If you are one of these people now working from home, you could be wondering how much you need to earn to work from almost anywhere.
Gallup polling this year has shown a sharp increase in the number of people working outside of an office. In fact, more than 60% of workers now say that they have worked from home during the crisis. This number represents twice the number of people with flexible work options compared with similar polling from March of this year.
And, the majority of those surveyed would prefer to continue working from home even after the coronavirus pandemic has passed. Many businesses are letting their staff do just that. For example, Twitter announced earlier in the year that its staff can continue working from home forever.
If you find yourself with a remote work schedule, how much do you need to earn to be able to travel and work from nearly anywhere?
How much income is enough?
This number will vary from individual to individual. For instance, a study by Princeton found that people’s happiness levels rose as their income went up, but only to a point.
“Emotional well-being rises with log income, but there is no further progress beyond an annual income of ~$75,000,” the study found.
Another study found that income between $60,000 and $75,000 is best for emotional well-being, though “satiation” occurs at $95,000. Satiation refers to one’s overall satisfaction with how their life is going and their level of contentment.
In 2018, the median household income in the United States was just over $63,000, implying that many of us could already be earning enough to feel satisfied working from anywhere.
How much is enough?
Income factors to consider
Several factors come into play when considering how much you need to earn to work from anywhere. Those factors include:
- Cost of living
- Your habits and hobbies (how expensive are they?)
- Job prospects and opportunities for advancement
- And, of course, your current salary
The higher the cost of living, the more money you will need to earn at your remote employer. For example, San Francisco’s exorbitant cost of living will require a significantly higher salary than living in Tucson, Arizona, or Lincoln, Nebraska.
Cities like Louisville, Kentucky, Huntsville, Alabama, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Evansville, Indiana all offer very low cost of living, which means your dollar will go farther in those locations. And as a result, your salary will not need to be nearly as high as, say, living in New York City or Los Angeles.
In other words, the right income is very relative to your location.
In addition, the cost of your hobbies also impacts how much you need to earn to work remotely. Expensive hobbies like going to sporting events or eating at pricey restaurants will, naturally, increase the amount of money that you need to pay for that portion of your lifestyle.
And, do not forget your job prospects and opportunities for advancement. If you are already earning at the top of your job’s pay scale, then the possibility of earning more money in the future might be limited unless you move into a higher paying position.
There is no single salary number that will work for everyone.
As with much in life, nuance applies. If you work from home full-time, then you may have the flexibility to move around the country (or world) and work from anywhere. Be smart about your options and survey the cost of living and the financial demands of your lifestyle to determine if you will need to earn more money or not.