Money Matters in Texas: Determining a Comfortable Salary

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Texas has been one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. for two decades. The past few years, in particular, have seen a radical influx of people from other states and abroad in search of some of that Texan lifestyle. The presence of major companies and a thriving jobs market are two of the main reasons for this. 

But the real kicker regarding your salary in Texas is that you don’t pay any income tax. This means that you can enjoy the total weight of your paycheck. While other taxes, like property and sales tax, are slightly higher than in certain other states, Texans typically want a net positive regarding salaries. 

What Is A Good Salary In Texas - Texas View

What Is A Good Salary In Texas? 

There isn’t necessarily a dictionary definition for a good salary, nor is there one for a good life. Some people enjoy life’s simple pleasures and don’t need a lot of money to be fulfilled, while others have a taste for the finer things that tend to require a hefty bank balance. 

So, before we delve deeper into this subject, it’s important to establish some generalizations. Although not everyone will fall into a generic group, the vast majority will. Now, let’s take a look at what unique factors combine to determine what a good salary actually is.

A good salary covers your bills and payments, like rent, mortgage, electricity, and loans, but also allows you to save money, go on vacation, and enjoy activities that contribute to your lifestyle, like eating out or socializing. First, we need to establish the cost of these basic needs. 

It’s also important to consider the number of people in the household. If you were to ask, is 100k a good salary in Texas, most people would lean toward saying yes. But, what if this salary has to pay for the living expenses of a large family as well as home and vehicle costs? 

The truth is that a good salary, regardless of where you are, is subjective. The best way to come to a clear conclusion is to take a look at the averages and compare them against the cost of living, housing prices, and other important economic factors. Unless you have a very non-average lifestyle, you’ll probably fit into our parameters. 

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Living Expenses In Texas

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) records annual living wage numbers to show the true cost of living in each state. The records cover one or two adult homes with and without children, giving a comprehensive analysis of the situation each year. 

The latest figures from MIT consider expenses such as food, medical costs, housing costs, child care, transport, taxes, and “other costs”. According to the numbers, a childless adult would need a gross salary of $34,000 to meet the average cost of living in Texas. 

A family with two working parents and three children would need a significantly higher total income of around $108,000 to cover living costs. So, with this simple example, we can clearly see how a “good salary” is circumstantial mainly, especially when kids are involved. 

We should also point out that these cost estimates include standard expenses that cover rent, food, utilities, health care, etc., but they don’t account for things like eating out in restaurants, regular food deliveries, vacations, or savings. So, in reality, a comfortable salary requires significantly more income on top of these figures. 

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The Comfort Effect

Determining a good salary involves adding additional lifestyle costs on top of the minimum living costs and seeing where you land. If you have low-cost hobbies and don’t go on expensive vacations each year, perhaps five to ten thousand over the minimum gives you the cash you need to save. 

On the other hand, if you want to live in a luxury apartment or save most of your money for a house, you’ll need more money to attain a “good salary” according to your needs. Again, having enough to live comfortably is totally dependent on the individual and there is no exact figure. 

Although Texas offers a fantastic quality of life and is less expensive than many other great states, it’s by no means cheap. You can easily blast through your wages each month if you don’t budget correctly and disregard what you value spending on. But if you’re frugal, you can enjoy a good life and save for the future with an average salary.

Another important consideration is your location. The Texas state capital of Austin is significantly more expensive to live in than virtually every other city. So, the single-person average living expenses we looked at earlier most likely won’t apply if you’re in Austin. 

However, the city of Harlingen is regarded as one of the cheapest places to live statewide. In fact, it’s approximately 24% cheaper than the national average. So, in theory, you could live in Harlingen and get a lot more bang for your buck than if you were in a different major city. 

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The location also has a big impact from within the cities themselves. For example, living in a nice suburban home often costs far less than a downtown apartment. Certain locations in cities are more expensive than others so depending on where you live, your costs will vary.

What Is A Liveable Salary In Texas? The Takeaway

The final consideration in determining what a good salary is in Texas is to examine what jobs and salaries are actually available. After all, if everyone agrees that a $500,000 per year salary is great but there are very few available, it’s an irrelevant point. 

So, again, according to MIT, the highest-paying jobs in Texas, on average, offer salaries of around $100,000 dollars. On the other end of the spectrum, the lower-paying professions offer approximately $45,000 per year. Most working Texans will fall somewhere in between the two.

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Seeing as the average salary on the lower end is $11,000 more than the average living costs in the state, most single people in Texas can enjoy a decent standard of living on this wage. However, to live comfortably as a family, you’ll want a total income that offers significant breathing room above $108,000. 

But, if you live in Austin or an expensive neighborhood, you’ll have to account for these above-average costs. So, depending on your household, costs, and lifestyle, a good salary lies somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 in Texas. 

Average Salary In Texas Per Month

If you’re considering taking a new job or relocating to Texas, you’ll want to know where it ranks compared to other states in terms of average salary. By the numbers, Texas is ranked smack in the middle. Its average salary is the 24th highest in the country. 

The average yearly salary in the Lone Star State is $57,300, which equates to $4,775 per month. So, whether you’re single or live with a partner and kids, if you (both) earn an average salary, you should have enough to survive and have some left in the kitty for savings or vacations. 

But, the average wage alone doesn’t tell the full tale. You have to remember that Texas is one of only nine states that doesn’t have any income tax. So, when calculating your spending power in Texas versus other states, make sure to account for the discrepancies in tax. 

Average Salary In Texas Per Hour

Breaking down the average $57,300 salary, you’ll find that the hourly rate is $27.55. This is lower than the national average of $33.74, but again, we must consider the lack of income tax. Furthermore, salaries are on the increase in Texas, all around the state. 

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While not everybody can expect a raise, the upward trend is evident. Certain sectors of the Texas public workforce received a 5% pay increase in 2023 and will benefit from a second pay increase in 2024.

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Average Salary In Texas By Age

As you might expect, age has a significant impact on the salary you can expect in Texas. Although some industries pay more for young graduates, the natural cycle means that you’re likely to make more money after getting several years of experience under your belt. 

Here’s a look at the median income per householder, according to their age:

  • Under 25 years old: $35,115
  • 25 to 44 years old: $72,082
  • 45 to 64 years old: $80,762
  • 65 years old and above: $49,599

Average Minimum Wage In Texas

Texas doesn’t adopt a state-specific minimum wage. Instead, it adopts the United States Federal Minimum Wage by default, which is $7.25 per hour. This equates to $290 per week (40-hour week), and $15,080 per year. 

In reality, living on minimum wage in Texas is highly challenging. Fortunately, the job market is thriving, and there are plenty of high-paying jobs and opportunities throughout the state. 

References

Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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