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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{ 491 comments… add one }
  • SAM January 14, 2017, 5:01 pm | Link

    Hii bob your comments are very helpful..I am planning to move to sydney later this year with my wife and kid 4 years old on PR..I was wondering how much do I need to carry with myself initially and how much is the avg monthly expenditure for a family of 3 over there

    • BobinOz January 15, 2017, 6:44 pm | Link

      Not a question I can answer accurately Sam, there is no average monthly expenditure, simply because your biggest expense will be your accommodation and that could vary from $500 per week to $2000 per week or even more.

      Every family is different with their needs. My page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything will help you work out a budget that will suit your family.

  • Abu Hazim January 1, 2017, 2:23 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I have been working as a QA QC Manager in construction industry in UAE and have got immigration visa for Adelaide Australia, we are a family of 5 with two teenagers School going and one special child. What would be cost of living there? How much salary I can expect if I get a job in the same field.

    Looking for your kind advice.


    Abu Hazim,
    Abu Dhabi

    • BobinOz January 2, 2017, 6:02 pm | Link

      Well, it would be impossible for me to give you precise answers here, but I can tell you that Adelaide is one of our cheapest major cities to live in, but that’s where the good news ends. It is also very difficult to find work there, so it’s not so much a case of how much can you expect to earn in your field, it’s more a case of would you actually get a job at all?

      If you read the comments on my main page about Adelaide, you will see what I mean. Good luck, Bob

  • Bernardo December 24, 2016, 9:12 pm | Link

    Hi Bob! I just found your blog and it looks really interesting! Thank you for sharing all that info! I have been offered a job in Australia and with my girlfriend we are taking into consideration the possibility of moving to Melbourne.

    I’ve been offered 85k AUD per year as a 3d graphic which looks like a good starting salary. My girlfriend should have to find a job too. She’s in HR and training field and we saw that she could find a job with a similar salary in Melbourne.

    Question is: do you think 2 such salaries are good to live in Melbourne?

    We are also checking how it is to have kids in Australia. In case my girlfriend would have the unpaid leave, do you think my 85k AUD would be enough to have a decent lifestyle with a small kid?

    Thank you in advance for any help and sorry in case I missed some article from your blog that could answer my questions!


    • BobinOz December 28, 2016, 9:13 pm | Link

      Congratulations on that job offer, sounds exciting.

      Melbourne is our second most expensive city, so housing isn’t cheap. How much you pay for accommodation whether you are renting or buying is key to answering this question. You can research that on my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

      That said, with both of you working and no children you would be able to live quite comfortably on 2x 85k ish, but with just one salary and a baby to bring up, your budget would need to be much tighter. I think you could still get by, I know plenty of people do, but that’s when keeping your accommodation costs down becomes much more crucial.

      Hope that helps and good luck with your plans, Bob

      • Bernardo December 29, 2016, 1:01 am | Link

        Thank you Bob! I will have a look at the link you gave me. I heard that having a baby in Australia is quite expensive, especially regarding the parental leave (which is paid only the national minimum wage) and the cost of things such as kinder garden… However I think I am going a bit OT, so maybe I will ask about this in a more proper topic! 🙂

        Bye for now!

        • BobinOz December 29, 2016, 9:58 pm | Link

          Having a baby in most western countries is quite expensive, how Australia compares I’m really not sure as I haven’t looked into it fully.

          I know somebody who has though, you will find a link to their website from my article about them here…

          Given your plans, I should think it’s well worth you taking a look.

          • Bernardo December 30, 2016, 8:28 am | Link

            Thank you again for your precious help Bob!

  • Bhooshan Kulkarni December 2, 2016, 7:34 pm | Link

    Hi Bob
    Before coming to Australia, I went through your website for information and was really helpful, I came to Melbourne directly and I didn’t know that it is such a beautiful city, and I was offered 90K a year when I joined back in sept 2015 and I really worked hard the past year and I just had my review recently and was given a record raise of 10% and an excellent feedback, now I earn 100K a year and I like Melbourne, the next thing would be to buy a house here.

    • BobinOz December 2, 2016, 8:58 pm | Link

      Absolutely wonderful! Comments like this make my day, thank you. And congratulations, I’m really pleased the move has worked out for you and you have obviously worked hard. I hope you enjoy the Melbourne and Australia for many more years to come.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Mae November 13, 2016, 12:15 am | Link

    Hi Bob!
    My husband has been offered a salary in the $140 Au range. My concern is how much is left after taxes?! We do have kids but one is in boarding school (because of the potential move and it is pricey 🙁 ) and the other at university, so I’m not sure how claiming the children work? Also, is there any tax relief /exchange agreement between Aussieland and the UK? The contract is starting with two years which is also frightening as its such a big move with no securities . What are the standard expat packages that should come with a move ,i.e house, travel expenses (extending to more than once a year,etc?)
    I would really love to move there but have to consider our current financial commitments along with extra costs and taxes. Any advice you help! Thank you for your time and consideration! (The job would be in NSW)

    • Mark November 13, 2016, 8:59 am | Link

      Hi Mae This is a complicated question. The easy answer is you should be OK. The harder answer is
      1 There is a tax calculator on the net and Bob has a page I am sure you can use but 140k will net down to around 11650.00 a month and tax will be about 3300 a month leaving about 8350 plus or minus any variables eg a company car would be a deduction whilst a rental car travelling to a non normal place of work you could claim for. There is medical insurance to consider but you have 12 + months grace so to speak but take out a UK travel cover for 12 months to be safe.
      2 You don’t get taxed twice if you are sending money back to UK there is a convention between the two countries..I say that as your last lines then suggest you are keeping a lot in UK even your house etc maybe even you.
      3 As for what are the standard expat packages I am not sure such a standard exists. I work for a massive and well known Music TV Film company I happened to mention to my boss over lunch my wife was looking at jobs in Australia, He phoned me later that evening spoke to her and said Good luck and “Tell Mark to go and look after down under for us” “He can work out there”. (shortened version of call) They paid one month car hire in UK, removal costs, including my wife;s car (we sold our house and my car) they paid flights for the family (2 children) then rental car here and rental property hotels etc. They are even now just paying for my other car a classic to come out. they even paid the children’s first year at school books pens etc. We bought a company property, stayed in that and have since bought our own house. I was and always have been well treated but its argued our industry has money to burn.. I imagine flights removal costs and a period of car rental and accommodation here as a minimum..You could say what is reasonable and expenses above if he had stayed in the UK . so removal costs, flights anything like that etc etc … We had industry contacts out here that had worked for us to help me. I’m sure your husbands new outfit will be more than happy to advise. .
      4 I am assuming your husbands is a simple one Paid in Au$ and pay tax in Au$ I say that as I am paid in UK and use the UK AU double taxation convention. Thats more complicated…So when he leaves UK he can claim overpaid tax assuming he is PAYE and coded you will get a overpaid refund. similarly if he starts here on a similar PAYG basis at the Tax year end in June you can claim a refund of overpay… Eg he will have only worked part of the tax year, possibly,
      5 Child at University Not sure of the relevance I’m assuming they are staying in UK and would likely need their own visa for here. Child at boarding school, not sure do you mean claiming for tax purposes. You’d need a savvy accountant for that, I just asked our company one for advice, but you would probably be better of bringing the child, they go to school here depends on many factors. Id say education is better here certainly from around 11 12 years onward.
      Your last paragraphs I’m not sure what you are asking Make the move, its worth it but jettison what commitments you can in UK its too easy to go back. Your nether in one or the other I was like that for years with USA. Before the age of the internet communications etc I travelled beyond belief now I am able to stay put far more, even my boss is jealous of me as now he has family he is getting fed up of flying. You mention security. No one has infinite security anymore but at least you ‘have lived’ and can say I’ve lived in Australia. I’m sure Bob and others will add anything I’ve missed.

      • Mae November 13, 2016, 8:39 pm | Link

        Hi Mark,
        Sounds like I’d make a better salary than my husband then (he’s in academia and if I continued in my line of work multi media writer/Producer?)… if I found a job or wanted one. I guess I will ask him if I can get a work visa through his contract to start? We lived in Switzerland and things were rather complicated (when it came to permits for the spouse). Yes, we have a mortgage elsewhere so that will whittle down his pay as well as the boarding school (£30k) and, a transfer from our child’s school is not an option, as he is at the very important GCSE level. In regards to insurance and visas , if the children are over twice a year would we; need insurance for them ; need visas for them (or would they land as visitors?!). What I’m mainly asking and mostly concerned about is what my husband should try negotiate for (dare he ask for more 150-180k) or is the original offer quite reasonable? Also after two years (and if they offer and extension or permanent position) does one have to leave the country and wait for the new visa? This is standard, I think, in the US.

        • Mark November 13, 2016, 10:49 pm | Link

          Hi Mae Its a wrap on the knuckles or worse for anyone other than a MARA agent to give advice on Visas here and in my profession (whilst I work for who I do its not my profession ) I have have to be squeaky clean. I also would not want to compromise Bob’s site What I can say its not as difficult (nowhere near) as Switzerland.. (All the permits B C and cantonal courts etc is a farce of bizarre proportions) .Its likely if your husband is here you would be able to work. Once the children reach an age then they will have to apply themselves to stay, If you are thinking of staying out here you need to look at the rules for children, their ages…They can visit on visas, even a visitor needs a visa but its limited stay and return etc etc and depends on how long you want them to stay…but there is all sorts of other ways for them to come out …Once the youngest passes the grades then I assume college or Uni in UK, I’d seriously consider if your planning staying here even if in last year at high school bringing them, sit the exams here, college here Uni …it depends on the age exactly but school years start in January so they could get another year in nearly. 30K some 50Au dollars would get you a cracking school if they can handle missing friends,,,
          Well insurance is up to you but its not expensive in the great scheme of this.
          I’ve no idea should he ask for more only he can tell whether that feels right, is he a lecturer or researcher? You could try looking for jobs here in the field, see what the pay is, Its a bigger picture e/g what else are they paying for.. It also depends on what your husband is on now. no need to disclose but Ill put money on it its more here than he earns UK. .Again staying after 2 years is back to the visa advice. what I can say is its probably more sensible than USA. I was born in England but moved to USA in the 70’s I had US citizenship by the time I was 6 or 7 so have two passports, heading for three and a whole heap more tax issues but I have no idea how hard a continuation of a visa is.. but it will be achievable. I’m actually qualified in a completely different field to TV music film production etc but I am employed out here to sort of cover all bases from making the coffee signing off contracts, franchising to chasing royalties. I still work on London and LA things where our offices are so if your field, multimedia is strong TV bias or anywhere related to TV I can say or find out what an average salary is for you. I’m assuming your producing, writing, shooting and editing or ? . My salary did not go up much when I came here but \I am well looked after. I’ve been with them since 94…seems a lifetime. My wife was actually our lead for the visa. hope this helps…

          • Mae November 16, 2016, 6:55 am | Link

            Thanks Mark!

            I really appreciate the advice! He does have to choose between a few postions (US vs NSW, at this point because the UK salary is a bit of a joke, especially with the serious rise in house prices!) So we will try for as much as possible and take it from there.
            Thanks again! 🙂

  • Jas November 2, 2016, 8:53 pm | Link


    You have a great website. I read it while I was waiting for my visa and I am glad to report I have been granted my partner visa and arrive in Australia in January.

    I am a junior lawyer here in Canada and managed to lock down a position before my arrival for $80k + 7k for super. I am hoping 80k a year will be a good start but only way to find out is get stuck in. My partner is on 75k so I am hoping our combined salary will allow us to live decently.

    • BobinOz November 3, 2016, 7:15 pm | Link

      Hi Jas,

      Firstly, congratulations on securing your visas! I know you are not here yet, but may I be one of the first to welcome you to Australia.

      I’m not sure which city you are going to, but with two of you, and what sounds like no kids, I think you will have pretty good lifestyle with your combined incomes.

      Sydney is easily our most expensive city, followed by Melbourne, but even if you are going to one of those two places I still think you will have enough money. If you’re going to any other city, I think you will have a very comfortable lifestyle. Good luck with your move, Bob

  • 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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