CNBC make it 2024-03-22 02:00:50

The salary a single person needs to live comfortably in 25 major U.S. cities

To live “comfortably” as a single person in 99 of the largest U.S. metro areas, you’ll need a median income of $93,933, according to a recent SmartAsset analysis.

“Comfortable” is defined as the income needed to cover a 50/30/20 budget, which assumes 50% of your monthly income can pay for necessities like housing and utility costs, 30% can cover discretionary spending and 20% can be set aside for savings or investments.

SmartAsset extrapolated the income needed for a 50/30/20 budget based on the cost of necessities, using data from the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

Here’s the income a single person needs to live comfortably in the 25 U.S. cities with the highest cost of living:

  1. New York City: $138,570
  2. San Jose, California: $136,739
  3. Irvine, California: $126,797
  4. Santa Ana, California: $126,797
  5. Boston: $124,966
  6. San Diego: $122,803
  7. Chula Vista, California: $122,803
  8. San Francisco: $119,558
  9. Seattle: $119,392
  10. Oakland, California: $118,768
  11. Arlington, Virginia: $117,686
  12. Newark, New Jersey: $116,646
  13. Jersey City, New Jersey: $116,646
  14. Long Beach, California: $114,691
  15. Anaheim, California: $114,691
  16. Honolulu: $111,904
  17. Los Angeles: $110,781
  18. Aurora, Colorado: $110,115
  19. Portland, Oregon: $110,032
  20. Riverside, California: $109,408
  21. Atlanta: $107,453
  22. Sacramento, California: $104,790
  23. Raleigh, North Carolina: $102,752
  24. Gilbert, Arizona: $102,752
  25. Glendale, Arizona: $102,752

New York City ranks first overall, requiring an income of $138,570 for a single person to live comfortably. In contrast, single people in Houston need to earn $75,088 — the lowest amount of all major U.S. cities examined.

Other large coastal cities follow NYC in the rankings. In Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, you’d need to earn $110,000 or more to live comfortably as a single person. All of these cities command some of the highest living costs in the country, particularly for housing, according to The Council for Community and Economic Research.

Californians, in particular, have suffered from a longstanding housing shortage that’s worse than the U.S. overall, so it’s not surprising that 11 cities from the state are among the most expensive places to live, thus requiring higher salaries to live comfortably.

While employers in large, high-cost cities tend to offer higher-than-average salaries as a way to attract and retain talent, housing costs can make it difficult to maintain a 50/30/20 budget.

In New York City, a third of residents spend half of their income on rent, according to the Community Service Society. To compensate for high housing costs, residents commonly find room elsewhere in their budgets, whether that’s skipping out on homeownership or spending less on discretionary purchases.

Either way, those who live alone pay a significant “singles tax” in large cities when it comes to the costs of food, shelter and transportation.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the name of Jersey City, New Jersey.

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I’ve spent 20 years studying longevity in Blue Zones: My daily habits for a long, healthy life

Dan Buettner has spent 20 years studying the world’s longest-lived people during which he created the term “blue zones,” to describe places around the world where residents live longer than the average person. Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy and Nicoya, Costa Rica are all blue zones, according to Buettner’s research.

The 63-year-old also picked up some habits from the people he studied in these areas that have become key to his own health. “I know what they do as populations to live a long time, and I’ve certainly learned their lessons,” he tells CNBC Make It.

“My doctor tells me I’m in the top 1% of healthy people my age.”

Here are the habits Buettner practices every day to stay happy, healthy and contribute to his own longevity.

1. Take advantage of living in a walkable city

“People are living a long time, not because they have a daily practice, but because they’ve set up their surroundings, or they were born into surroundings, that nudge them into moving more,” Buettner says.

This awareness inspired Buettner to move to the southern tip of Miami Beach “which is a very walkable community,” he says. He lives next to the ocean which he visits and swims in often, and can easily bike around the area.

“I can live an active life without really having to plan for it,” Buettner says.

2. Eat a mostly plant-based diet

Buettner’s diet plays a huge role in his healthy lifestyle: He doesn’t eat meat at all, eats “about 98% plant based,” and typically eats within a 10 to 12-hour window.

“I usually have just two meals a day. One is late morning, and the other one is at night,” he says — around 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

One of Buettner’s go-to foods for breakfast and dinner is beans. He learned that those who eat a cup of beans a day live around four years longer than people who don’t. Buettner also enjoys spinach, roasted potatoes, tofu and chickpeas.

There is one thing Buettner hasn’t given up, and doesn’t plan to: going out to eat, which he does nearly every night. “Miami nightlife kind of forces me out. It’s not exactly [the] blue zone way.”

3. Engage in lots of social connection

“There’s better research about the certainty of good social connectivity helping us live longer than there is for any pill we could pop,” Buettner says.

Thankfully, he lives in a community where he’s “constantly bumping into people.” During our call, Buettner was in a coffee shop he frequents: “There’s three people I bump into every day, two of whom have become friends.”

He spends most of the daytime alone as he writes, but “I have every night planned with people, and that’s when I get a lot of my social interactivity.”

Buettner also loves hosting friends at home: “I’ve intentionally kind of overspent to buy a place where I can invite people. Right now, in fact, I have three guests in my house.”

4. Never work past 5 p.m.

One of Buettner’s non-negotiables is that he never wants to work past 5 p.m.

“It takes an act of God to get me to work past 5 p.m.” he says. “I know from my happiness studies, that even if I can make more money by working past 5 p.m., it’s not going to make me happier.”

Clocking out of all things work around that time is a major way that Buettner manages stress. “Come five o’clock, it’s always physical activity and social time.”

5. Do something physical every day

“I wish I could tell you I had a daily meditation, but I don’t,” Buettner says. Instead he prefers to “do something physical every single day.”

Buettner gets his exercise from activities like:

  • Stand-up paddle surfing
  • Biking
  • Pickleball
  • “Social yoga”
  • Working out with a friend

“I do not do anything I don’t enjoy. I don’t enjoy cardio, and I don’t enjoy overly intense workouts.”

And after a night of socializing and physical activity, Buettner sleeps for eight hours. “You’re a lot less stressed if you’ve had a [good] night of sleep,” he says.

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Barbara Corcoran was ‘scared’ after selling her real estate firm for $66 million in 2001

Barbara Corcoran sold her real estate firm, The Corcoran Group, in 2001, but said in a recent interview that she still hasn’t spent most of the $66 million she got in the deal.

In an episode of the Earn Your Leisure podcast released on Wednesday, the millionaire investor and star of ABC’s Shark Tank said that, at first, it was fear that kept her from spending the money.

“I was scared. I figured ‘I don’t have my golden goose laying any eggs anymore.’ All of my staff was gone and I had no way to produce money. I thought to myself ’Heck, I better hold on to this money,” she said.

Corcoran also shared in the interview that after NRT, now known as Anywhere Advisors, paid her the $66 million, she kept the money in her checking account for four years instead of investing it, something she admitted to the hosts was irresponsible.

The 75-year-old told podcast hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings that when she did feel comfortable spending the money, some of the first things she bought include a beach house, a Porsche, and homes for several of her siblings. “I did all of the kind of crazy things that people did who never had a pot to pee in. I was able to be fancy for a minute,” Corcoran said.

“I made everybody happy with the money, and I still had tons of money left over. It was great.”

Corcoran claims she always knew she would sell her brokerage for $66 million because it was her “lucky number.” In a 2023 TikTok video, Corcoran said the buyer initially offered her $22 million, but she had already decided $66 million was the only number she would accept.

“I figured my business had to be worth something,” Corcoran said. “After all, we were making money. But what it was worth, or how the heck to figure it out, I had no idea.”

Corcoran rejected the $22 million offer as a negotiation tactic, and they agreed to the amount she wanted the very next day. ”$66 million dollars, and not a penny less,” she said.

“I was acting like the big deal I knew I wasn’t, and I hung up.”

The sale was a huge moment for her and taught her a lesson in negotiating that she still carries on today: “Negotiation has more to do with good timing than money.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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Self-made millionaires share 5 money rules that helped them be more successful and grow their wealth

Every self-made millionaire has a different story of how they amassed a net worth that lets them bear the title. 

Some live frugally or invest aggressively, while others start companies of their own that take off and make them rich. But each success story usually has at least one piece of advice that’s applicable to people at any point in their financial journey. 

Here are money tips from five different self-made millionaires that you can use to help meet your own financial goals.

1. Put yourself first

Grinding hard at your job or negotiating a bigger salary can be pathways to success, but self-made millionaire Jasmine McCall hit it big by putting herself first and becoming her own boss.

The 32-year-old entrepreneur and founder of PayBump earns $143,000 a month in passive income through digital product sales and YouTube ad revenue — the latter of which took off because she wasn’t afraid to share her truth, she says.

“I believe the success of my videos comes from me being vulnerable with my audience,” McCall previously wrote for CNBC Make It.

Prior to focusing on her own businesses, McCall was earning six figures as a recruiter for Amazon. The salary was nice, but she wasn’t able to achieve the work-life balance she truly desired as a new mom. She put work above everything and says she felt guilty when she had to take time off to care for herself or her family.

Now, not only is her monthly passive income higher than her annual salary was at Amazon, but she’s able to work just 10 hours a week. “I spend the rest of my time focusing on taking care of my health, playing with my son, going on dates with [my husband] Jay and visiting my parents,” she wrote.

2. Stop trying to multitask

Money coach Bernadette Joy is no stranger to big financial challenges: She and her partner paid off $300,000 in debt in three years. One of the keys to their success was focusing pretty exclusively on paying down that debt.

Now she encourages others to do the same — get rid of all your debt before you start investing.

“I have an ax to grind around the idea that you should pay off debt and invest at the same time,” she recently told Make It. “Humans suck at multitasking. Trying to do multiple things is just not good for us.”

There are pros and cons to this method, and you may have other financial goals you’d rather prioritize. But according to Joy, success may come easier if you take it one step at a time.

“One of the things that I strongly recommend, especially in times like these where people are really stressed, is focus on one thing and do it really, really well,” Joy said. 

3. Trust yourself

Long before Rachel Rodgers’s company Hello Seven had raked in $10 million in a year, she thought she was “bad with money” and “had the credit history to prove it,” she previously wrote for Grow.

The author and entrepreneur says the key to her eventual success started with changing her mindset and trusting her ability to learn and grow.

“Ultimately, being ‘good with money’ is about trusting yourself,” she wrote in 2021. “So every time those old, detrimental ‘I’m bad with money’ thoughts creep back in, I stop and consciously reframe my thinking.”

Telling yourself you’re just bad with money doesn’t get you any closer to getting out of debt, increasing your net worth or any other financial goal. It might even stop you from trying.

“I tell myself that I believe I can make smart decisions and provide financial security for my family,” she wrote. “And even if I make a money mistake, or some outside force causes me to lose everything, I have the hard-won knowledge to help me find a way to make it all back.”

4. Focus on growth

A former Wall Street trader who became a millionaire at 27, Vivan Tu understands the value of investing. Plenty of people want to become millionaires or even wealthier before they retire. But Tu says the idea that you need to save for retirement is a bit of a misnomer.

“Don’t save to retire,” she recently told CNBC Make It. Instead, “invest to retire.”

The self-made millionaire has also pointed out several money habits rich people abide by, all of which have an underlying idea that you should invest your money effectively to keep it growing. Ignoring others’ opinions and focusing on the long-term are a few ways rich people keep and multiply their wealth, Tu wrote for Make It.

“Instead of buying, for example, a flashy Lamborghini…a truly rich person will take that same chunk of change and buy a two-family duplex and rent it out,” she wrote. “They don’t care what you think of them or whether you’re impressed. They’re happy to just cash your rent checks and let you pay their mortgage.”

5. Be comfortable with change

Matt Higgins knows a thing or two about change. He went from being a high school dropout living in poverty to becoming a self-made millionaire and co-founder and CEO of private investment firm RSE Ventures.

Though not all changes in life will be positive, he says being comfortable with change is ultimately how you get ahead. 

″‘Try harder’ doesn’t mean ‘try the same,’” he said at a CNBC Make It: Your Money virtual event in 2023.

Higgins doesn’t believe in the idea of “blind persistence” that says if you just work hard and play by the rules, you will be successful. You need to be comfortable with the fact that your first plan may not be the best one. Mistakes happen, and you might learn that there’s a better method for accomplishing your goal, but you won’t find the right answer unless you’re willing to be adaptable.

“The most successful people in life, if you were to compare their PowerPoint for their initial business [model], it doesn’t resemble anything like what turns out five years later,” he said at the event.

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3 stories to tell in a job interview, according to a former Google recruiter

For employers, there are various red flags in a job interview.

Showing up late could be a red flag, being unprepared to talk about the job is another, and there are also phrases that might cause them to raise an eyebrow. “I work too hard” and “I’m a perfectionist,” for example, make it sound like “you are full of s—,” says Nolan Church, former Google recruiter and current CEO of salary data company FairComp.

Conversely, there are things employers like to hear during an interview. “I always tell people to come with stories,” says Church. Here are the kinds of stories he likes to hear.

‘People are so scared to talk about their imperfections’

One type of story Church recommends sharing is “a time when you f—– up,” including “what happened and what you learned.”

“People are so scared to talk about their imperfections or their blemishes during interviews,” he says. “And I actually think that that’s a strength.” Church does not expect the people he hires to be perfect. He knows they’re human and therefore not infallible. What he cares about is hiring someone who’s going to take in the lessons when they do mess up and figure out how to be better going forward.

“I want people that reflect,” he says. “I want people that improve over time, that have a growth mindset.” Find a work story that illustrates both when you made the wrong decision on a project and how it made you better at your job.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

Show ‘mental agility’

Another type of story Church recommends including is a time when you were willing to go against your instinct.

“Come with a story about a time when you were really hell bent on doing it one way and you changed your mind and did it another way,” he says. Maybe you wanted to try out a new workflow but your team thought another would be more effective, for example, so you agreed to try it.

To him, this type of story shows “you were a team player,” he says. The human ego can come into play in the workplace pretty easily. People want to feel like their way is best. In a work setting, though, “getting to the right answer is the thing that the business cares about,” he says, whether that was the direction you wanted to go in or not. And you have to be willing to set your ego and ideas aside and work with your team to do that.

“When you can show that level of mental agility,” he says, “employers love that.”

Explain how you ‘ran an experiment’

Finally, Church loves to hear stories about experiments. Anecdotes about how you “ran an experiment to validate the hypothesis” can be impressive.

Often businesses don’t necessarily test out their ideas before they unleash their products on the world. “We tend to just want to, like, lock ourselves in the cave and come out with the big bang,” he says. But without having collected some data on the ground about interest in the product or how it works, it’s hard to know if that big bang will actually find success. It’s those very experiments which can help steer companies in the right direction.

“Experiments give you higher probability and de risk bad outcomes,” he says. Share a story about how you’ve implemented experiments in your own work and how you would use them in the role you’re interviewing for. If you can prove you’re already thinking in that way, that could put you ahead of other candidates.

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