QUESTION: This is a day to day existance question. I've read that people shouldn't spend more than 30% of their income on rent, but I find I would need to spend at least 50% for the cheapest rent around. Are there stats on what most people end up paying compared to their income?

ANSWER: If you live in New York City, chances are that you may very well end up spending half of your disposable income on rent.  Even though landlords do require income be x number of times the rent or that your rent be 30% of your income, people end up spending a huge percentage of their income on rent. Some end up sharing the premises with roommates to make it easier on the wallet. From my personal experience and from what I know about people living in Manhattan or Williamsburg, at the end of the day they spend more than 30p on rent. Don't forget to add utilities such as electricity and gas, which may not be included on the rent check.  In other cities, you may find a better ratio of rent to income, plus, more space for the same rent.

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QUESTION: I live out near Buffalo. I don't require much. Just a fridge, a lamp, water, heat, electric. I can get my own furnishings in time. $700/mo is among the cheapest in the area and I don't know if that includes utilities as no rental ads online seem to want to mention that. Kind of seems like the rent should include everything up to a maximum like data usage on a phone. I would need to spend around 75% of my income to get something that only costs that much. I have a friend in Paris and she spends 50%. Are there stats on the typical percent putting aside what a money management person might say is appropriate as I literally could just barely afford the bottom level place? I am 35 years old living with the folks and I'm tired of it.

Thank you for your query.  I don't know what you do for a living, but, you may reconsider looking for a better paid job, or, some kind of government assistance for the rent and utilities.  In my experience, unless the ad mentions that the utilities are included, they are usually not and you will need to get accounts on your name for gas, electricity and cable.  One important thing to look into when seeking a rental is heating. Are heating and hot water included? or do you have to pay for them? In the summertime, are you being surcharged if you have an air conditioner? Those may end up raising your overhead quite a bit.  If 700 represents half of your disposable income, you may be eligible for some kind of subsidy, check it out in the state of NY website and the city's. Alternatively, assess your job situation and how could you get your income up.  Good luck.


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I will be happy to answer questions related to applied economics. i.e. economics applied to small businesses and on our day to day existence.


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