In Career, Salary

What is your real wage per hour?

Everyone knows what they earn.

They just take the gross income their employer promised them ($40,000), and say: I earn $40,000 a year!

Then if you want to make it net income, you remove the taxes from that $40,000.

Now to find your salary per hour, you take that $40,000 and divide it by 2000 hours, and that’ll give you $20/hour.

(2000 hours = 50 weeks x 40 hours a week, assuming 2 weeks of vacation. Adjust this number as it fits your situation.)

Easy right?

You can even go farther and calculate your wage per hour based on your net income.

…and even farther still, if you estimate your expenses and deduct that from your income to get your disposable net income per hour.

But what are you really earning an hour?

What if you worked more than 40 hours a week? Or didn’t have 2 weeks vacation?

You’d be earning a lot less, technically.


Take for instance someone who makes $100,000 a year.

Awesome right?

But what if you realize that she works 100-hours a week?

50 weeks x 100 hours a week = 5000 hours

$100,000 / 5000 hours = $20/hour

Is that any better than earning $40,000 a year at 40 hours a week in terms of working wage per hour?

Of course, most people would rather earn $100,000 a year even working 100 hours a week just to have the extra boost in income, but in that is what you feel, then why not pick up a second job then?

You could be making $40,0000 x 2 jobs = $80,0000 a year.

It isn’t easy to give up 100 hours of your 168 hours a week. You only have 68 hours to sleep, run errands and unwind which works out to 9.7 hours a day.

You’re basically a working robot.

It’s not just a basic workweek you should think about

When you take a job, think about how much time you’ll be working but also doing things related to your job.

As a consultant, I can travel from 15-20 hours a week flying back and forth (airport delays, commuting time).

That eats up my time and my money, but it can also balance out if I’m benched (not on a project, and sitting at home).

This is the reason why I assume that I’ll be working two thirds of the year, benched for a third, and I base my total hours of work on that with rough estimations.

So every job you take should be a serious decision

Yes, the economy sucks.

Yes, sometimes you just have to suck it up and take the job because you NEED THE MONEY TO EAT.

I am aware of that, but if you are in the position where they’ve weeded out hundreds of applicants and you are the chosen one who got a job offer, it means they want you.

If they are asking you to put in MORE time at work even though it’s more money, then why not see if it’s worth it per hour, and then try to get a little more out of it?

(Women especially, I am looking at you!)


Ask for more money.

Ask for more vacation time.

What’s the worst that could happen?

That they say: No, I’m sorry we can’t do that. Take it or leave it.?

You still have the choice to accept the job as-is or not!!

Every little bit you get, will count

As we all know, bonuses and stuff that is promised in the heat of the job offer but not noted in actual writing, shouldn’t even be considered for the sake of negotiating.

Don’t be swayed by that signing bonus! It’s just a one-time deal.

So calculate your wage per hour based on your last job offer, and see if this one stacks up.

It helps you put things into perspective, and your spending becomes all the more real when you think of it in work hours.

Have you done these calculations before?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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12 Comments

  1. Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income

    This is great. I talk to my neighbors about this all the time. We get so worried about salary that we almost never consider how much work it takes to get to that salary. Why work extra hard to get paid like you are making half of the wage when you do the math.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Exactly. Work life balance 🙂

      Reply
  2. Anne @ Money Propeller

    I don’t tend to work out my net wage per hour, because the taxes and what I do elsewhere has such a large effect on what it truly is. I only ever work out my rough hourly rate when I am up for some overtime, which only happens at this time of year, for a few weeks. 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Overtime is my favourite word when I work. I bill by the hour, so I’m always eager to work extra.

      Reply
  3. Money Pincher

    Yes! I have done these calculations before. I was giving my younger sister my opinion when she approached me with a job offer. Though they offered more money for her, they want her to work 50 hours a week instead of 40 hours. However, her new job is literally right across from where she lives, so she saves a LOT of commute time. In the end, when she worked it out, she was getting paid similarly for the amount of work she needs to do but in a much better place for future opportunities.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Not to mention the emotional benefits.

      Reply
  4. Kassandra @ More Than Just Money

    Many women are still too afraid to negotiate an offer when being hired. As you put it, the worst they can tell you is no, so why not ask. I try to get as much as I can up front because it’s harder, although far from impossible to get more once you’ve started with a company. I know I’ll be putting in some long hours in order to get the job done, so I try to gain value on that time and energy.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I find also feeling like you deserve as much as a guy (OR MORE) helps … I’m pretty confident in that regard, and I get annoyed if I know someone is making more. Makes me feel like I should ask for that amount next time (and I do).

      Reply
  5. Taylor Lee

    I’ve definitely done these calculations before when a fellow forum-er pointed me to YMOYL. I think I ended up with a per hour wage of $42, taxes and commute and stuff included. Which is a nice chunk of change, but really feels so abstract without thinking of it cumulatively.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Hey, that’s not bad at all!! $42 x 2000 hours = $84,000.

      Reply
  6. NZ Muse

    “Why not pick up a second job then?”

    I’d generally rather work one job. Secondary jobs get taxed at the higher secondary tax rate here (been there done that). Also, extra commuting to secondary job. And switching from one job mindset/function to the other (though for some people that might be a positive).

    Reply

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