Calculating Your Comfortable Family Income in Australia

How much do you need?

I do get asked some quite strange questions at times, but they are usually one-offs. But this one pops up quite regularly and every time it does, there is never enough information given to me to answer it.

moneyEven with lots of information, it would still be an impossible question to answer, but when the question is something like

I’m moving to Australia next month with my wife and two teenage children, what would be a good salary to ensure a comfortable lifestyle for me and my family?

What chance do I have?

Calculating YOUR comfortable family income

Here’s what I think you need to take into consideration when calculating a comfortable family income for you and your family. You might be able to think of many more.

  • Cost of mortgage or rent.
  • Cost of running a car or cars.
  • Cost of food for your family.
  • Cost of utilities; electricity, gas, water and rates.
  • Cost of additional shopping items; clothes, gadgets, health and beauty, jewellery, computers and toys.
  • Cost of insurances, for the home and for private medical insurance.
  • Cost of telephones, both home and mobile.
  • Cost of entertainment items, like holidays, alcohol, digital TV, going out.
  • Cost of unexpected maintenance bills, for your home, for your car and other things that break.

So to answer these sort of questions, you’d have to offer me a lot of information or I’d have to ask you a lot of further questions.

As you can see, it really is an impossible question for me to answer, but you can answer it for yourself.

Check out my page about The Costs of Stuff.

A simple solution.

If you are coming here from the UK though, this works quite well. However much you spend per month over there in pounds, you’ll probably need twice the amount here in Australian dollars. So if you need £4,000 a month in the UK, budget $8,000 a month here.

Sounds stupid doesn’t it? But I bet it wont be far out.

How can I make sure I earn twice as much in AUD as I currently earn in GBP?

Salaries in Australia are higher than those in the UK, by my estimates over 30% higher; click on the third link below under the title “More useful links:” to my post comparing UK and Australian salaries to see how I got to that.

Once your salary is adjusted to Australian dollars and taking into account the high salaries, you will see from the salary comparison charts on that page that it is quite easy to earn double what you earn in pounds in the UK here in Australian dollars.

Check it out for yourself, and I’ve even updated that post with a 2012 version, you’ll see a link to it from the original post.

More useful links:

My report about The Cost of Living “Comfortably” in Australia

My entire category on the Cost of Living in Australia.

My posts about jobs and salaries:

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Open a bank account in Australia
{ 473 comments… add one }
  • Veronica October 15, 2016, 7:37 am | Link

    This is great information, thanks for posting! As a Canadian, looking at postdoctoral opportunities in Australia seemed enticing with the fantastic salaries that are being offered there above all else (in the US, they offer an unlivable amount). I thought they were too good to be true, but based on what I’ve read here $80,000AUD is a good salary.

    I have a PhD in coral reef molecular microbiology, and my husband is a carpenter. Aside from the Great Barrier Reef area, would you be able to recommend the best places which might be in greatest need of either? We’d love to experience that beautiful country of yours!

    • BobinOz October 17, 2016, 5:19 pm | Link

      Glad you like my website Veronica, but gosh, no, I’m not sure I even know what molecular microbiology is 🙂

      My best suggestion to you would be to search using the links on my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship for the kinds of jobs oath you and your husband would like to do here to see which cities or areas offer you the best opportunities for that.

      Good luck with your plans, Bob

  • Joemon joy September 17, 2016, 6:28 pm | Link

    My wife working as staff nurse (BSc) in kuwait medical college in ICU for 8 years, can we migrate to Australia under skilled labour category


    Joemon joy

  • Nilesh September 16, 2016, 12:57 am | Link

    I am aged 45 years is an HR professional with 20 years of HR experience in software industry and my wife is a primary teacher with 8 years of work ex and daughter 11 years of age are planing to come to Australia primarily to work. My current annual package in India works out to be AUD 45000/- I want to apply for job in Australia and trying to understand the market scenario in Australia. Can you please guide. I am open for field change as well like Public Relations, HRBP etc Regards Nilesh

  • Kedar September 7, 2016, 4:46 am | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I am currently working as a manager in Big 4 consulting firm in India with salary package of approx. AUD 55,000 per year. I have one job offer from Indian company for AUD 69,000 per year. I have total experience of 10 years in Information/ Cyber Security. My wife is doctor ( Dermatologist ) and she earns approx. AUD 16,000 per year.

    I am also trying to get internal transfer via my existing firm to Sydney. With 10 years of experience in Info. Sec.; working as a Manager in Big 4 consulting firm, appreciate if you could help me in estimating how much is the salary that I can expect in Sydney.

    I will be coming with my wife and new born baby. Wife may not get job immediately, so for at least 1 year I will be sole earning person in family.


    • BobinOz September 7, 2016, 4:34 pm | Link

      If you check my page called Getting a Job or a Sponsorship, you will find there is a link within it underneath a heading about how much money you can expect to earn.

      You can look up average salaries in Australia for various occupations by clicking through to that website. Hope that helps, Bob

  • Terry September 6, 2016, 10:25 pm | Link

    Hi, I have a possible job lined up in Melbourne but im not sure what Salary will be enough to live on (which could decide if I accept or reject the job). There is me and my wife, I will get a car with the job, my wife will look for work but wont have one straight away.
    Ideally we would like a 2 bed place with a parking spot, close to public transport so it gives the wife more job options but outside the hustle and bustle – somewhere, that gives decent outdoor activities and cafes would be fine. We are mid 30’s so aren’t party animals so like to chill out, and we are happy for the occasional glass of wine out and about.
    What sort of salary would be comfortable for 2 people to live on?
    Thank you all!!

    • BobinOz September 7, 2016, 12:55 am | Link

      There are so many variables in this, it’s hard to say. Comfortable for some people is uncomfortable for others. I’ve had people on here claiming they can’t get by on $200,000 a year and others saying they have two holidays a year with two kids earning just $50,000.

      If I were in your shoes, I’d be comfortable to come here if I were offered $70,000 plus that car, there’s no reason why you should not be fine on that. If your wife is genuinely looking for work, then you have the potential of two salaries in the near future and that will be even better.

      If you fancy moving to Australia, then I would take this chance, you’ll get by. I’d come here for even less than $70,000, even if it meant struggling for a bit, because it would get me into the country and there’s a good chance that things would get better.

      So, now I’ve told you what I think, what salary have they offered you?

  • Pawandeep singh July 20, 2016, 1:32 am | Link


    I have got positive skill assessment for Telecom Engineer on June-2016. My total work experience is of 9 years + (including 7 years in Telecom and 2 years in IT). I am confused that shud I apply under 189 or 190, because IT experience of 2 years may not be considered relevant to Telecom Engineer profile. if I do not consider IT experience than my total points are 55 and not 60. can you plz tell that if I apply under 189 for EOI, will Australian immigration process check my 60 points before sending invitation or after taking $3600 (i.e after invitation) ??

    • BobinOz July 20, 2016, 11:28 pm | Link

      You would need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent about this sort of thing, I do not answer questions about visas or eligibility. See Would I Qualify?

  • Vishu June 7, 2016, 6:17 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    1) My name is Vishu, any graduate with 15 year experience in Diamond and Jewlery industry from India and applying for PR visa.
    2) I would be applying for my wife and 3 year baby. In India my salary is $10000 per annually.$800 monthly
    3) Can we get the job in Australia or New Zealand with higher pay ?
    4) Will i be getting all the benefits with Australia Government provides for PR?
    5) Which month did the pre-school starts? and which month did admission starts?
    6) For initial stage did Australia Government provides you home subsidy?
    7) What is the Average income of the common man?
    8) Working in Adelaide city in expensive?


    • BobinOz June 8, 2016, 12:03 am | Link

      I think you’ll find most of your questions have been more than answered on my website, you just need to spend a little time looking around and having a good read.

      The Google search facility towards the top right hand side of every page will help you find the articles you need.

  • Krish May 30, 2016, 5:17 pm | Link

    Hello Bob, I hope you are doing good. First of all thank you for your advice, very helpful. Could you please help me by posting links of pages where I could apply for jobs (Fashion Designer) in Australia(Melbourne) as i am not sure if those I am trying are trustworthy.

    • BobinOz May 31, 2016, 7:43 pm | Link

      Check out my page called How to Find a Sponsored Job in Australia, it tells you about a product that will help you find a job in Australia, whether that be sponsored or not.

      It’s not free, but it’s well worth the small sum involved and it does list lots of employment agencies that can be trusted and will give you excellent guidance.

      Otherwise, see Getting a Job or a Sponsorship for free links to job sites.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Samrat May 13, 2016, 7:36 pm | Link

    Hi Bob
    I have started the 190 Visa process, I.e. Skilled nominated (CSOL). I have experience of 4 & half yrs as a restaurant manager which is irrelevant to my graduation, I have completed my Bachelors in Biotechnology of 4 yrs. I am getting 60 points which are needed
    Age – 30, qualification- 15, Ielts – 10 & CSOL state nominated – 5
    Overall – 60, excluding my experience, if exp is also considered then it will add onn to my eligibility.
    1. So is it necessary that the experience should be relevant to the education ?
    2. After migrating to Australia, can we work in any state ? Or is that – we should live in the nominated state for 2 yrs ?
    3. Is Restaurant Manager is an in-demand occupation in Australia ?
    4. Which state would be preferable for this occupation?
    5. What would be an average package for the restaurant manager?
    *Please give me the answers for my queries Bob
    I have searched many blogs regarding this couldn’t get the perfect answers.
    Thanks & Regards
    Samrat, India.

    • BobinOz May 15, 2016, 9:13 pm | Link

      Five questions Samrat and not one of them to do with the subject matter of this page? You say you have searched many blogs to find the perfect answers, you clearly haven’t searched through many of the pages of this blog.

      Please read Would I Qualify? and Getting a Job or a Sponsorship.

  • Muhammad Aqeel May 9, 2016, 4:37 am | Link

    My name is Aqeel and i applied for the student visa subclass573 in jan 13 ….. but i dont have any respone and april was my intake kindly tell me about how much chances of refusal or approval

    • James Clark May 9, 2016, 5:10 am | Link

      Mate, I think it’s unlikely Bob could actually answer that specific question. Best to speak to an immigration agent, right?

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