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 post called Real Australians Reveal Their Incomes And Monthly Expenses

My entire category on the Cost of Living in Australia.

My posts about jobs and salaries:

Visa Assessment Service
{ 878 comments… add one }
  • reena September 30, 2022, 11:57 pm |

    Hi Chris

    what about $130k incl super for a family of 5 in Brisbane

    • Chris October 1, 2022, 10:26 am |

      Hi Reena,

      I think Bob would be more qualified to answer your question as Brisbane is his backyard. I think it is doable, however you’d have to watch how you spend your dollars. Brisbane is definitely cheaper than Sydney, but prices of food and services are comparable. When you subtract the amount of your Super, you’ll be left with around $118 000 before tax. You can, more or less, find our the cost of accommodation (Bob should send you the link). It varies from suburb to suburb but the closer to the city, the more expensive it gets. We some exceptions, of course, like nice suburbs close to the water (river, sea).
      If you cook your own meals and take your own lunch to work, buy what you only need and find lokal markets, you’ll be OK.

      • BobinOz October 4, 2022, 10:09 pm |

        Chris has given you a very accurate answer, thanks Chris. 130k is a good salary, quite some way above the average, so that’s a positive. But it’s a little bit counted by you just having the one income. As Chris has said, the amount you pay for accommodation is key to how well off you will be, so check out my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia to research that.

        It’s definitely doable, maybe better than doable, perhaps something like reasonably comfortable, whatever any of these words mean 🙂

        It’s really hard to answer these kinds of questions, because everybody’s interpretation of words like well off and comfortable and doable are open to interpretation.

  • Nicole September 20, 2022, 4:41 am |

    Hi Bob 🙂

    I hate to ask yet another variation of this question but I really try to be as frugal as possible and I’m slightly stressed over our upcoming move. Would you say $160,000 (+ superannuation) is enough for a family of 3 to live comfortably in the Adelaide area?


    • Chris September 20, 2022, 9:32 pm |

      Hi Nicole,
      If you don’t commute to work by a helicopter and don’t eat your dinners in 5 star restaurants with caviar and lobster, you will live like a young Goddess.

      • BobinOz September 21, 2022, 5:57 pm |

        Hi Nicole, Chris (hi Chris) is correct, (ish, commuting by helicopter might put a bit of a drain on your finances). It’s a very good salary and you will live very comfortably on it, without you even needing to be frugal. I hope you enjoy Australia, Bob

  • Roton August 31, 2022, 9:17 pm |

    Please help me with any task

Leave a Comment

If your comment doesn’t get answered, find out why…..
FAQs and Comment Policy.