Can You Live In London On A £50k Salary in 2024? (Answered!)

The big question when you’re about to move to London is whether you can actually afford to live there. You’ve heard the stories of the high rents and expensive cost of living, but what’s it really like? If you’ve got a job lined up, you might be asking yourself: can you live in London on a £50k salary?

In my opinion (and my experience of earning £50k in London), the answer is yes. If you are single or in a couple, I think that you can live comfortably on a £50k salary within reason (scroll down to hear why). However, in my opinion, if you have children you may find that you need a higher salary than this to live comfortably.

What is the average salary in London?

According to Statista, the median average salary in London in 2023 was £44,370. Earning £50k would put you above this average, so in theory it should be a comfortable enough wage. The average starting salary in London is £32,500 according to Totaljobs, so if you’re starting a job in London on £50k, that’s not bad going!

Of course, there are thousands of people earning well above the average, and well below the average- who are still making it work! All things considered, if you’re earning a salary of £50k in London, you aren’t doing too bad at all.

What is the cost of living in London in 2024?

The cost of living in London in 2024 is, unsurprisingly, high. You can expect pretty expensive rental costs, food costs and utilities in London. Those prices are probably not going to come down any time soon, as we have experienced rapid inflation of prices in recent months. It is now estimated that the average single person in London will spend £3,000 per month, while a family will spend even more than that!

We do need the wages to go up to account for this inflation, but it’s a matter of waiting things out. But, if you’re earning £50k in London, you’re probably managing ok. That said, if you want to increase your income, that’s ok too! You may wish to start a side hustle or even look for a promotion or career change.

My experience of earning £50k in London

When I was earning £50k in London, I could comfortably afford my half of the rent on a one bedroom rental with my partner in Chiswick, and manage to save and invest some money every month. I was also able to go on holidays and enjoy a good social life in the city.

However, I did have someone to split all of my bills with – including utilities, groceries, and even costs like hotel and travel. I was also thrifty (hence the name- Thrifty Londoner!) so I think if I didn’t manage my money well, and spent more on luxuries each month, I wouldn’t have enjoyed such a comfortable standard of living. (You can see more about my real life living expenses on a £55k salary in London here)

I also think if I was a single person who wanted to rent a one bedroom flat alone, I would struggled. To make ends meet I would have either had to move further out of London, or live in a house share. Therefore I think you would need to earn more than £50k to live in London on your own and rent your own flat (or pay the mortgage on a flat).

Do other Londoners think you can live on a £50k salary in 2024?

I surveyed my London-based Instagram audience to get their thoughts on what a comfortable salary looks like in London. 225 people responded, and 34 people thought that £50k was a comfortable salary in London. 45 people thought that you needed to earn £60k to live comfortably in London, while 55 people thought you could live on less than £50k.

In contrast, 135 people thought that you needed to earn more than £50k to live comfortably in London. With 29 respondents believing that you needed to earn £100k or more. My opinion? I think if you have a family to support or would like to own a home in London, you probably do need to be earning £100k or more in the current climate.

However, if you are single or in a relationship with no children, and you are renting, I think that you could be comfortable on £50k as long as you manage your money effectively.

Top tips for living in London on £50k or less

Maximise your pension

If you’re on a salary of £50k, it’s a great idea to maximise your pension (in fact, it’s a good idea to maximise your pension on any salary if you can afford to do so!). Check your employment contract to see what scheme your employer offers.

If your employer offers a generous scheme (for example, they will match your contributions up to 10%), it’s a great idea to take them up on that offer! It’s essentially free extra money from your employer, and you will reap the rewards when it comes to retirement.

Do you know how much is in your pensions? You can use a pension calculator to see how much more you’ll need to save to have a comfortable retirement. If you’d like to streamline your pensions, you could also consider combining your pensions with one provider. I use Pensionbee for mine.

Save for the future

Saving for the future is a no brainer when you earn £50k and have some money leftover at the end of the month. No matter what your savings goals are, make sure that your savings are in a high interest savings account.

A high interest savings account could mean the difference between getting £1,000 a year back in interest, or £100 a year in interest on your savings!

I love using Chip as they have a generous interest rate of 4.84%, and it’s instant access, meaning you can take your money out immediately if you wish to (rather than having it locked away for a period of time).

Consider investing

When you have a little money leftover once you’ve accounted for all your outgoings for the month, you may wish to consider investing as a way to squirrel more money away for the future (and to let it grow). If you are contributing to a pension already, investing is the next step.

Investing over the long term can mean that your money can grow, beat inflation, and take advantage of compound interest.

📖 If you’re interested in hearing more, sign up to download our free Investing For Beginners eBook

Consider budgeting

Hear me out, a budget can be lifechanging when it comes to money management! A budget is essentially a spending plan, which means that you can send more money to what you WANT to spend (or save) your money on, and spend less on the things that you don’t care about.

When it comes to the question of: can you live in London on a £50k salary? A budget can help your money go further, and help you to achieve your financial goals faster. It’s a no brainer while you’re living in London, because the city can really make your money disappear if you don’t keep an eye on it!

I love using Snoop as a money management and budgeting tool. It’s free to use, and you can view all of your accounts in one place, and track your spending accordingly.

FAQ

Is a £50k salary good for London?

Can you live in London on a £50k salary? I think the answe is yes. A £50k salary is pretty good in London, considering the average median salary is just over £44k, and the average starting salary is £32,500 according to Totaljobs.

It’s also important to remember that the London Living Wage equate to a salary of £26,325. So when you consider that £50k is almost double the living wage, it’s pretty good going.

You should be able to afford a fairly comfortable standard of living in London on a £50k salary.

What is a livable salary in London UK?

In my opinion and research, in 2024 a comfortable livable salary in London is £50k. You should have enough to rent and live a comfortable lifestyle with enough leftover to put some money towards savings and investments.

However, if you have a family, you might find that you need to be earning more than this to support them comfortably.

And in terms of a livable, able-to-get-by salary in London as a single person, I’d say you could get by on a salary of £30k, but this would involve making some sacrifices and some careful budgeting.

Is £55k enough to live in London?

£55k is certainly enough to live on in London, as long as you manage your money well (and don’t have expensive, luxury taste!). However if you do have dependents, you may need to be earning more than this to support them.

People certainly manage on all kinds of salaries in London, so earning £55k should mean that you can live well and still have money left over for savings and investments.

What jobs pay over £50k a year UK?

Jobs that pay over £50k a year in the UK include professions such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and company directors. However, you’ll also find management roles in sales, marketing, advertising, engineering and other industries that pay more than £50k per year.

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