CNBC make it 2024-04-17 02:00:57


The salary a single person needs to live comfortably in every U.S. state

A single person will need to earn over six figures to live comfortably in the most expensive U.S. states, a SmartAsset analysis reveals.

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

The income needed for each state was extrapolated based on the cost of necessities, using data from the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

Here’s a look at the five most-costly states for single workers, based on how much money residents would need to earn each year to live comfortably.

  1. Massachusetts: $116,022
  2. Hawaii: $113,693
  3. California: $113,651
  4. New York: $111,738
  5. Washington: $106,496

To live comfortably on your own in these states, you’d need to earn nearly double what most single earners typically make, as the U.S median income for single, full-time workers is around $60,000, per Labor Bureau data.

The national median for living comfortably alone is $89,461, which suggests that a 50/30/20 budget might not be practical for most single people.

Living alone comes with added costs that can be more than double what you’d spend if you lived with someone else — otherwise known as the “singles tax.” Housing is the most obvious expense, but single people also pay extra costs for groceries, travel, transportation and entertainment.

To make ends meet while living alone, you might need to find room in your budget. That could mean choosing a smaller space or spending less on discretionary purchases, like travel.

Here’s a look at the income needed to live comfortably in each state, listed in alphabetical order.

Alabama

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $83,824

Alaska

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $96,762

Arizona

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $97,344

Arkansas

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $79,456

California

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $113,651

Colorado

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $103,292

Connecticut

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $100,381

Delaware

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $94,141

Florida

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $93,309

Georgia

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $96,886

Hawaii

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $113,693

Idaho

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $88,733

Illinois

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $95,098

Indiana

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $85,030

Iowa

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $83,366

Kansas

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $84,656

Kentucky

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $80,704

Louisiana

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $82,451

Maine

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $91,686

Maryland

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $102,918

Massachusetts

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $116,022

Michigan

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $84,365

Minnesota

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $89,232

Mississippi

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $82,742

Missouri

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $84,032

Montana

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $84,739

Nebraska

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $83,699

Nevada

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $93,434

New Hampshire

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $98,094

New Jersey

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $103,002

New Mexico

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $83,616

New York

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $111,738

North Carolina

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $89,690

North Dakota

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $52,807

Ohio

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $80,704

Oklahoma

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $80,413

Oregon

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $101,088

Pennsylvania

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $91,312

Rhode Island

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $100,838

South Carolina

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $88,317

South Dakota

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $81,453

Tennessee

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $86,403

Texas

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $87,027

Utah

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $93,683

Vermont

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $95,763

Virginia

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $99,965

Washington

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $106,496

West Virginia

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $78,790

Wisconsin

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $84,115

Wyoming

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $87,651

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Self-made millionaire who retired at 35 shares the first time he felt financially secure

How much money would you have to make to feel financially secure?

CNBC’s International Your Money Financial Security Survey conducted by SurveyMonkey recently asked people all over the world exactly that, and the answers revealed of how people in different countries think about their finances.

Ask the same to Steve Adcock, and he’ll likely challenge the premise.

“Financial security is not an income amount,” the 42-year-old tells CNBC Make It. “To me, financial security is a time amount.”

As part of its National Financial Literacy Month efforts, CNBC will be featuring stories throughout the month dedicated to helping people manage, grow and protect their money so they can truly live ambitiously.

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Adcock says the moment he felt financially secure came in 2016 at age 35, when he retired from his corporate job with about $900,000. Gains in the market soon pushed that total over $1 million.

Security, he says, didn’t come from the amount of money he saved, but what it afforded him — freedom to live his life the way he wanted without relying on a paycheck. When his wife retired the following year, the couple spent three years traveling the country in a Airstream RV.

“We were certainly living small. We were spending a lot less than we are now,” Adcock says. “That was really the first time where I felt financially secure, meaning we don’t have to work for the rest of our lives.”

Building security through saving and investing

To be clear, a higher salary certain helps when it comes to achieving financial security — but it’s not the be all and end all, says Adcock.

“You can be making $200,000 a year, but if you’re spending $180,000 a year, you’re not financially secure,” he says.

In 2014, when Adcock and his wife were making a combined $220,000 in annual income, Adcock says they saved around 70% of everything they brought in and invested aggressively in retirement and brokerage accounts.

“I’d say our savings rate was borderline extreme,” he says. “But I hated what I did. I wanted out as fast as possible.”

If you’re hoping to feel financially secure, you don’t need to aim for a savings rate quite that high. Start, at minimum, by building an emergency fund. A good chunk of Americans — 44%, according to Bankrate — say they couldn’t cover a $1,000 emergency with their savings.

“That’s the opposite of being financially secure,” Adcock says.

Financial pros generally recommend having three to six months’ worth of living expenses set aside for emergencies. Once you build that, see if you can ramp up the amount of time you could live off your savings.

“Once you get into the years where you can live for a year, then five years, then 10 years — that’s where the magic happens,” says Adcock.

Thinking of financial security this way allows you to view money not just as an amount to accumulate, but as a tool to fund the things in your life that you care about. Someone with one year’s worth of expenses saved could take a sabbatical to pursue a passion project. Someone with 10 years saved could take a crack at starting the small business they’ve always dreamed of.

For those pursuing early retirement, the ultimate goal is to build a large enough investing portfolio to withdraw from in perpetuity.

But even for someone like Adcock, who still brings in income from projects such as his website, newsletter and recent book, reaching the top level of financial security often means having the flexibility to work when and how you want, rather than not working at all.

“I would use the term retired loosely at this point. I wouldn’t say that we’re necessarily traditionally retired, but we are absolutely financially independent. We’re absolutely financially secure,” he says. “We don’t have to do any of these things. But it’s nice to be able to do the things that just seem or sound interesting and see how they work.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the name of Adcock’s Airstream RV.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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CEO’s wife convinced him to keep his college side hustle going—now the company brings in $200M/year

Seth Berkowitz remembers a time when his business was “really, really struggling,” and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go on — until he got a pep talk from his wife.

Berkowitz, 43, is the CEO and co-founder of Insomnia Cookies, a chain of late-night bakeries he started in 2002 as a college side hustle while attending the University of Pennsylvania. Today, Insomnia has more than 260 locations across the world. It brought in more than $200 million in revenue last year, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

The company was most recently valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars following a majority-stake acquisition by Krispy Kreme in 2018, according to a 2021 SEC filing.

But initially, Berkowitz spent nearly a decade chasing profitability and coming up short. During that chase, and in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, he made the difficult decision to downsize Insomnia’s corporate team to reduce costs, leaving only himself and a finance associate, he says.

“2009 and 2010 [were] some of the hardest years ever at Insomnia Cookies,” says Berkowitz.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to earning passive income online

Taking on much of the work running Insomnia himself, Berkowitz regularly traveled to shops around the country — spending hours on the road alone — to deliver cookie dough and fix broken equipment.

“I’m literally peddling cookies throughout the country at like 2 o’clock in the morning,” he recalls. “I’m lugging dough to Syracuse, New York, every week and down to Philly and fixing generators.”

On one of his longer solo trips in 2010, Berkowitz got fed up with the exhausting lifestyle and his company’s doubtful future prospects.

“I called my wife,” he says. “I was driving from [Chicago’s] O’Hare airport to our location in Champaign, Illinois, and it’s, like, a three-hour drive … There’s nothing to see. There’s very few rest stops. It’s a tough drive. And I called her on the phone and I said, ‘How did I get here?’”

His wife Rebecca — who’s also responsible for the name “Insomnia Cookies,” Berkowitz says — responded with some perspective and optimism.

“She said: ‘You believe in this. You’ve always believed in this. People love what you sell and I believe in you. Just go make it happen,’” says Berkowitz. “I’ll tell you, for that one moment, I wasn’t sure [about Insomnia]. She kind of flipped me over back to a believer.”

After years of experimenting with different business models, ranging from vending trucks to licensing frozen yogurt shops, Berkowitz tried a simplified approach that focused on efficiency: brick-and-mortar storefronts featuring fast delivery options.

It worked. By 2012, Insomnia was able to fund the opening of a new location with its own internal cash flow for the first time, finally making the company “self-sufficient,” Berkowitz says.

More store openings followed, before Krispy Kreme bought 74.5% of the company for roughly $139.5 million, according to the SEC filing.

None of it would’ve happened if he’d given up during Insomnia’s toughest days. “When I talk about the brand and our journey, [I often say] that Insomnia Cookies is a perseverance story,” says Berkowitz.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

The phenomenon of your rich friend being the stingiest rings true, expert says—here’s why

Scrolling through my Venmo transactions, it’s evident that requests for comically small amounts of money are almost always made by friends who were either born with or earn more money than me.

The experience is curious and seemingly universal.

“Rich people love to Venmo request you $4.72 for like half a bagel because they have no concept of money and don’t understand that working class people operate under an economy of buying someone a beer,” one X user mused.

“Friend making $450k as a software engineer: ‘Can you Venmo me $3.62 for your share of the Uber ride?’” another wrote.

Susan Bradley, founder of the Sudden Money Institute, coaches clients who have quickly or unexpectedly come into large windfalls of cash on how to transition out of being a have-not.

The phenomenon of the rich friend being the stingiest rings true, she says: “People with more money than their peers struggle with generosity.”

‘They are peerless’

If a person knows they are in a higher income bracket than their friends, they likely feel isolated or “othered,” Bradley says.

“People with substantially more [money] have a smaller population to have as peers,” she says. “So in some ways they are peerless.”

Because their money is what differentiates them from their friends, they start believing that their money is why they have friends.

“They don’t want to be taken advantage of or to feel like, ‘I have money and that’s why people hang out with me,’” Bradley says. “It feels very invalidating.”

These insecurities manifest as a $4 Venmo request.

“If someone does the small-dollar Venmo, it means they don’t feel good,” Bradley says.

If someone does the small dollar Venmo, it means they don’t feel good.
Susan Bradley
Founder of Sudden Money Institute

‘With more wealth comes more of a focus on transactional relationships’

Being economically peerless also means you might struggle with feeling a sense of community, says Hal Hershfield, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. Hershfield studies the psychology of long term decisions-making.

“With more wealth comes more of a focus on transactional relationships, which could then bleed over into relationships that should be communal,” Hershfield says.

Let’s say you’re moving apartments. If you’re trying to save money, you might enlist the help of a few friends. This favor signals a communal relationship.

If you earn enough money to pay for movers, then this experience becomes transactional.

Soon, you might start to see the world in a more transactional way, he says, and that will seep into your friendships.

If a friend Venmo requests you for small amount of money, Bradley suggests doing two things: pay it and then ask if something else is going on with them.

“If they’re doing that, it’s a way of not being taken advantage of,” she says. “It could be about something in the past with longer legs that hasn’t been dealt with. They don’t care about the $4.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

Ex-Google recruiter says LinkedIn ‘open to work’ banner is ‘biggest red flag’—some experts disagree

When you’re looking for a new job, it may seem like a no-brainer to let as many people as possible know.  But career experts differ on their opinions about LinkedIn’s “open to work” banner, the green sign that shows up just under your photo if you choose to activate it.

“It is the biggest red flag” in a job candidate, says Nolan Church, former Google recruiter and current CEO of salary data company FairComp.

“There is a truism in recruiting that the best people are not looking for jobs,” he says, and therefore those people would not be advertising that they’re looking for work either. Former Amazon recruiter and current career coach Lindsay Mustain agrees.

When it comes to recruiting, it’s all about a power dynamic, she says. Recruiters want to want you, not the other way around. With that banner activated, “because you need something from me, that means that I have the power in this conversation,” she says. And that can be a turn off.

But not all career experts agree, and LinkedIn’s own data does not necessarily support this thinking. Here’s how the site has found the banner affects jobseekers.

More than 33 million LinkedIn users currently have it

LinkedIn introduced the “open to work” banner during the Covid-19 pandemic, in June 2020, when millions of people found themselves out of a job in a matter of weeks. The company had already been offering a feature to signal to recruiters privately when someone was looking, but the pandemic seemed to indicate a need for something more public, a LinkedIn spokesperson told CNBC Make It.

These days, the sign is a popular one. More than 33 million people on LinkedIn are currently using it, according to the site.

LinkedIn can’t necessarily tell how many job offers have resulted from using the banner (they can’t see private messages between people). But they’ve seen that people who turn it on are twice as likely to get messaged by a recruiter. Those people are also 20% more likely to get messages from the LinkedIn community at large, some of them messages about job openings at people’s companies.

For smaller companies, ‘it can be really, really helpful’

One benefit of using the banner is that smaller companies that don’t have the budget for the recruiters’ version of LinkedIn can see who’s looking for work.

When Angelina Darrisaw’s executive and leadership coaching company C-Suite Coach was hiring, the banner “was something that just made looking for candidates a lot easier,” she says.

“For those smaller companies, it can be really, really helpful in identifying new talent,” she says, adding that, “you determine the quality of the talent in the interview process, not by them putting their hand up and saying, ‘Hey, I’m available.’”

If ‘your profile is a wasteland,’ it’s not going to matter

Ultimately, it might be down to cultural fit. Some employers find the sign useful, others are turned off by it. “It’s like a weeding out of opportunities for you to find the right one for you,” says Darrisaw.

And regardless of the banner, what matters most is what’s in your LinkedIn profile: a list of your previous and current titles, your accomplishments in each role, keywords relevant to your jobs, featured links with some of your work and activity showing you’re engaged in conversations about your industry.

“If you have ‘open to work’ up but your profile is a wasteland, it’s not going to make a difference at all,” says career coach Phoebe Gavin. “Because even if a recruiter finds you, they’re not going to learn anything useful.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.