- How much Money to live Comfortably in Los Angeles? True Cost Of Living LA
- Old joke:
- What is the True Cost of Living in LA?
- How the heck did they come up with that “live comfortably” in LA number?**
- What does k a year buy you in terms of comfort here in LA?
- Are L.A. people really so skewed (and screwed) when it comes to income?
- How are Southlanders balancing their budgets? Can they afford the True cost of living in Los Angeles?
- How do I get my financial act together? Can I do it and live comfortably in LA?
- Is the Cost of Living Los Angeles worth it?
- What do you think: Are you living comfortably here in Los Angeles? What is your true cost of living in Los Angeles?
- If you the “Cost of Living Los Angeles” you may also :
- This Is How Much A Living Wage Is In Each State
- 1. Washington, D.C
- 2. Hawaii
- 3. Massachusetts
- 4. Connecticut
- 5. New York
- 1. Idaho
- 2. South Dakota
- 3. West Virginia
- 4. Arkansas
- 5. Kentucky
- All Over the Map
- About Zippia
- Average Retirement Income by State 2021
- 1. Hawaii
- 2. District of Columbia
- 3. California
- 4. New York
- 5. Massachusetts
- 6. Oregon
- 7. Maryland
- 8. Alaska
- 9. Connecticut
- 10. New Jersey
- 1. Mississippi
- 2. Oklahoma
- 3. Arkansas
- 4. Missouri
- 5. Tennessee
- 6. Alabama
- 7. Michigan
- 8. Kansas
- 9. Indiana
- 10. Georgia
How much Money to live Comfortably in Los Angeles? True Cost Of Living LA
The Standard of Moolah in L.A. We all know the cost of living in Los Angeles is HIGH.
How much do you really need to afford the cost of living “comfortably” in Los Angeles?
- KID: “Daddy, are we rich?”
- FATHER: “Well son, let’s just say we’re comfortable.”
So how much dough a year do you think it takes to live comfortably in my hometown of Los Angeles? Since the notion of comfort is highly subjective and skewed by each individual’s own circumstances – for some it means a roof over your head, for others it means a roof over your head in the Hollywood Hills plus another in Aspen – your educated guesses are sure to vary widely.
I asked my friends on what they thought it would take and their answers ranged from an annual low of $45,000 to a high of around $300,000 to be “comfortable” here in Los Angeles.
The numbers went up from there for those who wanted to do things buying a single family home in a ‘good area’, go all out and lead the ‘good life’ or educate their offspring at a ‘good school’.
In other words, in L.A. it’s all about good.
What is the True Cost of Living in LA?
The website Gobankingrates.com jumped in and did the math for us in their piece, “How Much Money You Need to Live Comfortably in the 50 Biggest Cities”.
They calculated an annual income of $74,371 was about right for the average person to live comfortably in Los Angeles.
This is all fine and dandy until you look at what things really cost and note that the median income in the Southland is merely $48,682.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this and have come up with the most relevant FAQs for those of you who can’t stop thinking about it either.
How the heck did they come up with that “live comfortably” in LA number?**
Short answer: They used the 50-30-20 rule of personal budgeting (50% of your income goes to basic housing and food, 30% goes towards “discretionary” spending – basically anything fun going out – and the last 20% goes to savings.) Are you with me so far or did I stump you on with the 20% savings figure?
What does $75k a year buy you in terms of comfort here in LA?
If you’re happy with renting a 1-bedroom in the city, buying your basics at Costco, not paying too much for transportation in your mid-range automobile (or better yet learning to navigate our embryonic public transportation system), and carrying a not-so-fancy insurance plan, you’ll be sitting pretty. OK pretty might be strong, apparently, you will be “comfortable.”
But if you want to live in the best neighborhoods in your own home, drive the nicest cars, and eat at the finest restaurants, $75,000 a year won’t cut it by a long shot.
Double that will barely cover it as a matter of fact.
And if you want to save substantially, you’ll probably need to be making somewhere in the neighborhood of $225,000 or more to really afford the cost of living in Los Angeles (and that’s if you don’t have kids.)
Are L.A. people really so skewed (and screwed) when it comes to income?
There are tons of people who would literally starve on the $75,000 per year here. (And I’m not talking the Beverly Hills Housewives diet of starving on purpose.) In reality, the median income for Los Angeles is “just” $49,682.
TRANSLATION: There is a $25,000 gap between what the median person makes and what it “takes” to live comfortably in Los Angeles on average.
That $25,000 gap (and for millions of citizens, it’s much larger than that) means many people are probably not living very comfortably in the City of Angels at the moment.
The average rent for a 1-bedroom in L.A. today sits at around $2296 per month.*** Obviously, some people are paying way less while others are paying way more.
But to put that in perspective, I have clients in other parts of the country who are building a custom home and even with their mortgage, taxes, and insurance, they’re still shelling out $500 less per month than the average 1-bedroom rentals of my So Cal compatriots.
How are Southlanders balancing their budgets? Can they afford the True cost of living in Los Angeles?
Short answer: Most are not and are not even close. Here’s where financial security gets killed. I’d be willing to bet diamonds to donuts that most people in L.A. are not saving 20% of their incomes. Plus, many are dealing with credit card debt on top of car notes, student loans and the siren’s call of just one more round of Botox.
How do I get my financial act together? Can I do it and live comfortably in LA?
Whether you live in Los Angeles, California or Los Angeles, Texas (yes, there is one), here are a few ways to get your financial house in order so you can get on track to build wealth and achieve financial independence.
- . In a perfect world, you would probably do a bit of both. (I’ll leave marrying rich, divorcing spectacularly or winning the Lottery for another time.)
- . A roommate, different location or Airbnbing can save or make you thousands of dollars per year. It doesn’t have to be forever but a few years of slight inconvenience could put your finances in the black.
- . LA is all about the car, but you really look lame if you drive that fancy tricked out BMW but can’t afford the gasoline, let alone insurance. Besides, think how good your backside would look if you bicycled everywhere.
- . It will spiral control faster than you can order a margarita.
- , make a point to pay yourself first. Paying yourself first means regularly socking away a sum for the future. It may not be as immediately glamorous as other uses of your money, but nothing feels as good as knowing you are secure financially and don’t have to worry about your rent check bouncing. Remember that 50-30-20 I mentioned at the top of this piece? Either way, the suggested budget includes a 20% savings rate.
What do you think my fellow Angelinos? Could you live comfortably on $75,000 per year anywhere in Los Angeles? Are you spending more than you should? Can you strategize ways to get by on less so that you can save substantially more? What is the real cost of living “comfortably” in Los Angeles for you?
Related: 4 Los Angeles Retirement Challenges.
Is the Cost of Living Los Angeles worth it?
Here’s where the tough love comes in and it’s an issue that New Yorkers deal with all the time too.
Are you really getting your money’s worth by living here? If you LOVE the city, EMBRACE the city, TAKE ADVANTAGE of the city and are SEEKING YOUR FORTUNE here, then the high dollar costs and emotional investment are worth it.
But if you don’t or aren’t, there are (literally) greener pastures elsewhere where your dollar buys substantially more including (literally) green pastures.
I, for one, am in love with the place. Despite my grumbles, I am happy to fork over every red cent it costs to live here. Of course, I’ve worked my booty off to make sure I can live very comfortably here in LA. Viva Los Angeles!
What do you think: Are you living comfortably here in Los Angeles? What is your true cost of living in Los Angeles?
David Rae was named Athlete of the Year at the Sports Diversity Awards
If you the “Cost of Living Los Angeles” you may also :
Can I afford a House in Los Angeles?
This Is How Much A Living Wage Is In Each State
You can access an image of the map here.
Now normally, here’s the point where we go over each place ranked and tell you a little something. But since this time around, we are looking at all 50 states, we figure looking at the top five highest and top five lowest living wages in more detail should suffice. After all, you wouldn’t want to read 50 different detailed descriptions—you could be out makin’ that green. (Money.)
1. Washington, D.C
If you didn’t see the nation’s capital coming in on this list, well, you’ve never lived in D.C. Residents here need to pull in a whopping $67,867 per year just to afford life in the city. Of course, that’s generally not a problem, considering the demographic Washington D.C. attracts (upper middle class politicians, government workers, lawyers, lobbyists, etc.)
And if you can’t quite swing a nearly $68,000 salary, don’t worry—D.C. has tons of suburbs, which are… at least a little cheaper.
Island life certainly comes at a price, and in this case, that price is about $60,000 per year. So why is Hawaii so expensive? You know, aside from the breathtaking beaches, the laid back, slowed-down way of living, the dream-worthy weather, and the beautiful people and culture? It is an island. Mainland imports are expensive, bruh.
The next three states may not surprise you; after all, they are in the northeast, the most expensive and wealthy region of the country.
Massachusetts in particular, though, requires a pretty high living wage just to make ends meet: $59,560. Of course if you don’t have a partner and a child (which is what we calculated this to include), you may be able to get by on less.
(A good thing, because last we checked, the median income in the state was less than this living wage!)
Connecticut is known as the Land of Steady Habits—and we can’t help but applaud this nickname, especially if those steady habits include making and spending money it’s nutmeg. (Also known as the Nutmeg State. See what we did there?)
The living wage in Connecticut was the fourth highest at $59,502.
5. New York
Yes, yes, we all know that living in New York City is exorbitantly expensive. But what about the state as a whole? It couldn’t possibly be too bad…
Nope, it is. It really is. The living wage in New York is $59,128. So start saving!
We know what you’re thinking—why on earth is Idaho on this list? Surely everyone wants to live in Idaho, amiright?!
Just kidding. The people who live in Idaho don’t even usually want to live in Idaho. (No offense.) This is exactly why the living wage here is so low—just $45,801. But that’s not as low as it gets…
2. South Dakota
In South Dakota the living wage is just $45,410. Why? Because no one lives here! Seriously, South Dakota is the fifth least populated state in the country. And un the minimally-populated D.C.—which is densely-packed and highly desirable—South Dakota is… sparse. There’s just not a whole lot going on here.
3. West Virginia
Ah, West Virginia! The Mountain State. Home to some of the most beautiful nature in our country. The birthplace of Mother’s Day. The very southernmost northern state and the northernmost southern state. Also—apparently the land of one of the third lowest living wage in the country: Just $44,823.
Second in the running for lowest living wage in the country—Arkansas. The living wage here for two adults and a kiddo is just $44,571. Of course this could be higher—or lower—depending on your needs, or even where in the state you live. But overall, we’d say it’s pretty darn affordable.
Last but not least (okay, actually it is least, as in the least amount of money for a living wage), is Kentucky. The Bluegrass State has a living wage of just $43,308. And if you’re looking at the map and seeing a pattern (the South = lower living wages, West Coast = higher, Northeast = highest), you are correct. And can read a map.
All Over the Map
Depending on where you are in this vast and varied country, your living wage could be all over the map. So, it’s a good thing that we created one, so you know which state best fits your needs.
Zippia is the career expert site, where recent college graduates can study the pathways of previous graduates to learn about which career routes they want to pursue. Career job data can be found on https://www.zippia.com/colleges-and-majors/.
Average Retirement Income by State 2021
Retirement might be decades away or right around the corner for some of us. No matter where you stand on the timeline, it is never too early to start planning for retirement.
Depending on your desired location of retirement, when you would to retire, and how far away your retirement is, you will need to have a specific amount of money saved in order to live comfortably. Factors such as life expectancy, cost of living, and income are all vital factors.
The average amount of savings required to retire comfortably in the United States is $904,452. Among the 50 states, the savings required to comfortably retire ranges between $617,661 and $1.84 million.
In the table below, to help determine this, each state’s average retirement age, life expectancy, yearly expenses for someone 65+, and the savings required to retire comfortably in that state. An additional 20% is added to the yearly expenses to account for a “comfortable” retirement.
The average annual retirement income in Hawaii is $119,004 to live comfortably. Hawaii’s average retirement age is on the older side at 66 years; however, it has the highest life expectancy of any U.S. state at 81.50 years. To live comfortably in this period, one would need to save $1.84 million before retiring.
2. District of Columbia
The average retirement income in D.C. is $100,419. The District has the oldest average retirement age in 67 years and a life expectancy of 77.10 years. With yearly expenses coming out to about $83,683, a person would need to save about $1.01 million to retire comfortably in the District of Columbia.
California has the third-highest average income required for a comfortable retirement. Because California’s average retirement age of 64 years is lower than D.C. and its average life expectancy is higher at 80.
90 years, the total amount of savings required to live comfortably is $1.46 million, higher than D.C.’s.
However, because average yearly expenses are lower, the average annual income to live comfortably is lower at $86,171 per year.
4. New York
The average income required to retire comfortably in New York is $83,817 per year. Retirement in New York is expected to last just over 16 years, with an average retirement age of 64 years and an average life expectancy of 80.80 years. For these 16 years of retirement in New York, the average retiree needs to save $1.41 million, the second-highest among states.
The average retiree in Massachusetts will need an annual income of $83,135 per year, just under New York’s.
Massachusetts’s average retirement age is 66 years and the average life expectancy of 79.90 years requires about $1.16 million.
Because the expected length of retirement is just under 14 years, the savings required is $1.16 million, significantly less than what is required in New York.
Oregon has the sixth-highest average annual retirement income of $82,454, equating to $1.34 million in total required savings. The average length of retirement in Oregon is 16.2 years, and yearly expenses come out to about $68,712.
With yearly expenses amounting to $67,214, Maryland retirees will need about $80,657 annually to retire comfortably. The average age of retirement in Maryland is 65 years, while the average life expectancy is 78.80 years. These 13.8 years of retirement will require $1.11 million in savings to retire.
Alaska’s average annual retirement income is $80,348 to retire comfortably. Alaska has the youngest average retirement age of 61 years and a life expectancy of 77.70 years. To live comfortably through an average of 16.70 years of retirement, $1.34 million in savings are required for future retirees.
With yearly expenses at an average of $66,543 per year for retirees, Connecticut’s required average annual income is $79,852 per year. The average retirement length in Connecticut is 15.6 years, meaning that the average retiree will need $1.25 million saved to live comfortably in retirement.
10. New Jersey
New Jersey’s average annual retirement income to live a comfortable life is $77,684. Annual expenses in New Jersey for someone who is 65 years or older are $64,736.
With an average retirement age of 65 years and a life expectancy of 80.50 years, someone planning for retirement can expect their retirement to last about 15.5 years.
Those looking to retire comfortably in New Jersey would need to have about $1.20 million saved.
Mississippi has the lowest average retirement income required to live comfortably of $53,710 per year. Annual expenses in Mississippi come out to only $44,758 per year. Because Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy of 74.50 years and the average retirement age is 63 years, one can expect to need about 11.50 years of retirement savings, which equates to about $617,661.
With average annual expenses coming out to only $45,016 for someone 65 years or older, the average retirement income required in Oklahoma is $54,019. Someone looking to retire in Oklahoma would need to save for about 13.4 years of retirement, coming out to about $723,859 in savings.
The average annual retirement income in Arkansas is $54,329, just slightly higher than Oklahoma’s. The average retirement age in Arkansas is 62, and the average life expectancy is 75.40 years. This 13.4 years of expected retirement is the same as Oklahoma’s, meaning that the savings required to retire in Arkansas are only slightly higher than in Oklahoma at $728,010.
Missouri has the fourth-lowest average annual retirement income required to live a comfortable life at $54,701 per year. This is only a few hundred dollars higher than in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The average length of retirement is higher in Missouri, with the average retirement age at 63 years and the average life expectancy at 77.1 years. This 14.
1 years of retirement will require about $771,281 in savings.
With yearly expenses amounting to about $45,894 per year, Tennessee’s average retirement income is $55,072 per year. Tennessee’s expected length of retirement is relatively short, with the average person retiring at 64 years old and the average life expectancy at 76 years. To live comfortably through these 12 years of retirement, one should plan to save at least $660,870.
For the average retiree in Alabama to live comfortably, they will need an income of $55,258. Expenses for those 65 and older in Alabama come out to about $46,049. The average retirement length is 12.9 years, meaning that a future retiree should plan to save at least $712,832.
Michigan has the seventh-lowest annual retirement income of $55,444 per year. Michigan’s average retirement age is 62 years old, and its average life expectancy is 77.60 years, meaning that the average person should expect to live in retirement for 15.6 years. To live comfortably, a person looking to retire in Michigan should save at least $864,929.
Kansas’s average annual retirement income to live a comfortable life is $55,506 per year. Annual expenses in Kansas for someone who is 65 years or older are $46,255.
With an average retirement age of 65 years and a life expectancy of 78.20 years, someone planning for retirement can expect their retirement to last about 13.2 years.
Those looking to retire comfortably in Kansas would need to have about $732,681 saved.
For someone in Indiana to retire comfortably, they will require an average annual retirement income of $56,064 to cover their $46,720 in yearly expenses. The average length of retirement in Indiana is expected to be 14 years; therefore, one should plan to have at least $784,891 in savings.
Georgia has the tenth-lowest required annual retirement income of $56,126. With the average person retiring at 63 years old and the average life expectancy at 77.20 years, the average person in Georgia can expect retirement to last 14.2 years. The required savings to live comfortably in retirement in Georgia is $796,984.