Want to Live on Your own ? Try this Reality Check

I came across this interesting reality check on jumpstart coalition's website. The test is targeted for young 'uns moving out of the house for the first time, to give a sense of what is required financially to support their expected lifestyle. If you are moving out for the first time, or know someone who it, I highly recommend taking a few minutes off and spending some time here. It is in no way powerful like the bankrate calculators, but is god fun, and as the name says, does a good job of providing a quick reality check. The questionnaire asks one simple question - "What kind of a lifestyle do you want?" and offers a bunch of options to choose from (check boxes and radio buttons) covering shelter, transportation, food, entertainment etc. Multiple choice is not allowed in some cases, but ball park it as best as you can. Its fairly simple and can be done in under 5 minutes. Based on your answers, the next page tells you what is the minimum hourly wage you need to earn to support such a lifestyle. I think some the numbers in the comparison chart for equivalent hourly wages of those with MS and Ph.D. are a little off, but it nevertheless provides a good sense of what you need to make.

When I answered the questionnaire based on my student days, it pointed that I would need to make $9 an hour, for a 40 hour week to meet my lifestyle (i.e., $360/week). I worked 20 hours a week with an assitantship that broke down to around $14-15 per hour (~$312/week) and I just squeaked by. So, I would say its pretty close. Check it out and do let us (me and the other readers) know if the recommendations made by the tool was close-to-accurate for you.

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Strange Bird said...

I just tried it and I would say the level of accuracy may depend in part on where you live. I put my current lifestyle except my own apartment (intead of the shared two-bedroom I currently have), and it told me I could be earning 25% less than I do (I could be earning 20% less, but that would have negated the savings part, and not if I wanted my own one-bedroom).

So... maybe if you're not in Los Angeles. :)

ispf said...

Hello strange bird, yeah you are right. I think it uses some kind of median rent in its calculations. I made a little less than what it said I should be making, but I got on just fine.

Wonder if anyone in NY has tried this yet... :)

WH said...

Thanks for sharing this Reality Check site...I projected myself into a one-bdrm apt, at much the same lifestyle I'm leading now (sans cable & landline, but including internet) and even took away my car, and it says I can live on $9.09/hr.

In NYC, where the cheapest 1-bdrm in a decent neighborhood (that I've seen) alone runs about $700-800, I project many meals of running home to mom & dad as well! And that's only if I made $9.09 after taxes! =)