How much is enough?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
How much is enough?
222
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 12:51pm
Since I received a number of posts on my recent thread commenting that perhaps I should look for a higher paying job as I wasn't working up to my financial potential, I became curious. How much is enough? Should both parents work as much as possible to make the most money, or is there an income that you consider enough?

Given the typical scenerio of 2.1 kids, reasonable spending habits, no or little debt and an average house payment (I don't know, $2000 sounds average to me). How much income do you think is required for a family to live comfortably though not lavishly, and for one spouse to quit if they desired? Bear in mind that with only one spouse working childcare costs are nil, and other expenses like clothes, dinners out, etc go way down.

I think an average family could do just fine on about $125K. How about you?

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Avatar for ang2gals
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:12pm
Doesn't it depend on the cost of living in a particular area? I mean if housing & transportation costs are high (like in my area) then obviously $125K buys less than in say, a rural area of the Midwest. And "enough" is probably a subjective term ;-)

-- Ang

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:15pm
i dont think you can set a dollar figure on that, there are too many differences that would have to be taken into account. your example of a $2000 mortage payment is a perfect example, i would NEVER have a mortgage that high, but i can say that because of where i live. i think each family has to decide for themselves what is enough based on their comfort level and what they want to provide for themselves and their children. we are able to live the way we choose and to provide the things we want for our children on alot less than the $125K you mentioned but that doesnt mean that someone else would be happy with our choices.

Jennie
Avatar for mjdphd
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:23pm
That would really depend on a lot of things. The biggest one being what area of the country you are living in. Some of them are far more expensive than others. The New York area, DC area, and southern CA come to mind as some pricey markets while some areas of the midwest are much more reasonable. Another thing to consider is debt load. Then there are difference in lifestyle preferences. You never really can say what is enough for another family.

For my family, the figure you mentioned, 125K, would be more than adequate to meet our needs plus contribute to savings. We have no debt besides our mortgage which is much lower than yours, I don't need a new car every 2 years, my kids go to public school, I live in a less expensive area of the country, etc. Each person has their own comfort level.

Avatar for biancamami
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:35pm
I sound like a broken record echoing everyone else but I think both parents need to determine what the financial goals of the family should be and act accordingly. For example, I live in Manhattan and I know that for MANY parents they would never consider sending their kids to public school. When you consider the cost of such tuition, their "enough" may be deemed astronomical in the eyes of a family in the suburbs. Also, many people live in a certain social class in which certain activities are seen as "necessary" to achieve their way of life. They need an income to support their lifestyle choices.

So like everyone else said...it really depends. For my husband and I we are just "starting out" so we are taking care of the basic needs and putting away a certain amount in savings. But honestly, we have so many other financial goals and I think that at this point we have not determined what our "enough" is yet.

Ana
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:41pm
Obviously cost of living varies widely, but I figured I'd like to get a figure from everyone from a variety of locales just to get an idea of what the average is. There is no wrong or right answer, I'd just like to get a feeling of what people's comfort levels are. For instance, someone who lives large might say 300K is the minimum income they could live on, while I might disagree with them, I still think it's interesting to hear what people think.

This all comes from the responses on other threads where I felt that some people thought a certain income wasn't enough.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:45pm
It depends on what country and what part of the country you live in. If you're just starting out to buy a house now, no way could you get by on a mortgage payment of only $2K (at least in a major metropolitan area).

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:52pm
Income is irrelevant almost, to me.I started sah when my dh made an entry level salary, but I used that time to go to school,and he had a lot saved and invested,good benefits, and we had furniture,etc and we lived in a low cost of living area.We also had every expectation his salary would increase, and it did.
Avatar for biancamami
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:53pm
I think cost of living is only one part of the equation...hence why its impossible to come up with one number. So much has to do with preference, size of family, educational goals, debt, etc.

And for a lot of us, we are not even near that "enough" so we have no idea what that will be...know what I mean? If we have not yet begun those college savings accounts, if our children are still young and we don't know if they will want to take up some expensive sport, if we haven't even finished having children....we really can't put a cap on it and say "That's it. We don't need anymore" I honestly feel uncomfortable saying that because I feel there is so much that we want to do and experience (like traveling) and ALL of that requires money.

Ana
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 2:01pm
When I was 26, and living in St. Louis,50K was perfectly fine for us.Now that we are older and living in the NE, I would say anything under 100k requires a little sacrifice or tightening of the belt, depending on when and where you bought your house.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 2:13pm
Thanks msn. OK, forget the mtg. payment, cost of living, etc. Let's keep it simple. I'm not asking how much anyone makes, I'm just asking you, if you had to come up with a number, how much income is enough for you (or your husband) to stay home and live on without scrimping? Just asked my sister who is expecting her second child and is not going back to work, her husband just got a raise and will make what they previously made combined - 80K, they live quite comfortably on that, and travel. They just don't drive luxury cars, etc. She has no problem living on that salary, they've done so just fine for years and even managed to start a college fund.

So, I'll ask again, if you had to come up with an income that you feel you could live on, what would it be?

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