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:

Get an Assessment for an Australian Visa
{ 667 comments… add one }
  • Rudolph May 2, 2018, 9:43 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, I recently got an offer of 115,000$ + superannuation in Brisbane. I want to inquire if this is suitable amount for a family with 3 children. What are expense breakups for schooling, rental, grocery, utilities etc? Will this amount be enough for a decent lifestyle?

    • BobinOz May 3, 2018, 5:02 pm | Link

      Well, I can’t do a full breakdown for you, although if you search around this website, there is a Google search box towards the top right hand side of every page, you will find I’ve written about the costs of schooling, groceries, utilities and more.

      You will also find my pages Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia and The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything very helpful.

      Bottom line though is that $115,000 a year is a very good salary and Brisbane isn’t an expensive city, so I do think you will have enough for a reasonable to decent lifestyle.

  • Le Chiffre April 28, 2018, 8:23 pm | Link

    I have a 175k annual salary in brisbane.
    I am single and have a mortgage.
    Is this a good salary to make ends meet?

    • BobinOz April 30, 2018, 5:25 pm | Link

      It’s a very good salary, probably twice the national average. You will be able to live more than comfortably in Brisbane on this amount.

  • Ali April 26, 2018, 5:59 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I have been made an offer for 95k + superannuation. Is this sufficient for a family of 3 to live in Sydney without worrying about making ends meet?

    • BobinOz April 26, 2018, 8:47 pm | Link

      The key to answering this question is in how much you will need to pay for your housing. Have a look at the rather scary link posted by David in the comment below to see what I mean.

      If the three of you can fit into a two-bedroom apartment somewhere that doesn’t cost too much, then you will get by, not sure it will be worry free though. That said, I suspect many families of three are getting by on that kind of income, which is above national average.

      To research housing costs, see Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

  • David April 26, 2018, 1:03 pm | Link

    Hi Bob. Great article as always. I’ve found the following web article to be useful when planning where to move to. I’m a PR who is looking to move from Cairns to one of the capital cities. It’s a real eye opener to see how much they estimate is required in each city if planning to buy a property ($189k in Sydney and $142k in Melbourne!). Thought I’d post it here to help others who are also considering how much they need to live comfortably as home owners:

    • BobinOz April 26, 2018, 8:44 pm | Link

      Wow, yes, that is a fascinating link David, thanks for posting it. Makes for interesting reading for some people, but it will be scary reading for anyone thinking of moving to Sydney or Melbourne.

      House prices in those two cities have risen so much in the last two years it’s ridiculous.

  • Shiv April 22, 2018, 5:13 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I am getting an offer in Sydney with 120K (including superannuation). I will be coming with my wife. The company is planning for new subclass 482 visa. Is this enough to have a comfortable life? As per my research and calculation, average monthly cost for two would be around $4500 ($3000 Rent + $500 groceries + $500 utilities + $500 transport & recreation).

    • BobinOz April 23, 2018, 6:47 pm | Link

      Looks perfectly doable to me, and with your salary you will have enough spare income if you need it.

  • Steve April 18, 2018, 2:52 am | Link

    Hi Bob!
    I’ve just got a job offer for 80 k annual plus superannuation. If I accept I’d come on visa 186 (permanent) with my spouse and two kids (12 and 19y old).
    The job is located in Oakleigh, Victoria.

    Do you think it’s possible to manage to start life in Australia with no too much struggle with this amount of money for the whole family in this part of Australia?

    Thank you so much for your reply!! It is much appreciated!

    • BobinOz April 18, 2018, 6:36 pm | Link

      Well, the good news is it’s a pretty good salary, it’s at least on par with the average wage in Australia, but more likely slightly above average these days. The bad news though is that Melbourne’s housing is extremely expensive, so the key for you, so you don’t struggle, is to keep your rental or mortgage payments as low as possible.

      If I were you, I’d do a good deal of research on my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia to see what you can get for your money in Melbourne that isn’t too far away from where you will be working.

      Once you know how much money you will have left, you can even use my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything to help work out your family budget.

      Hope that helps, Bob

  • Renee April 12, 2018, 11:39 pm | Link

    $85,000 between us , a baby and $200 per week rent in Melbourne?

    • BobinOz April 13, 2018, 8:54 pm | Link

      $200 a week for a rental in Melbourne? Crikey, where are you getting that? I assume it’s a house share or something?

      Anyway, if that’s all your rent is going to be, then yes, it’s a liveable wage, if that’s what you’re asking.

  • Raj April 7, 2018, 11:06 pm | Link

    Hi Bob I have a PR visa and been offered a role in Brisbane. 85k + bonus plus super. We wish to rent a house in Rochedale with my wife and 5 year old daughter. Looking online we can rent something really nice for 600/mthly. Is this a good salary to have a comfortable lifestyle in this area as we are not lavish. I will also have a company car. Once settled my wife will look for part time admin work in about 12mths. As always your advice is appreciated!

    • BobinOz April 9, 2018, 7:18 pm | Link

      Hi Raj, well it’s an above average salary, and Brisbane is a below-average cost of living city, as in much cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne, so I think you’ll be just fine on this salary.

      You won’t be mega rich, but you will certainly get by reasonably comfortably and once your wife starts chipping in with that part-time work, life will get even more comfortable for you. Having a company car is also a great bonus and the icing on the cake.

      Good luck, hope it all works out well for you and your family.

  • Martin March 22, 2018, 8:54 pm | Link

    Hi bob. I’d love to be able to write more and ask more questions as I feel really out of my depth. I came to Australia on a 489 as a fitter. Was given some bad advice to seek roles further north. It looked like mackay had many jobs, so here I am. Months later, no work apart from some hours cleaning. My saving are nose diving.

    Thankfully I’ve been offered a full time job in recruitment. I believe it pays between 48 to 50 or 52k. Obviously this is better than nothing, but once I start should I keep trying for more money elsewhere? There is currently myself and my partner, she only gets a few hours cleaning at the moment too.
    We aren’t getting any younger and would like to start thinking about having a family maybe a year from now. Our rent is currently 280 pw.

    • BobinOz March 23, 2018, 6:51 pm | Link

      It’s very difficult for me to advise on this one, but I have just popped over to my page about Getting a Job or a Sponsorship and done a little searching via the links to the job portals there.

      There seems to be quite a few vacancies around the country for fitters, and the money doesn’t seem bad either. Something like $40-$55 an hour which would be better than that recruitment job, so my advice would be to keep looking for work as a fitter.

      The other thing I noticed was that normally, the vast majority of jobs are in either Sydney or Melbourne, but with fitters, Queensland was second only to New South Wales for the number of vacancies and it was ahead of Victoria. (Adzuna breaks the numbers down into states and territories on the left-hand side of the search.)

      The real bonus here is if you can continue to live in Queensland where rental prices for houses are much lower, and get a job paying about $50 an hour, you’d actually be quite well off. So I suspect it would be wise to take that recruitment job for now if you think you need to, but continue to look for something better.

      Hope that helps a bit, and good luck, Bob

      • Cillian April 5, 2018, 9:31 am | Link

        Hi Bob,
        I will be moving to Brisbane with my partner and 3 year old under the 189 visa. Just wondering in your opinion is 75000 aus dollars enough to live comfortably for the first 2 years there? My partner will be looking for work in the second year. Thanks, Cillian

        • BobinOz April 5, 2018, 8:58 pm | Link

          $75,000 is a pretty good salary in Australia, plenty of people with bigger families are getting by on it, so you will be okay. It would have been harder if you were going to Sydney or Melbourne, but Brisbane is cheap by comparison so I think you’ll be fine.

          Once your partner starts working in the second year, that will put the icing on the cake.

        • Ockert May 21, 2018, 3:26 pm | Link

          Hi Cullinan .I see you got to Australia with the 189 Visa .We are looking at entering Aus the same way .Could we connect via email please .I have a lot of questions if it is ok with you .
          [email protected]

  • Sumedha March 15, 2018, 10:30 pm | Link

    Hi bob,

    My bro has been offered a job in Sydney with AUD $58k…can he survive n save well with dis salary??he z not addicted to smoking/drinking or anythng that can increase his expenditure…plz help as he z tensed abt saving..

    • BobinOz March 16, 2018, 4:18 pm | Link

      That depends how much he will need to spend on his accommodation costs. If he can get something for $250 a week or less, and he is very frugal, and doesn’t have too many other expenses, he would be able to survive and may even be able to save a little bit each month.

  • May March 14, 2018, 11:18 am | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I am offered AUD78,000 salary to work in Sydney. This is without tax deduction yet. Is this enough for me to survive and earn some money?

    • May March 14, 2018, 11:22 am | Link

      BTW, I am single and planning to rent a private room near CBD (max budget is 200pw). Thanks in advance.

      • BobinOz March 14, 2018, 6:11 pm | Link

        This is a pretty good salary and as it’s just you on your own, and as you are happy with just renting a private room, I think you will be fine on this budget.

        I just had a quick look around and it appears that there are some rooms available at $200 a week, but most rooms are more, so you may have to up your budget for accommodation. Even if you paid $300 a week, I still think you will be pretty comfortable on this salary.

        • May March 17, 2018, 12:46 am | Link

          Thanks a heap!

  • Renee March 14, 2018, 4:29 am | Link

    Hi bob,I’m planning to marry a paramedic who lives in Adelaide earns $85,000/- annually.
    We will have a family of four as both of us have 1 child each, he owns a 4bhk & pays emi for home loan. Will the salary be good enough for a family of four. I’m stressing about it as I don’t live in Australia & I’m completely unaware of the cost of comfortable living. Waiting to hear from you. Thank you.

    • BobinOz March 14, 2018, 5:56 pm | Link

      That’s a pretty good salary, it’s above the national average, and Adelaide is not an expensive city by Australian standards. I wouldn’t worry about it, I think you and your family will live quite comfortably on this income.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Matilde March 11, 2018, 8:31 pm | Link

    Hi, Bob! My husband and I are living in Stockholm since 2015 and now a company offered him a job in Melbourne. The salary before taxes would be 116.000 with a annual bonus of 10-20%.
    Will be enough earning 6900 per month? That’s the amount I found on the web it would rest after taxes.

    • BobinOz March 12, 2018, 8:35 pm | Link

      If it’s just the two of you, yes, I think you will be fine on that salary. Plenty of people survive on less. Just try and keep your accommodation costs as low as possible, housing is expensive in Melbourne.

      To check out the prices, see Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

  • Juan March 5, 2018, 4:40 am | Link

    Dear Bob,

    I’ve just been offered a 2 year contract at Monash University (Melbourne). My annual pay would be 83,400 AUD gross + 9.5% superannuation. I’ve worked out that my monthly take-home salary would be between 4600 and 5300 AUD (depending on whether or not I am considered a resident for tax purposes) and I have no wife or kids. Would this be enough for having a comfortable life, while renting my own apartment close to the city center and saving enough (say 1000AUD) per month? Thanks!

    • BobinOz March 5, 2018, 6:59 pm | Link

      Yes, perfectly doable I would say, being as it is just you. Roughly speaking, you’d probably need to pay around $1300 a month on rent, so after you’ve put that $1000 savings away each month, that will leave you with (minimum) of 2300 a month to live on.

      You won’t be stinking rich, but I do believe you will be reasonably comfortable on that.

  • Carl March 1, 2018, 6:00 pm | Link

    Hi bob,

    We’ve started the 489 process soon to complete sponsored by qld, my wife is a midwife and has been told a yr ago she would start on $70k plus overtime in cairns, she has another yrs experience now and by the time we leave in October 2018 She’ll have another yr so 4yrs experience, the wage should increase, were a family of 5 the plan is for me to get a part time job once the kids are in school, privately rent a 4 bed at around $450 a week as cairns is expensive, I’m hoping to bring in an additional $1000-$1500 a mth, is this combined eith y wife’s wage a livable wage for us?

    • BobinOz March 2, 2018, 4:55 pm | Link

      Yes, that sounds doable, it’s a liveable wage for sure. Shouldn’t be a problem renting a four bedroom house on that budget either, and your wife’s wage sounds pretty close to the national average.

      I’m sure there are plenty of people surviving on much less up that way, so you’ll be fine. You won’t be rich, but I don’t think your struggle too hard either. If your wife does earn more, and maybe does do a bit of overtime, and then you get your additional income coming through, then I reckon you’d be able to treat yourself now and then.

  • Jason February 7, 2018, 11:24 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I’m moving to Sydney and a company is offering me 65K AUD as base salary, with commissions. Is this acceptable in Australian wage standards?


    • Mark February 8, 2018, 12:51 pm | Link

      Hi Jason

      I think before anyone answers you the 65k is all very well but then tax! You might be cutting the cloth a bit thin on that money. The main questions are what sort of commission do you expect on top and then if its a different answer. What sort of commission do you really think you will get. ? is there only you no dependants? . Assume youd house share, just the one of you If its family then you may well struggle on that money alone.
      That might make all the difference!

      Cheers Mark

      • Jason Aquino February 23, 2018, 6:19 am | Link

        We’re a family of four actually. The compensation says $65K as base salary and $65K in commissions. OTE is $130K – do you think we could live in Sydney decently?


        • BobinOz February 23, 2018, 6:55 pm | Link

          The main problem with Sydney is the cost of housing, so I think you really need to look into that first, whether you’re renting or buying. This page will help, Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

          It’s really hard to say whether you could live ‘decently’, because that’s not really definable. If you can keep your housing costs as low as possible, then I’m sure you will get by, plenty of people in Sydney do on that money. Depending on what kind of visa you are coming in on though, you may have to pay for your children’s education, and that could be a bit of a drain.

          Check my page about it here…

          The concern though is if you don’t reach target and do not get those commissions, you could then struggle. You also need to, I imagine, try and work out whether you would be better off coming to Sydney than where you are now, and to do that you probably will need to do a thorough personal budget, my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything will help you with that.

          Good luck, Bob

  • Veronica January 31, 2018, 8:02 pm | Link

    Hi Bob. Thanks for all the information you provide on your website, it really throughs light into our big decision.
    We are a family of 4 with two kids ages 11 and 6. We have been offered a job in Sydney both of us, with $65,000 and $75,000 respec. I would think the superannuation it’s included on those figures.
    With all the expenses, health insurance, accomodat, phones, schools, and still mortgages for a value of $1,600pm it seems we will be quite tight. Do you think we can we make a decent living or we will just get along surviving? I would really appreciate your comments on this.

    Kind regards

    • Mark February 8, 2018, 12:55 pm | Link

      Hi Veronica
      Its do able, its130K you will if you are not lavish be OK It depends what you are leaving behind eg leaving a decent job or the new 65 75 is way better. Your 1600pm on a mortgage of course is a moveabe feast dependant on what you buy, what deposit you have and so on

      • BobinOz February 9, 2018, 4:57 pm | Link

        Yes, as Mark says, it is doable, especially if you are saying that you have looked into it and your mortgage will only be $1600 per month. That’s very low for Sydney, but if that’s all you’re going to pay I think you will be fine.

        If you are guessing on the mortgage though, I’d look at it again if I were you.

  • ms January 27, 2018, 9:25 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I have a job offer in Sydney (AUD 70K+Super). Can a family of 4 (couple and 2 kids) survive in this salary? I have PR and will move from India with family, if I accept the job. Please advise.

    • BobinOz January 29, 2018, 8:01 pm | Link

      Survive is an interesting word, and my answer would be yes, possibly, but it would really depend on how much you will need to be spending on housing, whether it’s mortgage or rent.

      If you have no deposit to buy a house, then you will need to go into rented. Either way, check out my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

      Additionally, if you are on a temporary visa, you may have to pay something like $6000 a year for each of your children’s education…

      Even if you could keep your accommodation costs down to $2000 a month, which I doubt, and if you do have to pay $1000 a month for schooling, that’s not going to leave you much at all.

      Survive, possibly, but it won’t be fun and I wouldn’t want to try it.

  • Max January 25, 2018, 12:46 am | Link

    Hi bob, I was offered 98k p.a. + 10% super in sydney and i will be coming with my wife and 2 baby.

    Can you roughly advice about estimated cost

    Would it be enough to live comfortably?

  • Sadia January 15, 2018, 6:05 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I am planning to move Australia preferably Melbourne with my family (1 spouse and 1 kid).
    How much salary will be good to live a good life there.
    Appreciate your reply.

    • BobinOz January 16, 2018, 11:37 pm | Link

      There is no magic number, everybody’s needs are different and of course, much depends on your housing costs. The best way to work out how much you will need is to do a proper budget and price up all the things you need as a family. My page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything will help you with that.

      • Sadia January 17, 2018, 1:38 pm | Link

        Thank you so much for your reply.
        I will work on it.

        Thank you


  • Charl January 9, 2018, 2:32 pm | Link

    Good day Bod,

    Hope you well….question.

    I’ve been offered Aus 180k per year to work for a company in Sydney. This will only be for my wife and myself. Do you think this is a decent salary bracket ? If I work it out take home salary would be around 10k per month (I might be wrong)

    I will relocate from South Africa.

    • BobinOz January 9, 2018, 8:56 pm | Link

      Well, it’s an excellent salary, more than double the national average. Some would say it’s closer to treble. So yes, it’s a decent salary bracket and should allow you and your wife to live a reasonably good lifestyle. I only say ‘reasonably’ because accommodation costs in Sydney are through the roof, so you need to make sure what you pay for rent or mortgage is not excessive.

      Good luck, Bob

      • Charl January 15, 2018, 6:54 pm | Link

        Thanks for the reply Bob.

        I have learned that from the 180k, I will still have to deduct w
        The amount of 180k will form part if Total Fixed Reward (TFR) which includes a 9.5% superannuation contribution, this means my gross base pay would equate to $164384 before the usual tax deductions.

        Seems take home would be around the 9k mark per month. I am not sure of medical aid cover and would still need to confirm on that, so that might be another 1.5k out of my pocket for my wife and I.

        Would earning 9k a month still be a good salary ?

        • BobinOz January 16, 2018, 11:40 pm | Link

          Yes, it’s still very good, but if you are concerned about it, then it might be a good idea to check out my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything and work out how much you are likely to spend each month based on your needs.

          As I said before, the critical element is almost certainly going to be your housing costs and that’s something you really should look at before you decide what to do.

  • Rachae January 1, 2018, 11:12 am | Link

    Hi bob.
    My partner has been offered sponsorship in mt gambier, South Australia via rsms visa.
    The offer is $60,000 plus super. Initial rental help and a work van.
    I’ve seen houses of a nice quality go for around $250 a week.
    He woukd be on this wage for 2 years until his visa requirements are met and can then sub contract as well if necessary.
    Can a fanily of 5 get by on this wage at all?

    • BobinOz January 2, 2018, 8:00 pm | Link

      It’s going to be tight, very tight, but I think with good budgeting you will be able to get by. Obviously a lot depends on your lifestyle, but with your partner getting a work van and I assume the petrol with it, that will help. Cigarettes and alcohol are very expensive here, so if you like that kind of thing, that will stuff up your budget.

      As I say, it will be tough, you won’t have any spare money, but others can and do get by on this kind of income, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to as well. I think you need to look at what your lifestyle is like now where you are, and then decide if you think you can have a better lifestyle here on this wage.

      Good luck, Bob

      • J January 4, 2018, 6:50 pm | Link

        My we are looking to move to Perth , my wife’s wage is €120,000 A year , I would be looking after my 2 kids for the time being .. is that enough to survive on for us all ?

        • BobinOz January 5, 2018, 8:03 pm | Link

          If you really mean euros, that’s about AU$180,000 which will be more than enough for you and your family. Even if it’s Australian dollars, $120,000 is still a very good salary. Housing is still quite expensive in Perth, I think, but you will be fine.

  • Satya December 23, 2017, 7:29 pm | Link

    This blog is amazing.
    Bob, With your permission can I post the link of whatsApp Group which I created just now?

    • BobinOz December 24, 2017, 5:32 pm | Link

      Thanks, glad you like it.

      I’m afraid the answer is no to your whatsApp link; if I’m not mistaken people have to be a member of whatsApp to see the content, and not everybody is. I’m not, for example. Good luck with your group though, Bob

      • Satya Valluri December 25, 2017, 12:55 am | Link

        Thanks for your comment.
        I really appreciate the good work you are doing here.
        I think the blog contains all the information I need but I shall comment if I’m case something I need isn’t present.

    • Ockert May 21, 2018, 3:37 pm | Link

      Hi Satya what is your wa group about ?

  • BobinOz December 13, 2017, 10:35 pm | Link

    I would think you would be able to afford a very decent lifestyle on that money in Shepparton. I don’t know the place well, but I have driven through it…

    And yes, house rental costs are usually much lower in rural towns, but you can check it on my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia.

    I think you will be fine on that money.

  • John December 13, 2017, 8:28 am | Link

    Hi Bob. I got an offer of AUD 83500 plus superannuation in rural Victoria (Shepparton). I intend to move alone. Are the living costs (house rentals especially) relatively lower in rural/ small towns? Will I afford to live a decent life (i.e. eat, afford a decent car and save for a holiday etc) off this salary?

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