How much does 60k a year translate to per hour?
It’s no secret that the American workforce is facing a crisis of stagnant wages. In fact, inflation-adjusted wages for the average American have barely grown in the past three decades.
Incomes have also become more uneven, with higher incomes going to those with college degrees rather than those with high school diplomas.
To give you a clearer picture of what your salary will look like after taxes and other deductions, we’ve broken down how much your $60,000 a year job will pay you per hour if you keep working it for an entire year. Read on to find out!
Deciding whether or not to become a freelancer
Before you make the decision to quit your job, you should ask yourself what you hope to get out of the experience. Do you want to live in one city and work in another? Do you want to make more money? Do you want to set your own hours?
You should also be aware that the nature of freelancing is such that you might not always have steady work. This means that you’ll need to have a rainy day fund to fall back on in case work dries up.
Another potential downside to being self-employed is that you won’t have the same kind of security as a full-time employee. This means that if you get sick, injured, or need to care for a loved one, you won’t have a backup to fall back on like you would if you were employed by someone else.
The math behind $60,000 a year
Let’s start by assuming that you work a standard 40-hour workweek, and that you don’t have any additional income or expenses. You might make more or less than this, but let’s just use this as a rule of thumb.
Let’s also assume that you live in one of the following states: Alaska, Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Colorado, Oregon, or Washington.
In these states, your take-home pay is reduced by around 7.65%. This is the federal income tax rate, and the rate that most states use to calculate taxes. A $60,000 annual salary will translate to around $33,000 after taxes. This is your gross pay, and the amount of money you’re bringing home each month.
The problem with $60k a year
When we look at the average American’s salary, it doesn’t paint a very optimistic picture for the future. On average, Americans make $39,878 a year, or $19.17 an hour. Not only is this amount below the Federal Minimum Wage for most states, but it’s barely above the poverty line.
This means that, on average, Americans are living below their means. It also means they are spending far more than they’re bringing home, and living paycheck to paycheck. It’s no surprise that more than 40% of Americans don’t have enough saved to cover a $500 emergency.
This is a problem because, as we’ve already mentioned, wages are stagnant. This means that, while inflation is growing, the average American’s income isn’t. In fact, inflation-adjusted wages have barely grown in the past three decades.
30 hours a week at $20 an hour: $600 a week
If you decide to quit your $60,000 a year job and become a freelance writer, you’ll probably spend a lot of your time researching and pitching ideas for articles. This means that, on average, you’ll probably spend about eight hours a week researching and pitching articles, and another eight hours getting articles accepted and published.
That leaves you with about 10 hours a week for other activities. If you’re working a standard 40-hour workweek, that means you’re only making $600 a week—barely above minimum wage. If you’re in a state with a high cost of living, you might struggle to make ends meet with this amount of income.
40 hours a week at $15 an hour: $750 a week
If you want to make a little more, you might decide to take on more work. You might decide to work 40 hours a week writing, or you might work a few hours a week on a side hustle. If you decide to work 40 hours a week as a freelance writer, you’ll spend about eight hours a week pitching and writing articles and another eight hours a week getting articles published.
Now, you have 10 hours for other activities. If you’re working a standard 40-hour workweek, that means you’re only making $750 a week—barely above minimum wage. If you’re in a state with a high cost of living, you might struggle to make ends meet with this amount of income.
50 hours a week at $12 an hour: $600 a week
Let’s say that, after a few weeks or months of working 40 hours a week, you decide that you’d like to make a little more money. You might decide to take on a few more hours of freelance writing, or you might decide to take on a part-time job.
If you decide to work 50 hours a week as a freelance writer, you’ll spend about eight hours a week pitching and writing articles and another eight hours a week getting articles published.
Now you have 10 hours for other activities.
If you’re working a standard 40-hour workweek, that means you’re only making $600 a week for all your efforts—barely above minimum wage. If you’re in a state with a high cost of living, you might struggle to make ends meet with this amount of income.
The problem with the American workforce isn’t that people aren’t working hard enough, or that they aren’t trying hard enough. The problem is that employers aren’t paying workers a living wage.
To make matters worse, there are fewer benefits available to workers today than there were 10 or 20 years ago. Employers are also expecting workers to put in more hours each week, with no additional compensation.
This is all while health insurance has become increasingly expensive, and many employers are scaling back or even dropping coverage. If you decide to quit your job and become a freelancer, you need to make sure that you have a plan for making ends meet.
Make sure you have a rainy day fund and that you’re prepared for the possibility that the freelance writing industry might not always be as lucrative as it is today.
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