Part I: Time for a Reality Check
(1) Click Here (Links to an external site.) to visit the Texas Reality Check website. Look into the future and consider what your life will be like after you have finished your studies. Answer all of the questions, taking into account how you would like to live in the future when you are working in your chosen field. Once you complete the Lifestyle Calculator, you will have a Budget that provides an estimate of the amount you will need in order to maintain the lifestyle you desire.
(2) Next, scroll through the career options the system lists for you. The options listed will all pay you enough to maintain your desired standard of living.
(3) Then write a one-paragraph reflection addressing the following: (a) State the amount of money you will need to earn in order to maintain the lifestyle you desire to live in the future. (b) Describe the lifestyle you intend to live and explain whether the expected annual salary (local or national) for your career will allow you to live that lifestyle. (c) If it does not, describe what steps you will take to deal with this situation. If you will have excess income, discuss what this will mean for your future.
Part II: Location, location, location!
Consider how the cost of living differs by location. Once you know what it will cost to live in Houston, Texas; do some research and find out what it would cost to live elsewhere. Remember, you are not comparing what your job will pay; you are comparing the annual salary you will need to live in Houston to the salary you would need to live the same lifestyle in two other cities.
(1) Using the CNN Money Calculator (Links to an external site.), first, select Houston, Texas as the city where you live. Next, slide the black dot left or right to the salary amount that best represents the Annual Salary Needed amount listed on your Texas Reality Check Budget report. ($93K = $95K). Finally, select the state and city you would like to consider moving to once you begin your career.
(2) Record “how far your salary will go” or the salary you would need to live in that city as shown on the Calculator. Do this for at least two cities.
(3) Write a one-paragraph (7-10 sentences) reflection. (a) Report the cost of living for all three cities. Discuss the specific differences in the cost of living in the two other locations versus the cost of living in Houston. (b) Identify and report the largest percentage differences between the cities. Discuss whether family plans, groceries, housing or transportation are significant factors. (c) Discuss whether your career is dependent upon location. (d) Based on your analysis, write a final statement that explains where you might decide to live, considering the differences in cost. Keep in mind that a higher cost of living does not mean a higher salary in each location.
Part III: What does it cost to be me while in college? Create a budget for the month and semester using either one of the excel budget tables provided to create a college budget. Then, attach your results. You may submit one or two documents.