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Last May's graduates owed more than $36,000 in student loans. Since you've been out of school a few years we’ll assume that you don’t owe anything close to this. You could have had a plan that would have allowed you to graduate without owing anything in student loan debt but you didn't. The good news here is that some experts consider student loan debt to be "good debt" because the money helped you get a better career, which meant earning more money. However, that said you probably have yearly payments of around $4000.
Don't forget credit cards
If you’re typical you don't have an emergency fund. This means that if you have to pay for an emergency you probably do it with, yes you guessed it, a credit card. In fact, thanks to not planning adequately the typical American has $4750 in credit card debt. That translates into $120 a month just in the minimum payments. Of course, if you make just the minimum payments you’ll owe that credit card issuer $1440 a year for many, many months. In fact, it could actually take you 25 years to pay off that $4750.
Where you now stand
After the government took its share of your paycheck you had $61,290 left. But now, after your $11, 476 of bad decisions and lack of planning there's just $49,814 left. And that's not the end of it. You now have to pay for things like shelter, food, clothing and utilities.
If you earn $90,000 a year, it's almost certain that you have a mortgage. Houses in the US get bigger every year and so do the mortgages. According to The Motley Fool website people age 35 to 44 have an average mortgage payment of $1073 per month. That's $12,876 a year. So now you're down to $36,968 and were still not through.
Food and clothing
Let's take food first. According to USA Today, it takes, on the average, $800 a month to feed a family of four, which is another $9600 out of your paycheck each year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that $1700 a year is spent on clothing by the average family, which isn’t too bad. But subtracting the cost of food and clothing means another $11,300 a year you don't really own out of your paycheck.
If you live in a part of the country where there's both summer and winter your utility bills should be pretty constant throughout the year. This will be somewhere around $250 a month or another $3000 subtracted from your hard-earned paycheck.
If you throw your smart phone bill into the category of utilities, it's probably costing you an average of around $150 a month – not counting the cost of the phones – or roughly $2000 a year. And if you're an iPhone user you're probably paying more as revealed in this short video.
Then there's cable and Internet. Again, if your family is typical these two "luxuries" are probably costing you around $200 a month or $2400 a year unless, of course, you choose to cut the cable.
Since we’ve assume you have a car we can’t leave out the cost of fuel and automobile insurance. How much is gas costing you? The US average is approximately $2200, plus there's the cost of insurance, which averages $815 per year. If you add this to that $6036 your auto loan is costing you then wow! That car just by itself is taking a hefty chunk out of your paycheck.
So how much of that paycheck is really yours?
When you add up all of this, what you have left – or how much you actually own of your paycheck is a whopping $15,233. And, of course, this doesn't include saving for retirement. What this boils down to is that, sadly enough, the average American really owns about 17% of their paycheck.