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Is 70k a Good Salary in the UK?

Tobi Opeyemi Amure
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Is 70k a Good Salary in the UK

“Is 70k a good salary in the UK?” is a pressing question for many aiming to understand their financial standing.

In this article, I’ll explore the value of this salary in relation to the UK’s living costs and lifestyle standards, providing clarity on whether it meets your desired living expectations.

So, in a nutshell, is 70k a good salary in the UK? In the UK, a £70k salary is considered well above average and can provide a comfortable lifestyle. This income level allows for greater financial flexibility and savings potential, especially outside of high-cost areas like London. Proper budgeting remains key to maximising financial well-being.

This article was reviewed by Tobi Opeyemi Amure, an investing expert and writer at InvestopediaInvesting.com, and Trading.biz.

Is 70k a Good Salary in the UK?

In the UK, a £70,000 annual salary is excellent and above the median. In 2022, full-time workers in London earned an average of £41,866, while in North East England, it was £29,5211.

With a 70k salary, you’re in the UK’s top 7% earners. This wage ensures a good life in London and an even better one outside due to lower costs2.

This salary often points to senior roles that need experience. It also allows for savings and investments, and possibly retiring early if you split living costs.

What Is 70k After Tax? Evaluating Take-Home Pay

With a £70,000 salary, you’ll get £48,575 after tax and National Insurance. That’s £4,048 monthly, £934 weekly, £187 daily for a 5-day week, and £23 hourly for a 40-hour week3.

£70k salary after tax.

Additional pension contributions, student loan repayments, and other payroll deductions would further reduce take-home pay.

Is £70k a Good Salary for My Age?

The median salary for full-time workers of all ages shows that £70k is excellent. Workers aged 40-49 have the highest median salary at £37,825 yearly. So, a £70k salary is nearly twice the average for this age group.

AgeMedian Average Yearly
18-21£20,888
22-29£28,413
30-39£35,526
40-49£37,825
50-59£35,402
60+£31,340

Source: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8456/CBP-8456.xlsx

Is £70K a Good Salary Where You Live?

Your salary’s worth varies based on where you live. High-wage areas often have high living costs. For example, the North East has an average wage of £29,521, but in London, it’s £41,866.

Earning £70k in the North East, where average wages are lower, means your salary is notable.

With £70k in the North East, you can live better than in London with the same amount. You can buy a better house in the North East for your money. Also, a person earning £70k there can cut costs and save more for retirement.

Earning £70k outside London is impressive. This wage lets you live well, take trips, and save a lot for later life.

Statistic: Median annual earnings for full-time employees in the United Kingdom in 2022, by region (in GBP) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Can You Live in London on a £70k Salary?

With a yearly £70k income, you can comfortably live in London, earning £28,134 more than the average Londoner. This lets you rent a nice flat, dine out occasionally, and save 20% for retirement.

While London wages are about 30% higher than in the North East, London rent is three times costlier. So, many Londoners have less money left over compared to others in the UK.

If you earn £70,000 a year in London and live frugally, you might save more than the suggested 20%. Sharing a flat can help cut expenses.

How Much to Spend on Rent With a £70K Salary?

For a £70K salary, your rent should account for various expenses. Think about bills for gas, electricity, water, internet, phone, council tax, insurance, and transport. These costs are vital in budget planning.

Most people spend 30% to 40% of their salary on rent. So, on a £70K salary, after tax, you’d pay £1200 to £1400 a month. This could get you a one-bedroom flat in big UK cities like London. Sharing a place with someone can help reduce costs. In the North of England, the same money could rent a three-bedroom house.

If you have debts, try to spend less than 30% of your income on rent. Costs also depend on where you live. London and the Southeast are pricier than other areas.

In short, on £70K, aim to spend £1200 to £1300 on rent. Adjust this based on your bills and where you live. Sharing a home can help you save money for the future.

Can I Buy a House on a 70k Salary?

With a £70k salary, you can consider buying a house. With a 10% deposit, you might afford a house between £300,000 and £370,000.

In the UK, lenders usually let you borrow 3.5x to 5x your yearly income before tax. This means you might get a mortgage close to £280,000.

If you take this with a 6% interest rate on a 30-year term, you’d pay about £1,679 each month. Yet, it’s wise to keep your budget below £1,300 per month to cover extra costs like insurance, tax, and upkeep.

Freelancers and business owners should have at least two years of tax returns for lenders. More years can help your case. Buying with a partner or friend on a joint mortgage can also boost how much you can borrow.

Where you buy matters. £370,000 might get you a small flat near London, but in rural spots, you could find a larger house with a garden.

To sum up, on a £70k salary, think about a home loan of up to £200,000 if buying alone. If buying with someone who earns well, you could aim for a £280,000 loan, giving you more choices.

What Can You Do With a 70k Salary UK?

A £70,000 salary in the UK is notably higher than the national average for individual earners.

Such an income provides substantial comfort and opportunities, though, as always, the specific context matters, including your location, household size, and personal commitments.

Here’s a breakdown of what you could expect and how you might manage a £70k salary in the UK:

  1. Location: Your location remains a significant factor in terms of living costs. While London and its surrounding areas are expensive, a £70k salary would still offer a comfortable lifestyle. Outside of London, this salary can afford a very comfortable lifestyle with the potential for luxury.
  2. Housing:
    • In London, you could afford to rent a nice one or two-bedroom apartment in many areas, or even a house in some zones. Outside of London, this salary could afford even larger homes or properties in premium locations.
    • The potential for homeownership increases substantially with a £70k salary, especially if you’re considering buying outside of London or if you’ve been able to save for a larger deposit.
  3. Transport:
    • Owning and maintaining a higher-end or newer car becomes more feasible.
    • Public transportation, including premium services or frequent travel, would be comfortably covered.
  4. Saving & Investments: You’d have a better capacity to save and invest a substantial portion of your salary. While the exact amount will vary based on personal expenses, saving or investing 20-30% of your income could be achievable.
  5. Leisure & Travel: Regular holidays, even to international or luxury destinations, become more accessible. Dining out, attending premium events, theatre trips, and other cultural experiences would easily fit within your budget.
  6. Utilities & Bills: Everyday bills, including utilities, council tax, insurance, phone, and broadband, should pose no issue.
  7. Debts: If you have existing debts, you’d be in a position to clear them more rapidly, potentially saving on interest in the long run.
  8. Education & Training: If you’re inclined towards further education, professional training, or personal development courses, these become more affordable.
  9. Giving: With a higher salary, you might be more inclined to support charities, causes, or even sponsor events or individuals.
  10. Emergency Fund: Building an emergency fund equivalent to 6-12 months’ expenses would be more straightforward and can provide a safety net for unexpected situations.

To make the most of a £70k salary:

  • Budgeting: It’s essential to keep track of your finances, even with a higher income. This ensures you’re allocating funds effectively and not overspending.
  • Investments: Consider speaking with a financial advisor to understand investment opportunities and grow your wealth further.
  • Prevent Lifestyle Inflation: It’s easy to increase expenses in tandem with a higher income. However, maintaining a reasonable lifestyle while saving and investing more can set you up for long-term financial success.
  • Retirement Planning: Enhance your pension contributions, especially if there’s an employer match, to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Here’s a good video that discusses average salaries in the UK:

How to Budget a £70k Salary?

Budgeting a £70k salary efficiently requires strategic planning, taking into consideration both fixed expenses and variable expenses, while also allowing room for savings and leisure.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you budget a £70k salary:

  1. Understand Your Take-home Pay:
    • Before making a budget, determine your monthly after-tax income. Depending on your tax code, deductions, and any other commitments (like pension contributions), your take-home pay might be significantly lower than the gross £70k.
  2. List Fixed Expenses:
    • Housing: Rent or mortgage payments. As discussed earlier, a good rule is to aim for no more than 30% of your take-home pay.
    • Utilities: Gas, electricity, water, and council tax.
    • Debt Repayments: Student loans, credit card payments, personal loans, etc.
    • Insurance: Health, car, home, and life insurance.
    • Communications: Internet, mobile phone.
    • Transport: Car payments, petrol, public transport costs, etc.
    • Subscriptions: Gym memberships, streaming services, magazines, etc.
  3. List Variable Expenses:
    • Groceries: Aim to set a monthly budget.
    • Dining & Entertainment: Meals out, movies, events.
    • Clothing: Regular shopping and seasonal clothing needs.
    • Health: Unexpected medical expenses, pharmacy costs.
    • Miscellaneous: Gifts, donations, personal care, etc.
  4. Set Savings & Investment Goals:
    • Emergency Fund: Aim to save 3-6 months’ worth of expenses in case of unexpected financial setbacks.
    • Retirement: If not already deducted, set aside a percentage for your pension.
    • Investments: Consider investing in stocks, bonds, or other instruments.
    • Major Purchases: Save for things like holidays, a new car, or a down payment on a house.
  5. Review & Adjust:
    • Periodically (like every month or quarter), review your budget to see if you’re staying on track. Adjust any categories if necessary based on your spending patterns.
  6. Limit Discretionary Spending:
    • It’s essential to allocate some budget for leisure and unplanned events, but ensure it doesn’t negatively impact your savings or necessary expenses.
  7. Use Tools & Apps:
    • Consider using budgeting apps or tools to track your expenses and savings. They can offer insights and reminders to help you stay on track.
  8. Plan for Major Life Events:
    • If you’re planning major life changes like buying a house, having a child, or going back to school, you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly.
  9. Stay Informed:
    • Regularly check interest rates, tax laws, and other financial news that might affect your budget.
  10. Seek Professional Advice:
    • If you’re unsure about your financial planning, especially regarding investments, tax planning, or mortgages, consider consulting a financial advisor.

Remember, a budget is a living document. Your financial situation and goals will change, so regularly revisiting and adjusting your budget is key to ensuring financial well-being.

Is 70k a Good Salary in the UK? – Final Thoughts

With a £70k salary in the UK, you can cover basic expenses like housing, bills, and transport, and also save.

This income can help you live well, rent or buy a home, and plan for the future. But, everyone’s situation is different, and living costs can vary by location.

Set clear financial goals based on your lifestyle and future plans. Make smart money choices, track your spending, and get expert advice if unsure.

By managing your money well, you can maximise the benefits of your £70k salary and ensure financial security.

FAQs

What percentage of UK households earn £70k or more?

Approximately 15% of UK households have a gross household income of £70,000 or greater. This puts households in the top quarter of household incomes nationally.

What percentage of people earn over £70k in the UK?

In the UK, approximately 7% of individuals earn over £70K annually4. This places them in a higher income bracket compared to the national average. Such earnings are notably above the median wage in the country.

Is £70k a good salary for a single person?

For a single person, a £70k salary is considered well above average and provides a comfortable lifestyle. This income level offers significant financial flexibility, allowing for both essential expenses and luxury or leisure activities. Proper budgeting can further enhance savings and investment opportunities.

Can you raise a family comfortably on a £70k salary?

It depends on family size, location, and existing debts. For couples with 1-2 kids outside of London or the Southeast, £70k provides a solid middle-class lifestyle. Larger families or high-cost areas may struggle without dual incomes.

What yearly savings are realistic on a £70k income?

After taxes and living expenses, most single or couple households can save £5k-15k annually on £70k. Family budgets reduce this leftover amount significantly. Savings rates increase by relocating away from expensive London and the South.

Can I afford an expensive car on a £70k salary?

It’s possible but not always advisable. Purchasing a luxury car means allocating more income to loan payments, insurance, taxes, and fuel. A more economical used car allows greater savings and spending flexibility.

Does earning £70k make me rich?

While in the top income bracket, £70k does not make you wealthy, especially in London or the South East. It provides financial security and a comfortable lifestyle but not lavish extravagance. You can still live well through careful budgeting.

Is 70k a year middle-class UK?

In the UK, a £70k salary is higher than the national average income, placing it in the upper middle-class range5. However, class definitions can vary based on factors like location and household size.

More salary guides:

Sources:

  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/416139/full-time-annual-salary-in-the-uk-by-region/ ↩︎
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/percentile-points-from-1-to-99-for-total-income-before-and-after-tax ↩︎
  3. https://www.reed.co.uk/tax-calculator/70000 ↩︎
  4. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8456/ ↩︎
  5. https://blogs.bath.ac.uk/iprblog/2019/07/01/whither-the-middle-class/ ↩︎

Will Fenton is the founder of Sterling Savvy. He is a personal finance expert and writes about trading, investing, budgeting, and other financial topics.

Along with his education in Economics & Finance, he has experience working in the financial services industry in London working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies, “a trustworthy and respected provider of news, education and market analysis for the everyday investor”.

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