# \$79 an Hour is How Much a Year? Before and After Taxes

In today’s job market, an hourly wage of \$79 an hour seems high to many workers. But do you know exactly how much that translates to over the course of a year? In this article, we’ll break down the before and after tax annual, monthly, biweekly, and weekly salaries for someone earning \$79 per hour.

You’ll learn how to calculate the total yearly earnings for \$79 an hour, including any overtime pay. We’ll discuss whether \$79 an hour is considered a good wage in today’s economy given rising inflation. You’ll see how unpaid time off can reduce your actual annual income even when making \$79 an hour. We’ll also overview common jobs that pay \$79 an hour or more. And we’ll look at sample budgets to evaluate if it’s possible to live comfortably on \$79 an hour. Understanding the true value of \$79 an hour can empower your career planning and salary negotiations. Keep reading for a full analysis!

## Convert \$79 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.

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### \$79 an Hour is How Much a Year?

If you make \$79 an hour, your yearly salary would be \$164,320. 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(\$79) x Weeks worked per year(52) = \$164,320

### \$79 an Hour is How Much a Month?

If you make \$79 an hour, your monthly salary would be \$13,693.33. We calculated this number by dividing your annual income by 12 months.

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage(\$79) x Weeks worked per year(52) / Months per Year(12) = \$13,693.33

### \$79 an Hour is How Much Biweekly?

If you make \$79 an hour, your biweekly salary would be \$6,320.

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage(\$79) x 2 = \$6,320

### \$79 an Hour is How Much a Week?

If you make \$79 an hour, your weekly salary would be \$3,160. Calculating based on 5 days per week and 8 hours each day.

Hours worked per week (40) x Hourly wage(\$79) = \$3,160

### \$79 an Hour is How Much a Day?

If you make \$79 an hour, your daily salary would be \$632. We calculated your daily income based on 8 hours per day.

Hours worked per day (8) x Hourly wage(\$79) = \$632

## \$79 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:

\$79 per hour x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = \$164,320

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 \$164,320 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 \$164,320 .

## Part time \$79 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:

\$79 per hour x 25 hours per week x 52 weeks per year = \$102,700

By working 15 fewer hours per week (25 instead of 40), your annual earnings at \$79 an hour drop from \$164,320 to \$102,700.

That’s a \$61,620 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 \$79 an hour:

Hours Per Week Earnings Per Week Annual Earnings
40 \$3,160 \$164,320
35 \$2,765 \$143,780
30 \$2,370 \$123,240
25 \$1,975 \$102,700
20 \$1,580 \$82,160
15 \$1,185 \$61,620

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.

## \$79 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 \$79 per hour normally, you would make \$118.50 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 \$79 per hour = \$3,160
• 5 overtime hours paid at \$118.50 per hour = \$592.50
• Your total one Week earnings =\$3,160 + \$592.50 = \$3,752.50

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

\$3,752.50 per week x 52 weeks per year = \$195,130

That’s \$30,810 more than you’d earn working just 40 hours per week at \$79 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 \$79 an hour:

 Overtime hours per work day Hours Per Week Earnings Per Week Annual Earnings 0 40 \$3,160 \$164,320 1 45 \$3,752.50 \$195,130 2 50 \$4,345 \$225,940 3 55 \$4,937.50 \$256,750 4 60 \$5,530 \$287,560 5 65 \$6,122.50 \$318,370 6 70 \$6,715 \$349,180 7 75 \$7,307.50 \$379,990

## How Unpaid Time Off Impacts \$79/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(\$79) x Weeks worked per year(50) = \$158,000 annual salary

With 2 weeks unpaid time off, your annual earnings at \$79/hour would drop by \$6,320.

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 \$3,160 \$164,320 1 51 \$3,160 \$161,160 2 50 \$3,160 \$158,000 3 49 \$3,160 \$154,840 4 48 \$3,160 \$151,680 5 47 \$3,160 \$148,520 6 46 \$3,160 \$145,360 7 45 \$3,160 \$142,200

## Key Takeaways for \$79 Hourly Wage

In summary, here are some key points on annual earnings when making \$79 per hour:

• At 40 hours per week, you’ll earn \$164,320 per year.
• Part-time of 30 hours/week results in \$123,240 annual salary.
• Overtime pay can boost yearly earnings, e.g. \$30,810 extra at 45 hours/week.
• Unpaid time off reduces your total income, around \$6,320 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.

## \$79 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 \$79 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 \$79 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:

Look up your federal income tax bracket based on your gross pay.

2023 tax brackets: single filers

Tax rate Taxable income bracket Tax owed
10% \$0 to \$11,000. 10% of taxable income.
12% \$11,001 to \$44,725. \$1,100 plus 12% of the amount over \$11,000.
22% \$44,726 to \$95,375. \$5,147 plus 22% of the amount over \$44,725.
24% \$95,376 to \$182,100. \$16,290 plus 24% of the amount over \$95,375.
32% \$182,101 to \$231,250. \$37,104 plus 32% of the amount over \$182,100.
35% \$231,251 to \$578,125. \$52,832 plus 35% of the amount over \$231,250.
37% \$578,126 or more. \$174,238.25 plus 37% of the amount over \$578,125.

For example, if you are single with \$164,320 gross annual pay, your federal tax bracket is 24%.

Your estimated federal tax would be:

\$16,290 + (\$164,320 – \$95,376) x 24% = \$32,836.56

So at \$79/hour with \$164,320 gross pay, you would owe about \$32,836.56 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
Florida 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:

\$164,320 gross pay x 3.07% PA tax rate = \$5,044.62 estimated state income tax

So with \$164,320 gross annual income, you would owe around \$5,044.62 in Pennsylvania state income tax. Make sure to check your specific state’s 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:

\$164,320 gross pay x 2.5% local tax rate = \$4,108 estimated local tax

So with \$164,320 in gross earnings, you may owe around \$4,108 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:

\$160,200 x 6.2% + \$164,320 x 1.45% = \$12,570.48

So you can expect to pay about \$12,570.48 in Social Security and Medicare taxes out of your gross \$164,320 in earnings.

### Total Estimated Tax Payments

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

Federal tax: \$32,836.56

State tax: \$5,044.62

Local tax: \$4,108

FICA tax: \$12,570.48

Total Estimated Tax: \$54,559.66

### Calculating Your Take Home Pay

To calculate your annual take home pay at \$79 /hour:

2. Subtract your estimated total tax payments

\$164,320 gross pay – \$54,559.66 Total Estimated Tax = \$109,760.34 Your Take Home Pay

n summary, if you make \$79 per hour and work full-time, you would take home around \$109,760.34 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 \$79 Per Hour to Yearly, Monthly, Biweekly, and Weekly Salary After Taxes

If you make \$79 an hour and work full-time (40 hours per week), your estimated yearly salary would be \$164,320 .

The \$164,320 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 \$79 An Hour Is How Much A Year After Taxes, we assumed the following conditions:

• You are single with \$164,320 gross annual pay, your federal tax bracket is 24 %.
• 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 \$54,559.66 , Your Take Home Pay is \$109,760.34 , Total tax rate is 33.20%.

So next we’ll use 33.20% as the estimated tax rate to calculate your weekly, biweekly, and monthly after-tax income.

### \$79 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 \$164,320 33.20% \$54,559.66 \$109,760.34 Monthly Salary \$13,693.33 33.20% \$4,546.64 \$9,146.69 BiWeekly Salary \$6,320 33.20% \$2,098.45 \$4,221.55 Weekly Salary \$3,160 33.20% \$1,049.22 \$2,110.78

### \$79  an hour is how much a year after taxes

Here is the adjusted yearly salary after a 33.20% tax reduction:

• Yearly salary before taxes: \$164,320
• Estimated tax rate: 33.20%
• Taxes owed (33.20% * \$164,320 )= \$54,559.66
• Yearly salary after taxes: \$109,760.34
Hourly Wage Hours Worked Per Week Weeks Worked Per Year Total Yearly Salary Estimated Tax Rate Taxes Owed After-Tax Yearly Salary
\$79 40 52 \$164,320 33.20% \$54,559.66 \$109,760.34

### \$79 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 \$79 per hour: \$164,320
• Divided by 12 months per year: \$164,320 / 12 = \$13,693.33 per month

The monthly salary based on a 40 hour work week at \$79 per hour is \$13,693.33 before taxes.

After applying the estimated 33.20% tax rate, the monthly after-tax salary would be:

• Monthly before-tax salary: \$13,693.33
• Estimated tax rate: 33.20%
• Taxes owed (33.20% * \$13,693.33 )= \$4,546.64
• Monthly after-tax salary: \$9,146.69

Monthly Salary Based on \$79 Per Hour

Hourly Wage Yearly Salary Months Per Year Before-Tax Monthly Salary Estimated Tax Rate Taxes Owed After-Tax Monthly Salary
\$79 \$164,320 12 \$13,693.33 33.20% \$4,546.64 \$9,146.69

### \$79 an hour is how much biweekly after taxes

Many people are paid biweekly, meaning every other week. To calculate the biweekly pay at \$79 per hour:

• Hourly wage: \$79
• Hours worked per week: 40
• Weeks per biweekly pay period: 2
• \$79 * 40 hours * 2 weeks = \$6,320 biweekly

Applying the 33.20%estimated tax rate:

• Biweekly before-tax salary: \$6,320
• Estimated tax rate: 33.20%
• Taxes owed (33.20% * \$6,320 )= \$2,098.45
• Biweekly after-tax salary: \$4,221.55

Biweekly Salary at \$79 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
\$79 40 2 \$6,320 33.20% \$2,098.45 \$4,221.55

### \$79 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: \$79
• Hours worked per week: 40
• \$79 * 40 hours = \$3,160 per week

Accounting for the estimated 33.20% tax rate:

• Weekly before-tax salary: \$3,160
• Estimated tax rate: 33.20%
• Taxes owed (33.20% * \$3,160 )= \$1,049.22
• Weekly after-tax salary: \$2,110.78

Weekly Salary at \$79 Per Hour

Hourly Wage Hours Worked Per Week Before-Tax Weekly Salary Estimated Tax Rate Taxes Owed After-Tax Weekly Salary
\$79 40 \$3,160 33.20% \$1,049.22 \$2,110.78

### Key Takeaways

• An hourly wage of \$79 per hour equals a yearly salary of \$164,320 before taxes, assuming a 40 hour work week.
• After accounting for an estimated 33.20% tax rate, the yearly after-tax salary is approximately \$109,760.34 .
• On a monthly basis before taxes, \$79 per hour equals \$13,693.33 per month. After estimated taxes, the monthly take-home pay is about \$9,146.69 .
• The before-tax weekly salary at \$79 per hour is \$3,160 . After taxes, the weekly take-home pay is approximately \$2,110.78 .
• For biweekly pay, the pre-tax salary at \$79 per hour is \$6,320 . After estimated taxes, the biweekly take-home pay is around \$4,221.55 .

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 \$79 an Hour a Good Salary?

At first glance, \$79 per hour seems like an incredibly high hourly wage. If you work full-time, 40 hours per week, that equates to an annual salary of approximately \$164,000. Nationwide, that income puts you in roughly the top 10% of earners. However, that salary does not provide anything close to an upscale lifestyle in high cost-of-living coastal cities. While \$79 per hour is a massive pay rate compared to the average American worker, it’s considered firmly middle class in the most expensive metro areas.

Whether or not \$79 per hour is a good salary depends almost entirely on where you live and the local cost of living. Small towns and rural areas of the Midwest and South have vastly lower costs for housing, transportation, food, utilities, and other expenses compared to coastal urban centers.

In low cost-of-living regions of the country, \$79 per hour affords a very comfortable upper middle class lifestyle. You can own a large single family home in a safe neighborhood, drive newer model cars, afford private school tuition for multiple kids, take nice vacations annually, and still save for retirement.

However, in major cities along the coasts like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, an income of \$79 an hour can leave you with a much more modest, middle class existence. You’ll likely live comfortably, but in a smaller home or apartment without much disposable income left over each month. Maintaining your lifestyle may feel like a struggle at times depending on housing costs and other bills.

As a cost of living comparison, you’d need to earn about \$116 per hour in New York City and \$132 per hour in San Francisco to have the equivalent purchasing power of \$79 per hour in Cincinnati, Ohio based on a cost of living calculator. And those figures still don’t account for higher state and local income taxes in places like California and New York.

So while on a national level, \$79 per hour puts you well into the top 10% of earners, it is considered solidly middle class in high cost regions. Whether or not this wage provides a comfortable lifestyle depends heavily on where you live and call home.

## Jobs that pay \$79 an hour

Very few professions actually command hourly wages in the neighborhood of \$79. Here are some examples of occupations that typically pay roughly \$79 per hour:

• Senior software engineers and developers at major technology companies in hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle
• Narrow specialty physicians such as anesthesiologists, radiologists, oncologists, OB/GYNs and certain surgeons
• Experienced corporate lawyers who are partners at large commercial law firms in big cities
• Senior business executives such as finance vice presidents, sales directors, and management consultants
• Engineers and architects with 10+ years of experience working at well-known firms
• Established small business owners and consultants in fields like information technology or digital marketing
• Senior tradespeople including some highly skilled electricians, plumbers, contractors, and mechanics
• Creative professionals like photographers, graphic designers, or architects with exclusive high-paying clients
• Corporate pilots for jets and turboprop aircraft who work for wealthy executives or celebrities

So in summary, an income of \$79 per hour is typical for very experienced professionals and business owners in certain high-income fields, primarily concentrated in STEM, medicine, law, and business. This wage tends to correspond with at least a decade of proven expertise, demand for niche skills, and/or bringing in significant revenue for an organization.

## Can You Live Off \$79 An Hour?

As mentioned earlier, whether or not \$79 an hour provides a comfortable, middle class lifestyle depends heavily on where you live. This wage can mean very different standards of living in different parts of the country.

In small towns and rural areas, especially in regions like the Midwest, South, and Southwest, \$79 per hour affords an upper middle class lifestyle. You can comfortably afford owning a large single family home in a safe neighborhood with good schools. You can own nicer vehicles, take regular vacations, pay for kids’ college tuition, and retire with peace of mind. This wage goes a long way.

However, for those living in major coastal cities, namely New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, \$79 an hour provides a much more modest, middle class standard of living. You’ll likely be living in a small apartment, condo, or townhouse rather than a single family home. You won’t have as much discretionary income after paying for housing, taxes, childcare, student loans and other fixed costs. Vacations and dining out may need to be budgeted for rather than taken for granted.

For example’s sake, if you’re paying \$3,500 per month in rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, more than \$40,000 per year goes just toward housing. And that’s before utilities, commuting costs, groceries and other expenses. Your money won’t go nearly as far as someone paying \$1,500 per month for the mortgage on a house in Ohio or Texas.

The bottom line is that while \$79 an hour marks you as a high-earner nationally, it’s considered a middle class wage in coastal cities where the cost of living and taxes are sky-high. You’ll need to watch your budget and spending closely to maintain financial stability over the long-term. But this income certainly beats minimum wage!

## The impact of inflation on the value of \$79 an hour

It’s important to recognize that with sustained high inflation, the real value and purchasing power of \$79 per hour can decline substantially over a short period of time.

For example, with inflation at 8% in 2022, an hourly wage of \$79 today would only have had the purchasing equivalent of approximately \$73 per hour in 2021 dollars adjusted for inflation. That means you would have needed to earn \$73 per hour last year to afford the exact same overall lifestyle and quantity of goods and services as \$79 per hour this year.

If high inflation around 7-8% continues for several more years, the erosion of \$79 per hour’s buying power compounds. Your paycheck no longer stretches nearly as far to cover the same housing, food, gas, entertainment and other living expenses.

To maintain a consistent lifestyle and standard of living, those earning \$79 per hour need periodic raises to keep pace with inflation. Without pay increases, year after year of high inflation causes a squeezed, declining sense of purchasing power.

Careful budgeting, cutting discretionary costs, and finding creative ways to save money allows you to counteract inflation and continue living comfortably. But there’s no doubt continued high inflation takes a toll on families trying to maintain financial stability.

## 5 Ways To Increase Your Hourly Wage

For those hoping to eventually work up to earning \$79 per hour or more, here are some potential strategies and career moves to boost your income over time:

• Obtain an advanced academic degree: Graduate degrees like a Master’s, PhD or professional degrees (MBA, JD) can unlock higher earning potential. Education opens doors.
• Switch to a higher-paying professional field: Jobs in fields like software engineering, medicine, law, and finance simply have far greater income upside.
• Pick up highly valuable skills: Become fluent in specialized skills like data science, niche programming languages, or operating complex machinery or equipment.
• Progress into management and executive roles: Moving into senior leadership spots often delivers some of the biggest pay jumps over an in-role raise.
• Start a profitable side business: Building a successful side venture while keeping your day job provides extra income.
• Relocate to a lower cost area: Consider moving where a dollar goes further if living in an expensive city.
• Negotiate raises aggressively: Ask for fair pay bumps, promotions, find a new higher paying job. Know your worth.

## Buying a car on \$79 an hour

At an income of \$79 an hour, or roughly \$164,000 per year, you’ll find you have some nice options when it comes to buying a car while still maintaining financial responsibility.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s wise to limit auto purchases to no more than 10-20% of your gross annual income. This helps ensure you buy a car you can actually afford long-term.

On this salary, that means spending approximately \$16,000 to \$33,000 on a vehicle purchase price. This budget range gives you tons of great choices on the used and new car markets. For example, you could comfortably afford:

• A lightly used luxury sedan such as a BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class, Lexus GS, etc. in the \$25-30k price range
• A new Toyota, Honda or Nissan mid-size SUV , fully loaded, keeping payments around \$500-600/month
• A new Ford, Chevy or Ram pickup truck with some options for around \$40k
• A certified pre-owned sports car like a Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche Boxster or Audi TT for \$30-35k

While you may be able to finance more expensive vehicles, it’s wise to keep your budget in check. Also consider insurance costs, gas mileage, expected maintenance and repairs for the car models you’re evaluating. Limit total transportation expenses to around 10-15% of take-home pay.

## Can You Buy a House on \$79 An Hour?

On an income of \$79 per hour, or approximately \$164,000 per year, buying a house is very achievable depending on where you live and how much cash you have saved up for a down payment.

As a general guideline, it’s recommended to buy a home worth no more than 3-4x your gross annual income. On \$164k per year, that means targeting home prices between about \$492,000 and \$656,000.

Of course, what type of property \$500-650k can buy varies tremendously based on housing costs and home values in your local real estate market.

In lower cost regions of the Midwest, South and Southwest, this budget buys you a larger, newer single family home, often 3000+ square feet with 4-5 bedrooms. You’ll likely have a garage, yard, basement, and other amenities.

In expensive coastal metros, a \$500-650k home often translates into a smaller fixer-upper house, dated condo or townhouse with HOA fees, or a modest single family home farther from the urban core. You’ll have to adjust expectations based on budget.

You also need to factor in coming up with a 20% down payment, which could be around \$100-130k for a home in this price range. While doable on this income, that likely requires disciplined saving over a few years first. Overall though, \$79 per hour income makes owning real estate very feasible in most markets.

## Example Budget For \$79 Per Hour

To illustrate what sort of lifestyle \$79 per hour affords, here is an example monthly budget assuming that wage or around \$164,000 per year in gross income:

• Gross Monthly Income: \$13,666
• Taxes (25%): \$3,417
• 401k Retirement Savings (10%): \$1,367
• Mortgage or Rent: \$2,000
• Utilities: \$300
• Car Payment + Insurance: \$500
• Gasoline: \$200
• Groceries: \$600
• Eating Out: \$500
• Travel: \$500
• Children’s Activities: \$1,000
• Miscellaneous Expenses: \$800
• Total Monthly Expenses: \$11,584
• Money Remaining Each Month: \$2,082

Based on this budget, a wage of \$79 per hour allows for a solidly middle class lifestyle, assuming you live in an average cost of living metro area. There’s room for nice vacations, dining out, kids activities, and entertainment. But expensive hobbies, lavish travel, and upscale dining would require cutbacks elsewhere.

This income provides a comfortable living in most regions, but likely won’t finance a true luxury lifestyle. Managing savings versus spending wisely is essential to achieve long term financial stability rather than living paycheck to paycheck.

## In Summary

While \$79 per hour equates to around the top 10% of earners nationwide, it does not guarantee an upscale lifestyle in many parts of the country. This income may feel “average” or even low in high cost cities like San Francisco and New York given steep housing, tax, and living expenses. Budgeting wisely, limiting fixed costs, and making smart tradeoffs allows you to live comfortably but not extravagantly on \$79 per hour in most areas. With prudent financial habits, this wage affords financial stability for the average middle class family or individual.