Why a salary of $200k a year may not be enough to live on

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A Queensland mum has incited a fiery debate online after suggesting $200,000 a year salary might not be enough to live on.

Bec Craig, a Sunshine Coast coast based marketing coach, took to TikTok earlier this week to express her frustration at the current cost of living crisis.

The mum explained that despite some families earning $200,000 a year, they are not able to do anything besides simply “live” as it is just not enough money in this day and age.

“If someone could tell me what the f**k is going on that would be great,” she said in the fiery clip.

Do you think $200k a year is enough to live off?

“How is it that we have families earning $200,000 a year, dual income, and yet we can’t f**king afford to do much other than live?

“Literally my neighbour across the road pays $1000 rent a week to live, and we live in a really quiet place on the Sunshine Coast.

“My question is everybody earning over $200,000 a year and surviving really well? Like what the f**k are you doing?”

Her followers were quick to applaud Bec for speaking out and even shared their own financial stresses in the current climate.

“The government won’t step up, my wage pays my rent and nothing else,” one commented.

“My rent is $900 a week and I earn $1100. Recently widowed with two children, very hard.”

“We earn $210,000 and it’s so tight. Yes our four kids go to private school, they have braces, they do sport,” another shared.

“So yes, we could significantly cut costs, I get it. But we want them to be at those schools, we want to own our own house.

“There was a time where a combined income would have meant all that could be achieved comfortably, but not anymore.”

“Sounds ridiculous writing this but husband and I live in Sydney and earn $360k with a baby and it’s also tight,” one commenter added.

“$12k per month goes straight to mortgages and we don’t live lavishly. I don’t know how others do it.”

Others with lower incomes also voiced their opinions and stated that if a six-figure salary was not enough then people were simply “living beyond their means”.

“I’m on jobseeker, $700 a fortnight doing great,” one shared.

“Don’t go anywhere, don’t eat out. Otherwise great.”

“Single parent on $40,000 a year. I’m currently trying to sell things to live,” another shared.

“I wish I earnt that kind of money. The more you have the more you spend though.”

“Husband and I are on an income of $100k combined, and we survive because we prioritise where our money goes,” another said.

“We are savers, hope that helps.”

Why earning six figures may no longer cut it

Earlier this year, a user on discussion site Reddit started a debate by stating that a $100,000 salary is the new $60,000.

The poster claimed that “people are still talking about $100k making them a high earner and being ‘rich’,” but disputed that belief due to high inflation and cost-of-living and housing crises.

David Rankin is an award-winning personal finance consultant, author and the director of Sort My Money, and said the notion of a “high salary” has shifted dramatically in recent years.

“A salary of $100,000 or more used to be considered an achievement, but it’s now more of a need than a want for many people,” Mr told news.com.au.

“Although wages have been growing at their fastest rate since the noughties, inflation means that our disposable incomes are actually shrinking.

“In the race between inflation and wages – so far, at least – inflation is winning.”

Mr Rankin agreed with the Reddit poster’s sentiment that earning $100,000 isn’t really what it once was.

“In 2024, I’d say $130,000 is the new $100,000,” he stated.

Money coach and author Max Phelps said a salary of $100,000 only produces a borrowing capacity of about $500,000, which is “a fraction” of the average home price.

“In Sydney, our most expensive capital, the average price for a house is now $1.37 million, requiring an outrageous $220,000 household income to be able to afford an 80 per cent loan, versus $140,000 for the average capital city,” Mr Phelps told news.com.au.

When they reach a six-figure income, many people learn that “the more we earn, the more we tend to spend”, he added.

“And so, we feel we need to earn to feel like we’re getting ahead.”

Mr Phelps, director of consultancy Golden Eggs, said the national savings rate is just 1.1 per cent of income.

“It’s no wonder we all feel like earning more must be the answer,” he said.

A survey by WeMoney found 48 per cent of Aussies are living pay check to pay check, and a third have missed a credit card or major bill payment or paid late in the past year.

Sixty per cent of people worry about their debt levels and a third don’t feel confident about their current financial position, it also found.

-With Shannon Molloy

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