for car insurance, which costs $150 for the whole month if you have a car. You must get insurance just in case you get involved in an accident or other problem. Then, you don’t have to pay for the damage done to the car.
Finally, we have gas. In cheaper areas, you can get a gallon for $2.50. In a month, you will have to pay an amount that goes near $100 on gasoline.
On average, a single person can spend over $750 to travel. If you don’t have a car, you can pay $20 a day on a cheap rental one to go to work. If you don’t want to use a rental car, Uber or Lyft is always an option. However, you probably would spend the same or even a bit more.
We are getting to the end, and we have food here. On average, a single person spends $300 a month on groceries. Usually, when you go to the supermarket, you get fruit and other things that you want. However, if you live with a family/partner or have any special dietary restrictions, you may spend more than that. The opposite is also true!
The last category in our list is health insurance. The prices of insurance can change depending on where you live and which plan you have. However, a general estimate for a single person is $500.
Adding up all the needs, you get to spend a not small amount of that monthly salary. You might have to stretch our 50/30/20 plan a bit. Don’t worry, though, and it’s a little amount of money you won’t use for personal treats or savings. As time passes by, you’ll be able to save more and make more money on work.
Alright, so the total numbers are here. Let’s see them:
- Housing – $900
- Utilities – $370
- Transportation – $750
- Groceries – $300
- Insurance – $500
In total, you will probably be spending an amount of around $2,820, with chances being that you spend considerably less.
The conclusion is that you will have just enough to pay your needs in most circumstances. While you might need to relegate some wants and savings, we have done the calculations, so there is some wiggle room. However, there is $380 left that you could use however you want.
Here you will find all things on which you like to spend money and enjoy – for example, getting a meal in a restaurant, paying for streaming subscriptions, going shopping, etcetera. Maybe you can check what clothes you like are on sale and get them with the money left. However, you’ll be fine with $380 a month for personal treats, don’t worry.
If you’d like, you can use a part of those $380 to save it and invest. However, if you have any debt lying around, we recommend you pay that before doing anything. If all your debts are paid, then you can think about investing in financial assets.
We have a lot of articles on how to invest. You can also consider getting a side hustle if you find that your expenses are higher than expected!
Is $50,000 A Good Salary For A Single Person Out Of College? Conclusion
Well, after analyzing all the information, we concluded. If you don’t have high expectations and can maintain a cheap lifestyle, $50,000 a year might not be bad for you. You need to know that these numbers can escalate quickly.
Considering that you are a recent graduate, your salary is supposed to be growing over time. In the meantime, keep working and saving. Anytime soon you’ll be able to buy your own house, your car and many things you’d like. Just put in the work, and the benefits will arrive.
Make sure to check our other guides if you want to reduce costs, generate more income, or learn how to invest!
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