Is 40k a Good Salary UK? (The Things to Consider This 2023)

A woman received her 40k salary while working.

We are living in highly unstable economic times. Prices for everything appear like a rollercoaster, making it impossible to tell what type of wage we should aim for and what salaries we can realistically live on!

Is £40,000 a decent income in the United Kingdom?

At the time of writing, £40,000 is regarded as a respectable wage in the UK since it is more than the measured average per person and higher than the UK median.

Many individuals wonder, “Is 40k a good salary UK?” and the answer might surprise them.

In fact, it can provide a comfortable lifestyle, allowing for a balance between work and leisure.

However, other perspectives on this subject and the circumstances come into play along the journey!

With that, let’s look deeper into the present UK pay scenario and what constitutes a comfortable income.

It’s important to remember that while £40,000 may be a good salary, personal circumstances and individual financial responsibilities can greatly influence how far this income stretches.

So, when considering “is 40k a good salary,” it’s crucial to factor in your unique situation and long-term financial goals.

Now, let’s get into it!

How much is £40k salary with tax?

40k salary after tax

Understanding how to calculate your take-home pay by converting your gross compensation into your net earnings is critical.

An individual earning £40,000 in the UK would fall into the basic rate tax band for the tax year based on the most recent version for 2023/24.

This implies that profits beyond the personal allowance (£2,570) would be taxed at 20%.

Income tax on £40,000 would be about £5,484.20.

National Insurance (NI) payments would also be withheld from the wage, now 12% on salaries between £12,570 and £50,270 for most workers.

The NI contribution would be around £3,291.60.

Considering these deductions, the net wage from a £40,000 gross income is about £31,224.20.

However, tax codes, other deductions, and yearly changes may all impact this computation, so it’s always a good idea to reference the most recent HMRC guidelines or use the HMRC Income Tax Estimator for precise statistics.

Understanding the nuances of income taxes and national insurance can significantly influence your financial planning, ensuring you make the most of your hard-earned money.

When it comes to budgeting and financial decisions, knowing your gross salary is just as important as understanding your net income.

What makes a good salary in the UK?

40k salary after tax

Since the term ‘good’ is so subjective, no uniform number applies to everyone. With that, some context is required, let’s begin with some numbers:

Before taxes, the average UK salary was £36,768, and the median was £27,696.

At the time of writing, the cost of living for a UK family is about £3,000+ per month, which adds up to £36,000+ per year after income taxes, i.e., from your net income!

Depending on where you live, a single individual’s monthly cost of living varies from £2,100 to £3,000 per month.

This corresponds to about £25,000 and £36,000 each year.

In terms of statistics, £40,000 is considered an excellent salary in the UK since it surpasses both the national average and median salaries. 

When evaluating whether a salary is good, weighing it against the average person earnings and the national average salary is essential.

A starting salary may be lower, but with time and experience, it can grow into a very good salary.

Ultimately, what constitutes a decent salary or a good income can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances, career progression, and personal financial goals.

However, if you want to answer that question fully, there are three other factors to consider: your job, where you work, and your cost level.

Let us go a bit further. 


Occupation as one thing to consider if 40k is a good salary.

It is critical to evaluate the environment in which these wages are intended.

A good income for a doctor differs from a good salary for an engineer, far from a good salary for a sales clerk!

When navigating these intricacies, seeking advice from a qualified financial advisor can be immensely beneficial.

They can provide personalized insights into managing your earnings, investments, and financial planning, helping you maximize your resources.

If you’re seeking additional comparison points, try checking out the detailed discussion of median incomes in the United Kingdom.

It shows median earnings by age, geography, and profession.

This should give you a better idea of how your compensation compares to the average salaries of your peers.

Remember that aiming for an excellent salary should align with your industry and experience level.

Consulting with a financial advisor can be pivotal to achieving your long-term financial goals.

Geographic Location

Location as one thing to consider if 40k is a good salary.

Location is essential because it directly impacts the people who live there. As a result, it establishes a level of expectation for the associated remuneration.

Compared to places with a lower cost of living, a location with a higher cost of living, such as London, would often have higher earnings for the same sort of work. This is particularly evident in regions like the South East, where expenses tend to be higher across the board.

For example, a salary in London of £40,000 is not the same as a salary of £40,000 in the North of England.

Given the greater cost of living and services in the capital, £40,000 is likely to go farther than it would in, say, Sheffield or Leeds.

Considering these regional variations when evaluating your pay and determining what constitutes a good salary in your area is crucial.

As a result, one of the first factors individuals evaluate when calculating pay value is how far they want to live from London.

For those in the North East, the cost of living may be lower, making a slightly lower salary more manageable without compromising quality of life. It’s all about striking the right balance between income and expenses based on your chosen location.

Expenditure Level

Lifestyle as one thing to consider if 40k is a good salary.

The next set of connected elements to examine is the size of your home, the number of breadwinners, and the lifestyle you lead.

The answers to these questions feed the broader question: what is your family’s cost of living?

On a bigger scale, statisticians compute the cost of living in the United Kingdom based on various criteria.

They consider how much individuals spend on mortgages, rent, loans, food and groceries, clothes, travel, energy and utilities, autos, and entertainment expenses.

Additionally, council tax and pension contributions play a significant role in the overall financial landscape, as they contribute to both living expenses and essential expenses.

Of course, measuring these characteristics on average is difficult since we all have different wants, desires, and lives!

For example, if you’re considering property ownership in an expensive city, you’ll likely find that housing prices can be a substantial portion of your overall living costs.

Striking a balance between finding comfortable accommodation and managing existing debts is crucial in navigating the current living crisis.

It’s essential to align your expenses with your income to maintain a sustainable lifestyle without compromising your financial stability.

Moreover, a luxurious lifestyle may be a priority for some, which can significantly impact your budgeting decisions.

Understanding how your preferences and circumstances intersect with broader economic factors is vital to making informed financial choices.

So, Can £40,000 sustain a comfortable life?

A woman thinking if 40k is a good salary.

The somewhat perplexing answer to this question is, as always, “it depends.”

While it is more than plenty for a single person, it may be insufficient if your home contains more than two individuals.

Managing disposable income on a £40k salary requires careful consideration of your lifestyle and financial commitments.

As previously stated, a salary of £40k equates to somewhat more than £31k after taxes.

The average family has roughly £36k in costs after taxes, so a household income of £40k is clearly insufficient.

Additional income streams or strategic financial planning are often necessary to live comfortably and maintain a comfortable lifestyle, especially in a bustling city like London.

A single individual earning £40,000 cannot pay the expenses.

You’ll need numerous income earners so that your net income, or after-tax income, surpasses £36k.

This emphasizes the importance of finding creative ways to save money and maximize your disposable income.

Number of household members as one thing to consider if 40k is a good salary.

Let’s add these numbers together: A decent household income for a four-person home with two income earners and minimal yearly costs of roughly £36,000 would be somewhere north of £60,000.

Achieving this level of income ensures financial stability and opens doors to opportunities for building wealth and securing a comfortable future.

It’s fantastic since it eliminates the requirement for both parties to earn £40,000 each.

One individual making £40k per year and another earning close to £30k per year will bring the total yearly family income to £60k.

This demonstrates multiple pathways to achieving financial security and a comfortable lifestyle.

A total household gross income of at least £60,000 to £70,000 puts you in a wonderful position to meet your expenditures, save for a rainy day and retirement, and yet have some money left over for fun!

Striking this balance allows for a fulfilling and financially sustainable life.

In which regions of the UK is a £40,000 salary considered good?

Region as one thing to consider if 40k is a good salary.

Let us return to the issue of location influencing the value of money.

According to national statistics, the average pay in London at the time of writing is over £52,600.

It’s substantially lower in the North East, at £30,100. These regional disparities in average pay illustrate how significantly location can impact your earning potential and purchasing power.

As a result, £40k is a below-average pay in London, but you make 25% more than the typical person if you reside in places like Newcastle, Sunderland, or Middlesbrough.

If you make more than £34,000, you are over the national average outside of London.

This insight into regional disparities underscores the importance of considering your location when evaluating your salary’s value and how it stacks up against the national average.

Living in some of the most affordable places in the UK can allow your salary to go considerably further because the cost of living in such areas is much lower.

This means that although you might earn less on paper in certain regions, your purchasing power can be notably higher, leading to a potentially more comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle.

Understanding these nuances of regional economics can be a key factor in making informed decisions about where to live and work.

Are salaries in the UK shrinking?

Salaries in the UK shrinking.

Unfortunately, wages in the UK are declining due to increasing inflation, owing to the fact that they are not growing at the same pace as inflation.

This UK shrinking of wages can significantly impact one’s financial situation.

According to data from mid-2023, inflation reached 7.9%. Meanwhile, salary growth in the United Kingdom was 6.9%.

This disparity between inflation and wage growth can lead to challenges in managing credit card debt and other financial commitments.

This will only change if inflation continues to fall or salaries increase to compete.

At the time of publishing, the trends had finally begun to move in the correct direction, but there was no clear indication of when parity would be achieved!

Navigating these economic shifts requires careful financial planning and a proactive approach to managing expenses.

How can I maximize my £40,000?

A man maximizing his 40k salary.

It’s challenging to make enough to survive these days, and even if an income of £40,000 is greater than the average, it may still seem difficult.

I’ve covered a variety of subjects to help you save money and stretch it further.

Here are a few fast victories that may assist you in making an instant impact:

  1. You may save money on your food bill. Cooking at home, buying in bulk, and seeking discounts can all help you put more money back in your pocket.
  2. Pursue a frugal lifestyle by using a few money-saving techniques. This could include cutting back on non-essential expenses to finding innovative ways to repurpose items, giving you some breathing room in your budget. 
  3. Consider cheaper options like Sky TV, Virgin, and BT to reduce television expenses. Exploring these alternatives can help offset additional costs and create a more budget-friendly entertainment plan.
  4. Try several cashback apps or join Nectar to earn money on everyday purchases. This is an easy way to accumulate extra money over time and maximize your spending.
  5. If you genuinely want to take the plunge, you may attempt to cut your rental or mortgage payments by sharing your property with roommates or flatmates or relocating to a less expensive place. 

Try out these methods for making an additional £100 online each week to help free up some cash!

Whether it’s through freelancing, selling unused items, or participating in online surveys, finding ways to generate extra money can provide a valuable financial cushion.

I’ve written another blog for this that you may check out HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequents asked questions about 40k as a good salary.

What is the hourly wage equivalent for an annual income of £40,000?

An annual salary of £40k is equal to £20.51 per hour. When you break it down like this, it’s easier to grasp the value of your starting salary hourly. This perspective can be beneficial when considering your monthly income and how to allocate it effectively.

Is 40k a year middle class?

According to current forecasts, an individual’s ‘middle-class’ wage would begin at £40,000. A middle-class income like this reflects financial stability and provides a sense of security and comfort. In many ways, it’s about more than just the numbers on your paycheck.

So, a £40k wage would place you in the middle class since it is £7k more than the national average. This means you’re earning the same salary as the vast majority of your peers in similar roles and industries. It’s a position that brings a sense of belonging and can open doors to various opportunities for growth and prosperity.

Is a 40k salary good for a single person?

For a single person in the UK, £40K a year provides a comfortable living, affording many of life’s amenities and some luxuries. This comfortable salary can grant you the financial freedom to cover necessities and indulge in a few extra pleasures, creating a very nice lifestyle.

With a salary of £40,000, you can comfortably pay rent for a decent place to live, allowing you to establish a comfortable and secure living situation. This sense of stability is a cornerstone for building a life that supports your aspirations and endeavors.

Final Thoughts on Is 40k a Good Salary UK?

40k salary in wallet.

As we have seen, whether £40k is a decent income in the UK depends on various things.

However, regardless of income, preparing for the long term is essential to secure financial stability and security.

Engaging in thoughtful financial planning is like charting a course for your financial journey.

It ensures you’re on track to meet your retirement aspirations and achieve financial freedom.

Individuals may produce passive income and ensure their financial future by investing in stocks, bonds, or real estate.

Compound interest can convert tiny investments into substantial riches over time, making it a vital tool for anyone trying to increase their net worth.

It’s not just about the money you have now but how it can grow over time.

This blog is committed to assisting you in achieving financial independence.

Feel free to look around and read the articles. Several investing books and articles are available that you may utilize as a learning resource to help you accomplish your objective more quickly.

It’s about providing you with the tools and knowledge to navigate your financial journey.

#40k #Good #Salary

Related Posts