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 your 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 they’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 deduction. 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 United 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 Northeastern 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 2004 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 in 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.
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 of 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), I’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?)
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!