How Much Money Do You Make?

It’s looked down on in a lot of circles to inquire, and maybe even rude in others and here at the MiB, we’re looking to dig deep into the depths of the questions.  Are you happy with your income?  Is your spouse?  Do your kids know how much you make?  What’s the standard?  How does it rate in your circle of friends?  I’m not asking for you to identify yourself, comment completely ‘anon’ if you’d like – just interested on the typical reader @ the MiB and their view of the matter…

Are You Happy With Your Paycheck?

Many people would agree that you only need enough to support your family and everything else is secondary if you can do that.  Does that make you happy though?  Does it really go just that depth?  What about a step further on that one:  Does that include making your bill payments paycheck to paycheck?  I’d have to think that it would mean just the paycheck to paycheck.  Is that enough?  I suppose to many it would be.

If you’ve got a roof over your10000.jpg head and food on the table, it’s hard to argue that whatever that amount, isn’t enough.  “Enough” is a relative term though.  I’ve noticed as my salary has gone up, my expenses have gone up, and my “need” has gone up.  I don’t spend frivolously by any stretch, but my house has grown, my car has grown, my family has grown; all along with my yearly salary.

Am I happy with it?  Sure, I’m happy with it.  Do I want more?  Yea, who doesn’t.  I have a hard time believe those few that say they don’t want anymore and that 500px-united_states_income_distribution_1967-2003svg.pngthey’re happy with what they’ve got now.  Well that is 2 different statements now though.  I am most definitely happy with what I have now, but still would like to cushion that happiness with a few “benjamins” when I have the chance.

Is Your Spouse Happy With Your Paycheck?

Another interesting angle to take on it.  I guess the first thing to decide is if your spouse knows about your paycheck.  Some people keep even that secret.  I don’t go that far, but I’m sure in some niches it is.  Are you happy with what your spouse makes?  How have you tried convincing them to make more?

Do Your Kids Know How Much You Make?

My kids are too young to even realize that an Elmo doll costs less than a new car; so they’re unsure.  I knew how much my parents made simply by who-makes-what.jpgdeduction.  My dad worked, my mom didn’t.  We at a lot of hot dogs and macaroni.  My clothes were mostly hand-me-downs.  I didn’t know the specifics on the income, but I had a rough idea based on the comparisons to the other kids in my neighborhood.

What Is The Standard?

Wikipedia says, “The median income divides households in the US evenly in the middle with half of all household earning more than the median income and half of all households earning less than the median household income. In 2004 the median household income in the median-salary-by-employer-type-country-united-states-united-states_usd_20080808080104.jpgUnited States was $43,389. According to the US Census Bureau, the median is “considerably lower than the average, and provides a more accurate representation.”

Considering other racial and geographical differences in regards to household income, it should come as no surprise that the median household income varies with race, size of household and geography. The state with the highest median household income in the United States as of the US Census Bureau 2005/06 is New Jersey with $66,752, followed by Maryland, Hawaii and Connecticut, making the median-salary-by-job-country-united-states-united-states_usd_20080808080104.jpgNortheastern United States the wealthiest area by income in the entire country.

In terms of region the median household income was as follows: “Northeast ($47,994), West ($47,680) and South ($40,773).” Median household income in the Mid-West declined by 2.8% to $44,657. While median household income has a tendency to increase up to four persons per household, it declines thereon after. This indicated that while four person households have larger incomes than those with one, two or three members, households seem to earn progressively less as their size increases beyond four persons.

According to the US Census Bureau median-salary-by-years-experience-country-united-states-united-states_usd_20080808080104.jpg2004 Community Survey, two-person households had a median income of $39,755, with $48,957 for three-person households, $54,338 for four-person households, $50,905 for five-person households, $45,435 for six-person households, with seven-or-more-person households having the second lowest median income of only $42,471.

In terms of race, Asian-Americans households had the highest median household income of $57,518, European-American households ranked second with $48,977, Hispanic or Latino households ranked third with $34,241. African American or Black households had the lowest median household income of all races with $30,134.”

From Around The Web

Aaron Karo,  author of  Ruminations on Twentysomething Life, responds to the number with, “If you want to draw a line inper-grade.jpg the sand, happiness is having enough money so you don’t have to move back in with your parents.”

Dannye says I had a good friend whom I’ve know for several years ask me this last year, and I have not really cared to see him since. It changed everything between us, and we’ve said stuff to each other that would curl youngsters’ ears to the point of deafness for life. This, however, was inexcusable. I could tell he wished he hadn’t said it, and I actually told him, which I wished I hadn’t done.

My Thoughts

I’ve always been a big fan of statistics – whether it be in sports or finance, I’ve dug in and been a real stat hound. That’s why this subject is certainly one of those things. It’s got a lot of informative data around it and a lot 500px-household_income_65_to_05.pngof deductions that can be made from it.  For instance, as you can expect, some of the graphs you’ve clicked through on this post have shown that having many kids clearly lowers your earning potential.  If you live in New York, you’ll likely cash a bigger weekly check than in Nebraska.

I lived on an island in the south pacific for a year and may $3.05 an hour one year earlier this decade. I worked on a resort and had food and shelter paid for.  The $24 a day paid for any extra expenditures.  In my case, that extra expenditure was the happiness.  I was very happy there and had a wonderful time making $6000 a year.  Would I have liked, more?  Of course.  Did I “need” more?  Clearly not.

I’m  now at a stage where we will likely not be able to contribute to a ROTH IRA this year (How much is that?)  and it is certainly more than the $3.05 an hour, but I can’t say that I don’t still want things.  The want will stick around at whatever level you’re making.  I think the key is just to learn to be happy with what you have, not stop striving for more, and don’t let greed get the best of you in trying to get what you want.

Your Turn – What Is YOUR Salary?

I’m not interested in who you are (well I am, but not for this thread), kids-to-money.jpgI’m just interested in the statistics of it all, as are the 75,000,000 Google results for “How much money do you make” – I’m just interested in whatever info you can give me to draw some of my own statistics up for readers of personal finance blogs.

Ideally I’d like to see you leave a comment containing:
Salary (with or without bonus, per year, per hour, including Health Benefits?

Spouse salary/occupation

That’s it – if you really want to put anything else, the more data the merrier, but please do toss your info in the hat.  This experiment won’t go very well if nobody participates, so please do chime in.  I promise nobody will know who you are by typing it in.  Add you name as “Anonymous” and give a fake email address if you’d like, just so we have some good data to go off.  I’ll post the results in a later article!

Filed Under: adviceCompensationfinancial educationNet WorthReaders Requests


  • anon

    elementary teacher
    Florida USA

  • anon

    22 – male
    about 25,000 per year
    Denver CO

  • anon

    Real estate assistant
    No spouse

  • ANON

    Spouse: 44/female/36k/teacher/Minnesota

  • anon

    $48,000 yr
    health benefits: none
    Occupation(s}: Student, HNW Tax Planner, Owner
    Location: Austin, TX
    Spouse salary/occupation: none

    you might want to add health benefits to the categories since this can make a HUGE difference in overall salary

  • anony the mouse

    I do like the post, some very good points and charts I wasn’t aware of! 43k is standard US salary was a new one to me. I’m 34 yr old male, not married, make about 75,000/year with 8-10% bonus per year as a software engineer in Michigan.

  • Ahhh – good call ANON#5 from Austin – I’ll tack that on to the post!

    hank’s last blog post..How Much Money Do You Make?

  • anon

    Senior level SQL Server DBA/developer
    Homemaker 😉
    50k CC debt 🙁
    (laid off 1 year ago = 3 mo. no income, 20k+ in unreimbursed relo expenses)

  • 32
    92K +10% Bonus +Nice Benefits
    Internal Auditor (+CPA)
    Stay At Home Spouse/Student

  • anon


  • anon

    60k + bonus
    web developer

  • 65k + commissions (in sales)
    trying to get my second income ( up to about 10k a year.

    Kevin’s last blog post..Early Retirement Planning: How I Save For Retirement

  • I’m not commenting anonymously so sorry, can’t answer most of the questions. I am also learning of more and more tools that mean you are never 100% anon online, so forgive me for being so careful.

    Anyway, yeah, we’re happy with what we have. Specifically wanted to address the issue of kids – NO WAY we are telling them. It’s none of their business; they can’t grasp it anyway; and will likely divulge the info to strangers!

    Vered’s last blog post..Thank You For Smoking

  • anon

    27 male
    75 k + mystery bonus (usually $0)
    full benes / 4wks vaca
    IT consultant

  • anon

    80k plus 10% bonus
    Cost analyst

  • @Vered – I understand it. Maybe that should be the next post, granted – it’s super saturated, but possible. I keep all my credit info online but I’m not seeing how it can get taken by saying what your profession is. Eh?

  • gb


  • anononono

    I like the idea!

    54k/year no bonus/yes benefits
    kansas, usa

  • Anon

    $95k/ bonus up to $25k/ ok benefits- must pay for family $500/mth.



    Spouse- stay home Mom/2 kids

    -struggling to keep up…not a lot of debt- modest home- modest cars- how’s everyone doing it?

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  • Anon B

    38,000 per year + bonus
    I have been with this comapny 5 years and have only had to take 2.5 sick days in that time. I love my job and am I happy with my salary.

  • anon

    30 F
    32k/year, full benefits, 4 weeks vacation
    Austin, TX

  • anon

    72K + 11% optional bonus + Health Benefits + 4wks vacation + 1 work from home day per week.
    Information Security Director
    Spouse salary = $15,500/cook

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  • anon

    Age 51
    Sex F
    Salary (with or without bonus, per year, per hour, including Health Benefits?) $62 plus 50% match 401K =$10,225, health insurance, 4 weeks vacation, bonus varies – 3.5% this year
    Occupation(s} legal assistant
    Location Oklahoma
    Spouse salary/occupation $60, engineer, bonus

  • 29
    Northampton, England
    Mortgage Broker

    Uncommonadvice’s last blog post..Increase the chances of your property selling by 100%

  • Anon

    Age 40
    Sex F
    Salary (with or without bonus, per year, per hour, including Health Benefits?)
    $60k/year, no benefits
    Occupation(s} Secretary
    Location NY
    Spouse salary/occupation $70k/year – IT person

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  • Great post! Loved the visuals especially. Instead of telling our son how much we earn, we talk about choices and priorities and whether we have enough to get something. Sometimes we frame it as “We can get this or this. What would your rather have?” We like him to start understanding that he has to be able to make choices with his money, and that he can’t always have everything he wants.


    28/female/65K/freelance writing from home/Utah
    Spouse: 28/male/18k/Ph.D. student (research assistant)/Utah

    Miranda’s last blog post..Financial Fears: Mine and Yours

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  • readytorock

    Age: 25
    Sex: Male
    Salary: I freelance, but roughly $30k/year, not including health benefits, pay for those on my own.
    Location: Chicagoland
    Spouse salary/occupation: single.

  • anonymous

    $96,000 incl a bonus (never had one before highly unlikely in the future and extra teaching job), and disability benefits for DH and DD; includes health insurance
    University, technology trainer/support
    husband is a stay at home Dad

    We are exceptionally happy!

  • Sarah

    about $28,500 (I’m still considered hourly, so that can flex. usually higher)
    St Louis
    no spouse

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    80,000 per year plus up to 10% bonus (yearly) plus Health Benefits
    41 year old single female
    Telecommunications Implementation Coordinator
    Raleigh, NC

    I can’t complain about my salary or my job. Life is good.

  • I don’t mind leaving my info since I post of it on my blog anyway.

    31 yo, Single Male

    60k base salary, plus benefits (health ins, dental, vision, 401k)

    10k bonus (varies, but has been pretty consistent for last 5 years)

    Atlanta, GA


    Just like the poster above me, I can’t complain about my salary and yeah, life is good!

    Single Guy Money’s last blog post..Thursday Talkback

  • 29 y/o male
    Houston, TX

  • 28 y//o Single Female

    Full Time PhD student, works part time as Teaching Assistant



    Orange’s last blog post..Mailing Addresses for TransUnion, Experian and Equifax

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  • Anon

    38k with free health ins for me and spouse
    Spouse 24, 48k, Application Developer

  • Anon



    91K/ok benefits/3K bonus

    major construction/engineering company

    Spouse SAHM w/ 2 kids

  • Anonymous

    Age: 48

    Sex: Male

    Dept. of Defense IT Operations Manager


    Northern Virginia

    Single, live like a college student, minimal monthly living expenses

  • Anonymous

    Age: 28
    Sex: M
    Position: Classified Systems Administrator
    Base: $55k
    Uplifts: OT, Per Diem, and Danger Pay
    Total: $220k per year + benefits (health care, medical, dental, matching 401(k))
    Location: Based in Atlanta, work involves travel to the Middle East for varying lengths of time dependent upon the mission.

  • Age: 22
    Sex: Female
    Salary (with or without bonus, per year, per hour, including Health Benefits?)
    Occupation(s}: 35,000 base. My total package is worth about 42,000 (not including bonuses)
    Location: Houston, TX
    Spouse salary/occupation: I’m still single!

    Penny’s last blog post..Shoe Dilemmas

  • oh gosh, am suddenly embarrassed to say how much i make in a year. maybe starving artist would best describe my plight when i convert my income to USD… but over here i make more than enough… (but am hoping for more)

    kate’s last blog post..Cute faced cat saves the day!

  • I think most parent will not tell their children how much they earn. Even my dad didn’t tell my mom about his earning. My mom is SAHM.

    Sherry’s last blog post..Advance Christmas Giveaway@Wonderful Things in Life

  • John

    $117K w xtra benefits & sometimes bonus
    Computer engineering manager
    Austin TX
    Wife ~$26k electronic assembler.

    Question above – do you wish your spouse made more? Yes, I’ve tried to convince her go into a business to make more to save more. I have a hard time seeing that running my own business would replace my current salary/bonus/benefit structure.

  • johnny

    graphic designer
    Costa Mesa, CA

  • Jan

    60K as accountant
    .-= Jan´s last blog ..Nine Ways to Bind Your Documents Reports and Presentations =-.

  • Erick

    Age: 26
    Gender: Male
    Income: 54k base, lots of overtime, small bi-annual bonuses, comes out to roughly 65k on average.

    benefits: 3wks vacation a year, full medical, dental, vision, legal benefits.

    Occupation: US Air Force Contractor, Electronics Technician specializing in radar systems.

    My car is a cheap piece of junk and I rent a room in a house for $300 a month. Small credit card debt, saving up to finish my bachelors in electrical engineering.


    Age: 20
    Income: about 18k/year
    Occupation: Barrista
    no debt

  • Taking control of your personal finance matters is critical, ensuring you make your money work best for you. Certainly losing track of savings, …

  • I used to think that it is not important to think about how much money I make each month.

    But after losing my job recently, I realized that it is important to be always aware of your pay check. That way, you can take control of your financial health and better plan for the future.