The Real Cost of Living: $150,000 Minimum

by kirk anderson

by kirk anderson

The divide between the 1 percent and the 99 percent has ignited a national debate about the income gap, especially since Occupy Wall Street protesters descended on lower Manhattan last fall.  But how much money does it take to feel financially secure these days?

The answer, at least according to a new survey of Americans by WSL/Strategic Retail, is $150,000. That level of income is more than three times the national median of $49,445 for 2010, and it’s enough to put a household into the top 10 percent nationally.

The survey asked respondents to choose which of four categories best described them: I can’t even afford the basics; I can barely afford the basics and nothing else; I can afford the basics plus some extras; and I can afford the basics, the extras, and I’m able to save too. It is only at that $150,000 level that the survey found the vast majority of consumers, 88 percent, saying they could buy what they need, afford some extras, and still be able to save a bit.

Even as the economy improves and consumer confidence builds, more than half of Americans – 52 percent – feel like they can just afford the basics, and many with six-figure incomes still feel like they are just scraping by. The survey found that 18 percent of American households earning between $100,000 and $150,000 said they could only afford the basics, with another 10 percent saying they sometimes can’t even afford those staples.

via Fiscal Times.