It Costs $130K to Live the 'American Dream'

That'll get you and your 2 kids a house, SUV, and more, per a 'USA Today' analysis
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2014 7:59 AM CDT
Living the American dream doesn't come cheap.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Newser) – As Americans today celebrate their freedom, a USA Today analysis calculates just how much it costs to live the American dream. And its number-crunching indicates only about 13% of Americans can foot the bill, which clocks in at $130,357 a year for a family of four. Per Census Bureau numbers, one in eight US households made that much money last year, with the median income being $51,000. What $130K could, in theory, get those who made the cut:

  • A home, at $17,062: What's the American dream without one's own home? USA Today estimated the annual cost of a $275,000 home (the median price in the nation) based on a 30-year mortgage at 4% and a 10% down payment, plus a factored-in annual maintenance cost.
  • Groceries, at $12,659: A figure based on the USDA's estimate of a "moderate-cost" grocery plan.

  • A car, at $11,039: An SUV of course, and one with four-wheel drive, based on AAA numbers.
  • Healthcare, at $9,144: The paper used the Milliman Medical Index to arrive at the figure, which includes annual insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
  • Good standing with Uncle Sam, at $32,357: Federal, state, and local taxes were calculated at 30%.
  • Schooled kids, at $9,000: That covers expenses for the year plus pretax college savings.
  • A secure future, at $17,500: That's the amount earmarked as the annual pretax contribution to a retirement plan—the max if you're under 50.
  • Summer vacation, at $4,580: Because what's the American dream if you can't get away for a little while?
  • Game of Thrones, Facebook, etc., at $3,100: A figure that gets you cable, Internet, and your cell phone.
Amounts were also earmarked for dining out, entertainment, utilities, etc. Full breakdown here. (Read more American dream stories.)

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