Is a $100K Salary Good?

The idea of making a $100,000-a-year salary sounds excellent — and it is! It’s certainly enough to live comfortably and provide for your family. However, depending on where you live and the cost of living, this may not always be enough. So, is a $100K salary good for you? Let’s find out

Is a $100K Salary Good? 

Yes, a $100K salary is good since it is more than the median salary for most households. Even in an expensive city like New York, you can easily afford a decent life with this six-figure salary. That is, if you can budget for your expenses, live frugally, and avoid lifestyle inflation. 

Woman staring into space while her laptop is on the table

However,  while it is more than the average household income in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau, you might need more than this salary, depending on your situation. The expenses can quickly consume much of your income if you have a family with several children and pay considerable rent. 

How to Determine if $100K Is a Good Salary

Earning an average of $100K a year can be enough for most people, depending on their location, lifestyle, monthly expenses, and taxes. To figure out if it is enough for you, you will need to consider the following:

  • Cost of living in your city
  • Your long-term financial goals
  • Your financial situation
  • Taxes
  • Your spending habits

Cost of Living in Your City

The first thing to consider is the cost of living in your city. If you live in an expensive city like San Diego or San Francisco where the cost of living is 94% higher than the national average, you may need to raise your income level to make ends meet. 

This is especially true if you need your own apartment and still spend on other financial responsibilities such as paying for a car within your salary or trying to clear your student loan debt.

However, if you are a single person and live in an area with lower costs, such as Kansas City or Denver, then this salary will leave you with plenty of disposable income at the end of every month.

Your Long-Term Financial Goals

If you want to save up for retirement like a 403b account, buy a house, or start a business, you may need more than an average of $100K to reach those goals. 

On the other hand,  if your goals are more modest, such as taking a few vacations a year or simply making sure bills are paid on time, this income may be enough.

Your Financial Situation

If you have a lot of debt, such as credit card debt or student loan debt, then you may need to use more of your salary to pay it off. 

This means that you will have less money at the end of the month compared to someone with fewer financial burdens. Consequently, you might need help to create wealth or pay for life luxuries.  

Woman holding dollar bills against her face

However, if you’re already debt-free, live as a single person, pay an average rent, and have little financial obligations, then you can use more of your income for savings and investments instead of paying the debt.


Of course, taxes will also affect how far this income can go. Depending on your income and where you live, your $100K salary may be subject to state or federal taxes. For instance, the statewide tax rate in California is 7.25%. 

So, if you live in a city like San Francisco, you can expect to pay that much in taxes. The rates will be different in other states. 

Make sure you look into the tax laws in your State so that you’re not leaving any money on the table when it comes time to file your taxes.

Your Spending Habits

Are you someone who likes to act rich and splurge on luxuries? Well, you may need more income than someone who doesn’t usually spend to the last dollar. 

Otherwise, if you don’t watch your expenses and budget your income accordingly, you may be back with your parents sooner than you realize.  

That being said, you shouldn’t feel bad about being frugal. After all, it will help you save and invest more when you pay less in rent and other expenses. This way, an average salary of $100,000 a year will afford you a comfortable life. 

How to Make the Most of a $100K Salary

The sufficiency of a salary depends on more than just the number. If you ask any financial expert if you are earning a good salary, they’ll tell you it’s not about how much you earn. It is about how well you manage and spends your money.

If you’re lucky enough to make $100,000 a year on average, here are some tips to help you live comfortably:

  • Live frugally: Focus on savings and investments, don’t just spend
  • Invest wisely: It is a great way to create wealth
  • Create an emergency fund: Or at least pay off debt if you are not saving 
  • Make smart tax moves: Ensure you don’t pay more than you should

Live Frugally

Of course, living frugally does not mean living without luxuries; instead, it means being conscious of where your money goes and finding ways to put more of it towards savings and investments.

Dollar bills rolled tightly with a rubber band

Try to lower your average costs and cut down unnecessary expenses. For instance, there is no need to throw an expensive birthday party or pay exorbitant rent when you could put that money in savings or settle your student loan.   

Invest Wisely

Investing your money that offers a good return can help you grow your wealth over time. Consider investing in options like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs.

The stock market is a great place to start investing and slowly build wealth. 

Create an Emergency Fund

No matter how much money you make, it’s essential to have an emergency fund in case of unexpected expenses. This should cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

If you have more disposable income, consider other long-term saving goals, such as saving for retirement or your dream home. 

Otherwise, you should clear any debt if you are not saving money. These include credit cards, car payments, and student loan debt. 

Make Smart Tax Moves

Making intelligent tax moves can help you maximize your income and save more long term. Consider setting up a retirement plan like a 401(k) or IRA and taking advantage of any tax credits available.

If you don’t know how to do this, you can talk to a financial advisor to understand your options for paying taxes. 

Related Questions

Is $100K a Good Salary for a Single Person?

$100k should be enough for a single person in most cases. However, it depends on where you live and your spending habits. If you spend way more than the average person or live in one of the most expensive cities, you may need more to cover all your expenses.

What Percentage of Americans Make Over $100K?

According to data from Statista, about 15.9% of American households earned between  $100K and $150,000 in 2021. The median household income for the same year was around $70,784. 


A $100K salary is a good amount of money and can provide you with a comfortable life. However, it’s essential to consider factors like the cost of living in your city, your long-term financial goals, your financial situation, taxes, and your spending habits to decide if it is enough for you.

Jared Bauman is the owner and editor of He has started and sold several companies, along with owning several investment properties. His interest in personal finance started as a young kid, developed through his entrepreneurial ventures and real estate investments, and continue through his conversations with friends and colleagues.

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