Yesterday, Lifehacker linked to a very cool calculator at CNN Money. This calculator takes your salary and location and tells you what your comparable salary would be in another part of the country. As someone living in the DC area (note – to find DC, select Virginia as the state), I was very interested to see what my comparable salary would be in other cities that I have lived in. DC is so expensive that it’s hard to comprehend the numbers. My salary sure sounds great to my friends still living in the St. Louis area – but now I know that in comparable terms, they’re making as much or more than I am, mostly thanks to the high cost of housing here.
I had a good time inputting numbers and figuring out a reasonable salary in the various locations. Honolulu? Way more expensive. Anchorage? Less expensive (only because of housing – transportation, healthcare, groceries, everything else is more expensive). Manhattan? Laughably more expensive. Housing is 85% more than it is in DC.
So then I compared Anchorage to Manhattan. Housing is 200% more in Manhattan than it is in Anchorage. I wonder how those calculations are made. Are we talking the comparison between average homes? An average home in Anchorage might be a one family home with a backyard, where an average home in Manhattan might be a two bedroom apartment? I don’t know. If it’s a square foot comparison, I would expect the difference to be even higher.
It’s a fun little calculator to play with, and if you’re looking at a move across the country, it will give you an idea of a comparable salary, so you have a general idea of what to look for. As someone living in a more expensive area, it made me want to save a higher percentage of my salary, because hey, look at what that savings could get me in a less expensive area!