$21k annually is roughly $10 an hour if the employee works 40 hours per week. However, take-home pay will be closer to $19,000 annually after taxes. There will be some variation depending on whether the employee pays state income taxes, but almost everyone will need to pay federal income and social security taxes.
When you move from an hourly wage to a salaried position, annual wages can seem like a lot more than they really are. And because some full-time jobs have more wage deductions than hourly positions, you may be surprised to realize your salary is much higher than it is. Not only do you have to account for federal and state income taxes, but your paycheck may also look smaller after retirement contributions and insurance premiums.
So much an hour is $21k a year? How do you calculate your monthly, weekly, and even daily pay from your annual salary? Keep reading to learn how you can calculate your hourly pay from your annual salary, why your paycheck may look smaller than you expected, and whether $21,000 a year is actually a good salary for where you live.
$21k a year is how much an hour?
$21k a year salary comes out to about $10 an hour, just above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. This, of course, is your pretax income and assumes you work 40 hours a week.
To be a bit more exact, if you work a 40-hour-a-week full-time job, you will work for a total of 2,080 hours annually. So to earn an annual salary of $21,000, you would need to make $10.10 per hour.
Generally, if you want to make a higher yearly salary, evaluating your hourly wage is a good place to start.
$21k a year is how much a month?
To calculate your gross monthly pay, simply divide your gross annual salary by 12 for each month in a year. For a $21,000 annual salary, your gross pay would be about $1,750 per month.
$21k a year is how much a week?
Fortunately, you can use a similar calculation to determine your weekly pay, except this time divide your annual salary by 52. With a $21k salary, you would earn about $404 per week, or $808 if you’re paid biweekly.
|Daily (8 hours)||$58|
|Weekly (40 hours)||$404|
|Biweekly (80 hours)||$808|
|Monthly (173.33 hours)||$1,750|
|Yearly (52 weeks/2,080 hours)||$21,000|
Keep in mind that these are all rough gross figures. Your actual take-home pay will be affected by income taxes. The rules for state income taxes will vary depending on where you work and live, but pretty much everyone is expected to pay federal income and social security taxes.
One of the best parts about salaried positions is the potential for paid time off (PTO). With PTO, you’ll get the same pay for working fewer hours per week, though only for a limited time.
Depending on your position, you may receive a set number of hours or days you can take off without impacting your take-home pay. Other companies allow you to roll over whatever time you didn’t use into next year, giving you even more free time.
How does a $21k salary compare to other salaries?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median household income nationally was $58,260, which is considerably higher than a $21,000 salary. To get a better idea of how your salary compares to others, take a look at the table below.
|Salary||Gross monthly income||Gross weekly income||Gross hourly income|
What kinds of jobs make $21k a year?
If you’re looking for better pay or a new profession, you can use the table below to see jobs with an average salary of less than $30,000. Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list and doesn’t account for any raises, bonuses, or promotions in these fields.
For more information on any of these occupations, visit the Bureau Labor of Statistics’ Occupation Finder.
|Job||Entry-level education||Projected new job numbers||Job description|
|Fast food and counter workers||No formal educational credential||50,000 or more||Food and beverage serving and related workers take and prepare orders, clear tables, and do other tasks associated with providing food and drink to customers.|
|Shampooers||No formal educational credential||1,000 to 4,999||Shampoo and rinse customers’ hair.|
|Gambling service workers||No formal educational credential||10,000 to 49,999||Gambling services workers serve customers in gambling establishments, such as casinos or racetracks.|
|Baggage porters and bellhops||High school diploma or equivalent||1,000 to 4,999||Handle baggage for travelers at transportation terminals or for guests at hotels or similar establishments.|
|Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers||No formal educational credential||10,000 to 49,999||Assist patrons at entertainment events by performing duties, such as collecting admission tickets and passes from patrons, assisting in finding seats, searching for lost articles, and helping patrons locate such facilities as restrooms and telephones.|
|Dishwashers||No formal educational credential||10,000 to 49,999||Clean dishes, kitchen, food preparation equipment, or utensils.|
|Shoe machine operators and tenders||High school diploma or equivalent||Declining||Operate or tend a variety of machines to join, decorate, reinforce, or finish shoes and shoe parts.|
|Childcare workers||High school diploma or equivalent||50,000 or more||Childcare workers attend to children’s needs while helping to foster early development.|
|Locker room, coatroom, and dressing room attendants||High school diploma or equivalent||1,000 to 4,999||Provide personal items to patrons or customers in locker rooms, dressing rooms, or coatrooms.|
|Maids and housekeeping cleaners||No formal educational credential||50,000 or more||Perform any combination of light cleaning duties to maintain private households or commercial establishments, such as hotels and hospitals, in a clean and orderly manner. Duties may include making beds, replenishing linens, cleaning rooms and halls, and vacuuming.|
How much of that $21k a year do you take home?
Unfortunately, you can’t take that entire $21k home every year. Between federal and state taxes, medical insurance premiums, and contributions to your retirement account, your take-home pay may look a lot different from your annual pay.
Many large and small businesses offer health insurance as a benefit for salaried employees, which can be a huge plus. However, these insurance premiums are removed from your paycheck. Of course, this only matters if you receive your health insurance through your company; otherwise, you won’t have to account for this payment.
Another benefit to salaried positions is retirement contributions. Depending on where you work, your company may have a variety of retirement accounts available, though most will likely offer a 401(k) or IRA of some kind.
Fortunately, you can decide how much you contribute to your retirement. Some businesses offer to match contributions up to a certain dollar amount or percentage, so be sure to take advantage of that bonus. This match is often around 3% or 4% of your monthly income.
Federal income tax
In 2021 the IRS announced the annual inflation adjustments for the tax year 2022. Some of the changes include increases to the standard deductions, which is the amount of your earned income that is not subject to taxes. For single taxpayers, the standard deduction is $12,950, an increase of $400.
With marginal tax brackets, the more money you make, the more money you can expect to pay in taxes. However, once you change tax brackets, your tax burden will change, and the resulting take-home pay will likely be different. Individuals are only taxed at each bracket for the money they make relevant to the bracket.
Though it may be annoying to see more money leave your paycheck, the FICA tax funds Social Security and Medicare. Everyone working, even if they collect Social Security, is expected to pay a FICA tax. As of 2022, FICA has a fixed rate of 7.65% on all taxable income up to $147,000.
After you exceed $147,000 of taxable income, the FICA tax is no longer applicable, as this is the maximum income considered when calculating Social Security benefits. Though there have been discussions of raising the income cap for the FICA tax, this cap hasn’t increased as of 2022.
State income taxes
After you deduct federal and FICA taxes, there’s one more set of taxes to consider before determining your take-home pay: state taxes.
This is where your take-home pay can vary considerably. For instance, if you live in a state with no income tax — such as Alaska, Washington, and Florida — your take-home pay will be around $18,548 a year. However, other states have high state taxes, such as Oregon, California, and New York. Make sure to keep this in mind when planning your annual budget.
Is $21k a year enough to live on comfortably?
In 2022, the federal poverty line was about $13,590 per year, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. With that in mind, a $21,000 salary is pretty close to the poverty line.
However, that number merely describes the poverty line, not what it means to live comfortably. It’s also difficult to say whether this is a good salary for every U.S. city, as the cost of living varies significantly depending on the state and city you reside in. Use the chart below, which lists the average household income per state, to determine whether your $21k yearly salary is reasonable for your area.
Your yearly salary vs. the living wage
Unfortunately, a yearly salary of $21,000 is under the living wage in all U.S. cities. Of course, a “living wage” is defined as the minimum wage a person must make to simply get by wherever they live. Ideally, you’ll make more than the living wage and have a little wiggle room in your budget for additional savings.
To see how your $21k salary compares to the living salaries and poverty guidelines throughout the U.S., take a look at the chart below.
Sample $21k a year budget
Even if you have a good salary, you can easily find yourself needing more money each month if you don’t plan an appropriate budget. Depending on your income and desired lifestyle, there will be some wiggle room as to what a healthy budget will look like.
For example, let’s say you live in Arizona making $21,000 a year. After state and federal taxes, your take-home pay would equal about $18,266, so your budget for the year may look something like this.
|Category||% of monthly salary||Amount|
Housing and the general cost of living will vary widely from state to state. In high-cost-of-living states such as California and New York, a larger portion of your income will likely be spent on your rent or mortgage.
What if $21k a year isn’t enough?
Even if their living expenses are covered, the average person making $21k a year would still likely benefit from an increase in their monthly income. This could just add more discretionary spending room to their budget, but extra money in the bank is always a comforting feeling.
Most people who want extra income without the total commitment of second jobs will want to turn to the gig-based economy. Fortunately, many of these jobs have a relatively low entry skill barrier and widespread availability through websites and mobile apps. Gig work also provides the freedom to have non-traditional work hours, unlike most hourly jobs.
Many of the well-known courier services’ primary businesses involve food delivery. Grubhub, DoorDash, Ubereats, and similar services can be a great way to earn money. But it can be hard to calculate how much extra income these will add to your bank account each month because a non-negligible portion of your profits will be from customer tips.
Since tips are never guaranteed, coming up with an exact number can be difficult. If you have an older but reliable vehicle, doing deliveries on a couple of weekends each month will definitely put at least some extra money in your pocket.
If there isn’t a robot that can affordably perform the necessary task, then there is probably someone, somewhere, willing to pay money to make their life a little bit easier. Many of the more well-known gig-work marketplaces have significant demand for labor with relatively limited requirements.
Some of the most popular gig-work marketplaces cater to pet owners and are specifically meant to help find dog walkers and pet sitters. Other marketplaces such as TaskRabbit advertise services such as furniture assembly, housekeeping, and other minor home improvement tasks.
If your normal work is a skill that can be performed remotely, such as graphic design, or voiceover work, you can also look into freelancing in your current industry. There are a variety of platforms that cater to more professional freelancers. Getting your first few gigs on these platforms can be a bit challenging without any reviews on your profile, so if at all possible, consider leveraging your professional network for initial leads.
Two of the most well-known side gigs are a bit of a hybrid between courier services and odd-job freelancing. Uber and Lyft call themselves ride-sharing services, but they are arguably a lot less like public transit and a lot more like app-based taxi services.
Wages between the two are fairly competitive, but the best service to work for will probably depend on where you live. Driving passengers for Uber or Lyft has stricter vehicle requirements than working for one of the previously mentioned delivery services.
Property rentals are the area of the gig economy that can potentially require the least amount of time dedicated to your side hustle. They will, however, usually require a significant initial financial investment if you don’t already own the property you plan to rent out. Two of the more popular choices for property rentals are motor vehicles and residential property.
The demand will depend on your location, but even if the property is only rented out once or twice a month, that’s still extra money in your pocket you wouldn’t otherwise have. The best platform for you will depend on what type of property you are hoping to rent out.
Extra income from a side hustle won’t be an exact number
Unlike above, where we could easily convert hourly rates into annual income, trying to calculate exactly how much your side hustles will impact your net worth is a bit trickier. The hourly pay for side hustles can vary widely, even when near identical work is performed, and especially when tips become a factor.
Courier services and ride-share drivers will receive money in tips regularly, but since the amount received in tips will vary, it can be hard to predict future income. Charging an hourly rate will allow you to calculate some additional income, but be prepared to pay all the relevant taxes on that income.
- Earning $10.10 per hour and working full-time all year will result in an annual salary of roughly $21k before taxes.
- $21k a year may not allow a single person to live comfortably given the high cost of living in certain states. However, if you manage your expenses with a realistic monthly budget, you may be able to live on a $21,000 salary.
- A wide variety of side hustles can boost your total pay. Some of them might even have expenses that can be deducted at tax time.
- However, if you decide to increase your income, be sure to track how it will affect your overall tax situation. After all, your combined salary can easily change which tax bracket you fall into at the end of the fiscal year.
View Article Sources
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- Frequently Asked Questions on Gift Taxes — IRS
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- Are Reinvested Dividends Taxable? — SuperMoney
- Understanding Crypto And Capital Gains Taxes — SuperMoney
- How to Avoid Capital Gains Tax on Stocks — SuperMoney
- What is Unearned Income? Definition and Examples — SuperMoney
- Tax Deductions and Credits List: Complete Guide for 2022 — SuperMoney
- How Capital Gains and Losses Affect Your Taxes — SuperMoney
- What is Return of Capital (ROC)? — SuperMoney