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Jump$tart's Reality Check

Okay . . . we won't bore you with details. We simply want you to imagine how you want to live once you're on your own. Will you buy a car? Where will you live? Do you go to the movies or sports events most every weekend? Remember, it's your life, you can do whatever you want . . . OR CAN YOU?

Imagine the possibilities . . . then fill in your choices on the next page, and get ready for a Reality Check! Chances are you'll be surprised at how much your so-called dream life will cost.

Once you've indicated your choices, we will show you what income you'll need to live the life you want. We'll even give you a list of careers that support your lifestyle. Now that's cool.

Ready for the challenge?

Reality Check


This calculator is free, and it is quick and simple to use. It will give you a general snapshot of your financial future. It is not a precise budgeting tool.

While local salaries, wages and lifestyle costs will vary throughout the United States, the internal data used in this calculator are national averages. The results will indicate a ballpark relationship between your expenses and the income you will need to support your lifestyle.

The internal data in this calculator is adapted from several sources, including the annual Consumer Expenditure Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Jump$tart Coalition thanks Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian; Ken McDonnell, program director for the Employee Benefit Research Institute/American Savings Education Council; Rosella Bannister, clearinghouse manager for the Jump$tart Coalition; and members of Jump$tart's national Education Committee for their work on the 2010 revision to this tool.