Avg. income of frum families

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Avg. income of frum families

Viewing 50 posts - 1 through 50 (of 81 total)
  • Author
  • #602218
    red sock

    What does the CR think the average net income of working frum families in the Tri-state area is? I am curious to know how much most families need to make ends meet.




    what they make and what they need to make are often 2 different things.


    without any programs before taxes around 170k – most make less and are on govt programs. You will die of hunger if you make 150 or less and are not on any programs (assuming you have 5 children or more)


    So you’re asking 2 questions here. Because the amount the average frum worker makes, doesn’t necessarily cover enough to make ends meet.


    Avg family with 4 tuitions being paid requires at least $150k a year to make ends meet.

    me 2

    Ah, the great debate.

    Net ? Most people know their gross.

    How old are we discussing ? Tri state is very vast Teaneck isnmostly professionals while Flatbush is not. Tuition in the five towns is $15,000 in many schools Brooklyn is between 7-9.

    I like your thread, but I think you need to be more specific in your questions so a more intelligent thread can be had.

    Thank you.


    unfortunately i dont think the average frum family makes ens meet .


    Why would average income tell you this? Besides the obvious subjectiveness of the term “making ends meet”.


    for every family its different. it depends on each families standards and then that will depend on how they will make ends meet.


    1. A methodlogical problem is how to deal with the fact that many frum people receive de facto income in ways that minimize tax liability, but are hard to count. A large percentage of frum families get all or part of their parnassah from frum institutional jobs, and are paid in part with tuition discounts from their institution and “parsonage” deductions (a tax procedure to allow religious institutions to give tax free housing allowances).

    2. Many frum families receive tsadakkah. Most frum families qualify for various sorts of government welfare benefits, including the obvious ones such as WIC, Section 8 housing, CHIPS, etc., as well as programs such as financial aid for universities (which is rigged in favor of large families – a frum family in the “1%” would probably qualify).

    3. “Make ends meet” is very controversial. Does it include “kosher” brands when there are general brands with good hecksherim? What about large weddings (the rabbanim advise against, and are generally ignored)? Overnight camp? Seminary in Israel for the girls? Boarding school for students in cities that have adequate Torah institutions to learn in? An automobile in a metropolitian area that has public transit?


    Please separate the questions. As far as what a family needs:

    First, things seem somewhat unsustainable. But assuming that with a modest mortgage, maintaining a car and a minivan and 3 or more tuition pay?ment,s it is at the very least in the 150+ range (assuming you are paying full, so 150 is probably on the low side) I am curious if people are actually coming close to that range.

    What do most people here think that the average family in the ages 28-45 is making)? Are people professionals? Paying taxes? using benefits? honest with the schools about how much they make? making cash? in “real estate” (whatever that may actually meant) ?using schtick?


    150k is pretty high, would you be considered very poor if combined your making only $85,000 a year which is considered fairly average for the rest of the world?

    yaakov doe

    In Brooklyn we have all income levels, the rich, the wannebes and the poor that are just making it. For a frum family of 5 to get by in Brooklyn today takes a gross taxable income of $150,000, and many don’t earn close to that.

    The rich, though small in number are imitated by many.

    The wannebes lease the high end cars, shop at the overpriced grocery on Coney Island Avenue and L, have high credit card balances and are behind on yeshiva tuition.

    We unfortunatly have large numbers of struggling poor frum families who keep a low profile and lead simple lives without rent subsidies, but with Food Stamps and Medicaid


    The answer to this question can be debated. An average frum family buying a home today has a mortgage loan payment of paying about 3000 per month+/-. there are car payments, babysitting, tuition, community responsibilities etc. Before the children go to school, 100,000-150,000 may be okay. Of course this depends on the jobs that they have. Are they paying their own health insurance? Do they have an expensive commute? Do they have a commute at all to work? Can they freelance a bit to bring in extra cash? Are both husband and wife working? if yes what is the cost of babysitting? Once you have 4-5 children in school, and you have to pay tuitions etc..this formula no longer works. I think a lot of families get help from their families and if not, they are unfortunately not able to balance their budgets and are operating on a negative which then causes undue stress within the the family.

    There is also a segment of our population that enjoy a good benefits package courtesy of Uncle Sam, those people tend to manage with less income!!

    Guter yid

    I have a close relative with a net income of more than 150k, and he’s crying like a baby and always struggling, his brother with more kids, totaling a gross income of merely 60k a year, covers nicely, managing and making his payments on time.

    Besides their very different living standard, house, car, clothing etc. they live in different neighborhoods, where the tuition prices are very different, and living standard as well.

    But I know people earning all jobs together less than 50,000 a year, some are struggling, some have to get public assistance as food stamps and health coverage, and some aren’t eligible and are struggling.


    I agree with ChanaZ – once your up to 6, 7 kids – you need around 250 or help from the govt. The numbers spiral out of control from 3 kids to 6 –

    tomim tihye

    Don’t we believe “Poseiach es yadecha…”?

    Hashem gives you according to your desire (ratzon=ratz-to where you run.)

    If your burning desire is to be wealthy, you will sacrifice your values (learning, family, honesty, etc.)for money.

    If you’re fine with working for low wages or off the books and utilizing government programs and taking big tuition breaks, you will have what you need that way.

    If you think that’s an unacceptable (or abhorrable) lifestyle for yourself, and you’re determined to meet all your obligations, you will work your way toward earning a decent salary, living with minimum if you must, and you will not be dependent on others’ taxes.

    Of course, raising a frum family costs a lot, so you may need to live more simply than some co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors. You create a realistic budget for anticipated expenses, and stick with it. “Rasha loveh v’lo yishalem”- You will not get into debt without knowing how you will pay back, so you’re a bit more frugal instead. But you live with a clear conscience, knowing that you are doing what (to the best of your knowledge) Hashem wants you to do.

    And Hashem shows His kindness (which you interpret as approval). When He sends an unexpected expense, He sends the extra money to cover it from some (often unexpected) source. He lets the appliances live longer than their life expectancy. He spares you from certain expenses that other families frequently incur.

    “Tomim tihye im Hashem”- He won’t let you down.

    Menachem Melamed

    I think that it is best to close this thread down. Many, many families (probably the majority) earn far below the numbers quoted, and manage to raise wonderful happy families anyway. I don’t think that Klal Yisroel lives according to the various “rules of thumb”, but by HaShem’s rules. Reading these enormous sums will likely make numerous people dissatisfied with the lives they are presently enjoying.


    Menachem Melamed – why? whats the difference between making 150 or making 80 and getting govt help + tuition breaks that equal 150 ?

    I do not think anybody cares (except maybe you )


    I agree with Tomim tihye – it all depends on what you are seeking. Our family’s solution has been to live in a smaller community, where costs are lower. It has the added benefit of teaching our children (and ourselves) to value every member of Klal Yisroel, as there are fewer of us here to join in strengthening our shuls, schools, etc.

    Kol Tuv.


    I agree with Menachem Melamed and i put my opinion up about 3 hrs ago – this is not for a public discussion and can only bring harm. I don’t know why my comment wasn’t printed – i don’t think people realize how dangerous these comments can be when ANYBODY can read them.


    Well said Menachem and tomim.

    me 2

    I am not sure wether you are right or not that this can be harmful for people to read and see what others are making, however perhaps it is helpful to people as myself that are perplexed and the current financial situation young forum families face.

    tomim tihye

    tina: Please enlighten me as to what kind of government aid you can receive with an income of 80-100 (unless you have 15 kids).


    tomim tihye – see this thread..

    Health insurance for large families with decent income

    if you have 6 kids – you can get CHP if you make up 154k which saves you 1000s on copays and dental over any regual insurance. You will be very close to getting familyh health plus.

    Wic you get also i fyou make around 70 with 6 kids. Also, if you make 80 and you have 6 kids, you will not have to pay anything close to full tuition.

    However if you make 160 – you pay full insurance and tuition – so whats the differance between making 160 and 80? who cares if you pay 20k Tuition or 40k? Between the insurance and Tution and camp differance – its the same thing.


    Bostoner – I think I disagree that costs are lower for a frum family moving out of town to a small community. My research has shown the only thing cheaper is the initial home purchase. After that, you are hit with alot of unexpected expenses

    1) schools are much more and they do not give you a break so fast as in Brooklyn

    2) Real estate tax is alot often

    3) Food is much more

    4) 2 cars a must – in brooklyn 1 is ok

    5) Traveling back and forth to simchas is pricey

    6) – NYC is known to give every child any therapy they request (speech, PT, OT) – That wont happen moving to Scranton or the like. So if your child needs speech, its going to be hard to get unless you pay 100$ a hour

    The overall cost is not less then in broklyn, people just get tricked by the initial cost of home savings

    tomim tihye

    Tina: Thank you for that info about insurance; that was news to me. Then again, if you work for the government, family insurance is included in benefits.

    Tuition is about 7-9K in Brooklyn. With 80-100K income and 6 kids, you may pay 5k per child.

    In my experience, day camps here don’t give breaks.

    So, tell me again how it’s comparable to making 160K?


    For those of you who think that the post is not constructive, then feel free not to read it.

    I will tell you that me and my wife are both educated and have jobs making above average what other people our age are making (aside from help that people may be getting). From looking at things through the eyes of having 3-5 children, one used minivan and rent on a 3 bedroom, I used to look around and think that everyone was making loads and loads of money.

    I agree that Hashem provides (just look around; people are not homeless) – but I guess I was unclear in the level of hishtadlus that I am supposed to put in. Hashem provides does not absolve one from determining the appropriate level of responsibility. For those of you who think it does, you have never learned through sha’ar habitachon. Putting your head in the sand is not the same as having bitachon.

    I know that people make less than our approximate 100k and am greatful.

    But after taxes (100-30= 70), contribution to health insurance (70-7=63), rent (63-24=39), food (39-18=21 [at 1,500 per month]) that leaves $21,000.

    $21,000 does not cover my tuition bill, so that I am already a begger, although schools are not inclined to give us a break because like others have said, 100k seems like a lot of money to be making.

    I have not added in any clothing, gas, car insurance, or life expenses that come up, not to mention heat, electric, yom tov, let alone light bulbs, exterminator, plumber…(forget vacation or eating out – not happening)and for women who work more than part time and need child care?

    For those who say, Hashem provides – I agree. I am not trying to be bitter or make people feel bad that they make less.

    I know that this post in anonymous – so feel free to share – how is there a leased odysee in every other driveway? How do people buy houses? Your answer may be that I should move out of town, which I have considered – so does that mean that most people are in fact making a lot more than 100-150? I considered Lakewood, but my wife’s job is tied to New York and it would only increase our expenses. And we couldn’t afford a house with property taxes there anyway.

    If anyone would share their income or budget and just explain why I am so far off – please let me know. Alternatively, just tell me that I am supposed to start working weekends and waitering shobbas kiddushim. Please understand that I am sincere in asking – should I not be getting a break on tuition just because I make so much money – and even more so…if not, are yeshiva rates designed just to bleed people dry because I do not think based on the above that I am living so crazy (remember, i did not leave any money over for clothing or light bulbs)…

    Thank you for your insight.


    tomim tihye,

    1) – You get health insurance + breaks on Tuition.

    Also if you make 80 and 6 kids you pay zero taxes. If you make 160 you pay alot of taxes.

    so 160 is 130. 80 is 75 after taxes.

    130-40k tuition is 90, 75-20k is 55. Now the insurace savings make up a big chunk of that differance after dental and braces.

    Your also eligiable for mortgage modifications , first time home owner breaks, seminary scholoships when your kids are ready etc etc.

    If you make 160 – nobody has rachmonis on you and they think your doing so well so they dont stop asking you for money.

    My point may not be to the poenny but just about the same

    username7 – they all get govt help


    “I have not added in any clothing, gas, car insurance, or life expenses that come up, not to mention heat, electric, yom tov, let alone light bulbs, exterminator, plumber…(forget vacation or eating out – not happening)and for women who work more than part time and need child care?”

    So how do you manage to pay for all the ‘not included’ items that you listed? Yor answer will probably help explain your questions about ‘everyone else with the Odessey’.

    tomim tihye

    username7: Alright, I’ll give our approximate annual budget. Hopefully, l’toeles horabim.

    Family with 4-6 kids (infant-12), living in Brooklyn, own small house.

    Husband works full-time; wife works part-time (both with >or= masters degree).

    Total income: approx 100K

    Car service (no leased Odessey, no any car)- 1,000

    Cleaning help (minimal)- 2,000

    Clothing (includes all articles) and shoes- 3,000

    Diapers/wipes/cream- 500

    Dry cleaners- 800

    Electricity- 1,200

    Gas (cooking only)- 300

    Groceries (includes non-food eg detergent, shampoo)- 12,000

    Haircuts (husband & girls’; I do boys’)- 200

    Household maint/repairs/heat- 6,000

    Medical/dental (gov job includes med & dent ins)- 1,550 (for copays, meds, and portions of bills that ins doesn’t cover)

    Metrocard, 1 unlimited- 1,250

    Mortgage (including tax & ins)- 22,000

    Phones (2 cell, 1 land)- 1,200

    Prizes, books, toys- 500

    Sholom Bayis (gifts for each other & quality time)- 700

    School supplies- 300

    Summer vacation (daycamp for some, maybe a family trip)- 5,000

    Trips (Chol Hamoed & other- including car service)- 800

    Tuition & daycare (including registration & tips)- 35,000

    Vitamins (catch the buy-1-get-1-free sales)- 300

    Water- 1,500

    YeshivaNet (email & requested sites)- 300

    Total: $99,400

    As you can see, we just break even (after tax refund- tina you were right about us paying very little in taxes).

    We tweak our budget annually based on our records from the previous year and our anticipated needs for the coming year. How do we know how much we actually spend? We write everything down. Before unpacking the groceries, I enter the amount spent in my notebook. When we write a check, we enter it in the notebook. Any money spent gets recorded.

    Like I said above, we do our very best to live as we should, and Hashem provides for our needs. After all, our needs are from Him, too.


    tomim tihye, if you don’t mind my asking – there are no entries for life insurance, savings, or retirement. How do you plan to handle these items? What happens when your kids, IY”H, are ready to get married?


    prices of tuition, food and clothing is on the rise but our salaries are not.. my kids tuiition went up 3% this coming year, my husbands salary didnt nor did mine… how do we catch up????


    tomim tihye: Drop the water and buy term life insurance!

    tomim tihye

    mamash: My husband’s benefits include pension and a meager life insurance policy. We opened (small) IRAs when we first got married (with gift $) for the maximum amounts that they are tax-deductible.

    When my kids will, IY”H, be ready for marriage, then either:

    a)my husband will be earning more than now;

    b)I will work full-time;

    c)they will get married in a shul/backyard, and the wedding will cost the same as one year’s tuition for 1 child. If the child wants a more costly wedding, he can pay himself.

    d)You will sponsor. Seriously, do you have any ideas?

    e)If I am doing my part, I think I can be assured that Hashem will send what we truly need (maybe not all the wants, but definitely the needs).

    I omitted $2,000 (annually) for student loans (the rest of our schooling was covered between financial aid, scholarships based on need or merit, and gracious parents; however, I inflated some of the other categories slightly (eg- clothing, toys, sholom bayis, summer, trips) so the total remains roughly the same.


    Numbers don’t tell the real story.

    If you make more than your expenses, you are ok, no matter how much you make.

    If you make less than your expenses, you are in deep trouble.

    tomim tihye

    gavra: Any bottled water we buy is included in groceries. Or are you suggesting life insurance instead of showers and clean clothes?


    If you make more than your expenses, you are ok, no matter how much you make.

    Uhhh . . . no. It depends how much more you make than your expenses, and what you do with the extra. Look at the budget most people have. What will they do if there’s a sudden emergency – car needs a major repair, the breadwinner loses his/her job, someone has a major medical issue? You need to have extra money stashed away somewhere in case it’s needed on an immediate basis. Many people don’t do this. The budget above does not provide for this.


    gavra: Any bottled water we buy is included in groceries. Or are you suggesting life insurance instead of showers and clean clothes?

    Your water BILL is $1500 a year?! Did you check for a leak? That really is way too high, even for Brooklyn (I would think).


    This thread also doesn’t ask how much debt people are carrying. Obviously mortgages. But how about credit cards? And for many of us with family in Israel, there are trips back and forth – either parents going and/or kids coming in. When my husband and I have sit down trying to figure out why others appear to be “making it”, we’ve determined that they’re getting help from their families. We have no family to turn to – we either sink or swim.

    tomim tihye

    mamash: Though it wasn’t my comment that you quoted, I’d like to ask you since you sound like a responsible parent: which do you think is generally the preferable option (ie what Hashem wants)- for a mother to work full-time and stash away some money, or for a mother to work part-time (sending children off in the morning, greeting them after school, holding baby more) and no extra money for stashing?

    Practically, does it make sense to invest money while in debt (student loans, mortgage)? You usually pay a higher interest rate on loans than you earn on savings. Our goal is to clear our debts sooner (15 yr mortgage, not 30, so build equity faster). I like to think of equity as savings- makes me feel better about not actually putting money aside.

    Hashkafically, to what extent are we supposed to anticipate and plan for problems and futures? It seems to me that we should only put away money if it doesn’t interfere with our present obligations. Well, I take my responsibilities as wife and mother very seriously, and I think that working more hours at this point in my life would interfere with my Avodas Hakodesh.

    Also, we do put away money; we call it tzedakah. In the words of one amazing teacher: “The money you have, you one day won’t; what you give away, you keep forever.”

    tomim tihye

    gavra: Water price has risen quite a bit in NY over the past two years. The amount I gave was what I allotted for this year (not what we spent last year) as the city anticipates further increase in price due to overhaul of old water systems, and I wanted to be sure we were covered.

    tomim tihye

    My husband reminded me that for life insurance we are members of Areivim.


    gavra: Water price has risen quite a bit in NY over the past two years. The amount I gave was what I allotted for this year (not what we spent last year) as the city anticipates further increase in price due to overhaul of old water systems, and I wanted to be sure we were covered.

    Still sounds too high, but you would know better than me.

    Have you tried installing water saving faucets, showerheads, etc?


    “extra money…in case it’s needed on an immediate basis”

    True. I consider this a part of the “budget”, and you are right for pointing it out. Unexpected expenses (new fridge, transmission repair, dental work) is a reality of running a household.

    Advance planning can help avoid a lot of the angst

    tomim tihye

    I hope it won’t be 1500, but if it will be, at least it won’t be a surprise. I prefer to overestimate expenses.

    No, we didn’t install water-saving things. Whom do I call, the water biller?

    tomim tihye

    bpt: Not to get defensive (but I am because I think I covered all bases in my budget), but the expenses you mentioned are covered in my above budget. New fridge would fall under household maintenance, transmission repair is a non-issue for us (no car), and most dental work is covered by our insurance, b”h. The exception is braces, and this might eventually be a necessity with some child/ren, but for this year it isn’t, b”h.

    tomim tihye

    Wow, I think I need to think about my obsession with this thread. I usually take the CR lightly.


    I will have time later to give a more detailed response if you want to hear it, but I had to comment quickly on two things:

    Yes, it makes sense to save even though you have debt. The reason is because paid off debt is not a liquid asset, but a savings account is. If you need cash one day, you cna’t waive your lower loan statement at the checkout line, but you can use money from a savings account.

    Areivim as life insurance at best goes under the category of insurance that “you have, but you one day won’t”, as your teacher put it.

Viewing 50 posts - 1 through 50 (of 81 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.