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How much salary is enough in South Korea?


In this article, we will explore the question of how much salary is enough in South Korea. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we will examine various factors that can help determine a comfortable salary level for individuals living and working in South Korea.

The cost of living in South Korea

To understand how much salary is enough in South Korea, it is important to consider the cost of living. According to Numbeo, a website that provides information on the cost of living in various countries, the cost of living in Seoul is 6.12% higher than in New York City. This means that expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and healthcare may be more expensive than what one is used to.

Salary expectations in South Korea

In South Korea, salaries can vary greatly depending on industry, job position, and experience level. According to data from the Korean Statistical Information Service, the average monthly salary in 2020 was KRW 2.62 million (approximately USD 2,300). However, this number can be higher or lower depending on various factors.

Housing costs in South Korea

Housing costs are a significant expense for individuals living in South Korea. According to Numbeo, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seoul is KRW 961,000 (approximately USD 850). However, this can vary depending on location and apartment size.

Transportation costs in South Korea

Transportation costs can also add up quickly for individuals living and working in South Korea. Public transportation options such as buses and subways are affordable and efficient, with a single subway fare costing around KRW 1,350 (approximately USD 1.20). However, owning a car can be expensive due to high taxes and fees.

Food expenses in South Korea

South Korea is known for its delicious cuisine, but eating out can be pricey. According to Numbeo, the average cost of a meal at a mid-range restaurant in Seoul is KRW 15,000 (approximately USD 13). However, cooking at home and buying groceries from local markets can be more affordable.

Healthcare costs in South Korea

Healthcare costs are generally lower in South Korea than in many other countries, but they can still add up. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the average cost of a doctor’s visit in 2019 was KRW 12,511 (approximately USD 11). However, individuals may need to pay for additional medical expenses such as prescriptions and procedures.

Education costs in South Korea

Education costs can also be a significant expense for families with children living in South Korea. Private schools and international schools can be expensive, with tuition fees ranging from KRW 10 million to KRW 30 million (approximately USD 8,900 to USD 26,700) per year.

Saving for retirement in South Korea

Saving for retirement is important no matter where you live, and this is especially true in South Korea where the pension system is still developing. Experts suggest that individuals should aim to save at least 10% of their monthly income for retirement.

Salary negotiation tips

If you are considering working in South Korea or negotiating a salary increase, it is important to be prepared. Research industry standards and job positions to determine a reasonable salary range. Be confident when negotiating and highlight your skills and experience.

Alternative income sources

For those who want to supplement their income or explore alternative income sources, there are various options available in South Korea. Freelancing, tutoring, and teaching English are all popular options for foreigners living in South Korea.


Determining how much salary is enough in South Korea depends on various factors such as the cost of living, housing expenses, transportation costs, and healthcare expenses. It is important to research industry standards and job positions to negotiate a reasonable salary. Additionally, considering alternative income sources can help supplement income and achieve financial goals.

How much money is needed to live comfortably in South Korea?

Nationwide, a family of four will typically spend an average of 2,300,000 KRW per month (equivalent to about 2,000 USD) on living expenses, not including rent. For a single expat, living expenses are estimated to be around 652,000 KRW (roughly 560 USD) per month, excluding rent.

Is $100 dollars a lot in South Korea?

Based on my personal experience in Itaewon, a budget of US$100 per day should be sufficient. However, this area may be more expensive compared to other parts of Seoul and it is recommended to bargain for better prices.

Is 300 million won a lot of money in Korea?

In a physical contest where the prize is 100, there was a question asking how much 300 million won is worth in US dollars. Reality Titbit reports that 300 million won equals approximately $243,188. This is a significant amount of money for an individual to receive. The information was provided on January 27, 2023.

How much is rent in Korea?

As of February 2021, the typical monthly rent for one-bedroom apartments in Seoul, South Korea went up to roughly 510,000 South Korean won from approximately 480,000 won the prior month. This data was reported on February 28, 2023.

Which country pays highest salary?

Monaco has the highest income in the world, while Afghanistan has the smallest per capita budget. The US is ranked seventh in our comparison of 69 countries, with an average income of $70,930. This figure is determined by taking the gross national income and dividing it by the population.

Is it cheap for Americans to live in South Korea?

For those who are not having their accommodation sponsored when moving to Korea, the cost of rent is reasonable. In areas outside of the major cities, a studio or one-bedroom apartment can cost an average of $300-$600 per month. However, in the center of Seoul, rent can be higher, typically ranging from $800-$1,000+. This information was last updated on March 4, 2023.

Financial planning in South Korea

To ensure financial stability and achieve long-term financial goals, it is essential to have a solid financial plan. This includes creating a budget, tracking expenses, and setting financial goals. There are many resources available in South Korea, such as financial planners and online tools, to help individuals create and implement a financial plan.

Taxes in South Korea

Taxes in South Korea can also impact an individual’s overall salary and expenses. The income tax rate for residents ranges from 6% to 42%, depending on income level. Additionally, there are social security taxes and other taxes that may apply. Understanding the tax system and seeking expert advice can help individuals properly plan for taxes and minimize their impact on overall finances.

Cultural factors to consider

When living and working in South Korea, it is important to consider cultural factors that may impact salary expectations and expenses. For example, gift-giving is a common practice in South Korea, particularly in business settings. This can add up to significant expenses over time. Additionally, social events and outings with coworkers may be expected and can also impact expenses.


Determining how much salary is enough in South Korea requires careful consideration of various factors such as the cost of living, housing expenses, transportation costs, healthcare expenses, taxes, and cultural factors. By creating a solid financial plan, seeking expert advice when needed, and considering alternative income sources, individuals can achieve financial stability and meet their long-term financial goals while living and working in South Korea.

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