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

(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.

Living the American dream doesn't come cheap.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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