Is $120K A Good Salary In Texas?

With its booming economy and low cost of living, Texas has become an appealing destination for professionals from across the country. But is a $120,000 salary enough to live comfortably in the Lone Star State? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, $120k goes quite far in Texas and is considered a very good salary in most areas due to the state’s relatively low cost of living.

This comprehensive guide examines if $120,000 is a good salary in different Texas cities and regions. We’ll compare expenses like housing, healthcare, taxes and more to show where a $120k income will provide a comfortable lifestyle versus where you may need more to live well. We’ll also explore how factors like family size, debt and lifestyle preferences impact the purchasing power of $120k in Texas.

Cost of Living Comparison

When considering whether a salary of $120k is good in Texas, it is important to take into account the cost of living. To get a better understanding of the overall expenses, let’s compare the cost of housing, healthcare, taxes, and transportation in Texas.


Housing costs can vary significantly depending on the location within Texas. In cities like Austin or Dallas, the cost of housing tends to be higher compared to smaller towns or rural areas. According to data from Numbeo, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Austin is around $1,500, while in Dallas it is around $1,200.

However, in smaller towns, the average rent can be as low as $800 per month. It’s important to factor in housing costs when considering the affordability of a $120k salary in Texas.


Healthcare costs also play a significant role in determining the overall cost of living. Fortunately, Texas has a relatively lower cost of healthcare compared to other states. According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual healthcare expenditure per person in Texas is around $6,000.

This includes expenses related to insurance premiums, doctor visits, and prescriptions. It’s important to consider healthcare costs when evaluating the affordability of a $120k salary in Texas.


Taxes can have a significant impact on the overall disposable income. Texas is known for having no state income tax, which can be a major advantage for individuals earning $120k. However, it’s important to note that there are other taxes to consider, such as property taxes and sales taxes.

The property tax rate in Texas varies by county, but on average, it is around 1.86% of the property value. Sales tax in Texas is 6.25%, but it can be higher in some areas due to local taxes. It’s important to factor in all taxes when analyzing the affordability of a $120k salary in Texas.


Transportation costs can also impact the overall cost of living. Texas is known for its vast size and long commutes, especially in cities like Houston or Dallas. However, the cost of transportation in Texas is relatively lower compared to some other states.

According to the Expatistan, the average monthly cost of public transportation in Texas is around $60, while the average monthly cost of fuel is around $150. It’s important to consider transportation costs when evaluating the affordability of a $120k salary in Texas.

Salary Needed for Major Texas Cities


Houston is one of the largest cities in Texas and offers a diverse range of career opportunities. The cost of living in Houston is relatively lower compared to other major cities in the United States. According to recent statistics, the average annual salary in Houston is around $66,000.

However, it is important to note that the salary needed to live comfortably in Houston can vary depending on individual circumstances and lifestyle choices.

For more information on cost of living and salary data in Houston, you can visit the Numbeo website.


Dallas is a thriving city with a strong job market and numerous opportunities in various industries. The average annual salary in Dallas is approximately $70,000. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of living in Dallas is higher compared to some other cities in Texas.

To live comfortably in Dallas, experts recommend a salary of around $80,000. This would allow individuals to cover housing, transportation, food, and other expenses without financial strain.

For detailed information on the cost of living in Dallas, you can check out the Expatistan website.


Austin is known for its vibrant culture, booming tech industry, and a high quality of life. The average annual salary in Austin is approximately $72,000. With a rapidly growing population and an increase in housing costs, experts suggest a salary of around $90,000 to live comfortably in Austin.

This would ensure individuals can afford housing in desirable neighborhoods and enjoy the city’s amenities without financial stress.

For more information on the cost of living in Austin, you can visit the BestPlaces website.

San Antonio

San Antonio is a vibrant city with a strong job market and a lower cost of living compared to other major Texas cities. The average annual salary in San Antonio is around $56,000. This lower salary range is compensated by the lower cost of housing, transportation, and other expenses.

Experts suggest a salary of around $65,000 to live comfortably in San Antonio.

If you want to explore more about the cost of living in San Antonio, you can visit the Numbeo website.

Impact of Lifestyle Factors

When determining whether a salary of $120k is considered good in Texas, it is important to take into account various lifestyle factors. These factors can greatly influence how far your salary will stretch and ultimately affect your overall financial well-being.

Family Size

One of the key factors that can impact your perception of a good salary is the size of your family. If you have a large family with multiple dependents, you may find that $120k is not enough to cover all your expenses comfortably.

On the other hand, if you have a smaller family or are single, this salary can provide a comfortable lifestyle with room for savings and discretionary spending. It’s essential to consider your family size and financial responsibilities when evaluating the adequacy of your salary.

Debt Payments

Another crucial factor to consider is any existing debt payments you have. If you have significant student loans, mortgage payments, or credit card debt, a $120k salary may be stretched thin. It’s important to take into account your monthly debt obligations and ensure that your salary allows you to comfortably meet these payments while still having enough left over for everyday expenses and savings.

Retirement Savings Goals

Planning for retirement is an important aspect of financial well-being. If you have ambitious retirement savings goals and want to retire comfortably, you’ll need to consider whether a $120k salary is sufficient to meet those goals.

It’s recommended that individuals aim to save at least 15% of their pre-tax income for retirement. Assess whether your salary allows you to save enough to meet this target and maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

It’s worth noting that the cost of living in different areas of Texas can vary significantly. While $120k may be considered a good salary in some parts of the state, it may not stretch as far in high-cost cities like Austin or Dallas.

It’s important to research and consider the specific cost of living in your desired location when evaluating the adequacy of your salary.

For more information on cost of living and salary benchmarks in Texas, you can refer to websites such as PayScale or Numbeo.

Top Jobs Paying $120k in Texas

Oil and Gas

One of the industries that offers high-paying jobs in Texas is the oil and gas sector. With its rich resources and booming energy market, Texas is home to many lucrative opportunities in this field. Jobs such as petroleum engineers, drilling engineers, and production managers often come with attractive salaries that can reach or exceed $120,000 per year.

The oil and gas industry in Texas is known for its stability and growth potential. With its vast reserves and advancements in technology, companies in this sector are constantly seeking qualified professionals to fill various roles.

Whether it’s overseeing drilling operations or designing efficient extraction methods, these jobs offer not only high salaries but also the chance to contribute to an essential industry.


Another sector that offers well-paying careers in Texas is healthcare. The demand for healthcare professionals continues to rise, and with that comes attractive salaries. Jobs such as physicians, surgeons, and anesthesiologists are among the highest-paying positions in the healthcare field, often exceeding $120,000 per year.

Furthermore, Texas is home to renowned medical institutions and hospitals, attracting top talent from around the country. Whether it’s in research, patient care, or medical administration, the healthcare industry in Texas offers a wide range of opportunities for professionals seeking high-paying jobs in this field.


The technology sector is another area where professionals can find high-paying jobs in Texas. With the rise of startups and established tech companies, there is a growing demand for skilled individuals in various roles.

Jobs such as software engineers, data scientists, and cybersecurity analysts often come with competitive salaries that reach or exceed $120,000 per year.

Texas has become a hub for technology innovation, with cities like Austin and Dallas attracting tech companies and entrepreneurs. With a favorable business environment and a thriving tech ecosystem, professionals in the technology field can find ample opportunities to grow their careers and earn a substantial income in Texas.


Thanks to Texas’ low cost of living and tax rates, $120,000 goes much further than in other parts of the country. This income provides a comfortable upper middle class lifestyle in most areas. However, to truly live large in Texas’ biggest cities, you may want a salary closer to $150k. Evaluate expenses, savings goals and career options to determine if $120k meets your needs in the Lone Star State.

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