Unless you were brought up in the lap of luxury or simply born destined to be mega rich, it’s highly likely that you started your working years at an hourly wage.

For many teens, workers in their young 20s, and those workers without trade skills or a college degree, an hourly wage is a daily reality. Unlike salaried workers or contract labourers, hourly workers live and die by the clock. 

But when it comes down to it, any job at any level can be broken down into an hourly rate. Some professionals make several hundred dollars per hour, while the less skilled or educated might make much less.

So this begs the question, is making $30 an hour good?

To determine whether or not $30 an hour is a good wage, it really depends on your perspective and location. Nationally, $30 an hour is considered to be above-average pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and the median hourly wage is $16.87.

While this hourly rate does put the earner smack dab into the middle class, it is plenty of money to make a good living. 

How Much Does $30 per Hour Make per Year?

By the numbers, $30 per hour at 40 hours per week is $1,200 per week. Multiply that by 52 and you get $62,400, or a gross monthly income of $5,200.  After taxes this breaks down into $48,499, or a net monthly income of $4,041 (on average, state taxes will vary by states of course)

Comparatively speaking, workers without a high school diploma bring in about $619 per week, while those with a high school diploma (and no college) earn about $781 per week. This is approximately $15 to $19 per hour, respectively. These hourly wages give a salary range of $32,188 to $40,612 per year. 

Once we start looking at earners with college degrees all the way up to post-graduate degrees, earnings can start climbing significantly. If you earn a bachelor’s degree, your chances of having the national average salary are high, with the average salary at this level being $67,860 per year, which is roughly $32 per hour. 

A professional or a doctorate degree will boost an earner to around $98,000 per year, which breaks down to $47 per hour. Those with law degrees or medical licenses may earn well into several hundred thousand dollars per year range as they advance throughout their career, with hourly rates in the $200-850 range. 

However, at this level, the 40-hour work week becomes less controlling, as professionals often work in “billable hours,” meaning they spend time on the job working administrative functions for which they are not billing their premium rate. For example, an Orthopaedic surgeon, the highest paid medical doctor in the country, earns about $511,000 per year, which would be $245 per hour in a 40-hour work week.

With that said though, such professionals often do not work the same amount of hours every week, so this is an estimate at best.  

Is $30 Per Hour a Lot of Money?

While it depends on the earner’s other circumstances, such as credit score and other debts, but a net monthly income of $4,000 is usually sufficient to purchase a home, a vehicle, and live a relatively comfortable lifestyle.

Consider This: 9.2% of the world population lives below the poverty line on less than $1.90 per day. While a person earning $4,000 after taxes per month is living off of approximately $130 per day. To that 9.2% below the poverty line, the $30 per hour earner is rich!

It’s all about perspective!!

Where an earner works and lives largely affects the answer to whether $30 per hour is a lot of money. Several cities and states in America are well known for a tremendously high cost of living, with Boston, New York City, and San Francisco being prime examples.

While Texas, Arizona, Montana, and Pennsylvania are examples of states with moderately priced real estate, West Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Indiana are states with much lower home prices. 

Of course, the higher priced metropolitan areas do have their lower-income areas. And it’s no secret that many lower-income earners are “priced out” of certain areas simply due to the demand for higher-paid professionals in those areas.

Related Financial Geek Article: Is $100k a Good Salary? [In the US]

So if you’re just starting out, do your research to see which states and cities can keep you employed at $30 per hour and have manageable cost of living prices.  

What Can I Buy with a $30 Per Hour Job?

This depends on the size of your household and your discipline when it comes to spending. Remember, monthly living expenses for a single person in the United States range from $3,000 to $5,000.

So let’s look at a scenario where you and your $30 per hour are “pushing it” a bit with money. 

If you’re single with no dependents (and provided you don’t rack up thousands in credit card debts or other wasteful purchases), $4,000 per month can pay for a mortgage on a home between $250k to $330k. Assuming an average credit score and low debt payments, a mortgage payment on a $300k home with a 30-year fixed note would be about $1,896.

This leaves you with a little over $2,000 for a new vehicle and the full coverage insurance needed to drive it. A brand new car such as the 2022 Hyundai Sonata comes in $24,150.

Assuming the $30 per hour earner has a good credit score and not much more debt than the mortgage payment (hopefully less than 20-25% of their gross monthly income), they should be able to score a decent interest rate and have a manageable monthly payment around $450. 

Recommended Financial Geek Article: How Much Car Can I Afford Making $60,000 a Year?

Once you and your $30 per hour have secured your home and wheels, you should still have no trouble buying groceries, paying for utilities and for your personal needs such as clothing, grooming, and hygiene.

You can probably even afford your favorite streaming services, movie nights, and of course some travel on your hard-earned vacations! 

The Bottom Line: $30 Per Hour is Good Money

If you make $30 per hour, you’re making the national average income, and from a global perspective, you’re rich. Of course, all is relative, so even though $30 per hour is good money, be smart with it and don’t outspend your income.

Start early with good money practices, pay your bills on time, spend your money wisely and you’re going to be just fine.

As always, thanks for reading folks!

Geek, out.

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