Is $100K A Year Good? [List of US States Where $100K Gets You Far]

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It’s a question that everyone likes to ask. Why $100K specifically? Why not $90K, or $100K? Well, $100K is a nice round number, and for a lot of people, it would be a dream to be able to earn that much money in a year.

But say you get to that point. Would you feel as elated as you made it out to be prior to earning it? That’s what we’re here to dissect. Is $100K truly a great goal? How much of it would you actually see going into your bank account? And would it be enough for your day-to-day living?

Let’s get into it.

Factors that determine whether $100K a year is good

As is probably quite apparent to most Americans, the standard cost of living differs quite wildly between various households. It depends a lot on things such as:

  • How many people are in your household
  • The working status of your spouse
  • The age of your dependents
  • The state you live in
  • Your state’s income tax rate
  • The average home price in your area

Some of these factors are within your control, but some aren’t. And it’s not always black and white. For example, the state you live in can potentially improve your finances if you move to a lower cost of living state. But for some households who are already living paycheck to paycheck, the initial move isn’t always an option. Moving takes time and money. On top of that, you’ll need to leave your current job and have a job set up for you when you move to the new state with as little time lag as possible, assuming working remotely isn’t an option for you.

How many Americans make $100K or more?

Unfortunately, not that many households or individuals make $100K per year.

  • Roughly 33% of US households earn $100K or more per year
  • Roughly 9% of US individuals earn $100K or more per year

To put things into perspective:

  • The median income for households in 2021 was $70,784
  • The median income for individuals in 2021 was $46,001

If you’re solely comparing a $100K salary to the median US income, it’s pretty good. You should feel lucky to be able to earn that much, right? Well, let’s take a look at how incomes look across state lines.

Median household income by state

This below is according to the St. Louis Fed organization, organized by highest to lowest median household income in 2021. Remember, the median income for all US households the same year was $70, 784, which serves as a benchmark for comparison purposes.

States with median household income higher than the US median household income of $70,784:

  • Maryland:                               $97,332
  • District of Columbia:             $90,640
  • New Hampshire:                    $88,841
  • New Jersey:                             $88,559
  • Utah:                                       $87,649
  • Washington:                           $87,648
  • Massachusetts:                      $86,566
  • Colorado:                               $84,954
  • Hawaii:                                    $82,199
  • Oregon:                                  $81,855
  • California:                              $81,575
  • Alaska:                                    $81,133
  • Connecticut:                          $80,958
  • Minnesota:                             $80,441
  • Virginia:                                  $80,268
  • Illinois:                                    $79,253
  • Nebraska:                               $78,109
  • Idaho:                                     $76,918
  • Vermont:                                $76,079
  • Kansas:                                   $75,979
  • Rhode Island:                         $74,982
  • South Dakota:                        $73,893
  • New York:                               $72,920
  • Pennsylvania:                         $72,627
  • Iowa:                                       $72,429
  • Maine:                                     $71,139
  • Wyoming:                               $71,052
  • Arizona:                                  $70,821

States with median household income lower than the US median household income of $70,784:

  • Indiana:                                  $70,190
  • Wisconsin:                              $69,943
  • North Dakota:                        $68,882
  • Delaware:                               $68,687
  • Texas:                                     $67,404
  • Montana:                                $64,999
  • Michigan:                                $64,488
  • Nevada:                                   $64,340
  • Missouri:                                 $63,594
  • North Carolina:                      $62,891
  • Ohio:                                       $62,689
  • South Carolina:                      $62,542
  • Tennessee:                             $62,166
  • Georgia:                                  $61,497
  • Oklahoma:                              $60,096
  • Florida:                                   $59,734
  • Louisiana:                               $57,206
  • Alabama:                                $56,929
  • Kentucky:                               $55,629
  • New Mexico:                           $53,463
  • Arkansas:                               $50,784
  • West Virginia:                         $46,836
  • Mississippi:                            $46,637

As you can see, most states have a median household income higher than the US median.

What is the monthly take home pay with $100K salary in each state?

Depending on the state you live in, you’ll be expected to pay federal as well as state taxes. The only states that are exempt from any state income taxes are the following: Alaska, Nevada, Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Washington, Tennessee, and Wyoming.

Here is a chart from howmuch.net that shows how much a person making $100K per year would take home each month after federal income taxes, state income taxes, social security, Medicare, etc.

Ironically, or not, depending on how you view the US cost of living situation, the states that cost the most to buy a home are also the states that take away the most from your $100K salary before it hits your bank account.

According to the chart, the states that allow you to keep the most chunk out of your $100,000 are the following:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

All of the state income tax-free states make the list except Texas, it seems.

In what states is $100K a good salary?

Now that we’ve gone through all of the states and their median household income, as well as what states allow you to keep the most of your $100K after taxes, social security, etc., we have a better idea of where $100,000 per year will do you lots of good. However, although the state you live in is a huge factor, so is the composition of your household and their working statuses as well. But let’s assume that you’re the only one working and making $100K, and you have your spouse and a kid to house and feed.

The states where $100K is a good salary would have two things going for it:

  • Relatively low cost of living (and affordable housing)
  • High take-home percentage of your $100K

For the first criteria, we can make a rough estimate by using the median household income as a proxy. Generally, the lower wages are, the lower the cost of living in that state is. So let’s take all of the states that have a median household income less than the median US household.

For the second criteria, we’ve already listed the states above.

If we cross-reference the two resulting lists, we find that a few states are found in both. They are:

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Tennessee

Generally speaking, these would be some of the best states to live in if you want your $100K to go further.

Some of the places where $100K wouldn’t get you very far relatively would be New York, California, District of Columbia, and Hawaii. Despite that, no matter where you live, $100K is a very respectable salary and given decent money management, you shouldn’t ever have to starve yourself to make ends meet.

What kinds of jobs can you get to make $100K a year?

Let’s be real. Everybody knows you can become a medical doctor or dentist and make over $100K a year. But that requires extensive time and education, not to mention getting deep into debt. What about jobs that pay $100K and don’t require all that. Or maybe even just a year’s worth of education, max. No worries, we’ve got you covered. Here are some potential job options you can look into if you’re looking to make $100K:

  • Computer Programmer (6-month bootcamps, no degree required)
  • Commercial Pilot (2 months for a private pilot license)
  • Web Developer (no degree required)
  • Editor (top editors make well over $100K a year)
  • Computer Network Specialist (quite common to have no degree)
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Sales Representative

The last two are more dependent on your skill and performance to be able to reach $100K, but they are very doable with the right fit.

$100K a year is how much biweekly?

If you’re paid on a biweekly basis, that means you are paid 26 times throughout the year. Let’s see what that equates to below.

$100K Biweekly Gross (before taxes)

If you were paid $100K on a biweekly basis, that would equate to roughly:

  • $3,846 per paycheck before taxes

$100K Biweekly Net (after taxes)

If you were paid $100K on a biweekly basis, that would equate to roughly:

  • $2,769 per paycheck after taxes for a person filing as single status
  • $3,120 per paycheck after taxes for a person filing as married status

How much are you getting paid hourly on a $100K salary?

On a $100K salary, you’re getting paid about $48.08 per hour. Not bad at all!

How much house can you afford on a $100K income?

The general rule when buying a house is that you shouldn’t be spending more than 30% of your annual income on your house payment each year. For a $100K income, you should not exceed more than $30K a year on house payments, or $2,500 per month. Depending on your down payment, this means that you can generally afford a house that’s around $300K to $500K in value.

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