CNBC make it 2024-07-03 09:25:28

The 15 U.S. states with the highest cost of living for single people

You’ll need to earn nearly $60,000 annually to live alone in Massachusetts, the most expensive state in the U.S. when it comes to basic costs, according to a recent SmartAsset analysis.

That figure includes estimates for how much a single-person household needs to cover housing, transportation, health care, taxes and other common expenses, as tracked by the MIT Living Wage calculator.

These expenses vary widely by state, however, especially housing, taxes and food. The biggest spread in annual cost for a single-person household is $58,009 in Massachusetts compared with $39,386 in West Virginia.

Based on a 40-hour work week, that works out to an hourly wage of about $28 in Massachusetts and about $19 in West Virginia needed to cover basic expenses.

Here’s a look at the 15 U.S. states with the highest cost of living, based on how much a single person needs to cover basic costs:

  1. Massachusetts: $58,009
  2. Hawaii: $56,841
  3. California: $56,825
  4. New York: $55,878
  5. Washington: $53,242
  6. Colorado: $51,644
  7. New Jersey: $51,504
  8. Maryland: $51,460
  9. Oregon: $50,553
  10. Rhode Island: $50,418
  11. Connecticut: $50,194
  12. Virginia: $49,973
  13. New Hampshire: $49,045
  14. Arizona: $48,677
  15. Georgia: $48,448

Housing is by far the biggest factor in most people’s budgets. At a median of $17,000, housing costs in the 15 most expensive states are nearly double that of the 15 least expensive states.

Unsurprisingly, housing costs are higher in states with large cities, like California and New York. Big cities tend to attract people because of job opportunities, which increases the demand for homes and subsequently drives up prices.

The difference in cost of living between states is also related to food and tax costs, which vary by as much as $2,000 and $1,500, respectively.

Note that these expense estimates only cover necessities, so they don’t include discretionary spending like entertainment or investment contributions.

Unfortunately, minimum wage won’t cover basic expenses in any state, even for states that far exceed the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25. This includes California’s newly enacted $20 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers, which doesn’t cover the $27.32 needed to pay for a single full-time worker’s basic expenses in that state, according to MIT’s data.

MIT’s Living Wage calculator is based on data from various federal agencies, adjusted for inflation as of December 2023.

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33-year-old pays $2,146/mo for a studio furnished almost entirely from Costco: Take a look inside

At 32, after 12 years of living rent-free with my parents in the San Francisco Bay area, I was ready to move into my own place.

I had saved $400,000 and had the flexibility to make the leap, but whether it was uncertain streams of income, wanderlust and mostly, the financial benefits of staying put, something had been holding me back. Until November 2023, when I visited a friend at their Fremont, California, apartment complex.

When I walked in, it felt like home. As fate would have it, as I was leaving, I met my friend’s neighbors, a couple breaking their lease. My gut told me that this was the right moment.

After a few hours and some paperwork, I secured a four-month sublease agreement from them for $2,000 a month. It was the perfect transitional space. Once my sublease was up, in April, I moved into a 556-square-foot studio in the same complex for $2,146 a month.

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The building is 10 minutes away from the studio I built off of my parent’s place where I teach my music students, and less than a 10 minute drive from two beloved local Costco stores. That might seem like an odd amenity to look for in real estate, but to me, it was a huge asset.

Altogether, I have spent over $5,000 to outfit my place almost entirely with Costco products. 

Why Costco means so much to me 

Costco was a shopping staple for my family when I was growing up. And back in 2013, I started going all the time after work, to browse the aisles and try out samples while waiting out the rush hour traffic. 

Over time, Costco has become more than just a store to me — it’s a place for me to belong and feel like myself. My love for it inspired me to create my Instagram account, Costco Claudia.

Since launching in winter of 2022, Costco Claudia has become a creative outlet and an income stream. On the account, I primarily post videos of myself modeling women’s clothing in the store, and I currently have 191,000 followers and counting. While I have never worked directly with or for Costco, I have had partnerships with brands that are sold by the company. 

I currently make about $7,000 a month as an influencer and $5,000 a month from my job as a piano teacher.

One of the most surprising and gratifying parts of this experience has been the incredible positivity I’ve received from my Costco Claudia community. They offered so much comfort and solidarity when I felt most alone, particularly as I learned about my PMDD and navigated living on my own.

Their support has helped me through some of my toughest times.

Take a look inside my cozy California studio

For utilities, I spend about $102 a month: $27 for water and trash collection, $30 for internet, and $45 for electricity. Take a look inside:

My kitchen is a space to fuel up and get ready for the day 

Over the years, I’ve collected a bunch of discounted stuff from Costco sales: glasses, plates, bowls, my NutriBullet, a Brita filter, and loads of snacks.

What I really rely on in my kitchen are my coffee machine and the garage “work table” — both found at Costco — which doubles as my kitchen table. It’s sturdy and looks great with the faux fur sheepskins I use to cover my chairs.

I surround myself with greenery and music in my living room 

After a long day of teaching, I enjoy winding down in my cozy living room. My forest of growing monsteras and succulents adds a touch of greenery and calmness to the space.

I like to lie on my couch and lose myself in classical music on my piano. Surrounded by blankets, sheepskin rugs, pillows, and stylish tray, it’s the perfect way to recharge after a busy day.

My bathroom is both luxurious and pragmatic 

In my bathroom, the essentials that I can’t do without: my gold hoop earrings, my two pairs of glasses and my contacts that I wear every single day.

When I first moved out, I found all the bathroom basics I needed at Costco: towels, hand towels, a shower curtain, soap dispenser, and mats. When allergy season strikes, the tissue paper is a lifesaver, since they sell it in bulk.

The real steal in my bathroom is the perfume that usually goes for $200 at other stores but is $69.99 at Costco. I’ve got two of them, and they’ve become my go-to scents.

My bedroom is a haven

My $250 bed frame paired with my $500 mattress are so comfortable. I have two sets of Kirkland Signature 680 Thread Count Sheet Set that I snagged when they went on sale. I love my down blanket and I have another favorite I got for $12.

In woven side baskets, I stash my Costco pajamas, keeping everything neat and organized. I also love my Shark Roomba, which cleans my apartment when I’m not here.

An outdoor space with possibility 

The outdoor space isn’t fully furnished yet. So far, my Costco paddle board is the centerpiece.

I moved during the winter, but now that summer is upon us, I hope to add more to the space soon. I’ve got my eye on some discounted outdoor patio sets.

My apartment may be small and snug, but it’s a testament to the opportunities that have come from sharing my passion with others. Ultimately, this space really feels like mine. I have created an oasis here. 

Claudia Chee is a Bay Area native and former Google employee turned entrepreneur. Today, she is a piano teacher, the owner of Claudia’s Music Studio, and a social media influencer who enjoys sharing her love of Costco on Instagram.

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How side hustles helped a 26-year-old earn $11,000 in just 100 days

Jackie Mitchell’s goal of saving up for a down payment on her first home might be a common money move, but her method of achieving it wasn’t nearly as conventional.

Mitchell challenged herself to make an extra $100 a day for 100 days, and documented her journey on TikTok.

When she wasn’t working her day job in the nonprofit sector, the 26-year-old turned to side hustles and passive income streams like surveys, focus groups and even playing online games to reach her goal. Over the course of the challenge, she tried more than a dozen different options.

Mitchell and her husband, who hail from Columbus, Ohio, were already saving up for their down payment when she chose $10,000 as a savings goal to tackle what was left. To make that number less daunting, she broke it down into a daily goal — $100 per day.

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Not only did she succeed, but Mitchell ended up completing her challenge 11 days early and made an average of $110 a day, for a grand total of almost $11,000 in 100 days.

“It’s just been so surprising reminding myself that little bits of money make a big difference,” Mitchell tells CNBC Make It. “It’s kind of an encouragement to think that even if you make $5 a day, $5 is way better than $0.”

Here’s what Mitchell learned from her many side hustles, as well as tips and tricks on how to pick a hustle that’s right for you.

How to choose the right side hustle

If you have a specific amount of money you want to earn through a side hustle, the No. 1 thing Mitchell recommends is breaking a big goal down into a small one.

“If you’ve got a goal of paying off a car loan that’s $8,000, try to calculate how much you can reasonably do in six months,” she says. “What does that look like every month, every week, every day?”

While she began posting the challenge to hold herself accountable, Mitchell’s posts have inspired a number of her 125,000 TikTok followers to start their own challenges.

“I really do believe that at least some of the information I’ve been giving can be helpful to at least one person, one single mom, one stay-at-home mom or one college student,” she says. “And if I can help one person earn an extra $100 a month, why would I not post that?”

Find Mitchell’s three tips on how to snag a good side hustle below.

1. Consult side hustle communities

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of opportunities that are available to earn extra cash. For Mitchell, determining which side hustles were worth her time was “definitely trial and error.”

Sites like Reddit proved helpful for learning about other people’s experiences with different side hustles, from what they enjoyed and didn’t enjoy to any barriers to entry.

“There’s a really good Reddit called r/beermoney and it’s just what it sounds like — it’s not going to be anything like a remote work from home job that’s going to pay the full-time bills, but it is going to give you a little bit of extra money on the side,” she says.

Through Reddit, Mitchell found survey site Prolific and focus group side hustles. She also used the platform to choose what game offers to use on Swagbucks, an app that pays you to play games.

2. Play to your strengths

Mitchell recommends taking other people’s experiences with a grain of salt. Users in her TikTok comments often hate side hustles she loves, or love the ones she hates. 

In many of her videos, Mitchell does data annotation as a side gig before or after her day job. While it pays well, she says it’s one of the more difficult hustles and might not be for everyone. Requirements include passing an assessment that Mitchell says screens many people out and then editing, tagging and comprehending large sets of data.

“Understanding that everyone is different is really helpful when you get into things like side hustles, because it’s not one size fits all,” she says. “Otherwise, everyone would be earning the same amount at the same rate.”

If you have strong grammar and writing skills, data annotation could be for you. But other side hustles Mitchell used aren’t as demanding, like Swagbucks. She credits her Swagbucks earnings with helping pay for her and her husband’s flights to and from Paris last March. 

“I can do it laying in bed while I hang out, watch TV, do whatever. I think it’s just so easy,” she says. “If you’re going to play a game, why not get paid a little bit for it?” 

3. Be realistic with your time

Making nearly $11,000 in 100 days might sound amazing, but the challenge didn’t come without sacrifices. Mitchell says she was often working on her side hustles an extra three to four hours each day — time that she could have spent with friends or relaxing.

Committing to making side hustle income requires getting serious about how much time you’re willing to put in, she says. If you’ve only got one hour a day, you probably won’t be able to make $100 in extra income, and that’s OK.

“Understand that the trade-off is always either time or money and you can’t always get both,” Mitchell says. “It’s really not bad to value your time over money. Finances are a part of life, but they’re not the point of life.”

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If you always use 12 phrases, you’re more emotionally intelligent than most

Do you think and speak in ways that mark you as being emotionally intelligent

After spending more than 25 years researching and writing books about emotional intelligence, I know that you should hope the answer is yes.

As I discuss in my most recent book “Optimal,” being emotionally intelligent means you’re more likely to be a high performer, be engaged in what you do, feel satisfied with your work, and be in a good mood on the job. 

What this looks and sounds like in practice breaks down along four domains of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Within these domains, there are a dozen specific abilities, or “competencies,” that distinguish star performers at work, both on teams and as leaders. Those include emotional self awareness, emotional self control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook, empathy, organizational awareness, influence, conflict management, inspirational leadership, coaching and mentoring, and teamwork.

Here are 12 phrases that emotionally intelligent people tend to think or say on a regular basis — each reflects a strength in one of the 12 competencies. 

1. ‘I can handle this’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Self management (self control)

No matter how stressful or upsetting your life, excellence in self-management — and in emotional self-control in particular — means you can keep disruptive emotions like anger or anxiety from getting in the way of what you have to do in the moment. And if you do get upset, you recover quickly.

2. ‘I can get better and so can you’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Self management (positive outlook)

Rather than assuming you or someone else is only as good at a particular skill or task as they seem at the moment, you realize everyone — you included — can get better with guidance and practice. 

This positive outlook lets you roll with the punches in life and lets you see the opportunities even in setbacks.

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3. ‘I’m excited about this change’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Self management (adaptability)

You’re able to navigate uncertainty and adapt to changes instead of being rigid in how you respond. You’re eager to learn new ways of doing and being.

4. ‘This is what really matters’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Self management (achievement orientation)

Keeping your eye on your big-picture goal, despite the distractions of the day, helps you achieve it.

5. ‘I have these thoughts because … ’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Self awareness

Having self-awareness means you understand what triggers your moods and how they make you think, feel, and want to act. You can recognize, for example, when your thoughts stem from feelings of anger, anxiety, or sadness.  

Self-awareness is a prerequisite for better emotional self-control and self-management more broadly. 

6. ‘I get it—and I care about you’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Social awareness (empathy)

There are three kinds of empathy: 

  • Knowing how someone thinks about what’s going on
  • Sensing their feelings
  • Having concern for that person

Together, these three aspects of empathy build closeness and trust in any relationship.

7. ‘So that’s how things work around here’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Social awareness (organizational awareness)

Knowing who makes the decisions you care about offers you a key to the crucial dynamics of your organization. If you understand who’s involved and how things work, you’re often able to have influence. 

8. ‘What if you tried doing it this way?’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Relationship management (influence)

You know how to convince someone to see things your way. You don’t command, but rather suggest, how a person might do something better. 

9. ‘That means so much because … ’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Relationship management (inspirational leadership)

Outstanding leaders get the best efforts out of others by speaking about a shared purpose from the heart to the heart, in a way that resonates.

10. ‘We can work this out’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Relationship management (conflict management)

Talent at handling conflict means you don’t ignore it, can listen to all perspectives, and come up with win-win solutions.

11. ‘We have each other’s backs’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Relationship management (teamwork)

Feeling like we belong and having a sense of psychological safety on our team means we can give our best efforts and take risks to be innovative without fear of being ostracized or put down.

No matter what your role on the team, you know how to pitch in and collaborate, sharing both responsibilities and rewards. 

12. ‘This could help you’ 

Emotional intelligence competency: Relationship management (coaching and mentoring)

Coaching or mentoring is a key part of helping develop leaders for the future, strengthening your team and organization in the long run. You do it by giving feedback, offering support, and motivating people to learn and grow. 

Keep honing your emotional intelligence 

The more these phrases come up in your mind, the more emotionally intelligent you already are and the better your performance is likely to be. 

Each of us has strengths and limits across these 12 must-have EI competencies. To find out yours I recommend a “360” assessment — where people you know and trust rate you anonymously. It’s the best way to see your own EI profile. You can try the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory.

You might not be a natural in every competency that makes up emotional intelligence. But understanding EI as a broad set of skills and abilities and getting a snapshot of where you stand on each one will help you see what you can build on and where you have room to grow.

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist who shares his insights into the strengths of outstanding performers in the online learning program he designed to strengthen your emotional and social competencies. Daniel received his PhD in psychology and personality development from Harvard University. He is also the author of several books, including “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” and most recently ”Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day.”

Want to be a successful, confident communicator? Take CNBC’s new online course Become an Effective Communicator: Master Public Speaking. We’ll teach you how to speak clearly and confidently, calm your nerves, what to say and not say, and body language techniques to make a great first impression. Sign up today and use code EARLYBIRD for an introductory discount of 30% off through July 10, 2024.

Can’t understand your teenager’s behavior? Psychologists have tips to offer

Slamming doors, throwing tantrums, unexpected crying, and one-sided conversations at the dinner table. If these are common occurrences in your household, you are probably raising a teenager.

Teenagers are often perceived as entitled brats with little or no control over their emotions. And although many parents may see this as unnecessary angst or rebellion, these could be signs of the child struggling with anxiety.

“It’s so overwhelming and so powerful that you’re really just stuck in the storm. The anxiety has taken control over your mind and body,” said Natasha Riard, lecturer in clinical psychology and psychology clinic manager at James Cook University Singapore.

“The person who is experiencing anxiety wants it to stop, and the parent watching it wants to stop it. But once the panic attack starts, it’s like a train that has left the station, and it’s only going to stop when it reaches the next one. The journey between those stations is the experience of the attack,” Riard explained.

Parents might not always know how to help their children when they are feeling anxious or are on the brink of an anxiety attack, and methods that worked in the past may no longer be useful as teenagers face new challenges, psychologists said.

Here’s how parents can better perceive signs of anxiety among their kids — and tips for them to help their young ones.

The signs

Regardless of age, people who are feeling anxious will have a fight, flight, freeze or fawn reaction to stressful situations, according to psychologists.

They told CNBC that the most common reactions are flight and freeze, where one shows signs of panic and will start crying or shaking, or even freeze up and dissociate from the matter by becoming silent and shutting off.

“When you’re having a panic attack, you might really freak out about what is happening to you. You might have a shift in the way that you perceive reality and it can be a very scary experience,” warned Eli Lebowitz, Co-Director of the Yale Child Study Center Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program.

Like adults, adolescents also have a fight response when they feel anxious, which can often be misunderstood as throwing tantrums or acting out.

“Parents need to think about the meaning behind their children slamming doors and shouting. Could they be anxious about something?” Riard said, emphasizing that this is just another expression of anxiety.

Psychologists said they also noticed children having a fawn reaction where they suffer from “high-functioning” anxiety and manage to carry on with their daily routine despite being in poor mental health.

“Young people often avoid how they’re feeling and do their best to appear that everything is okay by appearing busy in a chaotic situation. What you see on their face or behavior may not be what’s going on underneath,” Lisa Coloca, psychologist and director at Melbourne-based Bloom Psychology Group and Bloom Community highlighted.

Yale’s Lebowitz said that some of the signs parents should watch out for are shortness of breath, body stiffness and a change in skin tone. Although an anxiety attack may seem scary and uncontrollable, it’s not dangerous and parents should not “freak out,” he added.

Top tips to help an anxious teen

1. Validate their feelings

Parents are often guilty of downplaying their children’s challenges and the emotions they are feeling — even brushing it off at times, experts suggested.

“Stop using your adult brain on an adolescent problem. Telling them that ‘it’ll be fine’ will not help as it doesn’t feel fine in the moment for them,” said Michelle Savage, another psychologist and director at Bloom Psychology Group and Bloom Community.

When children approach parents with their worries, reassurance is not always the solution.

“From a parent’s perspective, we want to protect our children from the pain. But the alternative solution is to take it as a prompt to allow your child to express her emotions and fears, and listen,” said James Cook’s Riard.

Parents should also be mindful that children do not always want advice, but often they just want to feel seen and heard.

“Validating that your child is anxious is not going to make them more anxious. It will make them feel understood and more likely to talk to you about it in the future as well,” said Yale’s Lebowitz, who is also the author of “Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD.”

“Parents should strive to communicate to their child messages that combine acceptance and validation of the child’s genuine fear or distress, along with confidence in the child’s ability to cope with that distress,” he added, elaborating that this will help build confidence and gradually reduce a child’s dependence on parents.

2. Share personal experiences

When a child or teenager is feeling anxious, it often helps to know that they are not alone.

Sharing personal stories of being in a similar situation will help them realize that it is possible to overcome the adversities they face.

“Parents need to normalize this and talk about their own internal dialogue around anxiety as well, while being mindful to have open communication in a non-threatening way,” Savage suggested.

For example, sharing that you were anxious about your slides for a big presentation at work, but assuring yourself that you gave it your best shot, will help the child feel seen and heard.

“It’s very hard to teach your child to regulate and cope with all of their emotions. If you can’t do it on yourself. Be willing to talk through your emotions, and not just the the positive ones,” Lebowitz said. “And start early, don’t wait for your child to be 15 to start doing it.”

Psychologists that spoke to CNBC also stressed that parents should not share “big and inappropriate” problems with their children, such as financial struggles or marital challenges.

3. Timing is everything

When a child is feeling anxious or is in the middle of an anxiety attack, the last thing they need to hear is advice on how to fix it.

“Don’t expect your child to be able to talk about it while they’re in the grip of really intense anxiety. You have to give them some time to calm down,” Yale’s Lebowitz suggested.

Conversations about how to better manage their emotions must not happen during moments of anxiety, but beforehand. Giving your child space, but also letting them know that you’re close by if they need to reach out, will also help, psychologists recommended.

“We often place a lot of pressure on children to self-regulate and use psychological strategies to help themselves. But in those moments, children and youth really needs adults to co-regulate with them,” Riard said, explaining that parents can help their kids have awareness of their thoughts and emotions and how they impact behaviors.

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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