Six Figure Salaries

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    Do you need one to survive in today’s frum world?

    Zaphod Beeblebrox

    Probably depends on how you define ‘survive’. There are many families who’s total net income is way less than a hundred grand, and they are still alive. If you meant can they survive without depending on government programs and reduced tuition costs, then yes you probably do.


    Depends where. In Israel, for example, one can do reasonably with a somewhat lower income due to the Israeli government’s generous support for Torah education and other requirements of Frum life that need to be paid for privately in the US. In the US, the situation is obviously different.

    Medical care is also generally less expensive in Israel.

    an Israeli Yid

    Amil Zola

    It really depends on the number of children you have and where you live. I shake my head when I read about families making less than 6 figures with tuition of 50k in the tri state area.


    If you want to live like an upper middle class American, and limit yourself to the most exclusive (i.e. expensive) neighborhoods, you will definitely need a six figure income.

    If you are content with a working class lifestyle and/or living outside of the high priced metropolitan areas, you can probably manage for a lot less.


    Both Chai18 and AIYID sum it up well. As Bill Clinton would say, it depends on what you mean “Survive” and where that “survival” occuurs. Also depends on whether you are talking about a couple just starting out, a family with 2-3 kids or a family with 6-8 kids.

    You can sustain a family of 2-3 kids, a used SUV or van, a rental apartment and yeshiva tuition in BOTH the U.S. and EY under the equivalent of $100K (US) income, but easier in EY based on larger government subsidies for schooling and health care. Cost of housing is very locational specific in both US and EY. In all cases, we are talking about a relatively simple lifestyle, buying in bulk at CostCo (or its equivalent), with no spending Pesach at a hotel or expensive summer camps and/or trips to Europe.

    Sadly, there still too many frum families at the lower end of the income scale (e.g below $40K), some with very large families and limited employment/earning (either by choice or lack of education/skills) who are nearly totally dependent on government subsidies and struggle day-to-day to stay afloat.

    At the other end of the spectrum, a frum young man or woman just out of college today and taking a position with a top U.S. law firm or investment bank (as many more are these days) will earn about $180,000 year and yet they are still kvetching about the high cost of living in downtown Manhattan, Boston or LA.
    Its all relative. There are also young frum men and women with less fancy academic credentials but really smart and entrepreneurial, who have started their own computer and internet-based businesses and able to do well while working from home and starting families.
    The good news is that there are more opportunities today for frum families than ever before if they chose to pursue them.


    I think the consensus answer is “it depends”

    A nice follow-up question would be “how many families are actually earning this?”

    Most articles that you read in Jewish periodicals say that the average frum family needs a minimum of $150k to get by. Has anyone conducted a survey in the Chareidi population to see how many are making this much? Is it possible that the average frum family is underwater?


    If the average frum family is underwater, how do you explain that Flatbush, Monsey, Lakewood, Kiryas Yoel, Boro Park, etc. doesn’t look like a rundown neighborhood in poverty, like you might experience in ethnic minority neighborhoods?


    Note that there’s a big distinction between a six figure family annual income, when counting multiple earners, versus a six figure salary. The original topic here concerns a six figure income earned annually by one earner. If there are two full time workers in the family, each earning $50k/year, that’ll technically be a six figure annual family income. But earning $50k with full time employment in today’s world isn’t saying much.

    Yabia Omer

    Ujm…they do look rundown!


    UJM is making a good point but the question still stands. Do you really think that most families are earning a total of $150k per family? (This is the figure that several authors have posted a frum family needs to get by)
    It would seem that UJM’s observation would seem to be correct. Homes are built more luxurious than in the general public, stores in Jewish areas charge top dollar for products (clothing stores, baby items, take-out food establishments etc.), excess income to support married children, lavish weddings etc.

    Is it true that only a few poor shnooks are the ones struggling to get by (and the “haves” are generously supporting the “have-nots)?


    We had here reported multiple areas having schools distributing free food. I think it means that the areas or the schools had substantial number of students qualifying for some poverty levels, at least as far as the government is concerned.


    I think it is indisputable that the Jewish “haves” are very much supporting the Jewish “have-nots” to a very large degree. To a degree that is incomparable to any other ethnicity. Charity is deeply ingrained and strongly practiced, in large dollar amounts, throughout the Jewish world.

    It is also a feature of Jewish charity to support others to the level they are accustomed to. To the point that Jewish law states that if a wealthy person becomes poor, the charity he thereafter receives should bring him back to his comfort level he was used to when he was wealthy.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    AAQ – the food distributions, as well as hot lunch this year are still under covid funds and free to all regardless of income.

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