Determining a good salary for a single person to live comfortably depends on various factors, including location, lifestyle, and personal financial choices.

In the United States, for instance, the cost of living and wages can vary significantly from one state to another.

It’s essential to consider your specific needs and priorities when analyzing the right income level that would allow you to live comfortably.

You might find it helpful to base calculations on the concept of a living wage, which is the estimated hourly pay needed to cover the basic necessities without relying on public assistance.

The living wage varies across states due to differences in the local cost of living.

For example, in Arkansas, it might be reasonable to assume that an annual income of around $31,720 could sustain a single person, while in New York, this figure increases to around $44,637.

However, comfort extends beyond meeting basic needs.

To live comfortably, consider aiming for an income that allows you to save, invest, and enjoy leisure activities.

A widely cited Princeton survey suggests that, in general, an annual salary of $75,000 might be a good benchmark to achieve optimal happiness, as pay increases beyond this point result in marginal gains.

Ultimately, the best rule of thumb is to evaluate your expenses and lifestyle preferences to determine the ideal salary that ensures a comfortable and fulfilling life.

What is a Good Salary for a Single Person?


Cost of Living

Understanding what constitutes a good salary for a single person depends largely on the cost of living in your area.

The cost of living takes into account expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and healthcare.

To determine if your salary is sufficient, you should consider your expenses, employee benefits, lifestyle, and occupation.

In general, a good salary allows you to comfortably support your desired lifestyle while accounting for your financial goals and saving potential.

For example, the living wage for a single person with no children varies by state:

  • In Arkansas, it’s $15.25 per hour, which equals $31,720 per year
  • In New York, the living wage is $21.46 an hour or $44,636.80 per year

By understanding the cost of living in your area, you can better assess if your salary is suitable for your lifestyle.

Living Expenses Breakdown

Housing Expenses

When it comes to housing expenses, these can vary greatly depending on your location.

For example, in Wyoming, estimated housing costs are around $7,732 per year.

Keep in mind that factors such as rent or mortgage, utilities, and property taxes play into your overall housing costs.

Transportation Costs

Transportation is another essential expense for a single person.

Costs can vary based on where you live, your commute, and whether you rely on public transportation or own a vehicle.

On average, you can expect to spend approximately 15% to 20% of your income on transportation-related expenses.

Food and Groceries

Your food and grocery expenses are crucial to consider.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a single person spends an average of $3,792 per year on food costs.

This amount can differ based on dietary preferences, dining out habits, and geographical location.

Healthcare Expenses

Healthcare expenses are an essential part of living a comfortable life.

These costs may include premiums for health insurance, out-of-pocket expenses, and prescriptions.

The exact amounts will vary based on your individual needs and the healthcare plan you choose.

Entertainment and Leisure

Setting aside money for entertainment and leisure activities is vital for maintaining a balanced and enjoyable life.

This may include hobbies, dining out, travel, or other fun activities.

The amount you allocate for entertainment can vary based on your interests and desired lifestyle.

Savings and Investments

Finally, it’s essential to consider your savings and investment goals as a single person.

A good rule of thumb is to allocate at least 20% of your income towards savings and investments.

This can help ensure you’re financially prepared for the future and have a cushion in case of emergencies.

Average Salaries in Different Countries


When considering a good salary for a single person to live comfortably, it’s important to take into account the average salaries in different countries.

Keep in mind that these figures can vary widely depending on factors such as living costs and employment opportunities.

In the United States, the average gross annual wage per full-time employee is $74,738 or around $6,228 per month in 2023.

Comparatively, in Germany, the average salary amounted to 51,660 U.S. dollars.

Here’s a list of a few more countries with their respective average monthly salaries:

  • Switzerland: Leading with the highest average monthly net salary
  • Luxembourg: Ranking second in the global average monthly net salary
  • Singapore: Claiming the third spot for average monthly net salary
  • Iceland: Ranking fifth in the global average monthly net salary

As you can see, these figures vary significantly from country to country.

When assessing what a comfortable salary is for a single person, it’s crucial to take into account not only the gross salary but also factors like taxes, living costs, and personal lifestyle preferences.

Here’s a brief table to help you compare the salaries mentioned above:

CountryAverage Monthly Salary (USD)
United States$6,228

How to Increase Your Income


Education and Skills

Investing in your education and acquiring new skills is an effective way to increase your income.

Consider pursuing a higher degree or certification in your field to make yourself a more valuable candidate for promotions and higher-paying jobs.

Additionally, learning new skills, such as coding, digital marketing, or a new language can open up more job opportunities and help you stand out from the competition.

Side Gigs and Passive Income

Another approach to boost your income is by taking on side gigs or generating passive income.

Side gigs can range from freelance work and consulting to driving for a rideshare service or renting out a spare room on a platform like Airbnb.

These opportunities provide an additional stream of revenue, allowing you to supplement your primary income.

Passive income, on the other hand, requires minimal ongoing effort but can generate a steady income over time.

Some passive income options include investing in dividend-producing stocks, creating content for a YouTube channel or blog, or even creating an online course to sell.

With a little creativity and dedication, you can develop multiple income streams that will bolster your financial security and help you live comfortably.


When determining a good salary for a single person to live comfortably, several factors come into play.

Location can significantly impact the living wage required, so it’s essential to consider your specific area’s cost of living.

For example, in states like Arkansas, a yearly income of around $31,720 could provide a comfortable lifestyle, while in places like New York, the living wage may be closer to $44,636.80.

Remember, though, that these numbers are estimates, and the cost of living can vary even within states or metropolitan areas.

To assess what constitutes a good salary for yourself, take a step back and evaluate your personal expenses, benefits, and lifestyle preferences.

These factors will help you better understand the income you’ll need to live comfortably in your area.

Also, it’s beneficial to aim for a salary that allows you to save 20% of your income while covering your monthly expenses.

Your financial comfort is ultimately determined by your own needs, wants, and values.

Take the time to make a detailed budget, research salaries in your field, and weigh the benefits of various locations to find the most suitable living wage for yourself.

By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to defining and achieving a comfortable lifestyle on your terms.