MKS: How Much Money Does Your Family Need to Get By?

Is Your Cost of Living Too High? Are you coming up well short because the “Cost of Living Too High?” What do you need to cover expenses? How much money do Americans need to maintain a modest standard of living, where families don’t struggle to put food on the table or pay the rent?

The results of a recent study should make it clear that — based on median costs and the 50/30/20 rule — many of America’s city-dwellers are most likely coming up well short of what they need to cover expenses. That has to mean that many urbanites are having to find other ways to make ends meet and stretch their budget as far as possible.

In most large U.S. cities, meeting that basic level of economic security requires income that’s far beyond the federal poverty line, which is often used to measure what families need to survive, according to a new study from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

Indeed, the federal poverty line is increasingly outdated, no longer accurately marking the boundary between getting by and financial hardship, according to EPI senior economist Elise Gould, one of the researchers who worked on the project to assess what families today need to meet a modest standard of living.

The poverty threshold fails to take into account geographical differences, such as the higher rents in cities such as San Francisco, and also hasn’t kept up with the rising cost of health care, among other issues, Gould contends.

Take the federal poverty cutoff for a family of four, which stood at $23,850 last year. That income level is about half of what a family of four would need to get by in the country’s least expensive metropolitan area — Morristown, Tennessee. The researchers estimate that a two-parent, two-child family in the town of roughly 30,000 would require gross income of $49,114 simply to cover rent, taxes, food, transportation, childcare and other basics.

For families of four living in the 10 largest family budget areas (see chart below), the U.S. median household income of $53,046 would fall short in every location, EPI found. The most expensive city, not surprisingly, is New York, where a family of four needs $98,722 to afford their basic needs. The median household income in the Big Apple stands at only $58,003.


The discussion of what households require to afford the basics comes at a tough time for many Americans, given that real wages have been treading water for decades. Adjusted for inflation, the average U.S. hourly wage peaked in 1973, according to Pew Research. In the meantime, costs for everything from health care to housing have surged.

There are at least a few cities that would appear to offer a chance to get by on less. The city with the smallest gap between its median earnings and cost of living — Virginia Beach — gets there largely by having a very affluent populace that drives the median income up over $70,000.

Four cities, though, have a median income of about $50,000 a year and still fall within $20,000 of the income needed to get by for homeowners: Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Omaha and Columbus. So, if you’re looking for city life that’s still affordable for the middle class, your best bet appears to be on the high plains.

Cost of Living Areas

San Francisco

  • Median income: $96,265
  • Income needed if you’re a homeowner: $230,286
  • Income needed if you’re a renter: $164,214

San Francisco is the most affluent city in this study, with a median income of almost six figures. Despite that, median earners there who own their own home are further from the income necessary to live comfortably than residents of any other city on this list. Even a six-figure income is less than half what you need to own your home and still spend just half your income on necessities in The City.

Oakland, California

  • Median income: $63,251
  • Income needed if you’re a homeowner: $145,274
  • Income needed if you’re a renter: $128,282

The first of three cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, Oakland is an extremely costly place to live. Despite a relatively strong median income of $63,251 a year, residents hoping to own their own home need to increase their income by more than $81,000 a year if they want to hit the 50/30/20 rule while paying average costs.

San Jose, California

  • Median income: $96,662
  • Income needed if you’re a homeowner: $197,502
  • Income needed if you’re a renter: $143,670

Of course, right next door in San Jose, incomes are even higher. Yet, the median income remains over $100,000 short of what you need to live comfortably while owning your own home, but it’s over $30,000 closer than it is in nearby San Francisco.

Sacramento, California

  • Median income: $54,615
  • Income needed if you’re a homeowner: $94,160
  • Income needed if you’re a renter: $92,336

California’s capital city is northeast of San Francisco, Oakland and the rest of the high-cost Bay Area. However, it does seem as though some of the costs have migrated there, as you’ll need to make over $90,000 a year to live comfortably.

GOBankingRates found the cost of living in America’s 50 biggest cities by analyzing the following factors:

  •  (1) Cost of living index for groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. Each index was multiplied by the annual expenditure amount in each category from Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, which measures household annual mean expenditures to determine the annual mean spending for each category.
  • (2) Rent costs were sourced from Zillow’s February 2019 rental value index for single-family residences and were multiplied by 12 to obtain an annualized yearly spending on rent.
  • (3) Mortgage rates were based off Zillow’s February 2019’s median home value, and Zillow’s mortgage Calculator was used to determine the monthly mortgage payment for each given city based off the cities home value and a 30-year fixed loan. Mortgage payments were multiplied by 12 to obtain an annualized amount.
  • (4) Median household income was sourced from Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey (this is income prior to being taxed). Once all the data was found, the annual expenditure amount was calculated by adding together the annual spending for each category.
  • GOBankingRates found the annual expenditures for both people paying a mortgage payment and for people who are paying rent separately and the median income is subtracted by annual expenditures for those paying a mortgage and those renting to see how much money is needed or left over for each city.
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  • GOBankingRates then used the 50/20/30 rule which assumes that 50% of income should go towards necessities, 30% should go towards discretionary spending and 20% should go towards savings. The 50% income is the city’s annual expenditure, and that amount is used to find the additional income needed for splurges and savings.   Living in America: Salary You Need in 50 Cities (Study 2019) | GOBankingRates

A Possible Solution to Get the Money Your Family Needs to Get By!

According to PayScale’s 2017 data, the average small business owner income is $73,000 per year. But total earnings can range from $30,000 – $182,000 per year. PayScale’s average varies greatly from a slightly older median reported by the Small Business Administration

According to PayScale the average small business owner makes $59,776 per year. A $4,453.50 base fee plus $4,636.72 (22 percent of $21,076) means an owner making $59,776 will be taxed $9,090.22. The $59,776 average small business owner salary is reported by Payscale. Then use this state tax calculator to estimate what you’ll be taxed at a state level.

According to PayScale the profit the average small business makes is broken down into the categories, you’re looking at: 1 employee = $3,800 profit/year. 2 to 4 employees = $27,090 profit/year. 5 to 9 employees = $76,600 profit/year.

According to the latest US Census Bureau statistics, there were about 7.6 million employer firms (ie, businesses with employees) operating in the United States in 2017. Of those businesses, 89% have less than 20 employees.

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A typical Small Business with Annual Sales makes under $100,000 a year from their business.  According to PayScale’s 2017 data average varies greatly from a slightly older median reported by the Small Business Administration.

A Possible Part-time Solution to Get the Money Your Family Needs to Get By!

According to PayScale’s 2017 data the average Network Marketing – Marketing Recruitment salary ranges from approximately $25,000 per year for Associate to $100,000 per year for Distributor. Salary information comes from 37 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

The average worker in this industry who works full-time earns more than $55,000 per year. 1 out of every 5 home-based network marketing businesses gross at least 6 figures in sales annually. More than half a million people will create a home-based business using network marketing industry skills in 2014 alone. Network Marketing – Marketing Recruitment salaries: How much does Network Marketing – Marketing Recruitment pay? |

Interesting Industry Facts
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23% of the organizations in the network marketing industry focus on health and wellness.

Some people see jobs in these fields as a scam or a fast way to lose money, but there are millions of workers worldwide that utilize this industry as their sole source of income. In 2010, this industry generated over $28 billion in direct sales! To succeed in this industry, you must be willing to sell products consistently and be good at doing it.

Three Essential Statistics to Consider
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1. Someone starts a home-based business that is based on network marketing principles every 10 seconds in the world today.
2. Networking marketing businesses that are based out of a home have an 80% greater chance of success than other traditional small businesses.
3. About 38 million people work at least part-time out of their home using industry-based skills every day.

Takeaway: When most people think of this industry, they think of pyramid schemes, lousy products, and annoying brochures. Although there is this component to the industry, the vast majority of goods that are sold directly not only are of top quality, but they are highly competitive in pricing structure. Home-based parties allow people to see and try products before they purchase them and many are satisfied with their purchase not only because they get something good, but they’re helping a friend out too.

Additional Statistics to Consider
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1. The average bonus check a home-based networking marketing representative receives every month is greater than $500.
2. It is estimated that 50% of American households will be operating a home-based network marketing business at least part-time.
3. The average worker in this industry who works full-time at direct sales earns more than $55,000 per year.
4. 1 out of every 5 home-based network marketing businesses gross at least 6 figures in sales annually.
5. More than half a million people will create a home-based business using network marketing industry skills in this year alone.
6. More than 15 million people currently work full time at home in a network marketing business.
7. Some of the biggest names in this industry are Amway, Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Pampered Chef, and Tupperware.
8. Network marketing in the United States has experienced consistent growth for more than 6 years.

2020 DSN Global 100 (based on 2019 revenues)
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This year the 2020 list took on a new look, acknowledging 50 companies achieving more than $100 million in revenue for 2019. The following contains the 2020 DSN Global 100 ranking for the which will be published in the June issue of Direct Selling News. DSN Announces 2020 Global 100 List | Direct Selling News

A few insights from this year’s list:

  • 48% of companies grew year-over-year from 2018 to 2019
  • 2 of the top 10 companies reported increased revenue
  • Six companies grew by $100 million from 2018 to 2019
  • Companies ranking 11-25, seven reported increased revenue
  • Companies ranking 25-50, 15 reported increased revenue


Building Your OWN Business depends on you. No guarantees! Amounts earned depend entirely on you! These figures are estimates and educational only.


Q12 PLATINUM                    $56,298                                  $180,860

FOUNDERS EMERALD        $123,243                                 $790,415

FOUNDERS DIAMOND      $561,447                                 $2,876,495

Takeaway: When traditional jobs are difficult to find, a home-based job using network marketing skills is an easy stand-by option. It offers people the chance to earn a fair salary representing goods or services that they love while being able to pay the bills and spend more time with their families. For those that need a little extra cash to make ends meet, just a few hours a week with a home-based business can create the extra income that is needed. Direct Selling | A website for independent businesspeople.

How Much Money Does Your Family Need to Get By? $500 to $500,000? If you need help with your Family’s Financial Needs Give Me a Call. Napoleon Hill’s Audiobook Outwitting the Devil – YouTube I will give you a FREE coaching session that will help you get the Money Your Family Needs. [Not a Sales Briefing]

Michael Kissinger

Phone 415-678-9965


Earning Disclaimer:

Please understand these results are not guaranteed, I’m not implying you’ll duplicate them (or do anything for that matter). I’m using these references for example and educational purposes only. Your results could vary and depend on many factors …including but not limited to your work ethic. All business entails risk as well as massive and consistent effort and action. If you’re not willing to accept that and take action on what you learn, please DO NOT GET MY PRODUCTS or JOIN US.

Published by Reitenbach-Kissinger Business Success Institute

Reitenbach-Kissinger Business Success Institute helps entrepreneurs and small business owners and their families live better lives, create success faster, build their businesses and assets they love while creating unlimited incomes or profit. Join us. Risk Free Satisfaction Guarantee

2 thoughts on “MKS: How Much Money Does Your Family Need to Get By?

  1. Michael, thank you for raising the question of how much money do we really need? From your blog rover friend John.


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