Have you found a job paying $45,000, but you’re wondering whether the amount is good enough to live on throughout the year? For the most part, $45K is a solid wage, a good option for someone looking for an entry-level job with a certification or degree. But is 45K a good salary?
$45,000 is more than half the value of the current median household salary. It’s a good salary for a single person and for a family of two to three. If you work with a budget plan and have good spending habits, you can live well on a salary of $45K a year.
The current median household salary in the United States, based on the census, is $68,703, an increase of about 6.8% from 2018.
Median, in this case, refers to the middle. It means that, in the United States, half of the population makes less than $68K and a half makes more money.
People that make $68K live quite well, and especially if they’ve already established themselves in inexpensive states such as Alabama, Idaho, Ohio, and West Virginia.
A $45K salary is more than half the $68K cap, so you should be able to lead a decent life throughout the year, especially if you have financial discipline.
$45K a Year is How Much an Hour
Depending on your spending habits and your financial discipline, $45K can be a good salary to live on throughout the year.
However, it’s hard to tell how much you actually make per year based on the number of hours you work per day if you don’t know your hourly wage.
Why is this important?
Knowing how much you make an hour will enable you to determine whether the amount of effort required to do the job deserves the hourly rate you get or otherwise. Also, it helps you to determine whether you would need to work overtime or look for an additional stream of income to make more money.
So how much is $45,000 a year in an hour?
To determine how much $45K a year is an hour, we base our calculations on:
- 5 working days
- 40 hours a week of work (or 8 hours of work per day)
Using these numbers, here’s a table showing exactly how much 45K is per month, biweekly, weekly, daily, and hourly.
The current median hourly wage in the U.S. is $7.25. Someone earning $45K a year makes $16.2 more than an average American. So, $45,000 a year should be a decent salary, regardless of being lower than the current median household salary.
How Much is $45,000 a Year in an Hour After Tax Deductions?
If you earn $45,000 per year, it means you make $3,750 every month. However, you take less than $3,750 home because you have to pay taxes.
In other words, $3,750 is your gross monthly salary. You need to consider all the mandatory deductions and subtract them from the gross salary to get your net pay.
You will have to pay four types of taxes:
- Federal Income Tax
- State Tax
- Social Security Tax
- Medicare Tax
The Federal income tax takes the most money from your gross pay. So if you make below the median household income, the amount of tax taken out can hurt what you earn per hour.
To be clear, tax situations aren’t universal across the United States. Depending on the type of filer that you’re, we recommend that you check the tax bracket to determine where you fall.
To put your mind to some ease, here’s what you should expect to pay as deductions if you make $45,000 a year:
- Federal income tax: 12%
- State taxes: 4%
- Social Security and Medicare: 7.65%
After doing the math, you realize that your take home pay per year is $34,357.50. So if you work 8 hours a day, or 2,080 hours a year, your hourly wage should be $16.52.
What Does a $45K a Year Lifestyle Look Like?
We understand that people have varying perception about money.
To some, an annual salary of $45,000 just isn’t enough to guarantee a lavish lifestyle. To others, and especially those living in affordable states such as Alabama and Michigan, the salary is enough to live a life year after year.
In this respect, you might consider a 45K salary frugal, but someone else will view the same salary as an option to live a luxurious life. If anything, life has a ton of variables, and that includes our perception about money.
Regardless of how we perceive a certain amount of money, the cost of living will usually be a determining factor of the kind of life that you can afford. The cost of living, which is a determinant of the kind of lifestyle you can afford, depends on your demography, marital status, spending habits, and future goals.
$45,000 a year is $2,643.2 a month after taxes. Looking at the figure, it stands that you don’t have much of an option when it comes to where to live.
You need to think about more than just your monthly rent. You also have to consider basic expenses, transportation, food, and clothing.
Let’s look at a housing example, shall we?
On the one hand, the average monthly rent for a house in a big state such as Washington DC is $3,500. That’s more than the monthly income of someone making $45K a year.
So, it would be practically impossible to live in a luxurious state if you make $45,000 a year from our job. If anything, you would need a salary of $100K to live in such a state give or take.
On the other hand, you can live comfortably on $2,643.2 monthly salary if you live in some of the most inexpensive states in the U.S.
For example, the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom house in Michigan is somewhere between $600 and $800 a month. It means that, after paying rent, you’ll have $1,843 to $2,043 left to live on before your next paycheck.
The bottom line is:
You can’t live in expensive cities if you’re making $45,000 a year. But you’ll do just fine if you rent a house and work in a cheap state.
Your marital status directly impacts the kind of lifestyle you can afford with a salary of $2,643.2 a month.
If you’re married, with kids or no children yet, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll live a comfortable life on $2,643.2 per month.
Assuming you pay $600 to $800 per month for rent because you live in an inexpensive state, you will only have $1,843 to $2,043.2 left to live on before your next paycheck.
If anything, you won’t stretch your dollars further, and you probably won’t have enough money left to save.
It’s a completely different case if you’re a single person.
For what it’s worth, a salary of $45,000 is a good salary for a single person they’re only worried about their own expenses. If you’re currently single, you will spend less money because you’re not providing for anyone.
If you pay $600 to $800 for rent, you will have enough money to live on before your next paycheck, so you won’t have to worry about whether you will do fine or not because you will. Of course, you can look for an additional source of income if you need more money, but you will do just fine with 45,000 dollars per year.
Take a moment to look at your bank statement to determine how much money you spend per month and what exactly you spend the money to buy.
Look at your recurring and non-recurring expenses, and list them down. Also, take note of your miscellaneous spending, making sure you identify what you spend money on unnecessarily.
You will be surprised just how much money you spend on things you don’t even need in the first place.
By looking at your spending habits, you’ll have a clear picture of how you spend your money every month.
Because you want to live a comfortable life month after month, it would be best to cut down your expenses, especially on the purchases that you don’t necessarily have to make.
- What are your future goals?
- What do you want to accomplish in the next two to five years?
- How much will it cost you to accomplish those goals?
If you can answer these questions, you’ll stand the chance to determine whether $45,000 is a good salary in the first place.
To be clear, whether you meet your goals sooner will depend on how much money you can save within the period you’ve set.
If the amount you save per year from the $45,000 salary isn’t enough, you may have to look for an additional stream of income to make more money.
Getting in debts isn’t a mistake per se. After all, there are times when life puts you in a position where you don’t have a decent source of income, and the only way out is to be in debts for a while.
But debts can consume your salary and do so very fast, making the $45K a year seem so meager that you can barely afford to live a comfortable life.
Here’s the best thing, though:
You don’t actually have to live on debts for the rest of your life. You can create a mitigation plan to help you pay off your debts overtime.
Think of how much you owe in:
- Student loans
- Credit card balances
Then, create a financial plan that can help you to pay off the debts month after month. Also, we strongly recommend that you minimize the use of your credit card, or not use it at all.
Final Thoughts: Is 45K a Good Salary
As we’ve seen, whether $45K is a good salary depends several factors, including housing cost, marital status, demography, and future financial plan.
It’s important to plan yourself accordingly, so you can use every amount of money you earn per month the right way.
Remember, the most important rule abut money is to live within your means. Never spend money you don’t have, because sometimes over borrowing can get you into many debts that can cripple your life.