Cost of Living Calculator

Image: Bill Longshaw /

Salary and location are two factors that people find to be very important when deciding to make a career move.  But receiving a job offer with a higher salary than your current military pay doesn’t automatically mean a raise.  In fact, depending on location, it could mean a pay cut!

A friend of mine working with the same recruiting firm recommended the CNN Money Cost of Living Calculator to me.  You can enter your current salary (use a military pay chart and factor in BAH) and location, a prospective location, and it will generate how much more (or less) you would need to live similarly in that new locale.

For example, if you make $70,000 in Evansville, Indiana, but are offered an $80,000 job in Chicago, Illinois, that’s a raise, right?  Wrong.  You’d need to make $86,000 to live to the same standard… and that’s just within the Midwest!

Another thing to consider? Income tax.  Texas, for example, doesn’t charge you income tax at all.  New York, you could be taxed up to 8%.  So that lower salary in Texas suddenly becomes more attractive.


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