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Is 70,000 euros (annual gross) a good salary in Berlin, Germany for a family with 2 kids?

Depending on who you ask, € 70,000 salary will be perceived as :

  • By Germans : wow, that’s a great salary

not a surprise, since avergae German monthly salary is € 3,500 per month (gross). By this standard, 70k is a very very good salary.

  • By expats : okish salary

If you are coming from a high earning professional from South East Asia, India or Middle East, you will undergo susbtantial life style adjustments financially. You most probably will need to downgrade your living standard that what you are used to.

Why I say this? Let’s break it down:

  • 70,000 is €5,833 gross per month.

  • Tax class : III

For a monthly gross salary of 5,833/month, your inhand salary will be €4,032/month.

This is what you have every month as disposable income.

Now, let’s come to the expenses

  • Housing : atleast €1,800 per month.

This will be the bulk of your monthly spend. Given that you have 2 kids, a genuine aspiration will be an apartment with atlest 2 bedrooms. Since you are new to Berlin, you will want to live in a central area or within the city, with good public transport connections.

Why I call this aspiration is something you will realise once you actually land in Berlin and start the apartment search

A 2 bedroom apartment within the city, with a half decent size (70m2 or 753sq ft) is the assumption for this. Most probably, this will be an Altbau (old construction). Hence, facilities lift and 2nd washroom/toilet will be luxuries - you might get them. Due to poor construction quality, energy costs will be another toll on your pocket. For the same size of house in a newly constructed apartment building, the rentals can easily go much higher.

With that said, getting an apartment (especially with no credit history in Berlin), might be an altogether different story.

in pic: Waiting q for an apartment, rental €1,800:

  • Electricity : about €70 per month.

The enery costs has seen an increase since the conflict started. Ofcourse, the actual monthly costs will depend on your usage. The above cost is just an estimate

  • Groceries : about €150 per week or €600 per month.

The groceries used to be reasonably cheap in Germany. This has changed in the last 10 months or so, since the conflict began. The inflation has been the highest in Germany since decades.

Again, just an estimate here as personal consumption varies for each family individually.

  • Misc : about €100 per month

This will include your internet and local public transport.

Within these 4 expenses, your monthly spend comes to ~€2,600 per month, leaving you with €1,400 per month. Keep in mind that, this is just the very basic expenses you will need to live in Berlin. Of the remaining €1,800, how you split it in your personal expenses, is upto you.

PS : You might hear people stating that this ia fantastic salary, most German do not have this kind of savings left over each month, this salary is only in big cities etc etc. My sincere request will be to ignore such comments. Remember the average German salary I mentioned at the start?

As an expat, you will have spends and aspirations which these commentators will not identify with. Just because something is not in their experience, they will take full pride in voicing the opposite of what’s in this post.

Bottomline is : You are an expat, coming to a culturally challenging country, taking a financial risk in an very uncertain economic environment, with future of 2 kids to think about. Don’t let anyone (including me) sway your decision one way or the other.

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