CNBC make it 2024-04-22 02:00:50


The income a family of 4 needs to live comfortably in every U.S. state

The most expensive state to raise a family of four isn’t New York, California or Hawaii — it’s Massachusetts, according to a recent SmartAsset study.

To live comfortably in Massachusetts, a family of two working adults and two kids would need to earn $301,184 annually.

“Comfortable” is defined as the income needed to cover a 50/30/20 budget for a family of four. The budget allocates 50% of your earnings for necessities such as housing and utility costs, 30% for discretionary spending and 20% 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 a look at how much income a family of four needs to live comfortably in the five most-expensive states: 

  1. Massachusetts: $301,184
  2. Hawaii: $294,611
  3. Connecticut: $279,885
  4. New York: $278,970
  5. California: $276,723

While most of these states are known for high housing costs, Massachusetts also has higher total costs for other categories, such as child care, food and medical expenses, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

In contrast to these states, Mississippi is the least-expensive state to raise a family, requiring only $177,798 per year in annual income. The median for the U.S. as a whole is $213,782.

As a general trend, more rural U.S. states have lower costs compared with states home to numerous large cities, such as California and New York — especially when it comes to housing.

But rural states tend to have lower wages, too. The median annual wage for workers in Mississippi is $37,500, compared with $56,840 in New York, for example, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data

As a result, some of the higher costs of living in urban states are offset through higher wages. 

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

 Alabama

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $193,606

Alaska

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $242,611

Arizona

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $230,630

Arkansas

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $180,794

California

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $276,723

Colorado

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $264,992

Connecticut

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $279,885

Delaware

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $228,966

Florida

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $209,082

Georgia

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $212,826

Hawaii

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $294,611

Idaho

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $211,245

Illinois

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $231,962

Indiana

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $206,003

Iowa

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $211,411

Kansas

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $196,768

Kentucky

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $190,112

Louisiana

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $189,613

Maine

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $229,549

Maryland

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $239,450

Massachusetts

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $301,184

Michigan

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $214,490

Minnesota

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $244,774

Mississippi

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $177,798

Missouri

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $202,259

Montana

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $211,411

Nebraska

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $213,075

Nevada

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $237,286

New Hampshire

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $244,109

New Jersey

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $251,181

New Mexico

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $203,923

New York

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $278,970

North Carolina

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $209,331

North Dakota

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $202,176

Ohio

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $209,331

Oklahoma

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $194,106

Oregon

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $257,338

Pennsylvania

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $230,464

Rhode Island

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $249,267

South Carolina

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $200,762

South Dakota

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $192,608

Tennessee

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $195,770

Texas

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $201,344

Utah

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $218,483

Vermont

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $248,352

Virginia

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $235,206

Washington

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $257,421

West Virginia

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $189,363

Wisconsin

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $225,056

Wyoming

  • Annual income needed to live comfortably: $203,424

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If you use these 3 phrases, you’re more resilient and secure than most, psychologists say

Everyone experiences hardships. Resilient people often lean on their mental toughness to overcome those challenges.

They don’t act like their problems don’t exist. Rather, they have self-compassion, allowing them to view emotions like stress or disappointment as a learning opportunities, as bestselling author and leadership expert Brené Brown said in a 2022 episode of her podcast “Unlocking Us.”

“The core of mental toughness is actually self-compassion,” Brown said. “People who are mentally tough stay mentally tough because they don’t slip easily into shame or self-criticism or self-loathing.”

Instead, resilient people rely on a few specific words and phrases to help them process and respond to obstacles, experts say:

‘I need some time’

Even the strongest people have to take a step back and reflect sometimes.

Instead of rushing to recover from a tough situation, give yourself time to feel your emotions, psychologist Cortney Warren wrote for CNBC Make It last year.

“A key component of resilience is emotional flexibility, or the ability to regulate your feelings and reduce their intensity in a given situation,” wrote Warren. “Mastery over this can help us feel empowered during challenging times.”

Say you just got some negative feedback from your boss, for example. If you’re feeling anxious or upset afterward, say something like, “I’m feeling a strong emotion, so I’m going to take a moment before I respond or make any big decisions,” Warren added.

‘I can handle what comes my way’

Reassuring yourself that you’ll overcome your circumstances can go a long way, neuropsychologist Judy Ho wrote for Make It last week.

People who use this phrase can “better cope with, accept, and adjust to difficult situations,” wrote Ho. “They can let go of a fixation on a certain outcome, adapt their coping strategies, and find different solutions and paths toward their goals. And they can do all this even when their thoughts and feelings might tell them to run away or pull the proverbial covers over their heads.”

The next time you face a particularly stressful situation, tell yourself you can handle it — instead of using phrases like, “I don’t think I can make it through this.”

‘No’

Imagine this: You’re dealing with your jam-packed work schedule when a colleague asks you to help them finish an assignment. You may want to say yes, despite your hefty workload, to be a team player.

Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first and saying no, according to psychologist Jessica Jackson.

“Resilience is often confused with independence, like, ‘Let me shrink as much as I can to support others,’” Jackson told Make It in 2022. “But resilience should be more about prioritizing your needs.”

Setting boundaries this way can be uncomfortable, but down the line, you’ll thank yourself for saving your energy and putting your mental health and wellbeing first, she added.

“It’s important to know your threshold, know your boundaries and honor those before you burn out,” Jackson said. 

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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You can buy a home in France or Italy for ‘the price of a new truck’—but take these 3 steps first

What started as a fun side project for Tommy Sikes has become a big part of his business.

With the youngest of his three children about to enter law school, Sikes began thinking about the next chapter for him and his wife — namely, the ever-more popular possibility of spending at least part of their retirement in Europe.

“We had this looming empty nest. We love Italy and France and started thinking, ‘What’s our next step?’” he tells CNBC Make It. “How can we make this more of a reality?”

Sikes started researching properties across the Atlantic, focusing on inexpensive locales away from the major cities where he and his wife could pursue their outdoorsy hobbies, such as hiking and kayaking.

When he began sharing the properties he found online, Sikes, a certified financial planner, found a new base of potential clients who were excited about the prospect of owning property abroad but unaware of how to go about it.

These days, Sikes sends properties to some 25,000 followers and subscribers across X, YouTube and via a weekly newsletter. He understands the allure of the lifestyle such homes can afford people.

“I started discovering these incredible properties that were for sale in smaller towns and villages for $50,000, $75,000, $100,000. And I was I was shocked,” he says. “Some of them are fixer uppers, but that’s the price of a new truck here in the United States.”

Still, Sikes is careful to warn subscribers and clients against buying such a property on a whim — even if they think they can afford it.

“There seems to be a gap in this kind of planning — specifically for Americans who need to do financial planning upfront to make sure this is feasible.”

Here are three steps Sikes says you need to take before you buy a property abroad.

1. Make a financial inventory

Sikes works with a wealth of clients who, like him, are thinking about what retirement could look like. And for them, life abroad can hold major financial appeal.

“I could run a simple financial plan for someone in the U.S. and run the same plan for one of those spots in France, and the cost of living is literally 50%,” he says. “That means, for the same planned assets and income, you could upgrade your lifestyle … or potentially retire years earlier.”

Before you begin dreaming about a fabulous Mediterranean retirement, though, you’ll need to take total stock of your financial life, says Sikes.

“You’ll need an inventory of your assets, your incomes. What’s your Social Security going to be? Do you have pensions? Are you maximizing your investments for retirement income? Those are the kind of traditional numbers,” he says.

You’d also be wise to work with a tax professional to determine how living on a retirement income might look in your country of choice.

“France and Italy both have tax treaties with the U.S., so you avoid double taxation,” Sikes says. “But they’re quite different as far as the way they treat retirement accounts like 401(k)s and Roth IRAs.”

2. Prepare for the homebuying process

The good news for those who want to snap up one of the properties that Sikes posts: There’s not much stopping you from doing it.

“There are zero restrictions on Americans buying property in Italy or France,” Sikes says. “You don’t have to be a citizen. You don’t even have to be a resident. You can literally buy something remotely.”

But even if that’s true about a country you’re looking at, you likely still have considerable work to do before you consider putting in an offer.

For one, you may have to be willing to put aside enough money to pay in cash. In France and Italy, for instance, mortgages for American citizens are rare unless they’ve lived in the country and established a relationship with a local lender, Sikes says.

And even if you’re willing to put in a cash offer, don’t expect a seamless process.

“The biggest issue I see is people trying to do it on their own. They don’t speak the language, and all the documents are going to be in Italian or French,” Sikes says. “People need to temper their expectations. A lot of times, you have to be able to call [the seller or agent.] I’ve had people tell me they’ve had to email the agent five times over three weeks and haven’t heard back.”

That’s why it pays, Sikes says, to partner with a planner who specializes in these areas and works with people on the ground.

Short of that, start taking language lessons, he says. “Not like 10 minutes a day on an app on your phone. Starting listening to music and news reports in French or Italian.”

3. Take a ‘test drive’

Even if you think you’ve spotted the house of your dreams on the French Riviera, your life there may look very different than what you’re currently picturing.

“People will fall in love with the property without realizing that it’s in a town with one restaurant and no bars, and you have to own a car because there’s no public transportation, and you have to drive an hour to get to a decent hospital,” Sikes says. “Always, always, always, the place is more important than the property itself.”

That’s why, no matter where you’re considering buying property, you’d be wise to rent for awhile first.

“I’d say for a minimum of two weeks to a month, plan a test drive — a kind of mini-retirement,” Sikes says. “Go to the grocery store, go to the market, go to town hall, see if you can meet some of the local people there, see if there’s an expat community.”

If you do find a place you’d like to live, Sikes suggests hiring someone local to be your proxy so you don’t have to spend thousands flying back and forth to meet with real estate agents. That person can act as your eyes and ears on the ground.

But make sure you’re absolutely in love with the place you’re looking to move, Sikes cautions. “If you don’t love it and it doesn’t have the amenities you need, it’s not going to work long term.”

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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3 in-demand, high-paying side hustles—some can pay more than $200 an hour

Americans are diving into freelancing — 38% performed freelance work in 2023, according to Upwork’s December 2023 Freelance Forward survey. While some are freelancing full-time, many people are also doing so part-time as a side hustle.  

If you yourself are considering a side gig, there are many ways to dive in. You can write people’s video game profiles, get paid to pretend to be someone on their dating profiles or even get paid to stand in line for people.

With so many options available, “the question is, what do you do?” says Kathy Kristof, founder and CEO of Sidehusl.com. Or, what qualities do you have “that are fairly unique?”

Here are three high-paying, in-demand side hustles to consider according to Kristof and Daniella Flores, founder of side hustle blog I Like to Dabble.

SEO consulting

“Marketing is giant,” Kristof says. Social media marketing, for instance, is a service she sees a lot of demand for. “There’s a huge need for people who know how to do SEO” as well, she says.

Search engine optimization helps websites gain more traffic by considering keywords people type in to look for like content. If you’re interested in learning how it works, there are all sorts of online courses on sites like Coursera and tutorials by Google itself.

SEO experts on Upwork are currently charging as much as $250 per hour.

Cybersecurity

With so much of people’s lives happening online, “cybersecurity is in extremely high demand and that will probably last forever,” says Kristof, adding that “the threats become more sophisticated and tougher to stop.”

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

If you’re interested in diving in, “you don’t need a college degree, but Google, IBM, Apple, all of these big tech companies offer very inexpensive, sometimes free courses in cybersecurity,” she says. Various colleges and universities offer them as well, and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies lists a number of certifications to consider.

When you take the courses, “you’re often connected to the people who are going to hire you in the end,” says Kristof.

Cybersecurity experts on Fiverr are charging as much as $1,480 per project.

Coding

Finally, another high paying hustle in the tech world is coding. “The part-time demand for it is so high, especially with AI and the need to train all of these new AI platforms,” says Flores, who goes by they/them pronouns.

Many people in the field have degrees in computer science, but that’s not necessarily a prerequisite. There are coding boot camps available online through sites like Codeacademy and various universities, and they can be enough to get started.

Flores recommends offering your services through sites like Data Annotation Tech. “It’s kind of like a coding temp agency,” they say. To register, you’ll need to take an assessment test. But once you pass, “they do guarantee work for everybody,” they say. One user reported making about $23 per hour, though Flores says coders can make as much as $50 per hour through the site.

Flores also recommends using LinkedIn to look for jobs.

“A lot of people, when they’re hiring for freelancers, no matter the project, they will put up a post on their page” as opposed to creating a job listing on the site. Flores recommends doing a keyword search for posts including phrases like web development freelancer, freelance coder, etc. to find opportunities.

Coders on Upwork are charging as much as $200 per hour.

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.

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.

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