When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

26 April 2006

What It Costs To Live Well In The U.S. - Forbes.com

How much does a family of four need to earn per year to live the upper-middle-class American dream? Forbes.com looks at a major metro region in each of the 50 states and estimates such expenses as primary and secondary homes, private education, taxes, utilities and more, to find out what it costs to live the good life.
It will surprise no one, I'm sure, that the most expensive city in America in which to live Forbes' definition of "the good life" is New York City, where your "upper-middle-class" (I'd add at least one "upper" there) lifestyle will require a net income after taxes of nearly $500,000 a year (considering federal, state and city taxes, you'll need to be pulling at least a million a year, gross); the least expensive is Wichita, Kansas, where living the stunted local analogue of "the good life" is more affordable: a net after taxes of $190,000 will do the trick (but you'd be in Wichita.)

You might not agree with Forbes' criteria, however. In addition to carrying hefty mortgages on a four-bedroom primary residence and a vacation home in "an upscale resort area" (e.g., the Hamptons for NYC residents) you'll be driving a BMW 325i sedan and a Lexus RX 330, paying private school and private college tuition for your two tastefully attired childen, taking three luxury vacations a year (e.g., Palm Beach, Paris, and Beaver Creek) and saving almost nothing that you earn (less than 1%, which, horrifyingly, is the national average.)

At any rate, an interesting and thought-provoking read, especially for aspiring vulgarians.

I can warmly assure everyone that one can live very well indeed in New York City on a small fraction of the income that the Forbes article projects as a requirement, and put money aside for savings and investment every month besides.

Of course, we have neither mortgage, car, nor child... but Mister Gato and the Chows have very expensive tastes. You have no idea what it costs to keep them well-supplied with tuna and pig ears.

What It Costs To Live Well In The U.S. - Forbes.com

Related: Calculator: Where can you afford to live?

Hat tip: Metafilter.

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