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$38 an Hour is How Much a Year? Before and After Taxes

Lucy

With inflation continuing to rise, an hourly wage of $38 may seem high or barely adequate depending on your situation. This article will break down the key numbers to show exactly how much yearly and monthly income you can expect at $38 per hour, before and after taxes. We’ll calculate the annual salary for both full-time and part-time work at this hourly pay rate, factoring in how unpaid time off can reduce actual take-home earnings. Converting an hourly wage to a yearly income can be confusing, but we’ll outline the formulas step-by-step. We’ll also evaluate if $38 per hour is considered a good salary now and what standard of living it provides. Whether you’re considering a job offer at $38 an hour or want to better grasp how an hourly wage translates to annual or monthly earnings, this article will provide the crucial math. We’ll look at typical jobs paying $38 per hour, whether that income allows you to afford major purchases like a home or car, tips to increase your pay, and more. With the cost of living increasing so rapidly, it’s important to understand hourly pay in terms of real annual buying power.

Table of Contents

Convert $38 Per Hour to Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Salary

Input your wage and hours per week to see how much you’ll make monthly, yearly and more.

$38 an Hour is How Much a Year?

If you make $38 an hour, your yearly salary would be $79,040. We calculate your annual income based on 8 hours per day, 5 days per week and 52 weeks in the year.

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage($38) x Weeks worked per year(52) = $79,040

$38 an Hour is How Much a Month?

If you make $38 an hour, your monthly salary would be $6,586.67. We calculated this number by dividing your annual income by 12 months.

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage($38) x Weeks worked per year(52) / Months per Year(12) = $6,586.67

$38 an Hour is How Much a Biweekly?

If you make $38 an hour, your biweekly salary would be $3,040.

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage($38) x 2 = $3,040

$38 an Hour is How Much a Week?

If you make $38 an hour, your weekly salary would be $1,520. Calculating based on 5 days per week and 8 hours each day.

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage($38) = $1,520

$38 an Hour is How Much a Day?

If you make $38 an hour, your daily salary would be $304. We calculated your daily income based on 8 hours per day.

Hours worked per day (8) x Hourly wage($38) = $304

$38 an Hour is How Much a Year?

The basic formula to calculate your annual salary from an hourly wage is:

Hourly Rate x Hours Worked per Week x Number of Weeks Worked per Year = Annual Salary

So for a $20 per hour job:

$38 per hour x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = $79,040

However, this simple calculation makes some assumptions:

You will work 40 hours every week of the year

You will not get any paid time off

Therefore, it represents your earnings if you worked every week of the year, without any vacation, holidays, or sick days.

Accounting for Paid Time Off

The $79,040 base salary does not yet factor in paid time off (PTO). Let’s assume the job provides:

2 weeks (10 days) paid vacation

6 paid holidays

3 paid sick days

This totals 19 paid days off, or nearly 4 weeks of PTO.

Importantly, this paid time off should not be deducted from the annual salary, since you still get paid for those days.

So with 4 weeks PTO, the annual salary would remain $79,040 .

Part time $38 an hour is How Much a Year?

Your annual income changes significantly if you work part-time and not full-time.

For example, let’s say you work 25 hours per week instead of 40. Here’s how you calculate your new yearly total:

$38 per hour x 25 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = $49,400

By working 15 fewer hours per week (25 instead of 40), your annual earnings at $38 an hour drop from $79,040 to $49,400.

That’s a $29,640 per year difference just by working part-time!

Here’s a table summarizing how your annual earnings change depending on how many hours you work per week at $38 an hour:

Hours Per Week

Earnings Per Week

Annual Earnings

40

$1,520

$79,040

35

$1,330

$69,160

30

$1,140

$59,280

25

$950

$49,400

20

$760

$39,520

15

$570

$29,640

The more hours per week, the higher your total yearly earnings. But part-time work allows for more life balance if you don’t need the full salary.

$38 an Hour With Overtime is How Much a Year?

Now let’s look at how overtime can increase your annual earnings.

Overtime kicks in once you work more than 40 hours in a week. Typically, you earn 1.5x your regular hourly wage for overtime hours.

So if you make $38 per hour normally, you would make $57 per hour for any hours over 40 in a week.

Here’s an example:

You work 45 hours in a Week

40 regular hours paid at $38 per hour = $1,520

5 overtime hours paid at $57 per hour = $285

Your total one Week earnings =$1,520 + $285 = $1,805

If you worked 45 hours each week for 52 weeks, here’s how your annual earnings increase thanks to overtime pay:

$1,805 per week x 52 weeks per year = $93,860

That’s $14,820 more than you’d earn working just 40 hours per week at $38 an hour.

Overtime can add up! But also consider taxes and work-life balance when deciding on extra hours.

Here’s a table summarizing how your annual earnings change depending on how many hours you work per week at $38 an hour:

Overtime hours per work day

Hours Per Week

Earnings Per Week

Annual Earnings

0

40

$1,520

$79,040

1

45

$1,805

$93,860

2

50

$2,090

$108,680

3

55

$2,375

$123,500

4

60

$2,660

$138,320

5

65

$2,945

$153,140

6

70

$3,230

$167,960

7

75

$3,515

$182,780

How Unpaid Time Off Impacts $38/Hour Yearly Earnings

So far we’ve assumed you work 52 paid weeks per year. Any unpaid time off will reduce your total income.

For example, let’s say you take 2 weeks of unpaid leave. That brings your paid weeks down to 50:

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage($38) x Weeks worked per year(50) = $76,000 annual salary

With 2 weeks unpaid time off, your annual earnings at $38/hour would drop by $3,040.

The table below summarizes how your annual income changes depending on the number of weeks of unpaid leave.

Weeks of unpaid leave

Paid weeks per year

Earnings Per Week

Annual Earnings

0

52

$1,520

$79,040

1

51

$1,520

$77,520

2

50

$1,520

$76,000

3

49

$1,520

$74,480

4

48

$1,520

$72,960

5

47

$1,520

$71,440

6

46

$1,520

$69,920

7

45

$1,520

$68,400

Key Takeaways for $38 Hourly Wage

In summary, here are some key points on annual earnings when making $38 per hour:

At 40 hours per week, you’ll earn $79,040 per year.

Part-time of 30 hours/week results in $59,280 annual salary.

Overtime pay can boost yearly earnings, e.g. $14,820 extra at 45 hours/week.

Unpaid time off reduces your total income, around $3,040 less per 2 weeks off.

Your specific situation and location impacts taxes and PTO.

Knowing your approximate annual salary and factors impacting it makes it easier to budget and plan your finances. The next step is calculating take-home pay after deductions like taxes.

$38 An Hour Is How Much A Year After Taxes

Figuring out your actual annual earnings based on an hourly wage can be complicated once taxes are taken into account. In addition to federal, state, and local income taxes, 7.65% of your gross pay also goes to Social Security and Medicare through FICA payroll taxes. So how much does $38 an hour equal per year after FICA and income taxes are deducted from your gross pay?

Below we’ll walk through the steps to calculate your annual net take home pay if you make $38 per hour. This will factor in estimated federal, FICA, state, and local taxes so you know exactly what to expect.

Factoring in Federal Income Tax

Your federal income tax will be a big chunk out of your gross pay. Federal tax rates range from 10% to 37%, depending on your tax bracket.

To estimate your federal income tax rate and liability:

For example, if you are single with $79,040 gross annual pay, your federal tax bracket is 22%.

Your estimated federal tax would be:

$5,147 + ($79,040 – $44,726) x 22% = $12,696.08

So at $38/hour with $79,040 gross pay, you would owe about $12,696.08 in federal income taxes.

Considering State Income Tax

In addition to federal tax, most states also charge a state income tax. State income tax rates range from about 1% to 13%, with most falling between 4% and 6%.

Key Takeaways

California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon have some of the highest state income tax rates.

Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming don’t impose an income tax at all.

Another 10 U.S states have a flat tax rate—everyone pays the same percentage regardless of how much they earn.

A State-by-State Comparison of Income Tax Rates

STATE

TAX RATES

LOWEST AND HIGHEST INCOME BRACKETS

Alaska

0%

None

Florida

0%

None

Nevada

0%

None

South Dakota

0%

None

Tennessee

0%

None

Texas

0%

None

Washington

0%

None

Wyoming

0%

None

Colorado

4.55%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Illinois

4.95%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Indiana

3.23%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Kentucky

5%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Massachusetts

5%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

New Hampshire

5%

Flat rate on interest and dividend income only

North Carolina

4.99%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Pennsylvania

3.07%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Utah

4.95%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Michigan

4.25%

Flat rate applies to all incomes

Arizona

2.59% to 4.5%

$27,806 and $166,843

Arkansas

2% to 5.5%

$4,300 and $8,501

California

1% to 13.3%

$9,325 and $1 million

Connecticut

3% to 6.99%

$10,000 and $500,000

Delaware

0% to 6.6%

$2,000 and $60,001

Alabama

2% to 5%

$500 and $3,001

Georgia

1% to 5.75%

$750 and $7,001

Hawaii

1.4% to 11%

$2,400 and $200,000

Idaho

1.125% to 6.5%

$1,568 and $7,939

Iowa

0.33% to 8.53%

$1,743 and $78,435

Kansas

3.1% to 5.7%

$15,000 and $30,000

Louisiana

1.85% to 4.25%

$12,500 and $50,001

Maine

5.8% to 7.15%

$23,000 and $54,450

Maryland

2% to 5.75%

$1,000 and $250,000

Minnesota

5.35% to 9.85%

$28,080 and $171,221

Mississippi

0% to 5%

$5,000 and $10,001

Missouri

1.5% to 5.3%

$1,121 and $8,968

Montana

1% to 6.75%

$2,900and $17,400

Nebraska

2.46% to 6.84%

$3,340 and $32,210

New Jersey

1.4% to 10.75%

$20,000 and $1 million

New Mexico

1.7% to 5.9%

$5,500 and $210,000

New York

4% to 10.9%

$8,500 and $25 million

North Dakota

1.1% to 2.9%

$41,775 and $458,350

Ohio

0% to 3.99%

$25,000 and $110,650

Oklahoma

0.25% to 4.75%

$1,000 and $7,200

Oregon

4.75% to 9.9%

$3,750 and $125,000

Rhode Island

3.75% to 5.99%

$68,200 and $155,050

South Carolina

0% to 7%

$3,110 and $15,560

Vermont

3.35% to 8.75%

$42,150 and $213,150

Virginia

2% to 5.75%

$3,000 and $17,001

Washington, D.C.

4% to 9.75%

$10,000 and $1 million

West Virginia

3% to 6.5%

$10,000 and $60,000

Wisconsin

3.54% to 7.65%

$12,760 and $280,950

To estimate your state income tax:

Look up your state income tax rate based on your gross pay and filing status.

Multiply your gross annual pay by the state tax rate.

For example, if you live in Pennsylvania which has a flat 3.07% tax rate, your estimated state tax would be:

$79,040 gross pay x 3.07% PA tax rate = $2,426.53 estimated state income tax

So with $79,040 gross annual income, you would owe around in $2,426.53 Pennsylvania state income tax. Verify your specific state’s income tax rates.

Factoring in Local Taxes

Some cities and counties levy local income taxes ranging from 1-3% of taxable income.

To estimate potential local taxes you may owe:

Check if your city or county charges a local income tax.

If yes, look up the local income tax rate.

Multiply your gross annual pay by the local tax rate.

For example, say you live in Columbus, OH which has a 2.5% local income tax. Your estimated local tax would be:

$79,040 gross pay x 2.5% local tax rate = $1,976 estimated local tax

So with $79,040 in gross earnings, you may owe around $1,976 in Columbus local income taxes. Verify rates for your own city/county.

Accounting for FICA Taxes (Social Security & Medicare)

FICA taxes are a combination of Social Security and Medicare taxes that equal 15.3% of your earnings. You are responsible for half of the total bill (7.65%), which includes a 6.2% Social Security tax and 1.45% Medicare tax on your earnings.

In 2023, only the first $160,200 of your earnings are subject to the Social Security tax

There is an additional 0.9% surtax on top of the standard 1.45% Medicare tax for those who earn over $200,000 (single filers) or $250,000 (joint filers).

To estimate your FICA tax payment:

$79,040 x 6.2% + $79,040 x 1.45% = $6,046.56

So you can expect to pay about $6,046.56 in Social Security and Medicare taxes out of your gross $79,040 in earnings.

Total Estimated Tax Payments

Based on the examples above, your total estimated tax payments would be:

Federal tax: $12,696.08

State tax: $2,426.53

Local tax: $1,976

FICA tax: $6,046.56

Total Estimated Tax: $23,145.17

Calculating Your Take Home Pay

To calculate your annual take home pay at $38 /hour:

1. Take your gross pay

2. Subtract your estimated total tax payments

$79,040 gross pay – $23,145.17 Total Estimated Tax = $55,894.83 Your Take Home Pay

n summary, if you make $38 per hour and work full-time, you would take home around $55,894.83 per year after federal, state, local , FICA taxes.

Your actual net income may vary depending on your specific tax situation. But this gives you a general idea of what to expect.

Convert $38 Per Hour to Yearly, Monthly, Biweekly, and Weekly Salary After Taxes

If you make $38 an hour and work full-time (40 hours per week), your estimated yearly salary would be $79,040 .

The $79,040 per year salary does not account for taxes. Federal, state, and local taxes will reduce your take-home pay. The amount withheld depends on your location, filing status, dependents, and other factors.

Just now during our calculation of $38 An Hour Is How Much A Year After Taxes, we assumed the following conditions:

You are single with $79,040 gross annual pay, your federal tax bracket is 22 %.

You live in Pennsylvania which has a flat 3.07% tax rate

You live in Columbus, OH which has a 2.5% local income tax.

In the end, we calculated your Total Estimated Tax is $23,145.17 , Your Take Home Pay is $55,894.83 , Total tax rate is 29.28%.

So next we’ll use 29.28% as the estimated tax rate to calculate your weekly, biweekly, and monthly after-tax income.

$38 Per Hour to Yearly, Monthly, Biweekly, Weekly,and Week Salary After Taxes Table

Income before taxes

Estimated Tax Rate

Income Taxes

After Tax Income

Yearly Salary

$79,040

29.28%

$23,145.17

$55,894.83

Monthly Salary

$6,586.67

29.28%

$1,928.76

$4,657.90

BiWeekly Salary

$3,040

29.28%

$890.20

$2,149.80

Weekly Salary

$1,520

29.28%

$445.10

$1,074.90

$38 an hour is how much a year after taxes

Here is the adjusted yearly salary after a 29.28% tax reduction:

Yearly salary before taxes: $79,040

Estimated tax rate: 29.28%

Taxes owed (29.28% * $79,040 )= $23,145.17

Yearly salary after taxes: $55,894.83

Hourly Wage

Hours Worked Per Week

Weeks Worked Per Year

Total Yearly Salary

Estimated Tax Rate

Taxes Owed

After-Tax Yearly Salary

$38

40

52

$79,040

29.28%

$23,145.17

$55,894.83

$38 an hour is how much a month after taxes

To calculate the monthly salary based on an hourly wage, you first need the yearly salary amount. Then divide by 12 months.

Yearly salary before taxes at $38 per hour: $79,040

Divided by 12 months per year: $79,040 / 12 = $6,586.67 per month

The monthly salary based on a 40 hour work week at $38 per hour is $6,586.67 before taxes.

After applying the estimated 29.28% tax rate, the monthly after-tax salary would be:

Monthly before-tax salary: $6,586.67

Estimated tax rate: 29.28%

Taxes owed (29.28% * $6,586.67 )= $1,928.76

Monthly after-tax salary: $4,657.90

Monthly Salary Based on $38 Per Hour

Hourly Wage

Yearly Salary

Months Per Year

Before-Tax Monthly Salary

Estimated Tax Rate

Taxes Owed

After-Tax Monthly Salary

$38

$79,040

12

$6,586.67

29.28%

$1,928.76

$4,657.90

$38 an hour is how much biweekly after taxes

Many people are paid biweekly, meaning every other week. To calculate the biweekly pay at $38 per hour:

Hourly wage: $38

Hours worked per week: 40

Weeks per biweekly pay period: 2

$38 * 40 hours * 2 weeks = $3,040 biweekly

Applying the 29.28%estimated tax rate:

Biweekly before-tax salary: $3,040

Estimated tax rate: 29.28%

Taxes owed (29.28% * $3,040 )= $890.20

Biweekly after-tax salary: $2,149.80

Biweekly Salary at $38 Per Hour

Hourly Wage

Hours Worked Per Week

Weeks Per Pay Period

Before-Tax Biweekly Salary

Estimated Tax Rate

Taxes Owed

After-Tax Biweekly Salary

$38

40

2

$3,040

29.28%

$890.20

$2,149.80

$38 an hour is how much weekly after taxes

To find the weekly salary based on an hourly wage, you need to know the number of hours worked per week. At 40 hours per week, the calculation is:

Hourly wage: $38

Hours worked per week: 40

$38 * 40 hours = $1,520 per week

Accounting for the estimated 29.28% tax rate:

Weekly before-tax salary: $1,520

Estimated tax rate: 29.28%

Taxes owed (29.28% * $1,520 )= $445.10

Weekly after-tax salary: $1,074.90

Weekly Salary at $38 Per Hour

Hourly Wage

Hours Worked Per Week

Before-Tax Weekly Salary

Estimated Tax Rate

Taxes Owed

After-Tax Weekly Salary

$38

40

$1,520

29.28%

$445.10

$1,074.90

Key Takeaways

An hourly wage of $38 per hour equals a yearly salary of $79,040 before taxes, assuming a 40 hour work week.

After accounting for an estimated 29.28% tax rate, the yearly after-tax salary is approximately $55,894.83 .

On a monthly basis before taxes, $38 per hour equals $6,586.67 per month. After estimated taxes, the monthly take-home pay is about $4,657.90 .

The before-tax weekly salary at $38 per hour is $1,520 . After taxes, the weekly take-home pay is approximately $1,074.90 .

For biweekly pay, the pre-tax salary at $38 per hour is $3,040 . After estimated taxes, the biweekly take-home pay is around $2,149.80 .

Understanding annual, monthly, weekly, and biweekly salary equivalents based on an hourly wage is useful when budgeting and financial planning. Taxes make a significant difference in take-home pay, so be sure to account for them when making income conversions. Use this guide as a reference when making salary calculations.

What Is the Average Hourly Wage in the US?

Last Updated: Sep 1 2023

US Average Hourly Earnings is at a current level of $33.82, up from 33.74 last month and up from 32.43 one year ago. This is a change of 0.24% from last month and 4.29% from one year ago.

Average Hourly Earnings is the average dollars that a private employee makes per hour in the US. This metric is a part of one of the most important releases every month which includes unemployment numbers as well. This is normally released on the first Friday of every month. This metric is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What is the average salary in the U.S.?

Last Updated: July 18, 2023

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics uses median salary data rather than averages to avoid skewed numbers from outlying high and low numbers. Median weekly earnings of the nation's 121.5 million full-time wage and salary workers were $1,100 in the second quarter of 2023, the U.S.

If a person works 52 weeks in the year, then this represents a national annual salary of $57,200.

Is $38 an Hour a Good Salary?

How does an income of $38 an hour stack up? Here are a few ways to judge:

The median hourly wage in the US is approximately $27. So $38/hour is over 40% higher than average.

$38/hour equates to roughly $79,000 per year for full time employment. This cracks the top 30% of household incomes nationally.

The typical college graduate earns around $28/hour starting out. $38 is a solid experienced professional wage.

In low cost-of-living regions like the Midwest, $38/hour affords upper middle class status. You can live quite comfortably.

In high cost coastal metros, $38/hour retains a middle class lifestyle. But home ownership may be challenging.

As a household sole breadwinner, $38/hour supports a family with prudent budgeting. Dual incomes open up more options.

Overall, $38/hour certainly qualifies as a good salary relative to national averages, even after tax and living cost adjustments. While not “rich”, it provides earnings well above median and a solid middle class lifestyle in most areas.

Jobs that Pay $38 an Hour

Which occupations typically pay wages close to $38 per hour? Here are some examples nationwide:

Registered Nurses – Average RN makes $38/hour, ranging from $30 (South) to $55 (CA, NY)

Web Developers – Experienced coders earn $38 to $50/hour on average

HVAC Technicians – With overtime, their total hourly exceeds $38/hour

Machinists – Range from entry-level $15/hour to expert $45/hour

Insurance Agents – Average around $35/hour, high performers earn $50+

Electricians – Apprentices start around $15/hour, journeymen $38+/hour

Plumbers – Similar to electricians, apprentices to masters exceed $38

Accountants – CPAs in corporate accounting average around $38/hour

Paralegals – $38/hour is common at large commercial law firms

Project Managers – IT and construction PMs earn $35 to $45/hour

Civil Engineers – Median pay nears $40/hour, rising with licensure

Radiologic Technologists – Top out around $38/hour with experience

As you can see, high skill trades, licensed professions, and technology careers comprise most $38/hour jobs. Location also impacts pay significantly.

Can You Live Off $38 An Hour?

How far does $38/hour go towards covering basic living costs? Here is a look at typical budget breakdowns:

Housing

Recommended max housing budget at this income: $1,300 per month

In most cities, affords a 1-2 bedroom apartment or modest house.

In NYC or the Bay Area, sharing an apartment with roommates is more realistic.

Can afford small fixer-upper or condo for first-time home buyers.

Transportation

Owning a used Toyota or Honda: $400 per month

Leasing a basic new car: $450 per month

Public transit pass: $100 per month

Food

Feeding one person: $400 per month

Family of four: $800 per month

Utilities

Electric, gas, water, cell phone: $300 per month

With cable TV and internet: $400

Insurance

Decent health insurance: $300 per month

Car insurance: $100

Other Costs

Entertainment, clothing, etc: $500

Savings contributions: 10% of income ($800 per month)

Supporting a child: add $400 per month

In summary, housing will consume a large portion of the budget, but $38/hour affords a comfortable middle-class lifestyle overall.

The Impact of Inflation

Inflation must be accounted for when assessing real wage growth and purchasing power. Here’s how inflation diminishes $38/hour:

Over the past 10 years, $38/hour today equates to $31.58/hour in 2012 dollars

If inflation runs 3% annually, in 5 years $38 will only buy $32.74 of goods and services

At 5% inflation, $38 will be just $31.33 in 5 year’s time

Asking for cost of living or merit pay increases of 3-5% is necessary just to maintain the status quo purchasing ability of wages. Factoring long-term inflation into financial plans and cash flow projections is essential.

5 Ways To Increase Your Hourly Wage

If your budget is tight at $38/hour, here are some options to boost that figure:

Request a raise from your employer, citing performance and inflation

Seek promotion to higher positions within your company or field

Gain certifications to add skills and increase billing rates

Move into consulting/contracting roles with higher hourly pay

Develop side businesses or monetize hobbies and talents

Even small, incremental hourly wage gains make a significant long-term impact. Chart a path to financial growth through career development.

Buying a Car on $38 an Hour

What kind of vehicle purchases fit into a $38/hour income budget?

Afford loan payments of $500 per month comfortably.

Purchase new compact SUVs or sedans priced $25,000 and under.

Buy used luxury vehicles 3-5 years old valued under $40k.

Pay cash for late model used cars priced below $15,000.

Consider moderately priced electric vehicles like the Chevy Bolt.

While luxury supercars are out of reach, $38/hour income provides solid options across new, used and electric vehicles. Prioritize reliability and value over prestige.

Can You Buy a House on $38 An Hour?

Home ownership on a $38/hour salary largely depends on location. Guidelines:

Plan a max budget around $250,000. Preferably less.

Live in affordable Midwest, South or Southwest regions.

Purchase a modest starter home with potential to upgrade over time.

Secure down payment assistance programs for low down payments.

Partner with someone to double your income, budget and mortgage capability.

In ultra high-cost areas, condos may be the only ownership option.

You won’t be buying multi-million dollar properties on $38/hour. But with realistic expectations, home ownership is achievable in most markets other than NYC, SF or DC.

Example Budget for $38 Per Hour

Here is a sample monthly budget for a single person earning $38/hour full-time:

Gross monthly income: $6,160

Taxes and deductions: $1,200

Rent: $1,300

Utilities: $300

Car payment: $350

Car insurance: $120

Cell phone: $80

Groceries and dining: $600

Entertainment: $250

Clothing: $150

Insurance: $250

401k contribution: $600

Vacation fund: $200

Remainder/savings: $660

This allows for a comfortable standard of living with financial flexibility. In dual income households, options expand dramatically. But again, housing costs in major metros will require budget-tightening tradeoffs.

In Summary

A salary of $38 an hour or $80,000 per year provides a solid middle class lifestyle in most parts of the country. Typical occupations in this earnings range include tradespeople, accountants, nurses, and technology professionals among others. Housing affordability varies greatly by region, but car purchases, entertainment and healthcare are readily attainable at this wage. Starting a family and saving for retirement is viable with prudent budgeting. And owning a home is possible in affordable real estate markets. While inflation nibbles at purchasing power over time, an hourly pay rate of $38 affords financial stability and flexibility within limits of reasonable expectations.