Wait, How Much? - What the Numbers Look Like for Graduates

By Dominick Platt
Image above: Source


I recently went apartment hunting with my fiancé in Nashville, since she’s finishing Grad School there. We didn’t look downtown, but we surveyed both urban and more suburban apartments. We chose one bedroom apartments because we really wouldn’t have saved any money trying to actually share a space, and I personally was astounded by the numbers I was looking at. With the apartment we decided on, one very close to my fiancé’s university, the rent rounded out to about $1,550 dollars after utilities and whatnot. I had to gulp down my anxiety since that was the middle ground, the ones that were a little less also included a thirty minute commute which I’ll gladly pay not to deal with. Now, I’m not a science or business major. I majored in creative writing, and that degree isn’t known for making the big bucks out the gate, or have a stable job market for that matter. Luckily, it is Nashville, whose job market is much better than Memphis’, so I’m optimistic. But it got me thinking: I’m lucky enough to have someone to share a one bedroom apartment with, but how does an individual alone afford such sky-high rent rates?        

I did the math for you all. I like to help my fellow students out, you know? First, I wanted to know how much money we could be working with. According to the information from Glassdoor.com, the average wage for an entry level job is $28,000. By dividing that number by twelve months, and giving the stereotypical work week of eight hours a day, five days a week, that number comes to roughly $14.58. That’s scary, because a study done by National Low Income Housing Coalition, states that the 2015 average housing wage (which, according to the study, means is the estimated full-time hourly wage a household must earn to afford a decent rental unit while spending no more than 30% of their income on housing costs.), for a one bedroom apartment is $15.50. Doing the math, at that income you’d make $29,760 annually, so to live in that apartment, one must take out $9,820.80, leaving a little under $20,000.


Photo: Source

So we’re working with $20,000 for us intrepid graduates, but we have to eat, right? According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2012, one American spends $151 dollars a week to eat. Multiply that by fifty-two and you get $7,825 (this is without any vacation time, of course). For good measure, let’s round that up to $8,000. This, then, from our overall income leaves us with $12,000. Let’s take off about another $4,000 for car expenses such as insurance, gas, and maintenance to be on the safe side. So now we’re at $8,000. Finally, the national average for student loans, according to CNN, is roughly $29,400. The average monthly repayment plan for ten years at 6.8% is $280 a month, or $3,360 a year, and with that we’re down to $4,640 leftover. That’s actually not bad at all, in my opinion.

I know we went through a lot of numbers here, but if I told you at the end of the year you’d still have roughly $5,000 in your pocket after the first year out of college, I would hope you’d find that a good deal. Further, I know $28,000, which is a little less than you need sounds low, and it probably is too low for most majors, so breathe a little. These numbers have a respectable amount of zeros, but you’ll be making money in those zeros. As long as you go to a place that has a healthy job market, I’m sure you’ll find something with your CBU pedigree. But, if you’re still worried, go talk to the folks at Career Services, they can help set your mind at ease.

Dominick Platt is a staff writer with The Galleon and is also a Creative Writing major at Christian Brothers University.

Posted by Editorial Board at 1:05 PM

The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.

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