Let’s get real about lifestyle expenses, careers, and the importance of college. We’re going to check out a great tool to figure out the annual salary you will need to earn to sustain the spending and living habits of your desired lifestyle. Remember all the facts we shared about how earning a postsecondary education correlates with higher salaries in Why Going to College Is Worth It? In this resource, we’ll take a look at what those numbers mean for attaining your dream lifestyle.
We’ve all spent time daydreaming about our dream life, and that dream life might look different for many of us. Some of us might want a big house in the country, and others might wish for a fancy apartment in a big city. Both of those are great options! But have you considered the impact that utility costs, car payments, or health insurance might have on your dream lifestyle? What about how these expenses can look drastically different depending on where you live? Let’s explore Texas Reality Check to learn more!
We are going to complete the Lifestyle Calculator three times.
- The first time, select the options that most closely reflect your current lifestyle.
- The second time, choose the options that most closely reflect the lifestyle you would like to have in five years.
- The third time you complete the calculator, select the options that most closely match your dream lifestyle.
Texas Reality Check Guided Activity
Step 1: Start Your Reality Check
Navigate to texasrealitycheck.com and select “Start Your Reality Check.”
Step 2: Choose a Location
Choose a location in Texas that interests you. You could choose your current location or a location where you would like to live in the future. Take note that the job market will be different when living in a rural community versus a larger city.
Step 3: Set Your Lifestyle
Select the options that most closely align with your current lifestyle, the lifestyle you would like in five years, or your dream lifestyle. After the first time you complete the calculator, you can use the “Quick View Calculator” instead.
Step 4: Review Your Expenses
Review your total monthly expenses and the annual salary needed to support your lifestyle in your chosen location. Use the Texas Reality Check Activity to compare each of the three scenarios.
Step 5: Reflect on Your Results
Complete the brief questionnaire on the Further Application page of this guided activity worksheet to understand how your three different lifestyles relate to each other.
Step 6: Explore the Job Market
Now, let’s visit the Indeed job board and search for jobs in your chosen location.
- What types of jobs are available?
- What is the salary being offered for those jobs?
- List a few of the job requirements for the jobs you are interested in.
- Would you be able to afford your lifestyle with this salary?
What have you learned about yourself, your expected lifestyle, and your career after completing this activity?
Now that you understand how much you will need to earn to live your dream lifestyle, it’s time to explore the careers that will help you get there. In the Career Exploration Guided Activity, you’ll use all the information gathered in your Personality Type Guided Activity and this activity to identify a few different career paths that you find interesting and the postsecondary degree that matches those careers.