One of the first things you should consider before accepting a job and moving to the US, is the cost of living. It will vary greatly depending on which state and city you chose to live in. There really isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes down to it.
Negotiating a salary and deciding exactly how much you’ll need to have saved in the bank before you move really depends on the cost of living and what your spending habits are.
Coming from Australia, you might be shocked by how much it costs to live in the US. Then again, you could be coming from Sydney where no form of financial insanity is too much.
Numbeo ranks each city in the world on its cost of living, and these are most of the US and Aussie entrants:
Cost of Living US v Australia
|16||New York, NY, United States||77||Melbourne, Australia|
|17||Honolulu, HI, United States||79||Sacramento, CA, United States|
|18||San Francisco, CA, United States||81||Adelaide, Australia|
|19||Anchorage, AK, United States||82||New Orleans, LA, United States|
|20||Washington, DC, United States||84||Hartford, CT, United States|
|21||New Haven, CT, United States||85||Santa Barbara, CA, United States|
|22||Berkeley, CA, United States||87||Cairns, Australia|
|23||Santa Cruz, CA, United States||89||Brisbane, Australia|
|25||Brooklyn, NY, United States||92||Orlando, FL, United States|
|27||Seattle, WA, United States||95||Des Moines, IA, United States|
|28||Arlington, VA, United States||97||Hobart, Australia|
|30||Boston, MA, United States||100||Jersey City, NJ, United States|
|31||Akron, OH, United States||101||Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States|
|32||Oakland, CA, United States||102||Grand Rapids, MI, United States|
|35||Santa Rosa, CA, United States||104||Cleveland, OH, United States|
|36||Charleston, SC, United States||106||Tacoma, WA, United States|
|38||Philadelphia, PA, United States||108||San Diego, CA, United States|
|39||Miami, FL, United States||109||Canberra, Australia|
|40||Allentown, PA, United States||112||Jacksonville, FL, United States|
|41||Sydney, Australia||114||Detroit, MI, United States|
|42||Perth, Australia||118||Newcastle, Australia|
|44||Darwin, Australia||123||Saint Paul, MN, United States|
|45||Burlington, VT, United States||125||Nashville, TN, United States|
|47||Chicago, IL, United States||126||Milwaukee, WI, United States|
|48||Fairfax, VA, United States||128||Indianapolis, IN, United States|
|52||Melbourne, FL, United States||129||Atlanta, GA, United States|
|56||Pittsburgh, PA, United States||132||Charlotte, NC, United States|
|57||Minneapolis, MN, United States||134||Tampa, FL, United States|
|58||Irvine, CA, United States||135||Syracuse, NY, United States|
|59||San Jose, CA, United States||136||Houston, TX, United States|
|60||Boulder, CO, United States||137||Saint Louis, MO, United States|
|61||Portland, ME, United States||142||Birmingham, AL, United States|
|62||Denver, CO, United States||145||Wichita, KS, United States|
|65||Asheville, NC, United States||146||Fresno, CA, United States|
|67||Albany, NY, United States||147||Bakersfield, CA, United States|
|72||Greensboro, NC, United States||148||Louisville, KY, United States|
|73||Baltimore, MD, United States||154||Austin, TX, United States|
|74||Los Angeles, CA, United States||157||Tallahassee, FL, United States|
|75||Portland, OR, United States||159||Buffalo, NY, United States|
|76||West Palm Beach, FL, United States||163||Gold Coast, Australia|
That should start to give you a bit of an idea of how a US city will stack up to your Australian home state.
I won’t be so presumptuous as to assume that you’re all like me, in that you’d never eat avocado on toast more than 30 occasions each year. But I can’t imagine you forking out your hard earned for 2,000 of them either.
The US is pretty expensive, and these cost of living tables don’t even take food, insurance, clothes, or car costs into consideration. And remember these figures are in US dollars.
There’s a guy selling 5 avocados for 99c on the PCH near Half Moon Bay. A first home buyer’s dream!
— Kat (@krasf) July 8, 2017
As you can see, the bills tend to stack up and on average, you’ll need a fair bit of money behind you. Having said that, you’ll most likely be working in the states, on a wage that hopefully takes into account the area you’ll be living in.
This is really just to keep in mind while you start looking for work, to give you an idea of the kind of salary you might need to keep you afloat in the US.