Why Nobody Under 25 Can Truly Afford to Live in N.Y.C.

This past weekend, I was visiting my best friend in New York City and I left pretty pissed off. Not because I was upset to leave the city where my heart is, but because her and I tried figuring out how people our age afford to live here and still manage to get by -- it's nearly impossible for the average young adult just out of college.

If you think about the general costs of the average 20-25 year old living in New York City, it probably looks a little bit like this:

  • Average Rent Per Month for a Non-Doorman Building =$3,966 (3-bedroom), so $1,322 per person and $15,864 per person per year.
  • Unlimited Subway Pass Per Month =$116.50 so $1,398 for the year.
  • Grocery Bill Per Month =$200 so $2,400 per year.

If you have any questions on how I came up with those totals, feel free to comment below.

So that means just to go about your daily routine in New York City could cost over $1,938.50 per month, or $23,262 per year. Now let's break down the average young adult's income and other expenses like student loans.

When you stumble upon the average income of someone under 25 living in New York City, you'll see it's about $36,000. Take out taxes, and you are left with at maximum $28,000 in income.

Then if you check out student loans, the average student loan payment totals $242 a month, or $2,904 per year, according to an analysis of the 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances. Is your student loan payment even anywhere close to that? I am paying just over $300... and that's because my parents have agreed to take on a majority of my loans so I am thankfully not paying the full amount.

Let's stop here for a minute and walk through the expenses versus income for the year:

  • Income =$28,000 (after taxes)

  • Rent ($15,864)
  • Subway ($1,398)
  • Groceries ($2,400)
  • Student Loans ($2,904)
  • -------------------------

  • Leftover =$5,434
  • I haven't even gotten into other yearly payments like a phone bill ($600), fun money ($2,500), other expenses ($1,200) and God forbid you put money away into savings ($1,000).

    These additional expenses total $5,300. And this is me trying to not be greedy and not include other expenses like healthcare. Our grandparents are so concerned we won't have a savings account, but how could we possibly when we may only be able to put away $1,000 a year?

    So yes, I left New York City really pissed off.

    New York City has my heart, but if I'm not bringing in a way above average salary, how can I ever move there and enjoy it never mind actually afford it?