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What Career Should Your Kid Pursue if They Want To Live in Park City After School

It seems many parents and their children dream of a day when their child could come back from college (or grad school) and live in Park City. Of course, that may mean working in the valley but that’s a small price to pay (for many) to be able to live the Park City lifestyle.

First, let’s talk about the primary driver of whether someone can live here… the cost of housing. At the bottom end of the scale their is renting. The cheapest rent available (even in affordable housing) is about $1,000 a month. That would be for a one bedroom or studio. Renting something larger and/or closer to town may cost anywhere from $1700 a month and up. If your child will be buying a very small condo, like some of those in prospector, they are in the $130,000 range. If your child is interested in a house, that has been designated as affordable (and could find one), those maybe in the $250,000-$300,000 range. A regular house/condo with a couple of bedrooms likely costs at least $400,000 – $500,000.

Then it’s important to understand what percentage of income should be spent on rent or a mortgage. says your child should spend no more than 1/3 of their take home pay on rent. As for buying, the rule of thumb is not to spend more than 28% of your total income (before taxes) on a mortgage.

So, if we use those sets of numbers. Your child probably needs to make over $42,000, in total, annually to live in an affordable rental (if they can find it). They’d need to make (in total) about $70,000 a year for a regular apartment. Perhaps the smaller Prospector style condos will suit your child. If so, they’d need a job that pays $30,000 a year. An affordable house, if available, would require between $57,000 and $70,000 a year. A regular house would probably require at least $92,000 a year in income.

So, what jobs can afford that? Luckily the Department of Workforce Services provides us with average salaries for inexperienced workers in the the Salt Lake area. If your kid is willing to live in a studio condo in prospector (and they can get a mortgage), a lot of jobs can afford that: morticians (perfect for the funeral home they want to build near Home Depot), social service specialists, and physical therapist assistants all make more than $30,000 a year average in the Salt Lake metro area.

If an affordable rental is where your kid’s sights are (42,000 +) inexperienced postal carriers make that much around Salt Lake City. So do Physics teachers (probably more if you were lucky enough to get a gig here), building inspectors, and financial analysts.

If they can find an “affordable” house they still have a few options for jobs making $60,000 or more. Some of these are software developer, dental hygienist, and construction managers.

If they’d like a regular apartment it’s getting a little tougher (and may need a partner or roommate). Job earning more than $70,000 a year include nurse practitioners, marketing managers, and dentists. Those are the type of careers that usually need an additional degree beyond college or some experience.

If they are shooting big and want to come out of the gate and buy a $400,000 home, they need a job paying $90,000 plus a year (or someone else to chip in on the mortgage). Those job, paying that for inexperienced workers, are few and far between. In fact they better be straight out of med school because the two options are both doctors (general practitioner, and internists).

What does all that mean? If your child’s primary goal has always been to live in Park City, it’s attainable. It just requires thinking about what career they want to pursue (based on salary), and likely compromising on what type of place tey want to live in. They may wish they could live in a house like their parents’ — straight out of school — but that’s pretty unrealistic.

Out of roughly 570 professions listed by Department of Workforce services, roughly 140 professions make more than $42,000 (for inexperienced workers). That’s only 25% of professions where a less-experienced person could afford to live here (even in an affordable rental). So it appears to require tough choices. If a child’s chosen profession is (or leads to) being a hotel clerk, that’s great if they enjoy it. But $17,000 isn’t enough to live here (without roommates). Neither is ski patrol, being a childcare worker, or tour guide.

If you are interested in reading about which professions make what, in the Salt Lake metro area, you may wish to view this Excel worksheet from the State of Utah.

Note, I have made a number of assumptions on prices of rent/homes/interest rates/etc. If you think my numbers are off a little, feel free to bump my estimates up or down as you see fit. Calculations were made with tax rates of 15%, mortgage rates of 5% and $0 down (yes, you should put at least 10% down on a house if possible). Rental rates are based on numbers I have seen in county/city documents. House prices represent the low end of what is likely possible and what has been described by Realtors on KPCW. Yes, I do know that there are many neighborhoods with million dollar homes, but your kid, your kid’s wife, and your kid’s second wife better be doctors in order to afford one straight out of med school (or be very lucky).




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