CNBC make it 2024-04-18 02:00:55


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

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.

I have 5 income streams and make $142,000/mo from Amazon: 3 mistakes I always tell others to avoid

In 2018, I was a full-time graduate student and working part-time as a course designer at my university. Inspired by a class project and my own personal struggles, I decided to launch a side hustle selling card games on Amazon to help people build “human skills” like emotional intelligence and critical thinking. 

This side hustle saw me through the next five years while I completed my Ph.D. When I started, I didn’t know much about running a business, but today, I have five income streams. 

I speak at schools and businesses, teach an online course about EQ, lecture at University of California Irvine, do freelance business consulting, and sell Mind Brain Emotion card games through my site and on Amazon. I bring in $142,000 a month from the Amazon business alone.

When I talk with aspiring entrepreneurs about how to create side hustles that best fit their schedules and lifestyles, I always tell them to avoid these three mistakes:

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

1. Don’t overcomplicate your product 

When I started my side hustle, I had major imposter syndrome. To compensate for that nagging doubt, I spent a lot of time researching and developing flashy product features that I thought would wow people, like including augmented reality components to the cards. But ultimately, this just confused my users, created more work for me and muddled my existing offerings. 

Now that I’ve launched a dozen products and have heard plenty of pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs, my best advice is to resist the urge to complicate things. This will not only slow you down, but it will also inflate your costs.

I’ve learned that the key to success isn’t in piling on features — it’s about understanding the core value of your brand. 

So before you begin any side hustle, ask yourself two key questions:

  1. What is the fundamental need that my product or service fulfills?
  2. What’s the smallest number of steps I can take to get there?

Once you launch, use real-world feedback as your guide. You can iterate and evolved based on actual customer needs, instead of your assumptions and second guesses. A straightforward solution can be a breath of fresh air in a world cluttered with choices.

2. Don’t settle for subpar service—even if you’re on a budget

If you are a side hustler, a great way to save money and grow your business is to work with fellow side hustlers who share your sensibility. However, it’s important to remember that if you have a collaborator who is also constantly growing and changing, you can run the risk of unpredictable service. 

Last year, I ended up parting ways with a social media manager and SEO vendor who were both solo entrepreneurs who wanted to turn their side gigs into agencies. In their efforts to expand, they both handed my business to newer hires who had very little experience with my industry. 

While I always believe in giving people the chance to learn and improve, ultimately, I wasn’t being given the attention and priority I was promised.

The key to success isn’t in piling on features — it’s about understanding the core value of your brand. 

On the SEO side of things, I stayed with that vendor for far too long, even though I was unhappy with the service and it actually cost me money, affecting my earnings for the year. November, typically my top time of year, was down by 55% compared to my best month in 2023.

As much as collaboration can be beneficial, it’s crucial to be diligent about who you hire — and if you feel like something is no longer serving you, don’t be afraid to make a change. 

3. Don’t just rely on networking to move your idea forward

As a solo entrepreneur, I longed for clear roadmaps, blueprints, and decisions, so I applied and was accepted to incubators at Harvard, UC Irvine and USC.

I had access to top executives and advisers and I took advantage of them, but these meetings often left me feeling confused and overwhelmed. Even though they were well-intentioned, many of these advisers ended up projecting their own ambitions and mistakes onto me.

My best advice is to pay close attention to skepticism and feedback in meetings like this, but try to not be swayed by the ideas thrown at you. I’ve found that relying too much on external validation diluted my vision and slowed my progress.

Ultimately, a veteran perspective can be helpful, but the responsibility to act, and the wisdom to sift through their advice, rests solely with you. It’s important to trust your own judgment and remember that this journey is your own. 

Dr. Jenny Woo is a Harvard-trained educator, EQ researcher, and founder and CEO of Mind Brain Emotion. She created a series of educational card games and mental health tools to help kids and adults develop human skills in the age of AI. Her award-winning card games, the 52 Essential Relationship Skills, 52 Essential Coping Skills, and 52 Essential Interview Skills are used in 50+ countries. Follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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.

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.

  • How to avoid ‘ghost preparers’ and other tax scams as the April 15 filing deadline approaches
  • 25% of Gen Zers say they’ll need a therapist to deal with tax filing stress
  • Tax pro shares how to do your taxes and why they don’t teach you in school
  • People hate budgeting. Here’s why — and how to reframe it
  • Why overspending is one of the biggest financial mistakes you can make
  • I’m a certified financial planner and tax reporter at CNBC. How I tackle my own retirement tax planning
  • Four red flags for an IRS tax audit — and how to avoid the ‘audit lottery,’ according to tax pros
  • Nearly 1 in 5 eligible taxpayers don’t claim this ‘valuable credit,’ IRS says
  • I opened two accounts to help grow my savings. Here’s what I learned as a Gen Z personal finance reporter
  • Middle-class Americans want to know more about how the wealthy make money. Here’s the answer
  • Op-ed: I’m an advisor who helps clients navigate layoffs. Here’s my best advice to prepare
View More

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.

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

The lowest salary Americans will accept at a new job reached a record high

More people are looking for a new job, and they have high salary expectations.

The lowest average pay people would be willing to accept a new job reached $81,822 as of March, a new series high since 2014. And it’s a big jump from November, when respondents said they’d need an offer of $73,391, on average, to take a new job.

That’s according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest consumer expectations survey, which is fielded every four months.

For comparison, the typical full-time U.S. worker earns a median $60,000 per year, according to Labor Department data. But to live comfortably by traditional budgeting advice, the average person needs to earn upwards of $89,000 — closer to the latest data on salary expectations — according to a recent analysis from SmartAsset.

“New hires are negotiating their offers at very high rates and are behaving as though they have a lot of bargaining power and leverage,” says ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak.

She says turnover is still high within in-person and on-site industries like manufacturing and education, which could give those workers more leverage to expect higher salaries.

And despite a hiring slowdown, ZipRecruiter data shows more companies are actively recruiting to hire for open roles, and they’re also extending more counteroffers to keep employees from quitting.

Men expect almost $30,000 more at a new job than women

The recent jump in pay expectations was driven by men, workers under 45 years old and those with a household income of $60,000.

The salary expectations gap between men and women increased, Bloomberg reported. Men said the lowest offer they’d accept to change jobs was $95,500 in March, compared with women who said they’d switch roles for $66,300.

Today’s expectations gender gap of $29,200 is higher than it was years ago just as the pandemic hit the U.S. when the difference between men and women’s pay expectations was $21,700.

Pollak says this widening gap could be due to how drastically the pool of women workers has changed since the pandemic. Tight labor markets pulled in new workers to fill jobs, and women saw marked results: Female participation in the labor force is the highest it’s ever been. Their lower pay expectations may account for women who previously didn’t work or are taking part-time jobs, Pollak says.

Women are also overrepresented in lower paid industries.

On the whole, however, the U.S. gender wage gap is the smallest it’s ever been on record, with full-time working women being paid 84 cents for every $1 paid to a man.

Jobseekers are on the rise

Meanwhile, more people say they’re on the job market, according to the New York Fed survey. As of March, 25% of people said they looked for a new job in the past four weeks (the highest in a decade), compared to 23% who said the same thing in November.

Many candidates say it feels impossible to get a job today, despite a job market that looks strong on paper. Experts say hiring is slowing down at the same time that candidates’ expectations for pay and more flexible work are rising.

Looking ahead, more people are eyeing early retirement and are less likely to consider working as they age. Just 46% of people expect to be working past age 62, a record low, while 31% think they’ll be working past age 67.

Pollak says people nearing retirement may feel optimistic about their options because “the large increase in stock market participation and housing wealth among people in that age group, since Covid, has made some people think they can afford to retire early.”

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.