The Corner

Economy & Business

“Scraping By” at $500K/Year

CNBC is using its Twitter feed to push a 2018 article on how a couple making half a million dollars a year can “end up feeling ‘average'”: “[A]fter taxes, fixed costs, childcare and discretionary expenses, there’s only $7,300 left each year to go towards other savings goals, investment accounts or retirement funds.” (Author Kathleen Elkins must mean that this pot of money could be used for retirement funds other than the couple’s 401(k)s, which are maxed out.) This couple is, according to the story, living “paycheck-to-paycheck.”

The article notes that “lifestyle creep” is a big part of the problem. I’ll say. Two pieces of advice for this couple: Cut down your three vacations costing $18,000 a year to two costing $12,000 a year, and you’ll nearly double what’s left over. And count your blessings: The ability to make these consumption choices puts you well above the national average.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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