As most of us already know, an equal salary can stretch much further in one place than in another. If you earn at least $75,000 per year, you earn a comfortable salary. At this income level, you are said to have reached the point where you really don’t need any more money to thrive. In each state, however, this $75,000 has to be adjusted to account for costs of living differences.
A few states, however, like Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and Wisconsin are right around the benchmark. That is, even when adjusting for cost of living, these states will produce a monetary amount that is relatively similar to the nationwide reference point.
Previously, we shared the most inexpensive states to live in the U.S. Now, let’s check out the most expensive states. Do you live in an expensive state? How much does it cost to live, eat, and go out on the town in these higher priced locations? We’re also going to take it one step further and answer the question: how much of an annual salary do you need in each of these states to live comfortably at that $75K level?
*These states are ranked in order based on their overall cost of living. All cost of living index data comes from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) first-quarter report, and pricing data comes from Zillow, Numbeo.com, and other resources.
- Cost of Living Index: 125.2
- Grocery Index: 124
- Housing Index: 136.1
- Utilities Index: 116.3
- Transportation Index: 119
- Health Index: 120.4
- Misc.: 122.8
In Connecticut, notice how every index category is above the benchmark index of 100, and food, healthcare and miscellaneous costs — like entertainment and clothing — are particularly high. The median home value in the Northeastern state is $240,000 and homes generally list for a median price of around $275,000 (or $162 per square foot). If you rent, you’re also looking at a hefty housing payment of around $1,500 per month, as per the Zillow reported median.
In Hartford, utilities in a small apartment average around $210, and to go out for dinner (at a mid-range restaurant) and a movie with a friend, you’re probably going to pay around $75.
Assuming $75,000 is the ideal income, you’d need to earn close to $94,000 to achieve the same standard of living that $75k would offer in a state closer to the benchmark, like Florida.