Is 100k a good salary in London & the UK? How far does it get you?

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In this article, I would love to discuss whether 100k GBP is a good salary in London and the UK and how far exactly does it get you.

Can you have a luxury lifestyle on 100k salary in London? Is 100k a good household income in London? How far does 100k stretch in the UK? I’ll try to answer these and many other questions in this article and provide examples of 3 different lifestyles and household combinations: life on 100k in London alone, with a working partner and with a SAHP (stay at home partner) and two kids.

Here’s what you can expect to find in this post:

Is London a good place to live if you’re a high earner?

If you’re a high earner or HENRY (high earner not rich yet), London is a tremendously good place to live. It’s not surprising that lots of billionaires have their second (and sometimes even first) homes in London – the city has it all. It has wonderful safe and leafy districts in close proximity to Central London (Hampstead, Highgate, Fulham), lots of amazing restaurants, museums, theatres, concerts – you never get bored in London.

London can be frustrating if you’re living from salary to salary and don’t have any savings and family to rely on, however, if you’re a high earner, you can enjoy the city a lot!

If you’re exploring options beyond London, ExpressVPN’s blog post suggests that destinations like Dubai, Singapore, and Berlin are worth considering for career-driven individuals, as they rank among the top locations for ambitious professionals

Jobs that pay 100K and more in London

Even though London is an expensive city, there aren’t THAT many jobs that pay 100k and more. Average salaries in London are actually pretty moderate, I composed a guide to the average salaries in London by profession and years of experience, so if you’re curious, feel free to check it out here!

Hence, if you were offered 100k GBP, it’s great, congratulations! You will be much better off that lots of other Londoners. If you’re trying to find a job in London that pays over 100k, it’s usually managerial jobs that pay so much (e.g. Head of People, Director of Sales), senior tech jobs (Senior Product Manager, Senior Software Developer), Legal and Medical jobs and, of course, Finance jobs (especially those that pay a hefty commission).

How far does 100k GBP in London get you? Lifestyle you can afford

London is very expensive city. Of course, lots of cities in the US (and even Canada) are a different league, but in Europe, London is among the most expensive cities and its property prices are among the highest in the world.

So, imagine, you’ve been offered 100k salary in London. That’s, of course, before taxes, so let’s calculate, how much it will be after taxes. For salary calculations, I usually use this calculator as it allows you to add your pension contribution. Most companies, will subtract 3% from your salary for your pension contribution, however, if you want, you can increase it to 5%. With 3% pension deductions, you will pay £250 a month to your pension pot.

After taxes, on a 100k salary in the UK, you will be left with £5437 GBP per month. In London, that’s a very good wage. Outside London, it’s an amazing wage and you can live very comfortably.

However, to estimate the level of comfort you might have and factor in all the spending (and fixed costs), let’s look at three different scenarios:

  • You live alone and don’t have anyone depending on you (not even a pet)
  • You live with a partner who also works full-time
  • You have two kids, and your partner is a stay at home parent

Of course, everyone’s situation is different, but in this article, I wanted to specifically focus on these three scenarios, as they are probably the most common ones.

Empty Covent Garden, London. Covent Garden at sunset

Lifestyle 1: You earn 100k in London and live alone

Alright, let’s consider the first lifestyle scenario, where you live alone on 100k in London. As we mentioned before, your after-tax salary is around £5440 a month.

With this income, you can live in a very nice area. You can rent a one-bedroom flat in a new-built house with a gym and swimming pool. It might not be a mansion, but you can definitely live somewhere in Canary Wharf or Canning Town or White City / Ealing area. That will cost around £2100-2500 a month plus bills (another £300-350 a month on gas, electricity and council tax). New builds usually are very well insulated, so you won’t spend too much on heating in winter, which is a big plus! If your house also has a gym and swimming pool, you can save on a gym membership. Those can go up to £250 a month in London (luxury ones like Third Space), so it’s a good saving!

Depending on how many times per week you will commute to the office, you can spend between £80-200 a month on the underground. However, if you’re lucky enough to live close to the office, you might cycle there and spend nothing on transport.

Now, let’s talk about food! If you work from the office, you will, most probably, eat your lunch outside unless your office is catered. Each lunch costs around £10-12 these days unless it’s a cheap sandwich for £6-7. You can easily spend £150-200 per month on lunches if you come to the office a lot. Groceries can also be pricy. However, the price depends a lot on where you shop – some shops like Aldi and Lidl are pretty affordable. Some other ones (Waitrose and Whole Foods) are super pricy. On average, a single person can spend between £150 and £400 a month on groceries. If you like takeaways, add another £150-300 to that.

Subscriptions (phone, Netflix, Spotify etc.) can cost you an additional £50 per month.

Going out can be very pricy. Dinner for two in a trendy restaurant with very little alcohol costs around £80-120 in London (which is £40-60 per person). Cocktails often cost £13 and more. If you go out twice a week and once a week for drinks, that can easily be another £500 a month!

Going out, however, if not essential. Let’s calculate how much you have left after fixed costs (apartment, bills, groceries) – around £1800-2200 – you can spend that on going out, shopping, travelling and saving for the future!

Lifestyle and situation 2: You live with a partner who also works and earns a salary

In this scenario, you make £100K, and you live with a partner who also works. Let’s imagine your partner earns around £50K. Your household income is now over £8,2K. This is a very strong household income and I don’t think you will struggle at all. You can rent a two-bedroom apartment in a nice area. Of course, your food costs, going out costs and transport costs will increase, but not that much, so you will have a lot of money left in your bank!

You can travel a lot or save money to buy your own property!

Lifestyle 3: You have two kids and your partner is a SATP

Finally, let’s consider the final scenario – the one where 100k is a good salary but your life won’t be that comfortable. That would be the case when you have two kids and a partner who doesn’t work.

£5440 will let you rent a three-bedroom house outside the city centre – in zones 3, 4 or 5 or in a commuter town like St. Albans or Stevenage, for example. You will pay around £2400-2500 a month for the house, but the bills will be pretty high – another £400-500 a month (heating this house will be expensive).

Your transport will also be more expensive, especially if you need to use the trains. Trains in the UK are notoriously expensive. You need to factor in at least £200-250 per month on travel costs (unless you work from home a lot). If you add Internet, phones, Netflix and other subscriptions, that’s another £100 a month.

Your food bill will be around £500-600 a month unless you’re super savvy and know where to save a lot on food.

That’s already circa £3800 per month. You will have around £1600 a month left on all the shopping, going out, school trips and supplies and traveling, which is not that tight, but requires careful planning.

However, if your partner starts working, you will probably have to pay childcare, which costs a lot of money in the UK unless your kids already go to school. In this case, your partner’s income will help a lot!

As you can see, £100K in London is a decent salary for a family with two kids and a partner, who doesn’t work, however, it doesn’t stretch that far. However, if you were offered that and you live outside London, it’s actually a really good salary for a family of 4. You will spend at least 30% less on housing and transport and even going out will be cheaper!

Summary: is 100k a good salary in London and the UK?

I tried to break down the salary of 100k into fixed spendings based on the current cost of living in London in 2023. While 100k lets you have a very comfortable lifestyle if you live alone and even more comfortable lifestyle if you combine your income with your partner’s income. However, if you support a family, 100k won’t stretch too far and you will have to be very savvy to have a good lifestyle on that salary in London. However, in any scenario, 100k is an amazing salary outside London!

Some other posts you might find interesting:

Cost of living in London – how much do you need to live in London

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