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Real Earnings (True Net Pay)


"Real Earnings" (sometimes referred to as "True Net Pay") is a term we use for the real amount you earn for each hour of work compared to what you think you may be earning. It is not the hourly pay the employer states, or the net you take home after taxes and other deductions.

Instead of just looking at your income, Real Earnings considers all the expenses associated with work, even money not generally associated with this question. For instance, Real Earnings takes into account money spent on a daily commute, the additional expense of lunches or dinners near the office, clothing you wouldn't buy were it not for the job and the trip to Florida every winter to "get away from it all"?

Real Earnings also factors in all the time you spend that is work related. For instance, the time spent commuting, the amount of time required to "wind down" after a hectic day at the office, time away from home, time at the Christmas and summer parties, and entertaining clients after work.

To determine real wages:

  • Add up all the hours you would spend at work, getting to and from work, socializing with people you wouldn't, taking courses, etc.
  • Add all the expenses you don't have now such as different clothes, or vacations you would need because of the job.
  • Subtract the expenses from your pay, and divide by the total number of hours. The result is what you're really earning an hour.

Our Real Earnings Calculator will help you factor in all the components to come up with a true picture of what you really earn or what you might earn at a new job. Try it. You may be surprised not only at what you come up with, but at the possibilities presented once you know your Real Earnings.


  • The Real Earnings Calculator asks for number of hours for various events, as well as dollar amounts. If actual hours and amounts are readily available, use them. If not, use ball park estimates.
  • When inserting numbers, be aware that some sections only ask for dollar amounts. Other sections ask for number of hours. Some sections ask for both dollar amounts and hours.

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